Monday, October 31, 2011

no such thing as a formula

There is no such thing as a formula for achieving a good painting.

That was my working premise in painting this piece. I started with a color palette that interested me: Cobalt Turquoise, Alizarin Crimson, and Raw Sienna. I splashed the paint down and followed what developed with great curiosity. I blotted and dripped, sprayed and spattered, and tilted the board every direction possible to let it become what it would.

I didn't even know if I would like it.

And then, I let it sit on the shelf in my studio. I turned it and looked at it for days. What did it suggest?

In the end, I grabbed my Chinese brush and Sumi ink and dashed in the running girls. Something is going on and I'm not convinced it's all good. After all, it is All Hallows' Eve! And there could be monsters out there! Run!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

come see the show!

this brown/green wall makes some pieces sing!

walking down the staircase to the lounge, you will see this grouping

color, texture, pattern, value, this wall has it in spades

paintings are hung, now we put up the tags!
I am a member of PDX!WAM and today we hung a show of our abstract work. I hope you will come to the Lexus of Portland showroom to see it all. 

While we hung the show today, many customers and sales people commented on how much they liked the work and noted how it brightened the room. You can see many of my pieces there, so be sure to stop in! The show will be up until the end of November.

Lexus of Portland
8840 SW Canyon Road
Portland, OR

Friday, October 28, 2011

good vibrations

While I was never really a "surfer girl," I did grow up in California and spent a good amount of time in the ocean and at the beach. I went to surfer movies, wore Hawaiian print clothes, and even owned abalone and puka shell necklaces. I was more of a Boogie Boarder, but the songs of the Beach Boys were the soundtrack of much of my childhood. Like this one, "Good Vibrations."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


In preparation for my monotype class tomorrow, I have been playing with some design ideas. My thoughts about design include how to best place the figure in the space, how to break up the negative space, plus consider which parts of the image I might want to collage with some textured Japanese papers (Chine colle').

When I painted this image, I immediately thought of Modigliani's portraits. Maybe the way the head sits atop the neck. Maybe the elongation of the neck. Something about it is ringing the Modigliani chime. Take a look at this slide show of his work and see what you think.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

long term pose

I love using charcoal for figure drawing. It's the perfect, forgiving, medium for drawing, and I can make all kinds of luscious marks with it.

But, when it comes to the 30 minute poses, I also like to experiment with color. Here I did the initial drawing with charcoal and then painted in some of the shapes with watercolor.

Speaking of figures, I am crazy about the work of Dan, Danny, and John McCaw! Have you seen their work? Take a long, lingering look at it here!

And, speaking of lingering, take a linger with Patricia Barber. You will be glad you did!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

idea book and Gloria Gaddis

Into my 17 x 14 Aquabee sketchbook, I tape photos of paintings from the HUGE (but shrinking) collection of art magazines I have in my studio. When I'm not feeling very creative, I go into the studio and pull out a few old art magazines. As I flip through the pages, I tear out all of the photos that appeal to me. Whether it's color, composition, treatment of the subject ... no matter what it is that interests me, I tear it out. When I have a nice pile, I trim them down and tape them into my "Idea Book." I make comments here and there. 

Now, when I am not feeling very creative, I can flip through my idea book. Just this last week I flipped to this page and then followed up by checking out the artist Gloria Gaddis. Check out her stuff here!

Oh, and stop throwing away your old art magazines! It's time to use them selfishly for you own idea book. You never know what might happen because of it!

Friday, October 21, 2011


Fauvism, an art movement that lasted only a few years (1904 - 1908), turned the focus from representation to strong color. See more of it here.

Lately, I've have enjoyed painting Fauvist portraits. On gray days, these bright splashes of color are just the ticket to brightening things up around here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

monotype 1

"It sets up a tension when you place more than one figure in your composition" Joseph Mann.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that Joseph said that, when I came in to my monotype class with nothing but single figure sketches. Sigh. But, he invited me to consider how some of my sketches might combine nicely to create a story, or suggest something beyond what either figure could communicate alone.

As I manipulated my sketches, I settled on this design. It was only after I printed it that I realized it was autobiographical. It startled me to see how my thoughts and feelings translated into the creation of this image. Since becoming a grandmother, I feel like I am walking off the stage and the next generation is coming on. It's not bad, not good, just the reality of what is.

If you are not familiar with monotype, this video does a nice job explaining the process. Enjoy!

Jane Pagliorulo pulled prints for Wolf Kahn!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

free fall in monotype design and blog update

"are you sure my hips don't look big?"
I am in a beautiful free fall with monotype. Like a happy kid, I am playing with design, using brayers to lay ink onto plates, scraping off ink, painting it back on, and doing all kinds of fun and uncomfortable things. "Free fall" sounds a little out of control, so that makes it the perfect phrase to describe my feelings.

Our assignment for tonight's class: create some design patterns with the figure to put the figure into a space. Above you see some of my sketched ideas. Of course, being the over achiever that I am, I have five pages of ideas!

I have just completed a little facelift for my blog and I hope you will enjoy some of the new things I've added. When you browse around, you'll see I've added a spot for sketchbook sketches, titles of art books I am currently reading, and a quote I read and wanted to think about. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, October 17, 2011


She's got the beat and she'll dance her bass around the stage for the right groove. Don't fall behind or rush things because she'll give you the stink eye and a what for when the set is done.

But when it's right, her eyes close just half way and her head bobs and she holds her instrument like a lover.When it's good, baby it is gooood.

"Come Together" doesn't get much better than this.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday report from the Refuge

It's been a while since I mentioned the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, but don't draw the conclusion that I don't go there anymore. I do! This sign marks the entrance, just turn down the gravel road, cross the railroad tracks, cross over the Columbia River Slough on the one lane wooden bridge, and you are there!

Today I didn't see the Sandhill Cranes in the refuge. No, they were gorging themselves on corn in the nearby farmer's field. Just last week I watched the farmer harvesting his acres of corn and I wondered if the cranes would remember previous years of good eating there. Apparently they remembered and told their friends, too!

The fields were filled with Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes and the racket they made was terrific! Mine was not the only car pulled off on the side of the road to experience this. Trilling and trumpeting and gossiping birds and all of it in the beautiful pink/gold evening glow of a perfect Fall day.

With all of those delicious birds around, you have to know that there are predators lurking in the Refuge, too. I spent a lot of time watching this coyote. And he watched me, across a small ditch filled with water!

As I watched him, I couldn't help but think of many Saturday mornings when I was growing up. Sitting in the den with my sibs and my dad, we all watched Saturday morning cartoons. Dad loved the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons (by Warner Brothers) and he would laugh and laugh and laugh at Coyote's antics.

When I watched the coyote today and thought of my dad, I could almost hear his laughter.

What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

every breath you take

It's been about 8 years since I played in the (really great, very best) band. I miss it a lot, but mostly I miss the (really great, very best) leader and vocalist of the band. He and I worked together like a super-intuitive amazing team. I hope to work with him again sometime soon. It just might happen. You never know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

liars can figure and figures can lie!

"Liars can figure and figures can lie" -- the opening statement from my Statistics professor. I think of that comment every time I walk into a figure drawing session. Not that they are lies, per se, but little exaggerations, inaccuracies, and interpretations of reality are in every figure drawing. I love it. Maybe these little lies make my drawings distinctive from others' work.

Newsprint and charcoal and a great model made for a great afternoon at Hipbone Studio. Exciting things are happening at my monotype class, too. Figure work there, too, and more to think about. Design, figure, story. I love it all!

Speaking of lying, did you happen to catch this TED talk, "How to Spot a Liar" by Pamela Meyer? Watch it and you, too, can become a better LIE-SPOTTER!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

guitar guy

Guitar Guy, 17 x 14, watercolor and ink on paper
I used to play keys in a band. Sometimes I shared the lead with the guitar man. Eight bars to him. Eight bars to me. Eight bars back to him, more if he was really into the groove and it was right. I knew. He knew.

Speaking of guitar, one of my all time favorite guitar men, Carlos Santana. You're never wrong when you pick him as your favorite guy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

express yourself

Express Yourself, 17 x 14, watercolor and ink on paper

Read. Study. Look. 


You never know what will happen when you open yourself to the traditions that came before you. 

The art of an artist must be his own art. It is... always a continuous chain of little inventions, little technical discoveries of one's own, in one's relation to the tool, the material and the colors.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wolf Kahn tells it all and product problems

cradled birch panels prepped for landscape or figure work
 I'm experimenting with painting surfaces for more work with acrylics and oils. Our local independent art store, Art Media, has sold out (!) to Dick Blick this month. In the meantime, they had some great deals of cradled birch panels. Inexpensive and beautifully crafted and a DEAL! I bought many. You can see them in the top photograph, prepped with gesso and layers of acrylic paint. What a joy to work on these! 

I also bought a number of boxes of cradled wood panels from Cheap Joe's when they were on sale. I prepped them with gesso without a problem. Then, when I slopped on some acrylic and water and worked to create a somewhat abstract ground, something happened. 

The gessoed surface took the water and lifted in wrinkles as you can see in the second photo. 

Now I don't know what to do. Should I sand it down and re-apply gesso and see if I can get it back to a flat surface? Go ahead and work over the top of the wrinkles?What would you do?

Wolf Kahn always makes me consider how I can become a better painter. In his lecture, "Six Good Reasons Not to Paint a Landscape," I am challenged by his call to not making "wall furniture" with my artwork. I hope that you feel likewise inspired when you listen to his words here!

"Art is any object that's created to elicit feelings. If doesn't do that, it doesn't really do its job." -- Wolf Kahn

Thanks to Elio Camacho for sharing this lecture on his Facebook page.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

you can do what you want

22 x 22, acrylic on Fabriano
Today I have been layering and mixing and experimenting with acrylic paint to see what can happen. I added the black lines with Sumi ink and then knocked some of them back with more paint. I enjoyed the freedom of play and only at the last did I massage it a little to strengthen the composition.

While I was painting today, I was humming this old Cat Stevens tune, "If You Want to Sing Out." I realize that he is now Yusuf Islam, but when I first heard his music and bought the album (to play on my record player, thank you very much), he was known as Cat Stevens.

I admit that I had many bad experiences with English classes. But, in my first great experience in English class, the teacher printed out the words to "If You Want to Sing Out" and "Moonshadow" and used the lyrics to teach us to appreciate poetry. We had only to turn on the radio to hear the songs, and many of us knew the words by heart. She bridged the gap and made poetry (lyrics) cool and meaningful and contemporary. No dusty urns. No lovers counting the ways. No electric bodies. Just lyrics. And more lyrics. And more lyrics. And, when we understood and developed a hunger to understand the ideas behind truncated expressions, she knew we were hooked. Well, some of us were hooked. I know I was. Still am hooked. I don't even mind the urns, lovers, or electric bodies!

So, today, if you have a voice in your mind (or nearby) that is telling you that "you can't" or "you won't" or "you'll never" ... listen to Cat Stevens. And if you want to sing out, SING OUT! And if you want to be free, BE FREE. You can do what you want. Really.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

acrylic like watercolor

I've been playing with my bonanza of acrylic paints and today used it like watercolor. For this trial, I used Cadmium Yellow Medium, Ultramarine Blue, and Cadmium Red Medium. Mixed with water. Painted on with a big watercolor brush.

Much of the country is experiencing drought conditions. It breaks my heart to hear about the distress and death of the live oak tree forests in Texas. The people look up into the sky, desperately hoping that the clouds will band together and create some moisture.

In the meantime, in the Pacific Northwest, it seems that we have only had a few minutes of summer and now we have rain. Oh, the rain. It greens up the wild grasses. It fills the rivers and reservoirs. I think it's going to rain today. And tomorrow, too. Sigh.

Monday, October 3, 2011

acrylic bonanza

test, test, this is only a test ... is this thing working?

a sackful of acrylic paints, a gift from a friend who moved away
She was moving to Texas but before she packed, she purged her belongings. Not a small purge, either. I'm sure that she only took 1/3 of her total stuff to the "don't mess with us" state. Out went vases and bicycles, boats, a car, lots of furniture, and many art supplies. 

"Do you want these?" she asked me, pointing to a big box of paint.  (When someone offers you paint, the answer is always YES, right?)

Later, I sorted through the paint and found tubes of acrylic, more of oil, and some water miscible oils. Wow! I haven't painted with acrylic before, so today I opened the tubes and squeezed out the colors onto a sheet of watercolor paper. I just wanted to see what I have. What fun!

Next, I'll pull out 3-5 colors and play with them and see what I can do with a limited palette. 

I love the paint, but I miss my friend. This one is for you, Debra. Hugs.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

fecund scent

22 x 30, gouache, charcoal, pastel on paper
When infant cries will not quiet, 
nor accept 
non-mother consolation
(even if loving father) ...
Mother comes 
gentle murmurs,
private language
coos, hums, 
takes the baby in her arms.

he quiets at her voice
smells deeply 
her fecund scent
grunts his sorrow
at her delay

then turns his head to lick her arm.