Thursday, October 08, 2015

Watercolor Joy

First wash
Second Wash
 I was revisiting one of my favorite painting books, "More Joy of Watercolor" by David Millard last night.  Each page is a visual feast, and the book is packed with information. 
 I'm exploring some of his wet-in-wet demonstrations and color combinations (sort of).  Above are the first two washes in a bottle study. The first wash is ultramarine and raw umber, taking care to preserve the whites.  The next wash was a combination, adding some light red with cerulean up top and letting it wash down, and then some cerulean, and a little sap green lower right.  I'll keep you posted...

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Coffee Shop" watercolor & ink 8 x 9

The Black Duck is one of two coffee shops on Monhegan Island.  Both have their own personalities. Both are great places to hang out and draw, to meet a friend, or to accomplish my favorite Monhegan past time... just being present.  These two women were hanging out one morning.  
The September challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint was "paint like a famous artist"... I've adapted that in my own head to "spend some time studying a famous artist and think about what you can learn".  I admire Charles Reid's work.  It looks so spontaneous, but is so intentional. Spontaneity and intentionality are not opposite ends of a spectrum, they are just tough to achieve simultaneously, for me.  I concentrated on backlit heads, and wet into wet, lost edges.  Long way to go, but I like this effort.  

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Shape to Form and Fantastical Creatures

Along with teaching Math in our charter school, I teach an art project for three hours each week.  I wanted to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to start creating 3-dimensional illusions on their 2-dimensional paper... in other words, how to make form using light.  I showed the students this tutorial on converting shape to form.  They followed along, and withing a few minutes they had shaded six shapes into 3-D forms. Then I asked them to invent a creature using a combination of the shapes they had just made.  They needed to indicate a light source on their paper, and we discussed shading accordingly.  Last step - add a scene around their creature indicating size.  
My sample creature is to the left. 
Here are a couple of screen captures from the tutorial, and some of the students' shape creatures.
We had a blast, and the results were fascinating.  Even those very reluctant to risk making art had success.  I forgot to name my creature, any ideas?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Few Faces - 9 x 12 sketchbook

The students had the day off, and all the teachers had a day of professional development around the topic of service learning and high quality work. I learned a lot, and did some sketching while I listened.  Interesting day all around... 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Book from One Sheet Paper - "Hare and Tortoise" 5 x 5 inches

Friends, hare and tortoise, chat about a contest one day while enjoying ice cream sodas.
 Every summer, I teach a couple of weeks of Art Studios for Children at North River Arts Society here in Marshfield, MA.  I love those weeks each summer working with young artists from 6 - 11 years old.  A few summers ago, I showed each student how to make a book from one large piece of paper.  They wrote their own stories, designed and illustrated each of the twelve pages and a cover. Then they made several strategic cuts to the original sheet of paper, and folded it into a book. This video shows the cutting and folding technique. 

 During the process, I taught my students a number of design considerations, including how to create the illusion of distance using size, temperature and placement.
My sample book resurfaced the other day as I was organizing.  I designed my own take on "The Hare and the Tortoise" as an example of the finished product.   Glad to have found the book.  Let me know what you think.

They lay out the course over hill and dale. The hare bounds off to a speedy start!

Confident Hare naps on the course while methodical Tortoise eventually passes him.  Hare bounds off again.

Overconfident Hare stops for a picnic as Tortoise again catches up.  Hare meanders ahead, Finish in sight.

Hare slowed to taunt Tortoise, who plods past and wins!  Photo op with the trophy.

The two friends celebrate with ice cream sodas.  Hare bemused, Tortoise ebullient. Friends to the end.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Ice Pond House" oil 9 x 12

 In the twelve years we have been going to Monhegan, we've met some wonderful people.  Some live on island, some visit the same weeks we do each summer.  We love our annual visit to the Island, and love our annual visits with other vacationers, from upstate NY, from mainland Maine, from points farther south.  Often, we have connected over our children, and enjoy seeing the maturity another year brings.

One friend used to rent the "Ice Pond House", not to be confused with the "Ice House" which was the shell of an actual ice house on island, and has since collapsed, its site being reabsorbed into the vegetation alongside the Ice Pond itself.  
A few years ago our friend asked me for a painting of the Ice Pond House.  I never got a good photograph of the painting until we visited our friend at her home on the mainland last month.  Monhegan's Ice Pond House is lovely, no electricity, exposed studs throughout, and a big living room with a balcony above onto which open the three bedrooms; a real cottage.  It is filled with original art and collections of things from over the past century.  Wonderful. 
I added a couple of pictures from the Thompson Ice House Museum in South Bristol, ME.  We visited there in the winter years ago and attended their actual ice cutting.  It was fascinating.  There was a basket of vintage ice skates.  You could pop on a pair, and skate at the far end of the pond while the near end of the pond was being sliced and carted away by horses, onto an arrangement of pulleys by which it was loaded and packed into the ice house itself.  Fascinating, and all happening on a -4 F day.  I imagine Monhegan's Ice House was used similarly, though I don't know if there were horses.   

Thanks for reading.  I love your comments.  Oh, and check out my fledgling math blog Fractions Aren't Half Bad.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

"Christmas Cove Rocks" watercolor & ink 8 x 11

The southern tip of Monhegan Island is defined by beautiful, powerful, rugged rocks.  When staying on the island, I listen in the morning for the sound of waves from that direction, although I'm sure there is a much more accurate way of predicting interesting surf along the southern end of the island.  Perhaps wind direction... I don't know.  It's a small island, so I listen, and can hear the waves through the 1/2 mile of forest between me and the rocks.  Sitting on those rocks is absolute joy, all senses activated by the movement of surrounding air and water.  I wish I had a recording of the sounds accompanying the visuals.  I can hear them when I look at the painting, deep booms when waves crash into narrow crannies, splashing sounds of surf and spray on the rocks, and the silky withdrawal of the water back into the sea.

Thanks for looking (and listening)