Saturday, May 29, 2010

fort zachary taylor state park

(6x8)
My best friend from high school, Robin, will be turning fifty next month, on the first day of summer, the happiest day of the year.
Robin lived in Key West for many years and I visited every year. Robin and I are ritualistic sorts and in Key West a never-missed ritual was to ride bikes to the waterfront market, stock up on cheeses, bread, and beer, then spend the day at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, reading, talking, eating and drinking; sitting in the sun or the shade of the cypresses, and swimming.
This is not my first attempt to paint scenes from the park ... I want to give them, when I get some good ones, to Robin as a memento for her birthday. I think I have to try again.
Judging for their website, the fort, like much of the Key West waterfront has suffered from a lot of sprucing up ... I miss dilapidated old Key West! Now that I'm old and dilapidated too it's an especial affront. I'm sure Robin (now living in Wisconsin) would agree.

(6x8)

A frame made from boards from an old Key West house that Robin gave me as a housewarming; it's hanging at the entrance to my art room.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

another virtual paintout scene: prague

(8x10)
This month's Virtual Paintout location is the Czech Republic. Of all the places I've virtually visited for VP, I found the street scenes of Prague the most appealing to date.
I actually have several scenes I'd like to paint, but I've been too busy engaging in not-unproductive diversionary tactics: painting the art room, clearing out the closet and sorting through papers, paints and palettes; choosing colors to fill two new palettes ... (next project: sand and varnish the art room floor).
If it weren't for trying to avoid doing other even-less-appealing things, I'd never get anything done!
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Virtual Paintout: Prague

(4x6)
Sometimes the paper's just not big enough!
I found a lot of great street scenes in Prague using Google's Streetview that I hope to paint ... But I just noticed when I came home today, after being away for a few days, that there's one beautiful iris blooming in my yard waiting to be painted.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

more irises

(7x10)
Didn't have time to paint yesterday (though I did get a coat of primer on the dining room!), but in the evening I looked at my vase of nearly-dead irises and made this quick study.
I see though that last night's rain has perked up the irises in the yard, so I may have another chance.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

back to school

(12x16)
Yesterday I brought some irises from my yard to my class with Marie Natale (I'm hoping to get in a few refresher classes before summer activities fully consume my life). She had us paint the setup--there were a couple of colored-glass bottles too, which I left out--1)without drawing, 2) using a triad, and 3) "inviting," as she says, the colors to run into one another, which necessitated keeping it all pretty wet.
I always have trouble sticking strictly to a triad; here, cobalt, magenta, and new gamboge. I didn't manage it here, but it is a helpful jumping off point: when you only have the three colors to chose from, I think you can paint with a little more abandon?
I enjoyed this exercise: not drawing removed the anxiety I would normally have trying to capture all the ins-and-outs of an iris. Instead, I just tried for shapes and colors. Naturally, there are things I would change--and I think I will add one or maybe two flowers leaning over into the empty space at the right.
It was also strange painting this size--I've become accustomed to a 5x7 or 7x10 size, so easy to "complete"--and on Arches paper (i'm trying to use the paper I have and pulled this block out of the closet). I usually use Fabriano, which I find so ... amenable--the paint just floats over it; with the Arches, I really had to use more paint and more water and force it onto the paper!

I wish I had thought to bring a camera: my classmates, Elaine and Dolores, did beautiful paintings with glowing color!
No class next week.

As I painted I kept trying to think of Hazel Soan (you'll remember the great paintings Cathy did in a workshop with Hazel!): she says that the subject of a watercolor is always the watercolor itself, not the thing you're painting.

(12x16)
This is the two-year-old unfinished painting that was on my block ... I ran out energy contemplating finishing off the fence. I think I may just stick a hedge in there and call it done.

p.s. Renovations continue with new drywall in the kitchen and dining room this past weekend. You wouldn't believe the dust sanding spackle creates; it gets everywhere--and gets tracked everywhere! Now I understand why Peter's so adamant about his workmen removing their shoes when they come in the house! My evening project this week is to get the rooms painted. Sticking with white for the kitchen but trying out yellow in the dining room--I can't wait to see how it turns out.
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