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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Bat Marian

Bat Marian   watercolor   13.5 x 10

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Harvest Chair

Harvest Chair   watercolor   20 x 13
combines all of my seemingly necessary elements to portray both the beauty and the mystery of the approach of autumn and, subsequently, winter.  I feel the change of seasons in every bone, the rhythms of which are so necessary to my well-being.  The items:  my antique turquoise green chair, chippy with old paint and covered in decals; a vine wreath formed from our own vines and, of course, pumpkins, whose shape, color and flavor so appeal to me.  The problematic crux in such a work is to suggest the encroaching darkness by eliminating the lighter, fun-filled colors of a summer work.  I was desirous of an entwining dark and light pattern that seems almost unachievable.

I am somewhat satisfied.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Adieu to Summer

Bikini Clad   oil/canvas   24 x 8 x .5
For Sure!  Here in Northeast Ohio, the temperature dropped 40 degrees within a day....86 to 46.  The change was abrupt.  None of the 70 degrees with sun that often precede the frost weather.  So we exchanged our tank tops and flip flops for winter jackets and boots. 

This small oil painting recalls our beach vacation...the subject our lovely daughter-in-law K.  This was a class painting and is my favorite brand of landscape...that which includes the man-made and human presence along with the natural.   The ultimate challenge was the minimal description the heavily shaded face.  I am pleased. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Birdman - L

Birdman - L   oil/canvas   14 x 11
is a small oil painting done on site with a young dancer posing in a highly feathered costume.  I should say done...and redone...and redone.  While I did achieve a likeness at the session, I wanted to give more dominance to the headdress.  The background  was worked darker and darker to heighten, I believe, the sense of drama necessary to the subject.  My reference photo was over-flooded with light, so I decided to just go with it.  The goal was to sublimate the the facial features (a finely chiseled young male visage), thereby, throwing attention back to headdress.  I believe that I took this painting as far as it would go.

My recollection of the model was his discomfort from the overheating that it caused...imagine a hot summer day wearing a bird costume.....and more difficult yet....imagine dancing in it!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nightshade

Nightshade   conte crayon   19.5 x 12.5
is a drawing done with conte crayon on an unknown kind of paper from my storage box.  I am trying to remember to label all of my papers, but am not always good at it.  As previously written, these sessions with the young dancers from Ballet Excel Ohio have provided the opportunity for me to break out of my usual routines with some experimentation...for me, having a few unknowns pushes my boundaries and provides stimulation in my R-brain.  The lighting, the pose, and yes, the model herself in her ability to relate to the artists provide variables to which we must adjust.  I look for lights that lead into each other in a sort of pattern.  Likewise with the darker shapes.  I like spontaneity as well as its polar opposite, deliberate refinement.  This particular drawing works for me.

The costume for this young dancer is that of a nightshade, a dark dancer that is a kind of minion for the queen, as I was told...a nightshade plant being that which is poisonous.

Darks.  Lights.  Makes for a good drawing.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Tutu

Tutu   watercolor pencil and walnut ink   19.75 x 12
The collaboration between Cuyahoga Valley Art Center and Ballet Excel Ohio has provided live models in the way of young dancers once a week for some time now.  I eagerly look forward to each session.  This series has provided the opportunity for experimentation...to use some of the forgotten drawing tools in my art box. 

I started with a half-sheet of Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper.  This sheet has many uses in that it is partially synthetic, thin and will not buckle.  During the entire 2 1/2 session, I used Derwent watercolor sketching pencils in light wash, medium and dark, alternating drawing with broad washes of water during the breaks.  At home, some washes of walnut ink completed the work.  For me, the challenge involved the pushing and pulling of strokes to reveal what is more important to the pose; and, conversely the less important. For this reason, I have always had such a difficulty with chairs and stools, as I realize the importance of having a support for the pose, yet despise the weight given to it.

This model wore the traditional tutu, hence the title.  I am pleased.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tiny Dancer

Little Mermaid   charcoal, conte and gold leaf on toned paper   21.5 x 14
It has been so much fun to paint and draw from a live model again!  Due to the fine efforts of Cuyahoga Valley Art Center Center's new director Danielle Dieterich, young dancers from Ballet Excel OhioExcel Ohio have been modelling each Tuesday evening and will continue for some time.  We artists, mostly older, are treated to the movements and costumes of these young dancers. 

"Little Mermaid" was drawn in charcoal and conte crayon on a toned paper.  Gold leaf pieces were added later.  I had actually hoped for more covering on its application, but due to the fact that the adhesive was mostly dried up, and the high humidity, a more mottled effect was the result.  But I am happy. 

This pose, subtle yet powerful, is, I believe the result of a strong core and a slight curving of the small of the back.  I appreciate the strength and willpower of this young dancer!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Beach

is a place of ultimate relaxation for most...where schedules, compulsions and vanities melt away.  Such a vacation was ours to be had this year.  And, in the small square of condos where we stayed, I viewed at least three people taking up brushes, paints and sketchpads in search of the creativity that such freedom provides.  And, while making art is my profession, I don't aim my sites all that high at the beach.  Sand is everywhere, making its way into paint wells and brushes and eyes.  The light is all-too-pervasive, offering little in the way of contrast.  Values are skewed....when extreme light becomes the norm.  And the subject matter becomes a bit too sweet.

But what the beach does provide is the sense of playful painting, of painting without consequences.  I usually bring only a watercolor block and some pan colors, all in a small format.

These are my more successful results from this year's bunch.  There were others...not so successful.

But who cares?  I am on vacation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Winter Mime

Winter Mime  oil   48 x 30 x 1.5
The date:  January, 2017 about 6 pm
The place:  The Short North; High Street; Columbus, Ohio
The temperature:  hovering around 1 degree F

As we exited a trendy restaurant where we had supped with our son and family, we turned right to head to our car, while they turned left.  Just ahead of us, performing in the frigid conditions, was a mime, an extraordinary mime.  He nodded in agreement at my request to photograph, while we were both amused and amazed at his skill.

This work is just one of what I hope will become a series dedicated to these wordless actors created from the many reference photos taken that day.

BTW....would anyone know who this is?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mary Jo

Mary Jo   oil on canvas   20 x 16 x 1.5
is a portrait done as a demonstration at Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.  Mary Jo is a vibrant and enlightened artist from our watercolor class.  I would guess that 90% of the work on this was done that evening...the strokes were accurate (!  always happy when that happens)  Some fine tuning, smoothing, and detail work was added later.

I am pleased with the degree of rendering and completeness as well as the color palette.  I feel that it is a good likeness.  This image was sent to her upon completion and she replied that it had the look of a watercolor.

I am also very very pleased when a work has the feel of both of these disparate mediums....as I feel that each one informs the other.  I am thrilled by the possibilities of each.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Honeydew

Honeydew   oil on canvas   9 x 12 x .5
melon was the subject...a new variety...with bright yellow skin...and every bit as delicious.  The pocket of seeds and membrane in the center was extremely important as I tried to replicate the rhythm of their placement, as well as the darks and lights, without too much detail, without describing each and every seed.  The background ratio was greatly reduced in order to bring the melon up close and personal.

The seed problem was handled to my satisfaction, and the color harmony pleased me as well.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Rest Notes


There is the music score...and then there are the spaces between the notes, the counter spaces, that define the piece every bit as much.  That which is played...and that which is not. 

We were recently treated to a visit from our California dear ones.  As we wanted to make this visit extra special, we participated in so many varied activities.  Our grandson is only six, so we also varied the tempo of our daily doings to include some rest time....mostly to watch shows or movies.  To me, this down time is invaluable.  I enjoyed this down time by opening my book and observing my loved ones as they relax....a pleasure. As we don't see them as often, my sketchbook acts as a bit of a diary, a photo album, of this special time. 

Truly my pleasure.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Gouache Redux

OH-585 S   watercolor and gouache   8 x 21
Many years ago I created several works in watercolor using a white gouache base that has been left to dry.  The colors become milky.  Pigment moves around, as this gouache layer acts somewhat as a gesso underpainting.  Whites can be retrieved, up to a point.  The delightful surprise this time around was that the resulting strokes left their own marks, leaving the work much more interpretive. I was less impatient to achieve reality.  I chose a simple layout with simple shapes.  The brush barely touched the surface.  Pie crust.  Darks are understated. 

This method provided the perfect atmosphere for a scene spotted on a beautiful spring day on OH 585-S while on a road trip to Wooster.

The brighter blue passages tickle my fancy.  I am pleased.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Red Bucket...Switching it Up

The Red Bucket   watercolor on Khadi   15 x 29
I would have to say that 140# cold press watercolor paper is the "go to" paper for watercolorists.  We get very content and familiar with Fabriano Artistico and Strathmore Artistico.  They do, after all, have many endearing qualities:  liftability; ease of moving the paint around, a perfect amount of sizing and a predictable softness. Vanilla ice cream.

What happens when we switch it up?  I like to say that changing one of your variables (paper, paint or brushes) is like the adjustments one must make while driving in various weather conditions...somehow we learn to maneuver around, hopefully with ease.  "The Red Bucket" is now my 4th or 5th painting on Khadi paper, a handmade, mouldmade, acid free  paper from India that is said to be made from recycled tee shirts.  At this time, I think that I am able to generalize the directions of works painted on Khadi:  1) the paint cannot be pushed around quite as readily, as it quickly sinks into the fibers 2) as a result of #1, the objects have harder edges than most of my work 3) the colors are stonger....I find that I am applying more layers than usual 4)  the paint can be lifted, somewhat, but with greater and greater difficulty 5)  the texture and vibrancy of these works is what make them stand out.  A completely different experience....fun to be had!  Rum raisin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Hyper Peppers

Hyper Peppers   watercolor   8 x 8.5

Monday, May 7, 2018

to be continued...

Winter Mime   oil/canvas   48 x 30 x 1.5

Thursday, April 19, 2018

John A......taking the scenic route

John A.    watercolor/gouache    20 x 12
Not all works are completed in due time.  This one, along with another, was tucked away in a corner during the winter holidays.  The first, of a Victorian home in Columbus, was quite a disaster.  After spending another session on it, the work was relegated to the burn pile.  John offered more possibilities.

John posed for our watercolor class a few sessions ago.  It was attacked quickly, yet lightly.  Upon review, I discovered that the front arm took too much attention away from the face, so I began moving pieces and parts, blocks of color around.  As you can see, I am no slave to reality, and quite enjoy shifting focus and values to further my goal.  Background areas were painted, then washed off in my laundry tub to soften and blend.  (Note:  washed off, letting only water hit the surface....not scrubbed off) Eventually, I brushed and squeezed on a blue gouache mix left over from another project.  My heart went pitter pat.  I realized that I had come as close as possible to the version that pleased me.  Granted, I never start out to take the long way around to anything(the scenic route), but meandering can be beautiful as well as teaching us a few things along the way.

I am pleased.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pink Tulips

Pink Tulips   watercolor on Khadi   13 x 13
underwent quite a journey in its making.  My original idea was to keep all values lighter with the wish that the overall atmosphere would be one of light.  However, I DID NOT HAVE TIME TO DO A DRAWING....BIG MISTAKE.  The tulips were complete and played with strokes of blue violet and an off-white-warm.  The painting was matted and framed.  As I passed by the work over the weekend, I felt the repeated strong urge to make the work mine, to utilize the strong value interludes that make a work more powerful and more visible from a distance.  In addition, I felt that the work was just too greeting-card-like...with a lightness and airiness that made it seem too fluff.  So, the background was washed down and the idea of a raisin and mahogany-colored background seemed to lead the way.  I began a series of thin washes over the next couple of days, each layer leading the way to the color that was in my head...more warm, more brown, more pink, etc. Finally, the implication of a vase shape was pulled down with my sponge. 

The end result is a far cry from my original idea....a bit more formal than my usual, but more becoming, I think, to the lush pink tulips.  I had been wanting to try this layering of washes for years.  This painting provided the opportunity to give it a try.  This is a technique used by watercolor artist Catherine Anderson whose work I explored many years ago. Nothing ventured.  Nothing gained.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Bunny Girl

Bunny Girl   Watercolor   13 x 8
is a keeper.  Painted many years ago, it contains the essence of what I am still striving to achieve today.  It is, to me, a great example of "zen mind, beginner's mind", i.e. having a mind that is open to countless possibilities.  Experience in painting provides an ever expanding repertoire of techniques and ways to achieve works with more impact due to greater familiarity with effective design.  Rules.  Rules.  And more rules.  All of these rules can cause too much L-brain thinking and deliberation...and self-doubt. 

For me, "Bunny Girl" has a lovely effortless quality. 

I yearn to retrieve the child artist within.

At times.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Me, Myself and I

Me, Myself and I   watercolor   15 x 12.5
Every now and again it is, I believe, healthy to look inwards.  I believe that, over the years, I have painted about 5 self-portraits.  There is a bit of discomfort inherent in this undertaking, if one is honest.  Sweetness must be discarded, along with the multitude of masks we wear throughout the goings-on of life.  Am I the person I want and yearn to be?  We have the option to continually strive at our own notion of "goodness" and "correctness".  More than once I have heard feedback on my selfies that I didn't do myself justice...what does that mean?  Too many wrinkles?  Skin that is not smooth enough?

I am reminded of the words of Kirk Mangus who often thought about aesthetic judgment.  He said, "Beauty is a figment of the imagination.  It is also completely controlled by prejudices.".  Soetsu Yanagi, a potter and founder of mingei, the Japanese folk craft movement, expressed similar ideas born from the philosophy of Zen writes:

     A true artist is not one who chooses beauty in order to eliminate ugliness, he is not one who dwells in a world that distinguishes between the beautiful and the ugly, but rather he is one who has entered the realm where strife between the two cannot exist.

That is where I dwell...where I choose to dwell.  For me, beauty lies in the process of the work itself, how we choose to spend our hours, our days.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Haystacks...and furrows

Haystacks   oil on canvas   8 x 24 x .5
Push and pull.   (Thank you Hans Hoffman)  What is there::what is not.  Relationships.

The quest in this work was the relationship between the haystacks themselves...and the furrows...a play between the cool and the warm.

While a completed snow-covered scene can be beautiful, it can tend towards sweetness and become a bit Hallmark-y.  The rural Pennsylvania scenes that feature both dead grasses along with pockets and dustings of snow a la Andrew Wyeth convey great power and mystery to me.  As an Ohioan, I will attest to the fact that most of the winter scenes depict these two polar opposites.  One of my current reads is The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher.  I am currently in my second go-through in order to absorb his thoughts that I have chosen to underline.  He speaks of the poet's mind which is
touched by the attraction of opposites, which lends dynamism to the great archetypes.

This canvas was toned with orange, which became the base for the furrow.  The process continued slowly, as I tippy-toed toward the amount of snow coverage that satisfied my visual.  In the earlier stages, the diagonal furrows were more dominant....which lead them into distraction.  I did not anticipate just how much energy this problem would require.  I am also reminded of a similar horizontal landscape by the late Jack Richard.....it remains in my mind to this day....it was spot on.

Most of the bales we see today are machine-made and coiled.  These stacks are the work of the Amish.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Weight...

Weight   oil on canvas   48 x 36 x 1.5
the feeling of weight...is a fairly common human experience, I would think.  For the most part, I declare myself to be an optimist, but my days are full-up and sometimes it takes only one more tiny request to set my day into a tail-spin.  While more of us than not have overcome huge obstacles to get to where we want to be, it is, for me, a matter of perpetual shifting, sifting and sorting to keep my priorities in order. 

My current read is Supernormal by Meg Jay.  As it turns out, the most accurate predictor of those with grit, with determination and resilience, is LOVE... loving relationship(s) is what truly turns the tide...gets us over the hump.  My own personal hero is LeBron James, also an Akron-ite. 

This painting was 90% complete in the winter of 2016-17.  It was then propped against the wall and approached again this winter.  After years of trying to get portrait-perfect faces, I have been experimenting, for several years now,  with subduing the faces, in order to defer to the figure, or figures, in their gestural entities, for the purpose of more accurate story-telling.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Winter is Long in Canada

Winter is Long in Canada   oil   20 x 16 x 1.5
is a work half-completed from a live session with a model.  For years and years I faithfully attended the Friday model sessions provided by my local art group Akron Society of Artists.  Gradually I became tired of the static seated poses that resulted in order to keep the model from becoming too weary...that, I understand.  Creating more lively poses from photos was more exciting to me.  But there is much to be learned from painting from life.  Recently, I had a free Friday morning and decided to return to the model.  This was to be a two-week session.  As I was not free the following week, I scurried to get correct shapes and values, as well as a sense of movement.  The painting was fine-tuned at home using photos I took during the session.

Our Canadian model was apt and professional.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this work "my own".  I am hoping to find more time for live work this coming year.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ode to Peppermint...

Ode to Peppermint   oil   9 x 12 x .5
...is another small still life designed to help me get back into creative decision-making, color decisions, and to just "feel" the paint as the brush touches the surface.  What could be better?  The remnants of all manner of peppermint treats fit the bill!  I set up this small scenario and set to work.  As the whipping cream kept melting, I did succumb to photographing the copper mug before I ran out of cream! 

Actually, the most difficult passages were the pine branches....they are, at the same time, quite delicate, yet strong, and very very complicated.  Each stroke was just too strong, until I pulled out my rigger brush and thinned the paint substantially.

A final passage was required to strengthen the reds and whites, especially at the intersections of the two.  I am happy, as this small scene captures what I felt during this very special season.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Back in the Saddle Again

Tea and Oranges   oil   12 x 9 x .5
Oh, the altered reality of the holiday season!  The lights!  The sparkles!  The company of family members around the fire and the outdoor activities in the winter coldness!  The great food!  The special parties and events that occur only this once during the year!   I love each and every part of this season.

Enter the forgotten studio....the paint hardened on the palette....the tidied piles of creativity that lack the doing....this is scary stuff....approaching the blank canvas or paper for the first time in a while, which I liken to any activity that has gone dormant. 

I find that simple still lifes are the first step I need to take to find my strokes again....simple compositions that take little thought and household items at the ready.  The subjects for the still life are quite forgiving as regards draftsmanship.....who cares if the mug is a bit too wide?....the orange a bit smaller? 

This simple painting is my first exercise of the New Year 2018.  Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Holiday Greetings

This image is the small watercolor greeting that was sent out to an artist in my class.  Each holiday season we put our names in a hat and draw one....making a handmade card for that person becomes, not only a painting challenge (in that we have to paint on a much smaller scale), but an opportunity to come up with a concept that  allays the joys of the season.  My inspiration comes from photos shot earlier this fall of the towering and majestic homes that grace Victorian Village in Columbus, Ohio.  "Majesty" was my motive.  While I doubt that many of the artists in the class live in homes of such immense grandeur, I feel that we tap into this same feeling of majesty that illuminates the simpler things that occur in our daily lives...a dove on a snow-covered limb, a smiling glance from a loved one across a holiday table, sharing a few laughs from a simple board game, and the sheer beauty of a simple string of colored lights.

I hope that your holiday season was majestic in some way.  I also hope that we can discover the majestic in like simple subjects throughout the coming year.

This small 5 x 7 card (Strathmore cards designed for watercolor) was taped around the edges while I painted.  I then removed the tape and painted the peak decorations to break the boundary for more interest. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ruvati sinks, Mungo Park, Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts





  

While traveling, I have pretty much given up hauling any paint set along, even the smaller travel sets.  Instead, I try to use the small bits of otherwise-unscheduled time to sketch.  These sketches can be aborted at any time.  Some of the unfinished ones are among my favorites!  Over the years, these sketches have become like small journals, little bites of time, where notes remind me of activities and conversations.  Just before Thanksgiving of this year, we were fortunate to rent a "little house" (a charming A-frame) on the Outer Banks, for a few days of quiet and oneness with nature. 

The top sketch is my loving partner engaged in reading, one of his favorite pastimes.  His book is Travels in the Interior of Africa by Mungo Park, a treasure on loan from one of his friends.

The second sketch is our son while we are watching the movie "While We're Young", starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, a light-hearted movie with some bits of wisdom tucked in.....aren't they all?It was a fun way to spend an evening.

The third sketch is of my husband again, keeping warm with his sweatshirt hood surrounding, laying back in the limited amount of lighting available while we discussed the unusually modern and lovely appliances that made this small rental such a pleasure.  We (maybe just I ) have been considering a kitchen update sometime in the future, so we gather ideas when we can.  Although the sketch is a bit unflattering, the spotty play of light made this sketch exciting to do....It conveys a great mood, I think.

When I look back at these some time in the future, I am sure I will be smiling as I recall these sweet and rare hours spent with my dear ones.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Partial to Peaches

Partial to Peaches   watercolor on Khadi   5.75 x 18
Making something from nothing.  An unusual slice of leftover Khadi paper.  A leftover skinny black frame.  What can I do with these?  This is the way I cook.  This is the way I live.  Making from leftovers.  This all became an elongated work of a basket of peaches...totally wabi sabi.  In fact, the paper wasn't quite long enough, so I stitched on another piece using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine.  A watery background tone was added.  Even the stitches took on a nice tone.  These unusual pieces make my heart sing.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bittersweet with Pumpkins

Bittersweet with Pumpkins   watercolor on Khadi   13.75 x 10
is another work done in our watercolor class with autumnal subjects being piled into the center of the tables.  We used our view-finders to crop out a section that we wanted to paint.  While there is much to be said for this method of direct observation, I find, personally, that there is just too much "given" for my mind to creatively react with the subject.  Over the years, I have found my pleasure to reside in the interaction between subject and ground, which, of necessity, needs to be more empty for this exchange to occur. 

O.K.  I like the colors.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Varietal 2

Varietal2   oil/canvas   8 x 24
This is the third of "quick" paintings designed to boost my self-confidence after spending most of the summer on "Equilibrium".  This still life was set up in my studio, and was painted using direct observation.  It took two days.  This small series enabled me to tackle my more complex compositions with a bit more enthusiasm.  Seeing things simply has its advantages.  I wish I could do it more often.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

White Pumpkins and Roadside Purple

White Pumpkins and Roadside Purple   oil   9 x 12

This is the second "quickie" painting done to regain a sense of balance within the bounds of painting exactly what is in front of me through direct observation.  The light source was a studio lamp. The canvas was pre-toned in a warmish neutral.  White pumpkins have always been thrilling to me.  Added to that is a bunch of roadside wildflowers that carry a vibrant purple that can be seen from afar.  They always pop up this time of year much to my delight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin and Nasturtium...Searching for Balance

Pumpkin and Nasturtium   oil   12 x 9
Like most folks, I suspect, I am always searching for balance in my life.  After spending most of the summer trying to resolve the painting challenges that "Equilibrium" presented, I was ready to just paint from life, to paint only the effects of light and shadow on a subject.  I armed myself with some of the bounties of the season, and painted three smaller works, each taking one day. 

This canvas was pre-toned with a warmish mix.  Day 1 left me feeling satisfied...painting only what I see, and foregoing all that I imagine.  It was healing.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Equilibrium

Equilibrium   oil   30 x 42
is the title of this painting of a kayaker.  It also describes what I lost during the very long process of painting it.  Each pass offered some good passages, but was, overall, not acceptable to my sense of correctness.  Again.  Again and again....throughout the long hot summer.  I kept going back to my initial sketch to repaint as that usually does the trick.  My sketches are done so spontaneously...the goal is usually an even distribution of values.  I kept trying to solve the dilemma with color, even though I have never really been a colorist.  Eventually I realized that I had to depart from the initial sketch although, while powerful, destroyed the mood of this enthusiastic boater on a hot summer day.  I am, at long last, pleased. 

I am now realizing that I needed to declare a value dominance of the work, one that supports the mood that I am trying to achieve,  in addition to the playful distribution and linkage of values. 

This lesson was learned the hard way.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

En Plein Air

En Plein Air   oil on canvas   24 x 12 x 1.5
usually implies painting out-of-doors, on the spot, not in the studio, a situation that is more immediate,  more demanding, and one that requires a keen eye that can adapt to the constantly fluctuating movement of the sun.  In this case, it was the musicians who performed on the stage of a magnificent outdoor amphitheater in the botanical gardens in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The group of musicians were a warm-up group for a fantastical puppet show entitled "Of Wings and Feet" performed by Paperhand Puppet Intervention company.  We have never seen anything quite like it!  (The closest thing I can recall seeing are the performances of the Cirque du Soleil) Creating a painting from this completely magical evening was a no brainer.  But, to me, a painting of the huge puppets and mystical movements would have diminished their power....there were no frozen moments.  But this young musician so in tune with her instrument gave me pause.  Photos were shot at quite a distance.

Some paintings literally paint themselves.  This was one of them.  I still find myself wishing that all communities could be treated to this kind of gentle magic.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Neighborhood

Neighborhood   oil   20 x 60 x 1.5
is a concept that implies shared space, a sense of community...a connectedness to the world around us.  While it is true that I do not live in a strictly defined neighborhood, preferring to live in a rural area, my sense of neighborhood is still in tact, albeit in a more loosely defined way.  My sense of connection is not so defined by geography, but by interest.  My sense of neighborhood includes all those with whom I interact in my chosen field...artists in my classes, artists within my regional art groups, and those involved in the galleries where I do business.  These are the folks who inspire me, enrich my life, and challenge me to do the best I can.  These are folks whose resolve I so admire.  The network is strong and lively.  Ideas are shared.  There is trust.  A sense of dedication.  A sense of doing something greater than yourself.  As a young student in the late 60's, art seemed a totally frivolous way of spending time,  Now, as an older and wiser person, I realize that art, and living artfully, is a way of life, a way of solving problems, of finding joy in the present.  Art is life affirming. This is my neighborhood.

This painting was inspired by reference photos shot in early spring in the Glen Echo neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.  My goal was to sublimate individual details in each of the homes while creating rhythm that weaves itself between them.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cherries and Scribbles

Cherries and Scribbles   oil   8 x 24 x .5
Visual people seem to pay attention to what they like...or not.  For me, I feel that there is a perceptual "lift" in my spirits when shapes, colors and rhythms arise to the surface, a bit like a runner's high.  I definitely zone out when there is too much clutter, too many things.  So, rather than a complex still life, I prefer honing in on one particular.  Usually, I would be tempted to paint this small crock of cherries on a square canvas.  In this instance, I used a format that would stretch my imagination...a split screen with a bit of texture.  Simple, yet complex.  The darker layer of red violet was painted over a light ground and scratched into, almost immediately.  The color palette of light blue and burgundy (or oxblood or cordovan) recalls the oxford shirts, penny loafers and madras fabric of my early teenage years, the time of "coming of age", when colors, songs and experiences seem stronger than anything else experience up to that point in time.  It is a palette I have always loved.

So, I guess it would seem that this work satisfies me on so many levels....aesthetically, of course.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Lemons and Merlot

Lemons and Merlot  oil   20 x 10
Banquet   oil   20 x 60 x 1.5
is a slice created from reference photos taken for a larger work created in 2010.  The challenge for this work was a call from a Cleveland cooking school to create works that would be auctioned as a benefit for their school.  We artists were led to believe that our works would bring a fair market profit.  Of course, my imagination ran wild with possibilities.  On a blistering summer day, I created the set-up on my patio, with items purchased and from my cupboards. (Whoa....fish on a hot platter on a hot table on a hot patio)  I photographed the work from left to right in sections.  This work took a couple of months to complete.  And, as artists' luck would have it, the auction was attended only by employees and students of the school.  There were few benefactors and even fewer sales.  "Banquet" was sold at a far lower price that even I had imagined possible.  Love's labor lost.  Unfortunately, I still harbor a bit of resentment.  These memories are quite painful, actually. And, once again, that horrible grown-up lesson that there will always be those who take advantage of artists.  I learned a lot.  Again.

Luckily, I still have all of those reference photos that make my set-up that summer all too real.  There are many possibilities.  I guess that is what I thrive on...possibilities.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Jane

Jane   oil   30 x 24
This past month I had the privilege of painting Jane, a woman whose beauty (inner and outer) and strength will put her in my personal trove of women to admire and to model myself after.  She is witty...a coiner-of-words as she herself describes it, personable and enthusiastic.  She has flown planes and piloted boats. She is a photographer who understands composition and visual lingo. She is well-traveled.  As I painted her, I pictured her as a modern-day Amelia Earhart.  Her life has been spent in several parts of the country but is recently transplanted and blooming in northeast Ohio.

Painting a portrait only works out well for me when I am able to feel an emotional connection to the model.  For that to happen, the sitter must be open to the silent visual conversation and intimacy that must take place.  For me, all of the pieces fell into place.

And her name?  Jane is simple, direct and feminine.  Thank you, Jane, for a wonderful experience!

Friday, July 21, 2017

White Peaches

White Peaches   oil   12 x 9 x 1.5
Still life paintings are versatile.  An artist can include as many or as few objects as possible to match his/her aesthetics, to  provide for a design that is pleasing and strong, and, also, to allow for a glimpse into what that artist deems important enough to paint.  While still life paintings are not my focus, I still enjoy the playfulness with color and design that a still life provides.  No exact likeness is required.  Objects can be altered and/or eliminated.  If anything, they are an arena of experimentation and play.

In this case, I chose to give homage to white peaches that my husband brought back from a trip to North Carolina, knowing that their subtle taste is exquisite to me.  I chose to pair them with a bunch of white daisies that we had plucked from the garden.

In most of my previous floral and fruit paintings, I have used a grayed down compliment for the background.  Over the years, I have come to enjoy the earthiness that comes from using browns in floral works.  For me, it is an antidote to the overindulgence of the sweetness inherent in the subject matter, as well as a way to use darker values, which I tend to like.  In this case a mix of violet and brown did the trick.  I am satisfied.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sunflower Pair Redux

Sunflower Pair

Sunflower Pair Redux
Not often, but every now and then, I go back into an older work, because of the small voice in my head that whispers, "What were you thinking?"  My goal here is not to create an award-winning work, but to try to problem-solve in a completely different way.  Doing this is a bit like dancing while wearing a ball and chain, as there is little continuity, the rhythm being completely disrupted.  The work on the left is color-driven.  While the colors are electric and amiable to me, it lacks the distinction and simplicity that I now look for.  The work on the right was reworked, only from memory while trying to channel a better design.  Doing so simplified the work.  It is more easily "read".  Am I happy?  Well....I enjoy both about the same, to tell the truth.  But I am more satisfied having worked through this issue.

To redux or not to redux.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

V. Mired in Blue

Mired in Blue   watercolor   19 x 7.5
was painted from life and from a sketch done in two subsequent sessions.  The model was a lithe and artsy young woman who managed the goings-on at the desk of our local art center.  The countenance of the relaxed and unposed face is always so appealing to me, its being devoid of a public personna...the model usually drifting quietly into self.

While painting just the figure is an admirable aim, which I so much enjoy in the work of others, is near to impossible to me, as a search for design and color to take the work into more "me-ness".  As I tell the artists in my classes, the search for your personal aesthetic is a long and arduous road, only achieved after the reality of the subject has fully been discovered, achieved, and discovered and achieved again and again.  And, so, while I fully admire the simplicity and beauty of just the reality of the model, I must, at this point, be satisfied with my own way of working.  And....to celebrate it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lost and Found,

Lost and Found   conte and pastel on Rives BFK   18 x 21.5
picking and sorting, organizing....the stuff of which my life is comprised...constant evaluation:  weeds vs. flowers; healthy relationships vs. the toxic; and that which we deem necessary vs. that which just takes up space.  It is, I think, a perpetual process that helps us find ourselves.

This drawing was referenced from a photo shot last September at a family wedding, where our granddaughter, just two, was given the responsibility of being a flower girl.  During the long wait, she dropped the basket a couple of times, and patiently replaced the petals into the basket.  She took this job quite seriously.

The biggest challenge during this work was to push and pull those hard and soft edges for the purpose of movement throughout the composition.  This is a process that I particularly enjoy, along with a manipulation and shifting of values in an attempt to create work with strong design, while remaining soft.

Initially, I had planned only a light sketch.  The project morphed into a more complete painting-like drawing, in which the Rives BFK (a printmaking paper) was pushed as far as it could go in terms of workability.

I take my job quite seriously as well.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Rick - a sketchbook drawing
...to my husband...patient, kind, supportive...and, above all, a wonderful, wonderful father.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie   Watercolor on Khadi paper   12 x 12
seems to be a favorite and pies, in general, seem to be the quintessential American dessert.  I come from a long line of pie makers.  My mom always offered up at least three varieties at each holiday gathering.  Her sister used to stay up all night before family get-togethers rolling and filling and baking.  She even had a large multiple-shelved carrier with a top handle that allowed her to cart at least eight pies to events.  Any uneaten pies were sent home with guests. As a result, I am afraid that I became over-pied....just too much of a good thing, I suppose.

Recently, while having a bit of brunch in Clintonville, we stopped into a wonderful place....Dough Mama.  On the wall was a wonderful pie drawing that inspired my own version.  This painting is more meticulous than usual for me, as I took painstaking care in the overs and unders of the latticework crust.  I attempted to keep sparkling whites, mostly in the cherry filling.  The background was the devil.  Each color seemed wrong...too colorful to compete with the vibrant pie.  I finally layered the background with a pick-type brush (cut out like a comb) using white gouache for a more subtle application.  In this regard, I was inspired by a children's book in which all of the illustrations were painting on wood, with the grain as part of the overall texture.  I am pleased.

Care for a slice?