Monday, December 29, 2014

"Afternoon Glow" 5 x 9 watercolor & ink

We visit my cousin in NY every Thanksgiving.  Her home is graceful and welcoming and I look forward to seeing her each fall.  Here's a sketch of her living room.... imagine it with the smell of wonderful cooking wafting from around the corner, the noise and hustle and bustle of family arriving and greeting one another.  I do.

As always, thanks for looking.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Complements in my classroom

I am loving the SmartBoard in my classroom this year.  It arrived just before the students arrived in late August (I mean minutes before) and I am finding ways to incorporate it into my daily lessons.  
Recently, my students created simple monochromatic still life watercolors using the 5 zones of light.  Now they are exploring the complements on the color wheel by looking at the light and dark arrangement in the still life pictured.  It was so useful for them to see the still life and the color wheel together, to make visual comparisons as we conversed about what color the pitcher is, and the bowl, and the background.  We talked about the complementary colors and how to use them to neutralize color.  It was fun to take the painting image I found, break it into simple shapes along the divisions between light and dark, and to challenge them to reproduce the color.  As you can see from their preliminary results, they are getting the idea of creating greenish browns, yellow browns, etc.  When we meet after their break, we will finish these paintings by pushing the darks darker.  I have a few color matching exercises I'm going to teach them.   Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Where the Heart Is" watercolor and ink 5 x 7

The Spanish department at our school coordinates voluntary gift-giving program within the faculty.  We each choose a name for whom we are their secret angelito, give 4 or 5 small thoughtful gifts during December, and a larger gift to be unwrapped the day before our vacation begins.  I was thrilled to pick the name of a friend of mine on the faculty.  I had been to her family's lake cottage a couple of years back and decided to do a small watercolor of the cottage as her bigger gift. Gift-giving success! She loved it.  
As I told my friend, I don't always remember the gifts I have received over the years, but I remember the ones I have given well. 
Joyful Christmas and joyful holidays to all.    

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Monochrome by the Dozen" teaching 5 zones of light

Although I teach math to 7th, 8th and 9th graders, a job I love, I am lucky enough to also teach a few hours of a weekly art project at South Shore Charter Public SchoolI used my small project budget to buy good sketch books for my seventeen students... the kind of books that will handle wet and dry media.  This week, I taught the students to see the 5 zones of light that create the illusion of a turning object.  And, today they all painted monochromatic compositions of a simple cup using the 5 zones.  I had them tape off rectangles in their sketchbooks, and tomorrow we'll reveal the
beautiful edges, before we create "complement scales" and begin painting in colors.  They were a bit dismayed when I outlawed black for them, for now.  In fact, one 13 yr old girl declared, "My life is over!".  (Have I told you I love middle school?)
Here's a collection of their work.. they asked great questions, came to a lot of realizations and I overheard one of my boisterous 7th grade boys talking to a friend, "We have the best project!  We get to paint!  We get to draw!  We get to break glass!"   More on the glass breaking later when I show you the mosaics they are making with the guidance of the very talented Sally Dean.
Stay tuned!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Paintings in Place

Lemons, apples, and onions
Winter Garden by the tree
 A few of my paintings hanging in their new-ish homes.  Nice to see them together here again.  I keep a database of all my paintings, who owns them, and when and where they have been exhibited.  It's an interesting history of my journey through painting so far. There are a few that have gotten away, either through a gallery, or an "art in the barn" sale, and the one small boat that I placed on the roof of my car for just a minute.  I imagine it now lives on the wall of someone's happy home, though in reality, it may have disintegrated in a ditch not far from my home. Sigh.
"Garlic and Oil" over the mantle
Do you have an organized,  efficient way to keep track of your work?  I'd be interested to know about it.
Thanks in advance for sharing.

Monday, December 01, 2014

"City Sidewalks" oil 8 x 6

The November challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint is "magical".  I love this time of year, just walking through downtown streets puts a lift in my step as I pass the glowing, festive windows.  Interestingly for me, they never make me want to shop.  I'm just not a shopper, more of an all-year-collector which I then share.  I enjoy the warmth, the glow, the shine, the sparkle, and the desire to spend more time with friends locally and farther away.

See the rest of Girls ... entries here, and as always, thanks for looking. 

And, here's a link to City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks (Silver Bells) with Bob Hope, for your listening pleasure.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kirigami Snowflake - Cat and Cupcake

 As you may remember, I like to cut paper. I like the challenge of cutting paper, mostly without drawing a design ahead of time, and I like the tactile feel of sharp scissors on good paper.  So, I taught my students a little Kirigami recently, using some math (naturally) to show them how to fold their paper into a cone shape with a couple of folds that create the 60 degree angles needed for a true 6-pointed snowflake.  Then, I show them how to turn anything into a snowflake!  Here are a couple of designs I came up with.... reclining cat, and a cupcake. I have included the original design for each, and the unfolded "snowflake", both the patterned side and the white side.  Personally, I like the cat a lot better... I'll be making a few more cupcakes before I hit the final design... will post the new design, and instructions shortly.

 Have any ideas for a snowflake motif?  Let me know and I'll give it a shot. As always, thanks for looking.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

"One Fine Day" oil 9 x 12

While we were staying on Monhegan Island last summer, two of our friends visited with their Moms.  The four of them stayed at the Island Inn, and we spent a morning painting up on Lighthouse Hill.  I came away from our few hours together so grateful for connections, time together, and reminded that everyone's story is fascinating.  We met on Lighthouse Hill on a blustery, gray morning, with mild temperatures.  I met Mary and Ellen, my friends' moms.. both octogenarians, both artists who raised families, and who had interesting stories of from their pasts, including Ellen's working with Dean Cornwell for a time when he was rendering his murals (I believe in the New England Telephone building, though I need to check the locale with her.)  A Ellen said, she was rendering the projected mural designs, and Cornwell was adamant that the drawing be done with a very specific type of straight line which he instructed her in and monitored closely.  Fascinating.

I had a wonderful time on Lighthouse Hill that morning, discussing painting, jerry-rigging an arrangement for turps, and a makeshift palette, enjoying lunch and more conversation together.  Time. When on Monhegan, there is time for conversation with new friends, with strangers, with old friends.. we make the time. It is precious time. It was "one fine day" among many fine days.  I feel blessed for these connections and time together. As always, thank you for your thoughts.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

"Hannah's Pumpkin" oil 6 x 12 and the Baobob Tree

variety of pumpkins from a few years ago
 Autumn is here, and as in the last few years has come in fits and starts, changing its mind a few times.   With the arrival of Halloween, and a Nor'easter forecast for the next couple of days, autumn is certainly here.  Halloween: We live on a street where no one trick or treats.. but just down the road is a neighborhood filled with activity every Halloween.  Worked out just right for us while raising our daughter.. we could both head out with her when she was small, and leave a bowl of candy on our porch just in case. 
My pumpkin with animals among the baobob trees
When she was older we spent the evening with friends, carving pumpkins and then heading out for a spooky walk just to be among the hubbub and festivity.  I added a few photos of some of our carvings from these fun evenings.  including a pumpkin I carved with jungle animals amid the baobob trees.  Truth is, I don't know much about baobob trees except that in a back corner of my brain, I knew their system of branches and roots might serve to support the roof of my pumpkin and...  "The Little Prince" mentions them in his famed book by Antoine de Saint Exupery, which I read in French in 6th grade (needless to say, some of the subtleties escaped me), and again as an adult, in English, when some of the subtleties revealed themselves to me.  On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. ("One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.")
 So, this month's theme for Girls Just Wanna Paint is "neighbor" which got me thinking about the variety of neighborhoods within a stone's throw, and the Little Prince's neighborhood as well.  My painting for this month is "Hannah's Pumpkin", a quiet moment on a street in our "just down the street" neighborhood before it erupts in Halloween merriment.  Take a look at the rest of Girls Just Wanna Paint entries, very interesting interpretations on the theme.
 As always, thanks for looking and for reading this month's musings. 

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.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Charles and Mount Vernon Streets - pen & ink

This afternoon, we headed into Boston to do nothing more than people watch, drink coffee, walk around the city and enjoy the beautiful, dry, crisp summer air.  
So we did.  We wound up sitting on Charles Street at a nice little coffee shop.  Great coffee, pastry, sweet and savory. 

On the walk through the Public Garden, we passed the bench from "Good Will Hunting", now a shrine to Robin Williams.   The sidewalks in all directions are covered with chalk tributes to him.  

What a lovely afternoon.