Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hearts on display

    It is easy to remember the grandchildren's on Valentine's Day, another during the Boston Marathon and a third at Christmas. Birthday presents are getting more difficult, but I painted each child some hearts for the holiday.They last and don't take up space. I was almost late for Valentine's Day and almost late for my February blog.

    I am excited to be back working with oils in a studio with plenty of desk space. February 28th sneaked up on me so I don't have a photo of the convenient upstairs room, but February was not getting past me! I found a $5 light at Target to cast shadows, mini canvas and easels at Job Lot, oversized candy hearts at CVS. I primed the canvas with alizarin crimson and mixed the rest of the paints. I have one canvas left for some candy kisses for myself...or chocolates for next year.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Throwing on the the diary

     Whenever I have trouble getting back into painting or coming up with ideas, I remind myself that Picasso said it is but keeping a diary. A best friend from Amarillo childhood took me back to the Texas Panhandle this week by sending a book about friends who developed the range. Joe's family also ranched around or by those parts from Hereford to Kansas and I wanted to do a series when a cousin sent more photos.Adding to the mix, was the indulging in a DNA quest with more contacts and materials.

      Needing a post for January, last night before the State of the Union addresses, I grabbed an old painting (with a first layer) and started throwing on and dragging around more paint with a brush. I didn't know how to solve the problem of missing dark tones or how to carry the painting beyond the photo taken at my 50th high school reunion at the Palo Duro Canyon. But in the midst of working, I solved some problems. I had great fun dragging thick paint around the edges of the sunflowers.I should return w a special brush for the grass and another for the sky to "make it better" as my art teacher always said. But wow did I have fun. It has been awhile. Will it ever dry?😊

      I am using some Gamblin oil paints because I like their oderless thinner and mediums. I hope to get back to Winsor and Newton Griffin Alkyds for their jewel-like and  fast drying oils.You can imagine how I get Gamblin and Griffin mixed up. Gamblin has a fast drying matte oil, but I like the shine of Winsor and Newton's Griffins. I guess I could use a shiny varnish over the Gamblin mattes.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Art Start for the New Year 2018 Brrrrr!

        After the fabulous early Christmas at 48 Stults Road, and everyone scattered, Joe and I took in some museums.

Click to enlarge

      In the spirit of family first, we headed to Salem's PEM to see the big Georgia O'Keeffe show. After all, she was head of the art department in my home town Amarillo. Someday it will be acknowledged. I was stunned by the brooch Alexander Calder made for Georgia O'Keeffe from smashed brass wire and was tempted to revisit the earrings I made from thick brass wire 50 years ago when I first saw Calder's work. I bought the fattest "gold" wire, cut off about 3 1/2" w wire cutters, twisted the wire with needle nose pliers and took a hammer to smash the shape flat atop a concrete basement floor. An anvil and better wire would have been smarter. I put on jump rings and ear clips. The procedure took only a few minutes. Gifted years ago, one person thought them gold. Pinterest has many examples and adaptations.

     Then Joe and I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and later New York City, Christmas Day. Joe and David Hockney are 80 this year and Edvard Munch lived to 81. We saw lots of portraits, especially self-portraits (a good thing to paint every birthday!) I got so many ideas from Munch's paintings which had presence in subjects and backgrounds. Hockney's intelligent experiments in many media is a path close to my heart and instincts. Both had their own individual, varied style in contrast to what was hip at the time. I was also able to pick up a Kerry James Marshall catalog about his show I waited all year for and had to miss. A few more were printed HOORAY!

       In the meantime, I would say I had been very good if I didn't know better. My children gave me a 12.9" IPad Pro with Pencil which can bring a tear to the eye, but also puts the pressure on to learn the App ProCreate in more detail. Fun in my immediate future. Dog Harry's gift is the snow. He loves to romp in it. I, myself, think it is too cold to even open the refrigerator door!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Mighty oaks from little acorns might grow....

watercolor/tissue collage
     Mighty oaks from little acorns grow glamorizes what I am up to now. Our little half bath is in desperate need of a dramatic fix. I had no painting to work in the high ceiling and small narrow space. However, it was good fortune that I ran across a little watercolor collage made in the early days of my marriage. Somehow, it made it out out of the smoke and fire damage. I decided to enlarge this little windmill to many times its original size and to do so in oil paint.

      Unfortunately I sketched it in charcoal on to the canvas rather than use a watered down acrylic. I want to finish it in oil, but I first decided to get the basic colors on in acrylic (hiding the charcoal) and then go over it in oils which are so beautiful. However, this means everything will have to be layered again and I may never finish.I like the paint to be beautiful close up, so I have work to do.

large version, acrylic, pre oil

two together/oil next
      In the meantime, we again got a real (tall and skinny) tree, and put it up. Target had the dearest hand-made little people and animals on sleds and in little knitted sweaters and hats for only $3 each. I got many. I could never make them in time. I put  wide ribbon on a boxwood wreath from Trader Joe's looking up how to do it online. When we got the boxwood home, we put it in a cold bathtub of water overnight and it almost doubled in fluffiness. Joe is rebuilding his cactus collection. It is fun to be home.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Eighty can be art!

    What a year! ~the election, the fire, reconstruction, and Joe became 80 on the 26th of October! No wonder our hearts accelerated. What a guy! He has been hanging paintings and photos, shades and blinds, building his workshop, walking the dog, and suffering insurance. Grass doesn't grow under his feet. He also tends cactuses or cacti! If I paint his portrait it will be he with cactus forming an 80, copying the grandchildren's idea. Joe will wear his sweater to walk the dog, read in his chair, and enjoy the photo of the grands shaping an 80 with their bodies.Over birthday dinner we enumerated his special attributes starting with the letters E I G H T Y.Eighty doesn't seem so old with Joe! It's an art.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Return to block prints for return home

     Special occasions call for special efforts. When son Jim arrived in New Haven, Ct., ecstatic Joe and Linda mailed off my linoleum block print to friends to announce our first born. I carved Psalm 127, every letter in reverse, to mail out. I loved the effect. I dug around each letter leaving what I wanted to print, squeezed out black oil printing ink on glass, inked a squeegee by rolling back and forth over the ink, rolled this inked brayer over the carved linoleum, placed some orange paper over the newly inked block, rubbed the back of the paper with a spoon back to transfer the design to paper and then set the results out to dry. I made numerous prints for mailing.Doubtless,back in 1964, I was smart enough to look up directions.

Click to enlarge photos.

        Back to our newly restored home after the fire, I had many people to say thank you to. I probably should have photographed my paintings of the fire for a card, but I wanted to make a block print! I had no tools, so I bought a little kit with Speedball's beginner's Speedy Carve pad w two blades and a handle. I drew a design of the mythological Phoenix rising from the ashes, our house cradled/circled above in plumage. Had I read the instructions from Speedball,  life would have been much easier. I probably would have purchased a denser carving pad for more careful detail, but this was fast and fun. I was not satisfied that I had enough proper contrast in the results, so I decided to "color" my prints with my favorite Holbein gouche or watercolor set.If you have the itch to try, I recommend buying Speedy-Carve Stamp Making Kit for all the instructions I could have used. In the meantime, tell me how to finish coloring these!

Note: Before starting this project, I played around with images from the Internet that are not mine, Comic Life, and my computer.
Also, if you use oil rather than a water based paint
as I did, your blacks won't run.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Boxes emptied, boxes renewed

   When does want to see more boxes after a move?! We are back home, and the cardboard moving boxes are emptied! However, some wooden boxes were salvaged from the fire, boxes filled with family photos. I touched up these battered book boxes with fresh paint. They will help me organize the memories. One box per person.

    Through the years, we made boxes. Jim made one for his family tree project. One doesn't want an album for all photos, but one doesn't want to toss. So I throw Bill's loose photos in the red box, Jim's in the blue box, mine in the yellow, Joe's in the green etc. They can be stacked to make an end table if you have room. I first saw these in a London living room.I bought sample paint at the paint store to renew them. Hinges aren't necessary. The big boxes have a top to fit just inside a simple construction.They could use some embellishment with fabric, ink, paint and imagination. But the photos were saved from the smoke damage.

With this August project idea about boxes, we are off to calmer seas in life!
No, life will always surprise!