Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Morning Plein Air

                                                                                                     Acrylic 6x6"

I had to get up early and go to work this morning, so I decided to try to capture a sunrise.  I need to do lots more plein air.  There really is nothing like painting from life.  I've been painting a complicated (for me) painting from a photograph lately that has taken multiple painting sessions and still isn't finished.

Here I am to complain about the photograph again.  The darker part in the trees isn't this contrasty in the painting.  I don't know why my photos often do this.   It's my newer camera, this time, too...so not just the same camera doing the same thing over and over.  Oh, well--pretend those jarring dark areas in the left tree, especially, are not really that dark!

This is Jupiter Road, Christmas morning 2012, not exactly right at sunrise, obviously, but pretty much as soon as the fog cleared enough to let the sun through.  You may remember this painting site from this post.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rest in Peace, Spider - 6/18/95 - 12/13/12

I know this is an art blog, so maybe this is unprofessional of me.  But I also haven't posted a painting in awhile, and this is part of the reason why....so there's the art connection (if you needed one).

In my studio, I have a partially finished painting based on this photo.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to finish it now.  I wonder if I'll even be able to look at it now....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Painted on Thanksgiving

                                                                                                      Acrylic, 6x6"

I painted this cupcake on Thanksgiving afternoon.  Somehow I didn't have a large appetite for Thanksgiving dinner.  Guess what I did before dinner....!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SOLD - Together, Take Two

                                                                                                  Acrylic, 5x7"

This is the first time I have ever posted a photo for the second time.  But, I have just spent a chunk of time figuring out how to get my painting on Daily Paintworks, and hopefully have posted the painting and configured the auction and above link correctly.  We will see how it all works tomorrow.  Fingers crossed!

The auction is visible today (11/21/12), but it does say, "This auction has not started."  The auction starts tomorrow.

Yes, this sort-of-chicken artist decided to deliberately post on Daily Paintworks for the first time on a holiday, hoping the painting won't be very much noticed!  I just want to see how it all the logistics pan out.  Without being much noticed....  I said I was going to "Paint Like Nobody's Watching."  Never said I was comfortable doing all this back end computer stuff like nobody's watching!  Hopefully soon it will be second nature.

Thanks for being here with me, dear Watchers, as I start my new venture of not only showing my artwork to a much wider audience than the one that reads my blog, but also, possibly selling some art someday!  Your support and witness to my struggle, er, I mean growth, means the world to me...

(edit: I originally sent out this post saying I would try never to re-post a photo again.  However, if I am going to sell paintings from earlier in the blog, I may need to show them again to make my blog make sense to people new to my blog from DPW.  I wonder how other artists handle selling paintings previously shown on their blogs?)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


                                                                                                    Acrylic, 5x7

 I think I improved the painting from the last post.  What do you think?

I have joined Daily Paintworks, an on-line gallery where artists sell their work.  I haven't posted any paintings yet.   I feel some trepidation about it.  It's another new step for me.  I felt the same way when I started this blog.  Now I am very comfortable with the blogging process and fairly comfortable knowing people are watching.  I know part of why I am comfortable is because I pretty much know at the present time who my Watchers are.  Even though the blog has been publicly viewable for all this time, not too many people know it exists.  Once I'm posting a painting on Daily Paintworks, there is the potential for many people I don't know yet to view my blog.  Which would be a good thing.  If I want to start selling my art and joining the on-line art community.  Which I do.  But I think it's fair to say I feel some trepidation.  Maybe I shouldn't admit to my fear publicly, since new people may be here soon to read this.  Maybe I should try to act confident even though I don't feel confident yet.  Maybe I will delete this post someday.  For for now, dear Watchers, I know that those of you who read this in the next day or so are my supporters and cheerleaders, and I know I can say these things to you.

I waited to start blogging until I felt "pregnant" with it, until I had a feeling that I couldn't start soon enough.  I joined Daily Paintworks because I also felt "pregnant" with it.  Should I wait for the same feeling to hit me before I post anything on Daily Paintworks, or should I just DO IT?!

There are so many little paintings all over my house and studio, I would like to start selling some of them.   I have one that is intended for a friend that I can't even find!  She picked it out from this blog when I was with her in NYS a couple of weeks ago, and I can't even find it.  I wonder if other artists ever "lose" paintings.  I know it's here somewhere.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post-workshop Landscape (and Happy Birthday Brooke!)

                                                                                                  Acrylic, 5x7"

The workshop I took with Elizabeth  was on  pastel landscape, so it is up to me to apply what I learned to my medium of choice, acrylics.  I expect I will paint in pastels more, too....but when???

I painted this one fairly quickly, fairly sketchy, late one evening, just hoping to remember the feel of being in the workshop now that I am home.  Trying to "seal the deal," so to speak.  I was happy enough with this one for what it was (done very quickly, late at night).   This was painted from a photo I took on the way home, near the interstate when I took a driving break.

The real reason for this post was to say Happy Birthday to my wonderful niece!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Creeping Closer

                                                                                                Acrylic, 6x6"

With this painting, I creep closer to what and how I want to be painting.  I hope to continue to improve, but it often seems I must go several steps backward after I paint one I'm happy with.   I still plan to write more about my workshop, and soon I will show you an acrylic landscape I painted with the knowledge I gained in my pastel landscape class.                             

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Elizabeth Mowry Workshop - "What if...?" (changing the palette)

                                                                                            Pastel 9x12"

If you know of Elizabeth's work, you know that she can get extremely creative with her palette and create a beautiful painting.  She often will create a series by starting with a natural depiction of a landscape and then asking herself "What if....?"  Elizabeth encouraged us to take one of our own landscapes and ask "What if...?" by changing our own palettes.   Rather than creating one resolved painting with a different palette, I decided to do lots of different studies.   Color is an aspect of painting that is always challenging for me, so I wanted to just loosen up, try lots of things, and see what would happen.  Here is what happened:

                                                                                                 Pastel 9x12 total

I had tons of fun doing this exercise, and I think it is one I will continue, even for other subject matter.  The study in the upper right is unfinished in this photo.  I finished it on the last day of class (yesterday), but haven't photographed it yet.  I am still on the road, and since it is rainy out, I do not want to take a pastel painting out the car today to get another photograph.

I do plan to try to sum up the workshop in another post, probably when I'm back home.  I'll have plenty of time while I am traveling to think of how to convey this experience in writing. 

Hope you are well, Watchers!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Elizabeth Mowry Workshop, Day 2

                                                           Work in Progress, Pastel 9x12"

Where, you might ask, is the post for Elizabeth Mowry Workshop, Day 1?  Well....I didn't really have time to write a post yesterday and can hardly believe I am posting tonight. 

But here I am, taking a wonderful pastel workshop in Woodstock, NY from Elizabeth Mowry.   Most of you Watchers probably know I don't usually paint in pastels (I used to).   I cannot tell you how lucky I am to be in this workshop with Elizabeth, even though I am a little out of my element (medium) here.

When I was using pastels about 6 years ago, I would read Elizabeth's books (and gaze at the photos) constantly.  I thought I had missed out on ever taking a class from her, because I had read in the Pastel Journal that she was retired from teaching.  I was hugely disappointed, and quite grateful for her books.  I never dreamed Elizabeth would return to teach in Woodstock, a place convenient for me to attend and also special, because she used to teach here and live in the area.

After two days of painting with Elizabeth Mowry and learning from her, I know I will never be able to express in words how wonderful an artist, teacher, and person she is.  I will not even try tonight....hopefully I will find a way to verbalize it after the workshop is over.

Three days left.....I am so lucky.   There are no words.....   Demos every day....  I am so grateful..... an opportunity of a lifetime....  to watch one of my heroes paint!

I believe the painting above is not finished yet.  Friday is designated as the "finish the paintings we started" day.   I'm not too worried about it, whatever I end up with, this has been an incredible experience already.  I challenged myself to do tree studies so far, since I find trees oh so difficult and Elizabeth Mowry is a master at painting trees.  So....why not go for the experience that may give me the most learning, even though I did bring other reference photos with landscape elements that would be easier for me to paint well.  I'm apparently not here to paint well.  I am here to learn well.

Today's painting thus far is way too unfinished to post here....hopefully by the end of the workshop it will be ready for viewing.

I am looking forward to using my paints to try out some of the things I am learning and see how well they transfer from pastel world!  Today, we liquified the pastel block-in with water, which made the initial stage of the painting briefly act like paint, which I loved.

Goodnight, Watchers.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another from Wednesday's Plein Air Morning

                                                                                            Acrylic, 6x6"

Thought I would show you another one from Wednesday morning.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Day for Painting

                                                                                             Acrylic, 9x12"

Today I took a notion.   It was my day off, I was up early, the sky and land are doing all those beautiful early-morning-Autumn things lately, yet it was warm out, so  I decided to go paint plein air (outside).  The painting above is the fourth one I did, after the sun was fairly well out.   I did three paintings prior to this one.  They were all sort of misty, sunrisey.  I was thinking of leaving, as I had a hair appointment this morning, but when I turned around and saw all the color BEHIND me now that the sun was up, I decided to stay ("I have paint left on my palette....why not?").

I didn't really see a great composition, but I decided I could make something of it.  I know we can probably point out numerous technical/perspective problems with the painting....however, I had a great time painting it, and that's what counts.  I haven't been out painting with my acrylics in a long time, and I could see how all the still life practice has paid off.  I had a certain confidence while painting this that if anything I didn't want to see was happening in the painting, I could just correct it, and I knew I could make the scene into something I would be happy with.  This, my dear friends and Watchers, is progress!

Notice it is larger than my usual.  The first three I painted were smaller.  I brought one large board, remembering that Hank Buffington told me a couple of years ago that painting plein air with acrylics is actually easier when you paint large, because the paint has enough time to dry in one area while you're painting a different part of the painting-- you can then come back and put more layers in the areas that have already dried.  Well, Hank was sooooooo right.  I'll have to write and tell him.  I had so much more fun painting this large one than the three smaller ones, and I don't think it took much longer.

So, then I went and got my hair cut.  The woman who cuts my hair happens to be in charge of the County Fair.   Usually I miss the fair because I am out of town, but I was happy to be able to tell her that this year I would finally be able to attend.  I mentioned (feeling oh so safe, because I knew I had already long missed this year's deadline) that I would be checking out the art entries to see if I would feel worthy of entering in next year's fair.  She said, "Oh, I can still get you into this year's fair!"  I told her I would think about it, and she called her co-chair of the Fair to ask about art entries and give her my info.  She said, "No pressure or anything, but the tag is already made for your painting!"

So.....I decided to do it.  Mainly because she told me that professionals cannot enter the fair, and I expect that within the near future, I will start offering my paintings for sale.  If I ever want to show in our County Fair, it has to be now.   Plus, the person who cuts my hair is a sweetheart and it seemed to really please her to have me put a painting in the Fair!  She's been doing my hair probably about 15 years or so now and does me a great service, so I am happy to please her.

See--BIG art day.  I'm kind of nervous about the Fair.  I've become used to showing you my paintings on-line.  I'm not entirely sure who reads this blog, but I have a fairly good idea that I know who reads it regularly.   I have never shown my art in my community before, other than at an open studio a long time ago.  And I didn't have much art to show back then.  Usually I just show my paintings to a select few people.  So this Fair thing will be a new step for me.

Long post, Watchers.  Thanks if you hung in there for all this....thanks, too, if you just popped in to look at the painting, which is always fine and welcome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Watchers, I could use some help!

                                                                                           Acrylic, 6x6"

I painted this for a challenge at Daily Paintworks.  They have a weekly challenge and anyone who wants to can put a painting on the site showing their take on the subject.  I am getting closer to being ready to join Daily Paintworks, where the artists are able to post up to one new painting per day for sale.  I figured posting to the challenge page was a good way to try out the technicals.  The challenge I painted this one for was in June....it may be a bit goofy to paint for a challenge that was a few months ago, but my point was to NOT be seen!  If I messed it up, I didn't want anyone to notice!

My main reason for trying one of the challenges (and the part I could use your help with) was to see how the quality of my photograph of the painting looked in comparison to others on the page.  I'm not really asking you to judge the quality of my painting itself, although I am always open for comments.  But, if you are so inclined, I would really appreciate if you would go look at the challenge page and see if my PHOTOGRAPH is decent enough to join and post paintings there.  This was photographed with natural light, rather than the studio lighting set-up, so I will have to paint for another challenge so I can test out the formal lights.

How to find it....still haven't learned how to put a direct link on my posts....so...go to dailypaintworks.com  Then at the top, there are tabs---choose the one for Challenges, scroll down to June 23, the Reading Challenge and click on that.  My painting as of this morning was the second one, I guess cause I just posted.

Thanks!  Any comments/advice much appreciated.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Please be Gentle!

                                                                                          Acrylic 6x6"

Actually, please feel free to say whatever you want.  I think this photo is a little blurry, but it was the best I could do today.  I meant to put in some skin tones on the male's face, but when I got to this point, I was afraid I would ruin what I had, so I just called it done!

Kind of different for me, but thought it was time I showed you another painting.  I am trying to paint what I want as I want, and to embrace the things that acrylics allow me to do (especially painting in layers).  I don't know where this path will lead me, but I feel things are evolving for me with my painting....

 Oh...the blue to the left of the female dancer was accidental.  I have a terrible habit of continuing to paint when it is too dark to see well. 

I do need to do something about my indoor lighting.....           

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Grandmother's Bowl

                                                                                   Acrylic 6x6"

Here's another one I never showed you.  This was painted in March 2012.  Painted outside.  Was quite challenging.

In terms of current work, I'm still doing studies.  Hopefully getting closer to showing you something new.  The studies are kind of personal right now.  They have to do with finding my voice and way of working.  Nothing I feel comfortable showing yet, but hopefully will get there one of these days.

I've also been busy having a cold (over it now) and getting ready for a trip/workshop in October.  I have to get ready now so I don't feel rushed.

Thanks again, Watchers!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Found a Couple I Never Showed you

                                                                                                 Acrylic, 6x6"

This was painted the same day as the one on the very first post of this blog.  I used a different brand of acrylics for this one and wanted to see how it would look with the yellow background.  Just thought I would show this, since I'm mostly painting studies right now and don't want to post them, at least not yet.

Thanks for looking, Watchers!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Featureless Faces

                                                                                          Acrylic, 8x10

I was so proud to watch this young girl I know play in front of a large audience at a weekly summer outdoor event called Shindig on the Green.  She played with a group of other fiddlers, along with their teacher.  The very next day, I just had to paint this from one of the photos I took that night.  I am happy with this painting because I obviously didn't just paint what I saw in the photograph AND because everyone who has seen the painting and knows the little girl has said, "That's Ellie!"  I am so happy to be able to capture her body language (if not her likeness!). I have no idea where that background came from, it just happened, and I liked it.

So what's with the blank face?  I LIKE paintings with blank faces.  I have seen some paintings with blank faces that truly made me feel that if the face had features, it would detract from the painting.  I feel the same of my own painting, although perhaps artists who know how to paint features might say otherwise!  Maybe I would say otherwise if I had the skill to paint Ellie's likeness, but I do not, so I'm sticking with the blank faces.  Apologies in advance to my 6 year old nieces (who just KNOW faces have features!).

Today is a milestone birthday for one of my very dear friends, and I want to wish her a very wonderful birthday! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Semi-limited Palette

                                                                                           Acrylic, 5x7"

I enjoyed painting this, but it looks a good bit like the photograph, which as I have said, isn't really what I want to be doing.  I really did like this photograph, though, so maybe that is why it was kind of fun to paint.

I forgot to tell you that ever since that workshop where I painted the seated artist (post of July 29), I have been using a semi-limited palette.  I think a typical artist palette is two blues, two reds, two yellows (a cool and warm version of each color) plus white.  Since we were painting in between storms, I used a limited palette to do the artist painting I like so much (limited palette by default).  I can't exactly remember what colors I used, but basically used whatever was left on my palette, which was a little of one blue, one red, and one yellow.

I liked the results and I liked not having to wonder whether to choose the warm of cool version of a color each time I needed a new mixture.  So, I decided since then to simplify my mixing and just use one red, one yellow, and one blue, and white PLUS my own addition of orange, because I really like having a premixed orange to make greys with.  I'm calling the palette semi-limited because of the addition of orange.  The orange moves me to the warm in a way my other colors do not.   Maybe a kind of strange choice, but I am really liking using these colors.  I imagine I will keep using this palette until I can see for myself what I am missing by leaving any of the other colors out, then will add them back in if I really know what I need them for.  Until I know what I am missing, I don't really need them.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Try Again Rose

                                                                                         Gouache, 6x6"

Oh, Roses....why am I troubling myself with roses again?  Two reasons:  1)  I had a rose and 2) a couple of weeks ago the "challenge" on Daily Paintworks was to paint a rose.  You should see all the amazing rose paintings I saw on Daily Paintworks.  If you go to dailypaintworks.com and click on the "Challenges" tab at the top, then find the recent "paint a rose" challenge, you can see what I mean.....absolutely amazing.  I'm off to go look at them again.  And I'm probably done painting roses for this year.  I painted this rose one more time and then washed all the paint off the board.  Luckily when I paint on these Aquabords, I can wash off water-based paint and reuse the board if I want to.  The rose is actually still living, still paintable.  It's so beautiful in real life.  I really should try to resist painting it again.  For the sake of my sanity.....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Painting Daily (just about)

                                                                                       Gouache, 6x6"
In my last post, I said that I would paint daily, at lunchtime, until Aug. 18, in order to decide whether to join Daily Paintworks this month.  Well, I have been painting on my lunch hours, just haven't been posting.  I don't FINISH a painting everyday, but I do paint every day.  It's fairly comical, in that I end up having about 15 minutes to paint, by the time I've had my lunch, set up to paint, and left enough time at the end to clean up and get back to work on time.  This painting was blocked in during one of those fifteen minute periods.   It's funny what happens to proportions when one rushes to get a painting blocked in....  I worked on this more today at home.   I found the challenge was to make what they are sitting on look like what it was (a hay bale) without so much detail that the hay bale distracted from the girls.

As usual, I am not happy with how the photo represents the painting.  I think there is some distortion in the size of things.  I had to use my "straighten" function when working on the photo in Picasa, and I suspect it is making things look narrower.  To my eye, things are looking thinner than they look in the painting, especially the girl in red.   I would like to paint this one again in acrylic next time.  The gouache is just so, so convenient for using at lunchtime.

Thanks for stopping by, Watchers!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Birthday Gift

                                                                                        Acrylic, 5x7"
                                                                                                  Acrylic, 5x7"
I already gave this painting away, so I don't have it here to compare how it looks in the photo vs. in real life.  Stef and Tiana have this one now, so they will know how well the photo captures the painting.  Happy Birthday again to Stef and Tiana!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another from Past Month (and Happy Birthday, Tiana!)

                                                                                   Acrylic, 6x6"

Here's another one from the past month that I neglected to show you.  I'll say it again, "Roses are  HARD!"  I  don't think I completely got what I wanted with the rose, but I kind of like this painting's overall design.

Hoping a very special niece has a very wonderful birthday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Catching up (and Happy Birthday, Stefanie!)

                                                                                    Plein Air Acrylic, 6x6"

Someone recently  put a comment (anonymously) on my blog that is is time for a new painting, and I agree.  I haven't been totally slack with painting, but I have been very slack with posting to my blog.  I need to catch you up.  I did this painting last weekend at a plein air workshop.  One of the other artists was nice enough to let me paint her while she painted.  I spent most of the day painting something I wasn't happy with, and then I did this one in 10 minutes, and I LOVE it.  It doesn't show up as well here as in person, but I honestly think this is one of my favorite paintings I have ever done!

To atone for my lack of posting, here's a bonus painting to show you.  This will be the best photo I will ever get of this painting, because I have sent it away, donated to another artist who is having a fundraiser to help a friend of hers who is coping with cancer.  The paintings she has donated will be auctioned thru a silent auction.   If anyone reading this wants to make a direct monetary donation to that family, you can read about it on Kristen Dukat's blog, by clicking her name to the right of my blog.  It will take you to her list of blogs, and the one she talks about her friend on is her painting blog called "A Time for Art."   Her friend also has his own blog, where you can read about his and his family's ordeal.  They seem like very sweet people going through a very tough time.  His doctors don't expect him to live long, and the family really needs help.

                                                                                     Plein Air Acrylic, 6x6"

I am starting to be interested in selling my paintings on Daily Paintworks.  I seem to keep not feeling "quite ready."  I have an idea that I should paint every day between now and August 18 and if I like what I'm doing, join Daily Paintworks on 8/18.  Daily Paintworks charges you each month on the date you joined, and 18 is my lucky number.  How's that for a business decision?  (you don't have to paint daily to be on Daily Paintworks, I'm just thinking it would be a good exercise for me, and with the gouache, it would be doable by painting during EVERY lunch hour!)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

There are limits....

                                                                                               acrylic, 6x8"                                               

...to how much I am willing to suffer for my art, and for my Watchers.  It is 97 degrees in the shade at my house today.  I painted this at home, and I know if I want to take a decent photo, I should troop myself down to the studio and do it there with the good lighting system.  But nope, it would be so hot down there-- I am not willing to take this suffering thing that far.  Until I can get a better photo, you will have to make do with this one.

This is a gift for someone I work with whose father recently died, so I thought/hoped the symbol of renewal would be potentially comforting.  Especially since she recently rescued and released two baby birds.... If you see anything glaringly wrong with this, please let me know tonight, although it would be very difficult to make a judgement  based on this poor photo.  I do plan to give it to her tomorrow.  I'm terrible at waiting when I want to give a gift.

In an extremely unprofessional move, I wanted to show you the method to which I have resorted in trying to save my garden from burning up.  Usually these plants wilt in the sun of the day, but starting yesterday, I swear they were burning.  Enjoy this photo now, I will probably remove it one of these days....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Going through a phase or "Duck!"

                                                             Gouache Plein Air Sketch, 6x6"

The above painting is a view of my yard.  After I took it as far as I could in the time I had the first day, I decided it "needed something."  Considering the convenience of the location, I was able to return to the same spot the next day to complete it.     I have to consider these pieces sketches.  They don't feel complete to me the way the acrylics do.

As noted in the prior post, I somehow started having a difficult time painting once I started painting from photos.  Well, the first one, the boy and the duck from a couple posts ago came out fine.  Then, the next time I worked with a photo, I felt like I might drift into just copying photos, like I did in my very early colored pencil phase.  I do NOT want to just copy photos!  But having a hard time interpreting photos, I think because I still haven't figured out color, how to use it in a personal way without just copying what I see. 

Somehow, all this difficulty seems to have turned me away from acrylics for awhile and towards gouache.  Why gouache?  Somehow, for awhile using gouache seemed more friendly, more like playing, than using the acrylics.  I was able to take them out on 30 minutes of my lunch hour and make sketches (that I will show you) in the park. 

Still, why, I had to ask myself, was the gouache seeming friendlier, more doable in a short stint on a lunch hour?  I had pretty much given up on painting at lunchtime when I was using acrylics.

I finally figured out that using gouache is less of  a "production" than using acrylics in that they are more water soluble and they are not going to get sticky on me.  I can get far more done in a short period of time because they clean off the brush faster than acrylics.  So, I can change color mixes far faster with the goauche.  That is why I can get so much more done.

However, I don't like the results with the gouache nearly as much as with the acrylics.  They seem blurrier and and have less "punch."  At least mine do.  If you want to see some dynamic gouache work, check out Larry Seiler's site by clicking the link to the right.  He is supposed to have an on-line gouache class one of these days that I am very much looking forward to. 

For now, I have to consider these to be just sketches.  I am thinking of using the one of the man in the chair as a reference for an acrylic painting.  I have a photo of the scene, too.  I think that the gouache sketch reminds me of how it felt to be at the scene far more than the photo does, even though the colors are far from accurate and are in fact somewhat goofy! (I am not nearly as familiar with mixing colors with gouache as I am with my beloved acrylics!)

                                                            Gouache Plein Air Sketch, 6x6"

My very first gouache sketch was the duck below.  The duck was about 2 feet from me.  I had just started blocking him in when he turned 180 degrees, bogggling my mind as I tried to do everything mirror image from what I was seeing.  Then he left, of course before I was finished.  No chance to paint the shadows.  Then, suddenly a man and young girl (2 to 3 years old) were at my elbow, having just climbed the hill I was sitting on at the park.  The little girl pointed to my painting and said, "Duck."  Phew!  Validated by a 3 year old.  I was thrilled, nevertheless....Aren't I lucky to have a park 3 minutes from work?

                                                             Plein Air Sketch, Gouache, 6x6"

And finally, I did the below from a photograph.  I was not at all happy with it after my first pass.  It completely lacked any oomph.  So, I decided to try to enhance it with colored pencils.  Colored pencils have a tendency to make you work tight and detailed, which you can see happened here.  Thus, this painting is NOT how I want my paintings to look, but I am going thru some kind of phase.....  There is a prize for the person who recognizes this scene as being part of their very own house (hint:  the prize is a delivery of cat probiotics).

                                                                Gouache and colored pencil, 7 x 10"

Long post, so thanks for hanging in.  I expect I will be back to my acrylics soon, but I think I will continue to do gouache sketches when I am limited in time.  What a great discovery!!

Problems with Blogger program

I just wanted to let you all know I have tried several times to post some new paintings.  It seems like I can now do posts only without images!   I will have to work on this problem, but wanted to let you know.   Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where have I been?

I didn't really want to do a post without a painting, but I feel like it has been long enough that I should say something.  Two things have delayed my next ("long anticipated," I am sure!) painting:

1)  Now that I am painting people, I am working from photos again instead of from life.  I seem to have a much harder time painting a good painting from a photograph.  The colors aren't right and the lighting isn't right.  I want to INTERPRET a photo instead of copy a photo.  However, I feel limited in my personal understanding of color, too limited to do a good interpretation unless I luck out.  Which, with my current painting, is not in any way whatsoever happening.  I've worked on it a few times now, and each time experience frustration with where to go with it.  I started referring to the painting yesterday, while I was working on it, as the "bane of my existence."  Hmmmmmm.....  if a painting becomes the bane of an artist's existence, perhaps it is time to put it down for awhile and move on to another painting!

2)  I also had a physical challenge last week that I will not bore you with.  Suffice it to say I am better now, but was way not my best last week.

Thanks for bearing with me.  I guess this is growing pains.  Very frustrating, but I know with the help of my artistic support team I will get through this.  I think.  Yesterday I did have the thought that I could spare myself a bunch of trouble by giving up trying to make art, and with the money saved on supplies, I could just BUY art from other artists that I love!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

OK, I'm Getting Somewhere!

                                                                                                     acrylic, 6x6"

Now with this one, I'm getting closer to how I want my paintings to look.  I painted this today, all by myself (so far, could change when I take it to class).   It's not perfect, it needs some touch-up, but I'm getting somewhere now.  I meant to paint this larger but started blocking in three small ones as studies, all with different undercolors to see if different colors made a difference.  I ended up getting carried away with one of them--to the finish.  Actually, this may not be finished.  I'll bring it to class on Wednesday and see if Lorelle thinks it needs anything.

Truth be told, this one looks better in person, at least compared to how it looks on my monitor.  I wish I knew how it looked on your monitors....

Now I'll need to start another painting tomorrow so I'll have something to work on in class on Wednesday.  I don't want to waste time in class starting one from the beginning.  I can do the planning, drawing, underpainting, and taking it as far as I can on my own.  Then I can get help finishing in class!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend-- it is absolutely beautiful (but HOT) here.  I'm off to go swimming!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Needed Highlights!

Today was my Shadow and Light class with Lorelle Bacon, and we fixed up the painting from the last blog post, because I thought it looked dreary and needed something.  For the first time,  I will show you the painting at the end of a blog post. You have to wait.  I want to tell you a couple of things before I show the painting.  Because  I am very excited about all that I learned today.  I think until now I have had a tendency to avoid making the lights light enough.  I've read that a lot of art students have more trouble with getting the darks dark enough, but for me, I believe it has been the opposite.   Hopefully lesson learned.

By the way, if you were playing "Choose that Crop" in the last post, I am happy to report Lorelle told me to keep the crop as originally painted, or "A." 

Lorelle is a very good teacher.  You can navigate to her site by clicking on her name on the right site of this blog.  Check out her workshops and classes if you are local!  I am so glad I took this class.  Only one week left, how sad....  I know I have been very spoiled getting Lorelle all to myself for these sessions.

Since I finished this painting in class with Lorelle's help, I have to consider it to be the work of both of us.  She helped me a LOT with those highlights, including painting on the painting a few times to show me something (e.g. how to soften an edge). 

Okay, okay, here is the painting.  This photograph was taken right in the classroom, without benefit of a tripod.  Also, as you can see at the top, it was still on the easel.  I'll get a better picture in the studio at some point, but I did want to show you this update tonight.  Often I think the photos cause my paintings to look better than they deserve, but this time I honestly think the painting looks better than the photo.

                                                                           acrylic, 16x20"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A New Direction (or "choose your favorite crop")

                                                                                                         acrylic, 16x20"

Here is my first try since I decided to paint people.  I am, incidentally, also wanting to paint larger.  The former requires me to paint from photographs at this time, the latter allows me to swing my arm instead of just moving my wrist (and sometimes just my finger joints).  I imagine I will paint more still lifes, also, but for now, figurative work is calling me.  

In order to paint larger, I painted on paper, which causes some challenges with the paint.  I don't have any large boards to paint on right now, so I'll continue to use the paper till used up.

I know it's not the greatest painting, but I decided to show it, because it's the start of a new season in my art.  I was just telling a friend today that I wished I had blogged my entire art journey, starting six years ago or so.  I thought of that conversation and decided there would be value in showing this painting.

Ok, so I recognize the painting is sloppy, which I don't really mind, but the bench should probably be touched up so that parts of the background trees don't overlap the bench!  Also, the glow coming from the red of the left lower bench leg and that other red in the lower left of the painting doesn't look so glowing in the original, so must be an artifact of the photograph.  If I had it to do over again (which I may), I would not have toned this paper with red first.  I was fighting the red the whole time.  I don't know what else the painting needs.  I don't know if I am finished, actually.

I've been messing around with some crops.  Please let me know which you think is the best option.  The one at the top of this post is Option A (the original as painted).  Here are your other options:

                                          Option B - Raises the bottom

                                           Option C - Moves the right side closer to her

                                         Option D - Moves the bottom up and right closer in

                                         Option E squares it up (sort of)

Thank you for your participation in Crop-a-Rama.  I will also bring the original to paint class this week and see what Lorelle thinks. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunrise Landscape from December

                                                                                                    acrylic, larger than usual

I think my mother would like to see another landscape.  This one was painted on a canvas board, which I rarely do (I paint on archival hardboards) and is no longer in my possession, so I can't measure it.  It may be around 16x20."  It was painted from a photo that I took in my neighborhood.

Here is what it looked like framed (the frame was straight, it's the photo that's crooked):

As an aside, I know a wonderful woman who lost her home and most of her pets in a house fire, caused by a piece of paper falling on a power strip.  Please, everyone, be careful about your power strips/surge protectors!

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Do I Really Want to Paint?

                                                                                                       acrylic 5x7"

I painted and am writing this on Mother's Day, but this will be posted on Monday.  I already had a post today.  I need one for tomorrow.   Not the greatest painting, but I am wanting to show you some of my learning process.

Daily PaintWorks, a website I love, posts a challenge each Saturday.  This week's challenge is "Yellow."  Hence, the yellow lamp painting.  I am no way going to post this on Daily PaintWorks, but I thought it would be good to get into the spirit ot the challenge.  This lamp has a certain eerie glow (especially in the base) when light shines on it that I tried to capture and don't think quite made it.  Oh well.  Being that it's my lamp, I can always try again.  In fact, this is the second time I've tried to paint it.

I started my Painting Shadows and Light class with Lorelle Bacon on Wednesday.  I was the only student there...which will work out nicely in terms of getting my learning needs met, but I forfeit getting to meet some new local artist friends. 

Lorelle wants me to do my paintings faster, like keep it to an hour and time myself.  She also wants me to  try mixing with my palette knife instead of my brush.  My brush tends to get gunked up with lots of paint.  So, today I worked on both challenges.  I ended up cheating and giving myself an extra 20 minutes, and I also ended up resuming my mixing with my brush when I saw the clock ticking.  Mixing with the knife I found very awkward.  I find the brush more efficient.  With the palette knife, I have to keep changing my implement--knife to brush to knife to brush.  I ended up using the knife for mixing in my right hand and  kept my painting brush in my left hand (I'm left-handed).  I finally reverted to my brush-clogging ways after awhile.

Next time I paint, I'm going to do what Lorelle said and stop after an hour, whether I am finished or not.  She assures me that I will get faster.  I think the lesson will only work if I follow it!  I'll practice with my palette knife, too.

If you haven't already checked out Lorelle's site, I urge you to click on her name in the right column of this blog.  She is great at so many mediums and just had a piece accepted into an international scratchboard competition!  Amazing woman.

When I set out to paint, I certainly didn't intend to paint lamps.  As one of my sisters said in a comment earlier in the blog, I didn't even think I liked looking at still life paintings.  When I discovered the Daily PaintWorks website, that all changed.  Not all the artists on that site do still life, but many do.   And many are fantastic (these artists create works of great beauty out of the simplest household objects).  I love looking at that site.  I aspire to be on that site.  And since membership is open, I can choose to be anytime I think I am ready.  So far, I am not.  I feel I should join at such time as I am consistently satisfied with my paintings. 

I do love painting the still lifes and all I am learning from them.  However, what I really yearn for is to paint people.  Not portraits or even necessarily capturing a likeness.  I want to paint "slices of life" with people engaged in daily living--paintings that would cause the viewer to feel that familiar "yes, this is how life is" feeling. 

When I put people in my paintings, I feel totally different.  I feel as if the painting has come alive.  I think I even breathe differently.  I know that landscapes are also full of life and I have painted many landscapes, but there is something that is just different for me about painting people.

Now, generally, people do not hold still for long when you want to paint them.  You have to either pay them to hold still, cajole them to hold still, or work from photographs.   Painting from photographs is very difficult if you don't really know what you are doing, because the photograph creates certain distortions and simply cannot show color to the artist the way the eyes can.  Lorelle said she is going to show me how to work from photos and adjust for the problems they create.  If I can learn to work with photos, I will be one step closer to being able to paint what I really want to paint!

(Hey, long post...thanks if you are still reading.  I guess having people in my post yesterday got me going.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

                                                    An older one               Gouache, 8x10"ish

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope everyone reading this has as wonderful a mother as I do and gets to see or at least talk to their mother today.  My mother is very supportive of my art and anything else I do, so I am happy to show this post in her honor.

This one was painted around December, when I first started my painting practice but was still playing around with various mediums.  It was painted in goauche, from a photograph, of guess who.  And guess who else...

Just when I thought I had my blog figured out, Blogger is telling me that my browser is no longer supported by Blogger and that I may experience problems and should switch to the browser Google Chrome.  Obviously, Google (who owns Blogger) is trying to get all the Bloggers to switch to their own browser.  I am having some problems with the blog now, so I may choose to switch this blog to a service other than Blogger, instead of switching my browser to Google Chrome.  Guess why.....

I have scheduled this painting to post tomorrow morning.  I hope that works.  I never tried scheduling a post when Blogger did support my browser.  I did try to save this post this afternoon, and it did not save, so I am a little nervous.  Fingers crossed.  If it doesn't save now and post in the a.m., I will just have to rewrite it.  With love....

(Editor's note:  It did "Save."  It did not publish as scheduled.  I am going to try to publish it manually now, fingers crossed)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Very Important Painting to Me

                                                                                                       acrylic, 6x6"

Originally titled "Hope," this painting is now called "Knowing."   Painted in January or maybe February, this is one of my earliest still lifes and gave me hope that I would someday be able to paint the way I want to paint.  I decided to change to knowing I will someday be able to paint the way I want to paint, thus the change of title.   Knowing is a great improvement over hoping. 

Painting this one made me very happy and encouraged me to go on.  It's somewhat sloppy, but doesn't give quite such a sloppy appearance in person.  The contrast of the photo makes the sloppiness extra noticeable.

I thought I would show this one to you because I haven't been able to paint anything decent since last Wednesday's roses.  I tried to paint some more flowers I was given this past weekend, but they turned out awful.   Rather than get down about it, I return to "Knowing."

Thanks for looking and understanding....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thanks for the Roses

                                                                                                               acrylic, 6x6"

Yesterday, my friend Deb at work gave me these roses to paint.  I was going to put them in a nice vase for the painting, but ended up liking how the red, yellow and blue looked all together, with the roses in the pill bottle I brought them home in.  We work in a medical setting, hence the pill bottle.  Maybe I'll paint 'em in a nice vase another time.

This was painted today.  I don't know what possessed me.  Roses are so hard.  I'm happy enough with how these turned out, but there has got to be a better way to go about it.   If you had only seen the convoluted way I approached painting these....my head almost exploded!

I'm going to ask for help on WetCanvas, which is a great resource for artists.  You can get help and feedback on just about anything.  If you feel competent enough (which I don't), you can help others.  Maybe there's a demo on WetCanvas, or maybe someone would be willing to do one.  Lorelle Bacon showed me how to paint a rose at a  pastel workshop I took five or so years ago.  I was so new at painting that I just followed along, but didn't really understand what we were doing until it was too late and the rose was finished.  Maybe she will show me again sometime.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Morning Light

                                                                                                      acrylic, 6x6"

Painted about a month or so ago, this geranium had just had a drastic haircut.  It has about three times as many leaves now.  I should try to paint it again--I would have more compositional choices.  Painted in the morning with the sun coming through the window.  I was happy enough with this one, except I don't like how the right side of the pot is almost just touching the right side of the painting.  That is not what my intention was, but I don't have a handle on these ellipses yet.   They seem to push me around.  Live and learn....

Bonus show and tell.  My mother asked to see a landscape.  This one was done in the fall of 2010, when I had the admirable goal of running around on my lunch hour painting plein air.  So, this one was painted probably in about a half hour by the time I found a site, set up, painted, packed up, and got back to work.  I also clearly remember I only had an unprimed panel in the car, so I had to use it.  The panel was drawing a lot of the moisture from the paint.    Oh yeah, the painting:

                                                  acrylic, 6x8ish

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Look Mom, No Shadows

                                                                                                                      acrylic, 8x8"

Several times this painting actually had shadows, and several times I actually painted them out.   Thank goodness May 9 is the start of Lorelle Bacon's class on painting shadow and light.  I need that class!

I find I have a much easier time painting shadows on objects than painting shadows on surfaces the objects sit on.

This was painted yesterday.  I didn't paint at all today.  I painted longer than usual yesterday, maybe because I painted larger than usual yesterday.   Or maybe it was those shadows...

Painting on an 8x8" support instead of 6x6" was fun.  The brush fit better.  Who knew?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Great News!

                                                                                                     acrylic 6x6"

Painted within the past couple weeks.   Same flowers and vase from the 4/22/12 post, but this one was painted outside and the other, inside.  I actually had to use my plein air umbrella while painting this, because the sun was so strong. 

The Great News:  I am going to be taking a four week art class on shadow and light with Lorelle Bacon, my original art teacher.  When I first started doing art (five or six years ago), I took several months of classes with Lorelle.  She then moved to Texas, and I haven't really had a regular teacher since.  Well, Lorelle is back and happens to be offering a class on the very topic I want to study, on the very day I have off each week.  And I happened to stumble upon this news in time to sign up for the class rather than just in time to have missed it.

Lorelle Bacon is a master of EVERY medium, even scratchboard, it's amazing.  You can see her site by clicking her name in the right column of this blog under Art Blogs and Sites.  I am so excited to get back into a class with her!

(Editor's note:  I know I said I wasn't going to complain about my photos anymore, but for the sake of artistic honesty, I want to tell you I think this photo is making my painting look better than it really is in terms of the lighting of the flowers.  I don't think I got as much sense of light into the flowers in the actual painting as they appear to have when lit by the computer screen, at least on my screen.  The vase looks fairly accurate)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...