Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rosicrucian Cactus

"Rosicrucian Cactus"
9" x 9"
Watercolor and Sumi Ink

Source photo

I usually don't post twice in one day, but today is the exception. I finally finished a painting! I started this piece about 3 weeks ago, but the Open Studios work, cycling education, and traveling got in the way. The piece had its roots in a plein air session with Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society at the Rosicrucian Museum in early April. We had a lovely sunny day and I was so taken with this sturdy old plant that I took several pictures. I knew then that I planned to paint a structure that day, so the photos would be for reference later. I liked the shapes and the suggestion of color.

I selected an Adjacent-Complementary Tetrad color scheme from Nita Leland's book, "Confident Color." So basically I used yellow and green against magenta and blue. I painted the piece using lots of artistic license and then added some sumi ink with a bamboo pen to the star of the show. I like the abstract qualities of the background against the defined, colorful branch.

I seem to be a serial painter. Somehow I must finish one piece before beginning another, so I would not allow myself to start the Memorial Day paintings I have in my head before I completed this work. I've always been very goal-driven, perhaps the result of being the oldest of seven children. I want to learn to have several paintings in process at one time. Next up is a scene from the San Luis Obispo railway station that is in my head and not my camera. I will begin the sketch today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts on painting and poster art

"Summer Vases"
29" x 20"
(c) Mary Paquet

I finally am back to painting, but I don't have something finished to show you here. "Summer Vases" is a full sheet painting done in a Mike Bailey Workshop. It was the last of the series and emphasizes shape, color, and line. The painting was done quickly and lacks perfection. I rather like the freshness I achieved. At the moment, this painting is hanging in my livingroom. I plan to buy frames when I see a good sale and put up some more art in the house. People who come to our home always enjoy seeing the art. I plan to rotate the pieces more frequently.

I have a bunch of paintings in my head right now and must really get to work to set them free. Two are from Memorial Day and some are related to the Paquet Farm. I took some candid shots at the railroad station in San Luis Obispo, and they all have great potential, but the one I want to paint is only in my mind. We'll see if I can do people without reference material.

I mentioned that the Paquet Farm is celebrating its centennial as part of the Barre Heritage Festival in Barre, VT. I was asked to design a poster. I had to keep it very simple with requirements for black and one color. I also am not an illustrator and don't know the software that would be ideal. With a deadline of a week, there was not time to learn. I ended up using one of my paintings of the farm, and I removed the color. The view is known to everyone in the area. The family is happy with the results. You can see the poster by pasting this link into your browser:
From this page, take the link on the right side for Paquet Farm 100th Anniversary to see the poster. The posters are going into print this week and I am promised one for my archives.

Weekend travel and sketch

Paso Robles, CA

"12th Street Landmark"
Paso Robles, CA

Bob and I went via our folding Bike Fridays and Amtrak Coast Starlight to Paso Robles for the Great Western Bike Rally. Bob is on the board of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO) and they met mid-day on Saturday. I got on my little Friday and headed out from the fairgrounds, where our bicycle club was camping, to the central park. Paso Robles is a nice town with lots of wineries and it's in beautiful hill country against the Santa Lucia Mountains just inland from Cambria on the Coast. I took my sketch book, micron pen, and tiny pan paint set. The town was hosting an art in the park and were auctioning pieces from a "plein air" session. I missed most of that and wish I could have seen the artists at work. Sounds like a great way to generate some enthusiasm for art. I sat in the park and sketched, then dropped in a bit of watercolor.

An old man was sitting smoking his pipe, dressed in his everyday cowboy garb, a common dress in an area of ranches and vineyards. He was sitting among the flowers watching the activities around him. At one point I looked up from my sketch and he had moved on, but I was able to complete the sketch and watercolor from memory. The building is a replacement for a landmark building that crumbled in a pretty severe earthquake a few years ago. They reproduced the tower quite nicely, though the remainder of the building is obviously modern. One family came by and admired my sketch of the building and the father pointed out to his little son the building that I was capturing. I really enjoyed my little sketch adventure and peaceful moments on a weekend filled with socializing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


"Jeff's Sunflower"
North Danville, VT

At my recent Open Studio I sold one of a series of sunflowers, but failed to take a photo of the picture so I can't show you the piece that a friend purchased. Jeff is my oldest son and he moved back to Vermont in 1999. He reconnected with his agrarian roots, and though he sells businesses for a living, most recently a supermarket to people who have a small chain of them, his personal time is spent farming. At his own home, he and Beth grow a large garden, keep chickens, have horses for the girls, a couple birds, and some cats. Jeff also helps at the Paquet family farm, and especially enjoys working the fields, just like his dad did. One year Jeff planted the most wonderful sunflowers in his garden, something I associate more with Kansas than Vermont. I was inspired to paint several pictures of them. This one I gifted to Jeff.

Today we prepare to head to the Great Western Bike Rally. Some years we've ridden the coastal route on our touring bicycles, but that takes three days, which we don't have at the moment. So we will be taking the Amtrak Coast Starlight down and back. We camp with our bike club at the rally and do lots of rides in very beautiful wine country in Paso Robles. More inspiration for the art! I will be taking an art travel kit.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Final post on Open Studios and some Drawing Exercises

Laura, artist and illustrator

Laura's work on display at Open Studios

"Garden Shoes"

"Parking Lot Floral"

When I posted pictures of our artists, I did not have one to share of Laura Schiller, our illustrator who created our mailers and flyers and does some wonderful computer-enhanced art. You can check out Laura's work on her blog:

The next two pastels were done in my most recent two drawing classes. Neither are finished pieces, but I don't intend to do more work. Bob brought in his old athletic shoes and a bandana two weeks ago. My friend's reaction was amazement that anyone would bother to draw such a subject. Bob is always looking for ways to challenge us to apply our knowledge of perspective and creating form and volume. He is not concerned that we create a piece of art to display or sell. I actually found it challenging and fun to recreate those soiled and worn shoes and old bandana. The second one was a subject we came up with this morning. Bob had brought some potential still lifes, but someone wanted to understand how to draw florals, so Bob gave us a demo. Rea went out to the parking lot and picked some weeds and popped them into a vase on top of a gold drape. Voila! Instant florals.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Florals sold at Open Studios

"California Poppies"
5" x 7"

"Judith's Flowers"
5" x 7"

These two pieces sold at my recent Open Studios. Both were matted and nicely framed in classic dark wood frames. They were purchased by two cycling instructors who frequently teach with me. When we cycle, we get to admire the beautiful wild flowers and people's gardens as we pass at bike speed. "California Poppies" was done from photos I took while cycling just south of my home in Coyote Valley. Every spring there is a beautiful display for my personal pleasure. The second was inspired by flowers grown by a friend in her garden in the nearby Santa Cruz mountains.

Yesterday we were on the coast shepherding our cycling academy through a 63-mile graduation ride. We do this ride on the coast to avoid heat, but unfortunately, that plan didn't work this time. Part of the ride is one ridge from the coast, a ridge we have to climb, and the heat in the interior valley was brutal. Once we crossed the ridge, the temps dropped a bit. With stops at Gizdich Ranch for their famous pie and other rest stops for food along the way, we were on the road 8 hours. Today I have some barbecue fund-raising duties at church, so I have another busy day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Open Studios Wrapup

I pose with "Mother's Tea" which sold the first day

Part of my display, including "Two for Tango" and "Mujer del Gaucho," sold on Day 2

My flower bike welcomes patrons to the studio

A lovely Mother's Day gift from my dear friend, Pam

We had a lovely second day of Open Studios. I sold nine paintings and numerous cards. My fellow artists had good sales as well. The crowds were steady. Bob did the greeter duties on Sunday. Both Bob and Arleta were terrific at their job. I had to show you my flower bike, which was a lovely gift from my co-workers when I retired. It's a true "fixie" for any of you who might know cycling lingo.

Since then, I've been super busy going to drawing class, meeting some social commitments, and doing a brown bag lunch session on commuting to work by bike requested by IBM at their Silicon Valley Lab. Tomorrow we teach a second session at IBM Almaden Research, and Thursday we work an energizer station at the Caltrain depot in Morgan Hill for Bike to Work Day, followed by breakfast at the Specialized Bicycle Company headquarters.

I am continuing to work on the closeout of the show. I am just getting my house back in order and trying to find a place for unsold art. I am doing thank you notes to the collectors who bought art, and recording sales for my business records. It's interesting to analyze what sold. I sold a still life, a very modern experimental piece, two dancer-themed paintings of people, several florals, and a landscape. All but two were framed and two were unmatted and unframed. Cards also sold very well. A special of four for the price of three was very popular.

Hopefully I am back to creating art, not doing the work of art, soon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Open Studios Site #379 -- Successful First Day

Members of the South Side Art Club Particpate in Silicon Valley Open Studios
Our Greeter: Emerging Artist Arleta Moore

Laura Schiller's computer-enhance artwork

Part of my display

Artist Alison Turner demos her work

Artists Diane Martarano, Don Paquin, Alison Turner, and Penny Morales

We had a very successful first day at Open Studios. The artists worked both Friday evening and Saturday morning setting up displays. Promptly at 11:00 a.m. opening time we had our first visitor, a person who chose to visit our site from the Open Studios catalogue! We were delighted to hear that a number of our visitors came as a result of the colorful SVOS signs we put out in the final mile to my home. Many visitors were collectors or friends that we had invited. You see the artists above, all except Laura Schiller -- somehow I missed her in my photos. I will get a picture today.

Several of the artists sold work. I personally sold three pieces of framed art, including "Mother's Tea" that is displayed on this blog's banner, some unframed art, and lots of cards, which proved very popular.

Today being Mother's Day, we are hoping that people will treat Mom to a viewing of art. The day has dawned with perfect sunshine. Perhaps the wind will not come up quite as strong as yesterday. We have some lovely displays in the gardens. If you live in the area, consult the information on the Silicon Valley Open Studios website (link to the right) for the Mary Paquet Studio. We hope you will join us for some fine art, fine food, and fine fun.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An Oldie

"Block Island Light"
Rhode Island
20" x 15"

In 2001, a newly found art friend, Joan, and I decided to share a room and take another Mel Stabin workshop on Block Island, which is a two-hour ferry ride from the mainland. We stayed in the annex of the Surf Inn, a wonderful old Victorian hotel where multi-generational, New York City families still come to relax on the beach, the "veranda," and in the livingroom with it's myriad of genuine antiques from it's early days. On the final day, Joan and I opted to go to the lighthouse and paint. This was the piece I completed "plein air." I decided that it's a Mary classic to include among the matted art I am offering at Open Studios. Most of the pieces I will show (some 60+) are new within the last year or two. It's fun to see my work evolving.

Joan and I have continued our bi-coastal friendship and meet once a year for an art-centered vaction. Last year we rented a casita in Taos; the year before we did a workshop in Tuscany; you get the picture. Joan had hoped to entice me to China in February, but my South American trip was all planned by that time. We are hoping to grab some time in July when I go to Vermont for the Paquet Farm Centennial. As you can see, one of my joys in life is travel, and I readily give up spending my money in other ways to pursue the pleasure.

For those of you in the San Jose, CA, area, here is the open studios information:
May 9 and 10
11 to 5
Take the link on the right to the Silicon Valley Open Studios website and you will locate a map for Mary Paquet Studios.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Paquet Farm Centenial Poster Project

"Paquet Farm"
Barre, Vermont
1909 - 2009

I was asked to create a poster for the Paquet Farm Centennial celebration in conjunction with the Barre Heritage Festival. The farm is owned by my mother-in-law and worked by many family members, including my sons, part-time. I had just a few days to come up with a draft and I am not an illustrator or graphic designer, so I don't know the software one would use. I also had the constraints of one color and black. So I snapped a picture of a painting I did some years ago and converted it into black and white. Rather interesting. I used an editor to create the poster with the picture as it's centerpiece. I have a draft of the poster out for review by the town selectpeople. I will post the finished product when we get to that point, and fill you in on all the fun events they plan, including fireworks, a barbecue, and live music at the Farm on July 24. Yours truly definitely plans to be there.

Other than that -- I've been matting, framing, pricing, creating cards, labelling, and doing all the work of art. Tomorrow I turn to housecleaning.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More pictures from Open Studios

"Dordogne Sunflower"

Publish Post

In the summer of 2007, I went to the Dordogne region of France with Mike Bailey and a small group of artists. One day, surrounded by greenery, we were challenged to paint all day without using green. Certainly I enjoyed the test of my imagination when I painted a sunflower in the field behind Pettit Rousset. This matted piece will be available at my Open Studios on May 9 and 10. The piece is more lively. I can't seem to adjust the hue and saturation correctly.

Today my artist friend Alison and I went to three Open Studios in Los Altos. We had a nice time seeing the latest art at the Nancie Crowley and Karen Druker sites. I've followed Nancie's art for about 15 years and I know Karen personally from the France workshop with Mike. Seeing how other artists set up their Open Studio is helpful. The third place is a gallery, and frankly, I thought visiting the homes and/or studio space of the artists much more satisfying. We saw lots of excellent art, and I came home with some very nice greeting cards.