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Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Appreciative audience

Today I did something I have never done before.
Still life of Game Boxes
Victoria and the student who broadened her horizons
To begin at the beginning. My husband drives a limo for a company that works with workers comp clients. One of these has a brain injury and she attends a center that teaches adults "life skills." My husband is often her driver and so they get to talking. She became very interested in me and my art via these conversations so one day he gave her my business card. When she got to the center, she was so excited that she got one of the administrators to look at my website with her and then asked if she would invite me to come and visit them to talk about my art. This morning was the day I went. I insisted on doing a project as I could not imagine talking about my art for 2 hours to a room of people with varying disabilities.

Hard at work painting spider mums
I talked a little about what I do, showed them a few still life paintings and explained what I look for and what I was aiming at in each of the paintings. The paintings I brought in included the paper bag, the painting all in yellow and one that included a myriad of unrelated objects to show them that it didn't matter what they painted, just to have fun. I kept the explanations very basic and simple such as shapes and color. Then a quick demo and time to help them with their own paintings. Their work was impressive. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the pieces I was able to photograph.
Brown Paper Bag

Painting the still life with the red table cloth. Don't you love that sassy tea-pot on the right?

The two women who helped me in the class both came up to me independently to tell me how amazed they were at what was produced. The level of participation was way up and the quality was the best they had ever seen them produce. That I connected with them. The man who painted the brown paper bag said I inspired him to go back to painting and the woman who did the tulips above came up and gave me the biggest heartfelt hug I have had in a long time. What an amazing experience. I am welcome back ANYTIME and they are already planning a field trip to see my one person show at the Littleton Museum.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Alley Fix

Revised Alley in Summer, 24x36, oil on canvas
detail of Forester and Lawn Mowing
Alley as originally posted on May 17
One of my friends sent me an email after I posted this painting a month ago with some suggestions and observations. I thought about what she said and took some of her suggestions to heart and others with slight modifications. Above is the before and after. First I attacked what I didn't like which was to take the foliage coming in to the barn house, out. It had never pleased me. I redid the purple recycle bins, toning them down, redid the blue car, making it darker to draw the eye down the alley; both suggestions from my friend. Then I added some of the purple from the recycle bins to the right-hand side of the alley adding some to tone down the value of the barn facing the viewer. Since that got darker the house at the corner had a bright white square popping out and it had to be toned down too. Next the value and color of the sky were changed and the road got darkened leaving some of the original coming through. While doing the sky, I went over the trees and simplified them and while the green was out the Virginia creeper had more leaf buds added so it didn't look so spotty and the spot of mowed grass in front of the barn house was toned down. The man mowing the grass then needed some attention and I am thinking it is done. That is what is called the domino effect! Change one thing then something else doesn't read right. The one suggestion I did not take was to remove the telephone pole closest to the viewer. All the poles got darkened which I think then anchored them.
If anyone has suggestions for a title to this painting I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

90 Days and Counting

Best of Show, Reading @ the Metropolis, 20x16, sold
Littleton Museum One Person Show
Today marks approximately 90 days out from the opening of my one person show at the Littleton Museum in Littleton, Colorado. 
For those of you who did not receive my first ever newsletter last week, I won the Best of Show at the “Own an Original” show put on last fall through the Littleton Fine Arts Committee. The Best of Show winner  is given their own show the following fall at the Littleton Museum. The request was for 80-90 paintings! This is a tall order even for someone who paints full-time and I have a day job.

Winning this show has given me focus. I have been working hard to get some good, large paintings done. I also realized how much I have grown this past year in my work and how I now feel about putting my older work in this show. There may just have to be less than 80 paintings to make the show stronger. Until recently, I have not been that "stressed" but all of a sudden the deadline is looming and it seems very close at hand. I have a big investment in frames to make and soon.
I will ask the museum director if I can do demos or gallery talks/walks while the show is up. The opening is September 15th, from 5:30 to 7 pm and by “invitation” only. Stay posted and be sure to let me know if you are interested in the opening event so I can include you. The show will be in the main gallery through October 31st.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Color Charts - a personal choice

Grayed Oranges to Bright Oranges
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would be writing on the "new" way of looking at color via color charts. This post may not be for everyone, but it is an important topic for me. I have completed 16 out of the 50  exercises in the book but I am getting the gist of what is being brought to bear on how to see color so that you can mix what you want at anytime. I did my last set of color charts the "normally accepted" way 3 years ago, and except for those color mixes I often use I still must consult my charts! I feel so tied to them to make a color choice. I was wondering why it was so hard to "get it" and now I have a glimmer of understanding.

The theory behind this book is that we have all been taught to look at color incorrectly. The author believes there is no "color wheel" as such as there is no true red, true blue or pure yellow from which all other colors are made.  Basing his theory on light through a prism, a red is either a red-orange or a red-violet as it comes; Blue would be blue-green or blue-violet and yellow would be green-yellow or orange-yellow. 

The charts are also laid out differently than the color charts I have done previously. The chart above is using 2 of the 6 colors from the prism, pure color on each end, and mixing them together in various %'s. Adding white as you go down the column (so 10 squares across by 3 down). As you can tell, I was not careful about keeping the values the same, just so I had an idea.

Example above: Exercise 10 Grayed Oranges: I took green-yellow (for me that was Cad Yellow Lemon) and violet-red (Quinacridone Violet) Because there is no similar color in either of these colors, they gray each other out. Based on the prism/light theory, to get a bright orange (Exercise 13) you would use an Orange-Yellow mixed with and Orange-Red to get the brightest Orange (see where both colors have "orange" in their name). The author uses Cadmium Yellow Light for his Orange-Yellow and you can see I had a hard time getting 8 different colors mixing my very orange-yellow with the very orange-red.

Exercise 11 Mid-Orange- "Brassy:" Orange-yellow (cad yellow medium) mixed it with the violet-red (Quinacridone Violet)

Exercise 12 Mid-Orange-"Soft/Warm" Green-Yellow mixed with Orange-Red

The book I am reading will remain nameless as there is so much personal preference out there and bias on color and how
to mix it. I think it has been good for me and that is what counts.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mutton Buster

Mutton Buster, 18x14" oil on linen
A co-worker of mine told me of this photo she really wanted her father to paint of her son but that he was not willing to do it for her (Her father being a local artist). I told her to send the photo to me and I would take a gander at it. I decided to paint it because I liked the subject and I thought it would add to the repertoire I am building for the upcoming one person show at the Littleton Museum this fall. I did crop  the photo to make it more intimate. I did not really paint this "for" her as then the expectation would be more pressure on her to buy it and pressure on me to try and paint him as she sees him. It is a good representation of him which is just an added bonus and not only does she love it, most every one else who has seen it does too. The subject seems to be a real winner.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

study for new painting

Study for larger painting yet to be named, 12x9, oil on linen

Saturday I did this 12x9" study in order to work out some ideas before going to the larger 15x30" canvas. This reference was taken this past October while hanging out in the rain on Ocean Beach, SF, CA. We weren't the only ones crazy enough to be out in the rain. The red of his jacket with the reflection in the wet sand was just too good to pass up.
I had seen this red jacket coming towards me and so took a few photos. He then stopped to ask me what I was doing. Was I really photographing him? We chatted for a few minutes and I detected a French accent. He was fine with me wanting to capture the red in all that mist, but when he went on his way is when I got the photo I wanted.
My ideas are to work on gradation going from darker sand in the foreground to lighter near the sand bars on the right. Gradation of color as well. The sand goes from a blue-violet-y to a more yellowish. The challenge will be to make all that wet sand and sky (I cropped much of the sky out for this format) interesting with the color, values, and brushwork keeping it all fresh and wet looking. I can see in this photo that the sky either has to go lighter or the lighter sand has to go darker. They are too close in value right now.