Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23 - Persimmons

"Cut Persimmons" Lesson time, while the chaos of the holiday comes thru, and takes a lot of valuable time from the studio. I'm waiting for more information on one commission I need to do tomorrow, and so I'll hold off and do this still life in two steps while I wait. This one's an acrylic 4 x 6 from a live setup of some cut persimmons on a cutting board. I love the temperature changes from the lit sides to the shadow sides. You can see I paint in the larger shapes, similar to a Matisse later style. The lights are opaque and the shadows are transparent (not on the fruit, but definitely on the cutting board and background. You can see the canvas texture easily through those areas. The background and shadows are done with burnt umber and ultramarine blue. I work up to the cadmiums in the lights on these beauties. Here's a digital of the fruit, which you can see I've changed a bit.

Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22 - Holiday Lights

"Holiday Lights" On our way home from dinner with aikido and horsey friends, my husband and I saw this lighted tree on the lawn of a house in our neighborhood. I commented that I wish I had my camera, as the lights were so interesting with their illumination of the wall of the house and the lawn. I don't think I've seen one of these stick trees lit up this way. So I looked long and hard at it as we drove by, and then carried the memory of it to this 6 x 4 canvas. What I think I was trying to capture was the light of the season, the light of human activity, against the solstice of winter, knowing that the days become longer, and the lights will be put away for another year. Acrylic, $80

Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 21 - Madonna and Child Commission Finished

I spent a goodly number of hours working on this 24 x 18 oil commission, bringing it up to a state where I'd not be shy about showing it to the general public. I really enjoy looking at this painting now. It has a feeling of reverence with the suggestion of gold in the upper right (but no halos!), and the sweet cleanliness of the small, helpless baby caressed in its mother's arm. Her peaceful smile completes the image. There may be a little more work on it, but I would call it 90 percent finished at this after-midnight hour!

May all your times spent with loved ones be as peaceful as this scene. I LOVE doing commissions! I have to tell you, that if he doesn't want it, I'm keeping it for myself, to enjoy and have on the web site. In searching for similar portraits, I've not found one that is in any way similar. So I kinda like it. A lot. Do you?

JUST SOLD to the collection of Kimo Kockelman of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20 - The Commission of the Mother and Child Continues

My goodness, I'm having a profoundly enjoyable time with the progress of this commission! It must be the proximity of the season's day approaching, as this one is just flowing off my brushes. The source material is clipped on the right, so you can get a peek at the (ack!) flash photograph from which I'm working. I went on line and started looking at all the art from the middle ages dealing with the Madonna and Child, and found that they, too, must have used flash photography, because all of the features are flattened, just like a flash photo! Ya think? What fun to paint as if I were in the Middle Ages. But women (except for Artemisia Gentileschi) weren't much for painting back then. (Now there's one to google!)
Following the suggested color scheme, keeping the feel of the painting less of a portrait and more of an experience, I'm bringing this along with oils. Yes, oils, because I love the ease of correction, and the ... wait. Acrylics do that, too! Hmmm, maybe it is just the Middle Ages thing. They didn't have acrylics. Or flash photography.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19 - Painting Another with Similar Subject

I'm not sure if it was a senior moment, a mischievous cat, a moving box problem, or just general disorganization, but I lost a painting. I lost one that had sold, and I distinctly remember removing it from the shelves, and saying to myself, "This needs a varnish before I ship it out." Then it somehow ran away--went missing--for lack of a better explanation. I have turned the studio inside out, and it isn't here. Perhaps it went a-missing in a shipping box to some lucky person who received an extra. Maybe it slipped down behind the bookcases. Or perhaps I toted it outside to get a shovel and set it up on a shelf in the tool shed. Yeah, that's possible around here, too. Who knows, but it is gone. So what to do? Well, ethically I need to provide the buyer a painting, but cannot duplicate the same thing in the same size, because that compromises the originality for the second or subsequent one. Many artists have done paintings of similar imagery, and have called them a series, or painted them different sizes. Since the buyer loved the scene, it was the choice to make a larger painting and hope for a gracious positive reply to my email revealing the foibles of having so much going on, and having drunk a large glass of senior stupid.
So out came the brushes, and I painted the second image, which I attach for your perusal. This is an 8 x 10 acrylic, and is called "Pasture Light #2". Back to the portrait tomorrow.

Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18 - Commission, and a Lesson Painting Begins

This commission (one of three on my plate this month) is of a lovely woman and child who live in Hawaii. It is a larger painting, measuring 24 x 18 inches, and is to be stylized to be a strong suggestion of the two, but not an exact likeness. I like this idea! Here is the earliest phase of the painting, with the underpainting of the warm burnt orange and the drawing placement of the heads done loosely the way I normally do. I haven't decided if this will be finished in oil or acrylics, but at this stage, I'm working in acrylic. I spritzed the wet orange paint with alcohol to create additional texture. Although most of this will be gone in the final layers, it is always intriguing to having this on the "ground floor", so to speak.

Isn't it appropriate to be doing a portrait of a mother and baby just before Christmas? Life moves in funny and profound ways....

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17 - From the Back of a Horse

From the back of a horse, I tend to find perspective in a lot of things. Today I was on the back of a horse for about four hours (on Raindance), singing Christmas carols on the streets of Norco with a bunch of friends from my riding club. The horses were decked out in garlands, bells and tree skirts made into rump blankets, and we were all dressed in red and green. My camera's still out in the trailer, so I don't know if there are any good pictures for you. But riding the horse seems to keep me sane. There's always a lot on one's plate during the holidays, and so I find it quite easy to combine the horse experience with escaping, and that's the reason for this painting. A rider with a pack horse, heading off through the high aspen country, in the middle of summer, sounds like a good escape to me. I'm waiting for a few decisions on commission work, so that's why painting something as nice as this little 5 x 7 acrylic is a true escape! $100 from the web site for this date