Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Seven Links Project

   I knew it would arrive sooner or later - the invitation to participate in  the seven links project. I received a gmail from my blogging friend, Vinayak Deshmukh, who is an engineer by profession and an artist by passion. His blog, PENCILS AND BRUSHES, displays his beautiful portraits, landscapes, and still life paintings, done in both watercolor and oil.
   Being most curious by nature, I wanted to find out where this project originated. I traced it back to a travel blog, and it started in late June of this year. It seems to have been around for a longer time than that.
   I consider my most beautiful post to be the one of  Carmella, the yellow labrador. This post received a lot of feedback, but the backlit rose got even more comments.
   The most popular post, judging by the number of comments, was the backlit rose. I was a bit surprised, as it was only a small painting done as an experiment. Thankfully, the trial of a new technique went well, and all of you approved.
   I was sure I would receive some comments about a post I wrote on New Years Day; it was a bit of a rant about materialism, and the true value of just being YOU. But I must say, the most controversial post was about the process of a painting of an alley in Athens. I was really getting stuck with all aspects of the painting, and when I asked for advice, I received many answers ... ALL of them quite different. Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all artists  have their very distinct definitions of beauty and art.
   When I consider my most helpful post, I think there are several that fall into that category. Again, I base this on the number of comments, and the comments themselves. I have posted several "painting processes", in which I photograph and describe  the painting as it progresses; almost all of these have received comments about how the description is helpful.
   The post whose success surprised me was the backlit rose. I was trying to figure out HOW Jacqueline Gnott created those softly circumscribed areas of lightness in her floral paintings. And being too tight-fisted to buy a DVD, I experimented. That was pretty much how I learned watercolor, too - read the books, studied the paintings, and tried out some ideas.
A post I felt didn't receive the attention it deserved was one I did on the painting process of a carousel horse. I thought it was cool - bright, colorful, different. I think it was one of my early posts, and that is how it was ignored ... at least, that's my theory!
   As for the post of which I am most proud of, I must admit they are all equal in that regard. I have enjoyed presenting all of them, the painting posts and the "farmish" posts, and I am very happy that you have enjoyed reading them!
   I thought I would include my favorite paintings ...

Denise in Venice

Little Red Hen


I would like to thank Vinayak for the invitation to the seven links project, and , in turn, I would now like to invite  seven people:

Julie Hill   Capturing Life with Brushstrokes
Matteo Grilli    Wildlife Art - Watercolors from the Australian Bush
Melanie     Redhead Art 
Mary Sheehan Winn   Just Painting
Nolon Stacey   Leaping into the World of the Starving Artist
Jennifer MacNeill Taylor   Gypsymare Studio
Jane Minter   Jane Minter's Sketchbook 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Country Moments

A little mid-morning rester
Aha, he's spotted me
Hmmm ... should I get up?
Up, and having a shake to get rid of wood shavings

"Would you like to play, or maybe let me on the back lawn?"

   I am not producing very much with my painting right now, so nothing to post with that. But I still deeply love the beauty and quiet of the countryside, so I will share some rural moments. I was outside hanging up laundry, and saw Bruno having a siesta.  I tried to get to him quietly to take some photos. But he was up in seconds, ready for anything.
   And Sandy Sandy will like this - I rescued a hummingbird yesterday. It was caught in the main house, trying to get out the skylight, and only becoming more and more exhausted. I finally had to get a kitchen step-ladder and a soft towel [wrapped around my hand to give me more "height"] and very gently put my hand around him. They are so tiny, I felt nothing in my hand. I took him outside, opened the towel, and let him zip away! I felt so good doing that.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Wild One

The Wild One
6 x 11.25 in.
   I obviously had some intensely bright colors inside me tonight, just screaming to get out! This is done from the same sketch as the previous snail, and I used some of the most intense and bright colors on my palette, mostly quinachridone colors. What next? I suppose back to working on portrait sketches of my brother-in-law ...
   Please let me know what you think of this colorful cousin to the last snail.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shadow Play with a Snail

A lot of fussy work on head and tail, and quin. burnt orange floated w/w.  on shell
Believe it or not, more work on head area.
When I finally got to the shell yesterday, it started to look good.
6 x 11.25 in. / 15 x 28 cm. / unframed

   This was a little item that I've been planning to do for a while. It was slow going at first [it appeared so uninspiring] but when I started the shell, he really developed quite a look. Actually, I thought I'd go cross-eyed doing the shell, and - horrors! - loose track of where the lines went.

Portrait Classes

Our classroom, very bright and airy, with good lighting
   I must say I am really enjoying the classes. Lalita is a fantastic, upbeat, wonderful person; just being around her makes everyone feel better, more positive. The class is small. The information is extremely well presented, and hand-outs are provided. We even get "homework"! So it's three hours every morning,  Monday to Thursday for two weeks. My brain "feels full" after each session.
   I took the portrait of Dr. Wong to class yesterday. Lalita liked it, and said it expressed my description of the model. Her only suggestion was to darken three points around the face, to increase focus to the face. I have done so, and the result is below.

Three spots darkened

Another view of the classroom
We're working on portraits in "pieces" - head shape and proportions, eyes, ears, mouth ...
Lalita, helping me to define the portrait I would like to paint 
My set-up
Lalita, with another student [Betty]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time to Let It Rest for a Day or So ...

Did a bit of painting last night
This morning's work

   I think the portrait is looking all right, but it needs a few days alone. Then I will assess again, and probably take it along to the portrait class on Monday. AS ALWAYS, please feel free to leave comments and criticism!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good Call, Sandy

   I would like to give a "thank you" to Sandy at http://sandysandysweblog.blogspot.com for her advice. It was a simple fix that made all the difference to this small painting. I just darkened the leaves that were  a distraction from the flower.

Looking Forward to Monday ...

1st quick sketch
More depth
Loose washes, eyes and glasses masked 
Crawling along
Still crawling along
Mask removed, start eyes

   I finished the sketch about a week ago, put it on Arches 140 lb. CP, and started painting. If left to my own devices, I paint very slowly, using thin glazes; most of the time I get where I want to be but .... SLOWLY. I have just lately trained myself to always use the largest possible brush. So I am really looking forward to a portrait class offered by Lalita Hamill of the Federation of Canadian Artists. She is an absolutely delightful young woman, and a great artist. I took one of her classes years ago.
   There are a few things I am hoping to gain from the course. I would dearly love to create much more emotional depth in my painting. I would like to paint faster, and looser at times, be less tentative. And I would like to improve my compositional skills. I'm sure there's more, but those are the big ones.
  So I will leave you all for now, and probably post late Monday, after the class. I thank you for dropping by.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Experiment Is Done ... "Backlit"

This is where I left off
Worked on the leaves with aureolin, quin. gold, quin. burnt orange and phthalo green [YS]
More leaf color, and some spots of new gamboge
7 x 6.5 in.
Original photo

   I think, as an experiment in technique, this small painting is a success; it gives me another tool to interpret light. As a painting, I think the background is somewhat too dark over all, but that is a matter of taste. As you know, all criticisms are welcome, so please do let me know what you feel about it.
   And now, on to more experimenting ...

Monday, July 4, 2011

OK, OK, It's Not Finished, but ....

MANY glazes of background later
   I have been an admirer of Jacqueline Gnott's work for as long as I've had a computer [about 3 years] She paints the most phenomenal watercolors and oils of flowers and still-lifes. As is my way, I try to figure out what is being done by studying a painting, and then experimenting. I think I finally have found a way to create the effect of light filtering through leaves. What do you think???

Bruno's Gardening Day ... or ... Yes, I Pamper My Horse

Munching at the top of the rise
Looking down to Bruno's paddock/ring & to field beyond
Standing by a spot where I grow lupines, lilies, irises, calendula and others
Really getting into his work
Some serious trimming at the fence-line
Taking a short, thoughtful break
   Brunz has had 3 or 4 days of good, solid work; our riding sessions have been short and sweet, [pretty much] and he has been attentive. As I like to say, he's been wearing his "listening ears"! So I thought a bit of grazing on the back lawn would be nice - the grass IS greener on the other side of the fence.