Wednesday, July 8, 2020

There - but NOT There

Since March, I have done my best to 'stay safe at home'.  I go into town only for mail and groceries.  I entered my latest gallery show at the end of June.  The Opening Reception for the artists and the show has occurred for the last two shows, with masks, social distancing and sanitizing.  Not wanting to be in an enclosed space with others (some of who might not wear masks) I have not attended either of these openings, but my ART is still there, hanging on the wall.  Each month they have a People's Choice competition.  My piece submitted this month, won a 2nd place award in that category.  Woohooo!  I discovered - it seems the world is still revolving for art and artists in small ways.  Between, taking this photo on iPhone, transferring it to PC, it isn't quite what it looks like.  It's not this bright...oh the dilemmas of photo upload and transfer.

16"x 20"
pastel on Canson burgundy paper

Monday, June 29, 2020

Days Fly By

It's been awhile since I checked in here.  I guess 'being back' on this blog is not a habit yet.  I take so many photos, it's not hard to capture most of my time by looking at and sharing photos. In addition to my iPhone, I have several digital SLR cameras that I rely on.

On June 10, DH and I took a DAY trip up Hermit Pass road, to the end of it, or at least as far as we could go.  That was a 25 mile round trip on our 2 ATV's.  The mountain range is the Sangre de Cristo mountains outside of Westcliffe, Co. where we live.  We rode from our driveway - up the county road a couple of miles - to join the pass road there.

This photo shows the composition of the 'pass' road.  The pass stops at the TOP of the world.  It does not go over the mountain and down the other side.

  It is a rough road (see the rocks on the last photo here) BIG ones and lots of medium size ones..makes for a 'kidney' jarring trip.
But the beauty seen on that day, makes it worth the ride.

This is a marmot which we saw by looking over the edge of the road.  It was sunning on a rock. The rock formations were dotted with these guys which are about the size of a woodchuck.

These 3 ponds sit between Hermit Lake and Horseshoe Lake.  
Our final destination was Horseshoe Lake, next photo.

Yep, the leftover snow from winter was still melting in the sun.  
By now, today, most of it has disappeared.

You can see the end of the pass road on this day, it was covered in snow.  This day was a fun that won't be taken the roughness is grueling on these older bodies.
There are other 'rides' to explore.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Faces -

Sorry, it's been awhile since I have posted.  Here are a few more faces - done with France online at Sktchy.  I feel I have improved.  I used to not work so deeply on my portraits, but drawing along with someone as good as France, makes me feel the depth which is needed to portray the character in detail.  She helps you look at every little nuance as you draw.

Other things are happening here...I have begun a complete going through of the studio.  I figured  there is no better time than the present.  Gardening is happening, as well, the growing season is pretty short up here at 8500 feet elevation.  Today the wind and rain are happening...that will keep me inside. Hardly EVER a day when you wake up and it's already raining..that weather event is usually left for the afternoon and evening in these parts.

NOTES on the virus - I live in a small mountain community, where there are and have been 2 confirmed cases.  There is no hospital within 50 miles of here.  There is barely medical care..just a small clinic with nurses.  Therefore, we DON'T have much of a safety net and we don't go out much. If we do it's with a mask on, to protect others mainly.  We order take-out on occasion...and eat in the car.  We even had margaritas TO GO the other day with our taco lunch.  That was fun.  But that's it, other than a trip to the grocery store about every week and a half and the post office every 3 - 4 days.

I chose to give up my activity in the local gallery for this year which amounts to no longer being a gallery host, or having my art on the walls, or manning the sales desk during monthly ART receptions.  No more Monday Paint Group.  Too much hassle for personal social distancing...being amongst too many strange and 'from faraway' visitors, as well as familiar friends.  

One thing I understand and it actually pains me to consider it, I have come to look at this situation as EVERYONE is infected.  And although it should be stated 'could be' infected, for me it's 'IS' and that is just how I have chosen to look at it.  This virus does not discriminate.  This has also eliminated visitors or company or going to someone's house as a visitor, including my daughter and her family who live in the northern part of the state. Summer RV travel will be a welcome activity...if we can get a reservation, they seem to be not so available..but with RVing, you don't NEED to be around anyone else if you choose not to be.  I notice that the reopening of many things that were closed down, has seemed to bring on this sense of relaxed concern for the spreading of the virus..a false sense it would seem, since case numbers are increasing.  Anyway, I try not to dwell on this..I stay super busy and let ART save the day.  Stay safe and social distance.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Drawing Along, Filling the Days

This is Dennis in blue ballpoint pen on Moleskin.

This is Big Al Lopez in HB, aquarelle graphite and 6B pencil on Canson XL.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Only in Procreate

Last two the app Procreate..which is starting to become NOT such a mystery!
I think I have enough grasp of it to start experimenting on my own.



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Add 2 More

Sharing a couple of new daily drawings,
a Saturday 'draw along' and today's Lesson 5.

Matt ~ in green ballpoint pen

Stephanie ~ graphite

Saturday, May 9, 2020


There are 400+ members in my online drawing class on Sktchy, however, I think our live session was only in the neighborhood of about 200.  What fun to start the day drawing ONLINE with others.  France, our instructor, took time to answer lots of questions.  This is Dylan, done in ballpoint pen.

Friday, May 8, 2020

More Portrait Practice

Here is Thursday's and today's pieces from 'Drawing at Home with France' - a month long class on the Sktchy app.
Mandy is done in Aquarelle graphite

Rick N. is done on the iPad in the app, Procreate.
I have had that app on my iPad for an eternity, but never quite
knew what to do with it. When I got online with You Tube lessons, the
person generally went to quickly and it was over my head.
Today, France only used 2 tools and went slow enough, I actually got a result I liked.
I have gone far enough now, that I can teach myself a little more.
Sometimes, all you need is a gentle nudge.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Studio Happenings and Learning ONLINE

Currently I am involved in two 'online learning' experiences. This type of learning suits my needs - just fine.  I can DO it when I have time, at any hour, and at any speed.  My first one, I jumped on the bandwagon a few weeks back by joining a Patreon group with Ali Cavanaugh - who does amazing watercolor portraits.  I was late in joining her - this event started back in October 2019, but I'm racing through each of her posts and instructional vids.  Racing isn't a very good word for what I am doing, because I am savoring each video, sharing, comments, and lessons.  Here is a piece I did this past week, we were exploring 'stripes'.  The second I went looking for a PERSON who had striped shadows or clothing I ran across a photo for a choice when painting, is always animals.  There is also a chance to dialogue with others through a venue set-up on Discord.  I find I can't keep up with that, too.  Seems other artists spend a lot of time chatting with one another, don't know how they have time to paint.

My second learning attack is through the app Sktchy.  France Van Stone is teaching a month of drawing faces.  It is a more structured type of class with postings of lessons every few days.
First one was a 'draw along' of a face with a definite expression, in ballpoint pen in my Moleskin tablet.  Today, the next lesson is ready for us and I peeked at it - going to be FUN.  And the pacing is OK, because I HAVE the TIME.  There is also artist sharing and dialogue happening on Mighty Network.  Lots of extra apps to download..but so worth the time spent on these two focuses for now. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Self Portrait in Watercolor

"Self-Portrait with Camera Remote"
6" x 6" watercolor on Aquabord

Yesterday I hit the 'painting learning curve' with big leaps and bounds.  I imagine I have attempted about 10 - 12 self-portraits in my painting career...never, never made it to the 'oh that's me!' stage.  But this one made it.  I painted it from a very favorite photo session, I had with myself, in which I had to use the remote device to snap the was experimental, at best.  But this one photo came out that depicts me, my 'most of the time' facial expression (I don't smile very much) and it makes me feel at peace, because it was at a peaceful time in my life (not that my life isn't always peaceful, but you understand, that time when you are at ease with the world.)  More to come..I have my MOJO working for now.

BTW - this learning curve is happening thanks to watercolor artist extraordinaire, Ali Cavanaugh. 
I joined her Patreon group.  I watch her videos, listen to her expertise and get
influence through osmosis with a group of like artists on a
Discord thread.  This is the way I have been learning for
many years.  Online learning is the can do as much or as little as
you want or need...and it is always at your fingertips.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tribute Time

This past weekend, there were protests about the 'Stay at Home' orders that have been endured in many states in the U.S..  In Denver, particularly, the parade of dissenters was challenged by health workers who stood in their way of 'doing their thing'. Perfectly stated by the action of the health workers, and I understand the thinking behind the protests..but I feel that the alternative is a considerably worse prospect for so many others. I painted this portrait, as my next practice piece, as a tribute to these brave people - they are the true heroes in this fight.

Friday, April 17, 2020

More Learning Curve, Self Critique

The redhead is finished.  Had to 'wet' out and redo her eyes, I didn't like their placement on the work.
Now, they look not symmetrical and the right eye seems misplaced to me, but it's practice.  Laying my work flat on the drawing table, puts the perspective OFF.  Oh well.

  I struggled with another watercolor piece for yesterday of a child. Children have always
been difficult to paint or draw me, I understand the differences in their anatomy
and facial features from adults...and until now,
 I was unable to portray it very well. The Patreon demos have really helped, as Ali paints 
children alot.  I'm getting a handle on the surface.  In fact, this piece of 
Aquabord had a failure from last weekend on it.  I 'wetted' and scrubbed it out, coated it with
Gesso, and voila, had a new surface to work on.  The Gesso acted much 
differently than the Aquabord surface, but I liked the outcome.
I have 4 more 6" x 6" boards, BUT there should be some new and bigger
ones in the mail at the Post Office.

Just have to mask up and get into town.

Stay safe, I feel this isn't over people.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Dusting off the Cobwebs

In the past several years, I step out there and re-visit portrait painting..particularly in watercolor. This desire goes way back to the days of being really serious and taking portraiture classes from some very good portrait artists.  It never got it's foothold in my painting repertoire. But darn it, I want to DO it better!

I feel proficient in oil, pastel, acrylic, pencil, but NOT watercolor.  I feel I can get a decent 'likeness' of the subject, but NOT this medium for this purpose.  

SOOooooo...I recently joined a Patreon group with Ali Cavanaugh, for some learning time.  She paints in watercolor like no other when it comes to portraits...she has those skintones dialed-in.  There is much support within the group of artists there..we DISCORD in a group called Ali Gators...I feel like a kid again.  Here are a few of my portrait attempts in past years, 




Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Greetings from Within

"Cinnamon Rabbit"
pastel on Wallis
12" x 9"
Source photo by Michael Ryan

For me, Easter has always been a moment to reflect on the Earth's offerings 
of beauty and new beginnings.  With the current world pandemic situation,
it's hard to find my way to that true realization 
of joy and peace.
I search for hope everyday...I see it in a faint glimmer, way on down the 
calendar.  I am one of those at high risk - health-wise - if I contracted this virus it might be deadly. 
I am on the cusp of that high risk age group.  
I even have to wear a mask to do pastels these days, as the pastel dust
stirs up my asthma.
But a mask totally protects me in this arena.  

Going out to do shopping or to get mail and wearing a protective mask
does not give me that sense of security, mainly because
many others choose NOT to wear a mask.  I get it, it's not cool, 
or comfortable, or these 'others' think they are immune.

People who aren't heeding the rules right now, are doing so with such
I get it that they need to return to work - they have bills to pay.
However, I know some who have totally disregarded 'stay at home and keeping distance'.
They only prolong this for the rest of us.
Show some responsibility...step up and be a man....we are all in this together.

Right now, I just have ONE hope for myself, a test that 
shows I have immunity or anti-bodies. That might
be a real stretch, since our govt. can't even procure testing for
whether you have the virus or not.
But THAT IS MY HOPE - today, on Easter Sunday.
Have a good one.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday with Music

When we moved back to Colorado from Kansas, somehow, our 2 guitars and amp got left behind.  I am not sure, but we think we had them staged in our quonset hut and then drove off without them.
Long story, short, for Christmas this year, we went to Guitar Center in Pueblo and got all new stuff. An acoustic 6 string for me, an electric for him, two amps and the accessories to make it a successful time to play.  I have played guitar since I was 15 or so, back in the days of  the Vietnam war with it's protest and folk songs being cranked out and played on the radio and music and dance shows galore. 

Our neighbor recently gave us HER electric guitar, of which I put new strings on and bought a 3rd amp for.  I bought the large YAMAHA keyboard and stand in the photo, when we lived in Golden, back in the 90's.  My mom was a piano teacher, we always had a piano or organ at home, I took piano lessons for years, never became very good, but with time devoted to a piece, I can read the music. 
I actually play mostly BY EAR.

So we are set.  We have loads of music books and sheet music we have downloaded,
 along with tons of mp3 recordings or CD.  We both love music and it almost always playing at our house and garage and studio.

Funny, my DH and I were an 'item' back in HS, then we split, each got married to someone else, those matches eventually didn't work out and we got BACK together 20 years ago.
We had a little folk group we dinked around with back in the late 60's.  
I have kept a sacred (to me) little notebook where we wrote ideas, lyrics and cords.  
Something happened to the feed on this blogpost, the photos I added are gone..and I have erased them off my phone.

(Neil Young)

I don't play as well as I used to, but that doesn't say 'I can't'.
"Stay at Home" is sure to bring it back, arthritis or not.

Me, in my room, age 19...with a 12 string (which I loved).  You go along in life
and wonder, where in the world did THAT go to???  Don't recall...must have been sold - when I needed money or something.

How about you??  Do you play an instrument, like to sing, like a certain kind of music??

"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the every day places we spend our lives walking on.