Sunday, October 26, 2014

Snow and Pines - then and now

"Snow in the Pines" Joanne F. Regan
"Snow Shadows" Jody Regan

 Spent some time organizing my studio this weekend.  Tucked in one of my many "safe places" I found a small painting of my mother's that I have always cherished (above left).  It's a study that hung in her home, signed but never framed.  I have no idea if she painted it from a window in our home, or while standing out in the snow in her boots...  but it reminds me of my childhood home, the yard, and the hours and hours we spent outside in the snow.  I can almost hear the quiet "plop" the snow will make when the sun warms the branch just enough.  
I can smell the wet wool of my soaked mittens after making snowballs, forts, huts, and sledding down the front hills before coming in to hot chocolate, and rolled newspaper to put in our boots.  Mom's painting draws me into the snowy woods behind our home... it's very poignant for me, as all my senses and memories feel activated.

Next to Mom's painting, is one of mine from a few years ago, "Snow Shadows". I've been studying the variety of colors in our two paintings.. similarities and differences.  I painted a small hill across the street from our yard, again on a warm winter day.  Completely different palette from Mom's painting, but I can still hear the warmed snow falling from branches.  

Someone told me a number of years ago that snow paintings aren't appealing, too cold.  Neither of the above paintings feels cold to me.  I feel the warmth of the sun, and the allure of snow in the pines... some 40 years apart.

Thanks for looking.  I enjoy all your comments.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

"Looking at Ewe" oil 8 x 10

 "Looking at Ewe" (sorry, Bogey), is my take on this month's painting challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint.  The September theme is "expression".  When my husband and I were married 20+ years ago, we went to England for our wedding trip.  We took a number of hikes alongside pastures filled with sheep.  The expression on these sheep brought me right back; mildly curious, mildly wary, mildly interested, certainly focused.  See the rest of the group's take on "expression" here.

The painting was commissioned as a wedding gift for a young woman who is raising sheep, and making wool, and yarn.  Thoughtful gift, no?

Here's a link to Bogart and Bergman and their iconic moment from "Casablanca". 

As always, thanks for looking.  I love your comments.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sketching and Listening

I attended an interesting conference yesterday with a variety of speakers.  I took the chance to work in my sketchbook, adding some watercolor pencil to a few sketches, and drawing the conference attendees.  Sometimes I am a better listener when I am working with my hands and other parts of my brain at the same time.  

I have math students who like to doodle in class.  Maybe their brains work as mine does. I check in with them to make sure they are hearing instruction and retaining the content.  If so, they can doodle away.  If not, I work with them to help them discern when to doodle and when to shift focus back to the class. I remember sitting at rigid attention in classes as a child.  I wish doodling had been an option.    How about you?       

Saturday, September 13, 2014

We Are All Meant to Shine - Marianne Williamson

The wall above the lockers outside my classroom has been quite stark, until now.  Although I teach middle school math, each classroom teacher at South Shore Charter Public School also runs a "project".  Last year was my first project year, coinciding with my first year with my own classroom.  Naturally, I chose to host  an art project.  Projects are student driven, with guidance from the teacher.  It took us a long time to decide what to create for the space above the lockers,  but by late last spring, we had created a banner with an excerpt from Marianne Williamson's famous quote often attributed to Nelson Mandela. The full text is to the right.  
My project worked on the scale, lettering, measuring, and design, then invited every student in our middle school to trace their hand print and decorate with a box of deliciously colored permanent markers.  As more handprints appeared, the students had to layer theirs "behind" the others, giving the banner a beautiful depth around the border.  I brought the banner home this summer to finish the border and piece together, with lots of help (and I use the term loosely) from Maggie and Fred. 
The banner now hangs in the hall for our students encouraging them to burst onto the scene, each in their own way.  My goal is to provide an environment where they feel safe and encouraged to do so.  

As always, thank you for looking.  I love your comments. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fair Floral - 10 x 8 oil

Katie making some changes
My home town has an agricultural fair that takes over the aptly named, "fairgrounds" here for 10 days each August.  We love the Fair, have volunteered/worked there for years and years, and we go for a little while everyday, maybe just to walk and take in the pageantry, lights, color, etc.  This year, the director for the arts and crafts area organized a floral design/floral painting afternoon.  Floral arrangers arranged, then artists painted the arrangements.  Here is my result, with a few shots of the painting in progress.  And, I gave my daughter a few minutes at the easel while I took a short break. So, I guess this painting is a collaboration.  

As always, I love your comments.  Thanks for looking.

Establishing the light and dark pattern... looks a little bit like "Little Shop of Horrors" at this point

Modelling in the lights and darks

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Koi Pond 9 x 12 oil

The August theme for Girls Just Wanna Paint was "water".  Hmmm.  I love the water, salt and sea.  I decided to explore a different take by painting my friend's koi pond.  What an interesting puzzle.  The challenge of showing what's above, what's below, what's reflected, and what's next to.   
See the rest of our challenge paintings here.

As always, thanks for looking.  You know I love your comments.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sky - Mixed Media

"Sky" was my entry in North River Art Society's Outside the Box exhibit/auction this summer.  All entries were anonymous, until today when the bidding ended, and the names were revealed... so I can finally post my entry.  The stencil letters came out of a small antique box inside a bigger box of things from my mother's studio.  "Sky" was drawn in ink, then I used watercolor pencils, then applied water, and used the pencils in the wet areas again. I like the combination of textures resulting. 

As always, thanks for looking.