Saturday, February 22, 2020

"Vacation Week" Sketchbook Pages from Out and About

"Lunch Counter" at Bloomy Rind, Hingham Square
"Perfect Vacation Day" at Newsfeed Cafe, Boston Public Library
"Dinner Hour" ink & watercolor at El Sarape in Braintree
"Birthday Gathering" pen & ink at Uva Wine Bar in Plymouth

"Pub Night" pen & ink at Costello's in Jamaica Plain

"Rush Hour" pen & ink at El Sarape in Braintree

 We spent this week's vacation visiting friends and family while staying in town.  I love drawing in a coffee shop or a restaurant as the crowd comes and goes.  Here are several drawings from this week.  I used watercolor or Inktense pencils as watercolor later, except for the drawing of the Newsfeed Cafe in the Boston Public Library where a friend and I spent the day listening to the Boston Public Radio show while drawing and painting.  
These are wonderful days for me.  As always, thank you for looking.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

"Jam Jar" oil 8 x 8

The Girls Just Wanna Paint theme for this month was vintage.  Our vintage home is filled with vintage pieces... art, dishes, books, furnishings, etc.  Interestingly, I had a very hard time figuring out where to direct my vintage attentions.  I have always loved faceted silver, and chose this silver pitcher with beaded rim and the crystal jam jar with faceted silver top and spoon.  I picked up some non-vintage raspberry jam as a good complement to the cool silver hues.  The aqua cloth is a remnant from the home where I grew up.  My mother had her mother's loveseat recovered in this beautifully textured fabric.  Mom had the piece in her studio and used it as a backdrop for her own still life setups.  When I hold it, I feel the generations.  It was the right choice for a vintage-themed painting. 

Here are some process photos.  I tinted the canvas with a cad red light/cad orange mix, knowing that most of the still life was cool, leaving the opportunity for some warm to peek through.  I then began with the large shapes, adding the highlight early on, knowing I would need to back all other values down at least a half value to let the highlight glow.  I warmed the jam under the light, and cooled it in shadow.  Then, made a late pass, remembering that the glass needs to show what is in it, on it, and through it.  
As always, thank you for looking, and you know I love your comments.   


Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Red and Blue" Painting Demo - a method for matching values and a surfing song

This past week, I was asked to paint a demo for a local art club.  It was an interesting afternoon.  I did not know the painting experience of the audience so decided to demonstrate a method I use sometimes to ensure that I am matching my values.  I set up a red and blue still life with a strong light to dark pattern, and stood on the shadow side.  I then mixed a neutral red/blue by adding some yellow ochre, covering the entire painting surface with wash consistency, value approximately 3.5 on a 5-value scale.  Then I used a clean brush and thinner to wipe out all the light areas. I then painted only into the darks for most of the demo.  
 Using this method, there is no need to carefully match values as you place color side by side against other passages of color against a white backdrop while you try to lose edges.  The value passage is there... and you match as you paint into it.  It is easy to drop the color into the value, adjusting slightly for reflected light.  It allows me to concentrate on temperature and hue shifts rather than value.  I continued to paint into the darks until the last fifteen minutes at which time I added a few light notes.  Overall, I talked and painted for about an hour and a half.  Very interesting group, lots of good questions, and a nice afternoon.  
The benefits of this approach: - you have lost your edges right away in both the light and shadow areas before any color is applied.
- the ground is neutral so any color applied against it reads as rich and powerful. 
- When you apply the wiping out technique carefully, your form is established before you apply any paint beyond the ground.
When I blogged about this approach six years ago, I added a link to the Surfaris classic surf song "Wipeout".  Here it is again. Please enjoy this taste of summer... as we approach winter in New England.   

Friday, November 01, 2019

"Longfellow in October" oil 16 x 12

The Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge topic for last month was "October Sky".  Sitting in traffic the other day, along Storrow Drive, I looked left and saw the iconic Longfellow Bridge late in the day framed by the Storrow Drive overpass and the autumn trees.  Beautiful.  You can see some process photos here as well.  I laid in an orange ground to add some glow through the painting. It was interesting to consider skyholes both in the trees and through the bridge itself.  I liked the combination of vertical shapes in the trees and the skyline, along with the sense of "up" conveyed by the overpass.  Boston is a lovely town, elegance in many directions.
As always, thank you for looking.  

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Day 749 "Soup Sistahs" ink & pencil - a new ministry

A few years ago, I had the idea that it would be nice to cook once in a while with women I enjoy.  Our kitchen at home is too small, but our church has a spacious, reasonably well-equipped kitchen.  It's that kind of church kitchen with too many of some things and a scarcity of some other things. Today we cooked, and made a list of needs; cookie sheets, steel utility bowls, a knife sharpener for example.  
I named our group "Soup Sistahs", said with a mock Boston accent.   We tried it out a couple of times last winter, and are now meeting monthly in the New North Church kitchen.   Today, we used Sara Moulton's Creamy Root Vegetable Soup with Everything Pita Crisps from her book "Home Cooking 101".  I worked with one other "sistah" today.  We chopped carrots, parsnips, turnip, garlic, onions, and potatoes... then used the immersion blender to puree half the mixture before adding the rest of the vegetables.  While the vegetables were cooking, we made Everything Pita Crisps, with a mixture of dried onion, garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and salt.  They are delicious and delicious crumbled on top of the soup  I added a some pulled chicken to half the soup so we can offer a vegetarian and non-vegetarian option. 
The idea of the Soup Sistahs is connection.  I connect with women as we cook.  Then we pack the soup, label it, and make it available to the congregation the next day.  People can take it with them to give to  a friend or neighbor who may need a meal, increasing the connection.  
Thanks for looking today.  Reach out, make a connection.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Day 720 "Bare Trees" 9 x 11 ink with pastel

Exploring shapes from the local trees at night.  I painted a rectangle of ink, then applied pastel on top leaving the tree shapes behind.  I added the moon, and some moonlight in the sky radiating out; then softened the edge of the trees.
I am interested in these beautiful shapes.  As always, thank you for looking. You know I love your comments.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Day 693 "Late Light" gouache on ink

A friend was visiting from North Carolina this week.  I was invited to a small gathering of women on the porch of her host. We had a lovely time catching up on each other's lives.  It was a pleasure to sit in the company of these smart, interesting women in a beautiful setting.   While we visited, the sun got lower and lower in the sky behind the trees, and eventually set behind the river.  I wanted to recreate the feeling of the evening with the trees silhouetted against that vibrant sky.  I painted a rectangle of ink.  When it dried, I used gouache, almost without water, to paint the negative spaces between the branches.  I like the feel of the chunky gouache, and without thinning it, the paint builds upon itself to enhance the feel of the glow.  I chose each stroke very carefully in this extractive exercise, because my goal was not to reapply any of the black below.  I like the effect. I certainly conveys the feeling of the evening for me.
As always, thank you for looking.  I enjoy your comments as well.