Thursday, March 31, 2011


Wanted to share with all you Frida-philes the new book I got. 

This large, hardback book uses photos from the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City.  When Frida died, Diego Rivera had her dressing room and bedroom closed off - for 50 years.  When the opened the rooms, they discovered treasures of dresses, skirts, blouses, ribbons, etc. and made a book out of it.

What I find interesting is you can see the outfits Frida wears in many of her self-portraits or her photographs.  And you get a bit of history of the Mexican women who wore those outfits.  If you're a Frida-phile, you'll enjoy perusing this and reading a bit about the clothing.  Frida was only 5'2" tall and wore the long dresses to cover her damaged leg but also as a statement of her culture and history as a Mexican woman.

Here are some photos from the book:

It's a must for any of those who are into Frida and want to know more - great photos in the book, too, that I'd not seen before.

This afternoon, I take my painting of crows to the Women's Art Club of Cincinnati and try to get it in their juried show.  Won't know either way until April so I've got to keep my fingers crossed until then - and it's very hard to paint when your fingers are crossed!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My echocardiogram was scheduled for this morning - but they called and canceled it.  Apparently, their tech for this isn't very reliable - he was away last week when I was scheduled for this, too.  Oh, well.  I don't have to do anything today but paint, and some laundry, and watch some tennis, and...whatever.

We are having more snow today.  Honestly!  Doesn't Mother Nature know it's almost April and this is not supposed to be happening now south of the Ohio River?? 

All right - who ticked her off??  Fess up and take your punishment so we can really, truly get into spring and get some warm weather and get out and enjoy what tried to bloom when we had 2 days of 70F weather last week.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Here's where the peeps stand in this one - the same peeps x 2 :)

This one is finished.  I like the green but am not crazy about the Lunar Black behind them - I think the bg should be smoothe to offset the texture on the peeps - and I'll make sure I do that with the next one. 

This one is on 140# Arches cold press paper, 9" x 11"

This one is not finished (obviously).  It's on Twinrocker 140# cold press paper, 7" x 7"

It has a pale pale Verditer Blue wash all around that you can't see - it just looks white here.  I will leave that as the background but will think about another color for the foreground and shadows. 

You can really see the texture in this one.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Started another peeps painting.  This one is smaller and I'm working on the texture by putting down the pigment and then sprinkling on popcorn salt.  I don't usually like salt for texture but it seems the only way to get the look of these peeps = that crystalized sugar look.  So I'm playing with it.

Here is a close-up of the texture you get when the salt is on.  Of course, you have to let it dry completely and then scrape or rub the salt off the paper so there's no residue left.  Then do it again, each time getting darker and darker in values and closer to the final effect.

This one is on Arches 140# cold press paper.

Then I got the idea that maybe I could use this as my entry into the Magnitude Seven show at Manifest Gallery (  So I tore a piece of Twinrocker paper (yes, I still have my order of 5 sheets that I didn't want to use because it's "too good" to waste!) down to a 7.25" x 7.25" size and put the same two peeps on there.  And here's a close-up of that, showing the texture.  The color is more saturated because I intentionally got it darker on the first pass so I don't have to keep getting the salt off and putting it on with each layer.

There is something so nice about this Twinrocker paper - the feel of it in your hand, the way it takes the pigment and water.  Maybe it's just that it's so precious that you feel like a real artist when you're working on it?

In both paintings, I prewet each peep and then dropped in the color and moved in around, lifting a bit as it dried.  Then put the salt on.

Have you used salt to get texture in your paintings?  Did you like the effect?

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sunday is for sharing the blogs of the followers I've attracted.  I usually wait until I have 3 new followers before I do this and since I just got another, it's time to share!

1.  Newton Avelino, from Brazil, wowed me with this work - so full of life and color and great design.  Pop over and see what I'm talking about - this is very original and very interesting work!

2.  Carol Flatt has been on my sidebar for a while now, and I want to share her blog with you all.  Carol does some lovely work in pastel and oil.  I like all of her paintings but her pastels are my favorites, maybe because they seem more fun with interesting twists on the usual still lifes - and she also creates beauty in simple things like a stack of white bowls.  You'll love visiting and checking out her work.

3.  Judy of De Draad (The Thread) works in watercolor and creates beautiful, soft flowers that make me envious of her touch.  She lives in the Netherlands so I'm not surprised she paints flowers!

And now, a poem for those who are actually having spring...

The Enkindled Spring

by D. H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, ashadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Worked a bit more on the painting of the peeps.  I'm enjoying this - how could you not enjoy the colors and all?  I think it's done - or pretty close to it.  I would like to get that sugared look to the birds - maybe wet and drop in fine popcorn salt?

Half sheet (15" x 22") Fabriano hotpress 140# paper.

And for those who asked about the new haircut, I've had Sweetie take some photos of the cut and showing off the new glasses.  You can tell how thick my glasses are by the distortion on the side of the face :(  No getting over it - every 2 years  the bifocals must be stronger...aging, but not always gracefully!

 My hair is not red - I think it showed up that way because of the white balance on the camera.  He changed it and used a flash later but I like the one smiling better than those not smiling. 
(Although, honestly, I'm getting to the stage where I really don't want to look at photos of myself so the bottom photo is the best! ha ha)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Last year about this time I took some photos of peeps in all their colors.  I then did some set-ups for photos but never painted them.

So I found those on the computer and thought it might be fun to paint some.

This one's called What Are We Gonna Do About Her?
A group of yellow peeps in a box with one lone pink peep on her own - perhaps she's too flamboyant, not traditional enough, maybe she wears her skirts too short or the yellow peeps just don't like pink? 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Well, yesterday was a busy day.  I did get my stress test over and it was interesting.  The techs were friendly and explained things.  Got my heart rate up to 163 which is good and I didn't feel like I was going to fall over.  I didn't notice that I glowed last night with the lights out (from the radioactive isotopes they injected into me twice); and I had 2 separate MRI scans so they should know all about my heart now (or as soon as my cardio reads the reports and sees the scans and everything else).

I feel fine - but tired.

Went to the Newport Aquarium's opening of their new penguin exhibit last night - called Penguin Palooza.  Interesting and entertaining short "show" about the penguins and lots of kids and families and volunteers (it was open for volunteers and their families last night as a thank you for the help at the aquarium).  They have Rockhoppers, Kings and Gentoos and Chin Strap penguins so if you like penguins, visit if you're in the area.  It's in Newport, KY.

And today, I get a new cut and color to make me feel like spring - except it's <40F today and spitting snow!!!

I softened some edges in Tweets and Red Faced so they are both done.  Tweets have eyes, too - and that always makes a pet or person come alive in a painting.  So they are both DONE!

More to share later of a new painting I've started - something silly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A touch more on the Red Faced painting of the Japanese Macaque by modeling the face a bit more.  I think it still needs some softening around the face blending in to the hair and then it will be done.

I put in the background for the Tweets and will finish that by softening around the edges of their bodies, too - and putting in the the eyes, of course.

It's been such a busy month and April doesn't look any less busy.  I don't like being busy.  That's why I'm retired!  But sometimes life happens.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Most people won't show you the ugly stage of their work.  So you don't know that it's okay to have an ugly stage - and that you can get past it.  But there are always times when we think we've ruined a painting and we just don't push through past the ugly stage.  The next stage of the Tweets will look better (I hope! ha ha)

And while that ugly stage was waiting for the next stage, I started another small painting of a red-faced macaque.

Putting in the eyes and shaping the face made this one look much better than the ugly stage (which you didn't get to see on this one).  A bit more shaping and he'll be done.  These are the monkeys you see in the hot springs in Japan.  I've only seen them in zoos and that's where this photo was taken.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


If you don't want to check all the individual artists' blogs for their current auctions, you can go over to the Daily Paintworks.  They are having a large auction of art with the proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross for disaster relief.  Take a look and see if you find something you want that can also benefit the people of Japan.  And kudos to all the artists who have joined this challenge!  Auctions start this afternoon.

I've read that donations coming in for Japan are much less than the donations sent for the Haiti relief efforts the first weeks.  Let's help out the Japanese people, if we can.  There are many individual stories there of total loss and I cannot imagine the stress they are living under every single day since this earthquake and tsunami happened. 

Friday, March 18, 2011


The TriState Photographic Society's show at Sharon Woods begins today, March 19, and runs through Sunday, March 27th.  The gallery in the Sharon Woods Visitor Center is open daily from 10-4 except Monday.  The reception is Sunday, 1 pm - 4 pm.

If you're in the Sharonville area, stop by and see the show.  They have a nice gallery and there will be plenty of colorful photos to see as well as cards and small prints for sale from many of the TriState members.  Jerry will have some photos of George (our red-eyed tree frog), other critters (owls, hawks, herons, egrets) and landscape/nature shots.  

Here's some info from the postcard for the show:


Using a different photo of two parakeets, I've started another small painting.  This one is 1/4 sheet (11" x 15").  This is called Tweets - before the word meant something completely different :)

Hope you are having a sunny day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I sure am seeing a lot of green clothing around today.  Green has never been my favorite color but I have been to Ireland and seen the unbelievable green hillsides - and been in the rain that makes all those hillsides so lush and green. 

For St. Patrick's Day, instead of green, I'll share a white-washed cottage in the Irish hillsides.  Painted on rice paper and then glued to watercolor paper.  This was done a few year's ago.  I think it would be pretty to have green in the foreground and around the cottage against that violet (got a bit carried away with the violet and you know you can't lift that out of rice paper!). 

The photo was shared on a Yahoo group and several of us painted this - but I can't remember whose photo it was.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
(Stay away from the green beer.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm tired.  But I don't know why. 

I could blame it on Daylight Savings Time and losing that hour that you never get back.  Or maybe it's the after effects of the allergy tests Monday and the fact that I still have large raised red welts on my arms from several of those tiny injections under the skin of things I am definitely allergic to (ragweed, tree pollens like Sugar Maple and American Beech, and house dust).  Those raised red welts are hot to the touch, too, so I'm nice and warm :) 

It could be the rain and dreary cold days coming after a bright, sunny, warm day. 
Or maybe it's the incredible sadness of the earthquake and tsunami that plundered Japan; seeing those people suffering and not being sure what is true and what is not true about what they are being told about the radiation leaking added to the little bit of food they are getting, no heat or light, and little comfort of any kind.

I pushed myself to work on something today and ruined the blueberries that were looking good.  That will be a do-over.  I was trying to use watercolor pencils like in Deb Ward's demos she's been sharing, but I rushed them and didn't pay attention to shape and color.  So now I have a bunch of muddy looking blue-violet round things in a nice basket.  Not Deb's fault.  Her demo looks great.  I should know not to paint when I'm feeling tired :(

But tomorrow is another day. 

Monday, March 14, 2011


I worked a bit more on this painting.  I see where I've thinned her hips too much - doesn't look natural right now.  I may have to go in with fluid acrylics and make some changes at this point and get more vibrant colors but this is a good base for the painting, I think.  It has possibility.

I get to go to the allergy doc's today and get pricked with things that are supposed to make me have an allergic reaction.  Just a checkup and retesting that happens every few years but not the most fun thing I've done :)  I'll take a good book with me to read while waiting for reactions.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I have some new followers :)  So I have some more blogs to check out and share with you today.

1.  Okay, first, say his name:  Carlos Alberto Arellano.  Lovely! 
You can just imagine the man who has this name, yes?  But I digress! ha ha  Now go over to his blog and check out his work - it fascinates me.  I've got to figure out my way around and, honestly, Microsoft translate sucks - what a mishmash of words that make no sense whatsoever when I'm translating to English.  So just look at the artwork - bold, dark, humorous (darkly humorous?)  I like it.  Even if I don't know what Maqui Duende means - something about machinery...

2.  Julie Hill shows her work in several blogs with Daily Painters groups and she has her own blog.  I'm afraid I got overwhelmed with Daily Painters and don't stop by often anymore - so many great artists are there but then I spend time chasing one's work and seeing that and then another and before you know it, well, you get the idea.  Don't worry.  Just go to Julie Hill's blog and check out her lovely watercolors.  You'll enjoy it and you will come away refreshed and happy.

3.  John Brisson lives and works in Big Bear Lake, California.  How lucky can you get?  He studied art and photography in high school and college and now paints in acrylics and does woodcuts.  Interesting stuff, there - go over and take a look.  I love that painting of the cabin and want to live there (if I can't live on the beach, I want to live in a log cabin in the woods).  John's art can be found at Downstairs Creations (because his studio is the whole downstairs of their cabin).

I'll be sharing some more next Sunday, but for now, go over and visit these artists.  There is a nice variety of styles, mediums and techniques to keep you busy on a slow Sunday afternoon.


Take a moment today in your busy life and think about the people in Japan who are suffering and living without so much.  So many people affected by the earth shaking off the coast of Tokyo and causing such devastation!   Estimates are that more than 10,000 are dead in one prefecture alone in northern Japan.  10,000 people.  And that's just an estimate because there is no way of knowing yet what that final number will be. 

Take a moment and send a prayer, a positive thought, a wish for healing...

Just take a moment.

If you have the means and the inclination, you can send money to the Japanese Red Cross.  You can even bid on paintings by Keiko Tanabe and Tom Schaller at their blogs and the money raised will be sent to the Japanese Red Cross. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


This is another small painting - 7" x 9"
I often do a couple of small ones when I'm working on the SWAP painting so
I have some to hold in reserve.  I began this one, using a postcard from our
local grocery (promoting a grand opening event) - nice blueberries in
a wooden "box."  I'll have to get the
deep colors in there and leave the
whites and pales to show shine.  It
makes me happy, working with blues
and violets - I guess it's calming for me. And I'm getting more used to using complementary colors in things I paint to have some visual pop.

Today, a friend and member of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, Susan Grogan, is taking part in a show at the Miami Township Civic Center (6101 Meijer Drive) from 10 am - 4 pm.  She has a booth there to show and sell her watercolors (and she is very good!!).  I'm hoping to get to visit for a while today.

Tonight, the TriState Photographic Society is having their annual year-end award banquet.  Lots of good food, good people and fantastic photos to see :)  Sweetie may even win some more ribbons and/or plaques this year.

Tomorrow, I hope to visit the Women's Art Center of Cincnnati (The Barn) second Sunday show as well as the current show that's been there a while in a second gallery (it's called Oil and Water).  I want to check out the space since our watercolor society will be having a show there in June (and I'm coordinating the registrations and accepting the paintings and $ on the drop off day).  

I'm also going to try to get a painting into the WACC annual juried show (sent in the forms and $ already but will still have to hand deliver the painting at the end of this month).  

Friday, March 11, 2011


I finished the Parakeet Pair.  They will go flying to their new home (as a SWAP painting) today.  Since it's a SWAP painting, this is small - only 7" x 9" so it's easy to mail.

I hope my secret partner likes them :)


Woke up to this picturesque tableau this morning:

Unfortunately, the people of Japan were hit overnight by a huge earthquake that has created a tsunami.  The scenes I've seen so far have been unbelievably frightening, and not a lot of information is getting out.  Hawaii is supposed to be hit very soon and the coastlines have been evacuated.  My friend, Carol Carter, is there, teaching a workshop.  I'm sending positive thoughts for her safety.  Australia and New Zealand are waiting to be hit, too.  Let's keep all these people in our thoughts today as we go about our business.

What's a little snow - a little fluffy, pretty, wet and frosting-like snow compared to earthquakes and tsunamis??

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I can't claim to have spent a lot of time yesterday painting but I did get back to the parakeet pair to add a bit more.  Still using only Hansa Yellow Light and Raw Sienna for the yellow; put in Burnt Umber with some green mixed from Cerulean + Hansa Yellow Light for the background. 

I slept a lot yesterday, and spent a lot of time watching taped shows.  But the birds are just about ready - have to put more into their eyes (need the centers to be black).

And today I'll run out to LensCrafters and pick up my new glasses (ordered them last week and had to wait since our local LensCrafters isn't a one-hour-turnaround type place).

Hope you have lots of bright spots in your day today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way." --- Winnie the Pooh

Something that is supposed to be, isn't.  Something that wasn't supposed to be, is.  That's life. 

That certainly illustrated my life yesterday.  By late afternoon I was sicker than I'd been in a long long time.  Migraine Deluxe!  With all the attendant woes that come from that (you know, if you are a migraine sufferer and I don't need to go into all that).  And then, while trying to sleep I got two phone calls:

1.  Telling me not to have any caffeine from that time o

n (it was 4:30 pm and I had been drinking nothing but water and gatorade through the day).

2.  Telling me the test was canceled because my insurance company wouldn't approve it.

So...that didn't add to my pleasure at all.  But I was just as glad because, honestly, I didn't think I was going to live through the day anyway so why bother with a stress test?

But today...

Is another day.

And the migraine is gone (except for the leftover feeling of being run over by a truck), and I'll take it easy today.  (I've had a cup of decaf and a piece of toast and think both will stay in my body as nourishment today).

And I intend to paint something

It's on my table, waiting for me to get back to what I started.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today is my No Coffee day.  No caffeinated coffee; no decaffeinated coffee.  No Diet Pepsi Free Cola (yeah, I drink that stuff).  No chocolate either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. 

I can drink milk (YUCK), and juice (does a Bloody Mary count?), and water (whoopee!).  I probably run on less caffeine that 95% of the U.S. and Europe but I like the comfort and the "start your day" of a hot cup of decaf in the morning.  No fancy stuff, just black coffee in a mug.

So what am I drinking this morning?  A small glass of Sweetie's orange powerade.  And it's not even as tasty as Tang.  Remember Tang?  Then you're as old as I am! ha ha

Now, do I really believe that a patient needs to be without the tiniest hint of caffeine in their system 24 hours prior to a stress test to get accurate results?  No.  I think the medical profession makes rules - they love rules - and since they are the bosses of you, you do what is asked.  (Charlie Sheen, take note!)

I like my new cardiologist.  I don't know if he's a good cardiologist or not - how would I know until it's time for something serious to happen and he comes through with flying colors.  But whether he's good or not he's still the doctor - and a specialist doctor at that - so I have to do what he says

They'll be putting in the new water heater today.  Materials and labor have been prepaid, but we were told to expect other expenses (if they have to bring everything up to code with other plumbing, etc.).  Let's hope it stays under $1,000.  And that I get some painting done this afternoon.

And it looks like most of my sidebar thumbnails are back!!  Hope your's are, too.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Today, as I was checking on a load of laundry so I'd have some comfortable clothes to wear to my stress test on Wedneday morning bright and early, I heard a hissing sound.  Nope, not a snake.  A hissing sound like water being forced through a small pipe...and walked into the basement area where the laundry is and found myself 1/2 inch deep in water running out of the hot water heater. 

Of course, I called to my hubby (aren't hubbies supposed to know what to do in situations like this) and began carrying things away from the running water (boxes, odds and ends, junk we don't know and some important stuff leaning around like photos matted and framed and paintings matted and framed).  Eventually, after much cleaning and moving and swabbing the deck, Sweetie got the main shut off (couldn't shut it off at the water heater) and drove to Lowe's to check out a new heater and when it can be installed.

Okay, first the livingroom ceiling because of the leak in the roof through the attic and ceiling.  Second the hot water heater.  I can't wait for Third Times a Charm so I can get this all over with :)

It could have been worse - we could have been out and unaware of that odd hissing noise that needed to be checked out. 

Can you tell that home improvements are not top of our priority list until they HAVE to be done?  I'm an artist, not a carpenter - no, wait, I'm an artist named Carpenter (but that doesn't count, does it?).

Oh, and I'm sure this is a stress test - just not the walk on the treadmill kind.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


After hitting a plateau for a while of 108 followers, I now have more viewers in the boxes who have blogs I am able to share.  So, for today, let's visit:

1.  William Cook is an artist who makes his living being an illustrator.  And his precise drawing skills show in his more illustrative work.  But that's not where this man stops.  He paints deeply meditative paintings in abstracts that are muted and rhythmic and always want you to enlarge them to see more.  He paints traditional watercolor paintings.  He "sketches" although I can't call what he does with graphite just sketching like my sketching because it's much more developed than that.  He also paints just for the fun of painting - to explore media and color and shape, and he lets you know that, if it doesn't make you laugh, well, at least it made him laugh and that's just as important to carrying on with artwork.  Go over and visit.  You won't be disappointed!  Oh, and he's one of those bloggers who comment on every comment you make - he replies, he wants a conversation with you.  So don't be surprised if you meet a new friend over there :)

2.  Dee Doyle got into watercolor and acrylics after raising her children and retiring from her full time job.  She painted lovely, soft watercolors and bold, bright watercolors; she sketches in public; she is learning figure drawing and is doing some great stuff.  (She just took a workshop from Myrna Wacknov and you know that pushed her in new directions and I can't wait to see more work like she did at that workshop.)  Dee is exploring water media for all it's worth and getting a good foundation in drawing along the way.  She's one to admire on those days you sit there on your behind and say, "I don't feel like it today."  I have a feeling Dee would tell you to get up and "just do it!" 

So, if you're looking for something new and interesting - something you may not have seen before, visit these 2 artists and see what they are doing.  Drop them a comment and expect a comment in reply :) - and enjoy your day, whether it's rainy or cold and snowy or warm and sunny and you just want to see some good artwork today that's new to you. 

Have a creative, colorful Sunday!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Alice Neel and Sam Brody.

 Alice and Sam had a very volatile life together. When they began living together, Sam was married with two children but had no qualms about leaving them to move in with Alice. When Alice met Sam, she felt she had found someone who moved her, physically and mentally. Since fidelity was never something Alice required from her men it didn’t seem to be a problem that Brody had many women on the side throughout he and Alice’s relationship. Brody, although disloyal when it came to other woman, was fiercely loyal to Alice when it came to her artwork.

In September 1941, Alice gave birth to his son, Hartley Stockton Neel and the family soon moved to Spanish Harlem.

Sam had taken an instant dislike to Alice’s son by Jose Negron and the birth of his own son did nothing to lessen that dislike, which was expressed as constant verbal abuse and intermittent physical abuse. Neel said she stayed with Sam Brody, knowing he was abusive to her son, Richard, because “I was very inert. I had the two children. I had the house. I had a basis of living. I wasn’t going to leave that or give it up, or change it.” Sam once broke Richard’s collarbone and even threatened to kill him if he learned how to read. He told Alice that, if she pushed Richard off a cliff, he would buy her a piano. Richard’s half-brother, Hartley, often came to Richard’s defense against Brody.

While this was going on, Alice continued to paint. She painted her friends, her artist peers, her lovers, her children, and the people living in Spanish Harlem, where she and Sam made their home.  She had a solo exhibition (her first since May 1938) in March 1944. She was also included in a group show in 1943 titled “Exhibition by 31 Women” in the newly opened Peggy Guggenheim gallery, The Art of This Century. The show included Djuna Barnes, Frida Kahlo, Gypsy Rose Lee and Louise Nevelson. In 1945, Guggenheim had another show titled “The Women” but Alice was not included in that show. Neel’s belief in mainly figurative work would doom her to obscurity in the decades that Abstract Expressionism and Surrealist paintings were the rave in the galleries.

Although Alice was on welfare during the years her two son’s were young, she was an expert at manipulating the system in order to hide any luxuries the family had (like the telephone, the t.v., and her country house in Spring Lake). She managed to finagle top-notch educations for both of her boys, including ballet lessons for Hartley and piano lessons for Richard (as well as sending Richard to a special school for the blind). She also got full scholarships for both boys to a progressive boarding school in New Hampshire and, finally, to Columbia University. When the boys were old enough to learn about their peers’ families and lifestyle, they realized their own lifestyle was distinctly different. They were exposed to a variety of people – not just their mother’s lovers (Sam and John), but the lovers of her lovers (both Sam and John had a bevy of other women while continuing a relationship with Alice.

During this time, a major presence in the boy’s life – one who acted as a surrogate father to both – was Phillip Bonosky, a journalist. Neither Richard nor Hartley felt like Sam was a father to them. As an adult, Hartley completely disowned Sam and asked Richard to do the same. They both suffered from “the Bohemian lifestyle” led by their mother and her various men.

Although there was never a sexual relationship between Bonosky and Alice, he became more than just a casual friend, as evidenced by his time spent with her sons. Bonosky was a writer and kept a very revealing journal of his time spent at the Neel-Brody home. He was taken with Alice’s art work and her personality. Estranged from his own son and separated from his wife, having the two boys around filled an emptiness in him. He was especially fond of Richard and made it his goal to keep him away from Sam. Neel illustrated a couple of stories by Bonosky so they had a working relationship as well as a personal relationship. The time spent in the Neel–Brody household showed Bonosky “the profound corruption of this woman whose round smiling face hides so much that is deadly” when he saw Brody cooking for himself and his son, Hartley and excluding Richard from the meal entirely. Bonosky also saw, or heard from Richard, instances where Brody physically abused Alice, once even spraying DDT in her face. Bonosky says Alice forgave Brody everything because he loved her work.

For whatever reason Alice continued to live to Sam, she was not ignorant of the suffering this caused.  Two paintings, in particular, show clear evidence the pain:
A painting of Sam with horns like a devil and all in darks and mottled coloring
A painting of Alice holding Richard, the sadness evident in the pale skin and hollowed eyes. 

At the age of 50, Alice Neel had two young children, nine and eleven, to raise. She also had her hands full juggling Sam Brody and John Rothschild. And she painted daily. She had a solo exhibit the day after Christmas, 1950, but Alice was under FBI surveillance by March 1951 due to the rampant McCarthyism in the U.S. in the 1950’s. She had just one other show in 1951 and was regarded as passé by the up-and-coming artists of the decade. Bonosky wrote that Alice “felt marginalized – simply wiped off the map – because she remained a realist.” Alice didn’t do much to help her cause, keeping her distance from the bevy of art galleries and artist studios in a part of New York that was 100 blocks from her home and her kitchen studio. She did not summer on the Hamptons as many artists did, but continued to return each summer to her house in New Jersey. Her paintings distanced her from the nouveau elite of the art world while she physically distanced herself.

(Summarized from reading the biography Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty by Phoebe Hoban.)

Friday, March 4, 2011


Finishing up the Structure section of the book, Expressive Figure Drawing, we come to another few exercises.

First, the Structural Emphasis Exercise, reducing the contours to straight lines again.  You were to use a crayon or pen that can't be erased so you commit to the lines.

I had fun with this (using my new water soluble markers) and did the lines with red and then the shading part with violet and wet it to get the shadow shapes. 

Second, the Structural Strength Exercise, using chunky sticks (I used my conte crayons in 2 colors).

Using the red earth color first, mass in the body and then, on top of that, using another color, you do overlapping contour drawing.  I was supposed to make the contour drawing all straight lines again, but I forgot that was the requirement.

I worked with the beginnings of a sketch I had in my large sketchbook from classes way back when.

Then I did the final exercise, Structure Drawing with Conte Crayon (although I didn't use conte for this one).  Starting with the "hinged I" to get the direction of the torso, adding the rest, building out the body shape as I went and reiterating the lines.  I did this one with a piece of woodless graphite.

I drew in the hinged I for that position so you can see the shoulders, hips and torso and how it is flexed. 

The next section is on seeing the body as a variety of SHAPES.  Since we are all taught to paint shapes, not things, this one should be fun and also familiar.

I'll be writing up a summary for the next part of the Alice Neel biography for tomorrow, if you're interested in coming back to read it.

Also, I checked the photos I uploaded here (from my computer) and they all start with
and I thought that meant they wouldn't show up on someone's sidebar?


I got some information from Google about the missing sidebar thumbnails and you might be interested, too, rather than searching for yourself.  I think I understand this and if you give it a try the next time you upload a painting/photo to your blog you can see if it works.  (I think my thumbnails are showing up but will check that on others' blogs, too.)

This is what Peter McCartney sent in response to the question/problem:

Peter McCartney has posted an answer to the question "Many of the sidebar thumbnails on my blog have stopped showing up - some show, some don't. It just began last week.":

Links from this group re your question:

In otherwords, images (new address) starting with will not show up in bloglists.

Images starting (old address) with will show up in bloglists.

To verify this, check your friends latest image properties (right click on their image) For example: Creativity Journey. Its latest image has googleusercontent in its properties.

Where David Lobenberg's latest image has the old address.

The reason for the change of address (taken from the link that I posted) is covered in the Google Operating Blog post titled: Picasa Web Adds HTTPS Support.


There is also a site you can go to to read about this:

So, for today's blogroll thumbnails, I went to Mary Beth Shaw's posting (no thumbnail showing), and right-clicked on her painting she posted.  Under Properties it shows it as this:

But for Celeste Bergin's posting (showing a thumbnail), I did the same thing to check her painting she posted and it shows, under Properties, this:

How to change this?  You have to be in Edit HTML as you post for the day and upload photos - and check your own posting to make sure it has in the first few letters other than in the first few letters.  That's if I'm understanding it correctly.  Try it and see if it works.

It has something to do with the way Picasa now stores all of our uploads and the https is a secure upload while http is not = which means, I guess, that the photo can be used other places like sidebars.  Whew!!!  However, if I understand this correctly, it's up to each poster to post their painting/photo the "right" way to get it to show up on someone's sidebar - the blogger who has the sidebar set up can't change anything.  Oy!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Met my new cardiologist today, Dr. Darryl Dias (that's pronouced Die-as because he's not a Latino but from India with a lovely accent and huge dark eyes).  He said, yes, I have leakages in the mitral valve, the aortic valve and the tricuspid valve BUT on the scale of
my leakages are in the mild category - not even moderate!!!  And here I was thinking I would have to have transplants and replacements and all that before I hit 55 (due to the alarmist attitude of my previous cardiologist, I think). 

So - Really Good News!

Somewhat Bad News - have to have another blood work up for cholesterol (and I haven't been eating healthy's see...Halloween??).  I also have to have a stress test that involves injecting me with radio isotopes - a test that can take 3 hours.  And then a "routine echocardiogram" that I can do the same day which takes another hour.  The stressful part of the test will be no coffee (not even decaf) or any drinks but water 24 hours prior to the test - which means nothing the previous day; and then nothing to eat or drink (but water) 4 hours prior to the test.  Don't you just hate those rules?  Do they think you are going to perform well when you normally get up and have a coffee and some oatmeal or cereal and instead you get nothing - and have nothing for the 4 hours of the test?  Maybe that's part of the stress?

Oh, well, the past two days have been busy enough that I haven't done anything creative to post - maybe tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Back to the book, Expressive Figure Drawing, by Bill Buchman.

The last exercise in the previous section on Line was to create a continuous line drawing, then go back in with ink or paint and make some shadowed shapes.  I used my Tombow pen (which is water soluble) and then brushed around with the ink in the Tombow or some added watercolor for color.

Now we go on to the next section, Structure.  The author uses the structural method of drawing:  reducing the human body to a small number of distinct sections.  You've probably seen this before - using:

1 oval = head
4 cups = shoulders and breasts
2 balls = kneecaps
12 cylinders = neck, upper back, torso, arms, legs
1 modified cylinder = pelvis
2 wedges = hands
2 triangular solids = feet

(The picture - upper left - is the author's drawing of the structures of the body.  The picture - lower left - is the structures showing the "hinged I" that makes up the torso of the body.

I began by drawing a "hinged I" from a photo in the book.  Then, on the same page, I drew the body structures around the hinged I.  Finally, I filled out the body shapes still using the idea of the hinged I for a structural basis.

It's interesting that you get a sense of movement in just the stick figure.

The first real exercise in this section was called the Structural Shapes Exercise and we are to draw, with a continuous line, the structural gesture of the body.  Using a thick sharpie or other thick marker, draw while looking at the shapes and structures of the body, fitting them together as you go.

Instead of following that exercise to the letter, I taped the body structure using masking tape and then painted around it, trying to fill out the body shape around the foundation.  Kind of interesting result.

We'll continue on with more structural exercises next time...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Worked more on this painting - and here's where it stands right now.  I didn't want the "black" background to be smooth and even and all the same color.  I like that it's mottled and mixed here and there (done by painting it with a big soft brush from a puddle of 3 colors and then spraying it with plain water before it dried and tipping the painting to let some color and water run).  I'll be making everything inside that black more soft-edged, too (except for the dress, that is).

Oh, and Happy March :)
Spring cannot be that far away now, can it?