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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Third Pass...

Banquet...third pass...five days...more description
took five days of work.  More description.  But not this point I had a fair idea of the horizontal flow and the rhythmic pattern that would, hopefully, lead the eye around the composition.  But we artists know that with every gain there is a loss.  Sometimes wonderful passages were edited, sacrificed, for the whole.  At this point, the loss for me was the dissipation into pieces-parts, almost too much reality for me.  Preparation for a bit of chaos, a bit of destruction that had to be done for the sake of simplicity.  Too many things.  Too much itty bitty.  Too many words in the story.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Second Pass...

Banquet...second pass
required more description, more attention to values and more attention to color temperature.  The long horizontal format is a bit of a different animal.  In working from left to right, I found that I was losing energy toward the end.  Fatigue sets in.  Things must be harmonized.  After the first pass, there was an abundance of dark values on the left....much lighter on the right.  This must all be balanced, in addition to beginning to set up a rhythm between the forms.  At this point, I was also determining which edges needed to be hard, and which soft.  It is definitely more difficult to achieve an all-over harmony given this format.  Carry on.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The First Pass...

Banquet...first pass
was completed by striking in local color and getting a feel for just where forms are positioned as well as to begin to understand the complex relationships between the forms.  I decided to forgo the view from a particular vantage point, deciding, instead, to view all forms as if I were standing in front of each.  Perspective has lost its extreme influence.  I will have to use rhythm to move us around the picture plane.  The background was painted in a light tint of terra rosa to simulate textured plaster walls.  I did not cover it completely, choosing, instead, to let small patches of the cadmium yellow under-painting to shine through.  None of these decisions is resolute.  Some of my earlier choices will be negated as the work progresses.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Block-In,

Banquet...block in
for me, consists of a minimum number of lines that form a rhythmic pattern across the canvas.  Some artists use vine charcoal.  I use a very small brush and a liquidy turpentine mixture of an earth tone.  Some artists spend a great deal of time on this step, being certain that each form is in the right place and that sizes and measurements are fairly correct.  I find that spending too much time on the block-in not only neutralizes my enthusiasm for the painting part, but also reduces the amount of freedom in painting that I have...which is optimum for me in the creative process.  And so, I forgo lots of measuring and exactitude which allows for the freedom I crave.  The bad news is that not everything is in the "right" place and not everything is the "right" size.  Adjustments will need to be made.  Things will stay more flexible, more fluid.  And that is all right by me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Does it Match?

We artists work with color on a regular basis.  It spins our collective fan.  Color engages.  Color energizes.  Color soothes.  Tyrone Geter once said that the more one learns about color, the more he/she realizes how much more there is to know.  True.  True.  True.  In a college sociology class, I read of a native tribe somewhere that had only 2 color words.  Seeing simply.  Dividing the spectrum into only 2 categories.  I have thought often of this knowledge bite, and guess that the words had to do with color temperature.  Maybe.  I am a lover of pures paired with neutrals, those colors that can hardly be described with words, i.e. bluish-brownish-purpleish.  Seeing colors is a subjective skill....who can really tell what another eye is seeing?  Fascinating.

This color IQ test was forwarded by my son and is quite an endeavor.  If you choose to attempt it, please do it when your time is open-ended, perhaps a half hour.  When you click on the site, there is a block about color iq.  Click on the part underneath that says..."learn more".  Fun.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Creative Schemes...

Queen Ann   watercolor   13 x 10
have been part of my m.o. for as long as I can remember.  The other day while walking along the roadside, I had a Marcel Proust moment when I spotted Queen Ann's Lace, a prolific wildflower often deemed a weed.  My childhood friend Tina and I spent a lovely summer afternoon clipping these beauties and putting them into jars with food coloring.  Within hours, they were infused with amazing colors.  We set up our roadside stand, prepared to rake in the cash.  Why wouldn't passers-by be drawn to these amazing flowers?  Needless to say, it was a very long afternoon.  No sales.  No cash.  No competition for the lemonade-makers.

Just an amazing memory of an afternoon well spent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Farmers Markets...

Tomato Basket   oil/canvas  16 x 20 x 1.5
are in full swing now and need our support.  Since the 1950's, chemical farming has altered the way food is grown in our country.  High-tech farming has lessened the quality of the foods and depleted the soil causing lower nutrient crops as well as increasing erosion.  The yield per acre has tripled.  Labor has been cut by 2/3.  But energy use has quadrupled.  Not a good thing....all sponsored by the petrochemical industry.  According to Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins of the Institute for Food and Development Policy in San Francisco, the myth of world hunger has also been propagated by this same industrial outlook.  Rather, hunger is not the result of poor production, but the result of social and political policies that cause farmers to plant commercial one-crop products that are exported for monetary gain, leaving the local and regional communities with little to nothing.

I have spent the past three weeks painting fruits, vegetables and other food items.  I cannot paint without thinking of the subject and what this particular experience has to teach.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Water, water.....

West End (NC)   watercolor   25.5 x 15
is not really everywhere....we take it so for granted.  West End, North Carolina is a sleepy little town that we pass through often.  It is the kind of place where old guys in red caps hang around garages.  Antique shops line the street....the one street.  I love this town and I don't know why.  Last year for our "look up" painting challenge in class, I chose to paint the town water tower.  It was a hot, humid and cloudy day....very moody.   This painting is right on with its feel.  Gets one to thinking...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Butterfly Wallpaper   watercolor
of butterflies, dragonflies and insects of all kinds are so very beautiful....patterny, colorful and sometimes iridescent.  On a day when painting something large is out of the question due to time restraints, small insect paintings can keep your brushes wet and in practice.  For me, even a day without painting seems to increase painting trepidation...the fear of white canvas or paper.  For these small works, I buy thrift store frames and design the paintings around the frame size.  Granted, this way of working is not really natural, due to size restrictions.  I liken it to illustration, where the size and dimensions of the work are predetermined.  Nevertheless, it is a fun and freeing exercise.....

take flight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


setting the mood with a toned canvas for the Loretta Paganini painting project
is a good thing and helps to propel us toward success no matter what the endeavor.  Sure, I enjoy the spontaneous painting that I often do, but in more complex projects, I like to ease my way into the project with planning and sketches.  Today I begin a large canvas of bountiful fruits and vegetables that is being done in collaboration with the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking and Culinary Arts.  The canvas was toned with a rich warm and buttery yellow that, hopefully, will peek through other layers.  I purchased all of my ingredients and combined them with items from my own kitchen to create a very long still life set up on my patio last week.  I photographed and re-photographed all of the items.  Painting from a live set up will not be possible due to the immensity of the painting as well as the organic nature of the items.  Here I go!

Now....all I need are some lemons.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I need more lemons!

Lemony   oil/canvas   6 x 6 x 1.25
Things are heating up here in northeast Ohio.....temperature predicted in the 90's all week with high humidity.  Our home is not air-conditioned.  Whew!  I find lemons to be a refreshing remedy to cool, to hydrate and to enjoy.....lemons in water, lemonade mixed with beer, lemon desserts and lemons to look at.  Beautiful!  It would make for good writing if I said that I am cooler already just thinking about lemons.  It's not true.

But it's the thought that counts.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Barbara Krans Jenkins

Barbara Krans Jenkins   charcoal and pastel on paper   12 x 17.5
is an amazing artist who does forest floor images beyond compare.  Her cut and decorated gourds appear to be fine ceramic objets d'art.  And her community spirit benefits all of our community artists.  She has established the gallery at her church, St. Paul's Episcopal, boasting an elaborate and high-tech hanging system as well as committees of folks to help unload and hang.  Not a small feat.  And she is often seen volunteering and demonstrating at Summit Artspace alongside her vast collection of prismacolor pencils.  And so, it is to her credit  that I will be showing paintings and drawings at St. Paul's from July 4 through August 26.

Chef Roger will be there.  Come on along.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Asparagus, Peaches and Cherry Tomatoes   watercolor   12.5 x 14
is a matter of personal preference, of course.  I feel lucky that my my delight threshold is so brain is stimulated by marks on the sidewalk, stacks of books.....and going to the market.  Marketing has always been a pleasure for me even when in a hurry....which is just about always.  Summer's produce is a wave of textures and colors to spin my creative fan.  Who doesn't love the collection of peppers....all yellow, orange, red and green....stacked in baskets and boxes?  Pity the person who does not notice.

Delight in the seeing, the touching, the smelling and the eating.

And, I will confess to buying things I don't need just because they are beautiful.