Monday, April 30, 2012

Rose Garden Tree - 3

This oak tree in the Rose Garden evidently intrigues me well enough to paint it a third time. This is a 30" x 40" oil on canvas and was done in the studio from a photo taken earlier in the week. (Hurray for air conditioning!) It took two days of painting and erasing before I was happy with the initial sketch. And only because Tilly and I had Friday off from pet therapy did I have time to work on it.

I'm actually on the hunt for interesting trees around Houston. If y'all have any favorites or recommendations, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rose Garden Tree - 2

It's true. I've been painting a lot of trees lately. Trees are so fascinating, so full of character. And they generally stay still when posing. The only thing that changes is the direction of the sun, which slightly alters the tree as it is painted. Well, the tree isn't altered, just the light, shadows, and colors.

This is a 14" x 18" oil on linen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

List Talk, More Action

For whatever reason, I've been a little more scatterbrained than usual lately. This is the point where keeping a list would come in handy. I used to do that all the time, but have gotten out of practice. It's time to start again. The easiest place to keep track of a list would be here, which I'm reluctant to do because the right people might read it, and correctly assume that I'm thinking of them, and it's just not the right time to reveal those things that are on the list. One thing that is OK to say is that there are nine unthought of paintings to be painted for different events, the last of which culminates in August.

Also, I keep forgetting to take my camera when out and about, and have missed several photo opportunities because of it. This was especially a bummer last night because even without an art car of my own, I was invited to the Art Car kick off party at the Continental Club. The people watching was spectacular!

 One of the things on my bucket list (more list talk) is to make an art car of my own, and drive it in the parade. Before I can even think about creating an art car, there's the issue of having an extra car just for fun. We're not really the type of people who collect cars, whatever that means. But, I have a few hundred dollars (unspent as of yet) in the art budget....maybe it's time to put up or shut up. Anyone know of a good used car that can be purposed as an art car that I can get for next to nothing?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sunset in Hermann Park

Week after week, it felt like being stuck in purgatory. I couldn't think, much less paint or write. Like a dirty sponge, even a simple task such as folding laundry absorbed all of my concentration. I don't know how or why it started or why it lasted so long -- whatever it was, I'm just glad it's over. After a very prolonged bout of creative limbo, an idea finally percolated in my brain, and voila! A painting was born!

These trees have been featured in several of my paintings, this being my favorite spot in Hermann Park. Lately, for the first layer of paintings, I've used a half half mixture of linseed oil and turpentine. That way, I can lightly sketch either an outline of an image, or rough in some shapes of where things should go. Because the oil paints I use are thick, it helps to keep using some the turp/linseed blend to help the paint spread without clumping. Clumping isn't the right, well, to help the paint not be too hard to spread. (?) Does that make sense?

With oil paints, it's not uncommon to build layer upon layer, sometimes with drying time in between. For this painting, I put in blocks of color where I wanted the trees to go with thinned cadmium red two days before painting. The second day I used thinned cobalt and cerulean blue to sketch the outline of the trees and branches. Then on the third day, I started with dark colors, and put in shadows and then the white in the sky, and then started building the trees. At this point in the painting, one of the neighbors knocked on the front door to invite me over for early happy hour margaritas.

Now, I've mentioned on this blog several times that people are more important than things, or doing things. But, have you ever smelled the rain before it actually started raining? That's how I felt with this painting. I could smell the rain, creatively speaking. Hoping to take advantage of even a small sprinkle in this recent creative drought, I temporarily (and sadly) declined an opportunity to visit with neighbor friends. If anything, that's how this artist suffers for her art....because painting is a lonely pursuit, and isn't congruous with the personality of an extrovert. Toward the end of painting this, I was using my fingers to get everything where I wanted it, which, incidentally, is another way to suffer for my art, as all of the art supplies I use are extremely toxic. Days four and five were spent tidying up the sky and cleaning up a few trees. A photo was used as a beginning reference, and toward the end, I painted from feeling (literally and figuratively) and memory.

This painting is 30" x 40" oil on linen.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

In Six Words

I'm a big picture kind of person, always have been. When painting, I purposefully leave out details, partly because my eyes literally can't see tiny things, and partly because I get bogged down with so many little things and can't focus on the picture as a whole.

Same with writing. I write and write and write, and subtract most of it. What's left is a bare bones small narrative of my very small life.

That is why I was intrigued by something I read on a blog this week. The back story goes something like this: On a dare, Ernest Hemingway once boasted that he could write a compelling story in six words. There's no evidence that it's true, but like good fiction, it could be. For our story here, he wrote this:
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Your assignment? Write a six word story to share. With several examples, I'll go first.

- Another month passed. She wasn't pregnant.

- Desperate for respect, he overlooked courtesy.

- "Don't call or write," he said.

- She prayed. The pain was overwhelming.

- He slammed the gate and left.

- Desperate for attention, she sold herself.

- It was summer. She was cold.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Tiger Blood

Considering that I didn't win the lottery, it's been back to work as usual.

The biggest use of my time these last few weeks has been working on a commission, that is to remain a secret because it's a gift for someone. What I CAN say is that I worked and worked and worked and worked on it. AND it's finished. (There was much rejoicing - yay.) In about a month I'll share a photo of it.