Sunday, February 27, 2011

Where I Stand Sunday

I am standing at the easel.  I haven't gotten on my soapbox in I feel like writing about that feeling of accomplishment - that feeling of being successful in your daily grind and knowing that so much is right in what you have strived to go forward with in life.

I happened upon an email several weeks ago from Wet Canvas ~ an artist's network where 'like' people can share ideas, learn from others, and just plain network.  There was an online FREE (there is the keyword) weekly (two hours each Sat and Sun) workshop offered by artist Johannes Vloothuis, a representational landscape artist.  I signed up and joined the (now about 2,000) other artists and interested people about week 3 or 4 in a livestream classroom.  

Vloothuis is giving some great instruction on using photos when you paint landscapes.  Every artist, and I don't care how proficient you are, should continue learning.  Although I am not a big landscape painter, I always want to improve and understand the process better.  

Even if you have never painted a landscape and never wanted to, as an artist, there are little gems that you can pick up by taking a class like this. Each time I walk away from something like this, I see myself doing better and knowing more and having greater confidence.  And there are gems being given out for the taking in Vloothuis' class.  Knowledge is power!!

This week I am more surprised how that old saying of 'what goes around, comes around'
has a refreshed meaning for me.  My wheels have seemed to jump up out of the rut they were in.  This has happened because I have kept my nose down..I have continued to keep the wheels turning, paired with the enthusiasm I see around me - I am moving forward and I like it!

Never close a door.  Never think you can't. Never give up on something that you are passionate about. Success can come in that very dark moment...if you perservere - that little glimmer will shine and you can grab it to illuminate your world! (And yes, I have wiped the last painting I am doing 3 times now, but this feeling has NOT waned one bit.)

So what's the secret to keeping this 'high' in tact?  Practice, practice, practice and do it consistently (for me, that means EVERY DAY) with conviction and use what you know to make it work for you!  This is hard for me to write, but I cringe when friends and relations tell me I am 'gifted'
or I have a 'talent', yes, literally cringe and shake my head.  (I wish to tell ALL of them, "Tell me what you like about this artwork, or what feelings it provokes in viewing it?") That's what I am striving for - creating a response to what I am saying in my art. 

Oh, and back to what I was saying... 

If others only knew, how many years I have tried to learn, taken workshops with other artists, attended college level ART courses (while trying to become a teacher - at the same time), read books, taken marketing courses, business courses, stood at the easel and put into practice and practice and fail and practice.  Even in my regular elementary classroom (when I wasn't really a 'practicing' artist), I taught about artists, I expressed my 'vision'  and 'how I saw something' to help kids expand their early view of our world.  I thought about art and how I could incorporate it into teaching every day!  (So many subjects spill over into art.)

One doesn't just buy some paints and walk up to the easel and paint. 
There is so much more to know and learn.  The ART world is a huge place!  
You have to look in the most unexpected places with your eyes wide open -
AND the opportunities are there - the sky is the limit! 
Will I continue to feel this way? Perhaps...but being an artist can have it's ups and downs just like anything in life or worth doing.  Today I just want you to join me with the 'good' feeling!

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 everyday places we spend our lives walking on.
There are several others who also write this on Sunday, see sidebar.

Friday, February 25, 2011

An Oil Portrait of a Husky

6" x 6"
oil on Raymar canvasboard
Snowing again - in the meantime we are hunkered back down ~ staying warm.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dog Portrait - WIP (Work in Progress)

Sorry about the glossiness - very wet paint..and glare on the surface. Just a little 'daily painter' - while watching the blizzard crank up to HIGH outside.  I often get so much paint loaded in these little ones, I need to give it a day or so to not be tooo wet to finish it.
Started another one but as they say, "Wipey. wipey!" Tomorrow is another day.

You can't see the swirling snow in the photo, but trust me, it is swirling and swirling.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Donkeys

"Standing on a Hill"
oil on gessoed masonite
9" x 12"

SOLD (however, 4" x 6" notecards are available at Red Bubble - see sidebar)

Finished and on to the next one!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Oil Painting of Donkeys

"Standing on a Hill"
(work in progress)
oil on gessoed masonite board
No, not painting with others today.  Connection was bad on the streaming site, so I gave up and painted something I have been waiting for a couple of weeks to get to.  Holding WAY back on the handle of the brush and not being too hung up on exactness, just likeness. More work to do under feet and in shadows, will be glad to get to that after this oil sets up a little bit...brush seems to just drag it away today. 
Painted from a photo of Chester and Beau - you can see them here.

Where I Stand Sunday

Painting with others online today,
all set-up and ready to go!!
Where I Stand Sunday (or in this post, on the Weekend)
is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where I Stand Sunday

Now, don't think that just because the sun is shining brightly and warming us right now that winter is over...
because you know that just yesterday you needed extra heat -
or was that just a tug-o-war for the best spot!
Where I Stand Sunday (or in this post, on the Weekend)
is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Dog Portrait in Oil

"Herman in a Chair"
6" x 6"
oil on Raymar board
There will be more paintings of Herman - and I can't put my finger on it, but there is something about this painting that is him, yet it isn't.  I guess when you miss someone that much and knew them just the same - you become very persnickety.  It is wet and shows lots of glare off the wet paint, maybe that is what is bothering me.  I plan to revisit it once more when the paint is dryer. 

DH has dreams about him. I don't.  I walk into a room and just slightly in my panning vision, I see him - just for a second...not a ghost, just like walking into a familiar room and seeing something in a spot that maybe was moved, but you are so used to seeing it there, YOU do see it momentarily. 
This painting has been good therapy for me.
It's been a long winter...already.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

WIP for Today

OK, this is my first attempt to 'paint' the infamous Hasty Herman since he passed away this last November.  I have been holding off the urge to PAINT him till the time seemed right.  Today was the day...but I have fussed with it most of the afternoon. When it's your own dog or child or husband or relative, I feel you tend to be more fastidious with the painting.  The painting got to that 'walk away' point and it had too much wet paint on it...I thought I would get back to it tomorrow or the next day. Crummy photo here, but in a hurry to pack up and get going. And as I was leaving, I was making mental notes of what was right and what was wrong about this I will probably dream about it.  I like this pose so well, that it may have to be painted again on a much larger scale.  There is a lot of detail in his eyes that I want to capture and tell about.

Today was a perfect day to be in the studio, it is a blizzard out there.  Snow drifts up to my knees...I shoveled a walkway to the gate and two hours later, it's like I never did. 

BTW - saw a little 'visitor' in my studio several days ago..haven't caught him or her yet.  There is nothing to eat out there, but I wonder which portfolio or drawer they went after for bedding because they tend to either bring some mouse poison to keep in the bed (which is brought in from the garage or shop) - or evidence of their living quarters shows up way later, where they are vacated and all that is left is their housekeeping.  For the life of me, the only place they can enter is the barn door, which has a reveal problem around the edge and very slim slit, but they can still be houdini's and get through. Every once in awhile, I stop the music and can often hear them, but you can't pinpoint where they are.  Stay tuned!  

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Sketch for Today as a Celebration

"D.M and Me"
9" x 12"
charcoal on Carte 'd Art by Sennelier paper
This month's theme in the 'sketchbook challenge' is OPPOSITES.  My childhood BFF and I have known each other since the 3rd grade.  We still stay in contact, seldom, but once you are close friends - you don't have to have too much explanation about one another's lives when you do talk or write.  It's kind of like being family.   This sketch is done from one of those photo booth pictures. This booth was in Woolworth's in downtown Englewood, Colorado.  We used to 'hang out' in that area, kind of like the kids hang out at the mall today (or do they do that anymore?). 

I consider this to fit the "opposites" theme for this month because of the difference in hair color - mine was heavily highlighted -her's dark brown, light vs. dark t- shirt color and body type difference.  She was petite, still is, I was bigger..still am - ha!  I had an extremely funky hairdo - these were the days of the British Invasion!!  She had an awesome tan that summer...I tried to capture that, even though she is in my shadow.  I was actually too close to the camera..a little blurred out - I took that effect out and cleared myself up. I see a little work in my chin still needs to be done - looks like I have a swollen jaw - so I quickly photoshopped that out for now, there should be a smooth line coming down the 'ear showing' side.  That's where I will work in the morning. 
Again, the camera always tells me what I need to do.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where I Stand for the Weekend

This year - one of my art goals is to 'change it up' a bit and expand outward beyond just painting - that's a big world in itself..but there is more. 
More, because I have materials and supplies and equipment to DO more. 

I have a great big, beautiful studio (or 'playroom' as my friend Jan calls it) and I can use it to do all those extra things..because I have more order and organization.  I recently signed up for an online sewing class called "A Journal and a Purse" with Carla Sonheim.  This is awakening something in me that has always been there..just put away for quite some time, my love of sitting in front of the sewing machine and creating with fabric and notions. 

Just before moving to Kansas I was attending a lot of sewing conventions, collecting fabric, patterns, quilting equipment, ideas...I knew that I would have a place and some time to explore this world more than I had in the past.  Well, decided it was time to take time - haul the stuff out and just have fun with it. We are on week one of a three week online course.

Here is my first two attempts...just working on the cover outside and inside for now..the signatures and finishing will be next week I believe. 
Journal One
This one was more planned and fussed aren't supposed to take that much care about it.  So, I am trying more, and trying to get more spontaneous with the idea.

Journal 2
I like this one better.  These will both have inside pages and a ribbon to tie them shut when finished. The bags or purses we will be making is just what I need - a push to make several 'canvas and frame' sized ones, to cart my art around when I go change it at the coffee shop or travel with my art...something light to protect it from bouncing into the next one when I am transporting just a few.  Something I can carry with shoulder straps.  Can you tell I am excited? 

Stay tuned. I will share these as they get finished in a few weeks.  Hopefully I will be able to make about 9 or 10 of them for now. 
Where I Stand Sunday (or in this post, on the Weekend)
 is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.
Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on.

Friday, February 4, 2011

An Oil Painting of a One Room Schoolhouse in Kansas

"Lower Fox Creek School"
12" x 12"
oil on wrapped canvas
As you walk the frontcountry trails at Tall Grass Prairie park in the Flint Hills of Kansas,  you can look up through the trees and see the schoolhouse at the end of the trail. I may revisit the shadows and gray colors on the side of the schoolhouse in this painting - photographing so helps to see the work that doesn't read like you want to.  Painted as my celebration of Kansas 150th year as a state!