Thursday, February 25, 2010

Letting Emy tell her story

"Bagels or Donuts"
14" x 22"

Some of you probably saw my earlier version of "Bagels or Donuts?" with just Emy of Bernal Bagels against a washed background. Somehow I felt that Emy needed to be able to tell her story. My mentor, Joyce, had also given me some feedback to bring more blue to the left and work on her ear. So this morning I decided to include the board that hangs behind the counter with the menu items (admittedly with a bit of artistic license and a faulty memory). Now I feel the piece is complete.

In photographing this piece, I obtained a truer representation of the color, but the edges of the menu board looks crooked and they are not.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting ready for the "Fresh Start Show"

"Holly's Irises"
7" x 19"

Two matted pieces and some cards

Art cards

Sunday is the receiving and hanging day for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society "Fresh Start" show at the Sunnyvale Gallery . I will be part of the hanging crew. This will be my second time helping to hang a show. I learned a lot from Karen Wong, our incoming President, who is a master at arranging the art.

Today I have spent a lot of time getting things ready, and I'm almost there. I will have two framed pieces. "Me and Matisse", acrylic on paper, shown earlier on this blog, and "Holly's Irises" shown above. My friend Holly gave me some prize Iris bulbs for my side patio when my husband Gary was very ill in 1997 and they continue to bloom to this day. I created this piece ala Annelein Beukenkamp, a Vermont artist that I admire very much, with lots of loose washes and negative painting. The unusual long and narrow format was dictated by my desire to use a long narrow frame I had purchased some years ago. The tall Irises were in full bloom and I went, "aha, the perfect match." At this moment, the Iris leaves are up about 8 inches on the patio and getting ready to put on their flirty display.

I can also place two matted and bagged pieces in a bin, so I've selected "California Poppies on the Fault Line" and "Franken Vine," which I will show you a closeup in another day. I made some cards (the gallery will offer 10 for sale for each artist). I like to supply cards, though not really a money maker. They help people get to know my art and I always slip a business card into the plastic bag and sign the back of the card personally.

There is a lovely reception planned for Saturday, March 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sunnyvale Art Gallery, 251 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA. You are welcome to come, enjoy some treats, and see the wonderful art. As you know, I am surrounded by some amazing artists. The show runs from March 1 to March 28.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Poppy Experiment Derailed

"California Poppies Sing the Blues"
11" x 14"
Watercolor, gouche, and acrylic

This began as an attempt at a Betsy Dillard Stroud exercise. Not enough planning and here is where I ended up. I tried to tell myself this is a learning experience, but I'm not so sure I learned much, except reinforcing that I need to plan ahead. Back to the drawing board on this rainy and chilly Sunday afternoon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Plein Air at Overfelt Gardens and other artistic events

"My Town: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall"
Chinese Cultural Center at Overfelt Gardens
9.5" x 10"

Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Yesterday, I took a break to do plein air painting with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. I've been pretty busy with other commitments, including doing my taxes. It was the final day of a little stretch of dry, warmer weather hinting of spring; we will now have several days of rain. We were a small group of men and women hauling our palettes to capture this lovely space in our town.

The Overfelt Gardens are a 33 acre park on the East side of San Jose donated by the matriarch of the Overfelt Family. This nature reserve includes the Chinese Cultural Gardens that honor leaders of the Republic of China. I set up in front of the memorial hall and painted one corner of it. Sylvia, one of our leaders, sat near me and painted one of the stately lions at the bottom of the staircase. See her lovely piece on her blog. She artistically included a piece of the thorny, vivid red quince bush blooming nearby.

Our watercolor society has so much to offer. I helped coordinate a Christopher Schink demo on February 7. Topher is an editor of the Palette Magazine, award-winning artist, and author of books on color. These demos are free to all, including non-members, so if you live nearby, check out our Website calendar for upcoming demos. Next month, one of our members who is featured in the March Watercolor Artist magazine, Kathleen Alexander, will do a demo. I am surrounded by amazing artists!

Last night Bob and I attended the spring reception for members of the San Jose Museum of Art, a very lively event. The featured artist for the next several months is Wayne Thiebaud: 70 Years of Painting. He took painting such everyday objects as cupcakes to the level of fine art. The show is a wonderful display of his works that include bakery displays, people, California landscapes from above, beach scenes, and San Francisco with its hills and freeways. I have tickets for the sold-out Artist Talk with Wayne Thiebaud on April 1. Wayne and family were in attendance last night, but I did not see him (or I might have walked right by). In his 90s, he continues to paint regularly, and some of the pieces on display are 2010 works. May we all continue to create in our later years. I find visits to museums a priceless way to continue my art education.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In the sketchbook

"Bob on Amtrak to Sacramento"
Watercolor on sketchbook

Pen on sketchbook
Amtrak Station
Davis, CA
"Waiting 2"
Watercolor on Sketchbook
Amtrak Station
Davis, California

We are missing touring with our bicycles. Next year we plan to ride our touring tandem from Florida to Maine, but this year, no big tours await. So we decided on the months when we are not taking a trip, we will do small tours. Amtrak California has many places you can go with your bicycles. We are fortunate to own folding tour biycles that can be put in a common luggage rack if there is no bike car. Amtrak buses will carry bicycles in the luggage compartment.

Adventure 1: Take the Capitol Corridor train to Sacramento, about a 2.5 hour drive by car, visit the world class train museum in Old Town, stay in the couples suite at the Internation Youth Hostel, ride to Davis the next day, and catch the train back to San Jose. This trip also involves riding a few miles to Light Rail, going downtown, and riding a mile to the train station to cover the 14 miles from home in a timely fashion.

One thing we learned touring is "be flexible because things will happen." At the station, we learned that the tracks were under repair between Fairfield and Sacramento for several weeks, so we had to be bused in that area. Amtrak told us we were taking a chance they could not carry our bicycles. We were prepared to ride 45 miles if necessary, but it would have messed up our museum visit. All went well both ways and we had a wonderful trip.

I took my 4" x 6" Koi pan paint set with Japanese brush that holds water in the handle and a small sketchbook. I captured Bob on the train (this one is for Myrna Wacknov who told Bob she recognizes him from my various sketches and painting), a pen and ink sketch of a man reading a book while waiting outside the Davis Amtrak station, and a watercolor of the same man. Waiting areas are great places to capture people who tend to stay put. The paintings were done without drawing them on the sketchbook.

See finished pieces of Adult Bob and Baby Bob posted earlier in this blog.

Friday, February 5, 2010

At Bernal Bagels and Donuts

"Bagels or Donuts?"
14 x 21"

This young woman works at our neighborhood, family-owned bagel and donut shop. Every Saturday Bob and I treat ourselves to one of their tasty lattes and a bagel while we read the newspaper. The family came here from Cambodia and they are in their shop every single day of the week. They open at 5 a.m. The family runs a second, more upscale shop in a nearby shopping center, but this basic shop is our favorite.

When I took Myrna Wacknov's portrait workshop, Myrna had us paint a side profile of a young person with smooth skin. I asked the young woman if I could take her picture and explained why. She was gracious and turned sideways to accommodate me. I ended up doing a different painting that day, but the young woman asked me about my progress and wanted to see the painting when complete. I figured I owed it to her to do this piece now. First I reversed the direction of the photo in Photoshop. Somehow I had a better feeling of her gazing right. On Thursday night at my art group I drew the piece on tracing paper , applied watercolor crayon to the lines on the reverse side, and traced over my drawing transferring the watercolor line to Arches watercolor paper as Myrna had taught us. I achieved a reasonable likeness. I selected the watercolor paper rather than Tyvek because the woman has such smooth skin.

This afternoon I got out the paints and completed the work. I really want to try a more experimental background, but first I must show the painting to the young woman in case it goes south on me. Of course, with my tracing paper ready to go, I can always do a second painting, the beauty of Myrna's process.

A Small Poppy Painting

"Poppies on a Cloudy Day"
Fluid Watercolor on Tyvek
5" x 7"

It's been a busy week and not too art productive, though I am currently working another larger piece. So I did a small California Poppy painting on Tyvek using the Dr. Martin Hydrus Liquid Watercolors. They are quite intensely colored and work well on the Tyvek. I used the line design element to enhance the shape.