Thursday, February 26, 2009

Waiting for Peaches


This is my first full sheet watercolor, or at least it's the first one that I'm halfway proud of. I've played with watercolor for years, mostly using it in my art and travel journals, and I've done other full sheet paintings but most have been torn up or washed off and the paper used for something else. This one is fine with me and I won't trash it... yet! Now I'm not looking for compliments; I see its faults, thank you very much, and it's nowhere near having the abstract qualities I'm aiming for, but it's a step in the right direction and just maybe I'll get out another sheet and do another one from the same inspiration.

After wearing only a light jacket outdoors for the last week or so we woke up this morning to snow on the trees but none sticking to the surfaces that are still warm from yesterday's sunshine. As you can see, the color in my backyard isn't reserved for summer. The coral bark maple on the left adds warmth to the garden and there's always color in the conifers that ring our property. The Japanese gardeners talk about "borrowed scenery" and we have that aplenty with pines next door and fir and cedar behind us and down the hill. I keep trying to draw this forest but its hard for me to eliminate the detail and choose just one thing to draw.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I've been spending my evenings lately with some old photos and a sketchbook, trying to see what might be in the photos that I could use for some paintings.
This watercolor sketch is from a photo taken several years ago when we drove up the Columbia River Gorge to buy peaches. A lineup of unmatched lawn chairs alongside the shed caught my eye and I snapped the picture.
I've sketched the scene several times, doing value studies and rearranging the elements for a better composition. This is a first attempt to determine color placement, but still I'm struggling. The big red barn in the background was ready to topple in a strong wind and my drawing gives it more presence. I like that and I'll try some more drawings to see if this painting will be more about the buildings than about the chairs. And it still is too realistic for me. I think severe abstraction is the key.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blender transfers

Elizabeth asked how I transferred the feather... here's my answer. Don't do as I did!
My copier is an old Canon which uses toner; I don't know if my method works with a laser print but it does not work with an inkjet copier or printer. I used a Design Art Marker colorless blender #311 which is xylene and which causes cancer if inhaled. Work with it only outside when wearing a vapor mask and appropriate filter. Lay the copy facedown on your substrate and go over the line with the xylene marker, working in a small area at one time. Immediately burnish the paper with the back of a spoon, lifting the paper to check that the ink has transfered, and then move on to the next area. This gives a clear transfer but is so dangerous to one's health. There are safer techniques. I tossed my blender after I did this and I intend to spend a few days playing with different methods so that I have control of a better process for the next time I want to do a clear transfer.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers
Collage painting
12" x 12"
$200.00, framed

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson
I've been thinking about hope a lot lately and have started a little series on the topic. This is the first. I used illustration board for my substrate and started painting with acrylics, adding visual texture in many ways to the large sheet of board. When I got to a stopping point I cut the big board into smaller pieces in several sizes, including this 12 x 12 piece. Then I started playing with composition and came up with this. The feather is a photocopy of a peacock feather from my brother's back yard in Arkansas where he struts around hoping that his long dead mate will show up again. I transfered it to the painting using acrylic medium, and after weeks of indecision I did the stamping of the lines of Emily Dickinson's poem.
It's offered in a black wood frame.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Blog Award

4x6 collage

Thanks to Elizabeth St. Honaire Nelson for giving me a "I love your art blog" award, my first blog award. Elizabeth informed me that I need to pass it on to seven other bloggers and though I'm hesitant to choose any one blogger over another, these are the artists I choose, in no particular order. Click on a name to visit each blog.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...