Friday, December 28, 2018

Waxing away

      After purchasing my wax and clay, armature wire and a book, I couldn't decide what to sculpt. Finally, I cut off some wax with a paring knife, heated a chunk with my hair drier, squeezed and molded the wax in the palm of my hand. At first I modeled a small bowl in wax. I waited a few days, heated the wax again and the shape of a head with a lump of hair appeared. It made me think of a photo of Hannah on the sofa in NYC reading a book...something I always wanted to paint. So, I sculpted Hannah Reading in wax. I think it might have been better if I made the body first and then placed Hannah face down on the "sofa." It is in a simple rough form and that is enough for me.

       Working with wax on my mahogany vanity table was a bit messy, so I looked in the basement for some scrap wood. I liked the contrast of the light wood and the dark figure. I thought, "Ah, I would like to create each of the grandchildren in a typical pose on pine." I chose a more challenging pose for Erika.One can see why Degas liked models and armature. I had to pull off arms and legs and the head for Erika, reassembling once I started looking at a photo.

        I think I will reuse this wax to make Erika in a different pose, where the gymnast is standing on her hands. This will surely require wire. I made a quick sketch below. Hannah was a two-hour effort.Since Erika keeps falling apart, she is an ongoing project.
      I also have a drawing of my reading the NYTimes every morning...and more. I figure I will take an electric knife to some of the packing foam that arrived in presents this Christmas to form a mountain shape base for my cabeza and another portrait base for Joe's bust to be developed in clay.I am going to have to stop procrastinating and get to shaping the aluminum wire and attaching it to a base. December and January are busy times but that is not an excuse!

      Of course modeling in wax has me interested in the new book out about Degas' dancer Marie: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Camille Laurens and Willard Wood. When I went to look it up I found another book published by Yale Press by an instructor I had in London so I ordered a used copy of that. Mother had a large statue of the Little Dancer. I wonder what happened to it. On to read these two books.I loved ballet.Position four?


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Shaping life with the hands

     A new craft to me is like climbing a mountain. I want to try. Joe on return from his book club mentioned that Mary Ellen, the host's wife, had some exciting bronze sculpture in the living room. I had known ME for about 44 years and never knew she had an interest in creating art or sculpting.She LOVES sculpture.She indulged herself sculpting in Florida winters as a "snowbird"from Massachusetts. I phoned her and she invited me to see her bronzes. She also has a marble piece in Florida. I love to look at the bronze of her granddaughter, as the granddaughter, now a teen, also enjoys viewing...the flow of the skirt, eyes, expression and hair. Also, I enjoyed ME's appreciation of her father and how she shaped his form, running her hands over his head until it felt right.

     I had just seen a piece of sculpture at the WorcesterArt Museum and felt the synergy and inspiration. I immediately looked up how to get involved again. Back in the 80s, I had once made a bust of Dad using Sculpture House Plastilina which does not harden. I found it at The Compleat Sculptor in NYC and got some brown wax which one can shape when it is softened with hands or hair dryer, and some bendable armature wire. I asked the techie there to choose two tools for me. I searched the library and bought a book on figure sculpture (thinking Degas and Rodin which I viewed at the Metropolitan Museum) and am ready to begin. Maybe I will do a bust of Joe and figures of the grandchildren. I have several other ideas...but to choose and start. That is the challenge. Too much fun! I've looked up many videos online and am ready to begin. I hope I might interest the grandchildren in trying their hands at it.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

New Effort: Urban Sketching

urban sketch by Andre on Harvard move-in day

         Always ready for a new direction, a new craft, I landed one on Joe's and my 56th anniversary. We were at the Fogg Museum on a Sunday, looking at art and enjoying a treat in the courtyard when I noticed a young man drawing and journaling. Later I saw him a block away entering the Harvard Book Store where I said, "Didn't I just see you drawing and journaling at the Fogg?" "Yes you did. Would you draw a picture for me?" "Certainly, what would you like?" He said he had the idea to send a wandering sketchbook out into the world. The idea was a person would draw in it and post at Instagram online and leave for someone else to find to draw. Andre Behrens handed me the book and it took a week for me to get up the nerve to draw in it. Then I passed it on to the head of the Belmont Gallery of Art who had someone to pass hers on to. I had to learn Instagram to post it and that is where the torture and fun began.

         Andre said there is a local and international group of urban sketchers. He works during the week and sketches on weekends at meet ups w other sketchers. I enthusiastically looked in urban sketching books and got a couple of sketch Handbooks at Artist and Craftsman Supply. A Pigma Graphic pen fits just under the elastic that Andre showed me. Quick sketches are not easy but I set up lindapaintingtime at Instagram for urban drawings and two other accounts for other art as well: lindadrawingtime and amovingline.I am trying to keep the photos consistent.I am thrilled to learn Instagram via online instruction. It is good to get out into the world w no purpose but to record what one loves and to show what it looks like today. Google urban sketchers to look for guidelines.It is fun to interact w strangers in waiting rooms, eating places, and on the street. I recommend the terror and the imperfection.Maybe not the snow in coming days.

Andre's sketching which caught my attention

Andre's instruction in the wandering sketchbook

small sketchbooks that hold a pen under the elastic
books to get me started

my first very nervous urban sketch

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Anita Hill and the Ships of Fools, a painting from 1991 plus the TIMING

     Today, the news is pretty disturbing that a person is being considered for the life time Supreme Court appointment with only a bit more than 10 per cent of his record allowed to be scrutinized. The rush to appointment is another disturbing element, not taking into account an FBI scrutiny of a credible sexual assault charge.Several people have encouraged me to post the painting I made back in 1991 when another appointment was made to the Supreme Court in a fashion with behavior I hope is not repeated. I was very proud of Anita Hill and not the inquisitors. (click photo to enlarge)

             Today, Joe was also disturbed by the present rush to push through the appointment and wrote:

You don’t have to be Einstein to know that perception of speed is relative to one’s standpoint.  In a car speeding above the limit, a parallel Olympic runner appears slow. 

The Republican protest that sexual assault accusation against Judge Kavanaugh was late reflects the viewpoint within the pedal-to-the-metal speed of the Republican controlled Senate review process.  Step outside the Republican rush-to-vote vehicle, and the timing of the accusation disclosure appears understandable and reasonable.  From the viewpoint of a woman privately tormented 36 years by a sexual assault, to disclose it to Senator Feinstein within one month of the Kavanaugh nomination, and to remain concerned for less than another month about disclosing her identity to public humiliation, is anything but tardy.  For Senator Feinstein to withhold acting on the anonymous disclosure seeking confidence in its authenticity, is not only reasonable but commendable.

Viewing the speeding Republican review process from the outside, 2 months and 10 days have passed to date since the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.  Two months and 13 days passed between nomination and confirmation of Justice Sotomayor; 2 months and 8 days, for Justice Gorsuch – not to speak of the 9 months and 18 days that the nomination of Judge Garland was held by the Senate until expiration of the 2016 Congress.  Neither Sotomayor nor Gorsuch had nearly as extensive a public service record, or partisan combatant record, to be reviewed as Judge Kavanaugh. 

                                                                                    Joe Hicks

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sometimes you have a photo and want to paint it

    Sometimes you have a photo and want to paint it, regardless. Painting is never easy, no matter what. The most fun was taking grandchild's photo of Harry on a rug and making a quick sketch of it to see if an oil could be interesting. I was surprised a black dog showed up better on more color! I had the painting 3/4 finished when it was time for bed, so I scribbled on the last 1/4 of the canvas to use up the paint, and the brushing made the little canvas one I love. I intended to return to the painting, perfect the rug, and give Harry more dimension; but I like it as it is, messy and lovable, intractable like him.

    Next, Joe wanted me to paint the photo of Hannah running in a track meet. The frame helps. Then, I thought I would make a quick portrait of Joe and dog in the reading chair. Straight from a photo (almost), it needs something more interesting...a bigger rendition, wilder colors, Gauguin type composition? But sometimes this is all one is ready to do. I've been looking at paintings at the Clark, Fogg and MFA, am inspired to paint more, and this is a toe back in the water..

     With my new pochade box and the urban sketch group inspiration, I must work more from life, but this was fine for lazy summer's play which for me was really getting back to work. The three aren't framed yet, but Joe will do!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rhythm and Hues: Songs of Home

   Rhythm and Hues is a promising art show title for the Belmont Gallery of Art. I have four songs that inspired paintings: Home on the Range, Don't Fence Me In, You Are My Sunshine and Take Me Out to the Ballgame!  I can enter only 3 paintings, but I am not sure which I will choose. You can match the titles to the paintings.

      Don't Fence Me In:  A Southwestern lamentation: the eclectic cacophony of civilization and childhood drowning out "the wide open country that I love." The painting is built on a map of the Texas Panhandle.
    Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Next door neighbor, Lloyd, now a young man,was a child surrounded by music of his mother and grandmother, cello and piano performers and teachers. Lloyd was also a Red Sox fan. The image of his dutifully practicing the cello with his mind on the baseball field struck the right note of harmony and contrast.
     Home on the Range: The Texas Panhandle of my memory: a melody simple and uncomplicated but rich in mirage.
     You Are My Sunshine: As if there is insufficient sunshine in the Western plains, the ubiquitous sunflower adds its own voice.
(Click on paintings to enlarge)

     In the meantime, I have been giving thought to why so many people are more impassioned to paint all the time than I am. I think it is because they are busy doing it, making discoveries and having surprises which are gifts that keep giving. One loses religion, family, government, writing and art if one is not doing it full time.I am determined to get busier drawing, painting and printing to feel the passion again. At least I am seeing art and reading about it. I look forward to the MFA pastel show to color passionately again.

"One ought, every day, to hear a little song, read a good poem, sip a tasty wine,
see a fine picture, and if possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
                                          -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1836)

Friday, June 29, 2018

My Art Month while the sun shines

     The sun is out and the grandchildren are off at camp after year- end concerts, graduation and birthdays. I still found time to get Joe to frame the Kitchen Still Life for the CAA Still Life: Captured Moments show in Harvard Square.Unfinished, the painting was hanging in the laundry room with other circular activity, a perfect fit. Today I saw it hanging in the big entrance hall at University Place, minus a label. The reception is July 12. I like it there!

        Settling in, my frame-making husband every day finds time to mow through books between plantings in the garden. His book club got him back to reading ravenously.I also am picking up some more books to research and read.I am excitedly awaiting the July 10 release of Van Gogh and Japan which I have heard so much about from Joyce whom I met at an Apple Procreate class. She is 85 and just flew to Amsterdam for 3 days to see the show about the major influence of the Japanese prints in Van Gogh's development in Arles.Research that show!

      In the meantime, I have started on Modernists & Mavericks by Martin Gayford and am really enjoying it. He talks about the London Painters whose work I know and what they were thinking and doing as they struggled to paint. Provocative. Just for fun, I wanted to read Old in Art School by Nell Painter just because she did later what I did at age 50, take off for art school. I am reading several others at the same time.

      I continue to add to my art book collection much of which I lost with the fire. A local library is a good source, in that Friends of the Library donate books which can be bought for special prices. This benefits scavenger me and the library.There are always surprise discoveries. I read between evening efforts  to salvage that painting of the Southwest I talked about last month. Belmont Gallery of Art  has an upcoming show of paintings inspired by music: Rhythm and Hues.I hope to enter three paintings. Ever hopeful.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Always a beginner in painting

      Sketchbooks are a great place to start over again. I often keep one on the breakfast table along w scissors and glue to cut up the newspaper, pencils and pen for the mini puzzle and some colors for when inspired by a photo or idea. In the sketchbook is where I found my cow in the sky for a recent painting (see last month's blog post). The steer was better in the sketchbook. I worked on the painting again today Don't laugh, but I wondered if cows in their anxiety have a cow in the sky for solace.Also, I think I finished another painting of that Palo Duro sunflower. I always wondered why artists painted the same subject over and over. Now to get Joe to frame those paintings as he did Paula's today! Joe finished the day to go a book reading by Steve Almond (author Bad Stories); and I took off for a class at the Apple store for painting with Procreate on the iPad.

     I had fun throwing on the paint for the sunflower, thickening the sky. I wanted to paint some rain for the Panhandle but went for a clear sky. The painting is not quite so dark as this. Then I looked at the sketchbook cow to make the one in the painting better, but I still have work to go. This guy is just wonderful. In no time, Joe made a frame for Paula's painting of her dancing with son at his wedding. It is probably a surprise for him so SHHHH. Jean and Neal I achieved quickly with Procreate, the fabulous painting program on the iPad. It is a lot of fun and the classes "Today at Apple" are free.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Art Action

      Not only was it fun to have three paintings (The Fire Trilogy) in Fairytales, Folktales & Fables, but a bit of a write-up in the local Belmont paper. That done and nostalgic for my roots, I started an oil painting "Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the skies are not cloudy all day." I'm not sure how it will clean up! I have some more tunes in mind. Click to enlarge photos.

      Then Joe and I headed to NYC for an art trip, courtesy of son Jim and Colin who were on the road traveling. Joe and I first hit the Neue Gallery for a touching show Before the Fall, about art life during the rise of Hitler and before the Holocaust, the works of artists of different persuasions at that time and what they offered. There were only a few masterpieces in the show, but the collections there were moving. We didn't want to miss the Met Breur's Like Life with all the shocking and amazing bodies. Then we ran to the Frick for the last day of Zubaran's Jacob and his sons, giant portraits of the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Other days there were Grant Wood nearby at the Whitney and the Met's thoughtful Thomas Cole with paintings reminding of our three years nearby in South Hadley when Joe taught at Mt. Holyoke. I loved Cole's warnings to America at the time of Jackson's presidency!We stopped at MOMA and saw paintings by the Brazilian artist Tarsal do Amaral who wanted to paint her homeland.We made it to several gallery shows, but David Hockney's was by far the most exciting to me with his new giant digital photographs and shaped canvases. We went down to the Bowery to see the Triennial at the New Museum and learned Banksy had just been nearby. Then to Chinatown for blue and white bowls for our new blue and white dining room. 

     Joe and I had fun eating very casually at The Rocking Horse Cafe for Mexican food, Neue's Cafe Sabarsky for Viennese food, the Whitney Studio Cafe for toasts, La Bonne Soupe down from Trump Tower, the Empire Diner and Le Grainne in Chelsea near the High Line, the Oyster Bar with a stop at the New York Public Library, and Atticus in New Haven on our way to the fantastic New Britain Museum of American Art for the Prendergast brothers.  I will continue the magic with books I got for myself and the children. Joe has his thrillers. It is finally 63 degrees here and the jackets are back on their hangers!

for Linda

for the grandchildren and Linda

for the kitchen from Japan

Monday, April 2, 2018

April's March Mixups

     Snow moved the March opening reception to April for the Belmont Gallery of Art's Fairytales, Folk Tales and Fables. I have three paintings hanging: The Fire Trilogy.

       After the fire in 2016 at our home of 40 years, I found painting therapeutic.

       In the first of the trilogy painted shortly after the conflagration, in Medieval imagery, the Mouths of Hell were consuming in fire all our earthly treasures — including my beloved library of art books, unfinished paintings, easels and a studio full of art supplies.

       In the second painting, Courage, ladders reached to Heaven through the smoke, destruction and chaos for strength to bear the insurance negotiations and restoration predicaments.

       In the third, Phoenix Rising, our house like the ancient Phoenix rose from its ashes; and its champion, the Sun, broke back through.

      The weather was confused and snowed the day after sunny Easter. However, I am thinking sunflowers. I got some good artificial blooms from Michael's and look forward to painting them again in my new upstairs studio w lots of sun. I want to do more Southwestern themes for Joe to finish as he did my recent sunflowers that I love. Joe is a super in-house picture framer. He also replaced my table jigsaw at a Sears closing so I can cut out some clever shaped canvas/frames in the future. His wood workshop is in the basement along with my other art studio.I always said my jigsaw machine was the first thing I would take out in a fire, but I took out myself, wisely, instead.

        Easter was a two-day celebration with surprise additions, food and activities.I will only say my "aging" grandchildren are never too old to hunt eggs and turn it into Olympic seriousness. In the drugstore, I ran into other mothers who still send off chocolate eggs to children in their 20s and 30s and fill baskets appreciated by their spouses or boyfriends as well. Good bye March and April Fool! The children did giggle at asparagus and broccoli in some of the plastic eggs.

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.