Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tangerine 2

I painted again at the crack of dawn. It took a lot of fortitude to 
neglect household stuff yet another day but I held my ground. My 
mother is horrified by all that I leave undone. I realized a couple of 
months ago that she loves folding laundry and that she's agitated 
when she has nothing to do. So now, when there isn't a new load, 
I unfold what she has so carefully folded and bring her the same 
clothes, sheets and towels and she's happy for awhile . . . long 
enough for me to be in the studio for a few hours. It's ironic, our 
personal relationships with time: some of us have too little and some, 
too much. 

I can see that I've used brush and paint differently again . . . the way I 
painted yesterday and today are not necessarily what I envisioned 
or aspired to, but they document where I was yesterday and today.

Tangerine 1

This tangerine tree is two blocks from my house . . . I asked the 
owner at a neighborhood Halloween party if I could clip a few. It's 
almost a month later and I finally got to it . . . story of my life lately. 
There's all the daily maintenance and then there are disasters. I 
awoke 2 days before Thanksgiving to find a flood in my kitchen. 
My beloved refrigerator had died in the night. If I took care of everything 
that needs attention, I would never paint. So I wave to the dust bunnies 
and mounds of cat hair and shrug at the dishes in the sink. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

He Ain't Heavy . . .

Had to try this set-up one more time . . . Happy Thanksgiving! 
And many thanks to all of you who check in with this work-in-progress 
and comment and critique! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lean on Me

This is a departure from my usual. It follows two "wasted" 
painting sessions trying to paint an amaryllis blossom--just
could not get the values right however much I squinted; they 
were quite pronounced as shapes but so delicate, getting their 
relationships right was too much at this point. But, trying to 
achieve that delicacy meant holding the brush differently, which 
got carried over to these more solid forms. There's a burnt umber 
value study underneath, something I usually avoided because 
of time, but now find so helpful---like bones for the forms and 
structure for the overall painting. It also offers a map of the 
composition in terms of value that can easily be corrected before 
color enters and confuses. My composition struggles in the 
last post have also led to a realization with this one that composition 
is also as simple as relationship between lights and darks. The good 
thing about trying and failing is that the process itself transforms 
your brain so it's less obsessed with capturing likenesses of objects. 
Bottom line: time spent painting is never wasted!
I plan on painting this again, but not before I attempt "Sky" the current 
challenge for Some Texas Artists Like To Paint

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pears and Little Bottle

This turned into an epic effort over 3 sessions. I wanted to try a different 
composition where I didn't cluster all the objects together. I threw myself 
a curve by setting beautiful red pears toward the left side of the panel 
then needed something interesting to the right. Started with a white 
napkin which was too weak, then a pink napkin and red cup in the right 
back corner. I felt I'd painted everything well enough but the composition 
just didn't work so, being the ruthless person I am, wiped off the right side 
again and tried out different things. I'm withholding judgment on its overall 
success, but feel good about sacrificing things painted pretty well to push 
for a better painting.

My art store had its annal sale and I treated myself to a tube of cerulean . . . 
had forgotten what lovely grays are made when it's mixed with burnt sienna 
or burnt umber.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Green Onions

No self-torment or suffering went into making this painting . . . I actually 
had fun! I got lost in the concentration, that meditative experience I recall 
from the past that has eluded me in the last couple of years. When I set 
it up, it seemed so complicated that I did a full value study in burnt 
umber over a transparent red oxide ground to paint over. It forced me to 
compare values from the start without color complicating the process. 
The only moments of angst were when I "came to" and thought, "oh please, 
don't let me screw this up." I photographed it and slapped it up here before 
I could start picking it apart. I feel like I'm on the right road. Thanks every-
body for your encouraging comments . . . the answer, as you said, is 
simple: just keep on painting . . . 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red-lined Cup

I'll confess . . . I felt desperate to post today. Too many days had passed 
since the last post, too many wipers, too much struggle. I needed to 
redeem myself. I had started this yesterday and felt it was true to the 
set-up but still had a nagging thought: "so what?" I've given that a lot of 
thought lately . . . I spend time looking at paintings online every morning
and most are competent, good paintings. But what makes a painting 
really really good, or even great? Attacking it again, it seemed the answer 
was "risk." I didn't push far enough, could have done some areas better 
but, there's also the danger of thinking nothing is good enough and the 
risk of getting too insular and putting nothing out there. There's risk in the 
doing and risk in the exposing . . . all part of the process.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pears (rear view)

I spent my painting time over the past 3 days trying to paint peaches 
and had a devil of a time! Jean Townsend mentioned the difficulty of 
including color and value changes in the same 2 inches in her current 
post . . . I also find it very difficult. Over the days of trying, however, 
I did notice a brain shift (caused by sheer frustration!) ---I stopped being 
conscious of the object and, instead, began to zero in on shapes of color 
and value and how they related to each other. I wasn't able to rescue 
the dang peaches, but then found it effortless to cram in color and value 
in these pears, but they don't have the extreme dimples and cleavage 
that peaches do. It's funny, but as I painted these pears, I thought I was 
seeing their backs as though they were in a "time-out." :-)