Friday, February 22, 2013

Another Day

Here's another quick charcoal study from a photo. I loved the lighting in this photo. I'm using photos with good strong light to teach a student to model the forms on the face a portrait.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Analogous Painting

Today in class I did a demo using a split primary palette to mix colors for an analogous painting of some fruit. I used heavy pencil marks so students could see the line and watch how I draw my forms and find my composition by restating my lines to correct the drawing. Always a fun exercise. I love to paint those little blueberries!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Correction to a new view

I reread my blog. I'm HAPPY to have my dad, just not to loose my studio! I didn't write that well now did I? The painting wasn't the only thing I rushed through!
Please excuse!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Changing My View

While my blog is devoted to my art, that is not all I am. I am many things besides an artist and all those things contribute to how I view life and how I do art. There are many things that come before my art. But through the years art has seeped in and become a large part of my identity.

My other life and my art are not always on the same track. Sometimes the art needs to take a back seat and sometimes I get to move it to the front of the bus, like taking a yearly weeklong workshop, for example. But for the last and next few weeks it takes a back seat and my blog will only see small sketches as I move my studio to another part of the house to make room for my dad to move into our home.

In the past such an upheaval would have brought my painting to a dead halt. And it has to a point. But the 30 day challenge taught me that I have to paint for myself, not to create grand works of art or large paintings. Not that I paint that many grand large paintings, but thats always the thought. Or it was. I'm free of that now. Now I paint daily (almost) in some small way, just for me. It completely changed how I think about my art and has given me a fresh perspective or a new view.

At first I was sad to give up the space I have used to paint and grow for ten years. But always, change brings growth. The move has literally given me a new view. My new space has a window facing the other side of the house and I situated my painting table there. The upheaval has given me reason to go through things, organize and purge what I really don't need. I feel this incredible surge of creativity and possibility at having this change that I at first was not all to excited about.

It will take a little time to get things settled and to adjust to this new arrangement. But once I tweaked my attitude and got down to business I realized I would do my art in the bathroom over the tub if I had to! So, you see, this move has given me a new view in more than one way!

Below is a sketch in the sketchbook painted in the new studio amidst the chaos! It was rushed and the ellipses ore not right, but as I said before, I just needed to paint!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fun

Yesterday afforded a tiny bit of time to sketch from a photo that's been calling me! Once again, it's the gesture of his little body. The fact that his hands are stuck in his overalls, not his pockets and that he's looking down.a. Shy or contemplative?
I'm pretty sure this photo was taken by a professional. So what you ask? The photo and concept are the photographers property. Legally, he/she owns the intellectual rights to the whole photo.
If I want, I can try to get a release to use it. I did sketch it out on watercolor paper before it dawned on me.
Now, I need to check into this further since I'm in love with the pose and like the sketch!
So, here's a sketch. Stay tuned to see if I can do something with it or if it was just a great practice piece!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Hearts Bleed For You!

In honor of Valentine's day, I've put my bleeding heart watercolor for auction on ebay at the low, low starting price of $35! Just thought I would shamelessly promote myself! Click the link below to bid.

Winter Rush

While sitting in the car waiting for my dad, I noticed the late afternoon light on the rushes in the pond across the parking lot. The sun was down low and it's light was yellow orange, my favorite time to paint the landscape. I knew I had five minutes, so I drove across to the pond and pulled out my sketch book. (You just never know when your going to need it, so keep it in the car or take it with you in your purse). The rushes had beautiful graceful curves and were lit with orange light and I quickly sketched them and took some photos with my phone to finish when I had more time.

Have you ever noticed cattails all bend the same way? Does the wind only blow one direction? These things you ponder when you take the time to sketch! Again, it's about being mindful. Being in the now! Exploring and questioning what you see and experience.

Not a great work but its nice to fit in some small stuff in when your life is busy and rushed. I'm glad I sketched and didn't just take photos because in the end I had a better memory from having spent that time observing and somehow I deleted the photos and had to rely on memory for the painting anyway!

Another day, another mindful sketch!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Married to Art

Being a subject of my art is one of the hazards of being married to me!  Well, just knowing me could mean you end up in a painting! Yesterday I celebrated 33 years to an amazing guy who supports me and my art and who also has been painted a few times!  Since I will be really busy with some big life changes over the next month, I may not be able to post much fresh work.  So I thought I would recycle some older stuff you may or may not have seen.  Here are some works over the years.  I've lost some of my photos, somewhere, of  small sketch work like "Aviators" above.  (in sketch work I do not aim for a likeness, but rather to practice gesture or capture some other idea) Reviewing all my portraits reminded me I need to paint a few loved ones that have escaped my brush!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Painting for Today

Below is today's painting, painted from a photo of a model. I don't like to paint from a photo, but I've missed life drawing for two weeks so I wanted to do a quick portrait sketch. I didn't have time to fiddle, and maybe that's a good thing. There is a lot wrong, but what is right is skin tones- I don't paint people of color often enough- and lost edges. It's a little sloppy and rushed but I was satisfied.

I've been reading a book called "On Becoming an Artist". It was the subtitle that sold me: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity. According to the author-- "mindfulness is an effortless, simple process that consists of drawing novel distinctions, that is, noticing new things."

So far, the book is interesting and the concept of being mindful is intriguing to me. I'm exploring mindfulness more fully. Anyone want to read along with me? On Becoming an Artist by Ellen J. Langer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

That's What I'm Talking About!

So the other day I posted a Hummingbird and told you why my sketchbook is so valuable. That hummingbird and the sketchbook experience helped to clarify my vision.  What I was looking to convey and what wasn't working for me.

 Later that same day I played again with the same subject, getting bolder and more playful with technique but subtler in colors and edges.  And VIOLA!  This is the painting I envisioned!  Some day's the magic happens, others it does not.  And that's another lesson 30 paintings in 30 days taught me: the more you paint, the more likely you will see the magic!  Basic math, really.

light drawing and the first wash 

Definition and added details.  For me, less is more.

To me, this painting has the delicacy and fragility of the hummingbird.  It has the movement I wanted to convey.  While recognizable, it is not defined like the other one.  Does not feel cut out and pasted or like I just colored inside the lines.  I wanted it to have a feel of not only movement but also how quickly they are gone and we are left with only their impression. (or a blurry photo!)  This is a small sketch, 4 x 6.  But now I know the possibilities, and will keep playing until I get a larger one I am happy with.

I may not get a good painting every day.  But every day I paint is a good day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


After posting the finished piece "Arm in Arm" on my Facebook page I had a great response.  The best response is always when someone wants to buy your work!  So before it even got to the show I sold it to someone who has another piece I did years ago of  a mother and child walking away.  How nice!
Now back to the easel!  I need more paintings for the show!!   :)

Monday, February 4, 2013


Another thing I learned painting for 30 days straight is that I have grown to love my sketchbooks.  In them I experiment.  With color, technique, composition, value, you name it.  For the most part, no one ever see's my sketchbooks, so there is no risk.  I am free to screw up, not finish, play, write about it.  In short I can just be me.  There is no pressure and like a written journal, these visual journals have created in me a sense of self.  I see growth in my art as well as my personal life.
But for 30 days it was not so very private.  I think the 30 days straight of painting and blogging about it helped me understand and share my process, concept to execution and the why of it all.  At a time when I was wondering why at all!
Below is today's little sketch.  Concept: looking through photos Sunday for the week (a new practice I started to prepare for a week of painting!) I came across photos I took this summer of several hummers that came to the feeder on my patio. I loved the lines (I did not get the lines right here) of the delicate form of the hummers bending to feed.  Love the line of the beak.  Did not love the feeder. Process: played with composition, a new feeder (petunia for added delicacy and frill), made color notes and decisions and experimented with the technique I've been using on the primrose of late (for the blur of the wings).  And then I executed, knowing I did not have to share if I flopped completely I liked a lot about this and some of it I learned what I wouldn't do again!  Then I made notes: liked the wings, color too bold on bird, missed the contour of the line of the bird entirely--which was part of why I chose it!
So another day, another painting, another lesson!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Just for fun!

Another thing I learned over the 30 day challenge was: I have standards. Since these paintings had to be finished, it meant I didn't have time to mess around on a few that didn't work. That first one had to work or I'd be there a long time! It had to be small I figured out early. It had to be simple if I didn't want to spend more than an hour. An hour being average painting time. I'm not talking about conception to execution here! So if you add in finding inspiration, well, I was working overtime!
So keeping this in mind, I also wanted them to be good. Good by my standards. I'm always telling my students they are too self critical. I guess I am as well. Honestly, I would have only put up about six of the thirty. What I found interesting was some of the paintings I was most reluctant to show were some of the most "liked" on my Facebook page and well received on my blog. So I guess I learned that I too, am too self critical!
Today I tried to recreate a sketch from the previous 30 days. Disaster with a capital D. So I put it aside and played with color again. Threw down a wash and let it dry, then some negative painting and color mixing. It's loose (very) and free! Not a keeper, but I'm liking this technique. I stopped when I started getting muddy with too many colors.
It's snowing right now, but spring is coming! I feel it! And for me that means I will be painting flowers from life--outside in the open air! Until then, I should really take advantage of all this snow we never get!
What to paint next?