Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life Unfolding

Sometimes I will know the title of a painting before I begin. Other times, I wait to see what develops in the painting. Here, I knew just how this image would translate into a painting and gave it a name before I started. I will have to see if the painting has the same plan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another on Clayboard

I am beginning a new watercolor painted on Ampersand Aquabord, 22X30. I am challenged by the size and stiffness of the board and the weight of the wood cradle (probably about 10-15 pounds). My process in watercolor painting involves many isolated areas of wet-into-wet painting. I wet the area, mingle in paint, lift and tilt (the challenge) to allow the water to mix the paint. One area must be dry before starting another to prevent blossoms and backruns and to maintain the integrity of the whites. I have started only the first layer of lightest yellows, choosing a cool yellow (Hansa) and warm yellow (New Gamboge). I will then repeat this step throughout the painting for midtone yellows. Though somewhat labor-intensive, I do love the process and the surface.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Three Apples Up on Top

Three Apples Up on Top
17X18 Framed
Pastel on Paper

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Oranges

I have put in a few of the darkest darks and worked one of the fruits to completion (at least for now). After having one done, I am more confident that I will be able to make the painting work. Even at this stage, I like how the repetition of circular shapes create a visual harmony in the design.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Apples, Oranges, or Tomatoes?

I am beginning a pastel for the Maryland Pastel Society's monthly drawing challenge. The challenge... to choose 3 fruits or vegetables from the food market and use them to construct a still life painting "creating the illusion of 'rounded' objects in perspective focusing on the background, the surface the subject is resting on, and the shadow areas."

Let me just say, the thought of buying fruit, staging a still life on some fabric or other surface, and fixing some light to create interesting shadows crushes my enthusiasm for painting almost to the point of irritation. Not that I don't appreciate a good still life painting, I just don't have the vision to muster the excitement to create one. However, I greatly enjoy catching the sun at just the right time of day at the corner farmers market, as shadows cast across the fruit, and unscrambling an interesting composition from the randomness of the patterns and mingle of color; just as you would see them (or overlook them) in everyday life. So, I am accepting the challenge (though modified a bit) and engaged.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Agave, In Progress 4

I have almost completed the second glaze of greens on the leaves, using a mix of sap green and hooker's green. I drop in a little Alizarin to add texture. I try not to let the red mix too much with the green causing the green to neutralize (and thus flattening the shape). If the red is still visible, the warm color will give the illusion of coming forward. You can see this effect best on the center leaf. Next I will add the darks and paint in the shadow triangle shapes. Triangles lead the eye in and out of a painting and I like how they work in this design.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Agave, In Progress 3

I have started painting in the middle values of the leaves. I have worked the lower aspects of the bottom leaves beginning to develop the rounded form, a little color perspective, and more texture.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Agave, In Progress 2

Next I begin painting in the lighter mid-tone values of the leaves. This layer will be the "underpainting" for each leaf. One of my favorite pigments for shadows is Pthalo Blue (Pigment PB 15). Usually I use Pthalo Blue as a final glaze. Pthalo blue is a staining pigment, very intense, and transparent. So according to the "laws" of color perspective for watercolor, this pigment works best in foreground areas (i.e. intensity comes forward) when used against less intense blues (here Cobalt, Manganese, and later Ultramarine blue). However, when used as a shadow or in this underpainting as I did above, the color will create a reflective glow in the final painting. The intensity of the pigment will bring the eye toward the center of interest but will actually look recessed in the plant; at least that is my plan. More to follow...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Agave, In Progress

I am starting my next watercolor on aquabord. This is a larger (12x12) version of the smaller study done in September (currently on exhibit at the Torpedo Factory, Target Gallery). I begin by painting in what will be the lightest values, adding just a touch of color to cover the off-white of the clay. Each area is dampened and then paint applied. I tilt the board to encourage the water to run and the paint to granulate and dry in a pattern that will give shape to the agave leaves (?). I chose for my coolest blue, manganese blue hue because of the pigments granulating properties. Once dry, the pebbly texture of the aquabord combined with the granulation of pigment give a nice earthy texture.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Student Artwork on Display at LibertyTown

Just a few of the amazing artworks on display in the Liberty Town Student Art Show, exhibiting through Jan 2009. Many of the artists had never painted in watercolor. Thank you to all who participated. Follow the link to see the Complete Class Schedule at Liberty Town Arts Workshop or visit my website for future workshop schedules.
Creativity Takes Courage.
~Henry Matisse

Monday, January 5, 2009

A Boy in the Park

Above is a 5X7 watercolor sketch done from a photo I took a few years ago. I had been thinking for a while how I would work a painting from the image. I am fascinated by the way light reveals a subject. So in this exercise, I simplified and "cooled down" the light cast on the subject and the ground. I also simplified the shapes and used the shadows to unify the painting.
Why now? Friday I had a wonderful conversation with a dear studio neighbor at LibertyTown, Kathleen Walsh. She recently returned from Africa and was brainstorming a theme for a group of paintings inspired by the area. Part of the brainstorming... the commonalities of simple life experiences... a mother's sigh when she sees the price of milk, mother's scolding, and children's laughter... all sound the same no matter where you hear them in the world. I took this photo in San Antonio, Tx but have seen this scene reenacted many times in other parts of the world; a child playing with pigeons. Recognizing the simple experiences we share offers a hint of interrelatedness and, hopefully, a unity among people.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Maryland Pastel Society Juried Members Exhibit at The Ratner Musuem, Bethesda, MD

As one of my goals for 2008, I became a member of the Maryland Pastel Society. There are many local pastel societies throughout the country, but the Maryland Pastel Society is the oldest state society, and is an active member of the International Association of Pastel Societies.

The MPS holds quarterly meetings and invites signature members to give demonstrations, critiques, or other instruction at the end of each meeting. Since all of my education in pastel has been self-directed, I thought this would be a great venue for me to learn from nationally recognized master pastelists.

The Maryland Pastel Society also hosts a Juried Members Only show at the Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum, 10001 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, Maryland, from December 31, 2008 through January 28, 2009. All members of the Maryland Pastel Society were invited to submit work for selection by Juror Joe Fitzgerald. Among the submissions, he selected approximately 45 works for this show, including the painting above Morning Sustenance.