Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Last portrait class study

22" x 30" graphic stick

I have been a little under the weather lately and didn't have much energy for the last portrait class I took this fall quarter. Two models seemed daunting.

I had just been to The National Gallery in Washington DC where I had spent time looking at the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He was masterly at capturing groups of people and crowd scenes in which the figures are highly individualized. So with these two models I tried to achieve that feeling. They were actually sitting further apart with space in between them but I decided to draw them closer together. I liked the way his light skin profile worked against her dark skin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Washington DC—Day 2

My second day in DC and just as cold as the first one. Back on the Metro to the Smithsonian and almost everyone is alseep.

I spent sevral hours exploring the exhibits in The Museum of American History. One of my favorite's was Julia Child's "Bon Appetite" exhibit. She was such a pioneer. She donated her kitchen to the museum where it was recontructed exactly as she had it in Cambridge Massachusetts, minus the asbestos linoleum. I stood for quite a while watching monitors of her old shows. What a great spirit!

Card # 3233—The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where I was absolutely awed by the story that was told as I made my way through the four floors of the building. As you enter the elevator to start at the top floor you are given an identification card. My card was # 3233 belonging to Holocaust survivor Magna Hellinger telling her story. Though all the museums are spectacular this one is truly an experience that is unforgetable.

After six hours I was back on the Metro. Suddenly we stopped and were told to get off because of problems with the brakes. We all filed off and everyone drifted across the plarform and got on the orange line. I was troubled since I knew the blue line would take me to my hotel. Why was everyone getting on the orange line and where was it going? I stayed back and waited thinking I could get a cab if all else failed.

Eventually a train for the blue line showed up and I made it safely back to the hotel.

Another great day in Washington DC with my crappy sketchbook. I know better now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Washington DC—Day 1

I had never been to Washington DC until last week when Jerry was attending a sustainability conference so off I went to our nations capitol. I arrived on Sunday and by Monday morning when I headed to the Smithsonian Mall a cold north wind had arrived and with the windchill it was 0°.

After figuring out the Metro system where many people are sound asleep, I was off to experience the Smithsonian. It was so brutally cold that most of the famous outdoor sights were a quick walk by.

Sketching at the fabulous and most interesting Museum of Natural History.

After hours at the Museum of Natural History I faced the cold and headed off to The National Gallery.

At the end of the day, a quick sketch at the National Gallery before finding my way back to the Metro station.

On the Metro back to the hotel in Crystal City, Arlington Virginia.

All these sketches were done in a 5" x 5" Hand•Book journal that I have had for quite awhile and grabbed as I walked out the door in Maine. The paper is a dingy off-white, quite thin and buckled when I added paint. Not my first choice, but good enough for this sight-seeing event.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Puppy sitting

Sophie and I went out to Cape Elizabeth the other afternoon to puppy sit for Sang, a nine week old Weimaranar. I was rainy and cold, but we ran around and on grass anyway—well they did. Sophie was a little disappointed that Sang wasn't better at chasing her and was more interested in eating mulch.

After growling (Sophie) at the waterdish and a few laps around the dining room table, it was time for a dog break. While Sang slept in his crate and Sophie curled up on the couch staring at me with that "what is that creature in the crate" look, I sketched the rainy and cold view.

Running around

After an 8 mile early morning walk I sat down at my messy corner of the dining room table to sketch my sneakers. Since I am starting the "holiday clean-up", I decided to sketch my arty clutter one more time. Some would consider this a down right mess, but not me. These are some of my best friends.

There many miles on my favorite running shoes. I may be time of a new pair.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good intentions

I bought a bag of cranberries with the good intention of making some kind of holiday cranberry thing. Of course, that never happened so I painted them.

Scattered—140 lb rough watercolor paper

Cluster—on Yupo

Bowl—Moleksine watercolor sketchbook

Strung—140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel comes from a deep urge to see the world

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind" (Seneca)

I will be leaving for Bali in January and not returning to the USA until mid July—6 months, my longest time away. Sophie will be staying with my parents near San Francisco sharing the love with a Cockapoo named Freddie Brown. She will be well cared for "out there having fun in that warm California sun". However, we have to get there first...

This is Sophie in her new carrier and as you can see she really doesn't care for it. This is the airline regulation under-the-seat carrier for a pet up to 22 lbs—really? It barely seems big enough for her and she only weighs 13 lbs. They say to put the pet in the carrier so they get used to it, but I know she will never get used to this tiny carrier so why torment her. Everyday, I do toss a few treats in the carrier and she has to go in to get them. A good time and tasty, but she is suspect...

"There are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror" (Orson Welles)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A cold rainy Sunday

It was the kind of day to stay home in front of the fire. Of course, I had to find some things to draw, but first I headed into the kitchen to make a cup of tea...

After the tea and drawing the honey bear, I found the rest of my drawing subjects on my very messy corner of the dining room table.

I go through more Cerulean Blue than any other color. It's time to order a new tube or two before I leave for Bali.

Two of my other favorite colors along with Ultramarine Blue and Quinacridone Gold. More for my wishlist.

My very messy palette after an afternoon of painting.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Farmers market—Portland Maine

It's getting cold here in Portland so the farmer market is waining. Really all that is left are the cold weather root vegetables. After sketching a bit, I bought some delicious carrots and two bunches of kale to make the even more delicious kale crisps.

With winter just around the corner, the beautiful colors of fall are fading. The late summer flowers in window boxes and flower pots in front of the businesses in the Old Port have been replaced with mums and ornamental kale. Soon it will all be replaced with holiday balsam, lights and wreaths.

It's pie season. This lovely apple pie was in a coffee shop on the way home. No pie for me though...well, maybe a bite...maybe...

Inspired by the wonderful Yupo paintings by Suzanne at A Brush with Color, I brought this Indian Corn home to try my hand at painting on Yupo. The unpredictability of paint that floats on the surface is a challenge but can be very fun and creative.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shoes and sunset

New shoes "TOMS": Living in Maine it is inevitable that I finally have to put away my flip-flops. So now that old man winter has blanketed New England in cold darkness, I am wearing shoes, but not socks...yet.

I saw these shoes at a boutique in town. For every pair of Toms shoes that are purchased, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. "ONE for ONE". That is so cool and how cool are these gilded gold herringbone shoes. I also ordered glitter black. Then I started thinking I should order white canvas and paint them...
Beautiful sunset last night over the city. I quickly sketched with conte´ crayons and ink.

Friday, November 5, 2010

This week...

"The Great Gatsby"
Jerry's son, Alex, has a sweet rescue boxer named Gatsby. He is way more trained than Sophie when it comes to "sit, stay and come", however, he did think he needed to show that he was the alpha male dog...in the house. Sophie just walked into the bedroom with that "I would never do that" look on her face.

I practice drawing hands whenever I am at a loss of what to draw. The other day while in the waiting room I did this partial blind contour drawing from a magazine. I added color when I got home.

For Grace Uhm, a fellow Julia Kay Portrait Party member. She asked me to do a sketch for her from a photograph she sent me. Here it is Grace. I hope you like it.

In today's class today we did collage portraits using magazines and pasting it on with our hands. Martha brought books from the artist Romare Bearden. The model was sitting in front of colorful draped fabric in the studio. She didn't have a dog and neither of them had crowns...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween weekend sketches

Line 'em up, Line 'em all up. 3 of 15 scarecrows at a farmhouse in Cape Elizabeth. Brush pen and colored pencils.

Sketching at the farmers market. Dip pen, ink and watercolor.

Sophie and I glamming it up in front of our building. One last time in my Halloween costume. An olive green "witches hat" with a black veil made out of netting with spiders worn comfortably with my jeans, black t-shirt and pearls.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Portrait class—Halloween self portrait

Self portrait
22X30 Rives print paper

Our assignment this week was to come in costume with a mirror to do a "Halloween" self portrait. I arrived in a $3 green witches hat with a black veil, green eye shadow, blackish/red lipstick and a large silver cross and pearls around my neck. Jerry asked if I walked through town that way and I said yes, but no one noticed. I blended right in...I think...

This is the process, I described a few posts back, using burnt sienna oil paint thinned with odorless turpentine for the initial drawing. Charcoal and pastels seem to grab onto the painted surface. More very thinned color can then layered to blend and create a surface to add more charcoal/pastel layers and on and on. I did this in about two hours, but I could have stayed at the studio all day. Unfortunately another class was waiting to start. It's quite messy! A far cry from ink and watercolor in a small sketchbook.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bali art prototypes

Over the next five years we will be spending more time in Bali than here in Maine while Jerry implements his sustainable seafood project for Indonesia. I am leaving in January and won't return until July—my longest time away from home and my dog. I am starting to put together ideas for my art while in Bali.

Creating a watercolor background that resembles batik fabric.

I am trying acrylics for the first time. I am used to oils and the acrylics dry so quickly that it is taking me time to figure out how to blend and manipulate the paint before it dries. On the other hand, that quick dry time has it's merits.

Faces and masks on rocks using acrylics and varnish.

Acrylic on canvas board. Matte varnished applied after paint dried.

Acrylic and mixed media using local papers and batik fabric. Varnished when dry to seal.

Bali dogs possibly supporting the Bali Street Dog organization. Acrylic on 5"x5" stretched canvas. 1 1/2" border painted black. SOLD

Friday, October 22, 2010

Portrait class—mixed media

Mixed media exercise today—model is sketch loosely with odorlees turp and burnt sienna oil paint. This is a very light wash establishing shapes. Then charcoal and pastel are layered over the oil wash drawing. The pastel grabs onto the turp wash creating a wonderful layered effect. Then more turp to blend and more pastel and charcoal layers and on and on and on...

20 minute sketch from model(so little time)

15 minute sketch (even less time)

Pastel (without turpentine and oil paint wash)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Music at the farmers market

We have a wonderful farmer's market every Wednesday in downtown Portland, Maine. It is getting cold here at night, so these days it is mostly filled with pumpkins and squashes, but there is still the last of the summer harvest available. I stopped to sketch this sax player before heading home with some of the vegetables I bought.

Portrait Party on Flickr

I continue to take part in Julia Kay's Portrait Party on Flickr. Actually it can be somewhat addictive. I usually just post them on my Flickr site, but decided to add these two to the blog.

Ink and watercolor

Ink, watercolor and pastel