December 16, 2005

red robins

This little painting was inspired by a collection of darling ornaments I found at a gift shop near the studio where I teach. I often buy objects for sketching and these were irresistible.

I'm finally on the mend from the horrible cold virus and feel excited for the holidays and to paint, paint, paint! As usual my mind is going in a million different directions so I'll need to pin myself down and focus on two or three ideas at a time.

December 12, 2005

The Season is Upon Us

The one true indicator that the holiday season has arrived is my blasted annual head cold. Why is it some people can go through life never missing a day of work or school and others (like me) catch every virus known to man? I take my vitamins and eat a relatively healthy diet, so what's the deal? Oh well, I've decided to use this annual forced rest as a time to look around, take stock of my life and figure out what is working and what is not.

What works:
Painting in my studio, with the music on, this is when I'm happiest.
Hanging out with my family on a Sunday morning reading the newspaper while the kids read the funnies.
Morning walks with my best friend. It's good exercise and excellent therapy.
Puttering in my house, rearranging this and that.

What does not work:
Committing to too many things and doing a mediocre job at them because of over commmitting.
Worrying over the housekeeping. Worrying doesn't accomplish anything, doing does.
Listening to the news, not a good idea for anyone who's thin skinned.

Those are my thoughts this morning.

December 7, 2005

try again

What a morning, I've tried to create this entry about a half dozen times and each time it fails so...

Here we go again.

I'm interested in exploring interior spaces. The next move is to set up the oils and try my hand at it. I'm especially intrigued with the view of one space revealing the entry into another space. Hmmm...

December 5, 2005

Morning Sketch

This morning I drew from a photo found in "Tasha Tudor's Garden". Such beautiful images in this book. When I don't have the patience to go looking for an object in the house to draw, photos from a good book work well as backup.

I find myself feeling the yearly case of the holiday blues. So many things I'd like to do and never enough time to do them. It's time to sit down and decide what really matters.

December 3, 2005

For those of you not familiar with the Seattle area, snow is a big event. This is our second snow in a week and I'm in heaven! Around here you take one of two stands on snow, you love it because it's a rare and beautiful site, or hate it for the chaos it creates on the roads. I'm a sucker for a winter wonderland.

December 1, 2005

I was asked do I draw and paint to the exclusion of less interesting chores. As often as possible. We have a fairly traditional household, but everyone chips in, which means my house is presentable most of the time but wouldn't survive a white glove test. My husband doesn't cook, but is great at doing dishes and keeping all things electronic running; the kids have daily and weekly chores. Everyone is pretty happy if I keep them in clean clothes and provide good dinners. We do a flurry of cleaning once on the weekend and call it good. The downside is nothing is ever as clean as I'd like. But given a choice, I'd rather have people remember me for my paintings than my sparkling house. Besides, quite selfishly, I get much more satisfaction out of a painting that will last a lifetime than a clean livingroom which will last for the space of an afternoon.

November 30, 2005

My attempt at an Holiday themed oil painting.

Each morning between 5:30 and 6:00am my 14 year old son gets up to have a shower, being a light sleeper, any noise wakes me and there is no getting back to sleep. So, I often sit in the living room sketching while the sun rises. This morning I used the toy sheep I purchased as a holiday decoration for a model. He is very round and quite solemn. The perfect subject for a quiet morning.

November 29, 2005

It's raining, a great day to paint!

It's raining so hard this morning my daughter will need a ride to school. My son is old enough to ride the high school bus to Japanese language class this year so he has his way out of the wet. Believe it or not even though we live in Seattle hard rains do not happen all that often. When my kids are parents they can tell their kids they walked ten (one) miles in the driving(drizzling) rain to school.

I love the rain. There is something wonderful about being inside working away will the rain taps it's rhythm against the window. When January comes I am ready to see the sun again, which won't happen until April, possibly May.

Tara asked what kind of drawing warm up I could suggest. Very similar to the painting actually. Start with a simple still life set up and limit time and attention to detail. Allow five minutes per sketch and do two or three. In order to achieve the broad strokes I suggest working in charcoal, the large sticks. Ignore any surface texture or detail and concentrate on the form and value. A single light source is the best way to get bold shadows.

November 28, 2005

My friend Tara asked to see some of these warm up images I do with my oil painting students and explain a little about the process. The goal with these is to concentrate on defining the objects mass, finding the full range of values and ignoring detail. You want to work quickly in order to train your eye to see the major shapes and light and dark relationships. In class we set up a very simple still life then each student has about twenty minutes and a limited palette of three colors to complete their study. This purple pepper (I don't think they really come in this color, but boy is it fun!) was painted by first staining the canvas with some quinacridone magenta and ultramarine blue and possibly a little burnt sienna. I paint a turp thinned layer down and rub off the excess paint with a rag or paper towel. Then I come back in with the darkest dark defining the objects shape and laying in the shadows. Next come the mid value color which is later wiped out to create the light areas.

The equivalent in water color would be to work wet in wet using non-staining colors so lifting could be achieved and because it's watercolor you'll be working light to dark.

We have frost on the ground this morning and an incredible crescent moon. I wish for snow every morning, but seeing as we live in Seattle the likelihood is slim, at least until January.

As usual I woke this morning wondering how to accomplish everything I have on my list. First and foremost is to get into the studio. It seems this never gets any easier; family, jobs, housework all demand attention, rightfully so. But I'm just not the best person I can be unless I've done some creating each day.

November 27, 2005

This is a portrait I recently painted of my daughter. Thank goodness for her patience and good humor, she must of heard "Hold still please" a million times.

I work from life and mostly in the direct method using oils. I'm in the process of learning more about the indirect method used by artists like Vermeer. This entails painting an underpainting using a very limited palette and concentrating on getting a high key value composition down first, then following with layers of glazes.

Good Morning

Here we go. A friend asked that I attempt to create my own blog. So here is the result.

It is early in the morning in Seattle, it rainded last night so the sky is clear and the air crisp. A good day to get things done. I hope.