Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 - Class Work Tuesday Morning

I worked on three things in class Tuesday morning but can only share two since the SWAP painting has to remain secret for now :)

Finished the redo of the castle... And worked from a photo taken of a reflection in the water...
I had to have a few things to work on since my SWAP painting is being done by pouring paint and misketing value by value so it's slow going. I've never poured a painting this small before but it's relatively easy because not much surface to cover with the paint and water mix. Another few layers and I'll have it finished in time for the November 5th mailing.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007 - Back to Painting

I only did 2 small starts of paintings while in the Smokies. One was a roadway scene with the fall foliage beside it but it wasn't right - the road didn't curve correctly (so I won't share it here as it's going in the scrap pile). The second was a large leaf I picked up that came from a tulip tree (the tallest, straightest tree in the forest). It's not finished but the leaf is curled and dry now and actually began that pale bright yellow and browned out over the days.This won't be my SWAP painting as I have something else entirely decided upon for that - if I can pull it off :) and since I don't know if my partner might check out this blog, I won't show it until it's done and received so the secret is kept. I'll be working on that today and tomorrow, as well as finishing up some other projects I left half done (like the Beaumaris castle redo). So until then, here's some more photos...

The water was flowing in a wooden trough to the mill at Cade's Cove. The leaves were covering the ground all over.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007 - More Smokies Photos

More photos from our trip to the Smokies.
We went to Cade's Cove and saw the watermill and the old buildings there. I liked the shadows created by this barn and old wagon seat and wheelbase.

We drove the loop road and saw the lovely scenery. You could spend a week just driving this road and pulling off at every place to see something pretty.

We did the grueling climb up Clingman's Dome in the cold cold cold!!! My calves were aching and my ears were frozen by the time we got to the top where it was very windy and cold. And we stayed in a lovely little cabin that was one of only 3 on the dead-end and gated road. The hot tub was past the little screened in porch - you can't see it from here so very private when we soaked our wearies in the evening, watching the full moon rise through the treetops.

But now it's back to the real world...BettyBlue needs a bath and a vacuum (that's her above) and I have a painting to do for my SWAP partner.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007 - Smokies Photos

We just returned from a short trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We couldn't have wished for a better trip! The weather was great and the colors were fantastic.

This weekend will probably be the last great weekend for the fall colors. We had a wonderful time and gazing up at the full moon from our hot tub on the porch of our cabin each evening was pretty special (but you don't get to see any photos of that because we're bashful :)

More photos tomorrow when I get more sorted. Now all I have to do is choose which one I may want to paint for my SWAP partner...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - Smokies

Photos taken by Jerry last fall in the Smokies. From the weather report and the news I've seen, the colors may not be very pretty this fall due to the drought. We've had almost 36 straight hours of rain since yesterday afternoon and they have had none.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - Getting Ready

Getting things together for a short road trip down to the Smoky Mountains for a few days. I'm hoping the fall colors are starting. They are starting here, finally, although we were having 80F weather until last night when a cold front moved in with rain and rain and rain all night and all morning and all day today. Looks like it's going to continue through this evening, too.

If Blogger was working, I'd upload some photos from Jerry of fall scenes - but it won't let me :( Bad Blogger!!

Question: Does anyone know why, after you post a photo/painting/picture, you can sometimes click on it and it enlarges and other times you cannot? I upload all my photos/paintings the same way and same size and some you click on and it enlarges them and other times it just sits there like a knot on a log. Just wondering...if anyone knows...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007 - Figure Drawings #3

From our Saturday morning figure drawing sessions. Had a model we've had a lot and I always had a hard time getting her body right for some reason. Last time I made her neck look very much like it belonged on a giraffe so I tried to keep that in mind and not do it this time :) I don't know why her body gives me fits - she's not heavy, in fact rather thin but has some extra weight in places that throws me to get it right - I make her too pear shaped if I don't pay close attention.

I did the first with graphite pencils and the second with pastel pencils, using the yellow first to get the body shape and then adding the blue to shade in places. She looks a bit like a mermaid without the tail!
Then went back with the graphite pencils and did a light sketch.

Too tired to do anything else today unless it's a quick sketch while vegging on the sofa.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007 - Wire Sculpture Again

Myrna Wacknov's next challenge is to eliminate even more of the wire sculpture drawing and do the whole thing in one continuous line. I copied the first drawing, enlarged it and printed it out on paper - then worked with a thick marker to try to get most of his features in with a continuous line (not as easy as I thought it would be!). But then I got carried away while watching t.v. and blacked in areas - couldn't stop playing with them!

The last one actually follows the challenge better: to eliminate all but one continuous line to create the drawing - but I had to black in some to show his face and eyes more even then.
Will show the open figure drawings from Saturday morning later. Right now I'm fighting a bad migraine and I think it might win this battle today.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007 - Ink on Phone Book

Myrna Wacknov (see my sidebar for her blogspot) had a challenge to paint/sketch with ink on old phone book pages. I tried it and it was fun.

I put several together into a little interactive vignette when I finished them (did about a dozen but some were just blobs of ink when I finished). I used the business section of the yellow pages - it might be interesting to carry this out further and, using the businesses listed (bakery, library, etc), create a sketch around that subject?

This first one - a possible self-portrait?

I think this one on the left is going to be wrapped in cellophane and given out as Halloween candy.

And this one on the right - just 3 models for art class who have no body image issues.

And this guy? He's a body builder at the gym!

And now almost time for my open figure drawing session on this lovely fall day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007 - Marion's Birthday, Finished Cactus & Started Another Bloody Castle

Today is the 82nd birthday of one of my painting buddies in watercolor class, Marion. She is 82 years young and I mean it! Here's a photo of her busy painting and ignoring me :) Happy Birthday, Marion! I finished the cactus painting for the group project. There were several lovely paintings. I like their versions better than mine - but that's the way it always is!

And I started another small castle painting - I just was not happy with the other one. Maybe this one will look better to me...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007 - What Do You Think?

What do you think about artists who have a blog and list their own sites as favorites or something like that? I have run into this more and more the farther out I got in the blogosphere. Seems pretty egotistical to me but maybe you have to get people to your blog and then to your site and then to your eBay store and get the picture!

I reworked the water/shadow reflections in the Beaumaris Castle painting. I think it looks better now but I still should do it over to fix that dark shadow on the castle itself...but I'm feeling lazy today and probably won't (landscapes so are NOT my thing!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 1007 - Gina's Cactus (WatercolorWorkshop October Project)

A group project from WatercolorWorkshop is to paint these cactus flowers. There have been some great renderings already but I wanted to try my hand at these, too. The photo is great - taken and shared by Gina Hall. Gina does fantastic animal portraits and also paints sculptured horses - check out her blog at:
to see some of her great work.
So now all I have to do is do this beautiful photo justice with my watercolor painting :) Here's what I have to start. I need more greens on the cactus flats (whatever you call those) and darken the background in the left and maybe it will be done. Don't want to do much else to the flowers or they'll be overworked but the greens need more work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - Class Work + Dragonfly Again

We had watercolor class on Monday morning instead of Tuesday morning - and did landscapes. I took a 5 x 7 photo from Jerry's trip to the UK - this is Beaumaris Castle in Wales - and did that one. I'm not good at landscapes. I don't do greens well. But I tried...
And I worked a bit more on Jerry's dragonfly so you can see the body position and shape better and took the background back to a paler color so you can see the dragonfly. I think this works better.

Now have lots of jobs to do around the house and errands to run catch you tomorrow!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007 - Cassie's Red Hat Again

I wanted to try something different with this portrait when I got "stuck" at the previous stage... So here's what I did...I went into my photo program and worked with the background to see how to make it more interesting and stronger...

Then I took that printout with me to the art room and tried to get it to look that way in the painting. Unfortunately, I overworked it too much. So I thought about the demo and talk Judy Anderson gave to our watercolor society about saving our "dogs" and got out some ink and thought about where I could pump up the volume.

I came up with this:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007 - Sandy Maudlin Blog + Jerry's Dragonfly

My watercolor teacher, Sandy Maudlin, has finally broken down and joined the blogging revolution! Check out her work at

I have been going to class with Sandy for 4 years and am still learning all the time from her - I guess I'll keep going until I know it all :) ha-ha

Jerry says the dragonfly needs more definition at the head - that it isn't showing up well in the position off to the left. Maybe I should have painted it straight on in between the wings but that's not how it was in the photo and I thought I could pull it off. Hmmm..

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007 - Open Figure Session

I haven't taken the time to work more on the dragonfly or the portrait but here's what I did in my open figure session this morning. The 1st one is in graphite pencil and took about 1 hour. The 2nd one was started in pale yellow pastel pencil, then I reworked the shadowed areas in orange and a touch of brown. (This is how Jason Franz said to try to get the modeling of the body better. He said putting down the yellow first keeps that area light - you can't go dark using yellow but you can then put in the darks with other colors.)
I actually spent more time measuring and comparing on the 1st one (which looks okay but not quite right) than I did in the 2nd one which seemed to flow more naturally. Could be because it was the second hour, could be that drawing with the pale yellow lightens my marks more so less erasing and changing.

And I don't know who James H. Boren is (will have to google him) but I love this quote:
"When in doubt, mumble;
when in trouble, delegate;
when in charge, ponder." James H. Boren

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 - Portrait Start Tuesday Morning

I went to class Tuesday morning with my portrait sketched out on the wc paper and a value study but didn't remember to take the photo so I had to wing it and couldn't finish it there. So worked on it more Wednesday. This is Janet Rogers' granddaughter, Cassie (she was our model in a Janet Rogers workshop I attended last year). Using the photo at home, I darkened and refined the painting.

It is very very hard for me to go in with pale layers over pale layers like many people paint - I really want to get in with darker colors right away and this is where I make a mess at times. I need to watch my Janet Rogers DVD again to get the pointers again.

Here's where I am right now...the misket is still on for the whites so I don't lose them.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007 - Jerry's Dragonfly Stage 2

No masking/misketing because it's on gesso and I can lift back to white. Did the limb and the background first. I will leave them more muted and really push the colors on the dragonfly - or make it very detailed - well, that's my thinking right now.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday, October 7, 2007 - Figure Drawing x 2

Here are the 2 figure drawings I did Saturday morning. In the first, I made her neck as long as a giraffe (well, almost) and had to rework it at home - then added some color later.

I MUST learn to measure and measure and measure again...

We did just a few gesture drawings to warm up this time and the class is small and has a nice feeling to it even though I only knew 1 other person (who also came over from the Tuesday night session).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Saturday, October 6, 2007 - Another Dragonfly

I decided not to redo the 2nd portrait on gesso. I did regesso the paper and smooth it with a roller. Then decided to use a dragonfly photo Jerry took and do another painting with the gessoed paper. This is the tracing paper sketch (I have to transfer it to the wc paper) and the original photo (sorry but my photo of the 2 is a bit blurry, I see).

Also, we started another 10-week session of the Open Figure Drawing through Manifest Gallery early this morning (10a - 12p). I switched from Tuesday nights to Saturday mornings. I think I'll be less tired and will enjoy going over during the daylight hours, too. It's a small group - about 7 or 8 of us - so join us if you want to work from live models (which really trains your eye to see shapes in the human figure).

Don't forget, if you're in the Greater Cincinnati area, to go over to the Second Look Saturday open house at Essex Studios - our open figure drawings are there, too. Stop by sometime between 6:00 and 11:00 this evening to see some great work on the walls!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007 - Three More

Reworked the portrait of Mr. Forbes - softened his mouth, worked on the light around his left eye and worked on the moustache a bit more. Done.

Reworked Susan's Dragonfly painting, too, darkening here and there to bring out some details. Done.

Also, in the mood to experiment and play after the Judy Anderson demo and talk Wednesday, I got out my white gouache, tinted it with colors along the way, added that to a true "dog" of a painting because it's bad bad bad - lost all the lights - and it's dogwood! ha! So with some gouache, some more watercolor paint, some blue ink (only color besides black I had), redid this thing. Now, it's not a good painting by any means but I think I learned how to bring back some things in a painting - of course it's not watercolor anymore but mixed media - but I played with the design a bit and the materials (haven't worked with gouache much but Judy Anderson says she uses it all the time, mixing an off-white with her watercolors - plus she has lots of inks in various colors). I like the bars of ink like a fence but I don't like how I aped the angle of the one bar with the flower stem :( Judy says put tracing paper over your "dog" (what she calls an unsuccessful painting) and work out the changes on the tracing paper before going in with paint but, of course, I didn't do that or I would have seen that stem was not right and there is an X of the stems crossing, too. Oh, well, like I said, it was a play time thing.