Monday, November 28, 2016

A quick post holiday post

I hope ya'll had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Just a quick post with a nest update. It's been a busy couple of weeks with the holidays coming up plus I've been sick- no fun! But I'm on the mend now and ready to get back to painting and all the other stuff that goes along with it.

This is a little nest that was on top of my daughter's front porch light fixture. It's a swallow's nest. Before seeing this I had no idea some birds made their nests partially with mud. You can see the photo below. I usually prefer to have a nest in hand to paint from rather than working from photos but as you can see this one was well occupied and later there were 5 beautiful swallows.

The painting below is still a work in progress and another one I'm doing from a photo even though I have the actual nest in the studio. I found it in the hedge in my yard but before I removed it from the hedge I took pictures from different angles in case I wanted to do something that included a few surrounding leaves. Tomorrow I'm spending the day at the easel and I'll post again when it's done.

In the meantime......

After all that holiday food

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Listen to Pablo and make some art

I walk at Tuscawilla Park most mornings of the week- well try to anyway- when the weather and this old body lets me. My city just added this new section to the park and it's absolutely lovely. It's been a good place for me this week.

This week has been hard for many reasons. One of them of course being the election. I'm amazed at how draining and difficult it's been for so many people. It's not just the voting result but the awful happenings all over the country. I'm so saddened by the unrest, the fear and the violence. I want to cry every time I see a swastika painted on a building or the "n" word written on people's property, every story I see where a child is taunted and bullied because of the color of his skin. It's the kids. They are the ones I worry about most. How are they to understand what's happening. Children shouldn't have to worry about whether or not their family will be torn apart or if they're safe in their own home and country.

A lot of people are expressing their upset. That's a good thing as long as it's civil. What's not a good thing is people being told that they're whining or just too negative because they're talking about what's happening in the world. It doesn't help to minimize, dismiss or mock what people are going through right now. That's just cruel. What happened to compassion? Where did human decency go? It's serious stuff and should be talked about. Things don't get fixed if they're never discussed. I fear for my grandchildren's future. I fear for my gay family and friends. I fear losing my health insurance at a time when I need it the most. These things are just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more and we have legitimate worries.

This is going to take time.

It's ok to express hurt and anger - peacefully. Protest but do it peacefully. I don't care if you sit through the anthem or march in the streets but do it peacefully. No matter who you voted for, just be kind to each other because in the end we all want the same thing - good health, prosperity and people to love. I don't always do it well either but it's something to strive for.

Thank goodness for art. I know I need it now more than ever. Our souls have a lot of searching to do and we have a lot of grime to wash off.

One of the things I love about the new art park are the quotes engraved and scattered along the walkway. I've been taking a photo every time I'm at the park and I thought this one is particularly appropriate right now.

The other thing I love about the park are these faces. They're all over the place and they're hysterical. This stone wall winds it's way around the park and these rock faces are scattered throughout, every one of them different and goofy. Kudos to the mason who built it. They give me a smile and we need lots of those right now.

So listen to Pablo, it's time to make more art.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

No tricks, just a work in progress

I've been back in the studio painting- nests of course. I'm not sure how long I'll be painting these but for now I'm going with the proverbial flow. As long as they keep hold of my heart and mind then I'll keep on making them.

Recently, one of my students was wondering what my process is for painting the nests so I thought I'd post a few work in progress pics.

Here you can see I've already got the gold in place. Before I can apply the gold I prep the canvas. The first thing I do is apply a layer of Super Heavy Gesso with a large palette knife. You can see the texture on the canvas surface. That layer of gesso is pretty thick so I leave it to dry over night. When it's dry I coat the canvas with a primary red acrylic. 

Then I use a white charcoal or pastel pencil to sketch in the outline of the nest. This gives me a map for the adhesive size used to adhere the gold. Once the size is tacky - that takes approximately 15-30 minutes - I place the gold leaf, brush off the excess, and this is what the canvas looks like.

In this next step I've coated the rest of the canvas, all areas without gold, with burnt umber. After the paint is dry I use the same pastel pencil to sketch in the main elements. I mark the edge of the nest opening, the largest pieces of leaves, plastic, or other bits of debris the birds used for building.

I paint those large pieces in first and then use a liner brush to start building the layers of grasses and twigs that are woven together. When I build these layers I work from dark to light starting with a burnt sienna\burnt umber mix and adding other colors as I get lighter and lighter.

acrylic and gold leaf

The final strokes are the lightest ones, the ones that make the painting pop and give it depth. I think the toughest challenge about these paintings is photographing them because of the gold leaf. In every photo the gold looks a little different. It all depends on the angle, the time of day, the light- if it's overcast or sunny outside. You can see the difference even in these progress pictures. At the same time, that's my favorite thing about these paintings- the way the painting changes with the light. It's not a trick but sure is a treat! LOL, I know..... way too corny but couldn't help myself. 

Happy Halloween ya'll!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Munchkins and fun party projects

I took some time off from the studio recently. What could take me away from painting? This pile up of little munchkins. My daughter came for a visit with 2 of my grandbabies. They moved to TX a year ago so it's a treat to have them here with the other 2 who live nearby. No way was I going to spend time in the studio when I could love on all these people!

Before their visit I had a very special project to work on. My father celebrated his 80th birthday and my mother decided to throw him a surprise birthday party. I was in charge of table decorations. Dad is a golfer so of course my first thought was something golf themed. I searched Pinterest for ideas, I went to the party stores, I looked all over and just couldn't get excited about any of it.

Then my husband had an idea. We have a book of illustrations of costumes and clothing through the ages so he suggested making paper dolls with Dad's face on the illustrations. Mom was putting together a slide show of family pictures for the party so I went through the photos and made copies of his faces and matched them with different costumes. I enlarged the illustrations, sized the faces to fit and put them together. I did this the old fashioned way of cut and paste. If I were more used to Photoshop I would have done it that way but by the time I dealt with the learning curve in figuring out how to do it I could have had them done. 

After putting them together I scanned them, flipped them to a mirror image and printed them out so I'd have 2 of each to make a double sided figure. I cut them out, then added a piece of cardboard between them so they'd stand up and then attached them to a base made of paper fans I picked up at the party store. The white bases are just plastic plates turned upside down.

If you're an NCIS fan you can see who kept me company while I worked on this project.

I made 8 of these figures so each table at the party had a different Dad. What a blast it was finding just the right face to go with the illustrations. In a couple of them his own hat in the photo worked perfectly for the style of clothing. 

The party was a great success! He was surprised and he was especially happy to have his granddaughter and great grandchildren come all the way from TX to say Happy Birthday.

So now the party is done and the kids have gone back home. I'm back in the studio painting.... nests of course. I'll share the newest ones in the next post. And if you have any cool party decoration ideas I'd love to see so please share!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Painting what I love for people who love what I paint

The last couple of weeks have been good in the art world. I want to just take a moment to say thanks!

Thank you to my friends and family who give me so much encouragement about my work and support what I do.

Thank you to my Facebook friends who cheer me on and "like" my work, who tell me which paintings are their favorites.

Thank you to my students who show up every Monday ready to learn and practice and make me laugh in the process.

Thank you to the Signature Art Gallery and the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery for their help in connecting with collectors. Vera at the Signature has been amazing. I very much appreciate all she does for the artists.

And a big, giant, squeezy hug to my collectors. Without them I couldn't keep doing what I'm doing.

This is what my collectors make possible - days that are like Christmas in the studio - when art supplies come in the mail. New supplies means new paintings and new paintings mean new ideas and the cycle continues. I'm able to keep on doing what I love to do.

This is my dream right here, right now. I'm living it. Painting what I love for people who love what I paint.

Thank you!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Good morning Monday- painting, taxes and a little naughty :)

Remember the painting in the ugly stage?

It's done now and sold. This morning I got it wired and varnished and soon it will be going to it's new home which happens to be the same home in NV where the smaller one went. They'll be together! Yeah, I know that's silly and sappy but hey..... don't a piece of ourselves go into every painting? When a collector buys a painting they're buying a piece of us. My heart and soul go into these paintings. Each one is it's own struggle, it's own challenge and it's nurtured along through each stage of development, pushing me and it to be better than the last one. That's the hope anyway.

Since last week I've acquired another nest. Isn't it beautiful? This is a cardinal's nest that was in my brother-in-law's yard. Just the day before he brought this to me I was thinking that I'd like to find one with some Spanish moss in it and ta-da! Here it is. I not only love the moss but I love the pile of little leaves inside. This will be another challenge for sure.

Hopefully I can get back to painting tomorrow. Over the weekend I tackled doing taxes- ugh!!!! I'm almost done but not quite there yet and this afternoon I'm teaching a class at the studio. 

Until next time..... here's a little thing I found on Facebook this morning. I don't know the name of the creator so if someone out there does, please share with us. It's a little on the naughty side but makes a good point. I've often wondered about critics and their evaluation of paintings. Why do they see what they see compared to what the artist intended? Critics like to get all puffed up with their "artspeak" and sometimes it's nothing more than a simple story. Just ask the artist.

At the National Art Gallery in Dublin, a husband and wife were staring at a portrait that had them completely confused. The painting depicted three black men totally naked, sitting on a bench.
Two of the figures had black penises, but the one in the middle had a pink penis. The curator of the gallery realized that they were having trouble interpreting the painting and offered his personal assessment.
He went on for over half an hour explaining how it depicted the sexual emasculation of African Americans in a predominately white patriarchal society . "In fact", he pointed out, "some serious critics believe that the pink penis also reflects the cultural and sociological oppression experienced by gay men in contemporary society".
After the curator left, an Irishman approached the couple and said, "Would you like to know what the painting is really about?"
"Now why would you claim to be more of an expert than the curator of the gallery", asked the couple?
"Because I am the artist, who painted the picture", he replied, "In fact, there are no African Americans depicted at all.
They're just three Irish coal miners. The guy in the middle went home for lunch"

Monday, September 19, 2016

Painting, sharing, shipping, bingeing

It was a busy week in the studio last week. I got lots of painting done, talked to lots of people, shipped artwork to the Signature Art Gallery and even sold a few paintings! And btw.... the Signature Gallery has a bird room- all things bird so if you're a bird watcher or are just fascinated with them like I am then go see what they have in there. So anyway, it was a banner week and the best of all was Friday when this article came out in Arts Business Institute. A big thank you to Carolyn at Artsy Shark for contacting me. Check it out and if you would be so kind.... tweet it or share it on whatever method of socializing you utilize. Thanks!

This is the latest bird's nest I did and it's sold so it's heading to NV this week. I have another one on the easel in the ugly stage.....

Kind of weird lighting in this shot. I had my spotlight on the nest I'm using for reference so the canvas looks a little dark. My laptop is there so I can message with people while I work and of course binge on Netflix shows- right now I'm bouncing back and forth between the new episodes of Walking Dead and old episodes of NCIS.

This is a little Instagram snippet from the process of applying gold leaf to my canvas.

Artist friends.... what do you do when you paint? Listen to music? Watch TV? Are you a binge watcher? Need silence? Just curious.

Carry on and happy painting.