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Friday, February 25, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold Outside, 20x20
 Here is a piece I have been working on for the past few weeks. I was going to put another layer on it this weekend when I came across a painting online that was in a past juried show of American Women Artists. The painting I saw gave me one of those "Ah Ha" moments when I "knew" how to finish this piece. I was trying too hard to capture something with a brush that needed a hard edge approach, so I went in search of a credit card I didn't need or use. I mixed large piles of paint and went back to it.  I don't have a photo of it in progress, but I was having a hard time getting it to read as to what was the pigeon on and in front of. The ledge was clear, but the background was confusing the viewers who saw it. I took this reference photo on the steps going down to the Seine near Isle de la Cite. I love the expression on this pigeon, which I also redid with the credit card so it would fit in with the new texture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Save-Quayside

Quayside, 12,x16, 2005
In my effort to not work too hard for the Museum show, yet have a strong body of work, I have been looking at old paintings to see what I can salvage. This painting was a "good" painting for the time, and LOTS of people liked it, but it never sold. One year I had this hanging at the Summer Art Market where almost everyone walking by commented on how they liked it! I decided it was time to give it a new lease on life since at least I know it is a pleasing composition and/or subject. I started with the yellow boat, and worked out from there. I brightened the yellow using more pure color, and kept more yellow on the shadow side. For the shadow I mixed cad yellow medium with terra rosa and another pile of color using cad yellow medium and dioxide purple. I used these two to create transition from the darker to the lighter (from the back of the boat forward). The dark red boat color was about right, but I still worked on putting it into the sun; the light didn't read as well as it could. I totally missed the cast shadows of the ropes in the earlier version.

With the water, I started with the reflections making them more unified (there is that word again!). I then mixed a neutral gray blue green color as my medium color and blended that in all over the water (viridian green, burnt umber and a bit of Ultramarine blue and white). I let that sit overnight and then came back a day later and mixed a lighter medium value and then the lightest/brightest to hit the top of the water, also thinking about the water in back being lighter to transition to the darker water in front. Quite a save, I think.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Girl with a Purpose

In A World of Her Own, 18x24
This reference photo was taken in October in Paris a few years ago. I was sitting on the rim of the fountain that is in the plaza by the Centre Pompidou and watching all the activity on a warm sunny afternoon even though the plaza is in shadow. It reminded me of my youth when we lived in France. On Sunday afternoons, a number of families would meet at a small town's restaurant, where multiple-coursed dinners were served over an afternoon. The children would go play in the town square between courses while the adults smoked, drank and talked. The same thing was happening here. This little girl was scooting her way around the plaza, while older boys were playing soccer around her and she is totally unconcerned by their running and shouting. There are bistros and restaurants surrounding the perimeter of the plaza where the outside tables are packed with locals and tourists alike.
The Fountain where I am sitting watching the world go by.(The Church is St Eustace, also worth visiting.)
The Pompidou is a Modern Art Museum named after the French President of the time (1977), Georges Pompidou.
Soccer being played
My little model getting a lesson on Skateboarding
I attempted to paint this same scene 3 years ago and utterly failed. I threw the original canvas away in frustration. At the time, I felt I had gotten everything pretty well nailed except the most important thing, which is the little girls face. I could not capture her expression nor her youth. I have not been able to get a photo that

Saturday, February 12, 2011

For Something Completely Different

Finished T-shirt Quilt, 90 x 100
Twelve or so years ago a friend of mine brought in to work a t-shirt quilt she had made for her son. I was so impressed, I thought I should make one for my son, too. It is hard to believe it took me this long to get to it, but there is no denying it. I finally picked up this "project" last fall and decided if it were going to get done, I had better get with it. Last Friday, I delivered the finished top and bottom to someone who quilts and this Friday I picked up the finished piece. She said that is what a snow storm will do for you. This is one well traveled quilt, with t-shirts from all over the world, including themes of art, music, beer, and the outdoors. I used flannel as the solid colors and backing, so it should be a cozy comforter. I don't plan to ship the quilt to Japan where my son is currently living, but it will be waiting for him upon his return.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Upside of Being Rejected

Wait for Me! 20x30, oil on canvas with a bit of wet paint glare
As submitted and not accepted
I know this is a topic not many of us want to discuss in a public forum - the rejection of the jury! While trying not to let this get to me I took the opportunity to critically look at the painting in question with a juror's eye, and I knew they were right in their assessment. I, again, as is my wont, was lazy. I let the current culture of the quick painting take over my inner judgment that this piece really wasn't as good as it could be. The interesting thing to note here is that I had started a blog post in December with the "finished" painting and the original block-in, and never posted it because I saw the inherent problems-the block-in looked better than the painting! But some of us are just plain hard-headed.

There were a couple of things I noted. First, that the sky going into the ocean was way too blue and the value  too dark. I lightened it all quite a few degrees and thought more about orchestrating the ocean waves. I also made the color more neutral (using Cerulean Blue/Burnt Umber/White) . I had known that the beach was the wrong color, and also too dark in value made more so now that the sky is lightened. The reddish cast had to go, so again I went with a more neutral mix (Viridian Green/Burnt Umber/White with some other colors thrown in for variety in the sand). I used the same colors, with different % to make the white caps. The wall I had known was too dark - that my original block-in value was more true, so I took it back to that value and got rid of the blue cast. The Ravens came next and I had been so caught up in the myriad colors that I had lost touch with the form, so I gave them both more form and thought less about all the color, simplifying that. I decided to take more time with the drawing of their legs and to create more of the shaggy appearance ravens are known for. The gulls on the beach came last. I was not content with them anyway, so I took a bit more time with them and yet tried not to give them too much definition to keep them in the background with a secondary place. I still see a few spots that need a little attention, but overall you can see the difference. Another lesson learned the hard way.