Monday, July 25, 2011

Picking Art for People's Choice Show

This is a painting I started awhile ago from a photo I took at the River Walk in San Antonio. It's a famous location for paintings...I've seen quite a few in art magazines and at shows. If you walked along this lovely spot you will instantly remember it. In the evening it is strung with tiny lights. Rental boats (like Venice) quietly motor up and down the river (at all times of day). They look more like pontoons than gondolas, however, but they are painted in bright colors and have interesting guides that chat as you go. Music from the restaurants and night clubs along the river float out onto the quiet evening. There are many bridges crossing the river (you can barely see one in the distance).

But this scene is early in the morning, as we walked along looking for a place for breakfast. No one was out yet, but the waiters were putting up the umbrellas and and it was filled with the sounds of birds. The boats hadn't started up again yet. I loved the reflections in the water and the early shadows and light.

It is a watercolor (not large)...about 11 x 14 on Arches 140#. I painted it mostly wet into wet hoping to get that "misty morning" feel to it.

On a totally different theme...this multi-media (collage/acrylic) is a strange little "moody" piece contrasting a bright clown with a dark and somber background. I call it "The Train Left Without Me". The clown, though probably sad and lost, still has his smile painted on. The numbers in the painting infer lost time. It was an attempt at "story telling" within a painting.

Also fairly small, 11 x 14 on canvas board. I painted this shortly after I took Bob Burridge's class last summer. He was on a clown theme at the time and I must have picked up on that.

Bob paints in a series all the time...which is something I had hoped to start but I seem to jump around a lot in subject matter. With Bob it's fruit, or ballet dancers, or floral, etc. He paints and paints on that theme for awhile until he exhausts it and then on to something else. I wonder how many of you out there do that too?

I have picked 3 other paintings for the show. More on that later. The show starts on August 6th at the Arbor Vitae Community Center on 70 east. There will be signs up that weekend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

En Plein Air on Blueberry Island

Our little lake Tippecanoe in northern WI has a number of "set of islands" we dub Blueberry and "little" Blueberry Islands. Great places for a picnic lunch!

We packed up the 4 grandkids and my son came along with us and we canoed and kayaked over to the islands yesterday. We took the usual: picnic blanket, lunches (watermelon and cookies, sandwiches, and chips, lemonade) and buckets for treasure hunters. Everyone had suits for swimming. Beautiful day!

After the picnic, while the explorers were hiking the islands and swimming around them, I took out my sketch book. Later we built a teepee for the little ones to sit in and then had a race home in the boats. It's not a bad life!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Back Yard En Plein Air

When you have a ton of company...and it's 98 in the shade...sometimes en plein air painting just needs to be in your own back yard! This was sort of experimental using that Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground on a piece of masonite. I did three coats, drying and sanding slightly between coats. But it is really hard to get it smooth and better to just maybe let some of the texture apply to the painting.

This is small...11 x 14" watercolor and gesso.
It's strange to paint on...sort of "chalky" and it does "lift well" but I am not at all sure that I like the surface. I am used to painting on glossy surfaces (like yupo) but this is sort of half way between. There is some surface tension but it also has some "soaking in" qualities. Difficult to work with, I think. Has anyone else tried this?

I missed my regular group painting on Thursday (due to tons of company). For once they didn't get rained out! Hopefully next week I can make painting with the group again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Art Going Commercial

You will remember last month sometime I was working on some oak leave/acorn images for the Seno Woodland Center? Well, this month, my friend send up one of the commercial uses for the new logo. These water bottles were handed out at recent Eco Fair in Walworth County, Wisconsin at the Children's Booth.

It's fun to see your work out there in many different forms! I guess the color version may appear on a hat or a T-shirt later.

For my is pretty much "on hold" right now as I have 4 grandsons visiting me. Photos to follow later. The summer is measured in weeks at the cabin so we play hard and fast while the weather is summery! Lots of swimming, boating, fishing, sailing, kayaking and cooking out! What I should do is go out to the studio from 5 am to 7 am! But what discipline would THAT take! Yikes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Asking for Your Input

My friend, Lou, from Canada and I spend the winter in Florida exploring art. This year Lou was wondering if we could, among other things, do a refresher on drawing. We know that Betty Edwards 1999 book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, has been quite a classic for a long time for good reason. And it has a 2002 workbook to go along with it. I have copies of both of these that Lou and I can use for our "personal" drawing practice this winter.

In an initial exploration of the book and revisiting the ideas for her practice sessions this summer, I came across information about a DVD. The image here is from the DVD cover (not the book). You can get it from Amazon for about $ is a 2 hour DVD exploring the ideas from the book. I had never heard of the DVD (it also comes VHS).

I've never heard of anyone mentioning it, owning it, or using it.
So what I am asking out in the blogging community is if anyone has ever seen it and if so, would it be a worthwhile investment?

Lou and I began to wonder if maybe we could ask some friends to join us in our revisiting the discipline of good drawing. If anyone has ever seen or used this video or DVD, let me know.

You can send your ideas or reviews to Thanks

Manito Art Show (Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin)

Here I am at the opening evening of the Manito Art League show (Wed July 13th). A lovely event with wonderful food, good music, and a crowd of folks! The night is reserved for patrons and artists only. The show now opens to the public today through Sunday at two pm.

I have 3 watercolors in the show. This one called Windy Days was painted from a photo I took on the north coast of Ohio looking out over Lake Superior on a cold and blustery day!!!
This piece got "best of show" and it is a mixed media piece by my new friend, Christine Alfrey. It is really LARGE by any standards I go by! Christine is a short person. I would have loved to see her painting this one!

This is a piece in oil by my en plein air painter friend, Ken Drawz. The scene is real but he added a few bears to spice things up. Ken says this is a studio painting, not en plein air, and it is such a wonderful north woods scene that I bet that this one sells!!!

I have a few more photos from the show I'll share later.
Today it is DARK DARK DARK in the north woods and I am afraid our en plein air group is going to be rained out again! We seem doomed to rain every Thursday!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Robin Zimmerman: Amazing Batik

Today I helped to judge at the Arbor Vitae Arts and Crafts show. Very fun!
Lots of nice art to see and enjoy with everything from fine art to soap and woodcarving and jewelry and wearable arts, etc etc.

This is Robin Zimmerman who won an award of excellence in the show. Her batiks were lovely and you might enjoy going to look at her work online. Click here. She has a lovely gallery of work to view. AND if you live up north you can see her work again at several art fairs including Loon Days in Mercer on Aug 3 and Musky Days in Boulder Jct on August 7.
Here I am awarding an honorable mention to a delightful quilter. I am so sorry I didn't write her full name down. I think her name is Kathy.

This is Charlie and he does macrame folding chairs and they are just amazing. Look for him at north woods art fairs this summer. He will do commission chairs if you wish.
It sure was an enlightening experience to do "judging" first time. Although I had "expert" assistance. We looked a creativity, originality, composition, design, and presentation.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Finishing up the en plein air painting

I spent an hour or so touching up the en plein air sketch that I blocked in yesterday. We all got rained out about an hour or so after we started. But I had a photo (see yesterday's blog post). The hard part about this was the "mystery paper". I had picked up something out of my folder of wc paper and it was already cut into quarters and so the brand of paper was missing. It was 300# but I have no idea what it was. Although I rarely buy anything except Arches, now and then for a class I might get a Canson, a Fabriano, or something else. This had absolutely NO sizing on it and everything just "soaked" in. Blah. It was SO hard to work on. If I'd only known! What a challenge!

Trying to get the gouache to work as a gentle blend-off of color (John Lovett style) on this absorbent paper just would not work. I tried several times. It just disappeared. I finally dried it thoroughly and used gesso which laid on top a little better.

The little "cabin" at the Discovery Center had no windows (probably storage?) which I think now looks a little odd. I can always add them later. I decided to leave them off because the little building is a "landmark" and is recognizable to people who go to the center.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rained out

We got rained out at en plein air today...I had just enough time to take a photo and do a little blocking in. Now I will have to finish up in the studio. I'll post completed in a few days. We painted at Discovery Nature Center in Manitowish Waters.