Monday, January 31, 2011


I got a book recommended by Myrna Wacknov as another birthday present from my Sweetie.  There are exercises in the book and I'm going to follow along, doing each set and see where it takes me. 

I won't use the same photo each time as the model but I did all these from the same photo (which is how the exercise in the book looked). 

These were done on my Aquabee sketchbook, front and back, with conte crayon (sanguine).

The exercises were to help us explore the body through the use of simple contour lines, and then define the mass and volume, and finally a pointillist version was done (I didn't have the patience to spend a lot of time making this one look good so just did a few dot dot dots with the conte).

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today is Sunday and it's Sunday Sharing time; a time when I list some of my newest followers (according to Blogger) and send you over to their blogs to check out their work.  But this Sunday is a bit different.

This past week, I received this Stylish Blogger Award from blogger-friend, Margaret (Peggy) Stermer-Cox.  Peggy says this one comes without don't have to do anything with it but accept it. can share it with others.  Well, since it's Sharing Sunday, I'm sharing it.  

So I'd like to thank Peggy for giving this to me.

And I'd like to share it with:

1.  Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson is the creator of Paper Paintings collage works.  This isn't your usual collage on paper stuff.  Elizabeth starts with prepared or bare birchwood and completes a loose and flowing acrylic painting on that for her start.  On top of that underpainting, she layers hundreds of pieces of paper that is torn (never cut), slowly building dimension, flow and beauty.  I've seen some knock-offs of her paper paintings in the years since discovering Elizabeth - they can copy her but they can't capture her individual style.  

Not only is she stylish in her artwork, she has a beautiful, generous style in her life, sharing her work with others in the form of books and DVDs and her blog.  But what makes me want to give her - and only her - this award is this:

Elizabeth has a childhood friend, Cherie.  Cherie was recently in a life-altering accident which left her in the hospital and then rehab for months.  Elizabeth put out the word through her blog, asking that we sent Cherie cards and artwork to cheer her and brighten her room during her long stay in the hospital.  She then gathered together several artists, and created a Blurb book for her friend, Cherie.  She set up a link to a site that allows us to send donations to Cherie and her sister, who is taking care of Cherie and had to revamp her home to accomodate a wheelchair with ramps and lifts and larger doors.  Through Elizabeth, Cherie has been receiving cards and original artwork from people who have come to know her through Elizabeth's blog. 

Cherie's 43rd birthday is February 2.  My card and a small painting is in the mail.  You might want to send her something, too, if you have been following her story and want to say Happy Birthday to her.  It can also be a welcome home as she is now home with her sister, who will be her main caregiver in the coming months.  No more hospitals and rehab centers far from home.  But Cherie has a long way to go.  I know I will meet her in person someday.  But for now, I feel like I know her - and that's because of Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson.

Oh, did I mention that Elizabeth trained and ran her first marathon after the age of 40?

Does this woman deserve a stylish award?  You better believe it!

(When I began this post, I was going to award this to several bloggers.  Having chosen Elizabeth first, I see that, truly, she deserves this so much I don't want to dilute it by giving it to others.  I know you'll understand.)

Go visit Elizabeth's blog and read about Cherie and see where you can send her a card or a little bit of bright something to cheer her.  Give that love away and it will return to you ten-fold!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I admit, I haven't been very creative lately.  But I did this little doodle while watching a somewhat less than exciting match at the Australian Open the other day.  Can you see the influence of all those tennis balls and racquests?

And since I don't have anything colorful to share with you, how about this:  The Art of Watercolour magazine published in France - you can view every page and read the articles and see the paintings - gorgeous work and one of my favorite watercolorists, Carol Carter, is featured, in this issue.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have become addicted to One Hundred Washes, a blog created by Maggie Latham to challenge the participants to practice watercolor washes.  If you love watercolor, you will fall in love with the work being done there.  

There was one painting done by Jane Minter on there that just blew me away.  Washes of color and, not the usual salt for salt's sake type of thing but using salt as a medium to make the pigment shape itself into....well, go over and see it and you'll know (

And I wanted to try it.  So I did. 

NOT as easy as Jane made it look!

Here is my feeble attempt and, at this stage, it actually looked pretty good.  Using cerulean on the right side (paper still very damp and rumpled) with Indigo on the left side and a touch of raw sienna and quin burnt orange in the middle.

But I couldn't leave it alone.

So I worked a bit more and came up with this.

I wanted the center piece to look like sand that was being uncovered a bit by the rolling waves.  Not sure I accomplished that. 

Now go back to Jane's version and see how it should be done :)  And spend some time pondering the beautiful work done on the blog - it's what watercolor is all about.

And thanks so much for all the birthday wishes you sent yesterday!  My Sweetie brought home not one but THREE different versions of brownies with various icings and other delicious ingredients - he does know what I like! ha ha  I got plenty of chocolate and flowers and a beautiful card...and a check for whatever else I wanted but didn't get plus a couple of art books coming soon AND

this beautiful mermaid's purse created by Jeanette Jobson.  It's made from a soft wood, painted in watercolor and then varnished with a lovely sea biscuit on top with a leather string.  She included 2 whelk shells from her home in Newfoundland (also painted and varnished).  It's not to be used but couldn't you see a mermaid having this for her little bag of goodies when she steps onto land and becomes a human for a while?  It will have a place on my bookcase in the living room as a reminder of the days of sea and sand...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm getting too old to enjoy these things yet they keep coming around.  (And yes, that is me, newborn and not looking too happy about it.) 

Don't bother with birthday wishes - just send chocolate! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Nothing inspiring me to paint right now so I return to doing sketches. 

Some of these are mine, some started out as copies of some of the work in the Egon Schiele book.  You'll know which are which, I think (hint: I don't think Egon ever drew or painted lemurs).

Monday, January 24, 2011


I finished the raven painting.  I like the odd objects in this created with the bits of tape, and I might play with making them stand out more...or not.

While the raven painting was drying, I put this older painting on the table and played a bit, darkening and changing some colors here and there with watercolor.  Worked fine, although it was begun with fluid acrylic.  It's on watercolor board.

I need to go back to the River Rocks and finish that - or at least try shaping those rocks more.  I don't know what's stopping me.  Maybe all this cold (-2F Saturday morning) has my brain frozen.

Maybe I'll just do some sketching until I get in the mood to paint something else.  I'm looking for inspiration :)

Today is my friend, Susan M.'s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Susan :)  I hope you are having a good day and had a very good weekend.  Did you eat a slice of a Nanaimo bar for me??

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Sunday.  Time to share the spotlight with a few of my newer followers/viewers!  (Do you ever click on the followers icon and see who is watching your work?  You might find some wonderful artwork being created by those who have found you - but who you have not discovered until they show up on your blog.)

1.  Evrard de Caqueray has a self-titled blog in which he shares works in watercolor, acrylic, graphite, and photography.  Travel sketches, full detailed paintings (check out one of my favorites = Sortie at and drawings.  This artist is talented in so many ways.  His blog is in French but can easily be translated if you don't speak French (which I do not), or just look at the art - it speaks for itself in a universal language.

2.  Maggie Latham is a busy, creative, productive artist.  She has created several blogs.  My favorite (and one I admit to being addicted to) is One Hundred Washes, a challenge blog with several artists painting - you guessed it - watercolor washes.  And oh, how glorious they are!  But that's not all - sketching?  Maggie's got a blog for that and her sketches are beautiful enough to hang on any wall in any gallery.  You can find these and links to all her work at Maggie Latham Art.  Go there.  Don't deny yourself this pure pleasure.

Again, thank you so much to my followers.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I hope you've enjoyed the summary of the book, Egon Schiele Drawings and Watercolors by Jane Kallir, ed. Ivan Vartanian.  It's well worth the price ($31 at if you enjoy figure drawing and Egon's work, in particular.

Beginning in 1917, Egon finds success finally arriving.  His work is seen and purchased, and he even has waiting lists for commissions by early 1918.  However, his marriage is not seeing as much success.  Edith feels "psychologically alone", shut out from her husband's work.  We could say that Egon stopped using her as a model because, in April 1918, she announced she was pregnant.  It might be unseemly.  But Egon stopped using her long before that, and we find her image less and less in any of his works after 1917.  

In his art, Egon shows no reaction to his impending paternity in 1918.  His work is focused on the same cycle of life and death which he explored in his earlier studies on paper and oil paintings. 

Some call the oil painting, Squatting Couple, his "masterpiece".  Edith renamed this painting The Family, perhaps trying to embue it with sentiment that was not there.  Some of Egon's biographers felt that this could be a personal painting of his pending fatherhood because he used himself as the male model.  But it is more likely (painted prior to Edith's pregnancy) a continuation of the same cycle of life and death Egon painted many times.  Although the child can represent future generations, there is a pessimism in the painting due to how little contact there is among the three figures.  In fact, it seems as if each one is unaware of the presence of the others.  No motherly love and embrace, no lovers' touch. 

In the autumn months in Vienna, living conditions deteriorated.  A desparate cold snap came on early, and Egon's studio was damp and in disrepair.  Because of black marketeers taking advantage of the post-war times, it was almost impossible to get enough coal, and the simplest foods were unavailable.  The Spanish flu arrived and reached epidemic proportions.  Egon had sent Edith to a sanitarium in Hungary in the summer for her protection, but in October 1918, she contracted the deadly flu, suffering for just over a week before sucumbing to the virus which claimed more people worldwide than World War I.

Egon sketched his wife's face for the last time on October 27, 1918.  The next morning, she was dead.

Is there a hint of longing or tenderness in the black crayon strokes?  One would like to think so, but Egon's note to his sister, Gerti, immediately after Edith's death seems in bold contrast with a man grieving the loss of a beloved wife and child.  It states simply, "Edith Schiele no more."  Direct.  Cold.  Unemotional. 

Upon receipt of the note, Egon's brother-in-law came to Vienna to find Egon in dire straits.  He arranged to have him moved to the apartment of Edith's family, where Edith's mother cared for him.  Egon's mother and his sister, Melanie, came for one final visit and, on October 31st, Egon Schiele died.

The author states, "There is a timelessness to Schiele's best work that speaks to the unchanging essence of humanity across time and space."

And with that, we say goodbye to Egon Schiele (June 1890-October 1918).  In his short lifetime, Egon left behind more than 2,000 drawings and watercolors and more than 300 oils.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I have been struggling with the corn kernels.  Can't seem to get them to look finished enough without going all square looking (and that yellow ear is looking pretty dull - guess I could get out the white gouache and shape it a bit more).

I'm stepping back from this one for a while - until I can see more clearly and get those kernels right.  Maybe I should have left them loose???  (No, that's just the part of me that doesn't like problems!).

On to the Raven Rhythms painting and playing with design and color - much more my style :) 

Next stage to come later...I'll have it finished today.  I have 3 panels done and one more to go...


Once again, the full moon was hidden on the night of the 19th - unseen beneath the clouds and coming winter storm.  But here are a few photos taken by Jerry in the past...

Thursday brough a major snow storm to our area - across the whole midwest and down into Kentucky.  Predictions of light flurries turning to serious and steady snow accumulating to 6 inches on the ground by Thursday evening were accurate.  However, our city trucks pretreated the roads several times before the snow started and then throughout the day so we had beautiful white fluffy snow on the ground and cars but the road was like a straight, black ribbon in the middle of it all.  Really very pretty.  Until about 3:30 when things began to get tricky and slushy and I was glad we didn't have to go out because you could no longer see the road.

I'll be finishing the still life and playing on the raven painting - when I'm not watching the Australian Open tennis matches (still rooting for Roger to win it all although really enjoyed the Bagdatis-Del Potro match!!!).

Thursday, January 20, 2011


A little more work, a few more dibs and dabs of paint here and there...

The misket and the tape is off the raven painting.  Now touching up the whites and blending it all in so it's not so stark. 

And still working on the foreground of the still life, adding some depth and shape.

This is where they both stand right now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


According to our author, Jane Kallir, 1916 was Egon Schiele's least productive year.  He spent his time off the military base with his wife, Edith, but marriage was becoming  more of a disappointment than a joyful exploration.  They travelled together and he was able to visit Vienna and reconnect with his family again.  He completed several studies of his young nephew for future oil paintings during those visits.

In 1917, Egon declared that he wanted to start anew.  The whole year was a busy and productive one.  Egon spent time strengthening contacts with his old art patrons and friends.  His military superiors took advantage of his artistic abilities and sent him to document supply depots and other outposts.  While travelling on those assignments, he did many landscape drawings and paintings.

A bookseller created a portfolio of Egon's reproductions.  They sold out quickly and Egon's related postcards sold well.  For the first time in his career, Egon began to receive fan mail!  He received inquiries from collectors and writers, and had many commissions.  The War Museum asked him to help organize a war exhibition and Egon showed his work at the Munich Seccession of 1917. 

Edith, at this time, felt completely left out of Egon's life.  She complained that he never discussed his work with her.  He used her less and less as a model.  He began using his sister-in-law, Adele, as his model.  Adele said she was not shy about posing nude and even claimed that she and Egon had an affair during this time.  True or not, he did use her as a model often - we don't always know which models are Adele because she was a brunette (Edith was a blonde) and Egon painted many of his models with red hair (remembering Wally, his red-haired muse of the past?), not caring for the reality of their hair color.   

Egon is using black crayon now instead of the soft pencil he used previously for his drawings.  He becomes more concerned with volume and less with color.  The number of nudes he does during 1917 exceeds the output from previous years.  

Following a near sell-out exhibition at the 49th Vienna Secession of early 1918, Egon becomes widely known as the preeminent Austrian artist of his day (Gustav Klimt died in February of 1918 following a stroke).  Egon was asked to take charge of organizing the Secession and he created a lithograph for the poster, using artist friends as the models (and placing himself at the head of the table and an empty chair for the deceased Klimt).  Egon received the largest room at the Secession show and placed 19 oils and 29 works on paper - all sold out with a waiting list for more when the show ended!  While some of his colleagues may have complained that Egon stole the show, they had to admit to his guidance and hard work to make the show a success for all of them. 

Due to the success of the Vienna show, Egon now has a flood of requests from collectors, magazines and even theatres (he is asked to create sets).  He has enough money to rent a large studio and hire professional models.  

Egon is 27 year's old, and 1918 is only beginning...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


While keeping my hands off the Shaker still life painting (I don't pick it up unless I'm relaxed and ready to think more than paint while looking at it), I've begun something else, using some reference photos sent to me by my friend, Sharon.

I put down the sections using white artist's tape, then decided to play with the sections so put down torn pieces of masking tape here and there to create a rhythm.  Then I traced the photo references onto tracing paper, and played with placement of the pieces of tracing paper, ending up with the three elements I have here. 

Next step, a wet wash of colors, playing with pinks and reds behind the birds.  I miskited off parts of feathers, claws, eyes, etc. to save them and painted around them as much as I could, watching out for drips.  I also painted inside the birds' mouths that were open with the same pinks/reds, and then took a large flat and just stroked an orange-pink color over some of the horizontal bits of masking tape.

At this point, there are 3 distinct sections and there's nothing in the 4th section. 

So after the paint dried, I drew in a single feather in that 4th section.

Monday, January 17, 2011


The ravens are done and ready to fly.  With the drastic crop, the size is now 15" x 17.5" on Arches 140# cold press watercolor paper.  I'm not crazy about them (perhaps I need to focus on just one or two birds at a time). 

And here is where the Shaker Still Life stands right now.  I won't leave that corn that washy (I hear you, Susan R.), but boy, I like the way the corn looks right now and have to figure out how to get it more finished looking without losing the fresh look - but it has to tie in with the rest of the painting which is more finished looking. 

I went back in with a big puddle and a big flat brush using Lunar Black and some browns - covered the whole "black" area and then darkened the shadow shapes on the table, too.  Now it's smoother, less brush strokes showing. 

Some Quinacridone Burnt Orange on the churn helped to redden it up a bit - with a bit of Quinacridone Gold at the bottom and a tad more French Ultramarine Blue on the bottom and top pieces going around (don't know what that's called or my brain can't retrieve the word right now).  I toned down the yellow look of the onions with Raw Sienna and some Cerulean Blue in places.  And I went back over the table to get more woody looking areas. 

I have a feeling this is a Deb Ward painting (i.e., you work a bit here and there, slowly building up colors and values), which isn't my style at all but sometimes you just get into something that takes time and thought.

To keep me from going too crazy with the fiddly bits, I've begun another raven painting - loose with lots of color.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Here's something that's right up my chocoholic alley:  Two art shows featuring chocolate!

If you're local or in the area, stop by and drool over some chocolate-inspired artwork.  I may have to brave the cold and see these shows.  What better way to ease the winter doldrums than a chocolate rush (and, in this instance, non-fat).

And time to feature a couple of my newest followers/viewers...

1.  Margaret (Peggy) Stermer-Cox is a name I've seen around on many blogs.  I'm pretty sure I had her on my blogroll at one time but then she stopped posting!!  But she's back now and creating and posting again.  Take a look at her colorful, bold paintings and her wonderfully rendered drawings over at her blog or her other art sites.  Just visiting her blog and seeing her banner header puts a smile on your face - the colors just jump off the screen!

2. True Colors is the name of the art blog by Jane Moller, and you will definitely find some delightful and colorful paintings there.  Delicate, loose, beautiful work done by a woman who was born in Denmark but has lived in Italy for the last 30 years.  I love how she says she started painting in watercolor in 2007 and "it was love at first drop of water."  I know just what she means.

Visit these two wonderful artists and see some art you may not have seen - and you may make a new friend or two :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011


In 1914 Egon finally begins to grow up.  He seems to finally understand that he must take more responsibility to earn a living from his art, if he is to continue being an artist.  He begins working for others, sometimes doing commissions and also working as a private art tutor.  With backing from a patron, he learned drypoint (which he considered the only artistic etching technique), but made only 6 prints before giving it up because he found it too time-consuming and labor intensive.  He also got a show in a local gallery at the end of 1914.  These new endeavors tell us that, perhaps, he was becoming more acceptable to others who could help him with his career.

During this year, Egon's drawing and painting changed.  The waif-like nudes of his earlier works were now full grown women with curves and softness.  Wally was used a a model less and less (or maybe she was just unrecognizable in these works).  Egon's palette also changed to ochre or brown underpaintings in gouache accented in reds, greens and blues.  Even as his drawings of women became more rounded and womanly, Egon's attitude toward them lost some emotional connection.  Often you see the focus on the body, almost impersonally, while their faces make them look like white-eyed dolls thrown down on the paper without feeling.  

Egon's time with Wally was coming to an end as he began, in earnest, to look for a wife.  Seeing the sisters, Adele and Edith Harms, who lived across the street from his studio, he often went out with both of them and Wally was brought along as a chaperone.  How cruel it seems to ask that of Wally, but perhaps it was just the way things had to be if Egon was ever to join society.

Egon eventually picked Edith, the younger Harms sister, in 1915.  They married in June and 3 days later he reported for military service in Prague.  Not much of a honeymoon, but Egon often went home to Edith every night when he was close enough to do so.

Edith insisted that Egon stop seeing or using Wally as a model.  Egon did not want to give Wally up (or did not want to be told to give her up by his wife), and in one of the strangest bits of their story, the newly married Egon arranged to meet Wally in a cafe where he presented her with a "legal" document stating that they would be obligated to share an annual vacation!!  Wally quickly rejected his offer and the couple never saw each other agin.  Wally, who had been so much a part of Egon's life, volunteered as a Red Cross nurse and died of scarlet fever in Dalmatia in December 1917.

Egon began drawing and painting couples (man and woman/woman and woman/woman and child).  Relationships between men and women must have been very much on his mind and he couldn't have helped but compare the relationship he had with Wally (where she was totally subservient to him as model and partner) to that with his new and immature wife.  Any of his ambivalent feelings about relationships may have come out in the work he did of couples - often painting just one person as fully alive and human while painting the second as a doll-like creature, eyeless and puppet-like. 

Historically, a man ruled his household and his wife, but Edith seems to have had a mind of her own, often demanding from Egon what Wally would never had dared to ask for.  Egon, having lived with only Wally for years, was surprised at the noncomplacency of his new wife.  Edith made it clear to Egon that, if things did not suit her, she could easily return to Vienna and end the marriage.  In spite of frequent arguments, Edith followed Egon from one assignment to another while he was in the military.  And, according to both of their diaries at this time, they often spent their time together making love. 

Edith demanded that Egon have no other nude models for his work than herself, but requested that in any nudes, her face never be shown. 

So...Wally is gone.  Edith is standing her ground and making her own mark on the marriage.  Egon is moved from place to place (wherever the military sends him), but can be close enough to Edith to go home to her each night (while his superiors continue to look the other way).  

During 1916, Egon's military rating (unfit for battle and only assigned office duty) kept him close to Edith.  He was angered when he was assigned anything other than office work, including digging trenches and escourting prisoners, but used those prisoners as models that year.  Those drawings and paintings show more emotional connection than previous work, although 1916 was his least productive year.  He painted mostly the day-to-day things and people around him, using the Russian prisoners as models and often making quick drawings of his superiors as a way to gain favor with them. 

All-in-all, Egon's military duty was not a negative experience for him or for his career, although it did slow down his progress for a while.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Just a bit more work on the Shaker Village still life...slowly but surely I need to build up the colors in the warm elements.  Not sure how I'm going to tackle the corn but definitely not photo-realistic.  I hope to be able to keep that loose with enough detail to suggest corn.

And a couple of sketches done while taking a break from the Egon Schiele biography.

The first one is a la Egon but isn't a copy of any of his work in the book.

The second was done while watching the Twilight: New Moon movie.  I haven't read the books and only watch the movies when they show up on cable TV (so much teenaged angst gets me down).

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Still reading Jane Kallir's book on Egon Schiele. 

I find it interesting that Egon is known mostly for his erotic work, when there is so much more to him than that.  But, perhaps it was his scandalous incarceration that caused him to have this reputation. 

In 1912, Egon was 22 and was openly living with his 18-year-old model, Wally (Valerie Neuzil).  The locals were not pleased.  A model was seen as just one step away from a prostitute, and while it was expected that a young man sow his wild oats with prostitutes/models, a decent man did not set up house with them.  Egon's problems came to a head when he 1) began using children of middle-class families as his models, and 2) had a young girl develop a crush on him and begin following him around.  This young girl, the daughter of a retired naval officer, rhe ran away from home, coming to Egon and Wally for help.  Egon and Wally took her from the local village to her grandmother's home in Vienna.  Along the way, the girl changed her mind.  Egon and Wally took her back to the village (after an overnight stay at a hotel).  There is no indication that anything sexual happened between the girl and Egon.  But his reputation preceded him and everyone thought the worst.  The girl's father filed charges of kidnapping and rape against Egon, the police raided Egon's studio (finding his erotic works) and he was charged with public immorality (apparently, private immorality was accepted but not public). 

Kept in jail for 17 days before sentencing, Egon was tried and found guilty of the morality offense (kidnapping and rape charges were dropped), and the judge gave Egon 3 more days.  His total confinement was 20 days jail time served. 

Egon was devastated.  He could not believe he was jailed for such a charge because of a young girl who caused all the problem.  (However, one wonders why Egon and Wally travelled with her to Vienna to take her to her grandmother's house without informing the girl's father what was going on.  One also wonders why they never went to the grandmother's just because the girl changed her mind - also without informing anyone what they were doing.)

So...Egon spends 20 days in jail.  Wally visits and brings him art materials and he draws and paints in jail (although the paintings are of Egon lying on his bunk, he insisted on showing them as verticals, and signed them as such). 

Being jailed for public immorality caused Egon to change some things in his life:  he and Wally became emotionally closer; Egon stopped drawing children unless they were accompanied by their mothers; and Egon's paintings and drawings of female figures became less erotic.  

After the turmoil of 1912, the next year was fairly calm, although no more prosperous.  Egon made big plans to paint large canvases in oil, working on allegories and religious subjects.  But those canvases were never finished (due to lack of funds, lack of backers and potential buyers for such work, or the large size was just too unwieldy to work on in his small studio space).  Egon had one solo show in 1913 but the dealer then ended his representation of Egon a few month's later, saying his works were unsalable. 

By the end of 1914, Egon sees his favorite sister (and sometimes model), Gerti, marry an artist (whom Egon did not like) and have a child.  This alone caused Egon to question his own direction in life and his immaturity.  Also, World War I began, with many of Egon's contemporaries called up for service.  The author tells us that, at this time, Egon's debt is as much as the annual income of a prosperous working-class family. 

Egon, now 24, begins to think about settling down, finding a socially acceptable wife, and doing something to get out from under his debt.  He begins to be more proactive about his career.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Another few inches of snow here, and an early morning peek at the sliver of moon in the trees made me want to share a poem with you.

Winter Trees

by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!

A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.

Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

And my ravens aren't cooperating.  I've had to use drastic measures on them...

I've cropped off the 5th raven on the right side and all that pink. 

This may be a do-over after going back to the photo to see what appealed to me in the first place about it and made me want to paint the ravens.  (My ravens don't look big and bold enough - more like crows - now how did that happen? ha ha)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The ravens were looking at me so forlornly each time I entered my little art room.  They wanted to know why I was ignoring them.  So while the still life was drying, I put them back on the table and fiddled a bit more, darkening the front raven and making a few more definite marks.  I'm not liking the railroad-like lines on the right and will have to tie that in to the rest of the painting somehow.

And that pink has to go - or be greyed down considerably.  (This is an instance of something being interesting in the photo but not working in the painting - and the rule of using a color throughout the painting, not just in one area...although I did touch in that pink elsewhere, the pink on the side is so strong, it looks like a single element that's too strong.)

I was going to do more on the still life painting but, a winter weather front came through and guess whose barometer-head gave her a migraine instead?  I'm getting pretty tired of these after 30 years :(

Monday, January 10, 2011


I started the Shaker Village Still Life painting.  I did the background areas first and didn't go in dark enough - it was medium value and too varied in colors.  So I mixed up a large puddle of darks (using lots of colors) and went back in, trying to not get brush strokes.  Then began working on the warm elements.

Not bad so far, but it needs time and looking and letting it site (and another go with a warmer dark in the lower left area).  I'm liking the glow of the salsa (?) and churn and onions.  More to come...

Sunday, January 9, 2011


If you enjoy seeing good watercolor portraits and learning more about them, the latest Watercolor Artist magazine is one you should have.  I received mine a couple of weeks ago but have heard not everyone has received their copy. 

This issue (February) has work by Susan Montague (who calls Ted Nuttall her mentor, and Ted's style can be seen in her portraits).  It also has a drybrush portrait WIP from Robert J. O'Brien and a layered watercolor portrait WIP from Suzanna Reece Winton.  Chock full of portrait info and tips!

It also includes the winners of the annual Watermedia Showcase plus paintings which took top prizes in 22 of the year's annual juried shows.

And since this is Sunday, it's time to showcase some new followers/viewers:

1.  Katherine Thomas is a colored pencil artist.  I haven't the patience for this very time-consuming work but so admire those who create masterful works using just colored pencils and layering many many times.  Katherine's work makes your jaw drop and your eyes pop and your heart skip a beat - it's that good.  So pop over and check out her blog if you want a dose of really good artwork to make your day.

2.  HW (Hallie) Farber, whose artist blog is called Arting Around in SOVA (which stands for Southside Virginia), does everything from sketching to colored pencil to acrylic to...well just go over there and see for yourself.  She's got a pretty good sense of humor, too (always a plus if I'm going to read a blog for a while).

These are just two of my newest followers/viewers.  I went up to 85, then lost one and now am at 86.  I think I'll celebrate when I get to 99 - maybe with a give-away.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011


While continuing to read and learn more about the life and artwork of Egon Schiele, some watercolors in the book catch my eye and I try to copy it - the linework more than the color since I'm just sketching these.  The use of line - when to go heavy, when to go light, escapes me and I tend to be heavy-handed with my lines right now. 

So...just a couple of sketches done while on a break from reading the book.

Egon's mother thought he was a ne'er-do-well when he wouldn't get a "real" job and help out the family after his father died (of syphilis) when Egon was 14.  His uncle took him under his wing, but after 3 years at the Art Academy and skipping classes more than attending, he decided to enroll Egon in military school.  So Egon ran, travelling with 2 friends to his mother's city of birth - but he still begged for money from his uncle.  (Even though he had a few patrons, they were not very wealthy and were turned off his work when he began doing more nudes in garish colors.)  

Egon first used a gynecologist's patients (with the doctor's permission) as nude models!!!  Can you imagine that???  Apparently, these women were poor and this was part of the payment - to model for Egon.  When that stopped, he payed a pittance or candy to the local children to model for him.  These children were street urchins or had families who didn't care where they were so being inside a warm studio with a nice man was a treat for them and there is nothing in the paintings to suggest anything untoward happened with the kids.  Just models, to Egon, who needed cheap models (which is why he did so many self-portraits, I imagine).

In all of his drawings, he takes a figure and reimagines it - you can see in this stylized self-portrait (my copy of his original) how very skinny he was.  Remember, he was a young boy, really, not even 20 yet.  All bones and angles and knobby bits are displayed.  But clever placement of parts within the picture plane without any background, make the edges of the paper part of the composition.  He often put almost all of the body in, cutting off the top of the head intentionally - or did figure work with no indication of a face - just a blur of paint.  His focus was the shapes of the body, not the individual.  It was almost as if he didn't see his models as people but just shapes to draw and paint.

For now, Egon has left Vienna and his uncle has stopped supporting him.  He is tiring of his friends and cannot earn a living from his artwork.  He is 20.  Although he has been in a few good gallery/salon shows in Vienna, he has yet to find any truly wealthy patrons (such as those who are supporting Gustav Klimt at this time).  

Here are a couple of paintings by Schiele of children.  There is such a delicacy and haunting quality to them...

When we think of Schiele's work, we think of the many nudes he did, some almost pornographic.  But he did some remarkably subtle, gentle, ethereal paintings (nude or clothed) of women and children and some self-portraits that curators are still trying to decipher.  He also did many landscapes in watercolor and oil.

So...will Egon return to Vienna and his mother, hat in hand, and become a model citizen? I think not...