Sunday, July 8, 2018

Summer--So Far Part II

Art Life

As family, activities, and short trips take up much of my time, my art life continues in the background.

Yesterday I delivered 23 paintings to the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. My solo exhibit  "Legends of the Northwest Rivers" will run from July 14, 2018 to September 29, 2018. This series features my years of spending time with my family on the white water rivers in our area. My hope is to help my viewers see the many layers of interest nature offers us from history to geography to flora and fauna. I really enjoy representing the rivers in an abstract manner, using symbols and collage materials for interest.

I also recently lined up a 3-day workshop at Oregon Society of Artists in Portland. The dates are February 22-24, 2019. I hope getting the word out early will help fellow artists plan ahead of time and sign up for this. Although I am using the title "Playing with Patterns" again, every workshop brings forth many new ideas, and my one on one time with participants is always appreciated. Contact me for more information.

I have spent enough time in my studio to work on 4 studies of my granddaughter's legs. I loved a photo I took of her looking for olives in an tree in Spain. As I worked on this, I went from more realistic to simpler and flatter. (My current interests in applying paint.) I left the olive tree behind to create a better design and composition. I also left behind my original idea of a more elegant attire for the contemporary outfit she was really wearing. After all the story is about a young girl climbing trees, the olive tree is an unnecessary detail. How many years does it take for me to let go of what is in a photo to paint what should be? Which of the 4 pleases your eye more. I appreciate hearing from you!

Study #1
Study #2

Study #3

Study #4

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Summer--So Far Part I

In my blogs, I like to include information about my art life, as well as my personal and family adventures. This summer, so far, my life is filled with both, and thus, my next posts will cover it all.

Road Trip 

On May 31 I flew down to Gilbert, Arizona to help our daughter Rachel and her three children (oh, and one beagle) take the long drive to Oregon--1221 miles to our home. (Josh, my son-in-law, was on a business trip to Hong Kong and Manilla.) I was only in Gilbert for one day before we started the drive, but that is plenty long to see why folks want to leave to beat the summer heat.

I had carefully and diligently looked at maps, TripAdvisor, and the internet to plan a four-day trip. If you look at a map, you will see that there is a whole lot of flat desert between Arizona and Oregon, but we did see a sight or two along the way.                         

Hoover Dam--a great achievement from the Great Depression.

Then on to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area where we saw spectacular rocks and one flower.

Then it was miles and miles of sand and sage brush as we made our way to Tonapah, Nevada. Never heard of it? Well, it was a surprising gem of our trip, and well worth a stop. We arrived in the nick of time to have a great tour of the Tonopah Historic Mining Park late in the afternoon. We had a ride around in a quad-like vehicle with a guide full of information about the history, geology and the silver.

Later that night we went searching for ghosts at the Mizpah Hotel. Yes, it was a close call with the spirits that night!

We left Tonopah with the mission to cross the Oregon border for a night at Field's Station. The cafe stops taking orders at 3:30 pm, so we had to drive like crazy to get there in time for a meal. We found Field's Station to be an oasis in the Oregon desert. And we did make it in time to get burgers and milkshakes. 

The evening was topped off with nature showing us her might with a thunderstorm and high winds.

One more long day's drive and we were in Blue River. Whew!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Great Mentor and New Tools

In April I attended the Fran Larsen workshop sponsored by the Watercolor Society of Oregon. Fran did not teach techniques, which is perfect for someone like me. I've "seen that, done that"for years. What she gave me were words of wisdom that inspired me to be more exploratory regarding ideas, "Think of 10 different ways to paint that," and more adventurous when beginning a painting "What if?" So coming away from the workshop, I have begun to paint several topics from different points of view or in different ways.

I painted "Lightly Beaten #1" almost 2 years ago. Much of my work is now inspired by women and children's issues. And an article I read in the newspaper sparked this idea.

I was not satisfied with this painting, even though painting the decorative mosque took a lot of time. I later used it as a practice piece for applying gold leaf. (That is probably never going to be my thing.)

But I still liked the idea driving the painting, so I took it along to Fran's workshop, where she inspired me with "What if?"

What if I neutralized most of the painting, leaving the running child in color? What if one of the women seated outside of the mosque was also in color? Would that help tell a story?

I had painted this in a workshop, working fast to make the most use of my time with Fran--meaning letting many "What if's" come my way.

But now in my own studio, I continued to work with this idea. This time going more toward my current goals: simplify more, use patterns, paint flat. So here is the process I used to create the next painting from one idea.

I started out with two neutral, flatly painted colors. I protected the women, archway and child with two new tools.

Oramask stencil film #13 is much easier to work with than contact paper and it can be reused. It is pretty leak proof if you burnish down the edges. (thanks Geoff McCormack)

And a student (Mary Holt) in one of my workshops introduced my to Nichiban tape, another great product for protecting.

I lifted the windows, pillars and the outer arch using plastic protection and a good, clean, well wrung out , natural sponge. 

I made some stamps/stencils to add a different element to the piece, including some language--my apologies to anyone who reads Urdu.

With this I began to add my pattern making. Then added the darks.

Creating the figures in the doorway was a bit challenging--lifting, but not too much. I wanted to give them a mysteriousness. 

Finally it was time to put in the color. 

Simplify more--Check 
Use patterns--Check 
Paint flat--Check

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Solo Trip to Paris Part 8: It Was Too Far to Walk

Modigliani, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Mondrian,  Picasso, Pissarro, and van Gogh--all the artists whose paintings I had loved and admired most of my life, the artists whose work I had sought to see in museums for the last few days, had all spent time in the Bohemian area of Montmartre. How could I leave Paris without visiting the place where art studios were inhabited by these great artists?

Unlike every other day of my trip, it was too far to walk to Montmartre, so I found the metro and was on my way.

This area is home of the Moulin Rouge and other night clubs where artists met to drink and share ideas about the twists and turns art was making as it left the romantic realism behind. Impressionism, post-impressionism were about to evolve into cubism and abstract expressionism.

This was the home of clubs and bars where Toulouse-Lautrec sketched and painted "ladies of the night." Where, no doubt, the other male artists frequently visited their favorite ladies as well.

Montmartre is where the Can-Can began and some of the most well-known posters  originated advertising the entertainment establishments.  Who wouldn't be drawn to the "Black Cat" for a late night drink?

Although this hill in Paris has a very long history, I was there to walk in the footprints of more recent history. My friend Toni recommended taking a walking tour which meant meeting a guide near a metro stop, then wandering around uphill and down through Montmartre.

This part of Paris was spared or ignored during the demolition and rebuilding of Paris in the second half of the 1800's. It has remained relatively unchanged for hundreds of years and is now protected as a historic district, with no development allowed.

There is a small vineyard in Montmartre, where about 135 gallons of wine are produced annually. The vineyard is owned by the city of Paris.

The Musée de Montmartre is housed in the oldest building in Montmartre, built in the 1600's. It was often the meeting place of artists such as Renoir and Bernard who had their studios in the building. It was turned into a museum in 1960.

This odd statue is based on a story about a man who had the capability of walking though walls. This allowed him to begin an affair with a married woman. When they heard her husband come home, the man would simply slip out of the house through a wall until one night his power failed him mid-exit.

The most impressive building of Montmartre is the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and that is where the walking tour ended. This Romano-Byzantine style building is fairly new--began in 1875 and finished in 1914. It is a huge and complex structure that can be seen from miles away on it's perch at the base of the butte Montmartre. 

I entered the Basilica and enjoyed one last dose of the art of Paris before climbing down the hill to a metro stop. Then it was back to the hotel to pack up for an early flight. 

I had one last dinner, with wine, of course. As I made my final journal entry at the table, I felt overwhelmed with the thought that this adventure was coming to an end. At the end of the meal, the server took my hand and kissed it. He said in his lovely French accent, "I hope to see you again." The feeling is mutual!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Solo Trip to Paris Part 7: Anna and I Pop In to the Musée d'Orsay

Three years ago, Anna and her sister Rose joined Mike, Angelica (granddaughter) and me in Paris. It was our last stop on our Egypt-France trip of 2015. We all visited the Musée d'Orsay at that time, but Anna and I agreed we did not see as much as we could have, so we set off for another round of impressionist and post-impressionist art and much more.

D'Orsay is such as spectacular building--it was once a railway station built arounc 1900, but as trains grew longer, the short platforms of the building were no longer workable. It had several uses before it became a museum in 1986--a mailing station during WWII, the backdrop for many films, etc.

This post is primarily an opportunity for me to share the art I love the most from that museum, so here goes.

Can I ever get enough of 
Van Gogh?


Like so many artists of this time, the Japanese woodblocks greatly influenced Gauguin.

Gauguin's art found his unique voice when he traveled to and painted the lifestyle of French Polynesia.  

I really love the simplification of the paintings of the following artists:




Wouldn't you guess Klimpt? But this similar style belongs to




These two Monet paintings were new to me:  Turkeys . . .

And a painting of his dead wife.

I find this piece so stunning!


And finally, the one woman artist painting I could find,


It had been a wonderful two days with Anna. We had seen loads of art, laughed at shared memories,  and told stories of events since we last saw each other. We had a fabulous dinner together in a fancy restaurant the night before, but now she had to head back to Lyon to work and her life there. 

I had one more day in Paris. What would I do?