Sunday, May 27, 2012

Expanding Creativity

©2012, R.L. Delight, Cannon Beach Arts Association
The work in progress for "Duet" continues on. The drawing is winding down and the canvas stretched and sized on the stretcher frame. I will get it gessoed and then start the actual painting. I am looking forward to it!
In the meantime, I have very cautiously, and with consideration, ventured out of the studio a bit. There is a not-for-profit art association in Cannon Beach, which is the next town to the north of us, about 14 miles. The Cannon Beach Arts Association has been around for over 25 years and is run almost completely by volunteers. I have been meaning to become part of this organization once I got settled. I like the idea of giving back and supporting my fellow artists. I recently volunteered to be a docent. Docents mind the gallery for a shift or two a month. The gallery hosts art shows and sells beautiful handcrafted jewelry, cards, and books. They fund a children's art camp and do educational outreach for art. It is a great organization to have in the area.
As a docent, I have a few special artistic opportunities as well as the perks of meeting other artists, interacting with the art loving public, and a little discount if I choose to give into the temptation to purchase jewelry or art.
Above is a picture of the current exhibit and the lovely bright and airy gallery space. The bright space is very nice to have in our predominantly gray and cloudy climate. I plan to enter a juried show here in September. I will be posting about that painting as it happens too.
In other areas of my artistic life, my wonderful handy mate has his own creative outlets, besides building me various things. He is involved with a local theater group. They are a hard working creative bunch. One of the group wrote a locally flavored musical for the players to perform and directed the play. Bob composed the music for the songs, arranged lighting for the auditorium the group is refurbishing, directed the music and performed the accompaniment for the play. They did a fantastic job. This group was a reader's theater group and have made the leap to a full fledged acting troupe.
©2012 R.L. Delight, Nehalem Treasure, Nehalem, OR

Last night was the final show and I must say, not only am I proud of them all but I appreciate the privilege of watching their creative process. They worked hard, stretched and grew. They are all a wonderful inspiration. It was amazing to watch this grow from idea to script to finished performance.
I post this photo to not only let them take another bow but to illustrate another creative inspiration in my life. I also have to mention they tolerate me constantly sketching them at various gatherings!
The work continues...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Handmade Stretcher Bars

I mentioned in my previous post that my husband made me a stretcher bars the canvas frame I will need to paint my current work in progress. He more or less followed the instructions from the Empty Easel website on making your own stretcher bars. Today he made me another frame using his own modifications so here are the details!
©2012 R.L. Delight, handmade stretcher bar frame for canvas.
©2012 R.L. Delight, handmade stretcher bar frame for canvas, corner detail
I will start with the large frame first. The outside dimensions are 22"x40" to match my drawing, which will be the actual size of the finished piece. Bob, my mate, bought a kiln dried 2"x6" piece of fir lumber. He ripped that down on his table saw to the final dimensions of the stretcher bar wood. The actual dimensions of the bars are 3/4"x 1-3/4". He also manufactured the quarter-round strip of wood that you can see along the edge of the stretcher frame. He followed the instructions for mitering and stapling the corners. They are very sturdy but, as you can see, not precisely flush at the joint. I also asked him to add reinforcing bars to the frame as it is long and somewhat large. I will be stretching the linen on the frame tomorrow and then size the canvas and prime it with gesso.
The frame he made today is smaller, 20"x16". He used a different joining method that we both like a lot better. Here are the details:
©2012, R.L. Delight, Handmade stretcher bars for canvas.
©2012, R.L. Delight, Handmade stretcher bars for canvas, corner detail.
©2012, R.L. Delight, Handmade stretcher bars for canvas, corner detail.
Bob used the same wood stock that he ripped on the table saw but made the joint a modified lapped join. He glued the join and then shot three long finished nails through the end with a nail gun (bottom photo). The frame looks much neater and feels nice and sturdy.
The bonus? The total cost of the large frame (not including labor) was $1.75 (U.S.)! The canvas will be a bit heavier than the ones I purchased ready made but the materials are better and they feel more solid.
The drawing is slowly proceeding and the canvas stretching and priming will be started tomorrow. The weather for the weekend is supposed to be nice around here. I have my prop that I want to paint outdoors with ready to go so hopefully will be able to get out and do that this week. Today I found an old wooden silverware box at a thrift store for $2.00. I plan to make it into a pochade box for a simple and light plein air painting set up. I will be posting about that little build when it is done, soon.
I would love to hear from other painters who make their own materials and tools. Please feel free to brag a little in the comments and post a link to your blog or Facebook album.
Happy creating!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Duet Drawing in Progress

©2012 R.L. Delight,Duet drawing in progress
I know this is challenging to see. I didn't use a flash but the lighting is strange. Graphite is always a challenge to photograph and this drawing is large, 22"x40". I also had to piece the drawing paper together to fit the composition. I will be ordering paper in rolls so I won't have to do that in the future. It is very much a work in progress. I really just have the main proportions and angles and am starting in on the shading and tweaking the lines. Both instruments are a challenge to draw. That said, I am so very glad I decided to draw this out first. Here is a close up of the cornet just roughed in:
©2012, R.L. Delight, Duet drawing in progress, close up.
The cornet is very shiny and difficult to flatten out and see. There is a lot of foreshortening and tapering of the tubing combined with different angles and planes, well, it is definitely pushing me along. This is really a lot of fun, I really do enjoy drawing as much as I do painting and it is very easy to get lost for hours in the process. Actually, I would get lost in time longer but Twill the studio dog comes and gets me to take her on a walk at the proper time so I do have breaks. I have to be careful when walking by the drawing and stopping to look at it. If I pick up my pencil to add or change something really quick, the next thing I know, an hour has gone by without me realizing it!
The cornet, while challenging, is actually easier to draw then the cello. The cello has many subtle curves and plane changes. It isn't flat or box-like as a guitar is. As I mentioned before, drawing the cello is like drawing the human body. Of course, the cello holds still better than a live model.
If the drawing continues to go as it has been, I should be through with it this week and be able to transfer it to the canvas and begin the grisaille.
I don't have a title for this piece yet. I am calling it Duet for the time being. It has been a busy day. I went to life drawing this morning, spent a little time working on the drawing then it was time to get ready to go to the local music jam session. The instruments were taken from the still life set up and played. They will be back posing for me tomorrow.
I'm not sure how much progress I will have to show for Wednesday. I will be working on it steadily but we shall see how much different it looks by then.
Off for a well earned night's rest.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


©2012, R.L. Delight, Illuminating Conversations, 6"x6" oil on panel
I have been working on the drawing for the musical series I am starting. It is the largest composition I have done yet. I ran into a few technical difficulties along the way. I don't have a drawing board large enough so I put a couple of drawing boards together on my easel and taped the overlapping seam. Over that, I pieced together a few sheets of paper, for the same reason. The composition is 22"x40". I started the drawing and got a few days into it, struggling the whole time. Putting the pencil down, I took a break to puzzle out the problem and suddenly realized I was fighting physics. My cobbled together set up was getting in the way of drawing accurately.
I consulted with my in-house builder, who I am conveniently married to, and he popped over to the hardware store and brought home a sheet of masonite. He very kindly cut a large piece for me to use for a drawing board. No seams, all one plane, that's the ticket! As a bonus, the extra masonite will be cut into panels for me to paint on.
 I went ahead and started the drawing over again. It is going a lot faster and smoother this time. I am also making a video of the work in progress which will be shown when the work is finished.
The weather has been lovely, not too warm and not freezing cold. I had planned to get out to do a bit of plein air painting but wanted to build a special prop first. The prop is built and will have its debut when the conditions are right. There will be pictures by and by.
A fairly short and simple post as there is not a lot to show and tell at this time. The past couple of posts I have shared a few art links I enjoy. I would love to add to my resources so if anyone has a few favorite art links, feel free to leave a comment or comment on my Facebook page (link on the right of blog).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gone Painting...Again

Ahhhh...the sun is out, and it is warm! That means it is time. Time to head out of the studio and paint while the sun shines and, did I mention it's warm?! Before heading out, I found a couple of landscape painting books on Google books. I do love these wonderful online resources and these are free to read.
I recognized these painters from the huge tome on American Tonalism I mentioned in a previous post. They are interesting to read even after wading through the rather ethnocentric proclamations, not to mention the gender bias.
The first is The Art of Lanscape Painting in Oil Colour by Sir Alfred East

and the second is Landscape Painting by Birge Harrison.

I haven't read through them completely but I thought they would be good inspiration before heading out this week. 
I will be back soon!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Wellness Interlude

Neahkahnie, ©2012 R.L. Delight, personal photo

I consider myself very fortunate that I am rarely ill. I haven't had even a so much as a cold over the past few year. Alas, I have caught some sort of illness bug. I will spare you the details and just say I have spent the past few days resting, taking care, and reading about art of course. I am recovering and will be back at the easel soon. In the meantime,  I thought I would share a few links for this post.
With perfect timing for my reading enjoyment, the Spring edition of the online magazine, Artists on Art came out. It is a beautifully created interactive, and very informative magazine. Not only about artists but about collectors of art as well. I have been intrigued and touched by the interactions and personal relationships with art the collectors describe. It is well worth subscribing to.
For the artists interested in marketing, art techniques, studio and artist tips, and using social media to its full potential, pop on over to Lori McNee's Fine Art Tips. There is a lot to read there so be sure to make yourself comfortable. Take a look at her beautiful work as well.
I was excited to find the American Artist Video Magazine. They have recently released the Spring issue at no cost. Back issues will be $10.00 which was what the magazine used to cost. Of course, it is very shrewd of them because after seeing the incredible interviews of some of the top artists, I wouldn't mind purchasing a back issue or two to view the previous interviews.
I also spent time reading regular books and catching up on some of the back issues of the one or two artist magazines I have accumulated.
I would have much rather been working in the studio but if I had to take a wellness break, it isn't a bad way to pass the time.
Hoping you will get a chance to check out the links above in good heath and wellness.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beauty Anew

As many of you know, I play the cello and it is being featured, along with my husband's cornet, in my current painting. I am quite familiar with my cello, as I have had it for about 12 years, but drawing and painting it has made me see it in a new light. I have been working on the preliminary drawing and it has been quite challenging. I have always known that the cello is an exquisitely beautiful instrument, both in sound and looks. I am finding out that it is also exquisitely crafted, and exquisitely difficult to draw. Like the human body, it has curves and planes in unexpected places but they all fit together in such a way that I actually stood there in awe for a time. Fortunately, when I made the connection that this is not just an object but a complex creation in the same manner as the human body, I began to be able to make sense of it. A not-always-simple case of getting the intellectual mind out of the way.
So the work progresses. I have no idea how fast it will go and intend to allow it to take the time that it needs to. I want this piece to be just as exquisitely beautiful as the subject.
It has been working well to position and remove the instruments on a daily basis in the still life set up. After all, these are working instruments and we need to practice. In fact, we are off to play in a concert with friends and bandmates tonight somewhere down this wild coast we live on.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Will Take All The Help I Can Get!

Page from: Basic Design Principles Vol 1, Manfred Maier
It has taken me a bit longer to set up the cello and cornet still life than I had anticipated. Perhaps I should just not anticipate but just let it be what it will be. I had to rearrange and re-rearrange my little studio area to find a way to set it up and still be able to draw and paint it. As it is, it is tight quarters. This painting will push me into a lot of firsts. This will be the largest painting I have made to date. I wanted to make it about life size. After setting up, arranging the composition, taking photos to analyze the composition, and then rearranging the composition, I have arrived at a starting point. I will have to build my own canvas, another first for me. The canvas will be 22" x 40". Only about half of the cello will be visible. 
I had visions of having the cornet sort of floating above and to the side of the cello at a rather saucy angle. It just looked too strange. I ended up bowing to reality and grounded the cornet on the same plane as the cello. 
This afternoon I started the preliminary drawing and block in. I am working on getting the proportions and angles set. As I was working, trying to gauge where the scroll of the cello will fit on the paper, I had flashbacks to art school and a particular exercise that included the scroll of a violin. It is a pretty challenging object to render. When I was in school, our teacher showed us some wonderful books by Manfred Maier. They are a four volume set called Basic Design Principles. I will add right here that they are out of print and quite pricey. I was smart enough a few years ago to immediately buy a copy of Vol 1, which seemed the most helpful to me. It was expensive then, but the price has pretty much doubled since I bought it. The books are technical and this one shows complex lines of perspective and construction. As I stared at the cello scroll and thought... uh oh.., I fortunately remembered I had this book and it had a rendering of a cello scroll. The picture above is a photo of the page. Of course, I have the cello in a completely different position and angle but looking at the drawing steadied me enough to take a deep breath and know that I will be able to do it. I should mention, the drawing is not to copy but to give me the direction needed to interpret and render what I am seeing in front of me. It really is a huge help!
I plan to film the process and put it into a time lapse video, another first. I am thinking that I will post video chapters here and then put it all together in a final video when the painting is through. 
It feels good to be going on this. Once it is well under way I will add another composition to work on and trade off. 
The blog posts on this one are going to start off slow. I have a deadline in mind for this painting so I will have that to drive me through the challenges.
A final image for you, as I sit here creating this post, night has fallen and the tide has come in. I can hear the ocean roaring away in the background. My dog Twill is stretched out at my feet in front of the woodstove. Sounds more like a winter scene but Spring has been cold and wet here, and slow to show her face. May you all be surrounded by peace and beauty. 

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