Sunday, January 31, 2016

Successful Art Reception and Open House

"Bamboo"
Japanese brush painting, ink on paper
 

"Senkyoro View"
Japanese brush painting, ink on paper

"December at Wilder Ranch"
Watercolor
"Sailor's Warning on a Foggy Morning
Watercolor 
Here are some of the paintings sold at my art reception and open house. We had a terrific gathering of people Friday night. After coming back from Japan with a brush that I purchased in a tiny store in Kyoto, I wanted to try brush painting with Sumi ink. A few minutes on YouTube turned up some videos on how to do that. I then tackled the two top pieces. Interestingly, they were the second and fourth pieces that sold.

Additionally, my drawing instructor who is an amazing artist, purchased the Wilder Ranch painting. I always cringe when I think of inviting my accomplished instructor to a show, but he was most complimentary.

My plein air pieces are often well received. Perhaps the fact that I am right out in the elements and have to work fast brings an amount of excitement to the pieces. Both Wilder Ranch and Sailor's Warning were done in plein air sessions.

An attendee has contacted me about purchasing one of my collages. More on that to come when the sale is complete.

Here are a few photos of the home gallery, by no means all that were on display:



 
 
 



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Japanese Room with a View: Active Mountains

Journal Cover Sheet
 
Room with a View: Misty Morning at Senkyoro
My journal cover sheet was inspired by a beautiful screen at a traditional restaurant at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo. The Japanese characters spell Japan. The flower is in honor of the beautiful gardens, which mostly do not showcase flowers, but rather water, earth, rock, gravel, and gorgeous plants.

We spent two nights at Senkyoro, a traditional inn mentioned in the previous post. I awakened on the first morning to a beautiful view from our living area. The mist was floating in the valley, and the gardens were a mass of shapes, and some fall color.

While at the inn, we decided to venture out with our 3-day bus pass. The mountain towns have an amazing number of buses to take you where you want to go. We took the bus to Gora where we boarded the Hakone Tozan Railway, a unique local transit that does switchbacks in order to descend the steep mountains to the town of Hakone. We also took the funicular up Mount Hakone, but due to two eruptions last summer, we could not continue on cable cars to the top of the mountain. At the lookout, the smell of sulphur was very strong from the active cauldron.

From the train we saw the marvelous Hakone Open Air Museum, so on our way back we stopped and visited it. Gorgeous grounds were home to beautiful sculptures by artists from all over the world. This was definitely the  highlight of the day for Susan and I. Bob would probably more recall the railroad and funicular.




After another amazing Japanese 12-course dinner, we slept soundly. The following morning we reversed our journey to Tokyo where we were to meet up with our small tour group and guide Toshi to visit gardens, shrines, and temples.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Japan Trip Inspires Brush Paintings

"Bamboo in the Garden"
5" x 7" Japanese Brush Painting
Ink on Watercolor Paper
a
"Senkyoro View"
8" x 10" Japanese Brush Painting
Ink on Watercolor Paper


Bob and I visited Japan for 16 days in November, a wonderful time to enjoy gardens and the colorful foliage. My friend and fellow artist, Susan, went with us. For 5 days we traveled on our own and then joined a Coopersmith Garden Tour in Tokyo. In honor of that trip I have been trying out my new Japanese brush that I purchased in Kyoto. After watching a few YouTube videos, I tried my hand at ink paintings. There is much to learn, but it is amazing what you can do with a single brush. I also want to do some work on Washi paper that I bought from a lovely paper store near our Kyoto hotel after I feel a bit more confident.

The first painting is an homage to the many gardens that contained bamboo. The gardens are so amazing there, and as I show you a few travel sketches in the next couple of posts, you will see what I mean. The Japanese culture emphasizes purity of design. The second painting was made from my watercolor sketch and photos I took while visiting a traditional inn in the region of Hakone National Park. Getting there was exciting. We had some instructions, tickets, and reservations. None of us speak Japanese. We first took one of their sleek bullet trains to Odwara Station where we exited and located a local bus. We had our destination, Senkyoro Inn, written in Japanese by the Otani Hotel staff in Tokyo. That really helped, as did the English translations on the destination electronics on the train and bus.

The traditional inn was top notch. I read all about the etiquette. No shoes on the tatami mat, and special slippers for the rest of the inn. We all wore the traditional Yukata while indoors.

 

 We ate traditional food for dinner. Gorgeously presented, beautiful pottery and china, and many things we had never eaten. It was a culinary adventure.


Bob and I loved our suite of rooms. Here you are looking from the entry across a room into a long narrow room with a view of the mountains. To the left was the equivalent of our livingroom. Here they laid out the futons on the floor for the night while we had dinner. They removed them in the morning while we had our Western breakfast. They were amazingly comfortable, though we probably weren't the most graceful getting in out in the middle of the night. The inn featured natural hot spring fed baths. My friend Susan and I took one bath in the women's section. Then Bob and I rented a private bath for couples.

Stay tuned for more Japan sketches and photos.

Art Open House


“Perfect Match”

12” x 16” Collage on Canvas

“Mendenhall Glacier”

6” x 8” watercolor, matted and framed to 8”x 10”
 
 
An invitation to my open house. The art is hung and ready to go.
 
ART OPEN HOUSE

The Art of Place: Contemporary Life in Collage and Watermedia

Saturday, January 30

11 am to 4 pm

173 Giddings Court

San Jose, CA 95139
 

               Landscapes, people, and cherished objects in watermedia or magazine collage on canvas

Original Works from 6” x 8” to 36” x 36”

and

Items imprinted with art images

By

 Fine Artist Mary Paquet

 

 

 

*Visa, Mastercard, cash or checks are accepted should you choose to make a purchase

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ripping Paper

"Work Kit"
24" x 24" Found Paper on Canvas"

"Point of View"
24" x 24" Found Paper on Canvas
In October, I created a pair of collages, "Geisha" anticipating my trip to Japan later in the month. I completed "Work Kit" first, stylizing my design. "Point of View" was done second. I was challenged to create the traditional white makeup while suggesting planes on the face and neck.

My artist friend Joan and I plan one art-related vacation a year. This year, Joan came to California and stayed with us in October. The Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society sponsored a workshop by Derek Gores, who had previously taught a collage workshop in 2012. I took that workshop and found paper collage became a favored medium. I was happy to retake the workshop, as did a couple other artists, to continue building my skill. Derek is an accomplished, energetic young artist and an excellent teacher.

Part of the success of the paper collage depends upon a range of values, to model forms and create transitions to soften and vary edges. This is done using papers of varying tones and shades of color. Another way is to use text.  If you view some of my other collages, you will see text creates the planes of the face. Now that I had a few years experience on my own, I could focus on the finer points of Derek's demos and lessons. During critique he said he loved the text next to the eye in "Work Kit." On "Point of View" he was taken with the china plates in the upper right quadrent.  Making the background interesting is all part of the package.

Derek calls his work "Fearless Play" and creating the art is a unique challenge. I love finding interesting papers and then creating a way to use them. Also, I cannot exactly plan how the piece is going to come together. Each piece influences the choice of other pieces. There is a randomness in how the image emerges and I could never create an original copy.

There are several guidelines to creating interesting work. The first is to tear the paper so that there are some interesting edges that contrast with the hard edges found in the magazine or memento. The second is to find the edges within the paper. In "Work Kit on the upper left side, you will see a women in a long dress forms the hairline near the red ribbon. There is also a window in the forehead. The woman was standing in front of a window and I liked the unexpected element in her face. The third is to vary the edges so the image doesn't just looked glued onto the canvas. The fourth is create interesting backgrounds. If you want to enhance your understanding, study Derek's art.

I have always been drawn to geometrics and shape, a reflection of the family engineering gene. Thus my backgrounds are somewhat grid-like, though I like to interrupt the grid with an occasional diagonal, as you see in "Work Kit" in the darker values next to the head on the right quadrant. The kimono is pure fantasy. I wanted a red, black, and white scheme.  When I found a magazine sheet with wrought iron fencing, I had aha moment for the trim. I felt it said "Japan.

We went to Japan on October 29 for a bit over two weeks. While in Kyoto we learned that geisha's still entertain in a theater district that was fairly close to our hotel. However, all the geishas we saw were visitors, especially from China, who went to shops near the shrines and temples to be dressed as geishas for the day. They did not, however, wear the white makeup. Their kimonos were colorful prints. Our guide explained that most Japanese women who wear kimonos select much more subdued designs, and wear their kimonos only to special events. The real kimonos usually sell for  thousands of dollars. So there are geisha's, but I did not likely see any real ones.

I will write next about the Japan trip, complete with travel sketches.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stephen Quiller Workshop at the 4UR Ranch

"Nature's Confetti"
19" x 14" Watercolor
 


 
"Trout Fishing at the 4UR Ranch"
19" x 14" Watercolor
"Nature's Beauty"
12" x 15" Watercolor
After travel to Colorado and Japan, an October visit from a good friend, and two workshops, I am back to blogging about three art adventures. Here goes with the Steven Quiller plein air workshop at the 4UR Ranch in Creede, CO, Steven's home town. I attended with friend Jeannie from the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society, and the whole experience was just so special. Jeannie and I found that we were very compatible travel companions. 
 
The ranch was so much more than I expected -- a Cordon Bleu trained chef gave us beautiful meals; the ranch has breathtaking scenery; we could take advantage of horseback riding, swimming, fly fishing, and hiking trails; though we were mostly busy painting); we were also treated to two meals cooked on the chuck wagon hauled into the mountains; and the accommodations were superb. I loved this dude ranch that has hosted the likes of Presidents, John Wayne, and Walt Disney. Steven gives two workshops a year at the ranch. We had an interesting range of temps, from low 20s early in the day to 70s by afternoon, mostly clear skies, and just a bit of rain a couple days.
 
A frosty scene from our porch on our first Colorado morning
Steven gave us our money's worth. In addition to working from 9 am to 5 pm, he hosted several evening sessions. Everyday we painted at a different location in the San Juan mountains: by the Rio Grande, by a trout lake, and amidst spectacular fall colors. Steven would demonstrate his approach, and then we selected our subject and painted. At the end of the day, we returned to a workshop area at the ranch where Stephen did a critique of the day's work.  
 
When I finished the week, I felt like all my paintings were pretty mediocre as I was pushing myself to try new approaches to watercolor. However, after going back to the paintings a week later, I decided to do a bit of work and apply Steven's critique suggestions to three of them. I was then satisfied with my results.
 
"Fall Confetti" was done on the morning of our second day when we went high in the mountains on an unpaved ranch road to a spot Steven had previously selected. Steven is a color expert and has written several books on the subject. He always emphasizes that the greyed colors and neutrals are what make the pure color pop. His suggestion was to use pure acrylic to add in the dots of falling leaves. The name came from a statement by Angie, our carpool driver in her large SUV -- she gazed at all the fallen leaves and stated they were nature's confetti. That day we had to return to the ranch workshop area and finish our paintings due to rain.
 
Painting fall color before the rain
The third day was spent at a beautiful trout pond backed by spectacular scenery. Steven arranged from two of the ranch hands to do some fly fishing while we sketched and photographed them. I worked one of images of the two fisherman into "Trout Fishing at the 4UR Ranch." The fourth day we painted along the Rio Grande, which runs past the trout pond. Steven arranged for a wrangler and one of the horses, Navajo to do some posing for us  along the river. I have not yet gone back to that painting.
 
The final day we went even higher in the mountains, roughly 10,000 foot level to paint an area of nature that was both affected by a fire a few years ago and by a beattle blight in the evergreens. The area is called Station 10 for the purposes of trout fisherman. The result is quite spectacular with the colorful aspens against the burn and the deep magenta and purples of the blight. It was extremely cold that morning, and I wore 4 layers, including a light down jacket. Later I would shed a jacket and flannel shirt as the day warmed nicely for the fish fry done on location by the chef.
 
 

Attentive artists at Station 10
 
Steven demos at Station 10
On Thursday evening, we had a voluntary visit to the Quiller Gallery in Creede and the local historic theater where Steven recently installed a gorgeous 4 panel mural. Part of the gallery is devoted to his "Beauty in the Burn" series done in paintings and monoprints. The "burn" refers to the devastating fire, a small bit of which we painted on Friday.

On Friday night, we were invited by Steven and his wife Marta to their home for a delicious catered dinner. They graciously allowed us to view Steven's paintings throughout the house. Steven gave us a tour of his splendid studio, which we entered into the top level office retreat and descended into the working studio. Spectacular views of the Rio Grande that flows below them and the mountains across the valley were icing on the cake. Steven said the view paid for the studio as he has painted it many times in all seasons and weather.

Mary, Steven, and Jeannie behind the studio
The following day, Jeannie and I toured the area by car, seeing the remains of the old mines that built Creede in their day. A day-long scenic drive back to the Denver area completed this art adventure. We flew home the next day.
 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Morning Pastel: Susan's Roses

"Susan's Roses"
12" x 14" Pastel


The traveler is back and I attended Monday drawing class last week. Friend Susan brought in some lovely roses and an interesting pitcher. Instructor Bob paired it with a lovely drape and good lighting. With just a few hints from the instructor and some work after at home, I was able to complete this one to my satisfaction. I find floral bouquets in pastel quite the challenge. How to suggest without doing every pedal? It's all about values and edges.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

"Enough about Me" Pairs Well with Perfect Match

"Enough About Me"
16" x 12" Torn Paper Collage
 
One way to pair with "Perfect Match"

Reverse pairing
 
Between travels I managed to complete a collage for my wine series. This one features red wine and a variant on the blue poppies I saw at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. I reversed the background, but used similar colors and design elements so that it would pair well with "Perfect Match."
 
I find it easiest to put down a basic background first, then start with the large elements and work to small. Finally, I continue to work the table and the background until I achieved harmony and interest. I also have to work to vary the edges, a bit of a challenge for me, so everything is not hard edged. The yellow orange color was really necessary to add a lively touch, and I like using checks and polka dots to pull things together.
 
A change of scenery will take me to a dude ranch in Colorado for a Stephen Quiller plein air workshop featuring Fall in the San Juan Mountains. I expect to see colorful Aspens. I hope to have a few paintings to share when I return.

 
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More Collage with Perfect Match

"Perfect Match"
12" x 16" Recycled Paper Collage

In Santa Clara County, we are surrounded by many wineries, some well-known, and many small, high quality businesses, often family-run. I wanted to honor the many beautiful places that offer wine tasting. The design of this piece is from imagination. I took out two of Reidel glasses designed for some white wines and used them as my models. Then I had to think how the white wine would look against a deep blue background. It was fun to get the translucent look and the highlights.

I also called upon my recent visit to Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. I took photos of some gorgeous pale blue poppies. They were the inspiration for the flowers on the table. The blue and white definitely needed a pop of color, so I added some random shapes in orange-yellow.

I finished off the piece by adding interesting colors and textures. I find that I cannot finely plan the final piece. Each piece applied changes the relationships and influence the choice of anything that follows. That is part of the challenge and the satisfaction in doing these collages.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Melon Monday

 
"Melon"
10" x 12" Pastel
 
 
Bob decided to go simple so we could really "dig into" the finer shading and rendering. Unfortunately, this photo is not quite true to the color and I am not that good at Photoshop. I really enjoyed this exercise. In less than three hours on a Monday, it's difficult to get to more than the basics on a more complex setup. So this gave us the opportunity to work on the melon surface.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Imagination at Work and a Nice Surprise


Recently I sent for some small canvases online that had no explanation of depth. I like to do my collages on canvases with 1.5 to 2 inches of return. These turned out to be just 3/4" return. So I decided to have some fun. I squirted some liquid acrylic paint onto the canvas and started smearing it. I then added more paint to vary the look and conjured up a scene of a garden. I wanted this to have a modern feel and did not worry about a lot of detail on the flowers. I plan to put this one in a floating frame.

An organization has purchased "Mountain Peonies" from viewing it on the blog. Every now and then that happens, and it feels really good,.

On the Road Again with Sketches

Coast Trail
9" x 5" watercolor sketch

"Standing on the Corner"
9" x 5"Watercolor Sketch

Foggy Day at Half Moon Bay
For my long-term blog friends, these scenes will look familiar. Bob attends a Flutes By The Sea Master Class in Half Moon Bay every July. This is his third year. I go along for the fun -- the B&B, the good restaurants, the quaint shops, the coastal trail rides on my bicycle, and the sketches I do with my tiny travel set. You can check out previous workshop experiences in 2014 and 2013. My favorite sketch from those trips is the greenhouses in 2013. This year we were there for 4 days.

I actually painted Foggy Day first. After dropping Bob at the workshop, I drove to a parking lot and sat on a wonderful bench over the sea. The following day I went to Pillar Point Harbor, but that was a more ambitious piece and not done yet. I took photos along the coast from my bike in the afternoon. The third day I rode my bike again to a bench and painted Coast Trail. You can probably guess that I amped up the color because the views are so beautiful that it seems that bright.

Standing on the Corner is just a cute scene on a corner near the B&B. Someone has done a very fun bench and I couldn't resist painting it. I did not attempt to do this plein air with traffic. Instead I worked from a photo on my phone. One of my friends really liked this one.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Another in the Purse Series of Collages

"Beautiful Baubles"
10" x 10" Torn Magazine Collage with Hand-painted Rose
$150
 
In this piece, I expanded my process to include a rose that I painted in acrylic on Arches paper, cut out, an applied with gloss medium. I was inspired by a purse ad that showed a retro purse covered with black and white flowers that a friend gave me. My purse is neither flowers, nor  is it the same shape. It is, though, black and white and I loved the geometric papers I found going through my bins of magazine papers.  The flap of the purse is actually a graphic of high heel shoes!

I then found myself draw to geometric shapes for the background, but I wanted a little excitement so there is quite a bit of variation. The jewels really grabbed me as having potential, so I heaped them on the table. Then I repeated the jewelry theme in the background.

I believe I achieved some amount of simplicity, but it was not without a lot of trial and error. I don't know if I will ever get very speedy at creating my collages.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

North to Alaska

"Riding the White Pass and Yukon Railway"


"Morning at Mendenhall Glacier"
Misty Fjord from the Float Plane
 
"Sailing Queen Charlotte Straits, BC"
 
This is a big year for travel. As the years pass, I am determined to get out and see the world while I can. This trip was a largely unplanned cruise to Alaska. After getting back from the Panama Canal in March, we had an offer from Celebrity that was really reasonable. Alaska was on our bucket list for next year, so we moved up the timetable. This was a repositioning cruise so we started in San Francisco and returned from Vancouver, BC. Our neighbor dropped us at the train station and we took Caltrain to San Francisco and a taxi to the pier. So nice not to have to fly to the start.

I wasn't in the mood to paint until about 3 days before the end of the cruise. I was sitting on my balcony on a warm day as we sailed through the Inside Passage surrounded by islands and the mainland of British Columbia. I grabbed my little travel kit and captured the scene. I did the remainder of the paintings from photos I had taken along the way over the next two days.

Bob hasn't met a railroad he did not want to ride, so we took two train trips. The first out of Skagway is documented here. I highly recommend this ride that lasts several hours and takes you up a high pass and into BC from Alaska. You can appreciate that gold is quite an allure when you see what they endured on foot to get to it. I captured a moment when I could see the front part of the train from our car. We also could see huge trestles suspended hundreds of feet above the valley floor that we would be crossing, but I didn't paint that scene. In spite of my fear of heights, I was not at all bothered by the ride. We also got to see a large bear right by the tracks, a rare sighting we were told.

From Juneau, it is very easy and reasonable to make the 45 minute ride to Mendenhall Glacier National Park. So we went off of the local shuttle bus service and enjoyed a beautiful morning at the Center using our National Parks Senior Pass to get in free. The scene I painted was the first I captured from the parking lot. The glacier is rapidly receding. In fact, we practically had California weather all during our trip, much warmer than average. I learned that Juneau, though it is the capitol of Alaska, is not connected by roads to its constituents because it is on an island. The locals have a saying, "You arrive in Juneau by boat, plane, or birth canal."

In Ketchikan, we treated ourselves to a boat ride deep into Misty Fjords and the weather was indeed misty that day, perfect for our morning ride. We saw many bald eagles, porpoises, and star fish, as our naturalist gave us background on the area. Many people live on islands without bridge connections to the mainland. The public schools teach the children survival skills. Before leaving grade school, the children are dropped off in twos for their test. They have to live off the land without any supplies for three days. This is a far cry from our very protective approach to raising mainland children. Deep in the fjords, we tied up to a floating dock and our float planes arrived to wisk us back to Ketchikan. I just loved the ride, the views, and the excitement of a small plane.

I am glad I got in the mood to paint. Travel sketches always help me recall the moment.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Susan's Pitcher at Monday Morning Drawing Class

"Susan's Pitcher"
Unfinished Oastel
 
 
 
I have been attending Monday Morning Drawing Class whenever I'm in town, but I have been unable to finish anything so I have not been posting the pieces. I know that this will lie there in the stack unfinished, so I decided to show the part that is more done. There is actually the rest of the tray and a couple red onions to the left, but I only got to draw them.  There is a bit more table to the right, also. It was fun to do this piece. The finish on this old pitcher is wonderfully worn and a challenge to reproduce.