Saturday, November 01, 2008


Collage on Paper
It's been over a month since I've posted and this morning I decided that it's high time I wrote a bit to assure you that I have been working and that I intend to continue with this blog. I've just been being myself: housewife, gardener, friend, wife, mother & grandmother, artist, reader, traveler, worshiper... and that all takes up my precious time. And all those roles are important enough that they share pretty much equally with my role as artist and are the reason that I don't pursue a full time art career. I am content and pretty much joyful all the time.

A friend visited my studio last week and noting the piles of paintings adorning every surface in preparation for an Open Studio, commented: "you paint happy". I guess I do. I use intense color, lots of warm colors, and lots of color. I keep trying to paint with quiet neutrals but somehow the stronger colors win out every time. Even back when I was doing contemporary embroidery I turned to hot colors when I chose fabric and thread.

My husband and I spent the better part of a week on Washington's Long Beach peninsula last week while I attended a 3 day workshop with Eric Weigardt in Ocean Park. It was called "Painting Loosely". We worked with watercolor and I learned a lot. I tend to tighten up and go right for the detail whenever I work so I'm on a quest to reverse that tendency with whatever media I'm using. I'm not a watercolorist although I do use watercolors, especially in my journals, and I want to understand it better.

What I got from this workshop was an understanding of the importance of using a planned range of values in my work. Oh, I knew, intellectually, about value studies, about making little sketches of my subject using at least three distinct values, light-medium-dark. But I rarely do the value study and I didn't accept that in order to make good art I must incorporate this notion in every piece, especially if I'm drawing the landscape. Here's an example of a photo I took in France and the value study I did from the photo. I'm really slow but I know that practice will speed up and improve my skills.

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