Stat Counter

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Family time

My granddaughter, Rachael, graduated a couple of days ago.  I could go on and on about how quickly these years have passed but that would only make me feel old so instead I'll focus on the joys this past week have brought.  My daughter, Lisa, flew in from Portland and my sister, Dottie, arrived from California.  My son and daughter-in-law put us all up for what can only be described as one of my best weekends in a long time.  To have all my children under the same roof again can only be understood by those of you who are parents of grown children.  My heart and my face are still smiling.

On Friday we reluctantly dropped my sis off at the airport and Lisa came up for the remainder of this holiday weekend.  We have been going through old photos, reminiscing about old times and sharing stories of what is going on in our lives now.  One of the fun things was to see Lisa's excitement over some abstract paintings that I had done.  She said, she really, really wanted some of them so they will soon be gracing the walls of her new apartment.

My first art teacher once advised us all not to give our paintings to our friends or family.  I couldn't understand her logic until I experienced what she was talking about.  She said not everyone you give a painting to was going to want it or want to hang it in their house and giving them something would only make them feel obligated to hang it even if they didn't like the painting they received.  At the time, I thought all my friends and family members would just LOVE to hang MY paintings on their walls, even those early, not so good paintings.  I've found over the years my art teacher was right.  So, to see Lisa go crazy over some abstract paintings that I had piled upside down on a shelf made me feel good especially since my husband's comments when he first saw them was something like he'd never pay good money for them.  Although I totally loved painting these abstracts and would have framed and hung them in a skinny minute, his comments led me to not try to paint abstracts again.  It's nice to know these will have a home.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Any excuse will do

I fractured a couple of ribs on Saturday and am limited to what I can do comfortably.  Sneezing, hiccuping, coughing or cleaning the house are not on the list.  Painting, however, is.  So, I'm enjoying the luxury of painting without experiencing the normal "guilt" that goes along with taking long days for myself.  Here are my latest creations.  The aspen trees are getting their new leaves and they inspired me to recapture a taste of autumn.  The paintings actually have richer darks than the camera has picked up.

A Taste of Autumn
oil on multimedia board 11x14

Sunday Afternoon
oil on multimedia board 11x14

Plein Air

The weather is getting nice here in the Cache Valley so another artist friend and I went out the other morning and painted.  Plein air is a challenge and a delight.  A challenge because the light is continually changing and a delight because you can see more colors in person than you can from a photo.

Wellsville Mountains
oil on board 8x10

Carla O'Connor Workshop

Last week I took a watercolor workshop from Carla O'Connor.  Carla uses both watercolors and gouache (pronounced gwash like in wash).  Gouache is a watercolor that has chalk added to it to make it opaque.  The unique thing for me was to paint on hot press paper. The focus of this workshop was abstract figure and design.

Carla is a spunky, vivacious task master who makes use of every moment in the workshop.  Three of the five mornings were spent with a model.  The only painting demonstration we saw done was at the Tuesday evening meeting of our local watercolor society or if she came by and changed something on the painting you were working on.  Carla did demo some quick sketches and also showed us how to make a print.   Carla repeatedly said that we don't learn by watching her paint.  We only learn by painting.  Personally I like a combination of both.  Rather than demo in the morning we would draw very quick sketches of the model.  Did I say quick?  It was more like the speed of lightening.  5 seconds and she would say "change" which meant the model was to quickly take a new pose and we were to do a rather fast gestural drawing using the same paper.  Eventually we got to 30 second gestural drawings and even a bit longer.  I know the purpose was not to torture us although she seemed to delight a bit in that, but to get us to not analyze things and slow ourselves down but to go with the flow and just quickly get down the movement or body language of the model's poses.

The first day we each pulled a word out of a box that expressed a human emotion.  We were not supposed to share what our word was but paint the word in a non-representational way - a non-objective abstract which basically meant you could not put anything in your painting that looked like anything. You had to express the emotion with color, line, movement etc.  My table partner got rage while I got sensual.  Need I say more?

Some of our quick sketches were to be done a watercolor paper then we applied paint after the model left.  None of our paintings were done with the model still there which was a challenge in itself.

I never expect to come away from a workshop with a finished painting but tools that I may use in later paintings.  These are some of the things I did in the workshop.