Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blind Drawing

My friend, Michelle has started an online creative group called Off the Shelf - a somewhat fortnightly (every two weeks) e-mail to prompt creative action. (You can join, too!) The first assignment was "blind drawing". Blind drawing is when one looks at the something to be drawn without looking at your hand or paper as you draw the object. Since there was leftover paint and dirty brushes from the Sweetheart Roses painting, and the still life was still set up, that's what I drew. Below was the five-ish minute result of only looking at the object and not looking at my right hand while drawing.

And below is what happens when I want to use up all the paint on my palette. I figured it couldn't hurt to "finish" the drawing (while looking this time).

Back in 2008, I challenged myself to paint for 21 days straight, hoping to develop a positive habit of painting on a regular basis. All sorts of things happened during those 21 days but no habits were formed, good or bad. I did paint a lot (duh) and toward the end of it, one of the paintings was given away to a happy reader of this blog by yours truly. I'd like to do that again - not the non habit forming 21 days of painting, but the giving away part. Whoever wants this painting can have it. Free. Leave a comment here, message, tweet @THEsarahhazel, e-mail (sarah at sarah hazel dot com), or tell me to my face to let me know that you want me to add your name to the hat (or something). In one week, all the names of the people who want it will go into a hat (or something) and I'll blindly draw the winning name.

This is another version of the sweetheart roses that was painted the other day and is 11"x 14" oil on cardboard. Remember, it's free!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweetheart Roses

All of our daughters have moved out of the house, for now at least. And lately I've been feeling cramped and slightly irritable in the art studio. So I'm searching the house for a new space, but instead of moving furniture around immediately, I will be setting up temporary space in several rooms in the house to get a feel for the natural light before moving furniture all over the place. This sweetheart rose painting is from trying out a north facing upstairs bedroom. So far, I like the room better than I thought I would. It's a large room with haint blue walls, very soothing. It looks out to the front yard and sidewalk, and in the afternoon I can watch the foot traffic going to and from the elementary school at the end of the block. It's nice to not feel so isolated. Painting is such a solitary pursuit that oft times I get lonesome. At least if the studio is in this room, I can feel more connected to the outside world, just from watching living and breathing human beings walk past. Another huge plus, this room has windows that open and have screens -- very helpful in airing out all of these oil paint and turpentine fumes.

The painting is 14" x 18" oil on linen.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hydrangeas Times Two

The painting on the left is from last week, is painted with my usual paints, and is 9"x 12" oil on canvas. (I mainly use Old Holland, Williamsburg, and Holbein brands.) The painting on the right is from today and is 8" x 10" oil on linen with some sample paints that a sales rep gave me last Friday at an Art Expo at Art Supply on Main Street. The paint samples are a brand that Vikki (the store owner) at Art Supply has been encouraging me to buy, but art supplies are expensive, and it's hard to justify buying a new brand of something when I'm not sure that I'll like it or what the outcome will be on canvas. So it was wonderful to have the opportunity to try these Michael Harding's artist oil colors in the starter set and try one M. Graham & Co. azo yellow. The Michael Harding's starter set comes with ultramarine blue, scarlet lake, yellow lake, yellow ochre deep, burnt umber, and titanium white-2. I really like the way the paint glides on the canvas - it felt like the painting was painting itself. From day one of painting, from ease of use alone, I'd say the painting was a huge success.

Now, my usual palette wasn't necessarily represented in the color choices of the paints in the starter set, so as far as I can tell, that's the major discrepancy in the colors of the two paintings. It will be fun in the not too distant future to try the same colors side by side in two different paint brands. I'm really looking forward to that experiment. Who knows? Maybe, thanks to the kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity of a sales representative, and thanks to Vikki for hosting the Art Expo, I've just discovered my new favorite paints?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Art Stuff

Here's a list of art related stuff I've done lately but haven't blogged about:

1.  Going to the Prado Exhibit at the MFAH - twice. And I cried both times. The first painting in the exhibit was Vulcan Forging the Thunderbolt of Jupiter by Peter Paul Reubens. Peter Paul Reubens!!! It was my very first time to see a Reubens in person and I burst into tears -- both times I saw the painting. It was also my first time to see Velesquez, El Greco, Goya, and Sorolla paintings. To say that I was moved is an understatement. I'd love to go one or two more times while the exhibit is in town if anyone wants to go with me. It's on view through March 31st.

2.  After the Prado exhibit I bought a book called Sorolla: The Masterworks by his great-granddaughter, Blanca Pons-Sorolla that I've been reading....and to be honest, looking at the pictures. That's probably the best part about art books as a grown-up -- looking at pictures. Another great thing about this book is that it's written in English. The other book on Sorolla that I have is in Spanish, and even though I understand some of it, the book in English is so much easier to read.

3.  Going to see the movie "Bert" at the Menil, a documentary about the life of artist Bert Long, who recently passed away. The movie talked at length about Bert's continual financial woes. My favorite line in the movie was when Bert said that if he was given $2 million for an art project that it would take him $3 million to complete it. He also talked about his file boxes of rejection letters....that's pretty common in the art world but we artists don't talk about it very often.

4.  Going to a volunteer party at Lawndale where I participated in and won a cake in the cake walk. So fun.

5.  Going to the MFAH for the Picasso Black and White opening night extravaganza. I really appreciate Picasso's early work and later work -- it's all the stuff in between that I find hard to like. What was interesting about this, though, was seeing how he applied paint and used ink and chalk all in the same paintings (on some things). And seeing works that I had only seen in books that are flat in books, but in real life are quite alive. I enjoyed that part of the exhibit. Opening night was PACKED.

6.  Going to an exhibit of Bert Long's paintings at Houston Baptist University. This was my favorite painting, oddly enough called Road Kill. It's quite large, 72" x 96" x 4" and is acrylic on canvas with a frame of acrylic, metallic gold and silver paint, tire, reflectors and mirrors on white pine. Why does it never occur to me to use tires and reflectors in my paintings? The show came with a catalog that I'm slowly reading, too.

7.  Going to Houston Center for Contemporary Craft for the Misfit Cup Liberation project, where people bring an unused cup of their own and trade it for a newly crafted one. Each participant writes a story of why their cup was discarded. It really was a liberating experience.

8.   And finally, going to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft for "Touch in Real Time" where artist Holly Hanessian takes a small piece of clay and puts it in a handshake. It forms to the shape of both participants hands and a (hopefully) human emotional connection is formed as well. It was a plus that the artist was so engaging and easy to like.