Monday, May 30, 2011

Progress and "Herstory"

I have been working away, honestly! I just didn't post last week. As I have mentioned before, this is taking me longer than I thought it would and it has been a  true learning experience. I thought about posting my progress last week but the painting was in a very awkward spot. So, here is the last picture I posted of the painting's progress:

And here is the latest:

I have got the first layer of color in on the whole painting. I am doing a little experimenting now and also going back over and refining forms and color. I would like to think that I will be stopping once I have done another go through. This is supposed to be a study, not a masterpiece. I really am anxious to move on. It has allowed me time to think things through though. I have been thinking how to continue my studies and what direction I want to go. I do have a final goal. I want to acquire the level of skills I need to be able to paint anything I want to depict. The skills will always be added to even when I am satisfied that I have reached my goal. 
I am not going to say anything more at this time. I will wrap up my thoughts when the final picture is posted on this painting. 
In the meantime, I came across an interesting comment on an article about women artists and why they are not proportionally represented in our society compared to male artists. It isn't for lack of female artists as many articles report that the number of women graduating from art programs are greater than the number of men, yet only a small percentage are represented in galleries, art shows, and museums. I would add trade magazines and books to that list! I am not going to talk about the actual numbers here as there are more informed resources out there. The comment that caught my eye was actually a challenge. It pointed out that even female artists who blog often have long lists of male artists they admire and few, if any, female artists. The comment is a challenge for us women to start finding and exposing others to the many female artists both past and present that are out there. 
I have been thinking along those lines for quite a while, even before I started this blog. There is a huge gap in our art history courses when it comes to women artists. As the documentary "Who Does She Think She Is?" mentions, the person on the street is hard pressed to name even five women artists. I have been studying on my own and am starting to find more and more remarkable and overlooked women in the arts in our history. I decided to add a little variety to my blog by featuring a female artist, if not every post, frequently. I am going to start out with women from our past history, or herstory. As this post is plenty long, I will be starting these posts next week. In the meantime, in the "Artists Who Inspire" sidebar on this blog, you will also find many links to contemporary female artists. Yes, there are a few men too!
Finally, today is Memorial Day here in the U.S.A. I want to send thoughts of gratitude to the women and men of our armed forces and their families. I also want to acknowledge all the wonderful service and rescue animals who are also heroes in their own right.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slow but Steady

Progress has been slow but steady on my still life painting. I finally got all the color in but need to make a few more readjustments on the small pitcher before taking an update photo of it. I need to wrap up the painting as I am itching to move on to several quick color studies. This has been a good lesson for me. That said, I am working out a composition for one of the paintings I have been wanting to do for quite a while.
In the meantime, it is plenty busy around here. In the past, I always enjoyed seeing the baby cows and sheep in my neighborhood. Now, I get to see baby seals and seabirds! The other day I was walking Twill on the beach when I came upon a marked off area with people stationed at various points routing folks around. It was right down from my house too. Turns out a baby seal had been born that morning and would be on the beach until the tide came up enough for it to rejoin its mother. I ran home and grabbed the camera then, after taking a couple of pictures, ran home and grabbed my painting gear and loaded it into the bike trailer I made. I grabbed a quick bite of lunch and rode down to the beach to join the seal warders and paint. I stayed until the newborn seal pup got back into the water around 5pm. Hopefully the mother was waiting for it somewhere in the waves. A representative from the local park ranger was busy shooing people away as the baby swam south in the surfline. Here are a couple of pictures. It was such an interesting day.

The middle picture is of my bike and trailer at rest of course. This was the first chance I had to test out the trailer and it worked just great! Twill was only there a few minutes as she came down with my husband. We were stationed at a good distance. I had the biggest telephoto lens we own on our camera. The mother seal will abandon her baby if people get too close. Hopefully this one didn't.
This beautiful area continues to inspire and amaze me. Next week I plan to have an update, perhaps the final one, on my still life.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Letting Go

I missed posting last week. Last Saturday the weather was nice so we decided it was time to go through the remaining bins that were stored in the garage. Some of those bins have not been opened in over two years as we have been moving around. It took us two days to go through everything. When we first put our house up for sale I had a weaving studio. The plan at that time was to go to the University of Oregon to get a MFA in fiber art. To make a long story short several things happened that caused a huge re-evaluation of life and I ended up changing directions and going to the Ashland Academy of Art (now Atelier Maui). Amazingly enough, once the decision to pursue painting instead of fiber was made, and we made that commitment, the house sold and we moved to Ashland. The plan was to be in Ashland for at least four years. Isn't there a quote about God laughing when you tell him your plans? Well, most of you know, the school decided to move to Maui and we decided not to follow. So, those bins, they have been moving around unopened until last weekend. Oh my. Needless to say, some of the stuff we packed in those bins no longer fits in our life. We ended up letting go of about half of the stuff. Some of it we will sell but most of it went to the thrift store and to other homes. It feels great! The stuff we kept needed to be put away in the house to be used which has taken more time than I invisioned.
Unfortunately, all of this has cut into my time in the studio, much to my frustration. Well, that is part of the reason. The other part is more letting go. I have had time to struggle a bit with being on my own before I had planned to. I will admit it is at times a bit hard to see all growth and the beautiful, wonderful work my former fellow students are doing in Maui and not occasionally wish I had made a different decision. I have had to let that go too. Don't get me wrong! I in no way regret the decision to move here instead of Maui and feel it is the right one. Letting go of all that will allow me to move forward, afterall, there are many wonderful artists who have learned on their own.
So, that is what I have been up to in addition to attending local emergency preparedness fairs, general living, and riding my bike on the beach when possible. I do have two pictures of last week's life drawing session which was such a treat. We had a beautiful young pregnant woman pose for us. This is the first chance I have had to draw a pregnant woman in the nude and I found it fascinating. It was interesting to see how the growing baby changes the balance and stance of the body and how the body shifts and changes. It was also a joy to see the beauty of the mother to be. The following two photos are of drawing and painting I did while experimenting with the different mediums. Sorry for the creases on the charcoal and conte crayon drawing! The drawing is about 20 minutes and the painting is 30 minutes.
The studio is cleaned up and ready to continue working in. The weather is supposed to be nice a few days this week so I am hoping to get in a bit of plein air painting. A heads up for any fiber enthusiasts, I will have some handwoven fabric, purses, yarns and fibers to give away and sell coming up soon. I will announce it here and put it on my sleeping weaving blog. So, onward! I am excited and ready to get back to work.
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