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Monday, June 28, 2010
Taking a moment to review some past work. It is late June and the roses are blooming up here at last. This painting was done in a rose garden back in Rochester, NY of two sisters, BethAnn and Paula. BethAnn was a frequent model for me at the time. I am feeling some inspiration to go back to the theme of a youthful face and flowers around - but I would like to explore the nature of the aging process I think - to have some of the flowers past their prime but still showing a kind of beauty that can be appreciated if one looks carefully. Some past-their-prime female faces are also on the table - the portrait(s) Lyndia (not yet completed) and the painting of Miz Sandy are both in the genre, along with two recent self portraits of myself at the bathroom sink. Thinking a lot about the upcoming last part of life - and it can be good if I let it be - no need to fear if I remain "young at heart", like the old song.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The incredibly beautiful poppies we had in the garden a week ago are now almost gone. I love to see them come into bloom but am almost immediately sad because I know how quickly they will be gone. This pastel is from last year - I got motivated to paint them while they bloomed. This year I just took some time to sit with them and stare for a while. It seems impossible to duplicate that vibrant red/orange colour in pigments. The paintings are a poor second to the original, but at least one can keep the picture around and look at it indefinitely. My grandmother could not bear to have poppies in her garden as they reminded her of the Great War. I look at them and see there is still beauty to be appreciated in spite of the mess the planet seems to be in.
Painting anything is hard for me right now; I get this way sometimes. I will finish Lyndia soon, I know, but then it is time for new things. I do not lack for ideas at least but wonder how important anything I do really is and then I recall reading somewhere that to despair is a kind of sin, although Samuel Beckett said "the only sin in the sin of being born." "You must go on."
"I can't go on." "I'll go on."
Beckett - The Unnamable
Monday, June 21, 2010
When I had this studio built two years ago I made sure it came with a deck. I am not particularly
a plein air painter but sometimes I like to be out in the fresh air. I can wheel my smaller easel out
here and set up a mini palette and while away some hours. I am the type who has to reward myself with this kind of benefit since I am so aware of chores that need doing around here all the time. Beds made, dishes done, vacuuming accomplished, laundry loads in and out, some weeding, correspondence taken care of, bills paid, (and trying not to worry too much about the shortage of money to do that!) - then I can relax with a clear conscience, except when my husband is so pointedly weed wacking and gardening in front of me (as he is right now)...
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Three days of procrastinating...doing other stuff...ignoring the easel, but it's always there staring at me. I was all thumbs and butterfingers today but as the hours passed and it was about time
to stop I had regained some dexterity. I apologize for this boring post today. Kind of fits my mood.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"Lyndia as Split Personality" (working title) is coming along slowly. Still underpainting most of it but began to work more on the one side of her face. The size is smaller than I normally work, also part of the experiment with this painting. I prefer to have portraits be at least 3/4 to life size. Not bigger though. Bigger gets into grotesques mode. So happy that Lyndia is so openminded about this painting! There is a subliminal understanding that connects us somehow - we both get rattled, spacey, distracted, overfocused, underfocused, depressed, recovered, and consoling - fortunately these episodes mostly play off one another nicely in that when I am depressed she is
in recovery mode and can advise, console, help, and make me laugh and vice versa. Neither of us has answers for anything but just knowing somebody else "gets" you completely is such a comfort! After finishing up with Lyndia and the visit to my son next month I really, REALLY intend to start a figure series and work from live models as much as possible (and as much as my bank account will allow). I would like to forget entering shows, struggling to get set up in outdoor exhibits, trying to "market" effectively and generally just go into painting mode.
Monday, June 14, 2010
It has been pointed out to me that the reflection of light in the sink looked strange because it was limited to being between the taps and didn't extend around the sink. This was the case in reality - the overhead mirror lights only reflected in that narrow space but artists can change the reality they make (which I think is one of the motivators for producing art in the first place) so I took Jane's concern (see comment section under previous post) to heart and felt she was right so I extended that light reflection on either side of the taps. Much better! As they say, the devil is in the details... I had wanted to enter this in this year's Pastel Society show in NYC but the rules for submission require SASE envelopes with American postage (I live in Canada - no current access to American postage) and that one has a "dealer" or "representative" to deliver the work
(if accepted) to the exhibiting gallery uncrated, then when the show is over, presuming the work doesn't sell, one has to have someone pick up the work and go and get it repacked and shipped back to me. I have friends in N. Jersey whom I might be able to persuade to do all this but it is a lot to ask. In addition digital images are allowed for entry but have to be 900 pixels on one side and 300dpi. I can change pixels on my computer but not dpi - would have to send the image to Staples or someplace to have them do it for me. That with the cost of entering (higher for non US residents) thwarted my desire to enter this show. Next year I might try and be more prepared. I can get American postage sent to me by my son and maybe he'll even be willing to deliver it (if accepted) for me (he lives in Rochester, NY - 8 hours away from NYC). By then I might even know how to change dpi on an image - living in this new high tech world is getter more and more complicated for some of us old fogies:-)
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Ok, back to the drawing board the past couple of days and now struggling with this sink. There are a couple of things (well, more than a couple) that it is hard to pin down local colour. Beach sand, for instance, is a very ambiguous colour and difficult to duplicate in paint. This white sink
is turning out to be another. I have painted white crockery and enjoyed finding the variety of colours that reflect in the surface, but this is different. There are no real shadows and the lighting makes part of the white ceramic almost appear old and dirty even though this is a newish sink.
I layered a lemon yellow, a pale umber, and a light blue grey before coating everything with a light layer of white, blending, blending, blending. Some of the curve of the sink seems to have some burnt sienna also so that is in the mix. I hope to finish the sink tomorrow. Then what, I ask myself? Something in the background? Tonal changes back there? I'll sleep on it. At least the faucet was fun.
Monday, June 7, 2010
This has been the "work of art" I have been labouring on the past couple of days with my husband, Bob. We want to take advantage of the reasonably dry weather we are finally having to get this greenhouse up. Bob is starting a small herb nursery business and the greenhouse is an essential element. Hope we can complete this today as I really want to get back to the paintings that aren't finished and start some new ones screaming in my head for attention.
In addition to this greenhouse for babying along the tiny seedlings, are about 20 raised beds for
growing the plants as they become larger. In the meantime this building, which looks simple enough, is a test of a good marriage and lots of under our breath cursing:-)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I almost stopped working on this yesterday. I felt suddenly unsure of where I am going with this but including the sink seems to bring it back in focus for me. The sink and taps and the counter are a break from all those stripes. It's just another experiment with my faux Colville style. Meanwhile I am continuing with the painting of Lyndia but I don't feel ready to post that image right now. I am feeling anxious to move on to some other work that has been sitting endlessly in my mind, but that is also what this piece is about - bringing an idea I first had five years ago to fruition. I took photos of myself at the bathroom sink with the venetian blind shadows dramatically
across me and that was tricky - left me with several areas I have to "imagine" if you will. Camera was in the way, sink and taps were not properly in the picture, background was less than ideal...
I just saw it suddenly as a striking image and decided I had to try to get it on canvas/paper. The
shadows were changing fairly quickly with the change of the sun so I didn't have time to prepare the shot or set up anything - just had to capture what I could and took several photos with the
changing light. I had a teacher who stressed never using oneself for a model, but sometimes there is no choice! Hazel Dooney has always used herself as a model and it has done well for her. I am currently on the lookout for a few models to use for the new upcoming work but have to figure out if I can afford to pay them. Sometimes in the past I have offered to give them copies of the photos I take and a drawing, plus a photo enlargement of the finished painting, and that usually goes over very well.
Meanwhile, back to this piece - will it sink or swim?