"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Paint This Fruit Before It Rots

       The Napthol Red finally dried so I took out a couple of semi-large brushes, mixed up just a few colours (not my usual palatte) and splashed away. This isn't great art but I had fun. Good thing as the fruit is beginning to be on its way out. It was the first real painting I've done in ages. Once this dries I'll probably go back in and work more on the folds of fabric. I really enjoyed just letting stuff happen here and not trying to be too perfect, but I am hoping to get back some focus soon, start a series, paint something that means something to me. If the weather holds I can arrange for Mike Ward, the model, to come up to pose in the box which sits here in the studio like some mysterious sarcophagus or new age shrine that I dare not move because I'm not sure I could get it all back together again.

       I was thinking about a painting a series of unmade beds but I'm pretty sure that's been done already...the great thing about painting fabrics is that they hold a pose without getting hungry or saying they need a break.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Step Back - A Step Ahead

       Just when I thought I was making some progress I had a sudden, unexpected setback. A week ago sunday I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing up addressing the envelopes for the 15 letters I was to send out for Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign when I noticed I wasn't feeling well. I became restless, had to stand up, walk around, and suddenly rush for the bathroom; I'll spare you the details. Then the pain began, lower right abdomen and it felt also like I had been kicked in the kidney. Then after about a half hour I felt a bit better for a while and then it started all over again. This continued all day, pain, vomiting, etc. I just lay on the bed in a fetal position hoping I could die soon. By evening I wasn't too bad again and even managed to sleep pretty well through the night - not moving too much seemed to help keep the pain at bay. 

       Next morning I felt fairly ok so I got up, folded laundry, cleaned up in the kitchen, although I still didn't feel like eating (I hadn't eaten since the morning before). Then it all began again, only worse. I was doubled up and decided to call the doctor; they gave me an appointment for that evening (my doctor is an hour and a half away). By noon I realized I'd never make it until 7:20 at night so I asked Bob to call for help. He called 911 and inside of 15 minutes the ambulance arrived. I was deathly pale, freezing cold, nauseous and in terrible pain. They got me into the ambulance and into a hospital gown, and wrapped me in blankets and put very hot plastic bags in with me (they felt wonderful but I noticed they were practically burning the hands of the paramedic). She had me breathe in nitrous oxide during the hour trip to the hospital and it eased the pain considerably. My colour was better by then so I was placed on a blanket covered steel wheelchair, one of those extremely uncomfortable but sturdy types that you can't push around yourself, and wrapped me in blankets. I sat in the emergency waiting room for three hours. My blood pressure and heart rate were excellent so I wasn't considered a high risk to die or anything - it was kind of reassuring, sort of. But everyone in the waiting room was dressed except for ME and I kept hoping I wouldn't have to find a bathroom since all I had on was an open backed hospital gown, plus I wasn't walking too steadily at that point. 

       The emerg was crazy that day (one of the nurses used the word "crazy" so I know it wasn't me hallucinating or anything). A gunshot (hunting accident), a heart attack, and numerous fairly serious cuts came in after me and all had to take priority, to say nothing of the people who had been there before me. Finally I was wheeled into a small private room in emerg and somehow managed to give a urine sample (I really didn't think I would have it in me - I hadn't eaten or drunk anything in about 30 hours). Then blood was taken, more blood pressure and heart rate stuff for the umpteenth time. I was able to lay down at least and try to keep warm under one flannel blanket for the next four hours.  I was asked a lot of questions including "are you under stress?" and "are you depressed?" plus lots of poking and prodding. The pain was gone at least but I still did not feel hungry or thirsty - just weak and tired. At length I was told that I had a bladder infection and probable gall bladder problem. I needed to have an ultrasound for which I would have to come back later in the week. I called Bob and he had to come get me at nine o'clock at night. We stopped at a pharmacy that was still open and filled two prescriptions, including an antibiotic that was to knock me for a loop all of last week. The other was to take if I got pain and cramping back, which I did not. I was also instructed to take Metamuscil every day ( I've been vegetarian for years and get a LOT of fibre so I was surprised). I eat more greens, colourful veggies, and fruit than almost anyone I know, to say nothing of Bob's home made granola, whole grain breads, cereals, and other high fibre things. I even eat seaweed for pete's sake and I HATE seaweed. 

      So we got home by 11pm and I spent days laying around and was not even interested in reading for a couple of those days. I know I'm ill when I don't want to read. Slowly I felt a bit more motivated to be up and doing things, although I had almost every one of the awful side effects listed on the antibiotic notes. I had the last one saturday and that was great. I also went back for an ultrasound on friday and they spent a full hour pushing that little iron over my torso. I get the results tomorrow from my own doctor, who was notified and asked me to come in. 

       With not having to take any more pills I woke up sunday full of energy and motivation! I suddenly wanted to do everything, had more energy than in months. I even went for the morning walk with Bob and the dogs! And I have for the past three mornings, so I guess I'll be continuing from now on. I have started to plan some new work, and even got out all my knitting books and have some projects in mind for my stash, and started to design a new quilt for our bedroom. I wrote pages in my journal. I made dinner and two apple pies on monday. What has happened? I just hope it continues. The doldrums seem to be gone and I'm not going to question that too closely.

       I got a rejection notice for the above still life from a show I entered it in and I don't even care! Now that's progress.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Red That Won't Die

          I have a simple still life that I set up for my student a week ago thursday and decided it would be a good exercise for me to paint it too. I fussed with the arrangement and lighting for quite some time, gessoed over an old painting that I never liked and the next day I put a red wash over the whole thing. I often like
a bright red underneath my work as it acts as an interesting brightening agent for colours painted over it. I decided to draw the shapes in Cerulean Blue since the blue lines against the bright red sometimes show through in places adding extra interest to the total composition. This has worked well for me in the past. I have a new colour I haven't used yet, Napthol Scarlet by Gamblin that I have been wanting to try so I decided to use it as the underpainting. BIG MISTAKE. It does not want to dry! Painting anything over it, even though it feels dry to the touch, causes a blurry, muddy result. It stains my fingers and brushes and rags and just seems to be the red that won't die! It has now been days! I had no intention of doing anything beyond a direct, quick study here as a way to restart my stalled painting motor but I can't do anything with this until it dries. It won't wipe off completely either. It just sits there in all its bright scarlet glory. I know, I   know, I could get out another canvas and start again but I can be stubborn and I don't want to do that...I want to paint on THIS canvas. And I have to get this done by next thursday as the model is coming to pose in the box for me and  this set up is draped off the top of that box and onto a table right in front of it. It has to be moved when Michael gets here.

Maybe it is something to do with this canvas. It is 12"x16" and I have had it for about 12 years. I painted a very bad plein air work on it when I was still at the Alton Mill in Ontario which I didn't bother to finish...I could see a disaster happening so I walked away and stored the canvas out of sight. Not wanting to invest too much in this "study" I am going to do I thought the canvas would be the perfect choice to gesso over and work on. Maybe it's a bad luck canvas. I am not normally superstitious but have you ever noticed that there do seem to be such things as "lucky" items and "unlucky" items in the world? Just labeling it in my mind as a sort of throw-away piece of canvas has possibly reflected in my brain and caused a lack of serious thought I normally give to more "important" pieces that I tackle. I did not test the Napthol Scarlet to see how it would act and presumed to use an untried method. At least this is not the disaster that Leonardo once had when in a moment of unconsidered competitiveness with Michelangelo he painted a hurried fresco in a method he didn't normally use and tried to dry it with bonfires built in the room - everything melted off the wall.

Now I have a good excuse to get back to my pile of books in the house. I'm half way through the last book in the The Baroque Cycle trilogy, (each book is over 1000 pages - yummy!) The whole time I'm curled up with my books, though, there is a nagging little gremlin in the back of my mind reminding me of my laziness. It's enough to make me almost believe I must have been  Lutheran in a former life.