Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just For Fun and Practice

Teaching Moment
12x12, oil on canvas
This from two weeks ago. Our plein air painting class was spread all over Zilker Park. I'm supposed to be focused on learning the 4 planes of a well-painted landscape (for any artist/readers, Laurel generously posted a perfect explanation, with demo, here) yet I can't take my eyes off the sunlight hitting the shoulders of my white-shirted classmate in the distance. Especially once Laurel was standing beside her - I knew the black shirt-white apron / white shirt-black apron was my inspiration of the day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

One Painting, Two Palettes

Pauline Chapel II
11x14, oil on canvas
I painted this Colorado Springs chapel twice and it was a great exercise. These are from an amazing photograph-turned-paint-challenge taken by artist/photographer Lee Brown and posted on his site A Day Not Wasted. In the painting to the left I really pushed the warm light/cool shadow interplay. The version above is more traditional and seems to garner the most votes from my panel of in-house art critics. Don't forget: click on paintings for larger view. Fun, fun, fun!
Pauline Chapel I, 12x12 oil on canvas, $165, email for info

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Just Grab a Kid and Go

On the Tarmac, Cozumel
8x8 oil on canvas

When our kids were younger, our family plus three others (college girlfriends a.k.a. some of my beloved twisted sisters) vacationed on a beach together for a week every summer, for 11 straight years. We were a small band of travelers in the beginning - 8 adults plus a couple of toddlers, give or take the odd visiting grandma or friend - and one of us moms was often sporting the maternity bathing-suit look. Eeeesch! We ventured no further than big, rambling houses on Texas beaches in the early years.

Our Lavagirl was the last baby born and once she turned 2, we all turned our eyes South of the Border - to the land of white sands, turquoise waters, and the all-inclusive resort with its endless buffets, spirits, activities, and housekeeping. By that time we numbered 15, plus or minus. And during those weeks, all the kids had 8 parents and the livin' was easy. My little traveling companion in this painting isn't mine but she sure felt like it. I'll never forget her fashionable turquoise straw cowboy hat that summer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Just Time for a Sketch: Figures

Figure Study
oil on canvas paper
I've been anxious to apply Laurel's blocking-in techniques to some figure work. For these little sketches I used the line and mass method - first using one dark neutral to establish values and rudimentary planes, then adding color. It was fun and worked well. No time for faces. Speaking of... I apologize to my faithful followers - suddenly time is at a premium. My family [and their activities] is requiring a bit extra; we can chalk it up to spring, kids, schools, sports, volunteer work, a family wedding, etc... It's definitely part of the Bliss I Follow but, at the same time, I constantly yearn to create. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"You May Take 3 Giant Steps Backwards"

Mother May I?
8x10, oil on panel
I've been in painting purgatory. But you'd be surprised how fun it is! This week I went to my first plein air class with Laurel. That means we're painting outside - oh my. Perhaps you remember when I last whined on this topic. Not much has changed. I'm still flumoxed by the gear and the light and creating a composition on the fly. Laurel wanted us to use one of the blocking-in methods we studied in our recent still life class. Hah! I felt lucky to find my brushes. Everything I thought I knew flew right out of my head. I painted this today from the "study" I started in class. Yuck. The upside? The people, of course. It was a spectacular day on the beautiful grounds of Laguna Gloria and the conversation was lively. I can't wait to go through it again!