Monday, April 30, 2012

Art Open House a Success

My current business card

My little flower bike welcomes visitors to my Art Show

I had a steady stream of visitors and sold a bunch of paintings. I also sold almost 50 greeting cards, which are always popular. I use the Photomount cards that I order online and adhere the photo of the painting to it. The event was very satisfying.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Art Open House this weekend

Art and Place
An Art Open House by Mary Paquet
April 28 and 29, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
173 Giddings Court
San Jose, CA 95139
The show is hung. If you live in the area, do stop by. The picture above gives a taste of some of the art from my travels to Vermont, Estonia, and Denmark, and right here in San Jose.

An imagined bouquet and Norway Fjords


California and France

Some of the fun stuff

A piece onTyvek and downtown San Jose

Vermont and California 

That's just some of the paintings hanging in the show, most completed in the last year and a half.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Necessity -- The Mother of Invention

"Valeriano's Restaurant"
Los Gatos, CA
7" x 5" Acrylic Ink and Watercolor

"Stately Redwood in Los Gatos Park"
 5" x 7" Copic Pen and Watercolor

 Dick Zunkel demos ink and wash sketching on location

Some of the work done by the 29 artists who participated
in the Los Gatos paint sites event

"The Cherub"
12" x 14" Pastel

In case you are wondering what I've been up to, planning a major house remodel has consumed some of my art time. I attended the plein air event in Los Gatos sponsored by my Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society, featuring a demo by Dick Zunkel, one of our celebrity artists. For the modest membership donation of $30 a year, you get to paint with other artists 2 or 3 times a month at various Santa Clara Valley locations. I'm President of this 400+ member society, so I get to give a blatant plug for joining. This week we painted in beautiful downtown Los Gatos snuggled up against the Santa Cruz Mountains on a warm and sunny day.

When painting on location, Dick likes to lightly sketch his piece, apply some ink loosely, doing some of the sketching in ink freehand, and then use lots of water and a big brush to add light washes. Today we all bravely gave it our best shot and had a large turnout; almost 30 artists showed up. It turns out that my Sumi Ink was not waterproof and I had the wrong pens. My first attempt was poor using a Uniball pen that didn't take well to the Arches cold press and I also applied too much paint. Mary from Santa Cruz suggested I use the eye dropper in her acrylic ink bottle, so I did. I quickly made a freehand drawing, no prior pencil marks. I got blobs and inconsistent lines and I like it! So I added some light watercolor washes and voila, the piece was done. Everyone really liked this piece at the show and tell session after lunch. I also had a wide burnt sienna Copic pen so I drew one of the redwoods I as sitting under and splashed on a a bit of color. 

A couple hints from Dick -- don't get too carried away with detail, paint loose, and use some yellow under the blue of the skies to warm the sky. The sky is truly only cobalt blue over water. He likes Cheap Joe's Kilimanjaro paper as it takes the ink a bit differently than Arches.  Frank Webb also showed us this approach to painting. This is definitely a fun technique that I will use again when doing watercolor sketches on location. One more thing -- view Michael Rogan's art in the upper left corner on the bench, you will see what a master will do when they use ink that runs. 

Though duties as the Pres kept me away from drawing class a couple weeks, I attended the last two Mondays and worked on the cherub. Boy, he was a challenge to draw, being just about 6 inches tall, and then books are always a perspective challenge. Bob had to come over and tell me to punch up the highlights a bit, which really makes the piece.

A little PS: Go the our paint sites blog to view some of the paintings we produced. Sylvia was encouraging everyone to send them to her for posting so check back occasionally for additions. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tango in La Boca

"Tango in La Boca"
Buenos Aires, Argentina
8" x 10" collage and mixed watermedia

Not much time last week for art. I am continuing to experiment. I love to dance and paint dancers. We saw many tango dancers in Buenos Aires in 2009, both in the San Telmo and La Boca neighborhoods. I selected this couple to paint. I decided I wanted the wall to look like it had been covered with posters that have been torn off or covered over with more fliers and posters. 

I used Arches 300 pound cold press as it takes collage well. I free hand drew the dancers onto the support. I used a fashion magazine as my source of papers and covered the wall and the dancers' clothing, using mat medium as my adhesive. I gessoed over the wall, allowing some of the print to show through. I  painted the dancers' clothing, as well as their skin and hair, which has no collage. Evaluation showed a lack of variation in values, so I painted over the gesso and paper on the red and grey sections with acrylic paint. 

My critique group saw this piece when it was partly finished and liked what was happening. They encouraged me to try it in a larger format. That is an option. Right now I am creating some small paintings as I would like to send three paintings to a juried show my Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society is sponsoring. I may not have a prayer of being accepted, but I like the challenge. Charlotte Huntley is the juror. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two sessions of plein air painting

"Urban Farm"
Emma Prusch Farm Park
San Jose, CA
12" x 10" watercolor

"Sunlit Shapes"
Agnews Historic Park
Santa Clara, CA

Artist Anna Jacke paints

Roosters all around -- this guy enjoyed his personal water fountain

The Tower at Agnews Historic Park

Bob and I have been very preoccupied with other commitments, but I managed to paint with the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society Paintsites group. Today's event was at the Emma Prusch Farm Park practically situated under a very impressive flyway of two major interstates. I could have painted in the flyway behind the barn, but chose to omit it. One of our very fine artists, Michael Rogan, did a landscape that included it in the distance. Michael is very accomplished, so it looked superb.

I was an hour late, but I managed to sketch and quickly paint part of the barn before lunch a little over an hour later. Sometimes I am happiest with the results when I am rushed and don't belabor my work. The Park was filled with families and many children viewing the farm animals. Anna Jacke, another of our accomplished artists, was hard at work near the barn. I enjoy painting structures so I sat right down and began my drawing. The roosters and chickens roamed freely, and one cocky fellow helped himself to the Burnt Sienna from my palette. It must have been delicious because I had to discourage him from returning for more. Unlike my Vermont son's rooster Leo, these guys are very tame. No spurring my shins, thank heavens.

Last week we painted at Agnews Historic Park. This lovely campus was a facility for people with mental illness and later developmentally disabled children and adults. Like most such places, the state closed it and sold off the land to Sun, now owned by Oracle. The company uses the buildings and keep them in fine repair. The campus is lovely and I was especially taken with the sunlight on the trees and the way two palms grow next to a Norwegian Fir, a living oxymoron. I did this painting in 15 minutes after belaboring one of the tower and deeming it a failure. 

When we gather for our picnic lunches about 12:30, we share our work. Today, the artists had done some neat sketches and paintings. Michael showed us a large painting of the Niles Railroad Station that he did in his studio from the quarter-sheet he did on location and photos. He said that one of his recent award winners was done with our group and he thanked Syvia for the fine service she and Jenny, both volunteers, provide to us. Today we had lovely sunshine with a stiff, cool breeze. We sought a more sheltered picnic table for our lunch break. Another great day - retired, doing art, outside with friends -- what more could I ask.