Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cordyline Progress - or Not...

Well, it's at the ugly stage and I'm not sure where to go with it.


More Anniversary Paintings in the Mail + More Work on the Cordyline

Well, I think I may share the anniversary paintings coming in every other day as it seems that I may be getting one or two packages each day from the SWAP members! It's like having all your holidays and your birthday together in one week, having all these paintings show up!

Friday, I got a painting and a card from Gina in Washington,

Gina doesn't say, but I'm going to assume that's Sam Elliott on the horse - that's my idea of a cowboy!

and I also got an acrylic painting that is already in a frame and 5 cards (one for each year!) from Crystal in Alabama.

Can you see all the cute critters running around the inside of the "R"?

Thank you, thank you, Gina and Crystal, for your lovely artwork and your major thoughtfulness!!

And today, Saturday, I received this painting from my dear friend and sweetie/pal Teresa in Spain!!! This is a portrait of White Tara, the Buddhist goddess of Compassion, and this is just fantastic! And Teresa wasn't even able to participate in the current SWAP so I did not expect her to paint something for me!! But I'm not sending it back, no way, no how!!!

Muchas gracias, mi amiga!!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again...

I was feeling a bit under the weather for the last 4 days but am feeling much better now. Have my errands run and my Starbucks: grande, half-caff, no whip, white chocolate mocha!! and am painting again on the cordyline. Slowly working up the values in the petals/leaves - whatever they are called.

And I have to share the cards I'm getting for the 5th Anniversary of SWAP from the members - they are often prints of their own paintings and they are beautiful!

1. From Kathy N.
2. From Marilyn F.

3. From Vicki G.
4. From Ursula

So far, I've received cards and/or paintings from:

Tasmania, Australia
Walsall, England
Porto Allegre, Brazil


Thursday, May 29, 2008

5th Anniversary of SWAP - Paintings Shared

Well, it seems the participating members of SWAP (SharingWithArtistPartners), the yahoo group I manage, has come up with a scheme to send paintings to me in commemoration of our 5th year anniversary! Can you believe it?

I tell you, I cannot imagine working with a better group. They are the most caring and giving people I've met - even if I've only met most of them online.

These paintings have to be shared.

So take a gander at the artwork that is finding its way to my mailbox each day! Amazing!!! This group really ROCKS!!! Thank you thank you thank you all!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

MIA + Surprise Paintings/Cards in the Mail

Well, I intended to paint more on the cordyline but things have come up that kept me away from painting. No need to go into it.

I will share with you the painting I received from another SWAP member as a "thank you" to me for 5 years of SWAPs!! It is gorgeous!!! Thanks so much, Joyce, it is so thoughtful of you and I can learn a lot about landscape painting just by looking at this one.

And not only that, but I got a very cheery and fun hand painted card from Steve, another SWAP member, all the way from Tasmania!
Steve, you are my favorite Tasmanian Devil!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cordyline - Steady as She Goes, Maybe...

I realized I needed a good strong, dark green for some of the background so I picked up a Perylene Green (DS) and a Shadow Green (Holbein) and used those with a bit of Ultramarine Turquoise here and there. For the branches showing I just used a reddish brown I had on my palette - not sure what color it is but maybe a English Red Earth or something like that. By painting the background down from the top I got a bit of a bleed through onto the petals at the top but I can clean them up when it's dried and I'm ready to start the petals. The main thing is to keep the top petals pale and not lose the light shining through.

I'm still thinking - and I hope I'm thinking enough and in the right way to make this one a success. (Oh, and this is on 1/2 sheet Arches 140# coldpress paper.)

When I got to painting the leaves, I realized I'd "lost" some of them by covering over the drawing of them with the background! Oh, well, so it's different than the photo. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing...but it shows me I got too rushed with the background at times and wasn't thinking and planning as much as I thought I was :(

Saturday, May 24, 2008

SWAP 20 Started

I have been the List-Mom of the SWAP group on Yahoo for - 5 YEAR'S!!! - now. And our 20th SWAP got underway with mailings to partners going out on Monday the 19th and Tuesday the 20th.

But I got my SWAP painting earlier than I expected. It's a gorgeous painting of koi and it's been double matted with white and red. It's by Laura A from West Virginia and I am sooooo pleased with it! It is definitely going to be the star of the show on my wall of fame where I hang my SWAP paintings. And it is going to brighten my day every time I look at it. Thank you, Laura!!!

And not only did I get that delivered by UPS on Friday evening, I got another painting today in the mail - all the way from "over the pond" in England by Marion B. She sent it as a 5th anniversary painting to help me celebrate! And it's a lovely little green-eyed seahorse done in Marion's signature style - I bet her grandchildren love her work because it's charming in the way the very best illustrations in children's books are. She has a great imagination and has shared it with me this time. Thank you, Marion!!!

Getting these 2 wonderful paintings makes me want tomorrow and Monday to be regular mail days, too! haha See, ladies, you've spoiled me already :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cordyline Redux - Will Be Looser With This One

I started the cordyline painting again. This one will be on Arches 140# coldpress paper. I started with a value sketch and then got out all my pinks and reds (do you think I have enough?!?) to see what colors I want to use.

I put a piece of red acetate over the photo to see the darks and lights better - it helped me see the darks at the top of the photo which contrast with the light of the leaves.

Thinking more...that has to be a good thing, right?

After looking at the photo beneath the red acetate, I adjusted the value study a bit more.

I picked out the colors I'm going to use by doing a color swatch/study.

I'll take the "ruined" one to class Tuesday and try again, with Sandy's help, to rescue it.
And I'm ready to start on the new one - tomorrow!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cordyline Ruined :(

Well, my watercolor teacher, Sandy M., suggested I put a dark mixed green color at top in the center and fading out lighter on the edges. I tried. Really I did. And when it wasn't working I tried even harder and got messier and then finally just took the whole thing, put it under running water in the tub, and washed it off with my hand until - well - now it looks like it has measles :(

So the moral of the story is - if you don't feel well enough to get out of the house and go to the gym because the sinus pressure in your head makes you feel punk, then you don't feel like making good decisions when it comes to painting so leave it alone.
But I'm not giving up on this one - it's definitely a "do-over" with a different technique in mind and maybe even different paper. I've heard that Twinrocker paper is called the Mercedes of paper - and maybe another try and I'll think that way, too, but I didn't fall in love with it on the first go-round.
Today going to visit our new grandbaby, Devlin, and see how he's grown in almost 2 weeks and get some new photos.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday's Class Work - Cordyline

I worked on this in class yesterday. I have to admit, I was not in the mood to paint, finding plenty of reasons to sit and look and just sit and zone out! So I'm not happy with this. Sandy recommended one more thing and I'm going to try that to see if it helps it BUT either way I'm going to paint this again differently - no glazing but just go in with mixtures of paint on the paper while it's wet and try to get the darks and keep the whites that way. We'll see. Since the Twinrocker soaks up the paint and water, I'll go back to either Arches or Fabriano for the second version.

What do you think about this version? What does it need to make it work? I think the reds are overworked - I got too opaque with the paints and I need to sort my paints and make sure I'm keeping the transparent look to them, not laying them in so thickly at times. I bought a dark, rich blood-red yesterday, too, which might give me a boost with getting that color right. And I need to let more colors blend - right now the purples look too blah.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jerry's Article in the Northern Kentucky Enquirer

Jerry got some mention in an article in the NKY Enquirer about his photographing frogs for the Newport Aquarium. You can get to it by going here:

The photos were taken by Jerry (of George, our red-eyed tree frog)

and by a current Biological Photography student of his, Kim Baker (of Jerry taking a photo of a tree frog). They didn't give Kim photographic credit in the story, although they said they would.

The first billboards are up announcing the new Frog Bog at the Newport Aquarium and you might recognize the first little froggie they have used there, too :) George is getting so famous we may have to start calling him Sir George! haha Jerry did the photos for the billboards, too, so look around the tri-state area to see if there is one in your neighborhood. I've heard the first one spotted was on the way to TriCounty on I-71.

UPDATE: Another billboard has been spotted on I-471 south of Newport exits.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Better Photo to Help you Identify

Maybe this is better to help someone identify this plant. Nava said she thought it was a Bird of Paradise, but I don't think so. I'm hopeless so maybe one of you gardeners with a green thumb and lots of knowledge can tell me what this is.

What Kind of Plant Is This?

I took the photo and several others at the Ormond Beach, FL Gardens. I don't have a clue what it is but it caught my eye. So I'm painting it. Anyone know what it is called?

This is on Twinrocker paper that I've never used - it has a bit of texture but it isn't rough. It's supposed to be coldpress but this is the texture it has. Also, it's heavy - heavier than 140# but not quite 300# - so it does suck up the paint a bit.

I'm painting this wet-in-wet, prewetting the petals first and then dropping in the color and letting it run. When I try to lift out color, it lifts easily (maybe too easily so I have to be light-handed). Interesting paper. It may be perfect for glazing - maybe I'll use the next sheet for that technique.

For now, taking a break. Tired. Did NOT sleep well at all last night even though I was so tired I was feeling like I was losing touch with my body while I sat on the sofa reading last night. In bed by 9:30!! but awake off and on all night :( grrrrrr Maybe I could use a cup of coffee and back to my book (the latest Jodi Picoult book called Change of Heart).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Baby Devlin Finishing Touches

I didn't do much more on this painting, but I did darken inside his mouth a bit and darkened just a bit in the hair on the sides. He's done - and I have a frame for him. We'll deliver him to Mom and get her reaction on Monday afternoon :)
This is an unsolicited painting so I hope she likes it.

Now we have plenty of work to do around the house and yard today - no fun but has to be done once in a while. I hope your day is spent doing something you enjoy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Two New Books from NorthLight Book Club

I found these two wonderful watercolor books on my doorstep this afternoon when I came home from the gym!! Now if these 2 don't inspire me, nothing will. Birgit is one of my favorite artists and I love her large macro flowers. This book of her's even comes with a dvd!! And I love Anne Abgott's bright, bold colors. Both came from NorthLight Book Club. I don't order often, but when I saw the O'Connor book and this one, I had to have them both! And I'm building up those bonus points to get a free book soon, right? :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nothing to Paint?

Can one get to a point where there is nothing to paint? I feel that way. Maybe it's that I'm not inspired to paint anything right now. I looked through my photos. I looked online at others' works. Nada.

Oh, well, time to pick up a good book for a while and let my painting brain rest, I guess.

When you get in a non-painting mood, what do you do? Do you panic or let it ride itself out? How do you get out of it if it has lasted a week or a month (not that mine ever last more than a day or two so I'm not worried yet).

The empty house across the street has a yard knee-high in grass and some lovely irises blooming (which I may just go over and cut and bring home to paint - is that stealing?).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday's Class Work = Finished Hollyhocks and Baby Devlin

I finished the hollyhocks by dropping in more darks and then going very dark with other color mixes (Indanthrone Blue + Quin Magenta or Perm Alizarin Crimson + Quin Burnt Orange).

And then I had time so I started a painting of the new baby grandson :) It seems you have to paint a baby the way you'd hold a baby = gently and lightly!

I need to add a bit of shadowing inside his mouth but I'm not going any darker on the skin right now - I want to keep that light, fresh, baby look.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Back to the Poured Pelicans + Hollyhocks

Touches of darker color here and there finished off the pelicans painting. It's an odd size (because I cropped off quite a bit of the viewer's right side that was just water) so it's painted surface is 13" x 14" - going to be fun to get it matted and framed! Oh, well, I NEVER finish a painting in a standard size when I can make it an odd one! haha

And another bit of dropping in color on the hollyhocks, thinking about what gets pushed back with darker color and what should come forward in the painting. Will probably do 1 more layer of the 3 main colors like this and then go in with a dark mixture - maybe Quinacridone Magenta and Indanthrone Blue - to touch in some very dark darks here and there to finish. The work now will be done in the lower left up to the mid-point of the flowers but I won't touch the upper part again. I want to leave that sunlit look.

And what should I do next? Well, I'm thinking about a baby portrait of our new grandson, who arrived on Mother's Day :) Not sure I can capture that just-born freshness but it might be fun to try!

Flew the Coop

Well, mama and papa cardinal were making a heck of a racket the other day and we didn't pay much attention. Then Jerry went out to get photos and he said 2 of the babies were out of the nest with 2 more getting out when he looked and mama and papa going nuts.

He called me out and, by that time, all 4 babies were no where to be found so we followed the peep-ing of the parents and saw they were in the trees beside the house with mama and papa leading them around the house. The two I saw were able to fly and get around pretty well for birds that had been crammed in elbow to elbow (do birds have elbows? probably not!) in a small nest so I guess it's just instinct.

The first photo is by Jerry - closeup of the last 2 getting ready to leave the nest area.

The only photos I could get were the other 3 which aren't that great but you get the idea.
Talk about empty nest syndrome!

You may be able to make out a baby in the tree, trying to hide from us trying to look up and see them. Since they were heading towards the back of the house and deck with the bird food, I put out more seed and mama and papa kept coming to the seed, filling their craws, and taking off again, feeding the babies.

I hoped to see the family out at the feeders today, but didn't see them. It was windy and rainy and maybe too much for the little ones but I hope to see them out there someday together. Afterall, I never even got to see how many were males, how many females, or see any red to their feathers at all!

Today, mama and papa are going to the feeders and then flying away - the babies, although I can't see them from the deck, are still in the trees and shrubs by the side of the house protected and being fed still. Perhaps one day soon I'll look out and see them all at the feeders flapping their wings and chirping to be fed when they are as big as mama and papa!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers' Day

According to the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, we have all been mothers many times in our past lives, so Happy Mothers' Day to Us All.

This is the card I made (just some paint and collage) to take to my mother today, along with her present.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More on Hollyhocks + Open Figure Session Today

Now painting with a brush but trying to just "drop in" the color without much brushwork disturbing the freshness of the color. Slowly darkening by doing this. Now I need to think about what is in front, what is behind, what should be darker...

I'm still using only these 3 colors: Hansa Yellow Medium, Rhodonite Genuine, and Cobalt Blue.

And did the following in open figure drawing today from 9 am - 11 am. We had a good model and I was tempted to put in some color (but didn't take any) because she streaks her hair with a bright blue color and has some interesting tattoos.

The first one is with graphite and then the sketch 'n wash graphite pencil in the background and touched here and there and wetted so it got very dark and rich.

This is a good example of how you should look at the composition (even if it's just a figure) and where things "kiss" and where things merge. Do you see how it looks like she has 3 breasts? That forearm coming around her body and being cut off by the black band on her wrist makes it look wrong although that was the position. So...push back the forearm with shading so it doesn't look so odd? Does it look that way to you - or just to me?