Friday, July 30, 2010

Flowers for the weekend

Let's start the weekend off with some flowers...

These steps lead to my sisters' home in San Diego. Whenever we're there we have lots of coffee and gaze out the windows while we decide what to do that day. Don't these colorful plants just send you?

This painting started out as a color study. Only problem is, I didn't stop soon enough and get out my good sanded paper. This was done on a piece of smooth watercolor paper. When it wouldn't accept any more pastel in an area, I dabbed on liquid matte medium with a smallish paintbrush, let it dry and then added another layer. This worked quite well. There's a name for this technique, but I can't remember it. In any event, I got the look I was going for. Now if I can just remember to start out on the good paper, I'll be headed in the right direction.

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy your weekend and remember to stop and smell the ________.

(can you identify the flowers in this picture?)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Humpty Hump Day

Yes, it's Wednesday. Hump Day. Middle of the week. What ever you want to call it, Wednesday seems to be here before you know it. Wednesdays make me think...hmmm, what have I done this week? Did I talk to my sister? Have I been to get groceries? Are all my chores done? Where can the week be going? What do I have to show for it? Do you do this? Think that every moment has to be accounted for, has to have been worth something, has to mean something? I try to get past that nagging little voice in my head (or that little character on my shoulder, like in cartoons) and enjoy life. My family, my life (with what talents I have) are gifts from God and I plan on enjoying them to the fullest. With that in mind, may I now present my latest works of art.

This first piece is done on an 8 x 10 watercolor canvas. The reference photo that I used is comprised from two Kodak Instamatic snapshots taped together.

My brother-in-law was stationed in Colorado in 1980 and took these shots and graciously gave them to me years ago. Using my imagination for the missing areas and eliminating the hood of the car, I came up with this...

Not all of my painting are "successes" by any means, but I can always pick out portions of each one that I really like. The following still life is one of those. Keeping up with a family tradition of asking "what can I draw?", I turned to my mentor (it's so nice to have an artist in the family) and one of the things suggested was a still life with fruit coming out of a cornucopia type basket. Well, I always have lots of fruit and I have a Longaberger basket, given to me by our Realtor when we became homeowners.

After several attempts I came up with a still life and photographed it and did my pastel from the photo. Right now I'm working better from photos than the actual item, but that's another story. Anyway here is the result...

Perhaps all this fabric draping was too much of an undertaking for a novice painter, but I persevered and got it to this point. As I said earlier, sometimes I don't consider the entire painting a success, but I love certain parts of it. On this one, I'm really pleased with the basket. I tend to want to draw in details and I have to remind myself that this is not a real basket of fruit, it's just the illusion of one. Looking at it, I don't really need to see each detail, to realize that it is a recognizable representation of a basket of fruit, a napkin and a candle. How romantic, imagine gathering up these items and stepping out on your deck at dusk and having a snack with that special someone. Right... then slapping mosquitoes and knocking over the tea and dropping the napkin...well, you get the picture.

Well, that's it for me today. I'll be back soon with more art, insight and laughter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hey there...

Just a quick post to say hello. I made a web cam video and with the aid of my hubby, I got it loaded and thought you might like to see it. It's me in my purple kitchen saying hi.
Hope you enjoy it.

That's it for today. Take care and have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Process

Sorry, but I forgot to take a shot of just the sky. I love doing clouds with pastels, it is so easy and they almost form themselves. I started with a blue sky with fluffy clouds and blocked in a big tree shape and foreground in bright yellow and painted them with odorless thinner. Then I added a curvy trunk and applied thinner to it with a rigger or liner brush...

Next I added some background trees and I started adding various squiggly marks in bright colors to resemble leaves and added to the trunk a bit...

Next I refined the leaves some more, trying to achieve a bit of depth with different shades of orange and red...

Initially I had planned to make the ground appear to be blanketed with fallen leaves, hence the yellow underpainting, but this tree wasn't ready to let go yet...

No siree, this tree said, "these leaves are mine, and I'm hanging on to them".

The shadow just started to emerge on it's own, so I went with it. A bit more defining of the trunk and the foliage, the tree is finished.

So that's the art for today. I hope everyone had a good week and has lots of fun planned for the weekend. DH has friends that are playing in the Blue Ridge Blues and Barbecue Festival this Saturday. We will all be having dinner together tomorrow night and then he will meet them for the festival on Saturday. Me? I'm making sure I have some yummy healthy treats on hand for the NCIS marathon on USA network. It starts at 1:00 and I'm going to watch them all until DH comes home. I don't care how many of them I've seen, I really dig that show. A bit gory for some, but it's all special effects and make up and doesn't bother me in the least.

Do you have wonderful plans for the weekend? Hope so. Whatever you do, stay safe and happy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can it be Tuesday already?

I find the days seem to buzz past me in a blur. I've recovered from my little bug, with the exception of some lingering body aches, that might be actually attributed to trying watch tv while on the treadmill. Well, like Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, "it's always something".

It's nice to have a little studio space in which to be creative, and I know you are bustin' a gut to see my latest painting, so here she is.

This is copied from a demo in my pastel instruction book. Some folks don't believe in copying another artist's work, but I think that if it is from a tutorial and it gives you a materials list, it is meant to be copied. It's not like I'm going to try to pass it off as anything, or even claiming that I took the photo, but if you look in Painting with Pastels by Maggie Price, you will recognize it from the section dealing with bright underpaintings. That won't keep me from being proud of it, or framing it for my home.

Before starting my journey with pastels, I didn't know that you could collect the dust from your pastel painting and make your own neutral colored pastel. Yep, you can and that's what I did here. The colors usually result in some sort of gray depending on, obviously, the colors you used. This is what resulted from this painting.

It's a very nice greenish gray that will be great for shadow areas and such. The method I have been using is to place paper beneath my table top easel and capture the dust that way. After putting it in a container, I added water, five drops at a time and stirred with my gloved finger of my right hand. After slowly dripping water and mixing about 20 drops of water I got a good stiff consistency and proceeded to form the dust into a cylinder. Pretty cool, huh?

And last but not least, I'm really trying to get serious about my weight and health. I'm 40 pounds over my mid-range desired weight. In April my sister and I challenged each other to lose 20 pounds, and I haven't dropped an ounce. Any hoo, I decided to take before pictures to be a bit of a motivator. I decided to take the pictures myself, and I'm not showing the actual pictures, but I did think that this was pretty funny. I have a ten second timer on my camera and a two second one. You guessed it, I accidentally pressed the short timer and had to run to my spot.....resulting in this image.

It looks like I'm doing some kind of clogging, doesn't it? I always wanted to learn to clog. You know that kind were they wear taps on their shoes? Wouldn't that be fun? If you live locally and find a clogging class, let me know and we'll partner up.

Well, with this picture burned into your retinas, I'll say ta, ta and go work on a new painting. I'm working from a reference photo that is gorgeous. It's a wonderful image of a Japanese maple, that was in a fall edition of House Beautiful. You just never know where inspiration might be lurking, huh?

So that's it until later. Take care and be creative and kind.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hello There, Ya'll

Well, it's been a fun summer so far. The hubby and I spent the past several weeks working on creating artistic birthday presents for a very, very special friend. She loves and appreciates handmade gifts , so each year we try to come up with something new we know she will like. This year, DH made her a polymer clay bear, not only as a gift, but as a reminder of how much we love her. I couldn't post it before, but she has it now and loves it.

You may remember that we did dragons for her last year, so I carried through with that theme and did a drawing with watercolor markers and gel pens. It turned out really cute, and I had it framed so all she has to do is hang it.

We had a blast working on these projects and knowing that someone really likes the gifts that you made means a lot. Happy Birthday Peg-Peg!

We went to several Independence Day events and even though we took lots of pictures, I haven't posted them yet. Everyone (meaning me) was so hot and gooey, that I don't know that I will, but as they say here in the South, "a good time was had by all".

I'm not sure whether it was from something I ate or a mean old bug, but twice this week I have felt poorly. Tuesday, I just felt yucky enough to go back to bed. Wednesday I felt good, so the Sweetest Hubby in the World took me to the mall. After leaving our keys one place and having to go back to get them and then leaving my shopping bag at the mall and having to go back again and finding it, we finally made our way home. Then, after a quick trip to the grocery store, I settled in and finished another painting. Lo and behold, this morning I woke again with what we call "the tricky gut". You probably know what this means and how it makes you feel. Now, I feel fine, so I just don't know what was causing it. Sheesh.

My sister, Peri (you may have noticed her in my comment section) helps me with my pastel work via long telephone conversations. She suggested that I paint something I know, something I see everyday, like my woods. We have lots of trees around us and I really need to practice on trees. My first step started with a quick drawing on a sketch pad. Hard to imagine a scribbled drawing like this will ever end up being recognizable.

Then I took reference photos, one in black and white, to show values and one in color to help jog my memory.

I used an 18" x 24" sheet of watercolor paper for the finished picture and after a while this is what I came up with.

Every painting I do teaches me something new. On this one I learned a very important lesson, don't forget to touch up your light area before you spray your final fixative. I'm quite happy with it though.

Another thing I have learned by reading various artist magazines is a neat way to store pastel painting until you have them framed. Check this out...

If you use wooden pants hangers, they grip your art securely and leave enough room between each piece to keep them from touching. This little tip could be applied to lots of things, like hanging up fabric and other things.

Well, that's it for today. I hope all of you are feeling well and not suffering from the heat. We hit 100 yesterday and that's reason enough to stay in and keep cool.

We'll talk soon, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's a different picture, in

Well, kiddies, another week has passed and I was able to spend some more time in the studio. Here is what I worked on this week. When it comes to art, I was usually a pen and ink, or a pencil artist. In other words, I draw. As you know I am trying to branch out with the pastels and learn to paint. For some reason, I just naturally started out small. I suppose I got in the habit of drawing on pads that were small enough to hold in my lap while watching the television. The pastel work that I have done recently has all been done on sheets smaller than 8 x 10, so at the suggestion of my sister, who has been painting with pastel throughout her career, I went much larger. She wanted me to do a large version of the picture with the mountains and the path, so here we go.

If you could not visualize it before, you can easily see that 18" x 24" is much larger than the 6" x 6" from last post, but it shows you how versatile pastels are.

Still working somewhat large, I used my 10 x 14 sketch pad for a study in color. Since I wanted something else colorful, I went looking around the studio for something with a lot of color. Sitting atop my sewing machine stash was a plastic bag that holds my thread, so I just plopped the bag of spools next to my table top easel and began to block in the colors using the side of the pastel. After blocking in the size and shapes, I went on to add in the tops and bottoms of the spools, using circular movements. A few dark strokes were added to show depth and then some loose curved squiggles for detail and I ended up with this.

Well, that's what I've been working on. I hope everyone has had a good summer so far and are planning all kinds of fun things for our Independence Day holiday. DH and I will be attending our
local celebration. Everyone will setting aside differences, if any and celebrating as one, while listening to speakers and celebrating our freedoms. Freedoms that have been fought for so diligently over the years. If you live near by, please join us at An American Celebration here in Roanoke, Virginia.

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy your week and celebrate this weekend safely and securely.