Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Clownin' Around

Actually I have fallen love with all the clown words!!!'s still a big space with all the same value in it. So I may do further consideration as I finish up.

I think what I am going to do is crop the painting right down close to the tops of the clowns hats. When I do that I kind of like what I see in interesting negative spaces.

This is going to make a darling greeting card too.

Rainy days are great days for painting and it's been pouring here in Central Florida most of the day.

Watching Art Emerge off the Page

There is something really fun watching a piece begin to almost "leap" off a page of paper.

This is about 20 x 20 watercolor on Arches cold press. I may crop it into a horizontal piece when it's time to frame.

I haven't done much shading on this yet.

It's fun to notice how randomly the clowns seem to have collected for the photo in such an interesting way. I am also suddenly very aware of their unique faces...and remember being told by a clown that each face is like a copyrighted image for that particular clown. In fact it can actually BE copyrighted.

Egg Register

When a clown joins Clowns International in England, which claims to be the oldest clown society in the world, he can register his individual make-up. An eggshell is decorated as a miniature version of the clown's head and added to the "Egg Gallery" which then acts as sort of clown copyright. There are genres of clown faces based on famous clowns of the past.

In the photo I took it is dark behind them. And I am beginning to think about background now a little. I had originally thought of large stripes behind them...sort of a circus background but I can see the foreground is so busy now with their great costumes that I will probably need a resting place for the eye back there. Another thought I had was to have some printing behind them about the history of clowns...or words that remind us about the history of clowning....words like Buster Keaton, Red Skelton, Emmett Kelley or hobo tramp, bum, mime, bouffon, jester...etc. You can read a really interesting bit about clowning on Wikepedia.

One interesting side issue in the article is a short paragraph about "fear of clowns". It even has a name: Coulrophobia. Interestingly the article points out that where and when you encounter a clown is usually the issue. In a circus or a parade or a party they can be fun. But they can be frightening, especially to younger children if encountered in surprising places. Someone once said, "there is nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." Fascinating. That is making me think twice about putting a dark background behind these clowns!!!

ps. if you really want to see a funny clown routine and have 6 minutes to spare go here.

Wonderful Art book for kids (young and old)

A friend found this book at Big Lots for $3.

Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about their Art.
It's a delightful book. Published in 2007 it is written for children with articles by the illustrators and examples of their art work in full color on lovely heavy paper. (Not just for kids!) You will read and see art work by illustrators such as Chris Van Allsburg, Leo Lionni, Steven Kellogg, Jane Dyer, Rosemary Wells and Maurice Sendak just to name a few. Wow...what a find. So keep your eyes out for this book for your kids, grandkids (or your own coffee table). Put those Christmas gifts away early!!!

You can go onto Barnes and Noble's used and out of print site and find it for about $3 (plus shipping) there. Original book was $30 and the $ goes to benefit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture book art. It's fun to look at that website too!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thinking Clowny Thoughts

I've enlarged the clowns and got them sketched out on watercolor paper.
As I look them over and enjoy the ideas going through my head in color, style and composition. I can't help thinking that a few them or maybe just one of them would make a great paper painting. Or a series of 4 that could be hung together? Wouldn't that be fun?

The possibilities are endless.

ps..special thanks to Barb Sailor for sharing with me the Sunshine Blog Award! I love it. I figured out how to put the awards down on the right side of the blog finally. What wonderful things to share with one another!!!

Ginny's Paper Paintings

My paper paintings are featured on Elizabeth Nelson's blog on her Feb 25th post.
Thanks Elizabeth!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Renoir

It's the birthday of the painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, born in Limoges, France (1841). Renoir used the techniques of Impressionism, ideas that he helped to found, but while most of his friends painted landscapes, he painted people.

Renoir is one of my ALL-TIME favorite painters. Partly because he was a happy painter.
He said said something like, "there is enough sadness in the world. I paint happy things." Amen. (See also Jan 20 post on Renoir.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Card Making Workshop

Today I taught a 3 hour card-making workshop...mostly to help out our park members get cards ready to sell at the Fine Arts show coming up in March. The gals and guys have been working and taking classes since November!

Some of the cards will be hand painted originals. Or originals cut from old paintings. But many will be reproductions of their paintings glued cleverly to card stock.

I encouraged interesting backgrounds, hand painting re-markings, interesting mattings, and also talked about how to get professionally printed cards, computer generated cards, and the addition of stamping, stickers, and cellophane enclosures.

Then we all spent about an hour and half working on our cards. I just picked a few to show. Some folks will do theirs at home and bring later.

I brought a good paper cutter, gel pens, glue sticks, fancy cutting edge scissors, colored paper, etc. A fun way to spend an overcast morning in Florida.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Here is my next painting subject....

I took this photo Sunday afternoon in Leesburg on the CROP walk. What a gorgeous day we were gifted with...76 and sunny.

What is a CROP Hunger Walk?
Neighbors walking together to take a stand against hunger in our world. Together we raise awareness and funds for international relief and development, as well as local hunger-fighting.

I hope we raised a TON of money. Everyone gets pledges. It's a great thing and we have done it every year for lots of years. In Wisconsin we used to walk in October! Here it's always late February.

There is always some sort of fun theme to the Leesburg walk (last year we walked with a camel...I kid you not.) This year...a clown theme. AREN'T they just the most darling bunch you ever saw!!! I can hardly wait to paint them!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pretzel Wagon Revisited

I have cropped this image slightly...but I am not sure...I may have cropped too much (I just laid a mat over it...I didn't actually cut the paper). I added a few more details on figures, added more dark behind the standing figure, changed the shadows a little bit under the wagon, added shadows under the figures, inferred another awning behind the trees and put some texture into the foreground.
I'm trying to find that elusive "interesting place to stop".

Van Gogh

I've been a Van Gogh fan forever.
Here's painting of his I had never seen before.
The title is "Still Life With Open Bible".
In an article by Tom Lubbock from The Independent (in Great Britain) I found this fascinating review of this painting. (written Jan 1, 2010) The Royal Academy of Arts in London has a Van Gogh exhibit ongoing now through mid April.

.....there are also those paintings that depict words – whose subject matter includes a piece of verbiage, whether written or printed. This is done in two ways. In one, the words are depicted literally, legibly, transcribed letter by letter. If the subject is handwriting, for example, the painter is almost recapitulating the action of the writer.

The other way is tonally. Here the words are no longer readable. The letters have retreated out of visibility. They've been reduced to areas of indecipherable grey. Paintings of newspapers often use both ways of depiction. The headlines are big and letter-by-letter legible. The smaller print of the stories becomes blocks of blur.

Van Gogh's Still Life with "Open Bible" is a picture that does text in both ways. Two books lie on a table, at a slant to one another. One is heavy and huge. It's a family bible, with brass clasps, open in the middle, and you can read at the head of the page where we are: Isaiah, 53. These pages hold a famous passage ....... "He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief..."

The other book is lighter reading. It's a small and well-thumbed paperback of a contemporary novel. The volume is closed, and we can read on its cover the author and the title fairly clearly. It's Emile Zola's Joie de Vivre. The man of sorrow. The joy of life. Some kind of drama is being staged between these two books – both between their very different physical presences and between their legible verbal content.

But now turn to the actual words of the Bible, and consider how they're painted. They're obviously not legible. You may know what the Isaiah says, but you certainly can't read it in this rendering. The text is depicted in the tonal manner. Columns of print are made into panels of blur. The paint breaks up into brush strokes here and there. You have a vague sense of chapter and verse.

It's very vague, though. This tonal version is beyond mere dark and light. This blur goes further than any loss of focus. There is no suggestion that a readable page only just eludes us – that with a little magnification, with slightly higher resolution, the viewer might become a reader. The body of the text has been transformed into rough, dense, opaque blocks of paint.

This Bible is open. We're confronted with its pages. But that only emphasises how there's no way through Van Gogh's paint to Isaiah's prophecy. His voice has been translated into thickly pasted pigment, into fat streaks and slabs, closely packed gestures going both up and across. The gap between what we see, and what's meant to be there, is wrenching.

Is the effect sceptical, telling us that the old message is beyond us, that its preaching is only dead matter? Or is it expressive, giving this passage a more than linguistic power, filling it with a physical force? The painted word is the word made flesh?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Composing the Pretzel Wagon in Yupo

I have added 3 figures and moved the composition along off to connect to the right side of the painting. I want to see the 3 figures actually as "part" of the wagon shape. Connecting them. Now I need to think about the left side and create a little more interesting shapes there without over complicating the painting too much. I like the light in the center of the painting and want to continue to infer the light is coming from the right side...I'll throw some shadows under the figures too once I get them more to my liking. I am thinking more of a cruciform design now as this moves along. So I'll need some shape to connect to the bottom of the painting as well. I love this part of the painting process.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using a Yupo Painting on a Tray

As soon as I finished this watercolor on heavy weight Yupo I realized it was the exact size of the old wooden serving tray that I was planning to freshen up with some sort of art work. Wouldn't you know I want to put Yupo on a tray!

Well, we'll see how this goes.

I gave the tray a base coat of acrylic paint to seal it. Then a few days later, I sprayed the Yupo painting with about 6 coats of Krylon Kamar Varnish (for oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings). After that dried, I applied an even coat of YES glue to the tray and glued the paper to the tray, using a brayer to smooth it and get out an air bubbles. Now I am waiting for that to dry.

I am reluctant, however, to even think for one minute that the varnish will be waterproof enough that I can set a glass of lemonade on this tray. My next step, in a day or so when the glue has thoroughly dried, is to apply a coat of Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. Now this medium has been developed to cover acrylic (not watercolor) so I have no idea how this is going to work. I thought I'd use a soft sponge brush, trying hard not to go over the surface more than once. I may decide on two coats. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

These are LOVE BEARS. The ladies of my church (Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Fruitland Park, FL) knit and crochet these little bears for children who have AIDS. They are knitted with LOVE. Although Valentines day is more associated with "romantic" love I couldn't help but share this little basket of generous and selfless love. For love has many many shades.

Today is Valentine's Day, the day on which we celebrate love, especially romantic love. The holiday was named after an early Christian priest, St. Valentine, who was martyred on February 14 in 269 A.D.

The tradition of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day originates from the martyr Valentine himself. The legend maintains that due to a shortage of enlistments, Emperor Claudius II forbade single men to get married in an effort to bolster his struggling army. Seeing this act as a grave injustice, Valentine performed clandestine wedding rituals in defiance of the emperor. Valentine was discovered, imprisoned, and sentenced to death by beheading. While awaiting his fate in his cell, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with the daughter of a prison guard, who would come and visit him. On the day of his death, Valentine left a note for the young woman professing his undying devotion signed "Love from your Valentine."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Back in the studio on Thursday

Gosh it feels good to be back...although it hasn't been all that long. I've been going through allergy testing. Never had so many needle pricks in my life and the blood draw got botched and I ended up with huge hematoma on my left arm! Sigh. Didn't feel much like painting for a day or two. Good news...NO allergies at all!

So in prep for teaching my last Yupo class next Tuesday I thought I'd sort of float back into a subject that I've been interested in trying...this fine little rolling food stand from the local flea market.

This is just the first "layering" of the watercolor on the Yupo paper. So much more fun ahead. Push pull colors and shapes. Probably some people eating at a table or a repeat of the some of the shapes many ideas floating. I love this stage. The Stage of Possibilities. When my mind begins to whirl with how the "theme" will affect the composition. Lights and darks. A little chimney goes on top. Drawing is done in watercolor pencil on this.

I'm going to try using an atomizer on this one in places. Ever tried those? I learned it from John Salminen. More to follow.

Tomorrow I am head to Ocala with 3 other arty friend to see the exhibit at the Appleton Museum. I'll report back on that!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Away from the studio....

You can tell I've been away from the studio for days.

I am looking at other people's art, however. This amazing piece can be seen better on the original blog. Thomas Schaller. This is juried into the American Watercolor Society. This a WOW honor for watercolorists! Check out his blog. Click on images to enlarge.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Shadows Call To Me

In Donna Zagotta's blog today she talks about how she became sensitive to seeing...especially shadows.

Having just taught a beginner watercolor on shadows and how to paint them...I have been re-senstized to that same thing.

Both of these things: blogs and teaching, have the effect of re-opening your eyes. Be sure to read her blog today!!!

Here is a photo I took on the walk back to the car after the art show in Mt. Dora. I LOVED the cast shadows and I want to do something with this composition soon.

Below are two of Donna's examples on her blog today of an original interior shot and then her painting with the shadows. A picture is worth a thousand words. Donna uses an opaque process with watercolor and gouache and you can order her video about this technique on her blog. But whatever medium you use...seeing how she transforms this photo reference into art is magic!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

35th Annual Mt. Dora, FL Art Fair

We were lucky that the tornado warnings and tremendous rains came on Friday and not today! What we had today was 65 (mostly sunny) and windy.

I think my favorite new find at the art fair is Peggy Furlin (Lake Mills, WI and Palmetto, FL) . Her watercolors on watercolor canvas are exquisite!!!

She is, according to her blog, on a LONG roll of art fairs. I can't believe the huge number of fairs she has been to.

Looking at her website is a delight.
I am hoping she teaches but at this point I really don't see how she could because she's on the road all the time!!! But I love her palette, her wonderful compositions, and her use of canvas!!
More to follow on this!!!

I am imagining that the fair brought as many people as usual (or more). The streets were crowded.

Featuring Deb Ward....

This is knock-your-socks-off watercolor by Deb Ward. Click here.

Coming from a midwest background full of corn fields..this had such a resonant vibration for me. I hope she makes cards of this!!!

Deb has mastered a poured watercolor techniques that I would die to emulate. If you go onto her blog she'll show you step by step how she did this and it took an incredible amount of detailed painting to finish it. I LOVE THIS. Go Deb!

Friday, February 5, 2010

TV Celebrity?

Move over Ellen and Oprah. Here's Ginny!

Our park in Florida (Hawthorne Park in Leesburg) has closed circuit TV and they broadcast every morning for half an hour. The first Friday of each month is "art day" and Al, a resident oil painter, does the interviews.

Artists bring in some of their paintings and Al asks questions about them and we explain about how they were painted, what the subject matter is and medium, etc. Very fun. Some of the paintings you saw framed in a previous blog are in that show.

The paper-painted pineapple was a big hit as no one had really seen anything quite like that before!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"My Florida"

This was my demo for the Yupo class on Tuesday. I taped off a piece of heavy weight yupo paper so I could try several different techniques on one half sheet. I washed off the birds completely once and started over. I want to play around a little more with the images and see if I can improve the hibiscus a little more.
The class will view a George James video next Tuesday (while I go to the allergist) and so Phyllis will paint with them that week. Then we'll try some more "unique" approaches to the paper!

Phylllis Crickenberger: Guest Teacher

Phyllis is co-teaching a yupo watercolor class with me at Hawthorne Park in Leesburg, Fl for 3 weeks (Tuesday afternoons). We started on Ground Hog's Day. So we call ourselves the Ground Hog Gang!
About 14 in the group.

(Did you know that there is an official Ground Hog Website?) Bet you are not that surprised!!!!

Both of these are samples of Phyllis' work on Yupo paper (heavy weight). She is a signature member of the West Virginia Watercolor Society.