Sunday, April 29, 2012

Eye of Newt, Boy with Cast, Man hauling Boy

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Two and a half weeks ago our four-year-old grandson, Noah, had surgery on his left foot, landing him in a big ol' cast. The surgery was done to further release the tendons in his foot. (He was born with a club foot.) Kids being kids, Noah has learned to scoot, crawl, climb and become pretty self-reliant.

Mike and I volunteered to bring him down to Blue River for a vacation. It's the first visit when he is the only kid here, which is a treat. Mike and I are getting quite an upper-body workout lifting Noah here and there. But outside, it's the time tested wagon as the preferred mode of transportation.

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Yesterday, we spent several hours outside. Noah played with dinosaurs around the rock garden and supervised Dabbadoo's power washing techniques. While gardening, I dug up this newt, which was pretty entertaining.

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Anybody know the name of this amphibian?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wow! Now Come Awards Aplenty

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The Watercolor Society of Oregon held their annual Spring Convention April 13-15. I was involved as the Vice President of the organization and was pleased to have my painting, River Strata, juried into the show of 80 paintings. I was secretly hoping that my piece would make it into the top 20 award winning paintings that go on state-wide tour, but the competition is strong, and I've only been in the top 20 once before.

Imagine my amazement when my painting was awarded the top prize, "Best of Show," by the Juror Carla O'Conner. I feel deeply honored, dizzily happy, and pinch-ably surprised in receiving this award. To all the other WSO artists in the show, your beautiful paintings make my award very meaningful, because all the paintings were wonderfully creative and thoughtfully rendered.

If you live in the Portland area, the show will be at the Oregon Society of Artists Building, 2185 Southwest Park Place, Portland, OR 97205. The gallery is open Tues.-Sat. afternoons.

As if this wasn't enough, I also had my painting, Rogue Heron, in the Western Federation of Watercolor Societies show at Las Vegas at the same time. Rogue Heron was awarded the Mary "Betts" Baepler Award, with a "Certificate of Recognition for an exceptional water media painting," by Juror Gerald Brommer. With that came an amazingly large ribbon. (You need to know how enormous our cat is to truly appreciate the size of this ribbon!)

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My friend Ruth Armitage attended the convention in Las Vegas and took this picture for me. Rogue Heron is hanging bottom row, second from the left.

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Following the WSO convention in Portland, came a workshop taught by Carla O'Conner. I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 folks in her workshop. She is such a creative and talented painter that I was really inspired to try some new things and continue to take risks.

What was a totally unexpected upshot of winning the top honors at the show, was that I now feel a pressure to live up to that level of competence and creativity in my future work. I'm sure I'll have more to say about that in upcoming posts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Minor Changes Can Improve a Painting

I painted Gone To Ruins this past summer. I entered it into a competition in the fall and it was rejected. 

It was, in ways, a hard piece to paint in my style, because it is a structure and there are no organic elements except for the sky. I liked many parts of the painting, but always felt it was too static. I also saw the small pieces going out of the painting as too busy.  

Because I still had faith in the painting, I decided to make some minor changes to correct the 2 things I saw as problems with the piece.

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Gone To Ruins   (Before)

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Gone To Ruins (After)
To add a bit of movement to the piece, I made a small stamp and used it in a number of places to add interest, a sense of play, and detail to tie the large blocks to the more intricate interior. I also reworked the lower portion to eliminate the smaller blocks that had pulled the eye out of the painting. 

I entered the revised version of the painting in the Emerald Art Center's National Show competition and the piece was accepted. 

Do you see the changes as improvements?