Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finishing up the Workshop Pieces

Life got busy, so today was the first day of this week I had to head out to the studio. I wanted to work on a couple of the pieces from the Stroud workshop. 

This is the piece we started day 4 of the workshop. The beginning of the piece was covering at least 1/2 of the paper with black gesso. After that dried, we worked the piece up with acrylics, stamps and some collage. This is what I came home with. I felt it was a good start. I like the colors and the Middle Eastern feel to it. I started seeing doorways and maybe a flying carpet.

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So today I began having fun with the stamps. I would paint inside them and enhance the impact. I also worked on tying more of the golds together throughout the painting. I printed a copy of the Arabic alphabet to make my marks more authentic to the feeling I got from the piece.

Arabian Nights 22x30

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I also took the piece I posted last week and tried, once again to make it more coherent.  My last attempt made it way too busy, so today, I mixed a light blue opaque color, to create a calm backdrop for the very active leaves and patterns. Here are all three versions.

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Memories of Blemished Leaves 22x30

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I enjoyed creating the skeletons of leaves and once again using a blend of positive and negative painting to finish up this painting. And because this was inspired by leaves I found in the winter, it seemed fitting that the would be partially decayed, leaving remnants.

And finally, one more attempt to make Civita: Maria's Treasures work. (This was not a workshop piece.)


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Civita: Maria's Treasures 14x11

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I'd love to get some feedback.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Official: I'm Painting with Acrylics

After the Betsy Dillard Stroud workshop, I made the commitment of buying the proper equipment to really try out painting with acrylics. My recent purchases are a butcher tray pallet (the enameled metal surface allows acrylic paint to be removed), a 3-inch brush, Speedo stamp making material, and some liquid gesso.

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I'm still focusing on the full sheet paintings I brought home from her workshop. This piece was done on day 2, and I found it very challenging. The technique was to paint with acrylics in a transparent mode. We were to draw an repetitive organic shape and insert geometric shapes over that. Every time you come to a line, you have to change colors, or paint around the shape rather than paint the shape. I really found this mind boggling, but I was a good sport and tried it out. This is what I came home with.

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I was not very happy with this, but decided to just keep going and try to work with it until I had made more of a connection throughout the painting. It got very busy.

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So I'm not crazy about this painting, but I did have a lot of fun with the stamps and enjoyed the challenge of the whole thing. I also ended up with some very interesting shapes, hardly any of them boring! This is definitely a Betsy "thing," but now I will try to integrate what I learned from this to enhance my own paintings with greater texture and interest.

I have one last painting from the workshop to tackle. The before and after of that one are yet to come.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Ideas from the BDS Workshop

A week later, I am finally feeling back to normal after the big effort and push to run a successful 3 day convention and week long art workshop. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of help involved with these events, but as a co-chair and workshop coordinator, I felt a lot of responsibility to make both the convention and the workshop as great as possible.

These last 2 days I've found myself out in the studio looking at the paintings I brought home from the Betsy Dillard Stroud Workshop. Under her guidance, we all produced the starts to 4 full sheet paintings, each following one of her ideas. Betsy paints in a lot of different styles, using an abundance of interesting techniques, so it was a real challenge to just dive in and paint. It was an extremely stretching workshop for me, but I know I took in a great deal of knowledge.

Day one we watched Betsy start her own "imago ignota" or unknown image. We learned how to make our own stamps--how fun! And before I knew it, I was on my way to painting my first fully acrylic painting.

Some of the big lessons here are to create neutral colors and grays to clarify the focal point. Also painting in veils of neutrals over vivid colors really creates a mysterious mood to the painting. So after some time in my studio today, the painting has evolved to this--

MSG on Imago Ignata 30x22

I think it is apparent that with the grays, I've gotten some control over all the colors and busy passages.  I don't know if it is done, but it has much better organization now.

On day three we were challenged to go " Matisse" with a painting. I used a photo I had of Liz, my gardening friend, and put her into a Matisse like interior setting. Here's what I came home with.


I know Matisse painted flat, but I felt the table and drapery were too much the same. I also wanted to add more patterns and recreate the black outline we started out with.

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Liz Matissed 30x22
I had fun creating a new stamp for this. You can see it on the purple wallpaper and lower part of the table. I used a pattern from a Matisse painting for the stamp.

And finally, I reworked Civita--Maria's Treasures.

A critique group convinced me that the left side with the mortared wall did not work.  What do you think? An improvement?

Civita--Maria's Treasures 14x11

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Busy Times--A Redo

I'm not sure what has happened with the blog and Picasa, but with Mike's help and reading a blogging forum, I've gone around the problem I hope. Let me know if the images come through this time. Thanks for being loyal readers who let me know about the initial problem.

For the past two years I've been working as a co-chair for the Watercolor Society of Oregon Spring Show and Convention 2011. We are now 2 days away from the arrival of the Juror, Betsy Dillard Stroud, and the April 1-3 Convention. We expect something like 250 participants. All events are at the Eugene Hilton and the Jacobs Gallery. The planning has been quite an effort, even spread among 3 of us. As you might guess, it has been quite time consuming. After the convention, I will be facilitating (as the WSO representative) the 5 day workshop that Betsy will be giving April 4-8.

I entered a painting for the show, but it was rejected. It was a bit more bitter than usual, because I am so involved in hosting this event. However, in the last two weeks I've had two paintings accepted into 2 national shows. Chetco River will be in the Emerald Art Spring Exhibition 2011--juror, Judy Morris.

Chetco River 21x29

A day or two after that announcement I found out that my painting was selected for the National Watercolor Society's Members Show. Juror, Marciano Matinez, chose Orchid Eruption for the show in San Pedro, CA. I know you've seen it before, but this war horse of a painting has finally made it to the national level.

Orchid Eruption 21x29

And in spite of the remodel, convention planning, and family visiting, I have found time for one small painting in the last 3 months.


Civita: Maria's Treasures 14x10

Now I'm going to add a few family photos taken last week when daughter, Rachel, and her 3 kiddlywinks spent spring break with us.

Visiting my mom at Birch Home: Marin, Mattie the dog, Noah and Hannah in Great-grandma Margaret's lap.


Hannah is not too happy about bathing in the new kitchen sink!


Hannah is now eating solid food, but making quite a mess.

Rachel reads Noah a bedtime story,

and Marin, too.

It's not a real visit at Mimi's house without art. Here are Marin's efforts.

And then we say goodbye!