Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shifting Gears!

What a week. We sent a sample of three paintings each to the art director at Ojo Caliente where we are hoping to show our work this spring. We received a nice e-mail back where she explained that she loved my flowers, but she knew the General Manager almost always went with southwest landscapes or themes. !!!

I called her and said I could try to have an example of my landscape work in a week. She did apologize for not getting back to me sooner. I had sent an e-mail in December explaining my intention to paint floral subjects, but I didn't get a response. Anyway, I have been scrambling through my photo collection to find suitable landscapes and generally freaking out.

I was so looking forward to having two finished paintings to post this week and I had chosen the rest of my flower subjects and canvases. I could picture the whole show, and now I am completely turned upside down. Poor Jeff has been very patient with my stress, although he says I am like a cat with her tail poofed out. Unfortunately, that is a pretty good description of me right now!

Working like crazy all weekend has yielded one 11"x14" painting, "Taos Canyon Sunrise" that still doesn't feel quite right. I am not posting it because I am not happy with it yet. I really had my hopes on doing that show, and all I can do is try my best. I wish I had time to paint another subject this week, but if I can get the sunset to work, it will be really impressive. Crossing my fingers...

Jeff Corner: If you get her cornered and her tail poufs out- leave her cornered!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tool Kit

Now that January is here, I really feel the necessity to get to work on my goal to have at least twelve paintings ready for the spring to show at Ojo Caliente. That means completing at least one painting a week for the next three months. I decided to focus on flowers and have researched all my photos from last summer to choose my best subjects. I am glad I took so many pictures!

I debated whether to try the grey scale underpainting with the flowers. The last time I tried it, I was very frustrated with the results. I have learned since that the key to success with the underpainting is to have a more complete image with all the darks and lights where I want them. My frustration from before was trying to change dark areas to light. If I changed my mind, those areas took more time to fix.

With the dramatic results of the Petra cat painting, I decided to give it another try. This time I did very detailed drawings of my subject before I even started the underpaintings. I used a technique that I never liked to use in the past, because it always seemed to take forever and I wanted to get to the painting, but I think it helps save time in the long run. I created a pencil drawn grid of squares on my canvas and then made a small grid of the same proportions. One useful thing I learned from art school, is that if it looks good small, it will look good big. I drew my desired image on the small grid and then I could transfer my drawing to the larger canvas grid. While I was drawing, I kept hearing the voice of a dear friend of mine who once told me that "real artist's don't use grids, they can just create from their heads directly to the canvas".

This statement has always bothered me, and Jeff and I had a discussion about artwork and tools. Essentially the grey scale underpainting is also another tool. Is the artwork created using these helpful ideas somehow less than artwork just painted spontaneously with no pre-thought? I like the results of using these tools, I spend less time re-painting because it feels right the first time. I was feeling badly about not being a "real artist" and Jeff said he would like to see an example of "fake-art". Laughing made me feel better, that is why I keep him around.

Jeff's Corner: Would the statue of "David" been any less beautiful if Michangelo had used power tools?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Lilies Of The Field

I entered a floral painting for a call for entries this fall for the LDS church. I have had this on my goal list for at least ten years and I finally did it. The subject for the art show is "The Great Things of God" At first I was contemplating a complex still life, but then I thought "what can I reasonably do with the skills I have so far?"

Since I was focusing on flowers this summer, I decided to see if I could incorporate that subject to fit into that theme. I kept thinking about the scripture that talks about the lilies of the field and how they were more beautifully arrayed than King Solomon.

I did some research on what those "lilies" in Jerusalem might have looked like. It turns out that they are a Red Corn Poppy that grows wild in the fields in that part of the world. I found some good references to work from, but again I had to create my own arrangement and use some of my own photos of poppies to get a better sense of light. My pictures of poppies were of the California variety, and the Red Corn Poppy has a similar center, but fewer and less frilly petals. Like the fox painting, not having my own perfect reference photos makes things more difficult and time consuming.

Finally, I did get a painting done on time for the submission deadline and I sent it in. I didn't like the way the shadows looked on the middle poppy, but I couldn't seem to do any better and I decided to just let it go, after getting Jeff's reassuring opinion of course.

I just recently heard from the art selection committee, and they didn't choose my piece for the show. That is O.K., because my main goal was just to submit something and now I can share it with all of you on the blog.

Jeff's Corner: I think Toto and I will just lie down here and take a little nap...