Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Natchez Trace

Smooth sailing in our holiday travel so far. I am posting this from Paducah, KY this morning where it is sunny and chilly (40 degrees). We spent yesterday in TN driving north from FL to IL for Thanksgiving with family. We discovered the Natches Trace!!! Have you driven it? Wow. We got lucky with some sunshine and 60 degree temps. We picked it up near Colbert's Ferry, Alabama and then drove 150 miles north from there toward Nashville. So we have a lot to explore south of there some other day.

Lots and lots of fantastic history along this trail and even though it's too late in the season for much still was very pretty with some leaves still clinging on in shades of vermillion and scarlet lake and aliz and then a bright gamboge yellow tree would jump out and delight our eyes. We stopped to watch tumbling little brooks with waterfalls that would not have been visable if the leaves were still on. Serendipity. Among other historic facts about this "trace", Meriwether Lewis died along this trail when he was only 35 years old and we stopped to visit his grave site. I did a little journal entry here while we ate a picnic lunch under some cedar trees. We should get to West Chicago for our holiday tonight and I am in charge of baking THREE pies tomorrow morning!!! Happy Turkey Day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 20 Minute Challenge

A quick sketch...just the perfect thing to do on a rainy evening in central Florida! As you can see from yesterday's post there is a place now to post these little sketches. It's really fun to see them!

This was done with pen and some watercolors. (no graphite).

We are all packed...we leave to head to West Chicago any posts to my blog won't have photos for the next 10 days.

We usually take 3 days and two nights heading north as we like to relax, stop before dark, and sometimes stop along the way if we see something interesting. Hopefully we won't have rain or anything worse along the way. I will have my usual travel journals with me...although it won't be as easy to be outside in November!!! So they may be "interior" sketches!

I wish all of faithful blogger buddies a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be safe and stay well. I'll be reading your blogs along the way...a fun thing to do in the motel in the early morning.

OH OH...I wanted to add that those of you reading Barb Sailor's blog she has found a really interesting watercolor texture technique by Gwen Bragg. Just click on Gwen's name and go to the video to watch it. If you like texture in's a very interesting one. She does not say what paper she is using...but maybe we can find out on her website somewhere. She is working on a sheet of acrylic but I'll bet you might be able to get this on smooth gator board too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meet Thalia

Muse: a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
Note: the "s" in muse is pronounced like a "z".

From Greek and Roman mythology it seems that the 9 daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne presided over the the arts and sciences. The daughter named Thalia presided over comedy and light verse. I love that!

Today I found Thalia at the Christmas shop. I couldn't resist her. Her hair looks a lot like mine when I forget to color it. (I mean she really didn't have that name...but she does now.) My husband loves the garters.

She's sitting on top of my computer but she'll be in the studio soon where she can be a source of creative inspiration!

Rhonda is encouraging folks to try the 20 minute challenge. Wouldn't it be fun to try to draw or paint Thalia? I'm on!!!

Leesburg, FL Fall Art Show

I finally got down to view the show today! Its been hanging for weeks! Gee, I was pleasantly surprised at the airy and large room we were able to get for the show this year. Beautiful. AND we get to leave it up from late October through late December. How nice is that!!!
Right through the holiday season.

And the gallery is connected to an art/antique store with a doorway connection to a Christmas shop that is humming with activity. My daisy piece is a 16 x 20 acrylic on wrapped canvas.
I have heard that at least one piece has sold out of the show. That's encouraging.

The view of the the wall my painting shows there are live plants in the room and also plenty of entry ways into the other shops. One of the live plants is right next to my painting which actually looks rather nice and they have a good spotlight on it as well. So often in these shows the lighting is not good and it's too dark to get a good look at things. There is actually some track lighting here! Some artists brought easels which are scattered tastefully around the room.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Carol Steven's workshop

Today was my day to think more "abstractly". Starting with the black and white photo and then moving back up to the top, you can see how Carol teaches the progression into an abstract painting.

This is, of course, MY version of how to do it. Everyone in the class had VERY different versions.

We worked in watercolor and collage but it would apply to any medium. We traced the photo (or painting) twice...first just an outline and then a second time she had us pick the center of interest and draw some lines that would separate the center of interest from the rest of the painting and then design the lights and darks. Then put what we drew onto the watercolor paper and begin.

I don't think abstract is my "thing" BUT I did find it refreshing and relaxing and I would do it again.

Rhonda Carpenter's painting has arrived!

What a special treat. Rhonda's beautiful collage/watercolor arrived yesterday! Thank you Thank you! It's just beautiful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ormond Memorial Art Museum (near Daytona, FL)

One nice thing about art groups is that they introduce you to some things you'd never expect to know about. The German Expressionist movement was considered the beginning of modern art. In this exhibit all but one of the pieces shown were "reproductions of originals". I thought that was interesting that the show would feature "studies". For instance the abstract above is a reproduction of a Kandinsky. It was done by Dr. Robert Young in 1910. I believe there is a horse and rider somewhere in the this painting if you can find it!!!

The painting being shown and discussed by the docent is a Karl Hoffer painting done in 1934 and is THE original painting.

So this period of painters were pre WWII painters in Germany...avant-garde in a new way and trying out a new style of painting.

The trip was an all-day event--we left Leesburg at 8 a.m and returned at 5 p.m. Whew. We also went to the Daytona Museum of Arts and Science in the afternoon.

One of the interesting side exhibits at the latter museum were donations from the Root family who made their fortune as Coca Cola bottlers. So they had all the old bottles, coolers, and machines on display. The family also sponsored race cars (much to my husband's delight) and they collected trains...REAL trains. So there were two cars to see outside the museum! The family traveled in style!!!

I am off to an abstract workshop tomorrow so I expect my exposure today was a good thing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aren't you glad the banner is done? Both sides!

Yes, it is. It just has to dry throughly and let me look at it a few days. Here is the back side.

I decided on a much more "painterly" approach to the back side of the banner. The front side is more "poster and illustration" and the back side is painterly.

I decided on no printing on the back side for two reasons. One, it would be a distraction to the approach. And second I don't want some city employee who is putting this banner up to get the two sides confused. (Although I think will sign both sides.)

I did a few silhouettes figures under the tents just to give the idea that there were a lot of people there. I think that passers-by look at banners quickly and rarely stand and stare at them.

They are meant to convey an impression in just a few seconds.

It certainly has been an "experience" doing something like this. I don't know if I would have volunteered if I had realized how much work it was going to be! BUT on the other hand, I did enjoy the new challenge of it and it will be fun to look for my art "in public places".

Oh and a little reminder about today: It's the birthday of artist Georgia O'Keeffe, born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (1887). In 1923, she said, "One day seven years ago I found myself saying to myself — I can't live where I want to — I can't go where I want to go — I can't do what I want to — I can't even say what I want to … I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Banner Complete!!!

I know, I know. You were thinking this would never get done!!! Well, hahaha.
Of course, the last laugh is on me, as I have THE OTHER SIDE yet to do.

But what I plan is to just paint a large free flowing potted palm tree surrounded by some flowers in pots and some blue sky in the background. Very simple!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

OH no...not that banner again.

Yes, you are stuck working through this with me! I promise, it won't be much longer.

I have to turn it in a week from today. Greg and I went out for pizza tonight and we were going over our plans for next week. There just is NO time for painting so I HAVE to do it this weekend.
One very cool thing this week is a day long trip to Daytona to visit art museums (bus trip with my art group). AND I am taking an art class with Carol Stevens. More on that later.

Also a very cool thing, Rhonda Carpenter just posted that I won the drawing for her watercolor/collage on her blog! HOW exciting is THAT! This MUST be my lucky week...I wonder if she knew it was my birthday last Monday!!!

Slogging On....Can I Do This?

Stopping at third base adds no more to the score than striking out. (E. Joseph Cossman)

All kinds of things...planned and unplanned are undermining my determination to get at this project!!! And the time is flying by! I have to get going!!!

Meanwhile I am teaching 3 classes, tutoring reading in the pubic schools and fighting a very persistent and nagging and painful sinus attack. Believe me, the back side of this is going to be VERY simple! :-)

I have discovered that thinning the acrylics down makes things go's more like "staining" the canvas that painting it. I'm determined this weekend to make a huge dent in this. Weather here in central FL has dropped down into the 80s and there is no excuse not to be off and about one's many goals!!! Hopefully I can begin to get my energy back!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving along on the Banner

Several folks have asked again what the support for the banner is...what am I painting ON? The banner is canvas..fairly heavy weight. It has been gessoed on both sides. The top and bottom edges have been turned over and stitched so that a support bar can be slipped through.

Right now I am wondering if I should have gessoed it twice. But too late for that now. I am struggling to find the right mixture of the acrylic for the painting. Juicier mixtures seems to spread more evenly but now I have to see how they dry.

I have basically begun with the allowing that to dry so I can see how it is going to look. I'll be putting a border all around the yellow sign at the top. There will be flowers in each of the wagons in various containers. I am trying to keep track of the time I am spending on this side because I do have to do something with the back.

I could add another coat of gesso to the back before doing that. I don't want the colors or shadows of the art work on one side to show through to the other side!!! I am taping off the straight lines so that takes a little more time and I need to go and get more cheap masking tape for this. At first I was worried about the amount of paint I would use but it isn't going to be too bad. I only have about 10 days to finish this and so it will be my exclusive art work now until it is done. (I also have to teach two journal classes in that time frame!) YIKES!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Starting Out on a Banner

Now this is my first banner. Oh boy. Here I go. But I HAVE to get this done like right away and get it in to the Mt. Dora Chamber of Commerce by Nov 23 because we are going north for the Thanksgiving holiday.
I have been assigned the Plant and Garden Fair.

First I had to gesso both sides of the banner. You can see my starting that last week. I did both sides and then hung it outside to dry.

The banner is pretty big. The first sketch is pretty small (but I hope in proportion). I laid it on the banner so you can see what size I am starting with. I will now try out some color and values in the sketch. This is the front of the banner and the most important side but I will have to do both sides obviously. I am thinking I'll repeat the printing on the back. But I have to see how long it takes me to transfer this sketch onto the banner and get it painted before I decide how detailed I have time to be on the back side.

Wish me luck...I seem to have a VERY busy week so I don't know how I am going to get this done!!!

Rethinking my poured painting

I've had so many supportive and interesting suggestions about this poured painting...all VERY excellent ideas. The first one is actually the revised version (it is signed in left corner). But I showed the version just prior next to it for comparison.

In this revision I have incorporated a few of the helpful thoughts that have come my way. Note, I have darkened the darks even darker around the quilted jacket. And I have floated a cobalt glaze over the left side of the painting toning down the light colors graying slightly the roses and yellows. I also added a few line details to the jacket which may not be apparent but to give it a little more detail.

The quilt hanging in the far left corner in the cooler tones has been "read" as a window by some people. Which is fine. But that is an issue probably of this being a photograph and you not being able to see it as clearly. I toned down the bright yellow triangle behind the jacket just slightly on the outside edge to sort of bring the "glow" into the surrounding area and not sliding off the edge of the painting. I think Paulette will feel that I have of a "center of interest" now and I think all of you who suggested that the values were a little too much all the same will see some improvement. Thank you to EVERYONE who gave me good ideas.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mt. Dora Plant & Garden Fair

What an absolutely gorgeous day to be out photographing people, flowers, tents, and darling wagons of all colors and sizes. Mt. Dora is just a beautiful little town in central Florida (about 30 minutes from Leesburg) and it is right on the shore of Lake Dora. The show is held right down on Simpson Cove on the lake shore. Lovely shore breezes and 85 degree temps and wonderful sunshine! They were totally lucky as I think we have some "weather" approaching us in the Gulf of Mexico that will give us wind warnings on Monday and rain on Tuesday.

I have accepted the challenge of painting one of the town banners (acrylic on canvas) that will hang in town during the 100th birthday of Mt. Dora which is 2010. My banner is to represent the Plant & Garden Show on one side and the Lakes and HIlls Garden Club on the reverse side. So today I took about 100 photographs. OH MY. Such fun to look at them. Designing a banner is something more "commercial" than I am used to doing and I will need to work on composition and design BIG time.

I have included a photo of one of the wagons used to haul around the plants. There were tons of wagons of all colors, shapes and sizes. I think the wagons will be my design theme for at least one side of the banner. I plan to work on the composition/design/drawing this weekend. Check back for updates.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pouring Part Three

Well, that's all the time I have for's a VERY warm painting.

Not quite as much dark dark as I had originally planned but of course, dark can always be added. I like the repeated patterns...the oval in the basket repeated in the purse handles, the verticals repeated in stair rails and the bolts and the quilt. If I hadn't watched Donna Zagotta's pre-planning in her video I know it would not have been such a strong design.

I definitely will go and read more about pouring now as I really do like the "light" that the pour provides. And the very cool color mixing that happens. I feel the painting "invites you in".

I stuck to three colors (all Winsor Newton) ...auroleon yellow, cobalt blue and permanent rose (with a little ultramarine blue added in the darkest areas). Oranges and greens are all mixed from that triad. It is a quarter sheet size of Arches cold press 140#. I am happy about most of the shapes. But I will have to go back and look it in a day or so. Do you do that too? Sometimes it seems like another painting a few days later. I also like to look at it in a mirror and upside down.

Pouring Part II since I didn't stretch this paper (bad girl) what I did do is wet the paper throughly, do the pour then staple the wet paper to the gator board to dry. This still has the mask on it.

I know it would have been a smoother pour if it wasn't buckling while I was pouring. DUH. But I am in the "experimenting mood" here. Also I wish I had poured more yellow and less permanent rose. Hmmmm. Learning.

I also had some trouble with the finish on the paper. This is a piece of paper than has been stored here in the heat all summer. Do you think it might have affected the sizing on the paper?

When I wet the paper I suddenly noticed that the water was not soaking in evenly on it as it should was sort of beading up in places. Uh oh. I have a ton of watercolor paper stored here. I would be SO SO sad if all the sizing is ruined by the heat. This is Arches. I've never had any problem with it before.

Anyway I ended up with a more "granulated" finish than I should have. In this sort of painting it doesn't matter all that much to have some extra texture but it would in some paintings!!!

Doing a Pour Part One

You will remember awhile back I put together a nice value study based on Deb Ward's photo in a quilt shop? Then I worked on it with watercolor and gouache with moderate success and it's not really done. But inspired by a short Jean Grastorf video today. I decided to try the same picture with a pour. Just for fun. I do have her book Pouring Light and I need to go back and really read it well. But I was just fooling around today. Fooling around without really reading directions can be dangerous (and foolhardy). I re-traced the value sketch on 140# cold press and then masked in the lights (or most of them). I knew that I should be stretching the paper. I KNOW that. But I get impatient...ya know?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Color Mixing

There's nothing like a good basic review of color and color mixing. Our park here in FL is SO blessed with having some very experienced and sharing people. Al is one of those folks. Al works primarily in oils and pastels but he is proficient in watercolor and acrylic as well. He is what I would call a "classically" good artist. He has taught art and he knows his stuff! The color mixing update was well attended (about 20 people) which is about what our art room here at Hawthorne Park can handle! We are so fortunate to have a real place to make art that we can call our own!

One of the basic messages today was that it is just not necessary to buy so many paints. You really can do a good job with a basic set of paints. Al's basic oil and acrylic palette consists of 4 red...two warm and two cool. Cad red light, cad red medium, quinacridone Rose, Alizarin crimson. one yellow: cadmium yellow light and two blues..thalo blue and ultramarine blue. He shows an orange on the color wheel but he says he usually mixes his oranges. He also likes 4 earth colors: yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna and burnt umber. He really feels you can do a lot of good painting with just those paint colors! We practiced mixing some interesting greens! His watercolor palette is similar although he uses a yellow aureolin for his yellow. And he adds thalo green to the watercolor palette (and drops off burnt umber and yellow ochre).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Portrait Challenge at Hawthorne Park

The first of the portraits done in the challenge here at the Fine Arts Club at Hawthorne Park have appeared.
Each one wonderfully unique! Jane's is a kind o a Mary Englebreit take-off with a the most magical mischievous smile. Just like Jane. The middle portrait is Sherese whose pencil drawing is a work of art and an absolute image of her!!! You will recognize my portrait...the blue and white silhouette in shadow and light I learned how to do in Lynne Ferris' class last winter. And then Martha's portrait at the right with images of north and south reflected in each lens of her glasses. Even the logo on her shirt is about where she grew up. I am so pleased! I think there may still be a few out there that haven't come in yet. No art making for me today...I was busy all morning at the art club and then the afternoon seemed to slip away.

I baked homemade banana bread from scratch and a batch of Greg's favorite chicken tetrazzini. Cooking takes so much time! But the temperatures dropped today into the high 70s and it felt like a day to open the kitchen windows and bake! Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All-Saint's Day

Today is All Saints' Day, and Pope Julius II chose this day in 1512 to display Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time. It was not a job that Michelangelo wanted. He was primarily a sculptor at the time. But Pope Julius II wouldn't take no for an answer. The work required Michelangelo to apply wet plaster to the ceiling and then paint over it before it dried, and he had to do this on more than 10,000 square feet, more than 60 feet above the ground. (Whew...not a commission I'd want either.)