Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stephen Quiller Workshop - Day 3

"Jane's Flowers"
Partially completed floral - watercolor and gouache

Stephen Quiller's demo at the 80% stage

Stephen demoed using opaque and translucent passages with transparent watercolor using a triad. He paints in several mediums - watercolor, acrylic, casein, and gouache. He likes how the opaque really makes the transparent passages glow. Some of the blue-purple, the white, and the pale yellow are opaque in his piece done from life. Jane Kwant supplied a gorgeous bouquet from her garden that included my favorite California Poppies. Mine is half done. I will likely have to wait until next week to complete the work a we move on today to acrylics used in a similar fashion to watercolor. He allows the painters to keep working in watercolor if they prefer. I will use acrylics which I have been working with just a bit over the past year.

The color work we have done has been a fabulous experience. In the morning, we created a color wheel for a color family -- in my case based on Cad Yellow Light. We mixed all the intensity ranges of yellow with the other 11 colors on his 12-color palette. Then we did a couple studies using the palette. I have done paintings based on his color families, where all the colors contained the mother color, and they are very harmonious.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stephen Quiller Workshop Day 2

Here is my afternoon painting -- we used analagous complements to create a piece. I did this from a photo taken in the fall of 2001 in my home state of Vermont. Off to another day of a wonderful workshop.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stephen Quiller Workshop and Demo

"Utah Vista 1"
Study in Permanent Orange and Ultramarine Blue

"Utah Vista 2"
Study in Permanent Orange and Ultramarine Blue

San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Stephen Quiller demo on painting using 2 complements

Stephen Quiller explaining his 12 color system

The Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society engages many well-known painters. This week I am taking a workshop from Stephen Quiller on watermedia and color. Stephen has written a half dozen books on this topic. One woman came all the way from Germany to take the workshop!

Yesterday the demo was standing room only, and Stephen gave a wonderful demo and slide show. Today he started with the basics, teaching us to use his 12 color system from which you can mix any combination of paints that you want. This morning we did the equivalent of musical scales (a color wheel with all the intermediate neutralized colors going from pure color to grey for each set of complements, a value scale and abstract study, and an intensity scale from white to black using 2 complements and an abstract study.

This afternoon Stephen demoed creating 2 landscape paintings of the same scene, using the same two colors -- permanent orange and ultramarine blue -- to create entirely different moods. The first painting we were told to use a pure hue of the orange and the blue, with varying color intensities (neutrals and semi-neutrals), and a full value range. The second piece we were told to use the same colors, but use all neutrals and semi-neutrals, and a full range of values. He emphasized how in the first painting the neutralized color makes the pure color sing, and in the second painting, the value contrast around the warmer semi-neutral color created a very luminous quality. I used one of my reference photos taken in Utah on my cross-country cycling trip.

I had a pleasant conversation with the artist over the lunches we brought along for the day in the gardens of the Rosicrucian Museum, a magnificent set of buildings with beautiful grounds located across from the workshop venue. I managed to get most of my preparation done for Silicon Valley Open Studios, so I can really enjoy this workshop.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Art Events - Lots Going On!

Framed plein air art for SVOS

More SVOS pieces ready and hanging

Mike Bailey addresses WBTO attendees

Mostly I've been working on Silicon Valley Open Studios preparatation. Framing, hanging, considering how to display the work, meeting with my Southside Art Club for final preparations, sending out e-mail invitations and physical post cards, and making lists. I was very excited to find that one of the official flyers features work by my friend Alison Turner, who will be showing her work at my home with me! Take the link on her name and view her "Different Strokes" in the upper left of the flyer. Alison does some very creative and unique work based mainly on her love of the outdoors and her travels.

Monday several of the Southside Art Club attended the final class of Mike Bailey's Watercolor Beyond the Obvious because Diane Martarano, the other artist showing her work at my home, just completed the class. On that day each artist has their 5 minutes of fame when they lay out all 20 of their full-sheet paintings. Attendees view the paintings, the artist speaks about the art, and Mike says a few words about each artist. In the photo we are having the potluck lunch, an attractive and delicious affair hosted by Karen Druker, my fellow SCVWS workshop chairwoman. WBTO is a class sponsored by Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Check out our offerings here and sign up for a future workshop.

Back to Open Studio prep. Apologies for my limited presence in the blog world.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reached the Max Limits

The neighbors
Trial images on Tyvek

Kathy Cartwright had an interesting post yesterday that reminded me that I have limits to stay mentally and physically strong. Mine are very broad, so it takes a while to reach them, always has. Last night I had to conclude that entering the first ever Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society juried show in July just isn't going to work. Undaunted by a workshop in late April, Silicon Valley Open Studios the first weekend of May, major trips conflicting with submission and take-in days, and weekly classes, I forged on to create a piece based on the theme Red, White, and Blue. However, yesterday we were asked to teach a national cycling seminar that must take precedence. I halted my work on my trial piece.

I show you here parts of my concept. I live in a multicultural area of the US and in a city where people of European descent are a minority, and I love that I can sit in the bagel shop and hear people from many countries buying bagels from the Cambodian family that runs the shop. You might recall that I painted Emy from Bernal Bagels. I decided to paint a piece with my neighbors who come from different parts of the world and had many thoughts on titles (important to me -- I guess I like limits!). "We the People," The Color of Freedom," "United We Stand," "This Land is Your Land," and I could go on.

I wanted to use Tyvek because of the interesting texture possibilities, learned from Myrna Wacknov. I painted with Dr. Martin's Hydrus Watercolors (liquid). I knew the first piece would be an experiment so I was working through issues of color, paint application, positioning of people, background, and how to make the piece speak for itself. Last night, though, the limit light came on and I halted my work. I had to conclude that I have too much on my plate and need to scale back. I am feeling very peaceful with my decision.

Thus, I leave you with some of the experimental folks. Back to Open Studio prep.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Small Pieces - Channeling Wayne Thiebaud?

5" x 7""
Acrylic on Matboard

"It's the 40's"
5" x 7"
Acrylic on Matboard

Entryway display

I've always loved the shape element. Perhaps that is why I so enjoy the work of Matisse. For my art sales, such as Silicon Valley Open Studios, I like to offer some small, very modestly priced original work, especially in these challenging economic times. If you read my first post about the Wayne Thiebaud talk, you saw my experiment with acrylic on mat board. Bob always ends up with some mat board scraps, in spite of his great knack for cutting sheets economically. Yesterday afternoon, I got out my life drawings of Jane Ferguson that I did at a session to benefit Doctors without Borders last month. Here are two that I've completed so far. I have a stash of small mahogany frames, and these little pieces are very charming on my decorative shelves in the entry where I display multiple pieces of art.

The white line drawing was my first piece as that was my original design concept. I also love the line element. Then I found myself wondering about using color on the brown mat board. I drew each of these from my original sketches using vine charcoal. As I did the second piece, I liked the look of the charcoal line and recalled Jean Pederson's wonderful use of line with her very beautiful paintings of people. (Take the link and especially look at "Harlequin" that appeared on the cover of Artist Magazine. See below for information on a Jean Pederson workshop.) I used liquid black gesso to do the line work on "Summertime." All the while, I was recalling Wayne Thiebaud's statement that "Everything we paint has components of what was."

Jane Ferguson, my model, is one of my favorite artists. Yup, I am being repetitious. Jane scours second hand shops for interesting clothing for her modeling sessions, and she did about a half dozen costume changes. Jane happens to be one of the most accomplished artists in the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society of over 400 artists.

In 2012, I will be coordinating a Jean Pederson workshop for the society. We have many "big name" artists scheduled over the next few years, so be sure to check our schedules. If you are coming here from out of the area, we can recommend reasonable places to stay.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Whole Lot of Framing Going On

"Sunflowers in the Petit Rousset" and "Big Night Out" framed

Matted Plein Air artwork
"Millbrook Farm Irises (Vermont) ," "Aging at the Winery (Cooper Garrod Winery, Saratoga hills) ," and "Winter in San Jose"

Silicon Valley Open Studios begins in three weeks. I have two other artists showing work at my home on the weekend of May 1 and May 2 from 11 to 5. If you live in the Bay Area, I do hope you will stop in.

Bob has been cutting mats and I've been matting, framing, and bagging art. Yesterday I coordinated the distribution of SVOS signs and mapguides to several other studios in the area. We exchanged promotional materials to cross-promote our studios. I have a bit more staging to do. I made some promotional materials including postcards. I sent out a Save the Date e-mail a month ago. This week I will send out the invitation by e-mail, plus I will send postcards to patrons who own my art.

Check out our artists pages by doing a search by name here.
Diane Martarano
Alison Turner
Mary Paquet

The final week before SVOS, I am attending a Stephen Quiller workshop (really exciting), so that means I need to be done with preparation by the end of next week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Another Still Life Exercise

"Glazed Pitcher with Nectarine"
12" x 15"

You will likely tire of seeing my various still lifes from Monday morning drawing class. They are always such a challenge and can be very rewarding if I come close to getting a three-dimensional feel. I can see that my nectarine is far to shiny and looks like an apple. There is always next week when we get to try something again.

I was delighted that a number of blog friends commented on my notes about the Wayne Thiebaud interview that I attended at the San Jose Museum of Art. For me, Wayne is an art superstar, and I felt so fortunate to see and hear him speaking about his art. His talk was very encouraging. He reminded me of the time that Mel Stabin, a very experienced art workshop instructor and recipient of many prestigious awards, said, "If I am more successful than you, it's only because I have failed more often." This says to me -- keep going, make art, some will work, some will not. Experiment, change, have fun, enjoy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Artist Talk with Wayne Thiebaud at San Jose Museum of Art

San Jose Museum of Art Program

Bob and I spent a delightful time attending the Wayne Thiebaud interview by the museum director last night. Chairs were set up in one of the two galleries featuring his work. Most of the pieces are from the family private collection and a San Francisco gallery owned by his son. I couldn't resist sketching Wayne. If you are not familiar with his work, Google his name and select images. He has done series of people, baked goods, San Francisco with unique perspectives, delta farmland scenes, and lately beach scenes. His art is very personal and unique, done from memory and sketches back in his studio. He began illustrating for Disney at 16, served in WWII, used the GI bill to attend 1 year at San Jose State and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at University of California at Davis. He then taught art for many years at Davis and became well-known among his contemporaries. He is a personal friend of many, including Wolf Kahn and Richard Diebenkorn. He is in his 90th year and his love for his wife who was in the audience is so very special. His wife stated that he paints every day.

What a lovely man he is; not at all full of himself and with the same self-criticisms and doubts that all artists have. Everything that Wayne said resonated with the various discussions on Kathy Cartwright's blog in which she explores many aspects of art. She often summarizes books about creating art and stimulates discussions. She really makes us artists think.

I scribbled a few notes and a sketch on the program and will share a bit of what he said.
  • Making art is magical. Each piece of art is a little world in itself.
  • Making art is an unnatural act; it's not natural to make space on a flat surface. The artist has to make the thing make sense -- a most difficult thing to do.
  • Making art is similar to staging a theater production. The objects are characters in dramatic incidents. The artist brings together by memory the elements to make an individual drama.
  • An artist has to be willing to fail. Wayne says that's his rationalization for all the failed pieces he's painted. He stated that he fails most of the time.
  • Museums are wonderful places to learn about art. He had to learn to like Matisse and now Matisse is one of his favorite painters.
  • He doesn't believe we have a "self." We are made up of all the people who have contact with and all the experiences we have. One of the quarrels he has with modern art is the emphasis on self.
  • Everything we paint has components of what was. We critique by measuring ourselves against tradition.
  • Work like hell, push yourself, and make lots of mistakes. That's how you become a better artist.
  • He characterized Duchamp as a coward for retreating to cubism.
  • Most of his series develop over a period of 10 to 12 years. Wayne is not sure he should be showing the beach scenes that he's done over the past 5 or 6 years because he hasn't completed the series.
  • On the other hand, he said show your work and the sooner the better. You develop critical evaluation. He told of showing his first work that he felt was really good. When he went to see the show and compared his work to other work, he was so ashamed he wanted to pull it off the wall. He says it helped him critically evaluate his work.
There was a question and answer period that also elicited some interesting information. Someone asked what his advice to emerging artists would be. He said the joy of painting has to be enough. You can paint anything you want in any style as long as its good. He feels so very fortunate to have been a teacher and a painter who painted anything he wanted to paint.

Now, something interesting for my friend, Pam. Check out her wonderful blog devoted to her PAMO cartoons. Thiebaud really wanted to be a cartoonist and he stilll draws cartoons about every other day. He states he is not very good at it. He also collects cartoons. In the book, Wolf Kahn's America, the artist speaks of his friendship with Thiebaud. He visited his home and Wayne has a wonderful collection of art. "On one wall something struck me as odd: two fine Cezanne watercolors flanked an original strip of Krazy Kat comics....Wayne on his development: 'Krazy Kat was my inspration as a kid, Cezanne does the same for me as an adult.'" This really sums up what Thiebaud said, but these are my words, we create art through our personal filter.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Artist Talk with Wayne Thiebaud

"Springtime in California"
5" x 7"
Acrylic on mat board

Tonight we will be attend an artist talk with Wayne Thiebaud at the San Jose Museum of Art where we are members. I am so looking forward to the event. We had attended the reception when his show, "Wayne Thiebaud: Seventy Years of Painting," opened at the museum, but tonight will be an opportunity to hear about his artistic vision. Wayne will soon be 90 and is still very productive. Some of the works that most appealed to me are his most recent.

I am also intrigued that my mom's maiden name was pronounced the same (teebow) and spelled differently, "Thibault." Can you tell that half of my lineage came from the Quebec area of Canada? My Quebec French last name is compliments of my deceased husband, Gary. Mix that up with lots of English and some Cuban and we 7 Pitman siblings are true mongrels.

Last night, just two of our Thursday night art group painted together at my house. In a month, three of us will do a Silicon Valley Open Studios, so we are motivated to paint and prepare. Bob is busy cutting mats, I'm framing and thinking about how to display the art, and I am painting a few more pieces. I like to have a range of prices, so I purchased several small wood frames at a very reasonable price in a discount store. Last night I experimented with acrylic on matboard. I believe the trick is to paint on the wrong side of the board, but I did not and in a few places the surface bubbled from the water. I set the painting aside thinking that was a bust; however, when it dried, the surface was nice and flat and I was pleased with the results. A small original of one of my favorite subjects is ready to go.