"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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pre Workshop Efforts

                 With the Portrait Workshop coming up in a couple of days I have decided to put this painting away for a bit and give my brain a chance to work on it incognito so to speak. It looks very close to completion but I know something is missing and quite possibly I'll understand what that is later next week when I return to it. The good news is that it does not have to be ready until late October so I have some breathing time.

                   I am doing a lot of cleaning and straightening and rearranging to get ready for the workshop, especially as some of the participants are staying with us overnight on saturday. Certain things, not necessarily the SAME things, are priorities for Bob and for me.  How clean does the tiny furnace room really have to be? Is anybody going to look in there? What about the area of carpet on the other side of our bed that our dog Gabe owns, which you can't even see from the doorway? Did the reverse osmosis water filters really have to be changed TODAY? and take all morning? Bob, you aren't seriously going to make a Mexican Chili for lunch to serve these people...we have to be together for two whole days! 

                  I have to move things around in the studio to make more space available. I hope this computer will pick up the router signal from the other side of the room. I love this large desktop but so many times I have wished I had opted for a laptop when I was computer shopping five years ago. This iMac works perfectly and does everything I need it too so I have absolutely no excuse (or budget) to get a new one. I was secretly considering a refurbished mini laptop - I can get a nice one for under $300 - with the money I make this weekend from the workshop. However, my car insurance renewal bill arrived in the mail yesterday, which will eat up the whole works and then some. I am trying very hard to appreciate being able to pay my insurance bill, which would be more difficult without this weekend's income, but somehow the excitement is missing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Continuing in the Forest

             Feeling a bit better about this now. I have to wrap my head around the idea that it's ok to let shapes and colours just kind of land on the surface and not worry if it isn't perfect or is completely correct in proportion, etc. It would be too easy to get lost for weeks on end in all the little leaf shapes for instance; a recipe for insanity. This is what I ended up with today. 

                This was yesterday's work with closeups below. I am allowing one small figure in the piece. This was a little girl who was part of our group who sat working on paintings of her own. I think it's appropriate since this IS The Children's Forest!

              The figure is so tiny in the painting that there is no way I can add any facial detail, but that's ok. I just like having her there.

              Bruce, am I getting the hang of slapping it on yet?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Losing the "big picture"

          Coming along, coming along, and nail biting being avoided. Yesterday I made the mistake of losing the "big picture" and spent too much time picking away at a very small area:

          Studying the work of a few landscape artists whose work I admire is helping me to get back on track; artists like Bruce Sherman and Brian Buckrell.
We'll see what today's session brings.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Taking Advantage of Perfect Weather

Day Two

          The weather has been so beautiful I decided to pretend to be a plein aire painter and took all my gear outside (but I'm working from sketches and photos so it isn't really plein aire:-) I meant to take a photo of my outdoor setup and then forgot, so I'll try to do it tomorrow if the weather persists in being so perfect! 
             This piece is 20"x30" which is a decent size to be attempting this landscape. I need to get it done within a couple of weeks so I intend to keep at this daily if I can.


Day Three

          This is interesting for me because I am so accustomed to working with the figure or portrait and knowing just what steps I need to take, whereas here I am stumbling along trying to figure out the best procedure. As it turns out the steps I'm taking are similar to my approach to portraiture, laying in basic values and building up layers of colour. I guess painting is just painting, eh? I have to admit I'm not entirely unhappy with it so far but the ol' "what if I ruin it?" syndrome is in the back of my mind. I have to keep telling myself, "it's only paint, it's only paint," but I have the same fears no matter what I'm working on, and I am fairly good at ignoring them.

           Working outdoors on such  gorgeous days is such a treat. All of us here on the north island are taking advantage because we know that the rainy season, (rainy, chilly, windy, there-goes-the-power-out-again season), will soon be upon us. On the other hand, that means it will be time to fire up the woodstove and enjoy cuddling under blankets, reading good books, lighting candles and oil lamps, and making wonderful dishes from the fruits of our garden put up in jars or the freezer. I need to get back to that afghan I started last year when I broke my ankle...it's only about half finished. Simple pleasures really are the best.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Delving back into the fray

              I am the champion procrastinator at times but finally I started on the painting for the Cortes Children's Forest fund a couple of days ago. My start is ok but now what? Landscape painting is not my cup of tea and so I will probably be struggling with this as I add more layers. Just looking at things as shapes and values is helping so I need to plunge in and get some real colour on this baby.

              My week has not been a total waste of time,however. I caught up on paperwork, housework, laundry, and cleaning up the studio. After the weeks I spent silk painting my dress I returned to find stuff everywhere! I am normally a fairly neat worker but my frenzy to complete the outfit in time overcame my natural tendency to clean up as I go along. Now all is in reasonable order again and that provides peace of mind for me to at last delve back into painting. I even rearranged paintings on the walls.

              There is good news regarding my upcoming Portrait Workshop...so far I have five students! There was a sixth but she backed out yesterday because she realized some of us (including me) will be using oil paint and she has a very strong allergy to oils, even when working outdoors anywhere near an oil painter. I have looked at her work and I know I could  help her with what she is doing, but I also completely understand her problem. I have allergies to many strong odors, although not as bad now as when I was younger so she has to do what is best for her health. Maybe I could work out a future workshop for portraits in acrylics, since so many people use those. I used to paint with acrylics but don't really think they are as wonderful for subtle shifts, blending, and luminosity as oil paints. What about water soluble oils? I have some that I bought a few years ago when they first came on the market and hated them. I am told there are better ones out there now that really are much closer to the feel of regular oils. Perhaps I should try a few colours, just primaries and black and white, and see how I feel about them now. I wouldn't mind a bit if I could put solvents, even the pretty good odorless ones, (my favorite being Gamsol), out of my studio permanently.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September Portrait Workshop

detail from "Tristan Traveling Through Time" oil, 36"x36"

          I am giving a portrait workshop the last weekend of September here at my Sayward Valley Studio. Several people have asked me about when I would do this again as it has been quite a while, so I decided early Autumn was a good time. Here are the details:

September 29th & 30th
Cost: $125 
model fee 
organic vegetarian lunches included

Basic structure of the skull and planes of the head will be first morning; drawing in graphite
Afternoon work from live model and begin to discuss skin tones, hair rendering, lighting, poses
Second day continue colour work from model
in Oil, Pastel, Color Pencil, or Acrylic

 graphite sketch

colored pencil

pastel (finished)

pastel sketch

oil sketch

I can put up four people and there is a very nice B&B and a hostel nearby; also dinner available at Cyprus Tree Inn; breakfast available at Cable House.
As I stated previously lunches are part of my fee, made with loving care by my wonderful husband, Bob:-)

I have two signed on so far and need at least two more, but four to eight students would be ideal. Anyone interested should call 
or email:

        I understand completely that this is not going to be possible for most who read this blog but just thought I'd mention it anyway; I also know it is a bit short notice. I think I have to get better at long term planning for these things!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Wedded Bliss and a Motorcycle Accident

            The deed is done! My son and his beautiful bride, Rachel, are married!
The trip back to Hilton, NY was long and tiring but so worth it. Unfortunately Tristan had an accident on his motorcycle six days before the wedding and broke his right tibia and ankle very badly. He had to be put in a cast up to his upper thigh and on tuesday (after the wedding) he had surgery. A metal rod the length of his entire shin and a plate with six screws around the ankle was inserted, and another cast going all the way up the leg. The cast can come off and a new one below the knee put on in a couple of weeks if all goes well. Neither Tristan nor Rachel let this setback make a dent in the wedding plans and the whole event was truly beautiful, taking place in the back yard of her parents' home, four acres in the country! A large tent was put up and included a dance floor, many round tables, chairs, etc. lights, and beautiful table settings with floating candles and tea lights all over, and sprinkled with red and white rose petals. The ceremony was small with only immediate family but at 9 pm the 100 invited guests arrived and everyone had such a good time that no one left until 2am! 

          You probably notice that Rachel is wearing black. It is her favorite colour to wear and she didn't feel constricted by our present day convention of the bride being in white or a soft pastel colour. She had a friend make the dress and this picture does not do it justice. Gorgeous! In fact, the picture of Rachel does not do my new daughter justice either...she is incredibly beautiful! And sweet, and smart and most important, she truly loves Tristan (as he love her) and is SO good to him. Also her family and I hit it off immediately, which was a big relief as we had never met before. I stayed with them for several days and felt completely at home.

          As you can see my dress was a success (the "backup dress" was with me but stayed in the closet:-) and got a lot of compliments. For being 67 (I had my birthday while I was away) I suppose I looked presentable and enjoyed being in something other than jeans/sweatpants, t-shirt/sweat shirt, and gum boots, my usual apparel for up here in the semi wilderness. I took several nice things with me to wear which hang ignored in my closet most of the time and it was a treat to go out looking civilized. Now they are back in the closet no doubt for quite a while until some other special event comes up.

            I will get back to posting about what I'm doing artwise pretty soon. I have to start the painting for the Cortes Children's Forest fund auction this month. Oh yes, I just found out that "Spanish Shawl" was accepted into the FCA AIR show (Annual International Representational) so must ship that off in a few days.