Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Clown

 Here's my merry Christmas to you - a Christmas clown!  It would be merrier if I could figure out how to turn this thing horizontally - it WAS on my computer!  If anyone knows something I don't about this, let me know!

  I began my clown journey at our gallery Christmas party.  One of the artists is a clown, and she said she'd pose for us - yay!  Here's my sketch.

And again...

The next day, I worked the underpainting up with cool colors as I knew she was going to have a lot of reds, so you can now see what's underneath the finished piece!

Friday, December 28, 2012

 These two pics show the beginnings of a project I'm currently working on.  I've got a lot of nice wood pieces that I'm going to have my students use for this very same project, which means I have to do mine first!
Step 1 - drew in my design with a marker
Step 2 - layer on some colored crepe paper with a nice acrylic medium

In case you can't tell from this little cutaways, it's a tree.  I'll show you the entire tree manana.

Here's a really nice example of graffiti art that Melody and I found downtown this afternoon.  I love the colors and the depth created, and especially the dimension added by the unusual background.  Nice!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hawaiian Masks

This summer we took our entire family to Hawaii.  Aside from the gaping, eight inch in diameter coral injury that took me to the travel disease specialist (who knew?) it was an unforgettably wonderful trip.

One of the things my oldest son really liked was the Hawaiian warrior masks.  They were all so different and entertaining, I had to like them as well.

When we came back, I pulled out a couple photographs I'd taken and got out the paint.  I'm really satisfied with these colors as they're reminiscent of Hawaii, especially the greens and turquoises.  Sshhhh!  This one's a secret!  It's for my son for Christmas.

I did this one in a similar fashion as the angel I just finished; painting the background with warms.  After that, it was mostly painting negative space to do the masks, with some bright red to make it pop.  Much of the greens and blues I painted in with my fingers, leaving my fingerprints, a part of myself, there for him to see.  Much of the cool colors are applied quite thinly so you can see the primary layers.  I like it.  I'm taking a poll to see if I should make prints out of this one.

Stitches and Bolts (Frankenstein)

Well, I don't know if it's art, but I did the hair and makeup for our short black and white film 'Frankenstein.'  Yep.  Definitely art. :)

Just finished this one.  I painted the background in warm colors, and then the angel in cool colors.  My desire was to add some mystery by allowing the viewer to be able to see the streaky colors through the angel.  Once again, one of my paintings turned out pretty bright.  No surprise there!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

These are purse-sized sketchpads I have filled over the past few years.  I never go anywhere without a pad.  Some of these are dedicated to particular trips; usually when we go on a trip I fill the entire pad with pictures and memories.  Precious.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Medium Experiments

Today I sat at Starbucks and did the work BEHIND the art.  Always lots of exploring and tests to do with materials, and some happily surprising results, after other disappointments.  Trying to find some good pens that won't move when I lay them down on YUPO.  If anyone has suggestions, let me know, please!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Piratey Pair

Here's a colorful pair.  Well, the parrot, perched on his friend's shoulder, was colorful, so I decided to make his friend colorful, too.  Just seemed right.
I'm not an erasing kind of girl; I just sat down (in front of Starbucks con caliente cafe) in the morning sunshine and lightly drew it out with a 005 Micron pen.  They're light enough that I can correct as I go.  Then when I'm done laying out the entire thing, by the time I start putting down heavier and darker pens, those light lines are pretty much obliterated.  I think the drawing took me about an hour and a half of laid-back, feet-up enjoyment.

Anyway, it was pretty fun doing a parrot as I've never done one before, and I particularly like the guy's blue/green expression.  And the gold earring.  Looks piratey.  By the way, when I ride my bike each day, I wear one gold hoop, too.  Makes ME feel piratey!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Market Street Artists

Last night Market Street had a special evening, 'Fashion's Night Out.'  They had models everywhere, free giveaways, food and drink samples, and also asked artists to station themselves at particular points to paint.  It was a really fun evening.  Here are a couple pics.
 Admittedly, I was a little skeptical about all this.  Although I am a social animal, when I'm creative, I want to concentrate and don't want to be bothered.  And I don't like people looking at what I'm doing! 

However, I also know that you're supposed to challenge yourself and do scary things, so off I went.
Turned out to be really fun.  I was lighthearted about my art, enjoyed my friend, and we talked to scores of people all evening.

A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Self Portrait

Well, every year I have my high school students do self portraits with graphing.  A couple weeks ago I decided it was about time I did one myself!  So... here it is.  I did it in pencil and Prismacolor markers.  I tried to keep the markers really 'sketchy' and loose because I'm a pretty spontaneous person.  You would note that I left most of the graphing squares in; I like them!  I erased a lot of them on my face but left some of the pencil lines in as well so people could see the steps I took.

My original plan was to do only my eyes in blue, and pop just a little bit into the curls at my neck to indicate my, uh, colorful personality, and reflect the unusual colors I've been putting in my little neck tendrils lately (blue, turquoise...)  But, the blue was too fun, so it got spread around.

This was from a photo of me when I was playing in one of our musical theater shows.  I got everyone in the orchestra to put Sharpie mustaches on their fingers.  At particular points during the show, we 'flashed' the actors to see if we could throw them off just a wee bit. :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HUGE Woodcarving Begun

I wanted to show you the beginnings of my new woodcarving.  You have to look pretty closely here, because I've only lightly sketched it in with pencil.  Basically, this pic is to give you a concept of its size. 

The picture below shows the top of the tree only, and is about 1/4 to 1/3 of the entire piece.

As you can see from this photo (by the way, this is post-bike ride hair, so just forget-about-it!) I've begun the carving at the bottom.  I'm going to cut out all the negative space around the tree before I do any texturing on the tree itself.

The carving at the bottom represents two sessions; I've forgotten how physical carving is, and this last session exhausted my hand!  Time to stop for the night.  Once again, I big off one big bite, and I'm pretty sure this one's going to take me the lion's share of the winter to finish.  You can also note by the picture below that I've made some early cuts around the edge lines of the tree.  These isolate the tree so I don't (ideally) mistakenly cut into it.  I'll post photos as I progress.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mr. Einstein

A couple posts ago I showed you my very artistic purse.  Now I'm going to show you what's in it.  I always carry a small sketchpad; usually about 4x6".  Any time I have to wait somewhere, I whip it out and do a quick sketch.

A couple days ago I found myself in a doctor's waiting room.  They had a great book on you know who.  So... here he is!

I'm not one that likes to spend a great deal of time on things as I will get bored before I finish, so this one was done quickly, and I skipped the pencil/erase thing altogether.  I sketched him in with a fine point pen, fairly slowly as I couldn't erase.  Laying out his face took the lion's share of time, probably 15 or 20 minutes of concentration.  After that, going in with the shades of grey was just light, fun stuff.

I love this care-worn, old face!  At this wonderful age at which I find myself, I have decided it's much more enjoyable to do old, wrinkly people.  They've got  so much more character and story about them.  Never fail, when I assign my students to draw ugly people and beautiful people, they almost always admit to enjoying the old fogies better.  Last year one of my students even did a toothless, silly-grin old codger that turned out to be everyone's favorite.   Kinda makes ya happy, huh?

Guess I better start doing more self portraits.

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The other day I was riding my bike and happened upon a bunch of... well the technical term is... pipes.  No, I don't know exactly what they are for, but I liked the looks of them, so I hopped off my bike and snapped a few pics.  I had already been thinking that I wanted to do some kind of simple line drawing with overlap for my students, and it seemed the perfect thing.  For some weird reason, I've been kind of attracted to pipes and mechanical things lately, so I thought I'd give it a go.

Drawing the pipes themselves probably took me a couple hours.  I knew I didn't want to spend an exorbitant amount of time painting it, so I laid in a hot magenta and an orange on wet paper in about ten seconds and covered the puppy with plastic wrap to give it texture.  At that point, I taped the entire thing down to hold the wrinkles in place and walked away.

The next day it was good and dry so I went in and painted the shadows and darks with blue.  That probably took me an hour as well as I did it slowly and enjoyed the process.  So... here are my pipes!

Oh, boy, they're turned.  Let me try that again...

Okay, I tried several times and when I download the photo, it's horizontal, the way it should be.  Then when it moves over to my blog, it's vertical and I can't change it!  Help!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Home Made Designer Bag

Here you have it.  My purse.  My very old and well-loved purse.  Actually, it is so well loved that I put it away because I was tired of it.  After perusing all the high buck designer bags which looked a lot like my own, I came home, pulled it out of my closet and got out the paint.  House paint.  And a few kids.

After we got the tarp laid out, we started throwing paint around and I put my purse in a strategic place.  Along with the canvases, the kids and myself, it was in the line of fire.  Now, it's a rare day when I don't get a compliment on it!  Even carrying it around makes me happy.

So, if you're short on happy days... find some kids, something that needs rejuvenating, and get out the house paint.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Collage Portrait

Here's a collage I just finished tonight.  I'm making a book this summer and she's on a two-page spread.  I gessoed the pages lightly so the words would continue to show through in places, and have been enjoying the effect.  My choice for a book to use was an old fictional story, The Happy Hollisters, which I read to three of our kids.  Special memories.

Anyway, here's my lady.  I usually like drawing ugly people, but chose her because, well, because she was there, I suppose!  It's difficult to see in the photo, but I lightly painted the two pages a nice uneven buttery yellow to contrast with the cool colors of the collage material.

Okay... here's the secret... ssshhh!  I cut up  a previous painting that I didn't like for the collage material.  There are lots of portions I like, and I love the colors; it just didn't work as a painting on its own.  If you look closely, you can see that it's Oriental lilies.

So, the method to my madness - drew her in with ink on the white gesso.  I don't have patience to do pencil first, then ink, I just live the dangerous life and go for it with my Micron pens.  No room for mistakes there!  Then, the yellow wash.  Next, cut and lay out the background and hair.  For the area around her face I used tracing paper to get the lines right.  Once laid out, I gessoed everything into place and made necessary adjustments.  Last - a little touch of color to her eyes to bring her into focus with the collage work.  That's all!  Hope you like her!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Medusa by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer

This is the most AWESOME picture I've ever seen of Medusa!  I found it in the Musee d' Orsay in Paris.  I've never heard of this artist and plan to do some research on him.  In the meantime, enjoy.

His name is Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, 1865-1953.  Their collection held quite a few very striking, uh, portraits, if you will.  All of them gave you a definite mood.

This one is by the same artist, and once again, gives you a particular feeling.  He was very expressive.  Like!
I'm BAACK!  It's been a long sabbatical from you!  The summer has been extremely busy and we've been gone, in fact, finally this week I've been able to start digging through art supplies and ideas and working in my studio.  Here's one little corner. 

Note the absinthe candies on my lamp.  We just got back from Europe and I bought them somewhere in Paris, I think - oh yeah, at the Musee d' Orsay!  Of course, that's where they have a lot of Impressionist works.

 Note Degas' Absinthe Drinker below; a controversial picture in its own rite.  Absinthe was a green alcohol of which many artists of that day partook.  It was sometimes referred to as The Green Fairy.


Friday, June 15, 2012

A Visit to the Louvre in Paris

We just got back from a three-country European tour, with our last stop in Paris.  This is a short video I took just to give the flavour of what it's like walking through the Louvre, and how many walk WITH you as you progress!  What a museum!  And yes, we were allowed to take videos and pictures, as long as you didn't use a flash.  That surprised me as most museums don't permit this anymore.

Most people understand you couldn't see everything they have in less than a month.  I do know that I walked my little legs off on the only day I could go, and barely scratched the surface.  As this was our second time there, I knew what I was up against and simply enjoyed the day, picking out a few particular must-sees, and enjoying surprises as they came along.
Here I am getting ready to enter the Louvre.  It's a big, U-shaped building which comprises, as I understand, eight miles of galleries.  I believe it.
 What you see here is under the glass pyramid, once you've entered.  It gives access to all the wings and levels, and is a beautiful sight in itself.
 I took this shot of the pyramid and its surrounding pools as I sat on a balcony having lunch.
 This was under one of the lesser pyramids.  They bring great light into the halls below, and are so sumptuous to behold.
 Yep.  There it is.  Right... THERE!

Friday, June 1, 2012

We just got back from England, Germany and France and I'm excited to do some posting on the art and museums, among other things, that we experienced.  We have some out-of-country company coming tomorrow; I'll start adding things next week when things calm down.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Maxfield Parrish and Student Work

Couldn't resist putting this lovely, textured gator up.  One of my young students did it today.  We studied Maxfield Parrish and the various ways he'd prepare for his paintings; building a model house and setting it on a mirror, set rocks and gravel on mirrors to use as subjects for those awesome mountains he painted, etc.
After that, we worked with modeling clay.  First they sketched out ideas of what they wanted to do in clay.  After their juices were flowing, they build lovely things like this alligator.  We set them up under a lamp and darkened the room so they could see the shadows on their pieces, and they drew them again - so they could remember!  Tons of fun.  Hard to get them out of the classroom once our time was up.

Of course this is one of his most famous images, very beautiful.

This one is lovely, lovely.  I don't know the background on this particular one, but it's likely that he built a small model and set it on a mirror, as he did many other times with similar images.

And here's one of his mountain scenes.  Takes my breath away.  Maxfield Parrish is one of my top ten favorite artists.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Miscellaneous Art Comments

Hello, Wonderful People!
It's been a little while since I've checked in so I wanted to let you know what I've been doing.  Still alive, thank You, Lord!

Worked the seventh annual  Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival, 
The weather was seriously windy but we had a nice, partial cloud cover and it was really fun.  My job was artist relations, my favorite, which involved meeting the artists, giving them food and drinks and breaking them so they could leave their booths for breaks.  Let's face it, one of my gifts is working with people.  I love people!  The artists were from all over the country - Wisconsin, Washington, Connecticut, South Carolina, lots from Florida, etc.  I believe this was the biggest festival we've had, and read somewhere that last year we had 16,000 attendees.  Pretty sure we had more this year.  It was really fun to be back as the last year or two I've been out of the country when the fest was scheduled.  Couldn't do it this year, so it was GREAT to be here during the fest!

Our gallery had a lot of volunteers working the festival, as did a lot of other organizations.  It takes a lot of people to put something like this on.

It's also 'that time of year' for homeschool teachers, and for this art teacher. The schedules for the next school year are set for all three places where I teach, the HIS Classes,, the Training Center Classes,, and The Woodlands Art League,  The first two will be weekly classes that run the entire school year, and the last one at the gallery will be summer classes.  If you're interested in the summer classes, they're all going to be different levels of metal embossing, VERY fun.  Anyway, this has kept me really busy, too, fielding questions about classes, open houses and taking registrations.

In my current classes, we're doing some serious hands-on stuff, i.e., preparing portfolios, self-portraits, metal embossing, glass painting, clay and metal/plaster sculpture.  With all this going on, I haven't had a chance to paint myself!  I've done preliminary research for my next two paintings and hope to be able to start sketching out the first drawings soon.  I've also got a self-portrait that I need to continue working on since I made all my highschoolers do it.  Haven't done one for a little while, so it's time.

Okay, there you have it!  More later!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Seahorse Part 6 - Finished!

 Well, although the flu is still going through our house (four out of five of us, with a LONG recovery) I finally finished my seahorse.  I'm pretty pleased with it. 

Here's a detail of part of the tail holding onto the kelp.  As you can see, in many places you can see right through the seahorse - wanted to lend that aire of mystery and give people pause.  I've gone from the reds and oranges to oranges and yellows as the background has changed from blues to violets at the bottom.  You can also see that some of the seahorse's tail is now more neutral colors.

This is the lower body where the oranges really kicked in.  I love the texture of jumbled lines forming the horse and the contrast between that and the iridescent leaves and the background colors as I was going for some shadows.

Oh, that I was a better photographer!  The colors just aren't that good here.  An example is that the seahorse's head is bright violet.  I guess you'll just have to come down to the gallery to see it for yourself - there's no substitute for the real thing!

The next step is to let it dry for several more days.  Then a light spray of varnish, a day or two more for that to dry, then a nice, brushed-on coat of varnish.  As that one will be thicker, I'll let it dry for about a week before I take it to my framers.  It'll be just in time for a couple spring shows, I think.

By the way, the picture measures about 20"x24".  Just got it matted and framed today.  When you get to this size, unfortunately, there's a huge price jump in framing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Trunk of My Car and a Painted Toilet

Doesn't the trunk of everyone's car look like this?  And yes, I've managed to avoid it for over a year now, but it finally happened.  Paint on my bucket seat.  Could be worse.

It almost WAS worse at classes today - we were cleaning up and I asked one of my students to take a bucket of dirty paint water down to the guys bathroom and flush it down the toilet, flushing as he poured so any paint wouldn't stick.  He came running back in stating "Somebody put a spoon in the bucket and it went down!"  Oh, no!  Imagine my happiness when I found the spoon laying in the bottom of the toilet.  Haven't been THAT glad to reach into a toilet for a long, long time! :)  Sigh*

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seahorse Part 5, Adding Color

 As you can see, I got all the Friskit off and have been adding color, starting from the upper left hand corner and working down to the right bottom.  I really intended this to be a riot of colors and that's just what is dished up here.
The photo doesn't really show the colors well; the upper left hand corner actually leans toward yellow, hence the violets on the horse's head are laid down as complimentaries.  As I work down the seahorse, my intent is to continue with the complimentaries to the background.
Remember this isn't finished; I still have some basic color adjusting to do here, adding more violets to the reds and reds to the violets, but so far I'm pretty satisfied.  Those minor adjustments will come when I finish painting all the whites.
Got to the kelp today.  As you can see, my seahorse is still working with comps, now orange against the blue.  I laid the kelp in thick and runny so you would see the brushstrokes and the iridescents against the flat colors.
You can also see the whites still left; those will be painted oranges and yellows.
I've got parts of the tail subtly laid in a light blue for shadows, those will get the oranges and yellows, too.
Hopefully I'll have this done by the end of the week, then the varnishes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Seahorse Part 4, the Continuing Saga

Finally got the Friskit off tonight.  This turned out to be a difficult process because in the darks I laid down some pretty heavy ink and the stuff didn't want to come off.  Anyway, here it is.
Well, I'll be teaching all day tomorrow, but hopefully Wednesday afternoon I'll be able to begin laying in the seahorse colors.

Seahorse Painting Part 3 - Video

Here is a little video that shows my use of Friskit.  Friskit is used to preserve the white of the paper.  In my work, I often use it to preserve the subject, as I have here, so I can paint in a background that's cohesive, and which flows, regardless of the subject.  Once I'm finished painting my layers, I have to let it dry for a couple days, then I can peel the Friskit up, as you see here.  THEN I can go in and paint the subject.  In this case, I'll be using colors which are complimentary to the background, which changes from top left to bottom right.  It's going to be a VERY colorful painting; I'll leave those limited palettes to some other artist for a while. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seahorse Painting Part 2

 Okay, I drew the seahorse out.  Of all things, for some reason it gave me trouble.  I can draw human faces without erasing, but the crazy seahorse I had to redraw four times!  I guess it's because I know if you're going to put a lot of work into a picture, the most important thing is right in the beginning - composition.  Both subject and background.

At this point, I've lightly drawn the seahorse and its kelp, and painted it all in with Friskit.  Then I laid down layers of inks, being careful to let each layer dry absolutely before adding another.

You can see the seahorse image barely showing through.  Once I get another coat of inks layered over this one, I'll let it dry and take the friskit off.  What it does is preserves the white of the paper.  I'll then go back in and paint complimentary colors.

Here's part of it down in the lower section of the paper.  Love the colors already!
This is not what you'd call a limited palette.  And this is only the background!  I'll have a bevy of  complimentary colors to paint directly onto the seahorse once these first layers get painted and dried, and once I've removed the Friskit.  The stuff is similar to rubber cement, except thinner so you can paint it on.

No limited palettes for me!  Stay tuned for a video I just made which should help you understand how Friskit works.

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Painting; Seahorse Part 1

 Well, I like my Northern Pike painting so much that I decided to do a seahorse in the same manner.  My first step was to realize I had no idea what a seahorse looked like, and to wander down to our library.

After checking out three books and closely perusing them, I began to sketch.  There are a number of seahorse species, all with different features.  I had to work out exactly what I wanted in my painting.

Here are some preliminary sketches.

The teal seahorse is painted in fingernail polish.  Just had it sitting there and couldn't resist...

I liked this guy with the trees growing out of his head...

And note the snout.  They don't have teeth, they just snap the snout shut to trap their prey.

The one in the top right hand corner is an x-ray of a seahorse.  They don't have an exoskeleton because there's skin stretched over all, but this is their basic bone structure.

I liked the fat dude a lot, too, but nixed him as my subject.
 I thought these little guys were cool.  They were just hanging around with their bulging eyes and floating, ghostly 'hair.'

Well, I ended up with a choice, and I didn't put it online because I don't want to go upstairs again.  It's up there by my newly-begun painting.

This was my last sketch before beginning to paint.  I had to work out the color scheme and make sure everything was balanced before beginning.  Bad composition - no need to even bother.  And yeah, I know this sketch is weird, but I only spent probably two minutes on it.  The drawing wasn't my concern, the layout was.

Tonight I painted the entire seahorse and kelp in friskit.  Have to let it dry overnight before going further.  I'll take a pic and show you that one tomorrow.