Friday, November 30, 2007
This is something I started (and thought I finished) last year. When I pulled it out tonight, I realized how terrible the upper right flower was. I'd made it dark and fuzzy and kind of "backgroundish", but it was really horrible. This is better (believe it or not) after a lot of lifting and scrubbing and adding reds and trying to define that center a bit more. (note -- the scan is kind of garish, at least on my monitor...) I don't think it's really salvageable. But I remember how fun it was doing this really fast -- and I think I'm going to pick up a poinsettia for watercolor class tomorrow....
Happy NaBloPoMo to all who posted every day for the month of November! Happy NaNoWriMo to those of you who participated in that, and most especially to those of you who managed to complete 50,000 words! Maybe one day...
And I've enjoyed posting every day, even if it has been rather up-and-down with subject matter. You all can expect more frequent posts from me from now on, I think.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I love the beach in the wintertime. Maybe even more than in the summer. There's just something about it. It's a good place to walk and put your thoughts together.
Earlier this month, after some rambling discussions with Diahn, I started to talk here about concept and the way it relates to how we make art, view art, judge art, appreciate art, etc. Of course, I never really got around to discussing it. Now the subject of concept and context have come up in this study of pain management for work. It seems like it's all trying to relate to something in my head, but it's just not coming together.
I hate it when that happens. I need a beach to walk along for a while.
Maybe a good night's sleep will do.
(And if you're interested in some not-all-that-light physical therapy style reading ... try this. No, really, don't -- I was just kidding...)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This is a real sign, and is one of my favorites from the Harrison Mayes collection at the Appalachian Museum in Norris, Tennessee. See here for the very interesting story about this gentleman. And here is another blogger who posted about Harrison Mayes.
NOTE: P.A.E. stands for "Planetary Aviation Evangelist" (!! ;-)
One thing you have to say about this guy -- when he made a promise, he did his best to keep it.
(Sorry to be so brief -- I'm actually working on some real job stuff tonight. Sigh.)
Monday, November 26, 2007
When I hear this song I really start to get in the Christmas spirit. Everybody sing along now!
(This is a repeat showing of a previous Christmas illustration. I do believe it is going to a new home this year for Christmas. Yes, going to someone who really HAS always wanted a hippopotamus for Christmas...)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Do you realize that Christmas is ONE MONTH away? We started shopping today. It's always fun to shop for the nieces and nephews. This year we're really trying to find gifts that aren't extravagant and that they will really use and enjoy. Like makeup for the 9 year old. Yeah ... kind of like that ...
Saturday, November 24, 2007
So, before leaving for watercolor class this morning I worked on Miss Vanilla Cupcake a bit. I had her really just perfect -- then accidentally overworked a bit. That's okay -- I'll scrub out a bit and get her fixed. Her right eye (viewer's left) needs the lid fixed, too. (A few of us could say the same thing about ourselves, I guess...)
Then, in watercolor class I worked from this photo I took earlier this year in one of those little beach towns on the Florida gulf coast: (If you would like to join me in painting from this photo -- come on along. The more the merrier! I'll put it up on Flickr, too.)
And then, this evening, I couldn't stand it anymore. I pulled a photo from Wet Canvas and started playing with my new pastels. Here's the start...
And the midway point...
And where I'm ending up tonight. I think I've gone a little bit crazy with the golds and oranges here... they're just so darned PRETTY.
I'm using multi-media board (waterproof) primed with acrylic matte medium mixed with grit and tinted with acrylic. The nice thing about this surface is that if I decide I've really messed up, I can just run the pastel under the faucet and wash it away. I can also stop rinsing it off at a midway point, where there's kind of a ghost image left if I have the basics right and just want to do the colors differently. Kind of nice for someone who messes up as much as I do... ;-)
And I have to say -- maybe I was influenced to use all that orange after I took a break to watch the last quarter and FOUR overtime periods of the UT / UK game. GO VOLS!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Well, I don't know who Kyle is, and I don't know what he sells other than mulch, but I loved his happy face signs when we saw them while driving around on country backroads this summer.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody -- I hope every day gives you smiles and many things to be thankful for!
(and Mom, thanks for cooking such a great lunch. We ate pecan pie for supper tonight when we got home ... love you all!)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Look at what was sitting on my front porch waiting on me when I got home from work today!!! Woo hoo! A new collection of pastels by Paul deMarrais. Aren't they beautiful?
You can visit him here:
Paul deMarrais and if you love pastels, you really need to give these a try.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I started this watercolor a bit ago, and kind of lost interest in it. (Anybody remember Miss Vanilla Cupcake? It was more than just a bit ago -- it was in July!) This afternoon I decided to pick it back up again and see what might happen. All the white lines in the grass were masked out with blue masking fluid, so the first thing was to get that stuff off of there. I was a little worried that it had been on for too long, but it came off without a single problem. There's a bit of a mess in the grass, which I expected since the whole grass thing was an experiment, and I'm not sure what I think about it. There's a gaping hole in the left middle ground, and I'm not sure if I should fill it with cows (do you see the beginnings of the black cows behind her?) or with darker vegetation. Any ideas? And there's always the option of cropping the whole thing so that just the right half of the painting is left.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Playing with the paint swatches, I see that my WN Permanent Carmine (in a tint, not in masstone) DID look VERY close to Rose Madder Genuine. Actually, closer than any other color I've tried. Well, well, well. Now to experiment some with gum arabic. I think I need to also do a set of swatches on the actual watercolor paper that I most commonly use, too (Arches 300#HP).
(You can see in this picture how the Rose Madder is a little streaky -- it's that wonderful honey-like texture. It's also hard to tell from a scan and on a computer monitor exactly what these colors look like. To me, the monitor shifts them both to a bit bluer tint than I see in real life.)
And, I don't know about you guys, but when I'm not feeling well, I fret about the strangest things as I'm drifting in and out of sleep. Like at about 4:30 this morning I realized I'd never wondered WHY Rhode Island is called Rhode ISLAND. What -- I'd never thought about it before -- why??? And, where did thought come from???? Anyway, a web search this afternoon (yes, it plagued me all day) revealed that the real name of the state is Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Did you Rhode Islanders know that?
You know how it goes with you're just casually surfing the web. Sometimes you get going in directions you never planned. It's my favorite part of surfing. Today I found this handy tip, just in case the power ever goes out for a long period of time and you really need to recharge your iPod:
How to Charge an iPod Using Electrolytes (e.g., Gatorade) and an Onion
or if you need to Power Your TV Using a AAA Battery
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This evening I did finally get the watercolor palette refilled. Here's my basic layout...
I've been looking at Rose Madder Genuine, which I just love, but there are questions about it's use, since it is possibly a somewhat fugitive pigment. (Check HERE for handprint.com, one of the very best references out there on the web.) I've never noticed a problem with it at all, but it's interesting to try to figure out a possible replacement. Who knows -- I may find something I like much better! Tonight, I put it next to Permanent Carmine, and was surprised to see how close the colors appeared. I'm looking forward to seeing the dried swatches in the morning light. I'm also thinking that using the Permanent Carmine with a little gum arabic would mimic that slippery, rootsy feel of Rose Madder. Nothing can mimic its scent (nice and earthy yet sweet -- my favorite watercolor perfume.)
(Feeling just a tad better. Now am on loverly meds. Whoopee.)
Friday, November 16, 2007
This is my lifesaving drink of choice today, along with plain old water and the occasional glass of peach nectar (soothes the throat) -- add to the list Advil, Children's Benadryl (doesn't knock me out so badly), hot baths, hot soup, lots of fluids, sleep... And I STILL think I'm going to miss my pastel workshop tomorrow.
See you all tomorrow. Take your vitamins and stay healthy.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
No picture today -- and I can't think of a knock knock joke. How about a Thanksgiving joke?
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious, and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, and anything else he could think of to "cleanup" the bird' s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up, and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot, and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hands, grabbed the bird, and put him in the freezer.
For a few minutes, the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said to John, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. Just as he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"
It's an old one, but it still cracks me up...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Lately, whenever I drive past this church downtown (which is six days a week -- and that's twelve times a week...) I've felt like I needed to do a painting of it. Because it is up on a hill, it isn't overshadowed by the taller buildings in town. Architecturally, it rather dominates the skyline, I think. What do you think ... ?colored pencils on black paper? Ink and watercolor and colored pencils together? Hmmmm....
I'm not doing it tonight though. Woke up this morning with a sore throat. I leave the house early while D is still asleep, so it wasn't until I got to work and somebody said good morning to me that I realized I didn't have much of a voice. It's improved some as the day has progressed, but now he's not feeling so good either, so I think it is going to be a night spent wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa watching bad sitcoms. Yuk.
On the up side -- it's raining out there. Yay!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Yep, it's a dirty job, but I had to do it. This is my watercolor palette. Normally, after I'm done with a painting, it gets sprayed down and the big mixing area gets wiped clean. Sometimes I run the whole thing under a gentle stream of tap water to clean the muddy surface of the dried pigments in the well. That's the nice thing about watercolor - you can put the paint in the wells and let it dry, and for the most part, you can re-wet it and use it as needed over and over .... and over .... and over... My palette hasn't been really cleaned out in one year and nine months. It took several bouts of soaking for thirty minutes and then scrubbing for thirty minutes last night to get it cleaned out. I took paper towels and palette knives to it. I took a fingernail brush to it. I even considered using a Dremel to get into the cracks the cracks. Tonight I worked on cleaning it up a little bit more. In the end, the tiny bits of paint left in the cracks got left, and it doesn't matter that it's stained green in places, because the green is going back there anyway.
Tomorrow, all fresh paint. It will be like starting all over.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Anyway, the other day I realized that I really needed to work on values and hues, and was struggling with getting a good range of values in PINK. Kind of like I've struggled with getting a good range of values with YELLOW. Thinking I had this pretty much finished, I scanned it in. Then I changed the scanner settings to gray scale, and...
In grey-scale I could see that, while the values weren't quite as bad as I had originally thought, there were still some mistakes. Like the buds at the top left needed to have some lighter highlights, the open flower on the mid-left needed a better range to make it "turn" more ... and what in the world was that white speck??? Checking the color version -- there's a white speck there, too. Just a speck of unpainted white paper. ??? How did that happen?
So, I went back and made some corrections. The buds at the top were lightened as much as they could be ... I was afraid of scrubbing a hole right into the paper! (Oh, how I love my scrubbers...)
(1) Always do a value sketch. Even if the photo looks good, still do a value sketch.
(2) I need to work more on pink ... and yellow ... just playing with value scales so I have more confidence and can use them loosely and with more spontaneity.
(3) I need to work on mixing greys and neutrals in a full range of values. I LOVE bright color, but a little goes a long way. There can be beautiful pure greys and neutrals, too...
(4) Review item #1 -- ALWAYS do a value sketch!
Finished as far as I'm concerned. What was supposed to be a very fast painting became a great lesson instead. And that's alright. More than alright -- that's a good thing.
Did I mention that when I went to the bookstore the other day and picked up a Watercolor Magic magazine there was an article featuring a couple of paintings of hollyhocks by Robert O'Brien? I'd already nearly finished this by that time, and wished I'd seen the article first! So let's add lesson #5 -- Study your subject a little more closely.... (Do go look at his awesome paintings!)
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Really? It THAT the lake? Yep -- and with no rain in sight it could get lower. We went out to "winterize" the boat (which involves putting Stabil in the gas, cleaning up, covering things with tarps, taking gear off, etc.) and couldn't believe what we saw when we got there. We'd been out a few weeks ago, and it was down further than I'd ever seen it then, but now... Actually, when we were taking things off the boat, rather than climb the hill (mountain?) we drove the jeep down to the water's edge. From there we could look way up to where the shoreline normally is. It was kind of a weird feeling. Man, if I had time, I'd take a walk around that lake and collect those fishing lures we've lost over the years ... :-D
And before anybody panics about some horrible environmental disaster, I have to let you know that this lake is the "headwater" lake for our TVA system, so when the lakes downstream drop, power demands increase, and water is needed there, this lake suffers the greatest drop to provide water lower down the chain. The upside to being on this lake is that, since it IS upstream, it's the cleanest. I'll take clean over deep... ;-)
Notice that while the trees are changing, the overall color is drab. Lots of the leaves have just said, "oh, forget this color business" and dropped off early. Other than the beautiful clear blue sky it's a dreary autumn. At this point, gray rainy skies would be a lovely thing to see.
So, I've worked in the yard today (raking leaves -- what else?), done laundry, spent the afternoon working on the boat, had dinner ... now, time to go paint! Let's all have a great week!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
More proof that I don't have enough to say to post something important every day for a month. Yes, I have again resorted to old photos -- this one of me in 196sometime-or-another-early at about age 4. It also may help verify the rumour that blondes have more fun...
Truthfully, today has been a fun day for me. I slept late (!!unusual these days!!) and barely made it to watercolor class at 9:30. I was prepared to scrap it all and start relearning watercolor from scratch, but was encouraged and am feeling much better about things. There is so much to learn -- and it was a lot of fun. As soon as I got home, about 1 pm, Doug and I went out to eat lunch and then we ... don't laugh ... wandered around the mall for about 4 hours, then went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and then to the bookstore. It was about 7 pm by the time we got home! Isn't that just a totally stupid waste of an afternoon? And I had a great time. So there.
P.S. One of my things to do soon is update blog links on my sidebar. If I don't have your blog linked over there, give me a bit as I'll get them gradually updated! You are probably on my blogroll.... Do be sure to go visit Marie-Dom to see her "leaf a day" challenge, which she is doing as part of NaBloPoMo. (Marie, I'll get you added onto the list ASAP -- your idea is inspirational!)
P.P.S. ZELMA -- keep it up, girl! (waving hello!)
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Playing with watercolor on a scrap of Strathmore's 400 Series Bristol paper while listening to Coldplay and doing laundry. (There HAS to be several things going on at once, or I'm not using my time right!) This could become my favorite watercolor "sketch" paper. I called the art supply store and asked if there was a heavier weight Bristol (this does buckle a little) and all they could offer was illustration board at about $18.00 per sheet. Uh, no. This is just fine.
On another note - my favorite pastel artist and workshop instructor, Paul deMarrais has a brand new website that you all should go visit. There's a couple of video interviews with him -- one of him at work, and another of him at his hobby of raising butterflies -- and you will be able to see what a great personality he brings to a workshop. There's also a section with how-to articles in html AND pdf format, so they're easy to download and read in whatever style you prefer. Here you go:
Paul deMarrais Pastels
P.S. Check out the new header! :-) And let me know if it doesn't look right on your computer screen...
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I got this book after hearing it discussed by several people on the Everyday Matters group. This afternoon I had one of those "aha!" moments about color. Really, I'm just on page 33 and would recommend this book already.
(I also had an "aha!" moment when I accidentally tried some watercolor on Bristol rather than watercolor paper -- nothing to show you guys right now, but there's some potential there!)
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
There were fun art plans for today but....
I spent hours late last night and again today fixing a problem with my eBay account. I sat the account up earlier this year to bid on one item, and haven't used it since, which is probably what attracted some nasty person to it. After posting here last night I checked e-mail to find 23 messages from eBay. Seems my account was "compromised" at about 6 pm last night, and within 5 hours "I" had bid on all kinds of cell phones and computers. The folks at eBay were VERY responsive to me when I contacted them via Live Chat and got it straightened out, but there were still more bids out there that had to be corrected this morning. Last night I had to change all my passwords for eBay AND for my e-mail account. I also changed passwords for several other user accounts out there ... just in case. Who knows how these creeps did what they did. I do know how to create strong passwords, these guys just lucked out or something.
Lesson learned -- Change your passwords fairly often, especially on important accounts. If you don't know how to create a strong password, read up on it and be sure you do. It ought to be a mix of upper and lower case, with some numbers and/or special characters thrown in, so a password like I'm2Tired4This! would probably be a good one. Also change your "secret questions" and pay attention to notices that you get. Also be warned that there are eBay "spoof" sites out there, so it's not a bad idea to review their security measures.
Other note -- since I never eBay anyway (and I'm NOT downing them -- they have done a great job helping me with this!) I decided to close my account with them. Little did I know that having an eBay account was a bit like getting married. You can set one up in a matter of moments -- it may take up to 180 days to close one. Wow.
I'm going to work on my flip flop painting for a bit tonight. I'm still not ready to show it. Instead, for your viewing pleasure, here is a shot of the carousel at Dollywood. It is a fantastical creation! Teri -- you would love this if you ever get to this area -- and hey, Diahn, the rooster is for you!
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Whew! I barely made it home tonight in time to keep up with the daily blogging challenge. This morning started early -- to work for a bit; stop by the bank; make it to art class thirty minutes late; leave art class an hour and a half early; rush home to change clothes, meet my sister, and drive west to the gallery open house; hop back into the car and drive east to Pigeon Forge where we helped our friend Marcia at her jewelry booth in Dollywood. She has been selling her beautiful jewelry during the crafter's fair there for the month of October. Every day (except Thursdays) for four weeks she has been driving to Pigeon Forge, working for 9 to 11 hours and then driving the hour back home. As my brother-in-law so eloquently said, "No, it's not really a long drive, but it IS a long commute!" Today was the last day of the fair, and we went to help out with sales and then to pack and load everything.
It was a bittersweet day for Marcia -- the work is difficult and the hours are long, but the fresh air is great and the park staff and visitors are always a lot of fun to talk to. The park will be closing for a few days - maybe a week? -- while they finish getting ready for the Christmas season. Marcia's booth was right beside the water wheel and right under "the big blue tree" that everybody who has ever been to Dollywood for the Christmas lights knows. They already had the lights on it and they were working tonight, so we got a preview. I always thought they surely left the lights on the tree year round, but found out that they don't -- they actually take them down and clean each little bulb, and then re-do the tree the following October. The sad rumour is that the tree may be dying, and no one is sure if it will be there next year. That may not be true, but it does appear to be an old, old tree. Pretty, isn't it?
I guess the discussion about concept will have to wait until tomorrow! I only have a general concept of exhaustion tonight! :-D
Friday, November 02, 2007
And here is what I've gotten down so far...
I'm kind of attached to the painting to date, blocky and rough as it is, and think I'm paralyzed by the fear that I'll mess it up. Isn't that silly? It's just in the way, sitting there on the easel in an incomplete state. I might as well have messed it up for all the good its doing there.
I also wonder if I'm not more attached to the idea of painting a place that gives me such a great feeling. Maybe the concept of painting Canada is what I'm attached to. Maybe we'll talk some more about concept tomorrow...
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Who's there? Sigh. Sorry folks, but it is end of the month at work (which means lots and lots of paperwork, etc.) and I have some other projects which I've worked on but still can't show (like those darn pink flip flops) and I can't even think of a knock knock joke! Is this desperation or inspiration? I don't know, but this is a photo of me in 196something (I'm not going to tell). At this point in my life, I think I had reached my max "cute" potential and it was just all downhill afterwards.
I'll dare you NaBloPoMo's to post a childhood photo on a "stuck for something to blog about" night! :-)