Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Road Trip! Day 1

Day 1 of a road trip. New sketchbook. New ideas. Yay!

Even in the middle of the day, people drive with their headlights on.
Once we reached southern Oregon, the skies started to brighten. Hooray!
It felt great to drive off today, the beginning of a new adventure. Leaving behind dark winter days of rain. Looking for some sunshine.

I am enchanted by the beginning of an adventure. The road stretches out ahead, the long and winding road.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and lights and stuff

this charming scene featured palm tree and pink flamingos

and a crocodile disguised as a Santa

these lights were synched to Christmas music on a local radio station
Like any child, no matter the age, I love Christmas lights. Tonight, on a great drive down Lakemoor Drive in Olympia, WA, we saw spectacular displays like the ones above. 

Oh, the lights are very special this time of year. They remind us that the dark days are numbered and we are past the darkest day.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I appreciate every one of you who read this blog! Thank you!!

Have you seen this display on YouTube? Christmas Lights for over achievers!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

taking stock of 2011

the keepers

the non-keepers
Usually, it's on New Year's Day when I take stock of what I have painted for the year. This year I did it today. Out of the drawers and off of the shelves came all of the 236 paintings I painted this year. Then, one by one, I sorted them into the "keepers" and "non-keepers."

Some of the "keepers" I will frame and put in upcoming shows. Some of them will become launch points for exploring new ideas. Some of them will become "non-keepers" as 2012 unwinds.

What to do with the "non-keepers"? Some of them I throw away. Some of them I wash off and paint over. Some of them I may use in collage or other mixed media pieces in the future. They are my compost heap. They may even generate some warmth and new ideas as I look at them again and mix them up.

2011 ... it's been a very good year, with wonderful moments, and a few weird ones! Hope you can say the same!

This always cracks me up! Maybe it falls in the category of weird moments in a very good year!

But no one does it like Frank. What a voice!

Monday, December 19, 2011

figure it out

"I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle. " ~Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

keep it abstract

In designing a painting, it's hard to hold onto the abstract structure without making it into something concrete. But, it's so nice when the shapes just hang together, in their abstraction.

'Tis the season for listening to Handel's "Messiah." Here's one of my favorite songs! 
Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

sketchbooks in my suitcase

Whenever I start to pack for a trip, I make sure that I pack books that inspire me to sketch more, to sketch better, and to sketch smarter. Danny Gregory is an all-time favorite of mine. This book, "The Creative License," is already in my suitcase, along with two blank sketchbooks, various drawing supplies, watercolors, and colored pencils. 

I had to pull out my new set of Inktense pencils. Roz Stendahl, of the wonderful blog "Roz Wound Up," rates the Ink Tense pencils as non-archival and states that they fade in a closed sketchbook.That left room for some Prismacolor Pencils.

I looked on YouTube for more from Danny Gregory, and found this video. It's Gregory introducing his book "An Illustrated Life." As soon as I watched the video, I ran to my bookshelf and packed this book in my travel kit!

Friday, December 16, 2011

departure point

The sketch is a departure point.

The photograph is a departure point.

Speaking of photos as departure points, have you seen or heard of this book?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

summary and overview of my monotype class

My first monotype became a self portrait of my feelings about becoming a grandmother. The yellow fields become a pathway that connect the figures. 

With an inked plate and a scraping tool, I drew this figure from a live model. It felt like juggling a bowling pin, a machete, and something on fire.

Artist teacher, Joseph Mann, suggested that I consider the design of my next plate, so I drew the live model with graphite and charcoal onto paper and then came back to my work station to design my print. I created this piece with an eye toward making a sense of depth for the model to stand in a three dimensional space and to contrast straight planes of the color blocks with the model's curves.

Wheat paste and carefully torn mulberry paper created the dress in this print in a process called "Chine Colle" which means "Chinese collage" in French.

We had a live figure model again on the night I printed these two pieces. The model posed some of the time in a knee-length dress and some of the time nude. I like how these pieces go together. I used buff colored Arches to soften the "white" figure. 

I have no answer for the question: why did you paint your vocalist friend without a mouth? I'm sure that there's some weird psychology going on here!

 From copy paper stencils I cut out prior to class, I arranged various figures to create what finally became this print. I inked the plate and then used the stencils to block the ink from coming into contact with the paper. I am intrigued with the way multiple figures in a composition entices the viewer to imagine how the figures relate to one another. Does this arrangement suggest a story to you?

 More work with stencils. First, using the stencil to block the ink from the paper, creating a white figure. Second, inking the stencil black and using it positively (and reversed) in the bottom photo. I enjoy a lot about these last two prints. I like the color, use of light/white, and shapes. It was not until I picked them up from the drying rack that I realized how much they looked like certain designs on trucks' mud flaps. The whole class had a nice laugh over that.

I hope to take more monotype classes in the future. As with anything new, the first order of business if learning how to use the materials. After that, the fun can really start. Let the games begin!

Monday, December 12, 2011

who knew?

Penelope, 24 x 24, pastel on prepared board
Who knew, while she waited for (some say) 20 years, if her husband king would come back from his adventure in Troy ...

Who knew if he would return while she held off suitors by  working her loom by day and pulling out all of the work at night ...

Who knew if the kingdom of Ithaca would stand after so many years without leader or king ...

Long after Homer wrote about constant and wise Penelope, Tennyson wrote these words on behalf of the old king Odysseus (Ulysses):

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race
That hoard, and sleep, and feel, and know not me.

And so,  I have painted Penelope, in the fresh dew of her youthful beauty, looking out through the gate of Ithaca, to the sea. Her eyes are on the horizon, hoping for her first view of the sails of the great trireme or the sound of the call for the oarsmen to pull. At this moment, all is unknown. Who knew? Not even the gods.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

short straight strokes

As an exercise, I decided to use the edge of my General's Charcoal to make short, straight lines when I drew this figure. The drawing became a series of choppy marks which eventually were pretty close to right. When a section looked close to right, I drew a curved line to indicate the actual form. It pulled together nicely and 15 minutes was just the right length of time for this drawing experiment.

Straight No Chaser "12 Days" reminds me of my days of singing in small mixed groups. Oh, the fun! Especially when things went sideways but everyone was game to go there, too. If you enjoy Christmas music, and you're not too much of a purist, you just might enjoy this!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

nothing to lose

Sometimes the best results come from those times when I use a surface I don't care about. Since I have nothing to lose anyway (paper I would have trashed if I didn't use it), I experiment and splash and let it rip. In this case, BFK with fine grid of Artist's Tape and a great figure model.It doesn't matter what they tell you, you don't have to stay within the lines!

That reminds me of this old Isuzu commercial. Do you remember it?

Monday, December 5, 2011

some kings come with balloons

"King of the Rock" was a game my sons played until they were off to college. Wherever we went, if there were rocks, they climbed to the top of the highest one, well, the highest one they were able to reach, and declared themselves "King."

Just last week I watched many little boys, and girls, attempt to climb a large rock in a park in Poulsbo, WA. Some teenagers didn't need help but quickly reached the top and then posed like rock stars. Younger kids pulled off rubber boots and jackets to gain purchase on the rock's irregular surface.

I only looked away for a short time, but when I looked back I saw this little guy, with his balloon. This little king came with a big, red balloon. I think he was the best king of all.

Simon and Garfunkle "I am a Rock."