Wednesday, June 30, 2010

create 38 june project

Painter Vinita Pappas has started a site called Create 38  where she posts video demonstrations that you can paint along with, and then post the results in the members' gallery. I read about Create 38 on Sharon's blog, the Flat Sound of Wooden Clogs; Sharon did a beautifully atmospheric version of this scene with gorgeous greens.
These are my paintings of her June reference photo of a vineyard in California. I did the 9x12 painting, below, first, yesterday. I painted quickly while watching Vinita's video and made a mess of the middle ground (those lumpy trees!). I painted the smaller version today, just trying to remember some of things Vinita said--and especially trying to hold my brush the way she does: out at the very tip! The middle- and distant trees are still not so pleasing to me, but it's an improvement.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

wip and a surprise

I can never remember the name of these flowers--they have them often at the supermarket and they are usually the default pick among the scanty, uninspiring choices. How I miss those bunches and bunches of both homey and exotic flowers always on offer outside groceries in New York.
I did have a surprise last week, when Easter lilies and white gladiolas bloomed in my yard. I have no recollection of planting either! I love Easter lilies, but didn't get a chance to paint them (too much else to do! It always seems, in retrospect, a mistake not to stop everything to paint flowers), but never cared much for gladiolas--these white ones surprised me though; I thought them very elegant, white-linen-like.

btw: Several people asked me about the little drawing table in my previous post ... I'm trying to find out where I bought it (so long ago) and I can't seem to find a brand/manufacturer name on it, but if I find any info, I'll post it.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

change of venue

It's been hot here, in the nineties, which means my upstairs, where my art room (and my office) is, is unbearable: I go up there to grab and item or two and run back down, where it's marginally cooler (I have no AC).
In fact, my painting trip to Delaware was canceled on account of the heat. :-(
The evenings have been surprisingly cool and breezy, though, which is lovely. The other night we had about an hour of rolling thunder--I usually hate thunder, but realized I hate the cracking, booming kind; the rolling thunder was actually very pleasant to listen to, something Sleepy-Hollow-like about it.
I brought this painting table down and set it up in my room, preparing for inspiration.
This was how I painted when I first started to blog: on this table, in my room. I'd start something, then leave it there and dab at it a little now and then. I like having it there.
I painted these three little studies yesterday afternoon/evening. They're each about 4x6 and on Arches paper, which I haven't used in quite awhile but am enjoying. This is cold press but the surface seems more textured than other CP papers, it also stays wet longer.
No sooner do I say one thing than I do another.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

"fellow learner"

As happens so often the kind and thoughtful people who have left comments on my blog post have presented ideas and perspectives to me that I hadn't come to on my own. Thanks to them I have a new perspective. Since I'm not so happy painting lately, perhaps I need to just look. Concentrate on learning, replenishing, not producing.

I watched a good dvd a couple of nights ago, a documentary on the composer Philip Glass called Glass--the post title is a phrase from the film. Glass himself is charming and I found myself applying a lot of what he said about creativity and composing to painting.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

For the last week or so all the hybrid lilies in the yard have been in bloom--white, red, orange, yellow. I gathered up a bunch to paint and started, without drawing, on a half sheet (15x22). I dabbed at it a bit now and then, but I never got any momentum on it and now I've rolled to a complete stop.
I've also been poking away at the two little paintings too; it's not like me to not finish such small paintings in one go.
I think I'm just not having the kind of mental energy--or is it mental peace?--I need to paint.
I hope to remedy that later this week, when I meet with a few friends for a couple of days of painting Delaware.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

this monday ...

Yesterday our little class went to Elaine's elegant and perfectly situated house in Ocean City, NJ, to paint. We spent so much time admiring her lovely gardens, we barely has time to paint ... The weather was very changeable--sunny then overcast and back again, but the surroundings were so lovely.
The fish in the pond were camera shy, so Elaine threw them some food and I took about 100 pictures: my camera's shutter speed wasn't fast enough for me.

This  is one of the views from Elaine's deck. I don't know what this bridge is called, but it goes to the mainland (and who would ever want to go there?).
Here are two small, about 3x8, quick studies I managed to complete. what a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

This week one of my teachers, Marge Chavooshian, who I've been taking a weeklong summer plein air workshop with almost every year for twenty years (!), is in Cape May teaching an Elderhostel group, and Marge invited me to join them tomorrow or Thursday. Back to work now so I can be free to paint!
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Monday, June 14, 2010

last monday ...


You know you're in trouble when your post title is "Last Monday" ... Finished my assignment from last week, just like I finished my school assignments all my life: at the last minute.
In the larger one I was trying, as you know, to convey a sense of space, and I think it's successful (thought that middle ground area still confounds me), but the quick sketch below may be even more successful, atmospherically speaking.
I always feel that to be an "artist"--and this is why I call myself a "painter"--you have to think and have an idea and a plan, but for me anyway, there can be too much planning and thinking.

As in this little still life. I wanted to paint one of the beautiful (and big and comfortable) mugs my brother sent me from Asheville, NC, so I put it on the table and was about to start, then I thought I'd add something ... and something more ... I wish I'd left just the mug!


Looks like it'll be a nice, if hot, day for plein air. I really am looking forward to it. It's a great challenge, as well as a pleasure, so much so that whether you come home with a painting you're pleased with or not doesn't matter.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

monday's class


The task in class Monday was to paint landscapes with a sense of depth, space. A frustrating exercise because while I've been told all the ways to accomplish that--warm in front, cool in back; color in front, muted color in back; details in front, none in back--it's still a hit-or-miss proposition for me. Which could be discouraging--I know what to do but can't do it?--or in a way encouraging--there's an element of producing a pleasing painting that doesn't have to do with what you know?

We did small studies first. These are mine, of Cape Henlopen, DE, and the Red Rocks in the BVI. (4x6)

I'm still futzing with my 7x10 of the Red Rocks: getting the "right" color for the middle-ground green hill has me painting and repainting--first it's too warm, then too blue; now it's too green. I know I won't be able to stand it much longer--nor will the paper. (I'll post the result, whatever it may be!)

Next Monday we'll be doing a little plein air painting--new frustrations!--courtesy of my classmate Elaine, who has invited us to paint at her house.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

little peanut

This is supposed to be my Carlos, who died two years ago ... It doesn't really look like him, even the colors are off, but the pose is Carlos all over.
I find animals to be a difficult subject, especially tabbies like Carlos (and I don't even try for the texture of fur!), though, come to think of it, my all black cat, Smilla, presents her own problems.
Though it's small, this painting looks better from far away; maybe because I wasn't quite sure of the details.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

vines and lilies

My trumpet vine has a few blooms on it--for the amount of foliage it produces, which is nearly terrifying, it doesn't bloom much.
I'm especially fond of trumpet- and bell- or cone-shaped flowers for painting: Canterbury bells, gloxinia, Easter lilies. I also have a few stella d'oros, which, against the blue-greens of the yard are a heart-stopping yellow-orange.
Every day I berate myself for not painting them ... but I've been busy with work (so busy I've temporarily suspended my wall painting) and other stuff too--you know, all the stuff that keeps you from painting, real and imaginary.

Yesterday I cut a few branches of trumpet vine and a couple of my not-so-numerous stella d'oros, along with a hybrid lily (a white one; I overdid the shadows on it here and so made it orange! Maybe I can add a wash of pink later) ... I knew that once I cut them I'd feel compelled to make the most of it.
So last night I finally began.
These should have a few more days in them.

"If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily." Chinese proverb
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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

brilliant summer

Reflections on the boat hull.

 What I do to pass the time while Peter's getting the boat ready.

Over the weekend I also, finally, spent some time figuring out how to use the tripod for my Guerrilla Painter pochade box. Like many painters, I like "equipment," and I've had this 9x12 box for years but haven't used it much because I always had difficulty setting it up. Now that Peter showed me how it's supposed to work, it's a snap.
The last place I used it was in the Florida Keys, where Peter attached this sticker to it. It's perfect because I do love Pigeon Key.  
Now I have to get used to painting using this setup, which is awkward for me--you have to reach across, over the palette, to get to the paper (too bad the top doesn't swivel around, like the screen on a portable DVD player, for those of us who like to be closer to the paper).
Of course, it may be a good thing to have to extend my arm more fully ... less control, more energy?
I can--now that I know how to work the tripod--tilt the box so the bottom is angled and I'm closer to the paper.
After this little test painting, my arm was tired!

A poem I received via email from one of my favorite poets on one of my favorite subjects.
Summer Song
by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer's smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?

 BTW: Someone asked how I "manipulated" the piling reflection photo. Simple: using the Picasa photo storing and editing software, in the "effects" box, I chose "tint" and selected a color. Done and done.
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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Manipulated reflection of a piling.

Some Cape May fishing boats. Took a little boat ride late yesterday afternoon; there was no one on the water.
Getting ready to go out and fish now ... More boats, and paintings of boats I hope, to come!

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

crafty interlude

My friend Shelby's friend--and now my friend--Freddie made the most beautiful embellished mirrors using shells, not bought shells, but shells and bits she found along the Delaware bay. Her creations are gorgeous--very "encrusted"--they have a wonderful accretive abandon; in mine, I'm afraid, I was too cautious about not covering over the bits I liked! I wonder if I had ever realized before how stunning the subtle greys, creams, and browns of our local shells are. I wish I had taken some photos of Freddie's creations; you'll have to settle for now with this photo of my first attempt to follow in her footsteps. I added beach glass and pebbles, which maybe are a bit too much--but, like Freddie, added whelk egg casings, and, as a nod to my cat, Smilla, a seagull feather!
Freddie also, and perhaps primarily, makes amazing, unique (gulp) jewelry! I now have four of her necklaces and as many pairs of earrings ... I plan to do a post showing them as soon as I can. Wait until you see her stuff--you'll be smitten, as I am.
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