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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Big Snow...painting scenes from the neighborhood

Big Snow   Watercolor   20.5 x 13.5
Home is full of soul.  Home is feel "home" in your gut.  In order to establish a commitment to any artwork, I must feel an emotional connection.  After all, an artist spends countless hours, as well as blood, sweat and tears, bringing the work to a grand finale.  I am not one who can just plop myself in front of a scene and work away.  It has been known to happen, but it is rare.  This barn scene, done after a huge snow storm, is a scene less than a mile from my home, and one that I pass every time I go anywhere at all.  It is not pristine.  I did remove the road from in front of the scene, but the dirty snow is there.   It is real. It is viewed from the shopping plaza across the street.   I kept the "sparkling whites" toward the rooftop of the seems an ascension to me.  Just as I felt it in my gut.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tethys - a figurative drawing turned mixed media

Tethys   mixed media drawing on paper   29.5 x 16

"Tethys" started out its life as a vine charcoal drawing on watercolor paper done as a demonstration for a local art group.  My friend Trudy, who is also a synchronized swimmer(!), agreed to pose in her regalia:  a hot pink bathing suit, fingerless gloves, sparkly beach ball and an amazing crown-of-a-cap.  At the end of the evening, I had a nice drawing, but it certainly didn't do justice to the vibrancy of what the model had offered.  As I worked, I became excited about the possibilities of yet-to-be and decided to offer a bit about the progression to the artists who were kind enough to sit through the drawing.

Once back the easel, my first step was to use Opera Pink watercolor to paint in the costume.  Templates were cut from tracing paper and the background tiles were then printed onto the paper with foot pressure from a block I had on hand.  The designed tiles at the pool's edge were printed with a precut block from my collection.  I just love the bits and pieces of charcoal work that are left behind where the block didn't quite make a perfect connection with the paper.  To me, these are the happiest of unplanned accidents....almost up there with Christmas morning. I was pleased but then felt the need to use a large wash brush to "smoosh" some edges and make some of the tile-work more subtle.  The paper was quite wet at this point so I allowed it to dry overnight.

My excitement about applying the gold leaf just couldn't wait!  I don't get too nit-picky here with the small shapes, as I sometimes appreciate the imperfect ones a bit more.  Here is where I encountered a big surprise!  The printed tiles were still tacky and latched onto the leaf behind the cap in a rectangular shape....I had originally planned only on some small pieces within the cap area.  There was no fighting would not come off.  And so the shape behind the cap came to accident but not unappreciated.

In order to subordinate the facial features, some watercolor washes were  Blue was added to the leg area which remained as a two-dimensional flat uni-shape.  I simply loved it that way.  Chinese white was brushed onto the skin areas.  Some of the charcoal work had to be refreshed at this point.  I resisted the urge to correct mome of the shapes that had become quite imperfect, as I was afraid of destroying the overall feel, which I so enjoyed.  My husband says it is a bit Klimt-ish.  I agree.

This work definitely took me on a side-trip and provided more unexpected joy than what I ever imagined.  Thank you, Trudy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January Nude...a study in pastel

January Nude   pastel/paper   19.75 x 8
Our club's first model session of the new year was last Wednesday night.  Although I have stayed away from these sessions for a while, I definitely needed a jump start in the creative department after the long holiday hiatus.  And nudes are usually not my favorite.  Although there is much to be learned about the human body, I find them full of void, and not quite as interesting.  I came prepared with a nice slice of watercolor paper and some pastels from my Yarka sauce collection.  The model provided a wonderful classic pose and extreme concentration.  My thrill comes from the playing with the hard and soft edges....deciding which shapes to sublimate.  With white paper and light warms, I realized that it would be the darks that would lead the eye around the figure.  Originally, the darks were stroky, wild and black.  At home, I softened the darks with a greenish-gray that seemed, to me, more appropriate to the softness of the skin, the pose.  Broken dark reddish-brown line-work was added at the end to play off of the greens.

My friend Greg had a different problem to solve.  He was working on a gray toned paper.  In his case, it was the lights that did the leading.

One pose.  Many possibilities. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winter Red - painting a Cardinal

Winter Red   watercolor   19 x 12.5

Note to myself:  the brilliant reds and the subtle hues of birds are delightfully perceived in the winter.  Backgrounds with light values are good.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Birch Brothers...

The Birch Brothers   Watercolor   20.25 x 13

Scraps of brightly colored wrapping paper and bits of ribbon.  Strings of lights rewound.  Cookie tins emptying.  Early morning warmth from burning hearth.  Errant pine needles here and there.  Memories.  Quiet.  Quiet.  Quiet.

Back to the studio.