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Friday, October 29, 2010

Watercolor Studies

Gay's Table, 10x7: I painted this at my sister-in-laws table on a very rainy day; there is a hedge outside the window that technically should have been darker in value. Still not that comfortable with watercolors. Gay picked this one to keep. She sets a beautiful table.

Pomegranate Singleton, 6x4-Killing time in the orchard I sat on the ground to do this study; 1st one of the trip to CA. Family were coming for a lunch BBQ. The pomegranates are not quite ripe yet but still beautiful.

Pomegranate Singleton II, 6x6-I tried to put in some darks on this one. Still sitting on the ground painting the low-hanging fruit. I think I need to put darks in the whole upper right corner to make this look more complete. Something missing for me.

Marc's Pick, 7x10-Because it poured all Sunday in the Bay Area, Marc went out and cut me these two pomegranates. I did a small study of the short branch before putting the two together here.
I did one landscape but only got as far as the sketch, no color. I was shooed off of private property; Mea culpa. I also did a drawing of the baggage carts on the tarmac as our flight home was delayed and it gave me something to do. I forgot to scan it when I scanned these.
Baby Walnut Trees, 7x10-this is my incomplete sketch. The idea was going to be a white picket fence coming into a haloed light green as the sun hit the tree edges (I hadn't gotten to the leaf outlines yet). The bulk of the trees would be silhouetted. The background hillside was in shadow and that was going to be dark blue green. The earth was stubble dead grasses. I might still get to it, but it isn't a high priority. I have no photo reference just the picture in my minds eye.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Visit to the de Young Museum

For those of you who don't know, the deYoung Museum, located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco,  has the honor of hosting the Impressionist collection from the D'Orsay Museum in Paris while that museum undergoes renovation. The deYoung split this exhibit into 2 parts. The early Impressionists ended in early September and the "later" opened the end of September. We attended the second exhibit on Friday. My mistake was getting timed tickets for mid-day; The place was packed solid, which made it difficult to get a good feel for a painting unless you were very patient and waited for a break in the waves of humanity. I like to view up close (to see brush strokes and color mixing) and then from a distance (to see how it all holds together). I knew better when I ordered the tickets online, but it worked out in that we would never have been able to see the second and companion exhibit that was held in the Legion of Honor Fine Art Museum, "Japanesque, the Japanese print in the era of Impressionism" if we had gone to the deYoung later in the day. I had seen most of the work in the deYoung exhibit, but I did discover some "new" artists to me, which is always a delight. One artist, Paul Serusier, had an outstanding painting. I had not noticed his work in my visits to the D'Orsay. It could be the placement at the deYoung that made it jump out at me. Van Gogh was almost impossible to really look at from a distance, as it was near where they let the next timed group in, so people pooled in front of his work. Richard and I did manage to study his amazing brushwork up close. I did get to spend time with Toulouse-Lautrec who was on the opposite wall from Vincent. Toulouse-Lautrec never disappoints. His graphic sensibilities always inspire me. There was a good number of Cezannes and Gauguins, but the choices from Bonnard and Vuilliard were a bit disappointing to me. The focus from these artists was more their prints and not their paintings. Not a bad thing, but I really had my heart set on seeing the paintings again. C'est la vie.

At the Legion of Honor was a Frenchman, Henri Riviere, who was so inspired by the Japanese woodblock print that he did a series of 36 views of the Eiffel Tower as it was being built which was highlighted in the exhibit. There was so much to see at this exhibit that it would have been worth seeing on its own merit with more time to devote to it. The Japanese prints were of course noteworthy, but so were the Westerners inspired by them. It was a great addition and enriched the wonders from the D'Orsay.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Works in Progress

I was reading an article about the artist, Karin Jurik, in the latest issue of Southwest Art. In it Karin mentioned how she completes a painting a day because she gets bored with a painting if she has to keep coming back to it. I found this an interesting perspective, because as I have mentioned, I get bored with the larger pieces myself. Here are two that fit this criteria. The alley painting below is relatively new as I started this piece in late August. It isn't that large, being 20" x 30" and technically, I should have been able to finish it by now. My thought is to "rip" through it quickly when I get back from my trip to California to wrap it up. It needs some life breathed into it. This past weekend I did a 14x18 study in less than 2 hours so that is what I need to do with this piece. Wake it up a bit as the values are pretty much in place.
Alameda Alley, 20" x 30"
The French Waiters I began over a year ago and just recently got it out to see where I wanted to go with it. It hasa complimentary color scheme going on (blue and orange) which for the most part is working. I need to decide once and for all if I want to show tiles on the back wall or get rid of them. I have gone back and forth more than once now it is time to just be rid of them. I think they take away from the center of interest. I do like the light aiming down, so I will keep that. I want to pull the most forward plate out more (more light on it) to draw the viewer into the work area. Once those items are tidied up I will reevaluate to see if that takes care of my dissatisfaction with this piece. Any other suggestions or observations are most welcome.
French Waiters, 24" x 24"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Southwest Art Magazine top 50 finalists

I had an email from a colleague over the weekend asking me if I had done a blog post yet on the fact that I was in the top 50 of Southwest Art Magazines annual 21 over 31 competition. I have not for the simple reason I didn't make it to the top 21,  which to me means it wasn't worth mentioning. When I saw that there were over 3,000 entries, it then seemed more newsworthy. I submitted the Harvard Gulch Alley painting for this competition. To be honest, I didn't even realize that the paintings had been posted - she sent me the link. Thanks to my friend, Jeannie Paty, who not only encouraged me to apply, but also reminded me of the deadline. She also is in the top 50 I was happy to see.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Long Time Coming

I took an 11 day road trip through North Carolina with my aunt during this past month and in just about 4 days we will be flying to California for a week. It has been a wonderful month, but painting has been on the back burner. Today's post was going to be about painting, but it ended up being about my trip. The waterfall above is the location where the" Last of the Mohicans" was filmed (I believe we were still in South Carolina at this point.) It was a nice hike down to the falls, still so lush and green. You can see there is lots of room to walk behind the veil of water. My aunt had picked me up at the Orlando Airport and we drove through GA, and SC to get to our destination of Franklin, NC and my aunt's friend, Karen. That drive took us a day and a half. That evening we went into town to the Saturday night auction, and what fun that was. Oh my. I wish I had a trailer. I could not believe what  things were selling for, not that I need anything. We left the auction early and went to listen to the last hour of Music on the Green, where a bluegrass band was playing in the town square - there is live music every Saturday evening. What a great sense of community I felt there.
The next day found us driving from Franklin to the Tennessee entrance of the Smoky Mountain National Park. We stopped at the top of the mountain on our way to the other side, and lo and behold, part of the Appalachian Trail was there! I met a couple who had just done 8 miles that day, and they were soaked to the bone but happy. I walked up a short ways just to say I had been on the trail, not wanting to keep us too long from our destination, but oh would I have loved to have least walked the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail.
We were headed to Cades Cove, a wonderful old settlement that was on an a one way 11 mile loop. The buildings are all open to walk in and explore. There were 16 stops on the map, including 3 churches, an amazing cantilevered barn, homes and old graveyards. It was 5 pm by the time we hit the loop so we had to pick and choose where to stop. The house above was one of the larger abodes, but very typical. The photo below was taken from the car but showed the landscape off well, I think. Evening rain...
Monday we headed North to Asheville. We did the market first and then some shopping. Spent 2 nights in Asheville seeing the sights and walking the town. Some of the healthiest restaurants I saw in the South and some of the best art were in Asheville.
Scuppernong Grapes (note size next to figs!) The Muscadine are the dark grapes behind.
The Fiddlin' Pig in Asheville, where you get Bluegrass with your BBQ. Seemed a perfect pairing along with a local brew.
On the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to the highest point, Mt Mitchell. We had followed the Harley riders for miles. They were from Florida.
Fried Green Tomatoes with crab!
After driving the Blue Ridge Parkway North, we headed towards Old Salem for a day. The biggest disappointment for me was that Salem is this big interpretive venue, where they dress in period costumes, made by a "tailor" who sews all the clothes for the employees, a "shoemaker," who makes the period shoes, etc. Like a living history museum. There is a much touted bakery, using "authentic original" recipes, and then you look on the ingredient list of the cookies they sell and I can assure you, the are not using the original recipe, unless modifications are accepted into their definition or authentic and original. In their defense, they do use the original ovens and mixing troughs, bread paddles and other molds for baking. The stores do have some handcrafted items, but the majority of the items are made in China. I guess I expected a bit more authenticity being that this area is full of some of the finest craftspeople I have ever seen in one area. The "apothecary" could not carry on a discourse on basic herbal remedies, yet the shelves were lined with wonderfully filled jars of herbs and roots and barks. I guess I have too great of expectations.

The next day we went to Greensboro, NC to visit the International Civil Rights Museum. That was very interesting and I am glad I went. Very thought provoking and hard to believe this was still going on in my lifetime. I grew up in a colorblind military family overseas, so this part of American history seemed very foreign to me.
Vic with friend from Zweibrucken American HS, Sandy. We hadn't seen each other in decades.
From Greensboro we high tailed it to Charleston, SC to be there bright and early on Saturday morning. We met my friend, Sandy on the Battery and then did a horse drawn carriage ride of old Charleston. I thoroughly enjoyed it, visited the Slaves Market (not where slaves were sold, but where slaves sold goods), and then sat on the water for lunch where we had the fried green tomatoes as an appetizer (Very Good).  My digestion took a week to settle down after all the fried food I ate in such a short time. (Fried pickles came with our bbq in Asheville. Not something I need in my life, nor the boiled peanuts. UGH.)
Leaving Charleston we drove along the marsh lands to Savannah, were we did a quick drive through so I could at least see how the squares are laid out. Charleston and Savannah are often compared, but I found them so completely different. I would have liked to have at least spent one night there, but if we had then I would not have been able to go to the beach the next day and eat one of the best pizzas I have eaten outside of Italy. I did so enjoy walking the beach. My aunt and uncle live in Melbourne, Fl, and the area is beautiful and full of birds. Walking along the golf course out back of my aunt's home, I saw egrets, storks, cranes, ibis and some ducks I did not recognize. I loved it! See the terns below with the sea gulls?
And here is my traveling companion and aunt, Vi; her mother, and my Uncle Lou (my father's younger brother) as we prepare to go to Lone Cabbage so I can try gator on the way to Orlando Airport.