Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Learning to Love Purple

Lemonade Stand
8x8 oil on panel
Inspiration No. 1 was an artistic pearl I've been thinking about: as colors get farther away, they acquire their complements. Inspiration No. 2 was Pantone's 2009 Color of the Year: Mimosa (#14-0848).
Number 2 requires I use the color purple to comply with Number 1. No surprise to those who know me, I've never liked purple and have gone to great lengths to avoid it. I will not have it in my house, I will not have it on my spouse. Why? No clue.
However, I know I can't deny the critical role purple plays on the color wheel. So I'm trying. Begrudgingly, I think it did help give these lemons depth.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Pink My New Red?

In the Pink
11x14 oil on canvas
This was loads of fun. Thoughts of arranging traditional furnishings in a conservative house and then painting the walls radish pink kept me giggling. I'm drawn to using pink in unexpected ways. Isn't the effect color can have on your mood amazing? Check out Sherwin Williams #6859: Feverish Pink.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finger Painting

Untitled (Finger Painting)
12x12 oil on panel
I learned somewhere that, if you want to paint loosely but accurately (I do), you should always finish a painting with your biggest brush. The opposite of my tendency. Mr. Right asks, "What do you think about when you're painting?" Just that, plus other pearls like it, written on post-it notes and stuck around the art room. Scribbled into the corners of sketchbooks. I'm trying to remember and practice. And so, after I tidied up but was still piddling around, everytime I passed by the easel -- the biggest brush now clean -- I couldn't resist finger painting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Letterman Sketch & Comments about Commenting

Letterman sketchbook - pencil on paper
This sketch is pretty thin but honestly, I was laughing so hard I could hardly draw. Click here if you missed Dave's Top 10 re Gov. Sanford.
I’m getting some questions about how to leave comments on a blog post. First, YES, PLEASE! One of my twisted sisters frequently says, “The subplots are always the most interesting.” Well, comments are the subplots to a blog. I may have a brand new pair of roller skates but you’ve got the key!

So, click on the word Comment -- it’s at the bottom of each post. You’ll get a little pop-up window. The only thing that might be tricky is choosing an identity. If you have a Google account, use that. If not, click anonymous. If you use anonymous, sign your name in the box with your comment so we’ll know who you are. (For our purposes, anonymous just means non-Google.) Haven’t figured out the other two options yet.

The rest is pretty self-explanatory. Click publish. Your comment won’t show up until I give the okay. That’s how we’ll keep the scoundrels out.

Thanks to all who have written to ask if the paintings are for sale. Gulp. Blush. Yes, they will be. Please check back often; I’m trying to figure out how to use PayPal. And how to create spaces between paragraphs...argh...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Time for a Sketch

magazine ad - oil on paper
"Every picture shows a spot with which the artist himself has fallen in love."
~Alfred Sisley

Couldn't seem to fit much painting into this lazy day and most of what I did ended up scraped away with the business end of a palette knife. I could fall in love with the spot of red drape just as it crosses her back. Painting fabric is at once a great challenge and great fun for me. There's always tomorrow.
And today? Well, both kids were around. We went to the store and cooked a great dinner together. That's sure not going to last forever.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Small Painting, Big Lessons

Quiet Corner
8x8 oil on panel
I'm learning alot with these roomscapes. Being forced to work details on a small canvas is teaching me efficiency -- with shapes, values, and the number of brushstrokes. Good lessons. The hero of this painting, for me, is the monotone palette of walls, drapes, furniture, even the King Charles spaniel, which is then punctuated by the plant and its reflection in the mirror. I started with a lipstick-pink toned canvas (one of my favorites), counting on that to warm up all the yellows and browns and grays. Fun, fun, fun.
Lavagirl is home from camp and all our chicks are in the nest. This weekend was one of those times I really remember how blessed I am to be Bliss Following.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happily Looking Through Old Magazines

Pablo's Palazzo
12x12 oil on panel
I was attracted to the table base - a pair of Italian gilt cupids - and the strong cast shadows of this photograph. Still using a limited palette and now wondering: are all my colors are starting to look alike? This subject matter tangent has led me on a delightful scouring (and dusting!) of old books and magazines, searching for inspirational interiors.
I tend to save stuff like books and magazines. It's true - they are yellowed and dog-eared and I've thumbed their pages a dozen times. But never twice in quite the same way. This week I'm looking for something entirely different: subject matter for a painting. So they feel like new. I am certain I have *never* before been inspired by Count Paolo Michelangelo Zappi-Manzoni's Central Park apartment. Known as Pablo, he was a fashionable make-up artist with Elizabeth Arden back in the day. The book is an old friend: Architectural Digest's Celebrity Homes (1977).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Comfort Zone? What Comfort Zone?

12x12 oil on panel
One of the books on my bedside table right now is Dakota Mitchell's Finding Your Visual Voice. Check it out here. I've read through it once and now I'm skipping around. Last night I re-read the chapter on discovering your sources of inspiration and choosing subjects to paint. Mitchell encourages readers/painters to experiment freely with any and all subjects that stir passion or joy. Okay... just the push I needed. I inherited a love for all things "interior" through both nature and nurture. So today a "roomscape" inspired by an ad I'm seeing in lots of current mags for Thibaut Design fabrics.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You Know, the Blue Box with the White Ribbon?

11x15 watercolor on paper
Thumbing through an old magazine I ran across an ad - it's that trademark shade of blue that catches my eye - for Tiffany & Co. The ad has a wonderful photo of a girl that, at once, was so familiar to me. She sparkles more than the jewelry. Then I remembered. I painted that girl one time. Good thing I knew just where to look for her because, *jeepers*... what I painted yesterday...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Empty Nesters??

Homegrown 2
8x8 oil on panel
I have this fabulous table. It's a hand-me-down, having made the rounds through Mr. Right's side of the family and landing at our house some years ago. It's a nice piece of furniture and a great concept, ordered from some hoity-toity catalog. But it just never quite worked out. It's like a hospital table -- you know the type -- the top swings across the bed, it can be adjusted higher and lower and it's on wheels? One of the type A's in our family thought they would work at night on a laptop in bed or something... Anyway, it came to live in my art room and now I use it to set up still lifes.

That's the long way around explaining how, by doing something very simple (in this case lowering or raising the table) your objects (in this case a red gerber daisy stuck in a capers jar) look entirely different (in this case these two paintings). You get a whole new perspective on things. Hmmmm...

Speaking of new perspectives. Sharkboy (feeling suddenly better) is off with his first FWDL - Friend With Driver's License. Gulp. Lavagirl's still at camp. So that leaves Mr. Right and me in an empty nest. Hmmmm... One of my twisted sisters is fond of saying "change is always met with resistance." I think I'll like change better later.
Homegrown 3
8x10 oil on panel

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes, Coming Up

12x12 oil on canvas
Getting to that "green tomato" green was definitely the challenge of the day. So much fun! Happy Birthday to Mr. Right -- you are one fine gentleman farmer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Letterman Sketchbook or How to Make a Multimedia Sketchbook

click on any photo for a bigger and clearer image
As promised, info on how to make the best sketchbook on the planet. I've had a go-zillion and truly cherished about half. Sometimes the paper is just wrong. Or the thing falls apart. For me, the cheaper the sketchbook, the better I like the work I do in it. More than about twenty bucks and I’m anxious; nervous when I want to use a page and nervous when I choose to skip one. I love all varieties of Moleskins and right now I’m on my second or third 8x10, natural white Strathmore. But the Letterman Sketchbook? Excellance.

Why? Hmmm... I got to pick the size (9.5x9.5), the cover, the cardboard on the back, each piece of paper - color, weight, texture, media (making sure to cram it full of all my favorites), the order the papers appear in the book, and the size of the spiral binding (biggish). It didn't take much time or money. And I wouldn't change a thing. Uh, does that make me a perfectionist? Maybe. Still. There are worse things than a perfect sketchbook. You should try it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Working with a Limited Palette: Continuing on the Theme

Wishful Thinking
12x12 oil on panel
Raw umber, ultramarine, cobalt, alizarin crimson, cadmium red deep, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow light, and titanium. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Limited palette, eight colors, very conservative. The green and gray acting as comic relief for an otherwise traditional, primary-color study. Oh yeah, all on a turquoise-tinted panel... hee, hee, hee. I love seeing the turq peek through the reds. After all - what is color if not a toy to be played with? So named because, in our draught prone region, we often dream of rainy days.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Aux Trois Crayon and a Limited Palette

Vacation Wish List - a magazine cruise ad
Conte crayon on paper
I've seen this ad running in several magazines lately and -- naturally -- I can't put my hands on it right now. I imagine it to be Italy, perhaps Ischia or Portofino - both lovely places for a holiday. We were so captivated by Letterman's monologue and guests that this drawing practically drew itself. I looked down and *poof* there it was. Working in only 4 values (3 colors + paper) is liberating. Reminds me of art teachers who advocate for a very limited palette - it immediately simplifies decision-making and unifies the canvas.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Texas Ranunculas
12x12, oil on panel
Yesterday's painting was just the worst. I scraped twice... or was it three times? Still no luck. Heavy sigh. So this one is from the archives. I like many things about it; the chest is described much more accurately and the turquoise color in the vase is a favorite. The perspective and the proportions...hmmm... a bit caddy-whompus.

Ah well, we will try, try again. I'm lucky to be painting. Lavagirl is off to camp tomorrow (= more painting time) and, poor dear, Sharkboy is having some dental surgery the day after (= less painting time). I've got the care packages ready to mail and the ice packs ready to apply!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Au Revoir Leno, Aux Trois Crayons

I Do
Conte crayons on paper
Another Letterman sketch from this week. I've been experimenting with an old drawing technique called "aux trois crayons" in French, literally translated "with three pencils" or "with three chalks." Traditionally, the drawing is done with white, black, and sanguine on a toned paper, with the paper serving as a mid-range value. Many of the Old Masters -- da Vinci, Rubens, Watteau among others -- used this technique, particulary for nude studies and portraits. Developing skin tones is just so fun aux trois crayon!

Leno leaving the Tonight Show isn't really drawing too much attention at our house. I guess we are tried-and-true Letterman people though Sharkboy thinks some of Dave's "bits" are getting repetitive. Sigh. So it is in the real world. Our baby's growing up.

Monday, June 1, 2009

8x10 oil on panel

Honestly? She grows on me. She's got a pleasant expression and is having a pretty good hair day. But she is... well.... boring. Hmmmm... Had time to paint last night- thanks to Mr. Right and our almost-teenage daughter (we'll call her Lavagirl) for doing the shopping and the cooking.

Painting Produce Again

Lean on Me
8x8 oil on panel
I loved painting these yellow peppers. I like the values, the shadows - form and cast, and the composition: the way the upright pepper couldn't stay upright without its companion. Classic art imitating life.

Have I mentioned that I have an incredible group of strong and wonderful women in my life? Collectively, I think of them as my "twisted sisters." Two are yours truly: biological. I'm tied to another handful by lines that are more curlique or twisted: my husband's sister, my sister's husband's sisters, my husband's mother's husband's brother's son's wife... you get the idea. And then there are the remarkable women I've collected, like priceless treasures, throughout my life. We have found each other in romper rooms, dorm rooms, classrooms, conference rooms, and board rooms. We do the usual -- laugh, cry, celebrate, commiserate, bury, and birth.
My twisted sisters inspire me beyond measure and keep me upright.