Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the other hand

20 x 16, acrylic on panel
When the aprons become people, it's only natural that the strings become arms. One "Hand in My Pocket," Alanis Morissette.

The other hand can do something else altogether. What freedom!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


through the red plexiglass
To help me evaluate how a painting is working, I sometimes use a value tool called a "Color Evaluator." (Click on the name for a link to one source for this product, but I'm sure your local fabric store has something similar on the shelf.) Designed for quilters, the tool is a set of one green and one red piece of plexiglass. When I hold the plexiglass up to my eye and look through it to view my painting, I can see how my values are working. The only trouble with this is that the color of the plexi affects the read on the same color in the painting. That is, the red plexi tends to cancel out the red in the painting. The green plexi cancels out the green.

through the green plexiglass
Notice how the red in the painting disappears in the top photo where I used the red plexiglass. With the green plexiglass, the red becomes visible but the green fades.

So what? By looking at the painting through both colors of plexiglass, I get a sense of how the values are working, or not working. I decided that this painting had adequate darks and mid-tones, but was lacking the lightest lights.

"Something I Said?" 22 x 30, acrylic on paper
I added some very light areas in the apron of the figure on the right and I was more satisfied with the value range of the painting.

There is a saying that I hear often among artists:

"Value does the work and color gets the credit."

Not a bad idea to check the values. I do.

"Something Stupid."

Monday, January 21, 2013

one subject, many ideas

24 x 24, acrylic on panel
Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Phthalo Blue (green shade), Titanium White, Mars Black. That's the limited acrylic palette I've been using since Bill Park's workshop at the beginning of January. I am amazed and intrigued by all of the color mixing possibilities of these few colors.

Speaking of limitation, I have been working with a single subject for all of these paintings, too. A printing apron (courtesy of Bill Park, thank you!). One subject, endless ideas.

John Entwistle, "Apron Strings."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

act on the intuitive impulse

24 x 24, acrylic on board
Lay in paint. Respond to what the paint's doing by spraying, blotting, scraping. Stand back and look. No, don't look, SEE. Act on the intuitive impulse. And never worry that you will overwork the piece. 

New in the studio. And getting stronger with practice.

Friday, January 11, 2013

that's just some people talkin'

30 x 22, acrylic on BFK
Back in my studio, I struggle to hold on to the new ideas and energy from the workshop. My old ideas keep talking louder and drown out the awakening voice of the new ideas.

Carrie Underwood "Desperado."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

workshop with Bill Park: don't stop me now!

22 x 17, acrylic on sketch paper
I know I have been to a good workshop when I come home alive with energy to paint more.

After Bill Park's five day workshop, "Painting with Pleasure, Seriously," I want to paint and never stop. I am not sure how it happened, exactly, but during the course of the five days I felt a door open inside me and I not only stepped through, I have taken a few steps to the other side.

Words seem to limit the experience, so I'll just share a few images of my new work and let them speak their thousands of words.

30 x 24, acrylic on canvas
30 x 24, acrylic on canvas
Queen "Don't Stop Me Now."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Day culling the herd

"No" on the left, "Yes" on the right.
With 534 paintings to sort through, my annual "culling the herd" day took a long time. Every New Year's Day I go through the work I've done the previous year and decide which paintings are successful (the "Yes" paintings) and which will be hosed off (the "No" paintings).

The "no" pile is always larger than the "yes" pile.

And that's okay with me. It means that I am trying things that don't always work out, but I continue to stretch for what is beyond my reach. An artist's reach should exceed her grasp, at least I think that it should.

2013. It's gonna be a great year!! "The Beat Goes On" by Patricia Barber, don't you know?