Friday, April 21, 2017

Corner Cupboard

Corner Cupboard   Watercolor   19 x 28
is the resulting work from a "market place challenge" offered up to artists in my class.  While it is always good to paint what you know, it is also good to stretch your boundaries, to be able to see beautiful patterns, shapes and values wherever you go.  As I have already done so very many produce stands,  I went on a photo reference adventure for this challenge  to the local antique mall.  While the dark stern nature of so many antique objects depresses me, I often take a trip there to look around, just because the sights are so very different and stimulating compared to the same-same-sameness and plastic overabundance found in big box stores.  The beauty of many of these older objects has stood the test of time...still functional, still simple, still lovely...with the additional qualities of patina and  imprints of past use.  And, for some reason unbeknownst to even me, I have always been attracted to enamelware, with its chippiness, and small bits of rust. A visual feast!

This work was actually fun to paint, as the cherished whites became the story, and my quick, imperfect strokes reinforced my notion of the subject.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bully Bunny OR A Preconceived Notion Run Amuck

Bully Bunny   watercolor/relief ink   20 x 10
Rabbits are sweet herbivores, right?  Well...this bunny threw me for a loop.  Most often, I have somewhat of a preconceived notion of the way a work will look upon completion.  Oh, yes, it varies SOMEWHAT.  But, in this case, I was completely surprised as the work twisted and turned and evolved in a completely surprising way.  No predictability here.  The rabbit painting in my brain was a bit more watercolory...more botanical...more realistic.  But at each turn, my personal aesthetic was at odds with the realism of the subject.  The realistic bunny morphed into an Easter Bunny!   While I am not a big fan of the start-over, as the do-overs always seem to follow the same path as the original.  In this case, there were two, yes two, do-overs.  My own sense of correctness was stronger than the realistic representation.

All I can say is SURPRISE!  Yes, bunnies are sweet.  But in this case, this bunny was a bully!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Painting Flowers is the test...

Daisy Tumble   watercolor   7.5 x 9.5
...the ultimate test, for me, in the understanding of bending, twirling and complex forms.  Over the years, I have come to discover what I DO NOT like in floral works:  vases of all kinds (they steal the power); symmetry; perfection; and wall to wall paint.  Therefore, I have come to prefer vignettes, spontaneity, pathways of light (mostly) and pathways of dark, kept to a minimum.  While I am a lover of neutrals, I have to work hard to keep them at bay, so that the mood of the work remains sensual and light...a tall order.  I like complete petals as well as some that remain nondescript.  I like a bit of a hard line somewhere in the work that opposes the organic nature of the blooms.  I am happy with this one.  While I did come in for a second pass and some definition, I do think that I stopped in time.  I never enjoy it when the watercolor police come knocking at my door for having taken a work too far into reality and, as a result, too far removed from imagination.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

She Chose Carefully

She Chose Carefully   oil on burlap on canvas   48 x 24
We have been lucky to patronize many corner markets in San Francisco over the years...loads of produce in bins right on the street.  This gentle older woman had no idea that I was trying to take in all of the lusciousness with my camera.  What struck me immediately was the time she took to select her fruit....which is diametrically opposed to my own always-in-a-hurry process.  And, of course, I end up with produce that is often bruised and sometimes rotten.  She was savoring that very moment....as was I.

The canvas:  had been gessoed and covered in burlap and gessoed and gessoed some more.  It had been leaning in the studio for at least a couple of years.  My other experiments on burlap were nature-oriented, a more apt application, I think.  But that day, that particular day, I needed some excitement of the art kind.  I grabbed up that canvas and began work.  Layers and layers of raw umber.   The color was added later.  And, while I like the final result (the burlap relating to the bags of grain and beans at the market), the process was made much more difficult by all of the texture.

Too much gesso.  Too much paint.  Too much work.  Was it worth the effort?  YES!!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Excess Baggage

Excess Baggage   Watercolor   25.5 x 16
is the result of our classroom challenge of "beauty in the marketplace", which is an offshoot of an earlier challenge of "beauty in the basement".  For me, design is everywhere.  Paintings do not need to be inspired by grand cathedrals or exotic foreign destinations to be interesting.  And, indeed, setting up an interesting still life incorporating design can be aggravating as well as time consuming.  Our goal here was to snap photos in any marketplace...and subsequently to  crop, eliminate, and simplify in order to create a wonderful composition.  Artists chose locations with remarkable variety....the deli counter, the produce market and, for me, the local antiques mall. 

My own work is the product of a fusion of two stacks of suitcases.  The glove was added upon the suggestion of one of the classroom artists and was painted from my very own globe. 

I enjoy painting stacks of things....perhaps an attempt to maintain an illusion of balance, as well as to implicate the precarious nature of things....of life itself. 

Most of the luggage was painted first with raw umber to indicate dark and light patterns.  Glazes of color were added later.  The use of this color, to me, not only implies leather, but also creates the feel of "all things vintage"  A license plate with my husband's initials had to be included.

And as for the title "Excess Baggage"....don't we all have some?  I am using this work to inspire me to travel more lightly, to maneuver my way with less stuff.

Enough Said.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter Wood

Winter Wood   Watercolor   27.5 x 15
is a scene I witness almost weekly this time of year, as hiking is a wonderful way to break the monotony of indoor time.  We are lucky to be close to a reservoir which provides the ultimate in a brisk and crunchy bit of exercise and freedom.  I love this scene and can feel myself immersed in pleasure when I have time to participate.  Winter is my favorite season, as I appreciate immensely the solitude and calm that it exudes....dim lighting, bare bones and clinging snow that oppose the warmth of the hearth and kitchen.

This painting was a daunting task.  Several times within the process I thought all was lost.  I continued to push, pull and scrape.  Part of the endeavor was the maintenance of the cherished white particles which are the white of the paper.  Khadi paper provided the texture and gritty quality that I desired.  I am satisfied. 

I am so happy to have completed this work in January as the unexpected warmth this year has presented a completely different view outside my studio windows....tomorrow's high is expected to be 70 degrees.  It feels wrong.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Young Buck


Young Buck   Oil   20 x 16 x 1.5
...is an innocent and hopeful young man.  Without going into detail that would do nothing but stir the alienation pot, let's just say that I am hopeful about the direction of his fate in this unusually charged political climate.  While we are often focused on the equality and fair treatment of women, (I'm all in here), I am also concerned and troubled by the cultural expectations for young men...tender young men.  Strength and sensitivity can coexist.

A Boy.  A Man. A Deer.  A Dear.

Friday, January 20, 2017

On the Move...


Sketchbook Study    Maine Coon
Drawing from life involves patience, much patience, and a bit of luck.  Our son and daughter-in-law have two beautiful Maine Coon cats, as well as a beautiful balcony that overlooks a wooded area and stream in their apartment in balmy North Carolina.  One lovely morning, I sat, watching and sketching, while Gus spent his time catching bugs and admiring the woodland activity.  In this sort of endeavor, I try to have three or so sketches going at one time.  Over the years, I have found that beings of all kinds tend to return to comfortable postures time and time again.  If one is lucky, extremely lucky, some sort of artful drawing results....and sometimes I prefer these small works to more calculated paintings and drawings.  There is a freshness from errant lines and the searching of the pencil. 

A morning well spent.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Deb Drawing Me...but not feeling well

Deb Drawing Me   conte crayon and pastel on unknown bumpy paper   10 x 10
There is nothing more exhilarating than drawing and painting from life.  We hone observation skills, editing and quickness.  The relationship between the model and the artist is heightened.  Feelings are there right in front of you to take in and reciprocate.  I find that working from photo references becomes a slavish process...we can easily be mesmerized by the less important details, thinking erroneously that each and every detail should and must be included. Working and overworking these passages leads to a deadening of the overall work.

Strokes made from life are less accurate, but often more expressive...and the search for truth more impulsive.

This small drawing was completed in about an hour.  Deb, who is usually the perkiest artist in class was not feeling well.  While her feeling of malaise was nothing I would ever wish for, I am somewhat satisfied in the truth of this drawing. 

Personally, I can never understand why the viewing public seems to prefer the photo-studio smiles of the sitter.  What are we really after? 

And....Deb was feeling much better the following week.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Greeting 2016 (PRESENTS::PRESENCE)

In each of my two painting classes we draw names...at least those artists who have the extra time and inclination at this busiest time of the year.  The idea is to send a handmade watercolor greeting to the person whose name you select.  I made two identical cards, worked simultaneously, side by side, on my support board to send to the two names I had drawn.  Gift boxes are a tough subject, as they readily demonstrate your knowledge and skill with two point perspective.  Each artist brought a pre-wrapped box.  We assembled them into a grand pile and used our view-finders to crop and create pleasing compositions.  Over the years I have received some incredibly beautiful cards and this year was no exception. 

While gift boxes are certainly a viable subject, they imply a bit of the shallow commercialism that seizes us this beautiful time of year.  And yet, they are so beautiful, so colorful, so magical, so playful.  While working on them, I considered the notion of presents::presence.  While each of us probably gave a few presents, and even received a few, the notion of PRESENCE is the quality that I aim for.  I have noticed that most of the people I know and love are supremely capable of PRESENCE in the doing of what moves them.  I guess we call it passion.  And to be present in the moment, whether visiting with friends and family, or while pursuing our passions, is the gift I wish for all.....and for myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Polish Pottery

Polish Pottery   watercolor   9 x 19
is powerful, eye-catching and comforting in a folksy kind of way.  Each piece is individual, allowing the user to know which cup is his.  It is also full, full, full of detail.  What was I thinking?  A complete battle was waged within me as I worked.  For me, the overall shapes and rhythms are far more important than the detail.  But, isn't Polish pottery all about the detail?  To and Fro.  Push and Pull.  Again and Again.  This is my final answer.

I need some coffee.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Hydrangea Blooms

Hydrangea Blooms   Watercolor   13 x 10
is a painting that equaled the preconceived image in my mind.  That rarely happens, as I usually don't have such a clear image of my goal....I am a wanderer, I'm afraid.  Each autumn, I clip a few of these papery spent blooms for my front door wreath....they are so very beautiful.....they make my heart sing.  I planned to oppose these light papery things with a hard glass jar....polar opposite textures.  Two sessions were spent in painting the image monochromatically with raw umber.  My new tube of this hue is by Daniel Smith.  I have found it to be more brown than the  more yellowy hue by Winsor and Newton that had been on my palette for years.  Whites were held for most of the progress....more than you see here.  The last session was spent in glazing and dropping color onto the forms....lightly, very very lightly.  On the blooms, the color was absorbed off after a few minutes with a paper towel.  The pattern of the darkest darks was laid in last of all, including the small pockets of dark within the blooms.  The painting was then fine-tuned to my liking.  I am pleased.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sketchbook Skeleton

Skeleton from sketchbook
I rediscovered this sketch while searching for an empty page to work on.  I have many many books.  Some have been destroyed.  But most maintain the status of a treasured classic on my shelf.  These books represent, to me, the realm of possibility...ideas carried through to painting; ideas discarded; tender drawings whose success was totally unexpected.  Even pages with a line or two, brought to a premature ending due to the temperament of the model, or my own impatient mood.  Either way, I love them. 

What would you retrieve from your home in the face of disaster?  For me...my loving mate....and then my sketchbooks.

They represent a playfulness, a lightness of spirit that easily evaporate when met with the rigors of the leap to paint. 

This drawing was done from a live(?) model.....a skeleton housed in the public school art classroom where I teach on Thursday evenings.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

S. and C.

S. and C.   watercolor   7 x 5
is a small monochromatic work in watercolor done on a Strathmore watercolor card.  The card was given to our son S. as a wedding card.  He and his bride C. were married in  September in a remote location near Pisgah National Park in North Carolina.  Family and close friends stayed in cabins near a stream....we hiked, played ball and floated in the tubes in the days previous to the nuptials which were held on a sandy beach.  It was so very lovely!

I have made these cards for each of our sons...and I tend to diddle way too long on them...I guess in search of perfection.  Painting family members is always more restrictive, as they are so much more precious.  This time I chose to use only brown and am satisfied with the result.  The card was taped to the masonite support both to keep it flat and to create a border when complete.  The artists' tape these days is way too sticky.  I have been using painters' tape (the blue or the green kind) instead, and always rub the tape on my clothing to reduce its tack.  Even then, the nap on the paper is roughed up on its removal.  A slight burnishing with a bone folder can smooth it down again.

Congratulations S and C!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Classmates

Mo and Farina   conte crayon and pastel   27.5 x2 0
Mo is my friend and a fellow artist.  Farina is her dog.  Both have been attending our Monday night class for some time.

Farina was dropped off at Mo's house a few years back, possibly the victim of some kind of abuse, as she is highly distrustful of men in general.  Mo swears that she is truly the "best dog ever", as she is kind, obeys, doesn't stray....in fact, the two of them travel practically everywhere together.  Farina has gradually gotten used to the men in our class, and more than a few artists have been seen giving her a biscuit now and then.  As she is a herding dog, she only rises from her resting position when fellow artists visit the restroom or nab a cup of coffee.  When all have returned to their seats, she is happy again.

What a pair!  They both add richness to our class, and to our lives, especially those of us without pets. As we begin another Monday evening fall session, we all look forward to these very special classmates!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Melon Man

Melon Man   charcoal and conte on Rives BFK   27.5 x 21
Each Wednesday I trudge on up to our township center to the farmers' market.  I use the term loosely, as there are usually only 3 booths...a gal who bakes scrumptious cookies, a guy who sharpens knives......and the melon man whose booth offers up luscious late-summer produce...a vast array of peaches, squash, sweet onions and much much more.  He was less than thrilled when I asked him to pose with one of his melons.  But, despite my trepidation in asking him, I knew that I would be able to invest myself in this project, as we have a shared experience....him as a seller, and me as a hiker with a backpack heavy with produce.

I began by taping off the right hand side of paper, knowing that I want to create a split visual.  I worked on his figure first of all, which, for the most part, is composed of large and simple shapes.  My next step was to turn the support 90 degrees to the right.  In the taped off area, I created a melon patch.  This part happened quite easily, as I was charmed by the rhythms of the leaves...and the counterspaces that occurred as a result.  In the final stage of the work, I removed the tape and began to integrate the two parts into a "oneness" that satisfied  my sense of aesthetic.  I am quite pleased, as this project offered up a satisfying mix of challenge and fun.  I began by using vine charcoal, then threw conte crayon in the mix, as well as some broad swipes of green pastel...just enough for a color suggestion.

This project renewed my love of drawing (as most of my time is spent painting), as well as renewing my love of conte crayon.

Come October, I will miss my Wednesday treks to the township park.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Learning to Ski in Summer

Deb's Gray Wool Coat   mixed media on paper   28 x 21
refers to a dormant learning period in which new ideas and new lessons have an opportunity to gradually "plant" themselves into your being....a way to process new information before putting it to use.  My ideas seems to follow this path.  My friend and fellow artist Debrah Butler has a most amazing embroidered wool winter coat.  From the first moment I saw her in it, I knew that I had to work this idea.  By the time I asked her, Spring was on its way, and the notion of wearing the coat in a pose, felt way too creepy hot.  The following winter, I shot a few very unplanned photos of her at the end of a way-too-long meeting.  We were both anxious to get moving along in the day.  Oh well.  The ideas took hold, and I simply couldn't wait to work with them.  And so....here is Deb in her wool coat...a picture completed just as the thermometer approaches 90 degrees.

The work started out in vine charcoal.  The biggest challenge I faced was the huge gray form of the coat.  My personal approach was that I needed to break up this form, in order to incorporate the background into a "oneness".  The background sold, as well as the patterns were printed onto the paper with relief ink.  I am satisfied. 

I guess we will be learning to swim this winter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Mile High Book Club

Mile High Book Club   oil   24 x 12 x 1.5
is the result of study in my summer drawing class, but, in actuality, has been in my brain for a long while.  My husband and I love to read...and, sometimes, more than one at a time.  As a result, books tend to accumulate...here, there, everywhere.  Our shelves can no longer accommodate the overflow.  Our books rest in stacks surrounding our seating area where we coffee-and-read each morning.  One of the first things we do when we are expecting guests is to re-position, hide and file our stacks. 

In addition, precarious stacks of things reoccur in my work...perhaps an indication and constant reminder of the chaos that needs to be sorted (both material and emotional) in order to facilitate the calm and simplicity that we both desire.

My reference photos were shot on my patio....this smaller work represents approximately 1/3 of my arranged pile.  Passes were made top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top with a particular goal each time.  Relationships became super-important as I tried to establish a bit of back-and-forth rhythm that maintained at least a posture of stability. 

While I am happy and satisfied that one of my long-held ideas was realized, I found that a composition including so many objects severely restrained my need for creativity...just too many masters that needed to be obeyed.

There.  Done. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Linear Perspective Redux

Books and Gourd Drawing   2 point perspective with many vanishing points
Amazon Box drawing   1 point perspective

Amazon Box drawing   2 point perspective

Stack of Books Drawing   multi vanishing points

Cups Drawing   the ellipse


In our summer drawing class, we have been revisiting some of the challenges of drawing to create an illusional three-dimensional reality on a two-dimensional surface.  Redux, again and again. We can all use a refresher!  Fore-shortening creates havoc in the brain.  Sight-sizing produces lots of surprises while our six-year-old child brains still store what we see as a face-on viewpoint.  We "know" the box to be oblong.  Drawing it otherwise, as it obeys the laws of linear perspective is our goal.  Many of the problems I see in painting are actually underlying drawing errors. This week we are tacking transparency.  More to come.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Controversial Basket

Controversial Basket   oil on canvas   24 x 18 x 2.5
Like lots of folks, I am attracted to handmade items...those with a bit of quirkiness and imperfections that reveal the hand of the maker.  Being a maker myself, I think about the process of the weaving, the colors, the patterns and the satisfaction of the artist.  And, I like to shop...at least look at the myriad of beautiful things that perk up our lives.  At a wonderful look-only upscale boutique next door to one of my galleries, I spotted an amazing basket which could be a potential gift for friend or family.  I approached cautiously, hoping that it might be within my birthday gift range.  The oh-so-lucky sale price was in the high seventies...dollars that is.  Whoa.  Move on.  My trip home involved a stop at a discount store for a few grocery items and a quick spin through the closeout section.  This basket, similar to the boutique beauty, was $9.99.  Yeah!

Two baskets.  Both beautiful.  Very similar.  And yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that the craftsperson's wage was the same in each case.  Probably below the minimum wage standard in our country.  Probably work with no benefits.  Woe is me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Don't Forget to Climb-ish

Don't Forget to Climb   oil on canvas   48 x 36
I try to use the "ish" method of self-critique all along the evolution of a painting.  Too neutral-ish.  Too bright-ish.  Too broken-ish.  Too wimp-ish.  Too vague-ish.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  This method helps me to evaluate the overall feel of the work without pinpointing numerous meaningless detail or the over-reliance on reality.  My first version of this work can be seen below...the blog entry for April 30.  After living with this "finished" work for a while, I realized that it was too soft-ish.  While I love soft...soft edges and a soft mesmerizing feel, the environment of this work has to do with climbing - rocks, boulders and all things hard.  So...it was difficult to go back in and re-feel my intentions.  The overall feel needed to preside over my personal inclinations.  I was at odds....this feeling needs to be acknowledged.

One of my resolutions involves the longer consideration of work...to try to fight the desire to be finished...

This is my final answer....I think.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Rusty Bucket

Rusty Bucket (at Carolina Beach)   watercolor   6.75 x 5
For me, painting is a solitary endeavor.  Many, many decisions to be made...even in the simplest of subject matter.  Making art, even sketching, while vacationing is an "iffy" activity.  It attracts attention from companions, and, in a way, separates you from them, which is not really a good thing.  Many folks assume that "painting at the beach" is something to aspire to.  Au contraire, pour moi.  The light is way too assuming, the subjects a bit trite.  And, truly, for me, the marrow is painting what you know, what you feel, in your everyday life...not in the idolatry of an exotic, while beautiful, location.  And yet the artistic soul revels in creation, and yearns for the moments to doodle both the pencil and the brush.  This small rusty bucket was perched on the picnic table at our Carolina condo.  An hour full of complete joy!  And...all the while...a storm brewing, the waves thrashing.  All of that became the memory encompassed in this rusty bucket.  A supremely sensual experience!



The painter must be solitary...For if you are alone you are completely yourself, but if you are accompanied by a single companion you are half yourself.
                                                                                                  Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bucket List #3 - Don't Forget to Scoot

Don't Forget to Scoot   oil on canvas   48 x 24 x 1.5
Our grandkids are city-dwellers.  And, as such, they spend lots of time on the urban playground.  These kids are amazing!  Their playground skills know no bounds.

I have always wondered why I don't have a yearning for travel.  Quite perplexing, given my degree in French and my love for all things global.  You see, completely at odds!  While other folks my age are planning trips, and snapping multitudinous shots of foreign landmarks, I am quite content to be at my easel, which, for me, is the ultimate getaway!

And, so my bucket list series continues....and it is comprised of activities and movement.  Those are the things that give me thrills and chills.  Those are the things I don't want to miss.

Mystery solved.  

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Grass Being Greener

The Grass Being Greener   Watercolor on Khadi   18 x 24.5
Yes...the grass is always greener on the other side...of the experience, of the life circumstance, and of the painting.  The sketch is complete.  The subject fairly well understood.  The paint, the brushes and the paper at the ready.

Each painting offers up a unique experience and, as part of the preparation, I try to visualize the finished work as well as to plan a step-by-step plan in order to achieve the desired results.  Khadi paper offers up it own qualities.  This is my third work using this wonderful paper and I am still maneuvering through its capabilities, as well as my own.  I liken it to driving a vehicle through an unfamiliar terrain, or in various weather conditions.  My first pass was a dropping-in of pigment wet-into-wet for the spots on this dappled bovine.  Dropping-in is something that Khadi does very well.  My next pass was to be a graded background wash.  Not easily undertaken.  A failure, in fact, as the ultra-absorbing paper does not allow for much pushing and pulling.  And so, my thrill came from the adjustments that had to be made in order to achieve the painting in my mind.  Difficult, but doable.

Indeed...the grass is always greener...how very appropriate! Oh, the glory of the process!

(Painting)..."It is a form of conversation, and just like a conversation it can turn out exciting, boring, ugly, beautiful, enlightening.  Like a conversation.  it can have unexpected turns, sudden discoveries and hidden subtext and periods of silence.  All this is what makes painting endlessly fascinating."
                                              Alex Kanevsky

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Come Spring

Come Spring   Watercolor   17.5 x 24
is an expression that implies jobs and tasks that will be undertaken once the winter weather clears...that which is yet to be.  Earlier in my artistic career, I swore that I would never paint a barn.  For me, those barns painted during the 70's and 80's reached a kitsch level...way too sweet, way too charming.  Never say never.  As I drove along shooting references for a landscape painting, the subjects that most appealed to me were both buildings and animals.  The bare landscape just doesn't do it for me.  Maybe just too much green, as was spoken earlier on by Georgia O'Keefe.  I wanted my own barn to be more current, at least as current as an old barn can possibly be.  It is somehow comforting, a symbol of the everlasting, of the work that sustains us. 

This is my offering to the subject of "spring landscape".

Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge. (Winston Churchill)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Recipe::Old Recipe

Old Recipe
New Recipe   watercolor/mixed on paper   27.5 x 18


Beginning a new painting is often like trying out a new recipe.  Which pan?  (oops...too small) Which order would best accomplish the goal?  Which spices...more of?  less of?  And, oh, the mountain of pots and pans at the finish!  For me, it takes more than one "go" at a new recipe to feel comfortable in the making.  With a painting, those options are limited...especially with watercolor.  I had a vision, in this case, of how I thought the painting would look.  My sketch proved to be erroneous, in that I saw the cookware as a lighter value...the background a darker.  As I painted, and continued to paint, the reflections and all of the colors therein, the cookware took a turn to the dark.  My dark background continued to confuse.  It seemed fine up close.  But distance turned it all into a muddle.  I prefer a stronger value differentiation in order for the work to be read at a distance, as well as to simplify the shapes.  Woe is me.  This painting hung in my dining room for over a month.  During that time, my patient husband hung and removed the work for further study and further work several times.  I was not happy.  My final answer involved printing relief ink over top.  I had reversed the values from my initial sketch.  Topsy turvy!  And so, I guess that lesson for me is to remain flexible, to veer from the initial notion in order to achieve the look that first sparked my brain.



A painting is never finished.  It simply stops in interesting places.
Phil Gardner

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Onion Afterthought

Onion Afterthought   Watercolor on Khadi   10 x 14
For me, a still life painting is a way to get back to basics without an overload of emotional attachment.  We can learn about value patterns and their linkage.  And there is no one to offend.  And, for me, the still life work is a bit of an offshoot of my other life in the kitchen.  The onion, for example.  Its amazing flavor is the basis for many great meals.  The variety abounds.  And, given the abundance of options at the market today, we can experience the marvels of leeks and shallots.  Visually, they are expansive in color, shape and texture.  This kept my interest in this work which was painted on Khadi paper.  Khadi provides an interesting texture to the paint which should probably be considered in selected appropriate subject matters.  I am happy with this work and am thrilled with both the color and the shapes of the leek leaves.  And, I guess that the rich dark backgrounds seem appropriate for the richness and strength of the subject matter.

Grilled, fried, sliced, diced and painted....an epicurean delight.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bucket List #2 - Don't Forget to Climb

Don't Forget to Climb   oil/canvas   48 x 36 x 1.5
My husband and I were blessed with three extremely active sons.  And now, two grandchildren who simply cannot sit still.  As I sit back (yeah!) and watch their antics, I am renewed by their adventuresome spirits and their delight in moving... pushing their efforts beyond what is doable, to what is possible.  Here, here!  We all have our bucket lists.  My own involves painting...in pushing myself by daily risk-taking.  I believe that we aren't really learning unless we are trying something new.  Note to self: allow my brush to skip, jump, skate and climb.  Explore the road less traveled.

At the end of the day, there is always the easy chair.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Drawing, Doing Dishes and Pulling Weeds

Drawing is the seed...the start of it all...the place where your love for a subject begins to express itself.  Amidst the daily chores of doing dishes and pulling weeds, I often find the search for large chunks of time for painting to be relentless and nagging.  After all, it takes me at least an hour to get into the zone, to shed the obsessions of life in hopes of arriving at the mindless freedom that painting is....at least for me.  Drawing takes less time.  Drawing requires fewer materials.  Drawing requires less commitment. Drawing can be more mindless, as imperfections and misplaced lines reside comfortably next to passages that are more truthful.  I enjoy their unfinished, unpolished, wabi-sabi qualities.  Drawing is where my soul finds peace.

Drawing is where I find the excitement and commitment to pursue the subject in paint.  Or not.

 One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
                                                                                                                        Andrew Wyeth
One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/andrew_wyeth.html
One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/andrew_wyeth.html

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Night Painting Class

Patty   watercolor   14.5 x 7
It seems that most of the artists in my classes like to try their hand at painting the human figure, which is fine by me, as it is my favorite subject!  I have read somewhere that an artist, by nature, is either a line-person or a mass-person.  While I am not sure if that is true, it can then follow that a line person probably prefers a fine tool and drawing, while a mass-person is well suited for the use of larger, more inaccurate tools, such as a large brush which is good for painterly paintings.  My goal for the class was for the painters to be able to "see" only the masses of lights and darks and midtones, avoiding then, the description of the eyes-nose-mouth-legs-arms-fingers syndrome which can lead to disappointment and more child-like rendering.  The week before the session, I set up a strong light situation in a darkened part of the room to photograph the artists as they entered.  That week, I cropped and altered the photos to promote my goal.  They were then printed on the grayscale setting.  I also offered the suggestion of painting upside down.  While there were a couple of takers, most preferred their reference rightside-up.  I believe that in this way, we can see that a likeness is more dependent on shape, than on detail.

My subject is Patty, a retired art teacher, and a strong painter.  I like the result. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bucket List

Don't Forget to Swing   oil/canvas   48 x 36
I am not a good tourist.  Wandering through crowds and snapping photos is painful.  Painting to me is the ultimate pleasurable activity.  And so, my personal bucket list has PAINTING on the top.  After that...many activities that reflect my desire for simple activities that flood my senses with excitement.

"Don't forget to Swing" is the first of a planned series of bucket list adventures.  My goals in this painting were many....the frozen stop moment of a swinging tire....the laxness of the chains, the wind created by the back and forth movement.  The most difficult passages involved the lessening of power of that big black tire which could easily overpower my small subject.  Every shape creates a counter-shape and these are difficult to manage.

I might be done.