I like using my still life objects as though they have personalities, with feelings and desires. In this still life, everyone is comfortably nesting, as though they are birds resting after a long flight.
Daffodils from Trader Joes (a dozen for $1.79!) and some reflections in my iPad. I'm tried here to not be a slave to what I actually saw, but to experiment a little by emphasizing the negative spaces and keeping the forms simplified, but with clear edges.
I painted this Irish coastal scene from a black and white image, but with a limited palette of white, cadmium lemon yellow, cadmium red and ultramarine blue.
I used an image I found on Morguefile (which allows usage of the photos), but converted the original to black and white. Here is what I viewed while painting:
It was an experiment to see if matching values carefully while having the freedom to choose my own colors would allow me to create a decent painting. I'm planning on having my painting class try this technique too.
I loved this exercise and want to try more, but want to see Ireland in person even more!
I often lug a ton of still life paraphernalia to my painting classes. Last week after I got back to my studio, I hastily took everything back out the bags and lay them on a studio table, where I'd been working on my taxes. Once I finished with my taxes, I put my papers away (which had all been on the front section of the table) and noticed an interesting arrangement.
I like the idea of taking an unplanned arrangement of things and uncovering relationships by emphasizing overall shape over detail.
Here is my 15 year old wire-haired fox terrier on the last day of her life, which was this past Monday.
She had a difficult final year, and so I'm glad her suffering is over- but it's still quite sad. In the end, the only time she seemed content was when I held her in my lap, stroking her. Now I wish I'd done more of that.
I've been working on some larger paintings and experimental stuff, so haven't been posting quite so often. Hope you will bear with me!
When I teach drawing classes, I try and remember to bring along a can of reworkable spray fixitive. Once a student asked me why it's called "reworkable". I wasn't sure, but said that I thought you could "fix" your drawing, then add more marks over that. For the first time that is what I did with this drawing- when I'd almost had enough of it, I sprayed it and then added some additional layers of shadow. Charcoal is such an ephemeral (and sometimes maddening) medium that it was really cool to be able to make it stay in place and continue to work. I think I'll try this again.
I've always found drawing or painting a self-portrait to be monstrously difficult. I can look at other people's faces calmly and somewhat objectively, but I turn into a slithering pile of self-doubt when I contemplate my own.
I think this drawing is passable, plus has a nice searching-in-the-dark quality- a grasping at understanding who I am now, at this middle-aged state of being a 55 year old woman.
As just about every woman past the age of 40 must think, it's awfully difficult to get older and begin to feel relatively invisible. I hope to try many other self-portraits as a way to prove to myself that I'm not invisible at all.
When I paint something, the hours spent staring at the subject often has me thinking how strange and beautiful it is. Everything on this planet is wonderfully strange, even a dog, if you try and imagine you're a Martian, on earth for the first time.
I've been teaching charcoal drawing to a private student, and decided that I needed (and wanted) to get back to using this medium. It's difficult, to say the least, but forces you to see the big picture. Even the thin vine sticks are not good for detail. I find it's quite similar to using a paint brush, and so it's a good prelude to learning to paint. Using the kneaded eraser feels like using white paint- as though you aren't really erasing, but adding whites.
The gentle, passive curiosity of cows is endlessly appealing to me.
Since September I've been posting new paintings quite infrequently, due to lingering issues with my vision since cataract surgery. Finally I've got a pair of prescription glasses so I can focus both near and far- thus can happily paint again. I feel like a whole new ball game just got started!
I found some great views of Philadelphia by walking partway across the Ben Franklin Bridge. Here is a section of Old City, contained and wrapped around by the enormous concrete ribbon of the adjoining I-95 highway.
It's been a little over a week since cataract surgery was done on my second eye. Although I'm still adjusting to the changes, the world looks a hundred times more beautiful now.
I love the pose this little girl stricks, as her mom looks at Van Gogh's "Sunflowers". I'm happy with the way this turned out, especially the way the two figures fit together, and the way the mother seems to be in motion while the daughter is not.
I belatedly realized that my last painting was a bomb, so I deleted it. I'm happy with this one though.
This girl was visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with her family, and seemed distracted from looking at the art. She instead was busy absorbing the atmosphere of the place on a crowded Sunday, and I kind of thought she was a work of art in her own right. I have to be really sneaky with my camera.