Wednesday, April 30, 2008

pink still life


I've had this full sheet drawing for more than a year, always alternating between wanting to finish it and wanting to abandon it. (My February 16 post shows it in it's previous state of undoneness.) After a year, I feel uncommitted whan I approach it, but maybe it's good to have on hand to poke away at a little when I'm uncertain what else to do!
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Monday, April 28, 2008


The orangey and dark reds I'm trying to get elude me. This instead uses all the reds and pinks on my palette.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

spring selection


I grabbed these fake flowers at random, recovering them from a box in the shed while in search of my hammock. I jammed them in a little jar and put them aside (I had found the hammock); the next day this accidental arrangement appealed to me.
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three in a row

More nighttime painting, after a day running around. Looks like another great spring day today--that's three in a row! Which should maybe be the title of this painting.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A little made-up Bay scene. I've lived by the Bay for 16 years, and still water and and dune grasses continue to be such challenging but happily appealing subjects.
This winter I signed up for a workshop across the Bay in Lewes, Delaware, with Judi Wagner, and it's only one week away now! My plein-air painter friend Shelby, who I met at a workshop in NM and who has a place in Lewes, will be taking the workshop too and very generously taking me in for the week! The Delaware shore, what I've seen of it, seems to have more untouched dunes than we in development-crazed NJ enjoy.

Some sunflowers from the market. I planted four varieties of sunflower seeds along my fence, where they do very good, if the squirrels don't get to them first. A big if. One year I had stalks over six feet tall with huge, heavy, seed-laden heads, which I cut and left out for the birds.
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Monday, April 21, 2008

ranchos de taos

Two more views of the Ranchos de Taos church. In the top one--the view painted by O'Keeffe--I used glazing, starting with yellow and adding layers through blue and violet; though, as you can see from the runbacks, I put down some glazes before the previous was fully dry, which is a must if you want a smooth finish (which I don't particularly ...).
These are small and careful. I like the subject and like to do them big and sloppy! Maybe when I have more space and time.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008


And now for something completely different ...
This is a side view of the church in Taos that O'Keeffe painted. I have a view from the angle she used, and I'm going to paint that for tomorrow. The adobe color is so subtle, hard to get; for tomorrow's I may try glazing.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Last night I attempted to redo one of the Pigeon Key scenes and thought it was a good start; this morning I woke up and saw the yellow I used was dark and very cool--in other words, wrong! I tried to lift; tried to cover it ... no good. Don't paint in the dark.
So, just to keep posting through my little slump, I pulled out this unfinished painting from a life class a couple of years ago. The subject was Jim, but I think it kind of looks like Bob Dylan.
In a subsequent class we discussed how, and if!, I should proceed with this. Suggestions?
(BTW that's supposed to be a mustache.)
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Feeling a bit distracted and scattered, which is not conducive to painting! Can't seem to settle on a subject or commit to the time, or more importantly, the mental energy, to paint. So here's just a quick impression with the remnant of one of the many fishing piers--all gone now--that used to extend out into the bay and from which my brothers and I used to (ineptly!) crab.
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Monday, April 14, 2008

more pigeon key

In class today I worked on two more Pigeon Key scenes. I started out with too much water, and the paper stayed frustratingly wet throughout class. Each of these needs a bit more work--exactly what, I don't know; but they don't feel done to me--but I'm going to let dry thoroughly before attempting anything!
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

another still life class

My final teacher at CU, with whom I took several classes, including a couple of summers of oil painting in Central Park (I have a handful of dark gloomy oil paintings!), was Pam Ervin. A great teacher who pretty much encouraged us to do whatever we wanted. These still lifes are from one of her classes.

I'm glad I held on to all of these--though it's going to make cleaning out my art closet much less productive! Maybe I can clean out another instead!

Tomorrow, back to new work.
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first watercolor classes

I was lucky in my first teacher. She was a believer and practitioner of glazing. She set up simple, and I thought at the time odd and boring, still lifes, that we then carefully developed glaze after glaze for the 3 hours of class. I don't glaze much now--never think of it; I'm not so methodical or perhaps I just don't have time--but it was good practice and I remember one exercise I enjoyed very much where we didn't draw the subject first but found it as we layered glazes. The results, with colors peeping out at edges, were quite nice. She like us to work large also (though these are both quarter sheets).

My second teacher favored a more alla prima approach.
I feel terrible that I don't remember these really wonderful teachers' names now; I'd like to credit them for giving me a great start.
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first drawing class

I had taken art in HS, but abandoned drawing for reading through college and grad school; in the late 80s I signed up for a drawing class at Cooper Union.

Cleo and Othello on my kitchen table in Jersey City. (Love the radiator! What fun to draw.)

More orchids, with a small copy (top right) of a photo on a postcard. Should have noted the artist; can't recall now.

Jade plant, something I still find fascinating to draw or paint, and me at around eight, from a photo (I left my brothers out!).
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first watercolors

While work is still being done of my house, I thought I should thin some of the clutter, starting with my art supplies closet, in the bottom of which I found a big flat box of old paintings and drawings. These are three of my earliest watercolors, done at a table in my apartment in Jersey City in the early 80s. After playing around like this for awhile, I signed up for drawing and painting classes at my dad's alma mater, Cooper Union (I'll post a few of these too).
Looking through these raises the question: what to do with them? I have piles and piles. It seems ridiculous to hold on to them, but what else can be done? And now, looking at these, I'm glad I kept them, though I must have not thought much of them previously to consign them to a box at the bottom of closet.
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Friday, April 11, 2008

pigeon key

From Monday, 4/4's class: a bungalow on Pigeon Key in the Florida Keys. Pigeon Key is where the workers on the Seven Mile Bridge stayed and now it's a state park I think. It's small, practically deserted, and has several little bungalows with great 360-degree views. I sketched two more to paint in next week's class.
(Not to jinx it, if the gods of the ethernet are eavesdropping, but I think I've resolved my connectivity issues: now to get back on my painting schedule ... This brief haitus has demonstrated to me what an impetus to paint corresponding with other bloggers is.)
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Monday, April 07, 2008

knopf's poem a day

I subscribe to publisher Alfred A. Knopf's Poem-a-Day email and I enjoy it so much, I thought I'd tell you about it! To subscribe, send a blank email to:
I have to run to watercolor class; hope to post the result later, though I am having difficulties with my connectivity at home

Saturday, April 05, 2008

easter lilies 2


These Easter lilies are still holding up! This is a second Easter lily painting. I wish this were a better photo; I'll try to get a better one when I post again.
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Thursday, April 03, 2008


Bought a little pot of daffodils at the farm market, the kind with the orange trumpet and yellow petals, one of my favorites (I also like the ones with the white petals and orange-tipped yellow trumpets, but I never see them).
I did these three 5x7-ish studies freehand last night. Daffodils seems so hard to capture; maybe it's not just that they're yellow(!), but something in their attitude: delicate and jauntily aggressive at the same time.
I like painting flowers freehand--just starting with one and adding on. I try to include blooms facing in different directions and in different stages of openness, and hope for the best!
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