Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finished Pepper Painting

In an earlier post entitled 'Pepper Painting,' I lead you through the process of painting of hot peppers, from picking them to the almost-done stage.  Here's the final.  Just finished it. YUPO qualities let you bring out the 'flow' of your medium, which is exactly what I did.  When viewing it in person, you perceive the dimension of the different layers.  I kept the background loose so the focus would be on the peppers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Downtown Houston for a Day

Today I'll give you a little tour of Houston.  I went down in the morning and made several stops.  If I do chance to go down, I usually try to stay for the entire day.  First stop - Texas Art Supply to purchase supplies for my art classes.  Didn't take a pic of that - I was too busy doing my work!

Next stop - the Inversion Coffee House on Montrose.  Best iced tea in Texas.  Try to stop there every time I'm in the area.

The photograph in their window shows the house that stood on the spot before the coffee house.  Apparently it was to be destroyed, but previous to that, Art League Houston did a little 'remodeling.'

I remember when I first drove past the house - it looked like a ten foot bowling ball had been rolled through it, all the way through the back of the house!  I almost drove off the road!  It stood that way for some time until they finally demolished it and built the coffee house.

This is the inside.  It's pretty awesome, too.  It's got art all over the walls, and high ceilings, as you can see.  The rest of the building is where Art League Houston is established, and on the other side they have a gallery.  Always worth a stop.

You may think this a simple, unimportant picture.  Let me rephrase your thoughts - this is a gorgeous, rich piece of rooted grass upon which my favorite shoes are standing.  Yes, I am easily entertained.  It makes for a rich life.

Next stop - the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH.)  They had a special exhibit of great post-Impressionist drawings which I really enjoyed.

Going between buildings, I always pass Damien Hurst's work.  No comment.

This is me getting ready to walk through the underground tunnel between the Audrey Jones Beck building and the Law building at the MFAH.  The light changes colors and permeates the tunnel with a bright glow.  It's an ethereal, color-saturated experience which I enjoy every time.

Each time I visit the MFAH, I try to go see my old friend, Louis Comfort Tiffany's window.  We own this one, and it's always on display, of course!

This photo is a closeup of a portion of one window.  Tiffany was THE master of stained glass - going as far as making his own glass to get exactly what he wanted.

This window is unusual as far as stained glass goes because he has it layered in places.  If you view it in person, you can see where he has put glass behind glass in spots so that the two panes will create yet another color.  It's really almost too pretty for words.

Here's one panel.  There are three panels in all, each measuring approximately 6'x10', if memory serves me well.  Inspiring.  I love it.

Here's a picture of a book that was in the MFAH store.  I didn't buy it because, well, because I didn't have any money!  But I DID take a pic of it so I can remember to find it cheap somewhere!  Yes, this is THE Steve Martin - actor extraordinaire!  Didn't know he wrote novels as well, did you?

It's about a young lady trying to make it in the New York art world scene.  Can't wait to read it.  Anybody out there read this one yet?

It was such a gorgeous day, that when I left the museum I decided to walk through the sculpture garden across the street, connected to the Glassell School of Art.

Here's Rodin's 'Walking Man' strolling through the garden.


Here we have Villon's powerful 'The Large Horse.'

This is another part of the garden - God's work is always more beautiful than man's, isn't it.

And then, of course, you find art all over the streets... this Stag beetle is about three feet tall.

After that I drove down Westheimer to go to Taxi Taxi, a chic used clothing store.  Wow - what a fun store - next time I go I'm taking my daughter and her girlfriend along!  As it turns out, there are five or six fun recycled clothing stores all in this block.

This is a portion of a mosaic on one of the buildings on Montrose.

Here's another section of that same mural, obviously celebrating Houston.

And so concludes my Houston tour!  My last stop was back at the Inversion Coffee House for a mango pineapple smoothie to take me home.  Not only do they have the best iced tea in Houston, they also have the best smoothies!

By this time, it was about 3:30p.  I had just enough time to GET OUTTA THERE before the Houston traffic got bad.  Nice, nice day.  I love Christmas break!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Special Privilege

Tonight I talked with some dear friends whom I haven't seen in a few weeks.  Their father and father-in-law died recently, and I haven't seen them since the funeral.  He was an artist.  They explained to me that he was in the process of painting a picture of their daughter and left it unfinished when he died, and asked me if I'd finish the painting.

I told them yes, that I would be honored to do that.  What a very, very special privilege. All of life IS very special, isn't it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pepper Painting

The other day I was out in my winter garden picking peppers.  I'm getting a lot smarter picking peppers these days.  When we first moved here and I grew my first hot peppers, I happily picked them left and right.  Then I innocently pulled out a kleenex, blew my nose and rubbed my eyes.

Oh, the pain!  My nose ran and my eyes watered for a long time - then the burning took over my hands!  I was a mess, soaking my hands in ice water to relieve them, crying and snuffling all afternoon!  Now at least I'm initiated!  Every Southern pepper grower I've talked to has has that experience - ONLY ONCE.

But now, the Southern girl in me is taking over.  I picked these wearing surgical gloves and strung them onto a thread with a needle, careful not to let any of the hot oils from the peppers touch anything.  Getting a little smarter!

While picking, I took a dozen pictures - the peppers were so dazzling in the sunlight!  The pictures inspired me to do a painting.

Here's stage one.  I'm working with colored inks on YUPO here.  YUPO is not really paper, it's - well - plastic! Actually, polyurethane.  What that means is the surface is very slick and absolutely non-absorbent.  Any drying of paints is due to evaporation.

Okay, so here are the peppers.  I slapped them down pretty fast because I wanted it to look immediate and easy (it's always hard work making art look easy, isn't it?)  I've got umber, black and green going in the background to set the peppers off.  The odd white shapes will be plants in the background.

Now I've added some blue to indicate the sky.  As you can see, the ink really flows on the paper.  I always go into this type of work with an end in mind, but the paper helps determine the end result.

 Below I finally taped it down to a drawing board because I needed to be able to tip the paper to manipulate the paint flow.  I've got blues and greens painted on, leaving the strokes showing and using minimal blending.  After that, I tipped it and moved the paint around.  You can see there are only two sides taped down - that's because I have to 'paint' some of the extra inks right off to the side because it pools.
After I laid down the blues and greens, I splattered orange and 'Hot Momma Red' (love that name) over them.  This has the effect of moving the first layer and makes some really cool effects.

I know you're wondering about the weird fingers of white - hold that thought.  Once this all dries, I'm going to do another layer of blues and greens, and then do some negative painting to turn those and a goodly portion of the bottom right corner into plants in the background behind the peppers.

That may be a little while - I'm in the Sound of Music orchestra and our shows are coming up fast!  Tomorrow - orchestra practice for 4 1/2 hours, Saturday for six hours, Sunday for four hours, and every night next week, four hours a night.  My flute and I are going for a RIDE. Six shows next weekend.  Come out and see us for a wonderfully entertaining show!  Check out  http://www.cythouston.org/ for tickets.  After that, we have two sets of out of state company... you get the message!  If I don't respond too quickly, I'll be back SOON! :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cancer Free!

Last week was time for me to go get poked and prodded.  By this I mean it was time for them to take blood to be tested; however, I have no veins so they have to do imaginative things to get the stuff out of my arm.  This time it was poking me in four different places and going exploring.

You see, last time this year I was dealing with a very aggressive melanoma on my left forearm which had permeated down to the muscle layer before we even knew what it was.  Then there was surgery to remove the cancer and lymph nodes. 

This week the call was welcome.  I heard some of the most beautiful words in the English language - 'Cancer free.'  Thank you, Lord - for healing me and sustaining me.  My feet are standing upon you, my Rock.

I have a big hunk out of my arm with a long red scar, but I don't mind.  When I see it, I remember all my friends that prayed for me when I wasn't able to do so.  And when people ask me about it, I'm glad to tell them about my Friend, the Giver of life.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!