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.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Showtime


"Early Morning Shadows on the Rio Grande Gorge
Taos, NM
14" x 19" Watercolor
$300 (unframed)
 
 
The Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society (SCVWS) will be having a summer show, "Shades of Summer" in Saratoga. I called upon some photos and memories of early morning at the eighth highest bridge in the USA to create a painting for entry in the show. A hot air balloon was suspended over the landscape and the bridge shone in the early morning light.
 
I used a lot of imagination for the colors. My challenge was to subdue enough of the painting to put the focus on the center part of the gorge, bridge, and balloon. I just finished the work so I may yet make the some changes. I have to walk by it for a few days so it can tell me if it is done.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Painting in the Diablo Mountain Range

"Mountain Peonies"
14" x 19" Watercolor
$175
Another great day painting with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. We are so fortunate to live in an area with many beautiful gardens, so that is the focus for Spring outings. We visited the Chateau CharMarron Peony Gardens high above the Valley in the Diablo Mountain Range. I had been here once before with the group, in 2013, and knew I didn't want to miss this event. The owners are so welcoming. The place is also open to the public during Peony prime time.

It was sunny and hot, with temps predicted in the 90s. I had planned to find a favorite clump of flowers and paint them close focused, but I decided I needed shade. Thus I did a floral landscape, along the idea of last week's Irises in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


My models
 You can see that I had some lovely models, though I did not choose to paint all of them nor all their leaves. I liked the mountain backdrop with deep, richly colored evergreens.

Some of the day's production
After a few hours of painting we gathered under the covered structure where I had painted to appreciate the day's work. You can read more about our adventure on the SCVWS paintsites blog.

Another beautiful day of being inspired by my fellow artists.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Going Backwards: Plein Air Two Weeks Ago

"California Poppies"
10" x 13"
$100

A few weeks ago, my Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society plein air group painted at a reserve that is about a mile from the 49ers Levi Stadium. Amidst the commercial properties and new condos, Santa Clara managed to set aside an old golf course and restore its natural state. We arrived at Ulistac Nature Reserved on a sunny, hot morning. I love California Poppies so they became my subject. I have some of these babies in my yard in spite of being warned that they like to spread where I don't want them. So far, they are spreading where I do want them.

You can read about our adventures on the SCVWS blog.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Plein Air Painting in the Mountains

"Sailor's Warning on a Foggy Morning"
14" x 20" Watercolor
$175
My models
 Plein Air painting can mean sitting out in all kinds of weather. Today we went to Cummins Iris Garden in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was overcast at my house, predicted to be 75 degrees with sun later. I knew that the mountains would remain fogged in longer, so I was prepared. Some folks arrived and left when they realized we were not going to have Valley weather.

This garden is gorgeous, a loving project of Jim and Irene Cummins. We were there May 2013 on a hot day. You can see the post.  The setting is lovely, even on a foggy morning, so I found some Irises that I loved and painted them against the backdrop of the mountains. You can see that their name is "Sailor's Warning", I am guessing because they resemble a sunset often seen before a storm.

We gathered at one to have our picnic lunches and view the truly lovely paintings. We were entertained by wild turkeys who seem to think the garden is their home. The three males got all puffed up in fight mode, looking about three times their size with beautiful, blue, and white on their necks. They are much handsomer when they become protectors.

"Don't mess with us"


Some of the garden area
Some of the day's production

S

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Spring Beauty"
22" x 30" Torn Magazine Collage
on Canvas
The first buds are on my Irises in the garden and I looked at a few paintings I've done of Irises over the years. I liked one where I did lots of negative painting, so I decided to use the same approach on this piece. I've worked many hours this week, starting by putting in the background and then doing the images on top. I'm not sure I'm done. I think I may put more color in the Iris on the left.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Another Experiment

"Ancient Wonders"
8" x 10" Manipulated Papers on Canvas
A friend had done some nice abstracts using paper she manipulated with Citrasolv. Today I spent quite a bit of the day working on a floral magazine collage and I needed a break. The other day I tried the Citrasolv on some magazine pages. So I played around with a small canvas and some of the papers. The results made me thing of cave dwellings.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Sunrise over Utah
15" x 20" Watercolor
$175
Thanks to my bicycling friend Mike Miller for the reference photo he took in January while skiing in Utah. In 2008 Bob and I rode our tandem in Utah on our cross-country trip. Incredible vistas. This piece was challenging, but I was determined to finish it.

I first put down some washes. I then masked out the foreground grasses. Next I deepended the washes and I allowed the painting to dry thoroughly. I then looked for organic shapes to enhance with negative painting. The Magic Eraser helped with the sunrays. After removing the mastic, I deepened the grasses.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday Morning Drawing Class



"Artist at Work"
12" x 14" Pastel

Blog friend Sherri was worried about me when I hadn't posted for so long. We are doing so much travel lately that I've been remiss at art and at posting. I am back and here is a piece from before I left. This was a fun one to create. I loved the crackled finish on the pitcher, the well used brushes, and the motley collection of paint tubes. It was a real challenge, but very satisfying to do.

I promise to jump start my art this week and get back to blogging. Meanwhile, here is a little remembrance of our recent cruise through the Panama Canal. The crab was delicious at the Crab Shack event on our ship.

Eating at the Ship Crab Shack event
Somewhere off Mexico as we made our way to the Panama Canal
  
Chilling in Aruba
enroute from the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Spring Collections" and Good News

"Spring Collections"
10" x 10" Torn Magazine Collage
$150

First, the good news. My "Native Sage" was juried into "No Limits -- Freedom to Create," a show sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. I was very pleased because I really like that piece.

This is the third in a series of purse collages. I decided to incorporate some small charcoal drawings of models along with the torn magazine. I used workable fixative on the drawings so they would not smear when I adhered them to the canvas. I wanted to suggest spring, runway shows, and New York City.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dolce

"Dolce"
10" x 10" Torn Magazine Collage
$150
My latest in a series of small collages of purses. This one was very fun to create. I always find red, white, and black a cheerful and exciting combination.

I also updated two collages,  "In the Pink" and "Native Sage", with modest changes after taking it to critique where my experienced fellow artists made some suggestions.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Mini Collage

"In the Pink"
10" x 10" Torn Magazine on Canvas Collage
$150
I am on a roll with collage. Here you see a small one. I found doing a small collage more difficult than doing my really large ones. It was easy to overwork the gel medium. I am learning, though and I am pleased with the results.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Native Sage

"Native Sage"
3 feet x 3 feet
Torn magazine on canvas collage
$2000
 
When my artist friend Joan and I were in Taos, NM, attending a workshop, we all went out to a local restaurant. The bartender was such an interesting man that we asked it we could photograph him. He said he was a Lakota Elder from Nevada, working in New Mexico where there is a large Native American population. Joan said she wanted his silver feather earrings. We apparently are not the first tourists to ask to take his photo or want his earrings. He had posed for a whole busload of people earlier in the day. He was bemused by the attention.
 

None of my photos were very clear and besides, my goal is not to create an exact image. I doubt that he would recognize himself. My hat kick continues with his cowboy hat. I wove in some interesting suggestions of a story. There are some horses, the words New Mexico, and suggestions of his rugged character. I especially like the extensions of his mustache that mimic his feather earrings.

This is a large piece and took many days to complete. I started with a graphite drawing, then moved on to drawing him free hand on tracing paper. I transferred the outer edges of the figure,  then covered the entire surface with selected black, grey, and white magazine papers. From there I began to refine the shapes and add the features. I especially struggled with getting an expression that I like.

I am hoping to get this piece juried into a show.