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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

In Love with an Island - Monhegan's neighbor Manana

Each summer we spend two weeks on Monhegan Island in Maine.  It is 10 miles east of the coast of Maine, sitting in all its 1.5 mile by .5 mile gloriousness.  Monhegan has a small neighbor island, Manana, which forms the sheltered harbor here.  I have written about Manana many times, here, and again here, or here, here, or here, and again here.  In fact, if you search my blog for "Manana" you'll have a lot to read, and/or see.  This week I have added a number of Manana views to my sketchbook.  Here are a few of them.  I will add another post soon with some more.  
I love painting Manana from above, below, through windows, beyond boats... just love it.  The Monhegan Museum has a splendid collection of work, including fascinating paintings of Manana in all its personalities, seasons, and times of day.  A couple of favorites are my Aldro Hibbard and Andrew Winter.  As always, thank you for looking at my work.  I appreciate your thoughts and your comments.   

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Complements in Action - Figure Painting

 A couple of weeks ago I took a workshop on figure painting by David Shevlino. The supply list included primed boards.  He asked us to use a mid-range gray as tone.  I tinted Gesso with black, ultramarine and red acrylic to arrive at my gray.  I prefer a little hue to my grays.  The cool background worked very well with the color mixtures David demonstrated as his flesh tones; yellow ochre, cadmium orange and dioxine purple for flesh in the light and burnt sienna, dioxine purple and olive green for flesh in shadow. On the second day, we painted the model shown here.  I blocked in the painting (see below) and began to lay in the light flesh tones.  I added some blue in the background where a blue cloth was hanging.  When I turned away, then turned back, I wondered how or why I had used the blue on the figure itself... and realized I had not, but the warm flesh tones acted as the complement to the cool gray background to make the background look like blue. 

The illusion was startling.  Look at the top photo, which I cropped down to hide most of the background tint, then the second photo in which you can see the blue in her forehead as you compare it to the background on the left and the blue cloth on the right. Each time I looked at it, my brain saw blue, not gray, though I had only painted blue in the background cloth.  
Complements are powerful, we know we can use them to neutralize color by mixing, and to enhance color by laying them side by side.  This illusion from the workshop is a great reminder. 


Sunday, June 30, 2019

"Lunch Date" oil 12 x 16 - spring date along the water

This month's challenge for Girls Just Wanna Paint is "Maine".  I spend two weeks each summer in Maine on Monhegan Island, and have been  going to Midcoast Maine near Pemaquid for decades.  The Maine coastal air has a beautiful crisp quality and sparkle.  I decided to paint my take on  Maine diner, which could be in any one of a number of coastal towns overlooking the local harbor.  You can see the process photos below.  My intention was to show the conversation  of this couple inside, with the active harbor beyond the 

windows in the bright of day.  My initial design had two women, one younger, one older, having lunch, but I changed it to a man and woman having lunch.  I liked the  contrast of the interior against the general boat shapes and sky outside.  Eventually I glazed everything inside with a warm to unify the interior.  I moved a few things around, lowering the lantern to break the line of the beam, and removing one of the dock posts outside, which was interfering with the intimacy of

the conversation between the dating couple by obscuring the interesting profile of her face.  
As always, thanks for looking and for your interest.  You know I love your comments.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Days 620, 624, 626 New Coaster Art

I continue to carry a few of my blank coasters with me each day.  This past month, I drew on them in The Snug, as I watched two men have a conversation at the bar, and at Flann O'Briens the night of the ill-fated Bruins 7th game in the Stanley Cup Finals, and out to dinner after a movie one night with my husband.  I enjoy drawing on the coasters in pen in any restaurant setting, then adding watercolor later from my head, using colors that suit the mood of the scene.  I am going to try adding a finish to the coasters, and am amassing a nice-sized collection.  They look wonderful side by side and tell a story.  
These are my six hundred twentieth, six hundred twenty-fourth and six hundred twenty-sixth daily drawings.  As always, thank you for looking and for your interest. 

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Day 612 "Lunch Break" pen & ink

This is such a busy time at school.  Students are catching up on missing work, studying for finals, and excited by the warm weather and promise of summer.  I am working hard to keep students engaged, to review learned materials, to challenge the interested students, and to grade all the work.  Today I stepped outside with my lunch, sat on a bench for a blissful fifteen minutes and drew the trees in the school's front yard and beyond.  You can't see it, but the yard to the right was filled with kindergarten students laughing and jumping and digging in the dirt with twigs while they navigated their recently created social mores.  It was peaceful, and a welcome break from the hectic inside atmosphere.  
This is my six hundred twelfth daily drawing.  As always, thank you for looking and for your interest.  

Monday, June 03, 2019

Day 608 "Royal Escort" - remembering a beautiful day

The theme for this month's Girls Just Wanna Paint challenge is "fashion".  As soon as I began to ponder, last year's royal wedding jumped into my head.  I remember the morning, setting the alarm to watch all the pageantry, and to listen to all the commentary about the thoughtfulness that went in to the ceremony, including honoring Diana. I remember that Meghan Markle walked half way down the cathedral alone, followed by a cadre of adorable children, and then was met by Prince Charles for the remainder of the walk, a couple of meaningful statements.  Bottom line, I loved it. This is my value study for a painting I am putting together.  I took the photo from my television during the festivities.  This is my six hundred eighth daily drawing. Thank you, as always, for looking.

Day 605 "Dinner at Dogwood" - coaster art from Jamaica Plain

I scooted into town tonight for an impromptu dinner with my daughter.  She suggested the Dogwood, a nice pub with good pizza an interesting beer list.  We ate at the "social table" which meant sitting up high and possibly getting to know your neighbors.  It was a good vantage point for my latest coaster art.
Nice evening all together. Thanks for looking.  This is my six hundred fifth daily drawing.  I appreciate your thoughts.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Days 599, 600, and 601 "Festival Days"

Every year the North River Arts Society in Marshfield, MA holds its annual Festival of the Arts.  I love the weekend, often calling it a "weekend away" without the cost of hotel. Years ago, before I was an artist, I used to ride my bike down to the Festival to hang with my mother while she painted.  Eventually, I began to paint, and to volunteer, and have now been the co-chair of the juried art & sculpture part of the Festival for a couple of decades.  I paint out on the street for both days of the festival, talking to old and new friends while working.  Great music, food, laughter, fun. Doesn't matter to me what the weather is; so I have painted under a tent while wearing a down vest, and pausing for a warm cup of chowder on occasion, or in 90 degree heat, and everything in between.  It is New England, after all. Here is some of the work I created over the weekend. I get fired up by the festivities, the pageantry, the hubbub, and the catching up with people.  These are my 599, 600, and 601st daily drawings created Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the arts festival.  Thank you for looking.  

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Day 593 "Table Top" and impromptu drawing lessons

 Last night we went to a family party celebration for my niece who graduated college last week.  We saw family on both sides, and some one was asking about my daily drawings.  I had my small sketchbook with me and some blank coasters, and was explaining the coaster art I have been doing. Soon, I had a 7th, a 5th and a 4th grader looking at my work and fascinated... right in my wheelhouse.  Turns out I had four blank coasters with me so we all did drawings on the coasters.  Children are so interesting, straightforward, and we had a comfortable place for them to take a risk.  We talked about building space and perspective and I threw a lot of well-deserved praise.  It was great! Here are some photos of theirs and my work.  This is my five hundred ninety third daily drawing.  As always, thank you for looking.  0