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Friday, October 31, 2014

Trail Down Herman's Gulch

Block in, 18x24, oil on oil paper
Here is a studio landscape that I was determined to try and maintain a more loose or painterly approach throughout. So far so good on the block in. Keeping the big shapes very simple.
Next phase
I tightened up on the background area but still keeping loose up front. I can live with that since I want the distant hills to recede and quiet down. I added more blue to the back hills but they are still retaining too much color variation and not enough depth. The trees had light added to them but still must remain darker than the hills behind them. Played with the path a bit to give it some depth.
Trail Down from Herman's Gulch, 18x24, oil on paper
Here I blued down the distant hills is amazing how much blue you have to use to get them to recede! I added the clouds, still keeping the strokes loose, added some flowers to the hillside and more motion to the path calling it done. Sure love this hike and have always wanted to paint it. There is a view from up top that is still on my radar to paint.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Venice Crossroads

Venice Crossroads, 30x30, oil on linen

This painting was in a somewhat completed state last February.  I have sat on it all this time wondering how to finish it. Sometimes one just has to put a painting away until you are ready for it or it is ready for you. This was not an easy painting for me but I was really attracted to the scene for all the repetitive shapes as well as the activity. So many ways to go in and out of the alleys in Venice.

I actually did more work on this than I had thought was needed as once I get going I see more areas that need attention. I started in the shadows leading the viewer in. I darkened it down a notch or two and added more details though still trying to keep it simplified. Just enough to have some interest as you go into the painting and to also lead the eye in to the visual motion I was going for. That made a huge difference. So I went into the interior and deepened some colors and lightened others. I was in a groove so it did not take me that long once I figured out what it was that needed doing. It is such a good feeling when that happens.

This is my second Venice painting from my two days spent there wandering the alleyways. I sure loved every minute of it and hope to go back and explore other areas of the city. We were staying in the area that is called Cannaregio. It is the old Jewish Quarter and is on the outer rim of the city to the northwest. Across the Lagoon from our vaporetta stop is Murano, where the glass factories are. So we stayed pretty much on that side of the Grand Canal.

Venice Laundry blog post. This painting has sold.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

quotes to ponder

A book was recommended to me not too long ago, and it finally came in at the library. Guess it is popular little tome. I found a few quotes within it I want to share.
"We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can't steal. You will take what we give you and yo will put it in your own voice and that's how you will find your voice. And that's how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you."
Francis Ford Coppola
I found this quote to be spot on. It is so true that we try to mimic what we like, but it does come out with our own imprint on it, unless of course,  you are purposely forging, which is not what this is about.

I like the chart from the book (Steal Like an Artist) by Austin Kleon on this subject. It puts in two columns Good Theft vs Bad Theft; I have added a few words to his one word list here and there for those of you who have not read his book.

Under GOOD Theft:
  • Honor who you steal from
  • Study works of those you steal from
  • Steal from many
  • Credit those you steal from
  • Transform what you steal into your own voice
  • Remix 
  • Degrade who you steal from
  • Skim
  • Steal from ONE
  • Plagiarize
  • Imitate
  • Rip off
Austin on TED Talk

Friday, October 3, 2014

Studio Tour - a peak inside

Easel in front of North facing windows
Today we take a studio tour since nothing in process do I want to post yet. Here is my easel area. It looks cramped but actually works well for me. I know a chair in front of the easel is not the ideal image of a painter at work, but I forgot to remove it from the scene. OOPS. I have had sore hips (bursitis?) which has made standing for any length of time hard, so I only stand when I really must and then I switch back to sitting when it gets to be too much. And yes, I use color charts. Sometimes I just need help if it is color I may not use in my everyday arsenal.
moving to the right of the easel
Fritz the Wonder Dog was hounding me for a walk or he would never have lowered himself to come into the studio. I think he must be sensitive to the smells as he has never liked to hang out with me here. He will lay in the hallway at the door. In this area of the room is where things are stored. The teak china cabinet I inherited  is full of art supplies. The dresser holds my CD's, extra oil paint and other mediums. The doorway connects to the second studio. The paintings stacked around the room are awaiting attention.
moving to the right again is my desk area
There is a doorway to the hall between the chest of drawers and the desk area. Here is where I do my blog, develop and upload my photos, correspond, and all other computer related tasks. Nothing is level in this old house so the drawers never stay shut...yes, I know I could level the desk...but the desk is solid walnut and it is heavy. I never think of it when I have brawn available to assist. The old radio cabinet to the right is not very useful but I love it. It stores books I am referencing and other things I want close at hand but it does make the area a bit tight. It should have probably stayed with its original finish (and yes, it did have the fabric front on it when we found it but the inner radio parts were gone) according to Antiques Roadshow, but I stripped it to show the beautiful burl wood veneers.

opposite the desk and behind the easel is where I store small panels and found objects
This fits nicely behind the closet door, an otherwise useless space. It has objects I found of interest that may find their way into a still life and small panels for plein air painting. Does anyone know what the metal object is in the upper left hand top shelf?
2nd studio where I gesso, varnish, frame, etc
Moving into the next room is where I do the nuts and bolts associated with my work. I think this room was once a nursery as it is small and has no closet. It was also used as a kitchen when our house had been divided into two units during the Great Depression. While in use as a kitchen, it had a fire! This is one room that now has drywall as opposed to lathe and plaster.
opposite wall in 2nd studio. Trunk and suitcase stores old paintings and frames
We end here with the packed trunk and suitcase. I can't help myself. I would rather have interesting furniture than more space efficient studio furniture. In the trunk are old paintings and smaller frames. In the suitcase are plein air paintings on canvas that never made the grade to be mounted and displayed, but I somehow can't throw away yet. To the left and behind the trunk are various sizes of canvas. I store only one of each size here to keep them close at hand and the bulk of blank canvases live in the basement.

Thanks for coming along on the tour. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my world.