Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stopping for Thanks

Now here is a picture that will make you run indoors to snuggle by the fire with your favorite hot beverage! This is a picture I took last week of a pile snowy kelp on the beach. The weather is finally warming up a bit but it was a bit exciting to get a little snow here so early.
Not as many days in the studio this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U. S. Our Thanksgiving was nice and quiet. I made a lovely intimate vegan feast for two. Not too much food but hearty and rich, as holiday food often is. We also spent the day yesterday in Portland visiting family and doing a couple of errands. Had a bit of a nerve-wracking time getting through the Coastal Mountain range due to snow and ice on the way home but we made it back safe and sound.
Due to the holiday this week, I decided to concentrate on the shorter studies. I did a couple of quick oil paint sketches for the Sketchbook project I am working on and a bit of drawing and sketching. That Sketchbook project will be ramping up quite a bit in December as I need to be pretty much finished with the sketches by the end of the month. I will have a picture to post on what I have so far next week.
Since I don't have a lot to share this week, I thought I would call attention to some of the new links I added to my lists. In the Art/Creativity list I have added Dr. Robyn McKay. I met her on Facebook. We share the same favorite quote! She has a fascinating background in creativity and intelligence and gives several workshops on those subjects. I study and read a lot about creativity on my own. I can never get enough on this topic and encourage everyone to study what they can. Her website is worth checking out.
I also study the business of art, as well as art making, as that is where I am heading and I know it isn't easy. There are many wonderful books and websites on this topic but the one I have recently added is The Art of Non-Conformity. Chris Guillebeau had created an interesting life style and approach to marketing that I find fascinating. Check out his blog and unconventional guides (click on the "more about this site" link for a comprehensive look at what he does). He also has a few PDF downloads that are interesting and informative to read too.
The third new link in this category is White Hot Truth by Danielle Laporte. She is a very inspirational woman with a lot of thought-provoking reading on her website. A note to the delicate, she is straightforward and blunt and her language sometimes reflects that.
All of the above links deal with creativity in one way or another and are of interest to artists and other creatives alike.
I have also added a couple of links to the "artists who inspire". I will get into more detail on these on another post but, in the meantime, please check them out.
I will be getting back to work now!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Day I Will Laugh!

You have to let yourself giggle at your first attempts at just about anything. There are exceptions of course but when creating or learning anything new, a sense of humor is necessary. So, what am I chortling about lately? My very first attempt to paint with color. Here it is, still in progress:
Is it going well? Well, it isn't a total disaster. Am I learning a lot? You better believe it! The colors are close but not spot on. I took this picture in a totally different light situation than what I am using to paint with so it would be very hard to tell from this picture exactly what is going on but the general idea is there. I am enjoying myself tremendously, even when I get tangled up in frustration. I know I will get to where I want to go. I will be keeping this study. I want to pull it out one day a few years from now so I can see just how far I have gone. What I want to paint is so very complex compared to this but the simplification is necessary at this point. In fact, this needs to be simplified even more as I am still learning how to put the paint on the canvas let alone the color and all the other complex stuff. I am so very glad I have spent the past year drawing intensively.
I am still drawing, both figure drawing and cast drawing. I have set up a cast to work on in fact, and here it is along with a view of a cramped studio. It is cramped but it works just fine. I can move around almost as much as I need to and I can leave things set up.

I am working on the mouth of David. I have been alternating between a day of painting and a day of drawing. So far it seems to be working just fine. 
Yesterday we had a break between storms and the day was wonderfully sunny but chilly. We decided to drive 5 minutes up the road to the state park on the north end of our town and hiked a short path in to Short Sands Beach. It is a local surfing spot and breathtakingly beautiful. My husband took a picture of me, with our faithful dog Twill, sketching waves. 
Twill is actually lying on a blanket over flat rocks. We were there at high tide so there wasn't much sand but the beach got bigger as the tide went out. The sun felt wonderful and I was eventually able to take my coat off. 
This week we will be taking a day off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday here in the U.S. I have a lot to be thankful for and will be enjoying a modest meal with my loved ones in quiet celebration. 
So what am I thankful for? I am thankful for good health, the abundance in my life, family, friends, and the freedom to choose. 
Wishing everyone the same, 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Small Step

It is a misty wet day today on the Pacific Northwest Coast. A perfect day for life drawing, cleaning, and other general indoor pursuits. There have been a few walks too. I need to get outside a few times a day. Thankfully my dog feels the same way.
I have been busy in the studio this week. Still not in the studio as much as I would like to be but getting there. I finished the grisaille for my color study, at least, as far as I want to go since it is a color study. I have set it aside to dry a bit and will be starting in on the color part this week. Can't wait! Here it is so far:
The angle of the view in the picture is different from my painting point of view because I wanted to be able to get both painting and still life set up in the same frame. Speaking of frames and photography, I really am going to have to do something different. I have just been essentially taking what amounts to snapshots of my work, usually hand held. Using the flash does not work with oil paint, at least, not my flash. I get a glare as you will see in the next set of pictures. I do have a tripod and will get it out for next week's post. Eventually I would like to get a simple photography set up.
Hopefully I can get that photography set up  sooner than later as I have another place to post pictures. I finally set up my own website! It is still in the process of being built. At the moment, it is a very simple website. My computer programming skills are extremely rusty but I hope to be able to work on it myself for now. Perhaps sometime in the future I can get a bit of professional help there. I will have the website address for you on the next post as there have been a few kinks to iron out with the web hosting service.
Several weeks ago I joined the Sketchbook Project. There is a link to that project on my sidebar or you can check it out here. In one of those funny synchronistic moments that somehow happen in life, I met Susan at a local writer's event here in town and she happened to be participating in the project as well. In fact, there are four of us from this little tiny town participating!
I have been trying out a few different ideas and mediums but decided to fill my sketchbook with oil sketches. This will be in keeping with my studies and give me a bit of structured play with oil painting. Here is one of the sketches toward the end of completion (it is a sketch after all):
Again, had a challenge with the photography. Here is the same picture with a flash:
So, I will be using a tripod next week and also would appreciate any other suggestions for taking photographs of oil paintings. In case you are wondering, the sketch is of some of the bull kelp that washes ashore quite often. I love the translucence of the kelp. I will get a better picture up next week.
I have also been continuing my color studies in between the other work. I need to get one of my casts out to do a bit of cast drawing too. I certainly have enough to study.
If all goes well, I will be getting my full week in the studio in next week. We shall see what I can get done.
Stay warm!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Struggles

Oh yeah, I've been here before. The Struggles. It is part of the cycle is it not? I finished the charcoal drawing of my husband. As soon as I sprayed the fixative my darling dearest said to me, " I didn't want to mention this before but..." Now, in no way do I feel it is his responsibility to bring up any issues he sees in my drawing, even though I asked him to. Sometimes it is easier for someone other than yourself to spot things that can be off. I would have loved it if he had said that before I sprayed the fixative! None of this changes the fact that my proportions were just a teeny bit off. Not much, but that is all it takes. It isn't a bad drawing but the proportions being a line width off reminds me what our teacher always was saying. "Ask questions!"
I have committed myself to being honest in this blog, sharing not only the triumphs but the trials too. I will be honest here now, there was a point in the drawing process that something was nagging at me that it didn't quite look right. Now I know, without a teacher to point that out to me, that is my cue to stop, ask questions, look at the whole and the relationships,  and figure out what is wrong before preceding. Lesson learned (I hope!).
On to the next task. I set up a simple still life for a color study. It is my first one and I am doing it on my own. Not exactly sure what I am doing but I am taking a deep breath, relaxing, and having fun with it. After all, it isn't like I am having to perform surgery on someone! Here is the set up and about two hours into the grisaille.
Kind of hard to see the top of the bowl in the painting so it looks squished in the photo. I also learned I shouldn't start a grisaille when I don't have a good chunk of time to work on it. This is an open grisaille. It dried surprisingly fast so I will have to move to a closed grisaille before I start in with color. The lighting washes out the nice bright colors in the set up but the picture gives the general idea.
I also continue to squeeze in a straight color study when I can. This allows me to play with the paint and see how the colors interact. Here is shot of another color study, mixing with burnt umber on the top two and raw sienna on the bottom row.
I am starting out with quite a large palette of colors. I know there are different views on how to do this, some prefer to start out with a limited palette. Personally, I love color and while I admire many  paintings made with a limited palette, I am usually not completely satisfied with them. Eventually, with time and experience,  I will settle on a palette that works for me.
Today I went to the life drawing session at the art center in town. I am learning how to utilize the session to meet my own learning needs, which is a good thing as I was getting frustrated with the way the session was working.
This week I will be turning some of my attention to working on The Sketchbook Project. I have a bit of an outline but I need to get going on that. I will have more on that in a later post. I should have started laying in the color by the next post and will hopefully have some progress to show on that.
The learning continues!
I will leave you with a final picture of my studio assistant with her nose on one of the books I was reading during my break.
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