Saturday, November 29, 2014

Da Vinci Gallery First Friday Coming! 

Check the link, find out where we are and come on out!  Great fun reception, wine and snacks, and you can meet the artists.  Tomball has a lot of fun shopping - come on out, have lunch, go antiquing, and join us at the gallery!

Bent Wire Series, Big Furry Bird Painting

Here is the first painting in my Bent Wire Series.  I call it 'Big Furry Bird" for obvious reasons.  Our son thought it should maybe be called "Imminent Death," but that didn't seem like a good painting name.

I've never been able to get streaking and drips like this before and am particularly pleased with the way they turned out.

I've never used this particular method to get drips and movement before, in fact, I'm pretty sure nobody has, but will definitely stick with it!  It will have to remain my own trade secret until either death or tickling.  I'm hanging with Leonardo da Vinci in the experimental aspect, that's for sure!

This painting, along with my bright cat painting are now hanging at the da Vinci Gallery in Tomball.  I will also have some embossed metal pieces and three collage paintings for sale.

Every month on the first Friday, we have a reception where you can enjoy some great art, meet the artists and sample some great wine and food.  Come on out and join us!

Bent Wire Series of Bird Paintings

This is another in my 'Bent Wire' series of birds and cats.  In the two previous posts you can find out how I did them.

Birds Painting


 Here is a close up of a portion of one of my Birds paintings.  It's a little easier for you to see through the layers and figure out how I did it by viewing this one.  The entire painting is in my previous post.

Birds! From my Bent Wire Series of Paintings

Just finished this one and its friend today.  I've been working on birds quite a bit lately.  This one focuses on the negative space.  My first step was to paint the cool background, blues, teals, actually a lot of minor colors behind that, and some golds.

After that, I laid down the birds on wires with charcoal, and began carefully painting the negative space AROUND the birds.  These were inspired by Picasso's Black and White exhibit at the MFAH last year.  I went down to see it, not all that excited, but feeling obliged.  I felt that since it was a black and white exhibig, it would be small works on paper, mostly sketches and a lot of black paint on white paper.

I could not have been more wrong!  His paintings were exceedingly beautiful and engrossing.  Most of them had rich, colorful backgrounds into which he carved a design, or painted the negative space, as I did with this birds painting. My favorites were the ones he did with light paint, almost white, but still filled with color, as I did above.  I think it's really effective.  Thanks, Pablo!

I actually had an engagement that afternoon, and was going to pop into the Picasso exhibit, check it out for a couple hours and then go.  Once I got in there, all else was wiped from my mind.  I staggered out MUCH later... LONG after my engagement was completely over!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cat Painting #4

 Here's a close up of my finished  baby.  Colors deepened considerably by the varnish.

The last three I tipped to catch the reflections so you could see what the added textures and gloss did to the painting.

Personally, I like it!

I'll post the entire finished painting, with name, which I'm still pondering, later.  Right now I have to get away from this computer!  Whew!

Cat Painting, Steps #2

 All right, here's a close up of my furry friend, so you can see the details of the background peeking through the cat.  Nice and bright, the Fauvists would have been proud of me.  I guess I'm a 'wild beast,' too, huh?  (The word Fauvist is French for Wild Beast, because the French thought they painted with too-bright of colors, hence saying they painted like wild beasts.)Now that the painting itself is finished, it's time for some varnish and more texture.  This is where the artist has to trust in her materials, because the layer I put down is milky white and you can barely see the painting below.  After all that work, it's a little scary completely obliterating your painting!

 I treated the background with paint-brushy strokes, gave my kitty textured fur, and added some of those big dots right on top of the cat for interest.  To draw the circles, I used one of my best and most readily-available tools - my finger!

Although it's milky white and opaque when laid down, it slowly dries to a transparent and very shiny finish.  I like the glossy choice because it deepens the colors a lot.  The eyes particularly now are 'knowing and watching' eyes.

In post #3, I'll show you a picture of my finished painting, along with its name.

Cat Painting, Step #1

I just finished my cat painting and am really pleased with it.  This will take you along on a little journey of cat-dom development.

 My inspiration - Calypso, of course.  She inspires me to many things.  I also used some other photos and began my work.

This is on a nice wood panel with a deep cradle.  The first layer was a mixture of brushed-on warm colors.

After that, I layered on some blue to get those cool textures.  Trade secret.

Third layer - Dots.  Two colors, and of course not all dots perfect, that would be boring.

Once I had the background established, it was time to do the subject.  Spent an hour or so looking through pictures and choosing my cat's position.  Here we are.  Although Calypso inspired me, I didn't want to do such a gorgeous fat ruff with this one - I wanted it to be more of 'Every Cat.'

Having chosen the cat, I started my drawing in vine charcoal.  Love that stuff - you can erase out mistakes with the swipe of a finger!

Here you can see the basic lines established with charcoal.  At this point, I'm simply outlining the charcoal with one color, and will layer in the other colors as I go.

Hey!  Looks like a cat!

The tail is going to remain unfinished.  I really like the sweep of the furry tail and the fact that I can see the background through it.  I'm planning on bringing the background on top of the cat later, and also planning on leaving some of the entire cat unfinished so you can enjoy the nice complimentary colors peeking through the fur.

Getting closer.  I've added greens, yellows and more of that lovely teal.

Okay.  The last one shows it close to finished.  Got the eyes finished and left some background showing through them as well.  Gleam in the eye - check!

Especially on the face I left a lot of background - if you can get a close look, the textures in the background are pretty fascinating, and I like the big blue dot on the cat's cheek.  It'll make people wonder what on earth I'm thinking!

Here the cat has darks added.  I pulled in a nice deep Payne's Grey.  Almost black, it has the nice dark value I need, but not that black black shouting at you.  Almost everywhere I mixed the Payne's with the other colors to get variance, but there are a few places I laid down the Payne's without mixing.  These would comprise about 5% of the cat, namely eyes, nose, and a few shadows I wanted particularly deep.

So, that's the cat so far.  Haven't named the painting yet.  I kind of follow Renoir with his painting naming, "Two Girls at the Piano," or "Girl with the Watering Can."

How about, "Cat with Dots?"  or, ummm.... "Colorful Cat with Dots"  Dot Cat, Cat Dot, Dottie Cat... no!  Um... Bright Cat with Dots...

Anyway, I understand other artists' naming process.  What we really care about is the painting.  We really don't care about its name, and it often comes as an afterthought (shhh!!!)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Painting Sold

Sold this painting tonight. You can read about its development under the month of June.  This photo is only a cutaway of the entire painting; you'll have to look under June to see the whole thing.

Suicide Evaluation

Because of all the difficulties in our lives this year, I haven't made many entries.  But here I hand my heart to you.

I’ve been in a very contemplative mood lately.  So much has happened this year to continually turn my thoughts toward suicide.  I’ve talked a lot about this previously, so I’m going to attempt to be clinical and to the point. Let’s just list them:

1. Melody broke up with her boyfriend, Evan, and March 8 he took his own life.  Beautiful, charismatic, giving Evan.

2. After having a private art student for some time, I missed her on spring break.  I figured she was on a trip. They finally contacted me to tell me she was committed for suicidal ideations, and that they had begun art lessons with me to help with this.  If I had only known from the beginning of our time together, how different our talks would have been!  Weeks later, when the weather warmed up, she wore short sleeves, revealing a severely cut and scarred arm.  Through smiling tears she told me that she was going to tattoo it when she was a bit older and the scars were better healed.

3. Robin Williams, the amazing, versatile comedian, took his life.

4. My friend, Tony, took his life September 15.

Note to self: Evan, Robin Williams and Tony all had the same personality.  And dealt with that unmentionable, socially taboo subject – depression.

5. Two days ago, one of my friends let me know they had taken her daughter, one of my former art students, to the hospital for suicidal ideations.

That’s five.  This year.  Up until my 54th year, I have wandered happily through life without ever contemplating suicide.  Never missed it. This year it has slammed us.  Up to this point, I never even knew what a suicide survivor was.  It is me.  It is us.  It is all of us left behind to pick up the pieces and wonder why.

I will never forget, probably 25 years ago when we lived in Quincy, Illinois, the ladies of our church putting together women’s gatherings.  Our little church of 200 would put together a ladies’ convention for thousands, and would draw from several states.  We would hire big names, rent the local school, put up curtains and flowers in the boys’ bathrooms so ladies could use them and go for it.

One year we had a speaker – I know not who – who described her life.  She told us that she lived a horrible childhood, being continually raped and used.  Everything was difficult, but somehow she got through it.  Through the years she became a Christian and was deciding upon her life work.

She said, “I wanted to play piano. I wanted to play with children!  I wanted to make music and produce art!”  But God was calling her into something else, and she became a counselor for abused children – the last thing in the world she wanted to be, and that for which she was best-prepared.

I sat stunned.  Her unobtainable desires were my very life!  She had expressed my life verbatim! I made music, played with children and produced art.  To this day, I am still making music, playing with children, surrounded by young people and making art! Thank You, Lord!  Wow.

Her plaintive cry has echoed with me all through these years, and I have looked back to her many, many times.  What a gift I have been given, and what a joy filled life I have lived.

Since March I have produced two paintings and a number of poems about suicide.  Yep.  There they are.

There have been a number of times in my life that I have thought, “I have been prepared all my life for this very moment in time.”  Like Esther, prepared to help her people, I felt specially-equipped to do that precise thing in a particular situation.

So, Lord, exactly what are you trying to tell me now?