Thursday, October 22, 2009

Living and Learning

Oregano with Pool Towel: A Tenderfoot's Attempt
8x8, oil on panel
$85 - email for info

Have a personal humor about things. You will never know your calibre until you have tried yourself. Avoid idle industry. Be venturesome. Try new things that appeal to you.
Examine others. Have a pioneer spirit. ~Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

(OK, here's where I sound like Sharkboy and Lavagirl, my teenagers) "Everybody's starting a plein air painting class this week but me," she whined. Laurel Daniel is teaching a plein air class and many of my still life classmates have moved outdoors. It's not the perfect time in my life to peel off a new project but, truth be told, I am envious. I think I miss the people as much as the process.

Anyway, taking the advise of a superhero - Robert Henri - I dusted off my pioneer spirit and ceremoniously traipsed the painting supplies outside. Loaded like a sherpa, I got all the way out the studio door and about 10 feet onto the terrace where I painted a safe and familiar backyard scene. After two-ish hours, I proudly marched inside with my painting only to find it 4 shades darker than intended. Hmmmm. Low-key, indeed. Have I read somewhere that, when painting en plein air, one really shouldn't stand in direct sun?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just Time for a Sketch: Woman's Best Friend

oil on panel, 11x14
Surprise - a bonus! Our models in yesterday's open studio were a beautiful woman and her guide dog - both consumate professionals and such a pleasure to work with. The time just flew by. Then it was off to a birthday celebration for a beloved group of my twisted sisters (sans one - we missed you!). The evening temperature was so perfect as was sitting under the stars together with a beautiful view of the city, great conversation... how lucky am I?

Friday, October 16, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Playing With Knives
8x8, oil on canvas
email for info
Confession: I occasionally paint with palette knives rather than brushes but I've never posted the results. I love how loose it feels to paint with a knife and the rich impasto texture. Knife painting is a great exercise in values and colors, reminding me to be deliberate with each and every stroke. There are two contemporary artists I especially admire who paint exclusively with knives and I just had a very enjoyable cup of coffee this morning while perusing their blogs. Check out Ann Gorbett and Leslie Saeta. As a result, I am emboldened to post this redhead I painted a few weeks ago. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

Forgotten Earrings
6x6 oil on panel
email for info
I meant to give her an earring - a small hoop or perhaps a diamond "stub," as Lavagirl calls them. But I forgot until this minute. Ah well, I got a title out of it which I sorely needed. In the Forrest Gump School of Painting, I sketch these women first, taking a favorite face from here, an outfit from there, hairstyle and color from yonder, smooshing it all together and looking for the light that informs the whole. This results in surprise models showing up on my easel. So fun. Once this woman appeared I immediately knew: darker lipstick and more navy in the blouse - she would never wear a garish turquoise. The working title for this painting was Joan Crawford's Cranky Cousin.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

DSFDF: Now I Can't Get This Song Out Of My Head

Up On The Roof
8x16 oil on canvas
$165 - email for info

This is my submission for Karin Jurick's latest DSFDF challenge. Click here to follow along as she posts the works of other artists and here to read about her project and my previous entries. I never thought I'd paint rooftops (thank you, Karin!) and struggled with color choices. Karin had advised to treat the shapes abstractly. Then I remembered receiving Pantone's Spring 2010 Fashion Color Report -- click here to read more about that. These colors have such great names: Fusion Coral, Eucalyptus, Pink Champagne, Dried Herb, Tuscany, Aurora. I chickened out before adding Tomato Puree and Lilac to the painting... and now I wish I had. I have a twisted sister who always says, "in hesitation all is lost." I might go back and add them. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Little Women

Goth Chic
6x6 oil on panel
White blouses with frothy organza collars. So named by Lava Girl who is a faithful America's Next Top Model watcher and believes Goth Chic could be a legitimate fashion trend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Imitating Life – No Surprise There

The New Girl
6x6 oil on panel
email for info
John Singer Sargent said, “Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend.” Several in the Little Women series (so named for their diminutive size – usually 6x6 ) are leaving home. She is already gone. And these two – click here and here – are going together this week. All to wonderful collectors and – if I may say so myself – framed in wide, silver frames they just look smashing. But, it feels like saying goodbye to friends – these women I know so well, who watch me paint every day and listen in on my phone calls. So I feel the need to paint some new pals. It’s the circle of life.

The circle of life. Well, truth be told, our little family is living very close to that circle right now. Two of Mr. Right’s beloved family members – including his mom – are gravely ill. Our lives are in that strange, slow-motion limbo - filled with Hospice and vital signs and burning up the highways - times two. We are sad in a way words cannot describe, missing them already. At the same time, we have welcomed 3 (three!) new babies to our extended family in the last month. Can you imagine? Two girls and a boy - all healthy and strong and keeping three sets of bleary-eyed young parents up at night singing lullabies. Note to self: in the ‘blessings’ category, count babies twice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Lesson in Foreshortening

Cute Glasses
Reclining Nude in Mirror
11x14 oil sketch on canvas
Foreshortening is a technique used in drawing to make three dimensional objects appear to be realistically receding in space on a two dimensional surface. Thus, in the pose above, the model's left foot is actually a bit larger than her head.... or at least that's the theory. In practice, it's a whole 'nother story. Yesterday, I overheard a fellow warrior say that a teacher had once told him to forget learning to draw with correct perspective and just draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Draw. Perspective will come in its own time. Luckily, I love to draw but, gee whiz. Not to put too fine a point on it but, could anyone get back to me with exactly when "its own time" is?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Step One: Tone Canvas the Color of Teacher’s New Sneakers

Wipe Out
12x12, oil on [pink!] canvas

A cosmic question directed to creatives: what “tricks” do you use to clear artistic hurdles? Thank the dear Lord for girl friends, teachers, and new shoes - that's all I'm saying.

Art class this week was a “wipe out” for me. Meaning, I just couldn’t get the composition onto the canvas; I would draw, then wipe out, draw - wipe out. Over and over. The still life set-up was lovely – an eggplant with a fetching stem, a few curly squash, a pretty blue plate. Yet even with my trusty viewfinder, moving the tableau up, down, left, right - there was no success. Naturally, the more I tried, the more daunted I became. As luck would have it, I had planned an early lunch right after class with two of my twisted sisters. And, proving what a small town Austin really is, two more appeared at the table next to us. Serendipity. And so, surrounded by BFFs, my bruised self-esteem was soothed and my resolve strengthened. (i.e. dog/bone)

I will tame this blasted composition, I determined. My favorite part of art class this week? Laurel’s new lipstick-pink Converse All-Star sneakers, definitely. Ahhhh, a virtual panacea. Inspiration: check.