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Sunday, May 31, 2009

More on Santa Fe

I bought myself a small Navaho rug from Two Grey Hills, New Mexico. This is my first rug purchase. The yarn is all natural colored wool. I have tried weaving geometric shapes like this on a tapestry loom and I can appreciate how difficult it is. (I will never show what I did!)

Santa Fe has wonderful courtyards with shops and restaurants and gardens inside. I'd love to park an easle in there and paint away.

I love the architecture, the sky and the clouds.

We visited the Georgia O'Keefe Museum, where we saw her watercolors, oils and pastels. We saw this painting of the Jimson Weed, which is back from being in the White House.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I want to paint New Mexico!

This is our first visit to New Mexico and I am inspired by the beauty here. For starters, I was able to walk around Santa Fe and photograph lovely scenes I'd like to paint. Here are some of them. Thanks goodness for cameras. Sometimes you just don't have time to paint.

Pastel Convention - Day Two

Opening Day at the Races! And there off! Shop till you drop....

We all waited in a long line for the doors to the IAPS Trade Show...where we could see pastel products, test them, and buy them. My first stop was at Terry Ludwig's table, where we could fill our own box with open stock. Decisions, decisions! What colors, what fun!

Next, I attended a demonstration by Michael Chesley Johnson. He presented a method for folks to try if they are having trouble getting the values right. He began with a gray-scale underpainting on Kitty Wallis white sanded paper. Then, picked his colored pastels to match the gray value "map". Since the gray was "fixed" with an alcohol or turpenoid wash, the gray did not affect or muddy his colors placed over it. Here are some pictures of the three stages.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pastel Convention in New Mexico

I attended a workshop at the IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies) convention yesterday, given by Lorenzo Chavez. In the morning he gave a demonstration. His theme was the Southwest landscape. In the afternoon, we all painted and he came around to give us tips. There was a lot of talent in that room! I have included pictures that some of the students did.

I worked from a photo I took on the backside of Zion National Park. It came out pretty good, in spite of the complexity of the subject matter. I got some good tips from Lorenzo and some compliments from some of the folks near me. I am having a great time at this event, and the people are all friendly and easy to talk to.

Lorenzo's Demo:

Student's Work:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bearded Iris Watercolor Painting

I did this watercolor a few years ago in Jan Foss's class. I look at it now and wonder why I didn't frame it. Jan's "Iris Class" was a lot of fun. These flowers are in bloom around our area right now and made me think of this painting ... so I thought I'd post it. It makes me want to paint some more. I'd plant some in my garden, but I've run out of garden space. And I don't want to be an iris thief!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Borrego Springs Painting, Completed

I finished Borrego Springs today. I am now packing up my pastels to go to IAPS convention. In case you missed my earlier post, IAPS is the International Association of Pastel Societies and they have a biannual convention. I will be taking an all day workshop from Lorenzo Chavez; watching a demo by Michael Chesley Johnson; and shopping for art stuff from the vendors. I'll take pictures and post them!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Borrego Springs - Coyote Canyon

Today I'm working on a board I prepared. I'm still trying to get it "right". By that I mean, making the board as good as the one I bought called Pastelbord by Ampersand. Ha! Yeah, right! Keep trying. Anyway, I have done the underpainting, let it dry, and then the first layer of soft pastel.

This desert scene is a well-known canyon, for its wildflowers in Spring. I think it is called Coyote Canyon. Purple flowers were growing all over. It was really beautiful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Martis Valley Watercolor Painting

Today I painted watercolor with my friend. I started this painting back in April and forgot about it. So, I completed it today! You may recognize this, as it is the same painting I did in pastel for a class. It was fun doing the same thing in watercolor. I can get more delicate with the trees in watercolor. I find I can get more personality into a tree while working in watercolor, than in pastel. I'd like to do the same in pastel, but I think I will just have to work on a larger surface.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Six Favorite Things

OK, now I got tagged by Mim to tell about six little things that make me happy. But what is a Meme? How do you "tag" someone? Oh, well, I'll list them here:

1. watching my horse and listening to him munch on grain

2. holding and cuddling soft fluffy bunnies

3. painting with bold bright colors

4. spinning the softest fleece I can get my hands on

5. hearing songbirds in Spring

6. going for a quick dip in Lake Tahoe on the hottest day of the year

So, now I'm supposed to tag six other people. Uh-Oh, I don't know that many bloggers.

1. Liz

Maybe Liz can keep this going....
The painting above is of Lake Tahoe. I did it a year ago in pastel. Tomorrow is our last day of class with Margot Schulzke. We have the option of bringing a painting for a critique, so I thought I'd bring this one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Beautiful Roses and a Sock Still-Life

I finally finished my roses. I'm very happy with them.

Last Saturday I was close to finishing them, but had to pack up the pets (3 bunnies and birdies in a cage) and join my husband at our Truckee house to do "maintenance" and hang-out. With 90 degree weather here in Reno, a ten degree cooler climate was very nice. My car was totally full, and I thought I wouldn't have time to paint, so, I brought a knitting project instead. Socks! Don't need them now in hot weather, but, if an artist loves color, it doesn't really matter what you "paint" with. So, here is the progress of my own designed socks...(the blue area is the heel). When I took the photo - my impression was a "still-life". Notice the balance of shapes and lines, color and pattern - great composition! Yeah, I'm in a goofy mood.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Roses, Continued

Worked on the other two roses and a start to the background. Coming along...

Last summer I painted some of my roses on the bush in the backyard. It was more involved. Roses going this way and that, and one in shade. The one in shade never came out quite right. And the composition was, well, perhaps not the best. But it was a great learning experience.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Continuing with the Opening Rose

I think I'm done with this "white" rose. There are two little roses on the side which are pink and some other color, which will make this big one look more white. Also a dark background will do the trick. Tomorrow I'll do that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Opening Rose

This is the first layer of an almost white rose. So it may not show up very well yet. My husband gave me some roses for Mothers' Day, and I have to paint fast before they are gone. Our roses in our garden are growing, but not blooming yet. So, I appreciate getting them during the off season.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lilac painting is done

These flowers were a little detailed, but fun anyway. The glass vase came out pretty well since I haven't really studied how to do that or taken any workshops. Some artists really do glass with incredible detail, but, I don't think I have the patience at this time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lilac Blossoms in Watercolor

After spending a lovely Sunday Brunch with my daughter for Mother's Day, I sat outside in my yard under my canopy and painted the lilac blossoms. I decided to use a negative painting technique. Here is an example of negative painting - a detail of a painting I did in Jan Foss's class - of lace. You draw the lace "holes" on your paper, then paint the holes.

So, I started with my sketch of the lilacs, and painted around them for the background, and painted the "holes" in the clusters of lilacs.

Next, I dropped in some "lilac colors" in the clusters. When dry, I started (on the right) to indicate the flowerlets with a watercolor pensil. Then going back in the spaces between the flowerlets with a darker color, or just wetting the pensil so it would bleed.

That's all for today....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Painter's Day Off - Fun With Fiber

Since I started my 2009 committment to painting (or thinking about it) every day, I haven't been doing my fiber thing as much. Today was the day to catch up with my favorite fiber friends - the Carson Sierra Spinners & Weavers Guild.

We met at a member's sheep ranchette for our monthly meeting which consisted of: visiting, spinning, knitting, crocheting, carding, buying stuff from each other, gabbing, and the best part - show and tell projects.

Cute little lambs frollicking and playing chase, but wouldn't face the camera...I just got their lamby-butts.

I brought my wheel and stuff to spin, but....was distracted by the lovely hand-painted roving for sale. Just had to have it! Sunflower yellow and orange! Just had to spin it right then and there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our lilac plant finally bloomed!

We planted a lilac (the tag said it was purple) and for 5 years it grew and grew, and this year it finally bloomed! But white! But, at least our neighbor has a purple one that hangs over into our yard over the fence. The fragrance is spicy and sweet. After cutting a little vase-full, I set out to draw them, since I've never painted or drawn them before. Complicated! Clusters of little flowers, and yet the clusters have a shape too. So, I got to know them up close and personal. Counted the petals, made notes.

We finally had a non-windy day! For weeks it has been blowing hard. Not fun. I don't visit my horse when it is like that. And he lives in the famous valley (Washoe Valley) where it made national news when the wind blew a big rig over. So, today, he got a visit from me. He was very happy to see me, and I - him. And I'm very happy to be feeling my old self and back to art-work.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Some of my favorite art books

I've been doing more reading than painting as of late. Not feeling too good. Aches. Probably the flu that is going around. When I saw that my mother's day card didn't really turn out that great, I think it reflected how I was feeling. So, time to break out my art books and re-read while on a heat-pack on my back and shoulders. Here are some of my favorites.
Design and Composition by Margot Schulzke is very good. I learn so much faster from today's books, with color photos illustrating the text on the same page. Margot is an excellent writer.
Glorious Garden Flowers in Watercolor by Susan Harrison-Tustain has step-by-step pictures and easy to read description of how to paint difficult flowers.
Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne (1941) is very good but very hard to read. I have the 7th edition (2005) and I was surprised how many typos, misspellings and grammatical errors I found. It made reading even more difficult, aside from the old-fashioned style of writing and words. It also slowed me down to have to flip to other pages to the illustration plates to see what he was talking about. But the basics of composition are invaluable. Next time I read it I'm going to (OMG!) mark up the book with my corrections, or, make a notebook with my own notes and interpretations for easy re-reading of the most important stuff.
The Pastelist's Year - Painting the Four Seasons in Pastel, by Elizabeth Mowry was my first pastel book purchase. It has examples of the different methods to apply pastel and some very nice step-by-step landscape paintings.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Mother's Day Card

Mother's Day is next week. I was going to go shop for a card for my Mom. But I'm feeling a little under the weather. I dragged myself out of bed, and made one....we can't forget our Moms!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Rogue Lion - the painting and the story

I finished the lion today. Yay! Well, I promised I'd tell you about this lion. Here is the story. Last Fall we took the trip of our lifetime - a camera Safari to Africa. The second lodge we stayed at was at the Duma Tau Reserve at the edge of the Linyanti Swamp in northern Botswana. Twice a day we were taken out on "drives" in landrovers with experienced guides from the area. (Note: these are open vehicles and we were told not to stand up. As long as we stay seated the animals think we are part of the vehicle). Our guide was Mr. T, a 70-ish year old Botswanan who grew up in the area and knew it like the back of his hand. He was wirey, strong, and knew every animal and its habits, as well as its common name and scientific name. Here is an excerpt from my African Safari Journal from that day:


On our day of arrival, on our first drive, two women from the Bay Area joined us and Mr. T, for the 4:00 pm drive. This was to be the ladies' last drive, so they filled us in on the two rogue lions of this area . They told us that these two males came into the area and beat up a lioness. This lioness is in serious shape because she cannot hunt now. She was not a member of a pride, traveling with one grown daughter lioness. The women hoped that the daughter lioness would be able to hunt for her mother, or she would die.

So, this is where we were going first….to see the Bad Boys. And there they were, napping near a dried mudhole in the dry thornveld. Mr. T drove along the edge of the dry pan and then turned into it and drove through it, alongside the sleeping lions, coasted to a stop to about 20’ from them, and a huge BAM and sssssssssss! All of us jumped! Including the 2 sleeping lions! They now stood their ground and glared at us (I swear - in the eyes). We had a blow-out in a very bad spot! The woman in the front seat with Mr. T practically started crying – she begged him to move the vehicle away. But he had to wait until the air pressure leveled. (This is where I wasn't sure I believed the "they think you are part of the vehicle" part). Finally we crawled away to a safe (?) spot and Mr. T radioed for another spare. He changed the tire with us in the vehicle (by himself) and finally, another vehicle came with a new spare.

Now, with a new tire, we went back to the Bad Boys, but, they were napping again in the same general area (obviously they forgot the incident - not like me!). The picture I used for this painting was actually taken the following day when they were awake. This is when we discovered that one of them had a bad eye. Mr. T said they probably fight with other males in the area and get pretty beat up. The lion that I'm painting was this lion with the bad eye. But, who wants to paint an ugly white, enlarged, bulging eye? Not me. Also, he had very bad looking hair (I mean, mane). Looked like bedhead to me. So I also fixed up his mane for my painting as well. Thank goodness for artistic liberty!