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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pine Tree Study

I finished this watercolor today.  This was a tree I saw in Hope Valley.  I think it might be a Jeffrey Pine.  It was very big and massive and had many heavy branches.  It must have stood up to years of heavy winter snows.  It was like an Old Man Tree.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's fun taking mask off!!!!

After you've painted over mask, it is so fun to take it off and see what it looks like.  Some of the needles were masked, and this is what it looks like removed.  Next, I'll paint a little more so they don't look like they are floating, and this will probably be done soon....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pine needles

I put some needle-like strokes on with liquid mask which has a glow-in-the-dark orange tint!  (Really - why the orange traffic cone color?)  Then I painted various greens, browns and purplish colors to the needle clumps.  I feel like I'm doodling.  But doodling is good therapy.  I've been stressed over one of my pets for weeks - visits to the vet, cleaning out the abcess myself four times a day, giving antibiotics and pain medications, preparing special meals, fearing the worst.  So I haven't painted much in the last 3-4 weeks, as you probably have noticed.  I'm hoping my pet will hang on for a while - I would miss her terribly.  She is eating better, is perky, and is amazingly cooperative for all I have to do with her. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thumbnail sketches and something else - finding ergonomics for artists

Well, this is a two-part post. 

Thumbnail sketches:  Even though I am partly into a painting of a tree, in my painting class I was reminded of the benefits of doing many thumbnail sketches - 8 or 9 - before doing a painting.  This is so you can work out problems in your composition before you make these problems on your finished work.  So, I took my photographic reference and used little sections to make interesting design-thumbnails.  I haven't done 8 or 9 yet, so, gotta do more!

And the second part:  Ergonomics for artists:

I learned while working a desk job for many years, how your body can fatigue and get sore muscles from improper posture or angle when you are at your desk.  We all know computer users can get carpal tunnel syndrome with a bad angle and level of the keyboard.  Well, I was at the back of my new loom, threading the heddles, and the chair seat was too high.  I found my exercise ball nearby and tried sitting on it.  It was great!  When I reached through to get another warp yarn, I just rolled along with the movement.  I just might try doing the weaving while sitting on the ball....

Monday, March 22, 2010

The texture of pine trees

I'm baaack!  Took a little interlude for a family get-together. 

Here is my watercolor in progress.  This painting is going to be all about texture and pattern. 

We celebrated Mom's 85th birthday!  We got to visit with out-of-state relatives and it was a fun 3 days!

Here is Mom, and in the next photo, left to right - me, sister Debbie from New York, sister Suzie from Reno, Nevada, and brother Hal from Gridley, California.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finding the time....

I now consider my art as my day job, instead of a hobby.  So, now while I wait for my Mom during her physical therapy sessions, I take my work with me.  I take a sketchbook and my photo reference for my next painting and work in the waiting room.

This is my next project.  I took this photo of this amazing massive tree - looking up at all the array of branches going this way and that.  I then looked at my photo under various photoshop filters.  This filter is the "watercolor" filter.  It is a fun way to see your picture in a different way.  My challenge to myself is which branches to eliminate, which to keep, and to make an interesting composition of shapes and negative spaces.  This is not a typical landscape, so the shapes and sizes and patterns are going to have to be strong to make this painting work.

Last Saturday I finally made it to my Spinning and Weaving Guild meeting.  A good friend is moving away and selling off her excess looms!  I've always wanted one like this!  I have used a table-top loaner - the kind you raise and lower the sheds by levers on the top - which aggravated my neck and shoulder.  Now I can sit on a chair and push foot treddles!  Yay! 

No, I'm not going to stop painting!  Now I have to divide my time a little.  You see, there is a practicality about a loom.  I'm going to be making scarves for Christmas gifts -

My husband is soooo good.  He never complains as all my art stuff infiltrates our dining area, the kitchen and the livingroom.  He just says "this townhouse keeps getting smaller and smaller!"  And I tell him "You know, you don't live in a house anymore - you live in an art studio!"

Friday, March 12, 2010

"A Moment of Quiet" a pastel painting

I finished this painting today.  It only needed calculated tweeking here and there.  Toning down some areas, punching up the focal point, putting highlights in the water, shadows beneath the rocks.  This is always the fun part - it is like putting icing and decorations on a cake.

I am also doing a few tweeks to "Oh Mountain".  My husband told me an area bothered him.  I agreed.  Since it doesn't look remarkably different from the last time I posted it, I will not show it again.

I've been entering a juried pastel show.  I had to enter three paintings on a CD and mail it off.  It will be juried.  If juried into the show - then I would drive down the accepted one(s) to the San Francisco Bay Area (Los Gatos, California) to be judged again for awards and hang in the art museum for a month. 

I also go an e-mail invitation to participate in a 3-day plein air event and show near our Truckee house in September.  We have to submit 3 paintings on a CD - but they must be plein air and only done within the last year.  Then a jury selects the best and tell them then can participate in the event.  I don't have very many pastels done en plein air - and most I wasn't happy with.  But I'll dig through my stack of paintings and enter anyway.  At least that way I'll still be on their mailing list for next year!

Next week I am going to start a 6-week series of pastel classes in Auburn with Margot Schulzke.  I took class from her before and it was great.  I will enjoy the re-inforcement and the guidance she can give me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

... Almost done ...

I went through stages where I didn't like this painting.  Now I like how it is coming along.  I've been learning a lot.  I removed a lot, and re-did a lot.  I think I finally started to get the willows looking better now.  I like the rocks I added.  Next, I need to do just little touches in the water and rocks, then I think I'm done.  I'm going to name this similar to the last one - just reverse the words to - "A Moment of Quiet".

Monday, March 8, 2010

Everything I do is a learning experience!

It's funny how I thought the rocks were OK on the first painting - the one in watercolor.  But now, I don't like them anymore.  So, I removed some.  And I moved one big one up and eliminated a bush on the left.  And I'm contemplating placing a few invented rocks at strategic areas.  I need a rock to act as a pointer to point the viewer's eye to the focal point ... which at this time is beginning to be developed - the yellow bush and dark tree behind it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adding pastel...

I'm trying to stay loose, not trying to define anything, just block in the values and shapes ...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sneak Peek at my Pastel Studio

You don't know how lucky you are to see this!  I would NEVER have an "Open Studio" for people to tour ...  Ha!  This is it!  The kitchen counter.  I like having the sink right there to wash the pastel off my hands.  Notice the creative use of an old notebook laptop?  I'm using it to prop up my reference (in this case it is the watercolor painting).  The board up on the easle attachment has been painted with watercolor to provide a "map" for me to follow. 

Here is a close-up.  No, it is not out of focus!  This Ampersand PastelBord is so funny, it makes the watercolor bleed out around the edges.

We are going to a play tonight (our son-in-law is playing the leading role), then tomorrow we will be going up to our Truckee cabin for the weekend to relax and look out at the snow still on the ground.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"A Quiet Moment" watercolor landscape

Finished!  I think I learned a thing or two.  This paper, as I mentioned, is tricky.  I stuck with it though, and tried to get it to work for me.  It took longer, and the effect is not what I intended.  But I'm satisfied I did the best I could.

For those of you who do watercolor, this paper is Fabriano Artistico, 300 lb and I think it is hot press.  It has a jel layer on the surface.  So, watercolor doesn't soak in the paper.  So I don't recommend it for washes and loose work.  The paint sits on top.  One of the aggravating things about it was:  I did a light wash, on dry paper, below the rocks to depict the shadow of the rock on the water.  It looked OK while wet.  When I came back to it when it was dry, there was a dark outline.  The paint migrates to the edge of the wash and leaves a very hard edge.  Arches does not do that in such a noticible way.  So then you have to go back in with a damp brush and soften a lot of edges.  In the area of the willows where the dark evergreens are behind, I found it very hard to soften the edges, because then you lose too much color.  I imagine that if I loved this paper and worked with it exclusively, that I would learn to use it.  But after this project, I'm ready to go back to Arches.  I think this painting took twice or three times longer to do than it probably would have on Arches. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

"I don't do windows", but I will now!

I snuck out (is snuck a word?) and took my horse to Washoe Lake Park for a ride today.  It was nice to get away from the puddles and mud at the barn and pick our way around the sand dunes.  For the very first time in his 21 years, he thought it would be nice to lay down in the sandy trail!  (with me on him!).  Before he made the next move to lay on his side, I hopped off and told him to get up, you naughty boy!  I believe he had an itch that a nice roll in the sand would scratch....

When I got home I did more on my painting.  And at 4:00 the sun was low and I had a hard time taking a picture of it without my shadow on the work.  Then when I put it on the computer - what are all those vertical streaks!  They are not on the painting at all!  Figured out it was my dirty streaky windows!