Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hilary, Hilary, and Me

Last night's opening reception at The Glassell School of Art 2007 Studio School Student Exhibition was packed. The painting of my sweet daughter, Hilary, was accepted, and will be on display in the gallery until July 25th.

There is a wide variety of art to see besides my little painting--I highly encourage all to attend.

Where: 5101 Montrose Blvd (across from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston).
When: The gallery is open daily from 9 to 5.

By the way, Hilary has the voice of an angel and incredible comic timing. She makes me laugh when she tells her stories, and cry when I hear her sing.

Friday, May 25, 2007


This is my 99th finished painting and my 100th blog post.

Michelle is a young friend of mine. She has been known to bake for three days straight, then load up all the goodies, and give them to Houston's homeless just because she enjoys baking--and serving. In this painting, Michelle is learning how to bake her grandmother's cookies, a family favorite.

There are a few themes that artists have explored over and over throughout the years, working in the kitchen being one of them. For some time I had wanted to paint a *Young Lady Baking.* Not just anyone, but a scene of someone who "likes" to bake as in "I like to breathe."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Too Two Blurry

In between the frantic moments of installing our artwork for the final, Anna and I managed to get a few photos of our walls. Actually, it was Anna who was prepared with a camera, and while usually not quite so inept, I managed to semi ruin several photos of her in front of her artwork. The photos with Anna in them ended up blurry--poor thing. I feel awful.
These top two photos are Anna's submissions of her work for our life drawing final. On the right are her 10 minute sketches, on the left side are her 20 minute sketches, and in the bottom left corner is her project series. For her project series, Anna cut some quarter inch plywood to size, and dyed those pieces in *strong* tea for the mount. Then she cut open Arizona Ice Tea cans and etched and drew her figures on the inside of the aluminum can, which she then affixed to the tea dyed plywood. The cute fuzzy young lady in the red t-shirt is sweet Anna.

These last two photos are of the wall of work for my final. The eight drawings on the left are the 10 minute or less sketches. The small sketch to the left of the reclining nude is a quick study of Patrick while he was demonstrating how to draw feet. Three of these eight I did on the last day we had a model in class.

Above my head and to the right are my 20 minute sketches. The sketch on the yellowish paper to the right of the reclining nude is a friend who graciously posed while our husbands were playing the guitar together. Thank you, Debra.

And these are the portraits I did of my daughters for my project series. Since the end of class, I have re-worked Erin (top left), Hilary (bottom left), and Joy (bottom right). I have plans to re-work the background in the Joy portrait a little more....

One of these paintings was my submission for the exhibit. I'll find out by Friday if it was selected.

Which one would you have chosen?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Where's Waldo?

For 60 years, The Center for Hearing and Speech has helped children go from a life of silence to a world of sound. Yesterday, CHS hosted a Donor/Volunteer Appreciation Picnic that included music by the Allen Oldies Band, door prizes, children's activities, fajitas, and margaritas. Because of my participation in Via Colori last November, the Center's fundraiser, I was invited, and with a tag line including the word margaritas, who wouldn't go?

The delightful surprise I got when looking at the new brochures for the upcoming Via Colori fundraiser was this!

If one looks carefully, in the top right corner of the photo in the middle of the brochure, there is a man in jeans and a red and blue striped polo shirt. That's Reese! And if one looks even *more* carefully, the person standing beside Reese, to his right, in jeans and a light pink t-shirt wearing a black baseball cap, is me!

The 100 square feet on the street in front of us "painted" in pastels, is the giant bit of artwork I worked on that day.

Here we are again! Click on the Via Colori link above to see our photos of the event.

Due to temporary insanity, I've agreed to participate as a select artist in the next Via Colori. Remind me to start stretching months in advance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sophie's Choice

To paraphrase Patrick, he says that one of the best ways to gain credibility as an artist is to enter competitions, exhibitions, and contests. How and where do artists find out about these events?

Recently (yesterday) I did enter one in the series of portraits of my daughters in an exhibition. The competition is mighty fierce. When dropping off the painting, the guard dog, er, excuse me, guard lady in the room was quite forceful (barking, really) in not allowing anyone to see the other entries. But paintings were everywhere....large, small, hyper realism to complete abstract modern and everything in between. Many, if not most were extremely well done. It will completely be the judges' fancy that selects pieces from such a broad variety of two and three dimensional work.

The hard part for me was selecting which daughter painting to put in the show. It seemed highly discriminatory to have a preference for which painting to use, especially since I gave birth to the whole bunch, so to speak. On the way to drop off the painting, the options were narrowed to two "daughters" in the backseat. First I went to the store to pick up a few non perishables......then on to Diedrich's to buy my favorite morning cappuccino coffee blend, Weiner Melange--mmmm. All this stalling was because I STILL could not commit to which painting to enter. Not until the very absolute last minute did I make a choice. Oh, the dilemma!

There is a definite crowd favorite of the four paintings of my daughters, but for this particular exhibition I picked a different one. Who knows if it's what the the judges will like? I like it as does said daughter, and since it's her likeness in oil on linen, I guess that's what really matters.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Fat Lady Sings

Since last Thursday I've been incredibly busy putting together and finishing my portfolio for the final in the life drawing class, which was yesterday. Tuesday night, this painting of Hilary (one of my project series) was still slightly wet---that's how down to the wire I was. For the 20 one hour sketches in our sketchbook, finishing was like trying to reach a carrot dangling from a fishing pole just beyond reach. (Hmmm, that must make me the....donkey.) It seemed like I always had one more to do, even as I finished new sketches. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I counted and re-counted to make sure I had enough, all the while drawing more. The hours turned to days before I got a bite of that carrot.

What happens for the final is that everyone takes a turn putting up their finished sketches/drawings/gestures on a foam board wall and Patrick critiques. There are two walls for this purpose, so while one student's work is discussed, another student is putting up their work on the other wall. My "show" was next to last, right after Anna's, which meant that I was furiously trying to get my wall set up while Patrick was discussing Anna's work. Bummer. I really wanted to hear what he had to say about Anna's stuff, but I missed the whole thing.

Patrick asked me after looking at my wall,

"So, why did you take this class?"

Many people have asked this, so I've had all semester to think about it. The best answer I can come up with is that I wanted to stretch (see last post) my abilities and test my skill level to see if I could really do it. There's always been a mystery about drawing the naked human body, and now there's not. It's easier now to quickly see what information needs to be interpreted, it's easier to quickly sketch this information, and hopefully this will translate into some amazing paintings, though not necessarily paintings of nudes, in fact, probably Never Nudes.

Taking the class with my daughter is on my top ten list of most favorite experiences of all time--no question.

After class, Anna and I hosted a small party at our house. It was great to relax and visit with everyone in a different environment. We served yummy wine, good beer, Barefoot Bubbly, and grapefruit crostini, recipe courtesy of Michael McAfee. (I'll add a link to the recipe soon. It's good!)

Small disclaimer for mom and dad and others sensitive to the published nude drawings, you will want to stop reading and looking at this point. Really, stop now or forever hold you peace.

This will likely be the last nude drawing for quite some time.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sketching Is Stretching

There are few things I dislike as much as stretching. In the exercise world, I would much prefer to just go run. Maybe bend a little at the waist and pretend to stretch, but I don't go out of my way to stretch when in a religious running stage. (not an issue these days)

In the last two and a half months, I've drawn well over 250 sketches. Up until now, I had maybe filled a sketchbook and a half---maybe. And even some of that has been in the last year or so. Of late, even that was just testing composition before starting a painting, which tends to get muddy with excessive manipulation. In these last two months, I've bought and almost filled nine sketchbooks.

Reviewing these nine sketchbooks looking for stuff to use in the final portfolio for this life drawing class, I'm a little dumbfounded that it's difficult to find worthy representations of the work done in class. What I perceived as slightly above average two months ago now seems barely passable.

Perhaps it ties in somehow with my attitude toward stretching---wanting the benefits of the program without regard for the preliminary exercise, if you will. Since in the exercise/running world I am such a wimpy stretcher, I guess it stands to reason that in the drawing/painting world I would be a sketchy sketcher. Characterizing this trait as eagerness seems to have a more positive connotation than say, impatience or lack of discipline. Character flaw or's curious how it transcends both worlds in a similar way.

(Pssst! It was the same with piano lessons growing up. I never liked practicing scales (who does????) preferring just to learn songs and melodies, especially boogie-woogie.)