Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Musician Series: "Hot August Nights"

"Hot August Nights"
20" x 25"

 I am participating in a online critique group with Gwen Fox, an artist from Taos, NM. She challenged us to paint a series, so I continued with the musician theme. Ala Jeannie McGuire, who recently taught a Figurative Workshop in Vermont, I focused on making this painting unique and created an abstract background. Though the sax player is more forward than the singer, I wanted the singer to be the center of interest. I gave her more detail and light, and the sax player blended into the shadows. Gwen gave me a thumbs up on this one and commented that I accomplished my goals.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Figurative Workshop in Southern Vermont

Even for me, a traveler at heart, this workshop was a bit of a stretch after being gone 5 weeks and home just 9 days. Friend Joan from CT and I always do an art related vacation together. Though she is an oil painter, but she located a watercolor workshop sponsored by the Vermont Watercolor Society, and figured she could learn a lot from Jeannie McGuire who does wonderful non-traditional watercolors. Jeannie likes to let the painting develop as she goes, she will scrub out, paint over, work in lots of pigment, and use opaque paint against more transparent passages. She won the Gold Medal from AWS and has been featured in magazines. Check outt Jeannie McGuire's Art on Facebook.

Thus we traveled to beautiful Landgrove Inn, a traditional old farmhouse expanded to Inn with it's own delicious restaurant. They built a workshop facility and their hallway is lined with works by admired watercolorists like John Salminen and Ted Nuttal who have given workshops here. We were fed three meals a day, and the 10 artists and instructor developed a sense of community for the week.

We started with portrait, moved on to single figures, and finished with multiple figures. "The Singer" is at top was the single figure. I struggled with my first pieces, but pulled this one together. "Really?!"   is from of photo of Bob.

The multi figure piece features women's soccer.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Tribute to WWI Veterans

 "Flanders Fields"
10" X 10" collage and acrylic on canvas

We returned last week from five weeks of travels that included a Bike and Barge trip from Brugge, Belgium, to Amsterdam. We rode while the barge moved to our next overnight location. This was a fascinating way to see these Lowland Countries with dikes, canals, waterways, and a good deal of land below sea level.

"Flanders Fields" is a tribute to WWI veterans, inspired by our visit to the museum in Ypres, Belgium, that tells of the stories of displaced local population and the horrors of trench warfare. Their symbol is the red Poppy which was growing prolifically in the fields we traversed on our bicycles. I collaged the grey green bands for texture and applied paint over the collage.  The poppies are done simply with acrylic paint on canvas. The grey green represents the fog, water, and green fields, and the Poppies honor those lost in the war.

Here is a photo of our barge loaded with bicycles pulling into the town of Kortrijk.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

"Rainy Day in Takayama"
12" x 15" Watercolor
Matted Original - $190

Back in November we visited a mountain town in rural Japan. Takayama is a beautiful place that we tourists have definitely discovered, as evidenced by the English "Sale" sign in the window of this shop. Many old traditional buildings remain and are now thriving businesses -- restaurants and retail abound. It rains a lot in the town and our two days spent there were no exception. We all donned our rainwear and took in the sights. I especially loved this little scene with the bike parked and seat kept dry with an umbrella. Another umbrella hung decoratively from the eaves.

The town is famous for its morning market, temples, an ancient Ginko tree, puppet shows, and the traditional buildings

Beautiful structures in Takayama

Takayama commercial area

The town was an interesting experience. We stayed in one of the best hotels, but it in no way resembled the magnificent hotels of Tokyo and Kyoto. However, they provided their own rift on the traditional yukata that we wore in other hotels. These were very comfortable pajamas, and I do not know the Japanese word for them.
Wearing my Takayama Pajamas

Friday, March 18, 2016

Open House: Successful Endings

Beautifully displayed in client's home, this piece is visible
from her beautiful new kitchen and dining area
"The City That Never Sleeps"
36" x 36"
Pair of Geisha's on display were destined for
a patron's  livingroom
"Work Kit"
24" x 24"
"Point of View"
24" x 24"
 The Art Show on Saturday was an Open House. Though many of my collectors were unable to attend due to a memorial service planned after I publicized my show, I had a steady stream of visitors. I sold two paintings, the wine series coasters, and cards. Ironically, one sold painting was requested a few hours later by a Reception attendee. I had to disappoint her. Here is a sample of the coasters that I ordered online based on my small purse collages.
Some sales happened after the show. I followed up with potential buyers who purchased my pair of Geishas and the Manhattan themed collage. As this was the first showing of my found paper collage on canvas artwork as a collection, selling large pieces was very satisfying.  Two days after my show, my home gallery remained on display. A salesman for a patio door company came to finalize my order, and he purchased a small painting.
I use the Paypal Here device to accept credit cards. I believe that people are more likely to purchase art when this form of payment is available to them. The app is a good record keeper as well.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Successful Art Reception and Open House

Japanese brush painting, ink on paper

"Senkyoro View"
Japanese brush painting, ink on paper

"December at Wilder Ranch"
"Sailor's Warning on a Foggy Morning
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
"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.

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”


Items imprinted with art images


 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.