Monday, June 13, 2016

Use of a Torn Canvas

Unfortunately, I received a torn canvas from Jerry's which they happily replaced. So, what do you do with a perfectly good canvas with a tear right in the middle of it? Well, I painted my hand coming out of it and the title is Writer's Cramp. It is painted in oil and is 30x40. For all my writer friends...

Monday, February 22, 2016

Why I Have Fallen Out of Love with the Internet and What it Means

I haven't posted to my blog in a very long time. The Internet has evolved into a weird and strange place where it has become increasingly hard to navigate and even more difficult to know what is true and what is false. After a great deal of thought, I have decided to pretty much stay away from Facebook, this blog, social media and other sites for some of the reasons listed below...here goes...

1. I thought that putting my artwork up on Facebook would help with sales. Although it does drive buyers to my blog, it also lumps me into a category of "artists" that are all over the net and Facebook in particular, sometimes lessens the work in many ways. It is hard to know that a painting that shows up as an inch across online is really 4 feet x 6 feet and has much more gravitas in person or that the brushwork and colors are so much better up close. I know many artists that change the colors for the internet, photoshop their work and do other not so honest things just to make a sale.  A caveat for me would be entering work via an email submission to enter a show.  What a great convenience. Yes, I may still post my work if someone wants to see it, but for the most part, I am going to stay away.

2. Unscrupulous people steal your work. They steal your ideas, sometimes your actual work is stolen and duplicated in China, and the theft is getting worse. There are some ways around this by watermarking your work, but it isn't fool proof and it is just another reason to avoid it.

3. Getting "likes" on Facebook doesn't mean the work is good. I have seen a number of artists post stuff and they have a bazillion friends and get an equal number of "likes". My thought sometimes when looking at it is "REALLY????" People want to be encouraging and I get that, but I don't want to participate anymore in an evaluative thing online. Yes, it is nice when friends make comments about work and I do it too. But I have to ask myself...what does it really mean? Artists hear ALL THE TIME, ooohhhh....I just love your work.....! Do they love enough to buy it? Do they understand what it is that you do? What it means? Does it even matter? There are websites and many artists are getting students to sign up for classes being taught on the internet and they will give you critiques and advice all for a price.All you need is facetime or another computer program to speak online in a live manner.  Not for me either. One on one, with live people, face to face is how I am going to try to go from now on.

4.Chasing money is ruining just about everything. Web seminars, webinars, online classes, videos, live videos, demo, gimmicks, pushing sales for special palettes, brushes, chemicals, paints, canvas, etc. is clogging up the art world. I understand that people need to make money and that making art is a job and one's livelihood, but I feel like I am being assaulted anymore when I go online, even as an artist. The best example would be in wanting to check prices on a canvas or looking for a particular kind of paint...well, I have to dodge the ads, avoid wrong clicking (which inevitably I do), ending up at another site altogether, navigate back to what I was looking for, have to see an ad for something related but not what I was looking for....it goes on and on...
Give us your email address if you want to look at my wares, sign up for sales and updates, give me some information about yourself before you proceed. Yup, Not Going There Either.

5. The internet is a time eater. I know some very successful artists that blog daily, post on Pinterest, upload and sell on Etsy and Ebay, market their work like crazy. It is advised by all kinds of best selling books (not only in the art world) but also for everyone making a widget and trying to get it out there. This is great for business, if you have the desire and the time. Painting takes oodles of time and when you factor in time for just getting through the day, artists are swamped and often spending 4-8 hours on any given day photographing work, uploading it, getting it to auction, wrapping and selling and updating accounts and balancing books etc. Some artists are lucky enough to pay someone to do all of this for them. Not me. I really want/need to paint and this internet stuff has added a new time sucking dimension for me that I am going to have to leave. Yes, a sale is great and you can only avoid so much of this "office work", but quality over quantity wins every time. One painting for 2000.00 and shipping only once or, ten paintings, shipped and billed ten times. Which makes more sense?

  6. Maybe things will change and evolve into a kinder gentler internet. But I don't think so. It is the wild west out there with stalkers and bullies and weirdos. I can't tell  you how many times nutcases have tried to get me to send artwork without payment or some weird payment scam just to rip me off. It's hard to know what is legit and what is not.  So all this is where I have arrived. I can't say that I will stay where I am forever, but for now, if you want to reach me,I still have Messenger on Faceook and my email address is clearly posted on my blog and here below. Ciao, at least for awhile!
ltovardietrick@hotmail.com




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I have been having all kinds of difficulties with my computer and posting from it has been a nightmare.
Madrone Vineyard Trees on Fire
Lake Como Villa
Maybe after the holidays I will get some kind of help and correct some of the problems. I have been posting on facebook from my Ipad or from my phone, but I know that not all of you are facebook people. So, I am going to post a few images all at once. Enjoy!
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Bodega Bay Mist




Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sad Day...

Won't be at the Memorial Service for Leslie today.  The best I could do is paint some small flowers...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ode to Leslie


Leslie is in Virginia while I am on the left coast in California. She is seriously ill and I miss her and am worried about her and painted this small oil and titled it "She took her high heels off to rest..."
I don't know why it cropped so tightly, but there are some high heels next to the couch. I am praying for you Leslie.
Slowly getting over surgery. I will be fine soon enough.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cherries

Life has been a bowl of very busy cherries. I am going to have to literally spend forever on the computer to post some of the things I have been working on. In the meantime, enjoy these cherries.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Catching Up

I know, I know...too long between postings!
So, a quick highlight and some needed input from those of you who read this blog.
First, I moved my studio from Novato to Sonoma. This took way longer to negotiate the lease, the move itself  and hauling all my stuff. I had hoped to just move straight from one to the other, but no...had to upload Novato, put it all in the garage and then repack it up and move into studio in Sonoma. Nothing is easy.
I am pretty much moved in...
I couldn't have done it without the help of my dear husband who has patiently carried, and nailed and hauled more than any poor soul should! I am getting used to being there and the mere fact that it is 5 minutes away from the house is lovely.

I made a quickie sign to put on the door so that at least people could FIND me. But I have more important and bigger signage out in front of the building and I need help on what to call my studio. I Googled what the best names were and it said that for women to use your maiden name. Check...done that for years and years. But I need to be able to think of something not too goofy that will let people know that I have paintings, teach students, take commissions, etc. Any ideas?
Also, the weather has been great! I try to get out as much as possible to paint and here is a small 5x7 study that I did of some cows by a piece of land on a farm right outside of town. Everything here is so green!
Along with the beautiful weather, we are getting ready to completely gut the whole back yard. It is old and this lovely old gazebo has got to go. It is too hard to maintain and needs lots of work. It will be demolished which makes me really sad, but it must be. We had hoped that someone would take it, but everyone who came and took a look said that it was way too big a project to undertake.
Sad.
And speaking of sad, my friend, Morna Owens died not too long ago. I am still so shocked that she is gone. She was an artist, a writer, and a good friend. She was always so encouraging of my work. I will miss our long phone conversations while I painted away.
So there you have it.
I am wishing everyone a very blessed Easter and may we continue to be blessed!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Light Through the Trees


Rain! We have some rain! Although I painted this over a week ago, I find that now is good time to be at home to chill and share. ( Also to catch up on paperwork...Taxes coming! Yikes!) This was my virgin trip with my new pochade box and it sure is nice! Spring will be here soon enough and although there is so much green everywhere, I am wondering if I am just being suckered into thinking it is on its way.  Still, I will take whatever Mother Nature wants to hand out to us all.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Some Things to Know About Brushes


As with any other thoughts that I write here, I can promise you that somewhere, somehow, somebody will find the opposite to be true for them. Each artist runs their own show which is why painting is a joy and what also makes it just so darned difficult. That being said, I can say thing for certain that I have spent a great deal of money on brushes over the years. I guess that qualifies me to throw a few thoughts out there. So here's my take and remember that I paint with water soluble oils.
I relegate my brushes into categories; brand spanking new ( which is always so lovely), slightly used, headed for the end, (but still good for tough work,) and over the hill. I generally save the last two categories for students. Whenever I am starting new work that is commissioned, I generally buy a couple of brushes to work with as it immediately takes away some of the problems that older brushes can cause. But wash your new brushes first; it removes the "starch"  they use on them when new and also eliminates the inevitable hairs that fall out at first. I try to keep all of my brushes in separate containers for each category if I can.
Once in awhile, I will go through a couple of hours of brush care and devote time to weeding through the lost causes, cleaning them very well and doing any repair. I used to poo-poo the use of brush cleaner and restorer because I felt like I am exposed to enough chemical ingredients as it is, but this stuff really works! Eventually, paint gets stuck into the ferrule of the brush and yes, you can scrub it really hard to get it all out, but you wear the brush out and fray the ends too quickly.  The cleaner will get up into the ferrule and coax the hardened paint out. It will also restore the brush that somehow you forgot a few days ago that is stiff as a board and appears to be a lost cause. Just soak it in the restorer/cleaner liquid for as long as it takes to soften up the brush and you can can see the paint coming out as you wash. A caution here; do not let the restorer get all over your handle, because it will remove the paint there as well and  you really will have a mess. A little cleaner goes a long way and I use small, glass, spice containers which allow me to soak the brush up to the ferrule without using a lot of cleaner.
On some of the brushes that are over the hill, I sometimes get small scissors and trim away the crazy bent hairs that are in the way. I would not suggest trimming any brush that is very expensive or that is not on its way to the trash can. But trimming some brushes can allow them to live a bit longer and can also allow for interesting line textures and for other duties like gessoing a canvas, or some wild abstract work. There is an interesting YouTube video called How to Trim a Chinese Painting brush and Turn an old Split Brush into a Sharp Liner by www.BlueHeronArts.com If you watch this you can easily see some "do it yourself" fixes for wayward brushes.
It is hard to buy a brush without having it in your hand, bending the hairs, feeling the bounce and knowing what seems like a good fit. It is important to make sure that the ferrule is tight. Once you find a brand that you like and that lasts well, remember it and reordering down the road will be much easier. It is always fun to try new brushes, but I generally feel that most of the wild cut out brushes and strange shapes are mostly gimmicks that only cost the artist big money where it need not be spent. I can remember the days in college, where we had a choice of about a dozen brushes and that was it. Now there are so many that it is difficult to choose.
Once last piece of advice, which applies to just about ALL artist materials; Buy the best quality that you can possibly afford. It DOES make a difference!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Pochade Box from Alla Prima!

Santa was indeed very nice this Christmas! I have a new painting box to take with me when I go outside to paint. For those of  you who aren't familiar with any of this outdoor painting business, I will try to give you a tour.
In recent years, plein air painting, made famous by the Impressionists, has had a big revival.  One can see artists of all kinds painting with lots of different easels and equipment at various venues. There are many competitions, fairs, and events that focus on plein air painting with prizes and well known painters that lend cache to the event.  Painting outside has its own difficulties...fighting the rapidly changing light, bugs, heat, and your equipment. Enter the French easel, which  you can see in the rear in front of my new box.  The French easel, although relatively inexpensive compared to my new, hand crafted box made by Alla Prima, is heavy, bulky, difficult to set up and has numerous problems. I have had it for years and have struggled with it from day one. But I must say, I learned a great deal about what I needed and how to lug stuff around with this old French easel.  Having learned from this, I was better equipped to make a decision about a new box.
My new box, made by hand by Ben Haggett (who is a delight to talk with), is a work of art in itself. Ben is a plein air painter and everything that an artist needs has been incorporated into this small, thoughtful, pochade box. His company is called Alla Prima Pochade and the pochade that I have is called the Bitterroot model. Both of the drawers on either side have room for shorter brushes, paint, some small tools and other necessities. The drawers can be entirely removed as well. The box can carry 4 canvas panels and holds your work securely via an ingenious magnetic, movable "shelf". There are many other cool features, but you can easily search for Alla Prima Pochade and there are numerous YouTube videos with artists and even Ben himself demonstrating. I can't speak highly enough of this box and being able to slip it into a tripod so easily and just start working immediately is a joy.*
I hope to get out as much as possible as spring comes around. The vineyards are a bit sparse right now, but with the rains and more rain to come, things are greening up and the mustard and lavender aren't too far away.
Sorry for so long and not posting, But surgery took some of the wind out of my sails and it has taken awhile to get busy. I am still trying to find my way in a new place. I miss my friends in Virginia and would love for them all to be transplanted here!

*the evaluation of  the Alla Prima Pochade painting box is strictly my personal opinion and I have not been compensated monetarily or otherwise for this review.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Long Time for a Large Canvas

Indeed, it has been a long time.  This painting is now hanging on my dining room wall because there is literally no other place to put it. It is 4'x6' and when I had it made I thought that it would fit (just barely...) into the back of the Volvo. Nope...just a hair too large. So, I have been painting it in my garage on the wall for several weeks now. It took two days alone just to paint the edges and now that it is drying, will take 6 months before I can varnish it. It is not nearly as blue as the picture shows. More grey and more Burnt Sienna. I try very hard not alter my photos when I post them because I want to just be whatever the camera takes.  Still, the colors can be distorted. The inspiration for this painting is from a lone tree that I pass on the road every time that I drive from Sonoma to Petaluma. The title is Against All Odds. Which is appropriate, because I am getting ready to have some surgery done on my heart and hope that all goes well. Say some prayers for me!
My sister fussed at me the other day about not having posted anything in a long while, so I promise to do better after I am better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Sketch Out of Frustration


It has been so very long since I have had the time or place to paint, out of frustration today while waiting for yet ANOTHER person to show up, I yanked out some pastels and drew a quick sketch of these marvelous sunflowers. The garage is full of unwrapped paintings and more art stuff because I have not found a studio yet. As you might guess, real estate here is very precious and hard to find and I have learned that I am not the only artist struggling to find a place to work. All in due time, I am sure that it will work out and resolve itself. I have two 4x6 HUGE stretched canvas in my garage that Louis made for me in San Antonio that call to me daily to please gesso them and paint a big, juicy Sonoma landscape. So, send some good vibes this way and pray that a studio space that is just right will appear.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Painting From Heaven

I must confess...
I live in such a beautiful place with such wonderful weather that I am reluctant to say too much because I know so very well what it feels like to suffer in the heat and humidity. I have done it for years.
If you haven't been to Sonoma, then all I can say is that you are missing out on one of the most charming and lovely places God ever made.
Enough said...I will try not to go on too much about how pretty it is here, but....it IS!
This is a 24x48 and is mere minutes from my house. Vineyards are everywhere, the sun is out and the grapes are growing. Haven't titled this one and I had to laugh that I would call it Vineyards something or other, then I thought, I am going to paint TONS of vineyards here. So I don't know what to call it...what do you think?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Leaving San Antonio...

Well San Antonio, you sure have been fun, but now I have to go. It has been great knowing you and it has been a unique experience, but California beckons. Learned some things here, made some great friends, got older and wiser and will always remember you fondly.
Will write again after I get settled in CA...Also, thanks for all the sales! 27 pieces is good news and makes room for more stuff for me to paint later. I feel honored that people think enough of my work to have it in their homes and hang it on their walls.
It is so hard saying goodbye and I don't do it well, so pray that we have a safe journey and Hasta Luego!


Monday, May 12, 2014

Not being able to see...and "Where's the ketchup?"


You know how it goes...Open the fridge and look for something that you KNOW is in there, but you simply cannot find it. Shift stuff around and still not there. "Honey, where did you put the ketchup?" Then with little effort, your beloved walks up, opens the fridge and points directly to the ketchup and says, "Right there."
Duh...Front and center and I didn't see it. And so it is with painting.
I work and work and think I'm finished, but I'm not. I set it aside and come back to it only to see many errors. Again, more corrections, more work. I think that perhaps I could do this indefinitely, but at SOME point you simply have to stop and declare it finished.
The same way with life. Everyone has their flaws, problems, scars, wounds...sometimes they can see them and sometimes they can't or won't or are incapable. You do the best you can, and hope that by taking a fresh look and approach you might discover something new that you didn't see before. Getting away, taking a breather, doing something new, or maybe reading something inspirational sometimes can trigger that introspection and growth. But this cycle never stops...you never stop learning, getting better, hoping to paint that perfect brush stroke that once it's down it stays just as it is.
One can wish away and for a million things, but it won't change how it is. As my friend Tom always liked to say, "It is what it is..." So, if you want, you can lie about your age, your plastic surgery, your talent, your bank account, etc. but it doesn't change what the reality is. The painting isn't perfect and it has many flaws and sometimes folks see them and sometimes it doesn't bother them. But you can only paint as well as you can for that particular moment in time. One hopes to get better, smarter and wiser while walking down the road. and so, your beat goes on... Whew...getting a little heavy...
On a lighter note, I am moving to  California in less than a month. I have inventoried many paintings and have reduced in price almost all of them. I don't want to pay to ship them if I don't have to. So if you have seen something you like and have been sitting on the fence, now is the time to contact me. Shipping to the east coast will be a whole lot cheaper than from California. Drop me an email and we will work it out.
The painting above is titled, "Fiesta"
ltovardietrick@ hotmail.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Artists Together in Groups and some Turnip Oil Paintings


I have read quite a bit about the problems of artists in clubs, associations, leagues, and various organizations. Generally, the stuff posted on the internet is usually from those who have been hurt in some way with "Group Think" or some other weird group norm. Yes, artists in groups can be sometimes not a good thing. But they are not immune from wacko group activities any more that any other group. Churches, politicos, home owner associations, country clubs, etc. have all had their yucky stuff hung out for all to see. Hopefully, this is a cleansing process and things veer back to normal and supportive group behavior returns if it ever was there.
Since I have been in Texas, I miss the artists that I painted with...especially now with the nice weather. I want to ring them up and say, "Hey, it's a beautiful day! Let's pack up our easels and go paint by the river!"
Alas, Virginia is a long way from Texas. But still we seem to text and send images of our work to one another and get the feedback from someone we trust. Trust is the key here, because we know how frail artists can be when it comes to a critique. But we still must do it if we wish to become better painters. So, the whole group thing can be good. Comparison is inevitable though and can often be deceiving. It's hard to compare the work of someone who has been painting rigorously for 40 years to one who has been at it for only 10. Who is to say that in another 30 years that younger painter won't far surpass all expectation?
With spring here and new starts and turnips as well, I would say that house cleaning of your artwork is always in order. Pitch the bad or marginal stuff. Try to fix what is fixable. Enlist a fellow artist and get down to the nitty gritty and look critically at your work. That's what I am doing. I can't hang on to some of this stuff for forever. I don't have the room for it and need to move on. But getting rid of old, not so good stuff, is a bit sad because most artists remember when they painted something, what they were thinking or (heavens! what WAS I thinking...) and it is a landmark in time. But evolve we must...so out with the old and make room for all those paintings inside of you just waiting to come out!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Artists and Their Tools


In Sunday's San Antonio Express-News, on the front page, there was a very interesting article about a local "tech inventor" named Tim Jenison. He has NO art training, but has pretty much solved an ages old mystery about how Vermeer was able to obtain the almost photo perfect images in his paintings. Using technology that was known to exist in Vermeer's lifetime, he built a camera obscura and comparitor mirror along with another concave mirror, he was able to virtually duplicate, in oil, Vermeer's work. Astounding. He also learned to mix the oils as they were for Vermeer. It's actually so much more complicated in the article, but in a nutshell, that's it. There is a movie out about his whole process, invention and problem solving of how, he believes, Vermeer was able to paint the way he did. The movie is called, "Tim's Vermeer".
Before reading the article, I had been pondering the requirements for a show I was reading about and noted how paintings that used reproduced images/photoshop/etc. had to be clearly marked and would be allowed into the show, but would be judged separately from painted works that did not employ any of these "tools."
On the other end of the spectrum, I have been in shows before where all work, whether it be photography, sculpture, painting, etc. is judged together regardless of the tools used. So the question that really isn't resolved in my mind is - Where do we draw the line in how much "help" an artist can use in creating their work? When does technology do all the work instead and the artist just become an assembler? How do we evaluate these works?
These are mighty big questions...
I know that one can take a photo in a second, move it into photoshop, manipulate it in infinite ways, send it off to a company that will reproduce it on canvas with archival ink, and then have it delivered to you door in mere days. All of this accomplished without lifting a brush, moving paint around or dirtying your hands. Hmmmmm....
But what about artists that use rulers, or grids, or cameras, or other references? What about images displayed by projectors, light tables, tracings? What about all of these "tools?" The answer for me is clear. I'm old school. If I use a photo, then it's one that I have taken or have gotten permission from the photographer to use. (I've done this once.) I don't use grids, although I know how to, I don't project the work onto the canvas, I don't trace from enlarged images, I don't use photoshop, I don't enlarge images in any fashion other than painting or drawing them myself. I believe that most people WANT to see how the artist sees things. If Picasso wants to show a woman's face from three simultaneous angles at once, then I am amazed to see his view. I would surely be less impressed if he morphed it all on a computer, spliced it together and then copied it onto a canvas.
To those who employ these tools that help them create, great and good for you. I'm not going to do it and I really don't need to. But I do think that you should be honest with your buyers and tell them that this has been photoshopped or altered or printed and is not an original because it can be duplicated again and again.
I prefer to see an artist's hand in his work from the flaws to the brilliant. No computer or tool can ever replace what an artist does alone in a room with paint and a brush.
The painting above is called Riverwalk and was just accepted into the San Antonio Art League's annual juried show. I heard that it received an award, but I don't know what it is and won't until the opening on April 13th from 3-5.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thoughts on Dallas Museum of Art and exhibit "Hopper Drawing-A Painter's Process"


The image above is from the show and melds one of the studies for "Summertime" by Edward Hopper, on the left side and then the actual finished painting on the right. I took this picture from a postcard I purchased at the Dallas Museum of Art as we were not allowed to photograph anything in the show. So you will have to pardon the quality of the picture as the postcard doesn't do it justice as well as my photo of the postcard.
Also, might I ask pardon for tolerating my thoughts on the show and the museum. I am by no means an expert and all that I write is simply my own two cents for whatever that's worth.
This kind of show is most interesting to other artists because they get a glimpse into part of the process that the creator went through to get to the final product. In the postcard above, the splicing of a study with the final product shows modifications made and  the artistic license employed. The show had numerous sketches, studies and drawings for each final painting. It was tremendous to compare these drawings to the final product and look carefully at what Hopper chose to leave out or add.
Hopper is an incredible drawer. All of his studies were so well executed that I often found them to be more accurate and more "weighty" than the final product. His values were spot on, especially in his charcoal studies, which had a full range of values expertly utilized. I was curious though why, in some of the paintings, he seemed not to put the same value change that he did in his sketches. Surely for simplification, but in some cases, in my view, I would have preferred to have his eagle eye put these subtle shifts in. Overall, I would say that I preferred all of his drawings to his paintings. There were many color choices and sometimes muddy areas that I know were intentionally chosen, but I would like to have seen not so grey. I also felt that he seemed supremely confident in his drawing, but when it came to the painting and the actual move to applying paint to canvas, there seemed to be more "wavering". Not as confident. I almost wanted to say to Hopper, "Come on...show us the same stuff that you did in your sketches..."

In "Morning Sun" above, the graphic quality and strong, confident lines in the sketch are not as evident in other areas such as the toes and legs in the finished painting. The figure seems a bit mushier an softer in the final product.
It was a beautiful show, interesting to hear so many comments that people made and how strongly they felt about Hopper's work. I learned a great deal, but mostly that I must commit to more groundwork and drawing in my paintings before I begin.
The museum itself is lovely, large and light. They have enough there to keep you busy for ages. I did enjoy the "Young Masters" program which was hung in the hallway. It featured high school art student's work and in my humble opinion, had work that was far superior to some other work that I saw by a local Dallas artist that shall remain nameless.


Friday, February 14, 2014

An Artist's List


I don't know about you, but everyday I start out with a mental (and sometimes written) list of the things that I want to accomplish by the end of the day. I usually only get about half of these items done. The list is something like this:
1. Finish oil paintings for show in VA so that they have time to dry before shipping.
2. Call buyer and make arrangements to pick up painting so that I can varnish.
3. Order from Jerry's frame to fit small 6x8 oil and get more acrylic, oils, small disposable palette for French easel, linseed oil and small masonite boards.
4. Work on small pastels to fit all the frames and glass that you have.
5. Sort through all of the recent pictures you took last weekend.
6. Check out information on tax stuff and get taxes done!
7. Do my BLOG!!!
8. Get outside and get some sketching done-focus on figure drawing and quick gestures.
9. Go by studio and remember to bring home newest acrylic so that I can wire it.
and on it goes. But you see in there that I want to get to my blog and how far down the list it is...actually, I am shocked that it has been a month since my last entry!
This list happens almost everyday not to mention a gazillion other things to do just to live! I think that the biggest challenge is carefully watching how much time I spend on each task as I could literally "fall into" it and spend all day just on one item.
The pastel above is a companion to my last entry and is going to the Norfolk Academy show and will be shipping this coming week. When the work is small, I like to do pairs or three's...they hang so much better than just one lonely painting all by itself.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Landscape Pastel

Thought that I would take a break from painting in Oils and Acrylics and do a small pastel. It's only 5x7, but just got a thing for trees and had to do this one.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's Art Resolutions


A good friend of mine said that she planned to work "smarter not harder" and this is my New Year's Resolution that I am stealing from her.  Often, I find that there are just so many things on my plate that it's hard to focus in on the moment, especially while I am painting. So, my intent is to be more intentional. More focused and less random. There are enough random paintings out there that are one-shot wonders and I want to be consistent with less throwing paint around.  This is particularly hard with abstracts which I have been working on as well. The Norfolk Academy show is approaching and I am painting for that also and will ship my work back to Virginia. The triptych above will be in the show.
So, Happy New Year to everyone and may God's blessings be with you all!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Small Abstract Studies in Acrylic



I have just had 2- 4 feet by 6 feet canvases made and did these small studies to decide if I am going to use these small studies 2"x3" for them. I loved doing them and the bright colors and the textures have lots of movement. They are on archival media board that I have gessoed, painted upon in acrylic and then varnished. I have them with a small mat which has a very wide border for more impact. Knowing whether or not they will work on a huge canvas is a bit risky...but what the heck? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What does it mean? What does it Matter?

Lots of back and forth on my phone with text messages to two artists about this painting I just finished. Yes, it's very different from a number of my paintings. The title is "He came to the mountains bearing flowers." The flying conversation was about whether it mattered or not for the artist to "explain" a work and if the explanation, title, or any other "story" made a difference. I think not. It doesn't matter whether you "get it" or not or if the light bulb goes off after an explanation. The work speaks for itself and whatever the artist was thinking about, trying to say, or conveys doesn't change how you perceive it. It is either painted well or not, it either intrigues or it doesn't and the artist painted it for whatever reason they had. I'm not sure why artists always seem to be "explaining" themselves. Now that I'm 60, I am going to be more selective about my explanations. And yes, I can have a conversation about the work, but it's the work, not the artist at this point. After I'm dead it can be about me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Trouble with Green


     I just finished this commission for a couple that asked me to paint this photo they provided from some land that they own outside of San Jose, CA. I haven't been there, but I liked the picture and have recently shown it to them. Photos are a tricky thing...you have to use it as a departure point and always end up making modifications to the image. They like it, which is always a relief.
     Although it looks like there is a lot of green here, there isn't really. Like Kermit says, "Being Green isn't easy." Nor is mixing it. One of the biggest things that I find to be a problem with green in paintings is the overuse of Phthalo green or Viridian Greeen. yuk! No wonder the word Phthalo is so hard to pronounce! This green is an  unnatural, weird, too bright color and all too often I see it being used straight from the tube onto the canvas. This green doesn't really appear in nature and surely should only be used (if at all) with lots of modification and addition of other colors. I seldom use paints straight from the tube anyway, because the color that I want usually needs to be tweaked a bit, but Viridians and Phthalos are almost impossible for me to work with. I think that I have an ancient tube of it floating around that I often only look at as a reminder of what NOT to use. Often, my favorite greens come from Black and Cad Yellow Medium mixed together. There is a bit of transparency left when the two are mixed together, which I often want. I like Sap Greens and Olive Greens, but they too are very transparent, so I usually end up mixing my own. As much as I love green and trees and painting outdoors, I find that there are huge amounts of blue and purples in trees deep inside close to the trunks. There are mysterious areas that I love to try to get into when I am painting a landscape.
   So...as an aside...I am looking at turning 60 soon. I wrestle with this because most of the time, I sure don't feel like 60.  I have been thinking a lot about the past, the things I have learned, the people that I have loved that are gone, and so many of the mistakes I have made. I try hard not to regret. For me, it's not the things that I have done that I regret, but rather the things that I haven't done. More about this later, because I'm not 60 yet and I still have a little time left to ponder.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Water Lilies Painting


I can only fit so much into the back of my Volvo. So I decided to paint on two canvases instead of one. Each canvas measures 30x40, so together it measures 60x40. The challenge here was to make sure that each canvas could stand on its own and then make the images work together. I moved them around quite a bit to finish all of the edges and to link them in color and shape. There are a ton of water lilies in Brackenridge Park which is not far from where we live. It's a lovely tree shaded place where there are birds and walking paths and lovely old oaks. The cool shade the trees provide is a welcome respite from the San Antonio heat. Yes, I'm still into doing water images, and yes I know that lilies have been done many times before. I was telling a friend about the intimidating task of painting lilies and that my fear was that it was a bit trite. She simply said, no one paints as you, so go for it!  These are painted in acrylics and it was a good thing because I had them on the floor, on the table and on the easel and the quick drying time make this so much easier.