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Friday, December 13, 2013

Three Value Study

9x12, oil on panel
In preparation for doing a local tone painting, I did this study using three value groups. To do this you can have variety of color but only one light value, one medium value and one dark value. So my dark value is the black and the browns.There is a little glare on this painting so some of the darks don't look as dark as they are. The medium group is the largest group and it is the grass and the barn itself. I used yellow green at the top left side of the hill down to a blue green where it hits the fence, but it is all in one value if you squint down. On the barn, to keep it from feeling too flat, I add blues to gray the reds down on the "shadow" side, yet kept it in the same value as the front, which is a richer red. The light group would be the sky and the roof and the sheep in the field. The roof is a greener gray and the texture I used also helps to differentiate it from the sky, which has more blue in it. But again, if you squint you will see how they merge into one value. This was a fun exercise and has me primed for the next painting, which will be local tone. Stay tuned.

Gray-scale showing three value groups, light, medium and dark
This barn was a "drive by" as I was traveling with my aunt through North Carolina. We were leaving the Smokey Mountains and starting to head East towards Raleigh//Durham. The road was amazingly narrow, rolling and curvy. Luckily, I was not driving at the time so I was able to hang my head out of the window trying to snap some photos as we whizzed by.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Finished Staircase at the Jardin des Plantes -Name that Painting Opportunity

Still No Name, 24x30, oil on panel
Here is the end product for now. From the last post, I did a lot of tidying up. I started with making the blocks of granite on the shadow side of the staircase darker. I thought that would help contrast with the light. Then I started putting more details into the different plants so that they would be overall more distinct one from the other and also, if you are a gardener, at least you might be able to guess the family. Some plants are more identifiable then others. Since the red begonias are almost dead center and also so very red, I spent some time on that pot. I really wanted the textures to come out so that spindly fine leaves would contrast with thicker leaves and so that you could tell if they were a succulent or not. On the wall in the sun, I toned down the light hitting there so that the wall would not compete with the light on the staircase. I also added more tendrils and the expired plants leaning into the wall area. I am going to let it sit for awhile to see if there is anything more to be done.
If any of you have any bright ideas for a name for this painting, I am open to suggestions. Thanks!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Staircase to the serre des cactées au Jardin des Plantes (Paris)

Floral Staircase Block in, 24x30, oil on board
We are still in Paris for this next exercise. This painting has the visual approach of "equalization" which is being used as an element here. ie, each potted plant has a pattern within it that is relatively equal in size and shape. This top photo seems a bit garish, especially compared to the bottom one but I was using bright colors to block in. The truth is somewhere between the top painting and its exaggerated (but not overly) color and the more washed out look of the second photo. 
Day 2
That being said, I really am finding out just how tedious "equalization" can be. I am attempting to not get too caught up in details, but even so, Lots of small flowers are involved here! In the block in I was attempting to get larger blocks of color as placement and flow, and the overall dark light/pattern of the sunlight and shadows.
The next day I started paying more attention to the actual patterns in each potted plant. I want them to be distinguished one from the other . One of my pet peeves as a gardener is to see paintings of flowers where you really cannot tell what they are. I don't need it to be perfect, but plants have their own personality and structure. I do want people who know flowers to at least have an idea of what the plants are, not just that they are plants.  The next post will show more fine tuning. It is good for me to document progress as a photo shows me things that I may not have noticed until I photograph it. Just as an example, the top "step" looks canted as the little step is not defined enough by the strip of nondescript greenery. I have since fixed that but it had not jumped out at me prior to taking the photo. Stay tuned for the next step in the process.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Rainy Day in Paris - where is it?

A Rainy Day in Paris, 30x20, oil on linen
Here is the completed painting as a dark/light pattern. The dark/light pattern is considered the visual approach. Just to refresh, that means that there is two values and every value must either tie itself to the light group or the dark group. This painting has the pattern in the dark group. So, technically if this were more "true to life" there would be a third value, in the middle. For example, the buildings behind the umbrellas would be much grayer and more one overall middle value. As they stand now, I lightened the buildings themselves so they would tie into the light group and in that carve out the darker umbrellas;  and darkened the roofs o they would be part of the dark pattern. In the clothes, especially the green rain coat, there would be more reflected light from the areas that are so wet, but I kept the overall value of the jacket so it "reads" as more one value and not obviously separated by light and dark.

I put off posting this painting because I kept thinking I would go back into it and add the middle value, but I just like it as it is, so finally decided to leave it alone, at least for now. What I may do instead of messing with this one, is redo it as a local tone. I really enjoyed the challenge of this exercise. I do not normally paint in two values, but it really does make a bold statement. The reactions to this painting so far have been overwhelming positive.

This view is taken from a brasserie right across from the department store La Samaritaine in Paris. The bridge closest to us across the way is Pont Neuf. We had a great breakfast there that Sunday morning. We had attended early Mass at Notre Dame, gone to the bird market after that, then we were on our way, walking in the rain, to the Louvre. I believe this place was called Richard's. Here is our breakfast. I still remember it as being one of the best in recent memory. Fresh eggs, toasted baguette, fresh squeezed orange juice and wonderful cafe au lait. Yum. Perfect for brunch on a chilly rainy day in Paris! And yes, I ate all three eggs!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Walk in the Park - Winter; is it finished yet??

24x18, oil on panel
Over the past several months I have been reworking or finishing up paintings instead of starting too many new works. Because I have become more critical of what I deem "finished" I have not really posted many of them yet. Here is a painting I posted in January and February of this year while it was in progress; Wow, it has really come a long way. It was one of those paintings that I was just never quite satisfied with. One of my friends had written me a very in-depth critique of this after I posted it in February, and she was so spot on. It just took me awhile to get it all formulated in my head and then down in paint. I basically reworked the whole darn thing. It is heading to The Framed Image for their "All that Glitters" show coming up the first Tuesday of November. Hope you can stop by. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rainy Day in Paris continued

This is the stage of the painting that I really enjoy. Bringing my idea to life!
In this photo you can see where I have started to bring in color to break up the shapes that I had initially blocked in. The shapes are holding together with the color added yet still maintaining the correct value to stay as part of the overall dark pattern. Within each of the figures I am keeping the color value very close and not putting in too much definition or form, but just enough to be read clearly as jacket vs jeans vs shoes and enough value shift to still see form. Where as in my block in they were all one value and color.

The next step will be to finish the trees, the roof overhang and bring in the sky and wet pavement. The plan at this point is to start lighter at the top of the sky and introduce a gradation to be darker at the bottom.

A good thing to remember is that every painting started this way (with a dominant big shape) holds together better all the way through the process of painting no matter what the subject or visual approach. I still remember watching Daniel Sprick do a demo a few years ago. He blocked in the big shape of his still life with a dark neutral color and then started to break that big shape into smaller shapes, and within a very short time, it came to life. No initial drawing or worrying about each object. Doing this painting has reminded me of that. Such a fundamental building block yet so few people I know do it, myself included.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Start of A Rainy Day in Paris

Dark/light pattern is the visual approach that I will document progress on over the next several weeks. I started this painting just blocking in the dark pattern which is the large shape. I did several sketches beforehand trying to figure out some areas where I was not sure if I wanted it to be part of the light group or the dark group. I still have a few small areas where I will decide which pattern they will go into as I get further along for better eye flow. The story will be told in the dark group/pattern for this painting. That means I will be putting more information or detail and color shifts in that big shape and the light group will be very simple. I don’t often paint this visual approach, but it is very striking when it is successfully done.
 name TBD, Oil on Linen, 30"x20"
In this first block in above, I was testing the red of the bus and umbrella as part of the dark group where I had put it in my sketch as that was my inclination and it seems a good fit. The part that made me unsure is the red bus being dark and the windows of the bus being dark. I decided to break that large bus shape up by using a light rim around the windows and adding light text to the side of the bus.

In the next phase, color has been added still keeping the value of the color in the dark or light group. You can see between the two images how I am doing that by distinguishing the shapes or pulling the smaller shapes out of the larger overall dark pattern, yet keeping them in that pattern. The pale yellow of the buildings in teh background still read as part of the light group.

It helps me to see these side by side as I "see" things that I lost to one group or another that I am not sure I want to do. If you can spot those areas, let me you may see something different from me that I should pay attention to!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Notes to self: Richard Diebenkorn

When I wrote my last post, which was on going to the Richard Diebenkorn exhibit at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco, I forgot what was posted as you first walked into the show. And that was his notes to himself. They had gotten lost in the depths of my purse and just resurfaced yesterday. Here they are:

Notes to myself on beginning a painting:
1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable
2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued-except as a
stimulus for further moves.
3. Do search. But in order to find other than what is searched for.
4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
5. Don’t “discover” a subject – of any kind.
6. Somehow don’t be bored – but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
9. Tolerate chaos.
10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
Sink, Richard Diebenkorn
To break up the quotes, I scanned this photo from the book on the Berkley Years exhibit. "the sink" that both my husband and I thought marvelous and which I referenced in that last post as not being available online. You all may think us crazy, as after all, it is not even a particularly "pretty" sink, and definitely not fashionable. Probably especially so in 1966 when this was done, but none-the-less, it showed very well in the museum. Three value groups, clearly defined, and what is hard to see here, as in most reproductions the nuances are lost, there is a highlight on the wall to the right. I bought the darn book just to get this. To remind me, Keep it simple sweetheart!

Then there were the quotes on the walls, which I also neglected to share with you and which I thought worthy of writing down at the time. You know the ones, the big letters written on the walls above the displayed paintings. These are not all of them, just some of them. I found these scribbled in a forgotten pocket from our trip.

"Abstract means literally to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract...a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts."

"All paintings start out of a mood, out of a relationship with things or people, out of a complete visual impression."

"I begin to feel that what I was really up to in painting, what I enjoyed almost exclusively, was altering, changing what was before me - by way of subtracting or juxtaposition or superimposition of different ideas."

Most of these I relate to in some way, and if not directly, I hope to at some point.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Diebenkorn at the de Young Museum, SF

It doesn't seem that long since we were in California, but we have been home a week now. I feel fortunate to have in-laws that live relatively close to San Francisco and who will put us up or is it put up with us? Either way, seeing Richard Diebenkorn's work in person was a real treat. I had only seen images online and in books. Most of my favorite paintings from the book I have were a part of this exhibit. This studio sink has always been one I am drawn to. Next to it in the exhibit was one called just "Sink" that was ink and charcoal on watercolor paper. I cannot find the image online for it, but I thought it a stunning piece. Just three simple values, and it was breathtaking.
Then his little black and white studies are masterly. Just a simple pair of scissors. There were a few examples of where he took the same still life set up and painted it from different angles making a totally different composition. Using just common items, unrelated, and yet uniting them. ie wooden matches, an acorn, a spoon, a pair of closed scissors and a bottle of what looks like liquin. I could not find the images to show this set up but this was just one example of that theme.
 I have always loved this figurative piece, Sleeping Woman, and seeing it in person did nothing to diminish that.

I also discovered another figurative piece that I just loved called Seated Woman; such a simple composition yet very dynamic.
I was glad to see that the Wednesday that we went to see this show the galleries were full. Not too crowded to be uncomfortable, but well attended for mid-morning, mid-week. I was glad that it was not a timed exhibit although it was more than just the cost of the normal museum entrance fee. It showed a good range of his Berkley years, as it is called. The book from the exhibit has substantially more works in it then was in the exhibit, but anymore pieces and it would have been overwhelming.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ogden Street Alley Recaptured

I realized while I was writing the post on the Moonshine Yarrow painting, that I have stood, in a relatively small area of our alley, and done a number of paintings. I thought it might be fun to recap some of them in a post so that they all can be seen together. I have looked north more than south with an east thrown in. My first painting was in the Summer of 2006, and it was painted plein air. A bunch of hollyhocks had grown up against the neighbors fence where I had thrown some in a pile while cleaning up my garden the year before. I piled them high before putting them all in the trash at once so I would not have to stop while in my gardening frenzy. I was so taken with the crop of hollyhocks that volunteered there, lovely in the afternoon light, that I got out my gear and set up. I am facing east here, but standing in almost the same spot I stood to do the Moonshine Yarrow painting. This is the first year since 2006 that these flowers did not do well. I think it was all the rain we had this summer. These guys definitely prefer hot and dry.
Jeff's Fence, July 2006, 24x12
A few years later, I did this 36x24 studio piece from the photos I had taken that day. This painting was in the National Oil Painters of America show of 2010 in Scottsdale AZ. I had so much fun painting this. I loved all the colors in the big heart-shaped leaves and the way the leaves layer and cast shadows.
Hollyhocks in the Alley, 36x24, 2009
My next painting from my alley was in the Fall of 2009, and it was also painted plein air. I remember being attracted to the way the white truck, garage and tree trunk were carved out by the grays of the leafless trees behind. I was also attracted by the repetition of oranges of the fences, the garage and the bush being hit with the afternoon light. Monochromatic with a splash of fall color!Or a study in orange and blue, which are complimentary colors. I stood on the corner of our driveway to get this view. This painting was in the Plein Air Artists of Colorado Show in 2010 when it was held at Saks Gallery in Cherry Creek.
Alley in Fall, October 2009, 14x11

Work in Progress, 24x36, oil on linen, 2010
I did a plein air study for this larger studio piece one cold snowy day. It was quickly done as I was standing in the alley on the hill and it was very icy standing in the shadow of the house. There was not a lot of room if a car slid going up or down the hill. I was mainly focused on the shapes and repeating angles of the garage roofs. I had driven home from running errands and saw the guys working at the end of the alley and decided I Just had to capture it. I had about an hour before they broke for lunch. This finished painting took the blue and orange theme I had started in the first painting to a deeper level. Having the snow on the ground was a huge asset. I like the scene from the middle perspective down the alley and just at the crest of the hill in the studio piece.
WIP study, 11x14, February 2010
Then in July of 2010 I did this painting of the hollyhocks. I am standing on the edge of Jeff's driveway right across from our garage looking south. (His fence was in the first painting of the hollyhocks.) One of my friends at work had complained about my putting dumpsters front and center in my alley paintings, so I angled myself so that the dumpster was hidden by the hollyhocks. Hollyhocks at High Noon.

Right Up My Alley study, 14x11, early July 2010, oil on linen
I intended to do the larger painting from this study in my studio, but I ended up painting it outside as well. It took me two weekends to do it, but I went out at the same time each day  (11 a.m.-12: 30 p.m.) and did what I could before the light changed too drastically. I decided to lower the vanishing point in the second painting, but the more I look at the first one, the more dramatic that angle seems and I like it. There is now a 6 foot privacy fence where the chain link fence is so the little alley house cannot be seen from this angle any longer. :-( I am noticing more and more of that since I started to document my neighborhood and its alleys. Such a shame. What are people trying to keep out is what I want to know? I would miss chatting with the people who are always walking by our corner lot house, still with an old chain link fence.
Right Up My Alley, late July 2010, 24x18, oil on canvas
Here I am reverting back to looking north. I see this view so often in my rearview mirror as I park, that it is now an old friend. Again, I was coming home around lunchtime from doing errands or walking the dog, and had to stop and take photos. it is just a quiet peaceful scene. I just finished this painting this past spring and have not posted it before now. Just goes to show you that the everyday and commonplace can continue to be "new" and "exciting" if you just don't get to stuck on it being "commonplace,"  or thinking you know it. The only time of year I have not done yet in my little world, is spring. I will have to see what next year brings.
Gently Falling Snow, 18x24, oil on board painted Spring 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Where to begin?

We will chalk off no posts for 6 weeks (has it really been that long?) to my brain taking a summer vacation and leave it at that. I am determined to post today before I start anything else.

I will start off where I left off on my last post
Moonshine Yarrow, early morning light . 30x22, oil on panel
Here is the painting I did from the photographs and the plein air study that I did one early morning around July 4th. I started right about 7 a.m. on the study, thinking I had "plenty of time" and by 8 a.m. I had to stop as the sun had come over the house across the alley and was hitting the side of my face and it was Hot! I am standing on the edge of our alley vegetable garden, looking north. This particular patch of yarrow I have tried to dig up many times over the years, but as you can see, it is still thriving! There are usually tall hollyhocks on the other side of the yarrow, but all the rain this year has not been good for hollyhocks and they were stunted. Just after I started this painting, my neighbor across the street, on the left, whose garage door and side of her garage you can see behind our blue garage, had her house painted. After years of painting this alley and her garage, it is now a different color scheme...The every changing landscape of a neighborhood.

Another post coming soon will continue with this alley as I realized I have painted from this particular 20 square feet or so of alley, many times. I believe the only season not captured thus far is spring.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Moonshine explosion in the alley

I went out early yesterday morning to see if the yarrow that is planted next to our garage in the alley was still looking good enough to paint. The photo below shows the yarrow as they were when I did a quick sketch of them last week. Today, they had been beaten down by the rains of the past few days... and that was before the downpour we got yesterday evening. Three inches or so of rain!
I have grown to love this plant, but I cannot tell you how hard I have tried to remove it from my yard, and I finally gave up. I am glad I did as it now just brings joy to my heart and it makes such a lovely fan to brighten up the alley.

And then I turned around and saw the black raspberries behind me up against our neighbors garage. I ended up picking 3 cups or more of berries. I just recently found out that most raspberry ice cream is made from black raspberries as they have more concentrated flavor. I did my best to inspire my husband to make a batch of ice cream, but he did not take me up on it... This patch of berries planted itself a number of years ago but this is the first year we have had enough to really harvest at any one time. The plant has beautiful baby blue stems but the thorns are know to grab and then hold on to you. I love the way you can see how the berries ripen. From new baby, peach colored, to rosy red, dark red and then black and ready to pick, all on one little cluster. Isn't nature marvelous?
Right next to the black raspberries, there is another beauty that planted  itself. I have not planted sunflowers in years, but we still manage to have them come up and as long as they are out of the garden area, we leave them for the birds and the bees.

On my way back into the house I had to marvel at how large my Anna Belle Hydrangea has grown. I bought this in a one gallon pot many moons ago, and I remember the first year I got 3 flowers, and then the next year, 6, and so on. Sometimes the flower heads on this plant can be the size of a hat, and we have been known to model them! Every year brings fresh surprises in the garden.
 Below is a painting I did a few years ago of this bush. Painted at high noon standing in the shade of our lilacs. Another painting I have been wanting to do. Where does the time go?
Writing this post has made me think I should do a blog with all the paintings I have done just on this little plot in central Denver. Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reflecting on Reflections

Reflection, 18x36, oil on linen; After
I know I have been quiet for awhile. Only because I have not had much to say. I decided to spend the summer reworking and refining those paintings that need it even if at one time I thought them "done." I have found "done" is a relative term when it comes to a painting. I have this painting facing me when I sit at our dining room table, and since I sit there at least 3 times a day, I have had a year or so to look at it. I did not make major changes to it, even though I did repaint pretty much the whole thing.
Just so you don't have to strain your eyes to figure out what is that different to warrant painting it over again...the thing that bothered me the most was the spit of sand that is the darkest near the end of the horizon line. It was too prominent and the water did not flow naturally around it. The beach did not have the cant I wanted so I redid the beach, adding more dark value in the lower left hand corner. That value needed to read as the same value as the distant hills. I am still debating whether that corner is dark enough, but I think the slope of the beach is better. After I redid the sand I lightened the sky and to both, I added texture. My new thing is to not paint so smooth. In the original I wanted it to be more glass like, but now, no. I want it to feel wet not just misty. Last, but certainly not least, I redid the figure. I started at the top and worked down; darkening his head so it doesn't disappear into the mist while the rest of him was with us; lightening his jacket, correcting some drawing along the way; then the reflection had to be touched up too. Comments are always welcome no matter if you agree with me or not!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Urbino Alley

Urbino Alley, 30x20, oil on linen
Can't let those alleys go! where-ever I go, there they are...just calling out to me. There is an interesting story behind the little side trip we took to Urbino. This town was not on our agenda at all. On my last trip to Europe, we went to Venice; since we would be on the Adriatic side of Italy, I really wanted to go to the water to walk the beach and I thought it would be a nice place to catch our breath before heading to Rome. I picked the town of Pesaro after doing some minimal research. We would be there after the "season" was done, so I figured we would find at least a couple of hotels still open for business, and usually at a discount. I did not book a hotel in advance. I did not bring a map of Pesaro with me, thinking I could check it out online somewhere along the way. I do not have the latest technology but I did have my iPad and the internet is accessible most big tourist places, right? Wrong. NOT in Italy. After we got off the train in Pesaro, and went outside to find we were in the middle of a hub with 5 or 6 streets leading out in all directions! The one map I had managed to look at briefly beforehand showed the sea was 4-6 blocks from the train station...I had no idea which one of the streets to pick to go to "the sea." Looking down them, they went a long ways with no water at the end. I tried talking to a few people, including employees of Trenitalia, but no one understood, "the sea," "la mer," or "Adriatic." So, I am trying to just find a map of the town. Nada. I go check out the INFO sign...closed. BUT I hear English! There are 3 Brits looking at a bus schedule, so I ask them if they can just point me in the right direction, and they not only did that, but walked us into the old town and towards the sea. On our 20" walk into town, with luggage trailing, we discovered that they were 2 siblings and one girlfriend. The sister of the young man was the guide, as she was studying at university in Urbino. She said we MUST go visit Urbino, that we would not regret it. Pesaro was okay for the beach but as a town, not so exciting. Urbino was a walled city, with winding streets and alleys, and the birthplace of the artist, Raphael. So, she told us the ins and outs of taking the bus to Urbino, and we spent our one full day in Pesaro, going to Urbino. It was a fun day, and though she did not tell us of the Saturday market, we fortunately tumbled across it. While my friend shopped to her hearts content, I roamed around talking photos and even happened across the Raphael Museum, though we did not go in. There is also an art institute and the university. It is not on many American's iteinerary, but I am glad we went the eastern route. I am sure enjoying painting my way through my photographs of our time on the Adriatic.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Anniversary Bouquet

Anniversary Bouquet, 18x14, oil on panel
Our daughter brought us these lovely lilies for our anniversary a few weeks ago. A week later...I decided to paint them with the thought to be more expressive in my brushwork. I did this painting in a couple of hours and as I was painting it, the buds were opening. It was amazing to watch. It was, a Hey You! that is not how I sketched you in! Just goes to show how alive cut flowers can be and not so "still" afterall. I set the old wine stein on a chair as it was the only thing I could find handily that was the height I wanted it. So there you have it. A fun sketch just for the heck of it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Before and After-an orchid odyessy

Once upon a time, I was into orchids. I was thinking I would be this painter of portraits of all the odd and beautiful orchids. I even joined the orchid society to have more access. This was in the time before every grocery store sold phalenopsis and other more common varieties. This orchid is one of the only paphiopedilum that I ever owned, and I managed to keep it alive for a few years, but never got it to rebloom. I painted the original portrait about 10 years ago. In my quest to practice and to rework older paintings, I picked this one to rework awhile ago, but then decided to play with it some more. I actually took a photo of this plant (only one), which was not always the case back then when I was painting from life in my studio. It is very overexposed, so I think the flash must have gone off. I have tried to reach a happy medium between the colors of the original painting and the overexposed image I have.
A couple of things to note: I did a search for the name I had written down for this orchid, and I did not get anything to come up for it. HMMM.  I corrected some of the drawing, but not much; I added the bud coming out and I softened up the background. I like the bluer background better. I added the two paintings that were on the wall at the time; the blue one is another orchid, and the one further back was of tulips in my garden. I like the way those two rectangles add to the other rectangles in the composition. Phaps are stiff, waxier orchids, but I still tried to soften that down a bit in the reworked piece.
Flight Into Egypt, oil on canvas, 18x14, 2002

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Deja' Vu

Walking up the Beach, Melbourne, FL, 24x24
We are back to the beach! I tend to see problems once I post a photo of a painting; I know it feels never ending, but bear with me.
Melbourne, FL, which is where this beach is, had little done to it this time. I just added a bit more detail to the buildings so that they worked better with the overall painting. They seemed too unfinished relative to the whole. Otherwise, it is the same as when you last saw it.

Adriac Bicycle, below, I redid the shadow in the foreground. It did not feel like a unified piece of sand nor integrated to the whole beach; along with reworking the shadow, I lightened the water and added more of the sky color to it to show the reflected light. These may seem like minor details, but it is the little things that can make or break a painting. I think it now has more of a sense of depth.
Afternoon Ride, Pesaro, Italy, 24x24
As always, I am open to dialogue here if anyone is wanting to give their opinion. Also,  if something comes to you while looking at any of my work, I sure can use some help with titles.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Little Touch of Beach

Melbourne Beach, FL-October, 24x24, oil on board
Here is the finished painting from my post of May 19th, before critique. This painting was about paint quality, or as I interpret that, expressive brush work. I spent the morning unifying the sand. Someone had made the comment to me that it looked like two paintings. That I should cut off the top and make a long skinny beach painting with the figures and a bird painting below. That is what told me I had to unite the top and bottom via the beach. I do think it works better now as a whole.
Adriatic Bicyclist, Italy-October, 24x24, oil on board
I have also worked on the painting from March 16th post. I worked on refining the main figure, and the two little anchor figures that form a triangle with the bicyclist. The girls face did not please me, nor did the whole figure over all; she did not need anything major just a little here and there. The figure on the right was too small relative to the guy on the left in the water, so she is now bigger and the one on the left just needed a touch up. I also added the bike trail in the sand. It is the little things that can get you.

Of these two beach scenes, I thought more people would be drawn to the birds, but so far, more people like the bicyclist. As I study this photo, though on this post, I think I may play some more with the sand in the shadow. I think I can unify the whole shape better, to be more pleasing. I learned alot on doing the sand in the Melbourne Beach painting. You may see the Adriatic again...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Brooklyn Museum, other exhibits

The room next to the JOHN SINGER SARGENT exhibit was an exhibit of quilts. Not modern quilts but from earlier times, even centuries ago. The details in these quilts were remarkable. I really liked the crazy quilts, some of the best I have ever seen. The detail above had the most amazing border of morning glories. They were so beautifully done with the finest of thread; if I did not know better, I would say they were machine made, the stitching was so perfect. And then the binding around each piece of fabric was like a sampler of stitches. The detail below was to not only show the outline of the fabrics but the ribbon appliqued flower. No two flowers depicted were the same. I can only imagine the time and energy that went into these quilts. (These details are from two different quilts)
The quilt below I liked for its simplicity of pattern - a stark contrast to most of the quilts in the show. I don't know enough about quilts, but I want to say it is a ribbon quilt. I saw this only because it seemed to be satin fabric. I certainly would not want to cut all those pieces, if it were not in fact done from ribbons!
We were on the elevator getting ready to leave and as we were getting off, a woman who had been on the elevator with us was telling her friend who happened to be getting on the elevator, that she had to go see this exhibit on the 5th floor-all made from "bottle tops." Well, this intrigued us as my cousin was thinking of famous paintings made with bottle caps- something she had seen on TV. Okay, so we bit and went back up to see this exhibit. It was nothing like we had imagined it. I did recognize it though, as I had recently caught a snippet on PBS on this man, El Anatsui, who uses only recycled materials for his installation pieces. Each time he has a museum show, he personally does the installation, and each time, he arranges them differently. The bottle tops ended up being the end cap off of twist top alcoholic beverages, as well as the wrapper that stays on the bottle after the cap twists off. Here is a detail of that strip of foil, folded and attached together to form a facsimile of chain mail.

The photo above shows on the wall, a "sculpture" made with the tabs off of bottles as in the detail above. This one shows  the use of multicolored wrappers, but some were all black, or all red. I took this photo to show the scope of them. The "sculpture" in the foreground is made from the tops of tin cans, but put together the same way, ie with little pieces of copper wire. On the PBS snippet I caught, it shows worker bees doing  the actual putting together while El Anatsui supervises. The photo in the middle is an example of his wood pieces, which I personally really liked better, not only are they more manageable, but also more aesthetically pleasing. But again, since each piece hangs on its own, he can change how it hangs each time it is installed. I really liked that concept. The ability to change your art around without really having to do anything but move the strips of wood to please you.

Isn't mankind creative, whether painting, gardening, sewing or re-purposing found materials?
The final exhibit, of which we only had the energy for one room, was on drawing; "Fine Lines, American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum." I had read a review in the WSJ, on this exhibit and the companion exhibit at the Frick, which was impressionist drawings and prints from the Clark, including some Americans. The critic thought the Frick exhibit the better of the two, so I went there the next day. I must say, though I only saw one room of Fine Lines, I was impressed enough with what I saw that I ordered the book/catalogue of the show so that I could study it further. I am very happy I did. Maybe because I have seen so much of what was exhibited at the Frick over the years it is not as exciting to me, personally. (although I always enjoy seeing Lautrec!) It was also more crowded. I was however, excited to see what some big name American painters drew that you don't often see. And there was NO ONE else in the gallery with us. Such a shame.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Melbourne, FL - Beach with Birds

Melbourne, FL Beach with Sea Birds, 24x24, oil on board (Day 3)
Our last class project is to paint outside our normal  modus operundi. So if we normally paint with thick paint, to paint thinner; if you normally paint thin, paint with more texture. I normally paint thin and fairly graphically, so I am attempting to paint with more texture and less line.  I am using the brush to allow the strokes to be more integral to the painting. I am having so much fun.

I forgot to take a photo after the block in, but after two class periods I had gotten close to where I wanted it to be. Just needed the birds and the rest of the people on the beach to be added. By the end of day 3 I had the birds added and worked on a finishing the water. I also had added more color into the wet sand while make it all read better as one value. In the beach tomorrow the sand looks too choppy. Tomorrow, before critique, I hope to have all the rest of the people added on the beach. I don't expect that to take too long.

Day 2

Monday, May 13, 2013

Brooklyn Museum Exhibit - John Singer Sargent

I was recently in the NYC area to visit relatives and to see ART. The Brooklyn Museum of Art had 4 memorable exhibits going on. Normally, one exhibit is more than enough for me, but knowing it was a one shot deal, we did almost 4. Today we will cover just one.

John Singer Sargent was the raison d'etre for going. It was well worth it.  The exhibit was the combination of the collection from the Brooklyn Museum and the Boston Museum; both venues had the foresight to purchase every painting Sargent exhibited at two different times, in NYC. This exhibit is the first time the two collections have been shown together, so there were around 100 paintings, mostly watercolor but about 6 or so oil paintings. The paintings were done in groupings by subject and place. The warm burnt orange of the walls was the perfect color to show off these amazing watercolors. The show was very well curated. We were allowed to take photos, too!
As some of you know, I started a laundry series after spending a few days in Venice, so of course I was drawn to this gem. It is called La Biancheria. The thing that I like about this painting, besides the subject, is how many colors he uses to illustrate WHITE laundry. there is very little pure white since most of the laundry is in the shade or silhouetted.
Above: This portrait is of Alice Runnells James; one of many stunning figurative pieces. It was not the top favorite of his portraits, but there was something about it that I did relate to. I think I was ready to lounge myself! And "The Lesson," below. (Please excuse the little bit of reflected light on the back of her easel and one right behind her hat. I did try to avoid those little bits, but sometimes it could not be helped.) Aside for the proverbial brush in her mouth, just how well he can give you a feel for the figures and what they are doing with very little detail. That little triangle of blue at the base of her orangish easel centers your attention yet also deflects to the observers.
 I do not want to overwhelm you with all the photos I took, and I hardly got them all; I haven't even touched on all the different subjects or places illustrated by this extensive show. I had so many favorites, it is hard to chose what to show you. But here is a fine example of a garden. I think it is called Terra Cotta Pots. The colors that man uses in the old balustrade. You get a feel for the solid nature of it.
Pun intended, we will end with another favorite. Who would have thought the rear end of horses could be so beautiful? But they are. A fine piece called "Arab Stable."
Hope you enjoyed this little teaser. The show is up through the end of July if any of you will happen to be in NYC. Well worth it.