Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Red Fruit for Christmas

"Cutwork and Pears"
oil on canvas
10" x 10"

"Red Plums"
oil on canvas
5" x 7"

Sorry to report that I still have no new drawings to post. Work is progressing slowly on the three that I have going on right now. What can I say? I have been happily involved in Christmas preparations and celebrations. In the last week though, I have done the two paintings shown above. I just realized that both paintings involve red fruit - it is Christmas time after all!

My two college kids are coming home later this week. My daughter is bringing a Japanese friend with her to stay with us through Christmas and my Navy son will be coming home next week as well. There's a very good chance that this could be my last post of 2010. So just in case it is - Merry Christmas to my readers and may you all have a Happy New Year as well!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hands and Heart

"Heart and Hands"
oil on canvas
8" x 10"

I'm still painting as you can see. Being basically a still life painter, this is my first attempt at painting flesh tones. It was a challenge - fun though, once it started to look convincing. I'm especially happy with how the thumbs turned out. I think that I caught the essence of the pressure point where the thumbs meet.

The reference photo for this was some hand poses that I took of one of my daughters awhile back. Three of my fours kids will be here for Thanksgiving. I think maybe we'll have some more hand modeling while they're here. I'd like to do more of these!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pink Shell Painting

"Pink Shell"
oil on canvas
6" x 8"

I haven't posted in a little while because I haven't had any new completed drawings/paintings to post. One reason(excuse!) is that I've been out of town some and haven't been able to do as much work. A second reason is that I have three larger drawings in progress at the same time right now. I'll try to get some work-in-progress photos posted next week. In the meantime though, I took a break from drawing last week to paint this shell.

I've listed this little painting on eBay. The galleries that I am in right now generally would rather have larger over smaller paintings/drawings. I enjoy doing a small work from time to time though and so thought that I'd offer a few on eBay and see how it goes. I've sold some work on eBay in the past and if nothing else, it's one way to clear out the studio a bit!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pear au Naturel

"Seated Nude"
colored pencil
10" x 7"

Well I'm back from a little fall vacation and back to the drawing board as well. As you can see, I'm still playing around with the personable pears. Some of these smaller drawings that I've been doing lately will be headed to M.A. Doran's gallery in Tulsa for the December Small Works show.

I really need to start painting more! I think that I spent as many hours layering the back ground on this small drawing as I spent on the pear and board together. Those nice smooth backgrounds are definitely quicker to do with paint than with pencils. Hmmm... mixed media would be one solution. Perhaps I just need to play with those gouache paints some more...

Our vacation, by the way, included a trip to the Grand Canyon where I took many pictures. I keep taking landscape pictures and drawing still lifes. Some kind of disconnect, perhaps? The solution could very well be just more hours in the studio so I can do it all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pears - the Personality Fruit

"The Crush"
8" x 10"

I first fell in love with pears as a still life subject many years ago after seeing Martha Alf's work. Pears have remained my favorite fruits to draw. Their shape gives them a greater ability to pose and take on a personality.

I showed this to my husband last night after I finished it. I said, "Look - I drew a portrait of you and me. Can you guess which one is me?" He correctly identified the left hand pear as me. See - you just couldn't do that with two apples!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When Dark Gray Becomes White

"Dream of Gardenias"
oil on canvas
10" x 8"

This is my newest oil painting. I took this reference photo way back last summer and have been meaning to paint it. I got the neat reflection of the flower by using a black cloth for the foreground and background with a glass panel on top of the cloth. I wanted a nice dark subtle reflection instead of what a mirror would have produced. It always boggles my mind on how dark the reflection really is in a situation like this. Those lightest "whites" reflected in the glass are really quite dark.

Just to show you what I mean, I made this little color swatch below in Photoshop.

The two gray rectangles are the same color. In fact they are the color of the lightest gray in the flower's reflection in the painting above. When I first painted this the other day, I didn't go quite dark enough on the reflection. The painting looked alright, but not what I was hoping for. I went back the next day and repainted the reflection, pushing the values even darker. I'm glad I did - the end result was certainly worth the extra time I put in. I gotta admit it - I'm very pleased with this one!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gouache Made an Oil Painter Out of Me

Apple Pyramid
oil on canvas
12" x 12"

I'm having a little break from drawing. Recently, I had the good fortune to come face to face with a Daniel Tennant gouache painting, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow". It was absolutely gorgeous. It got me to thinking about gouache, which is an opaque watercolor medium which is know for it's ability to produce brillant colors and fine detail. So, I up and ordered some to see if I'd like it better than oils. After one afternoon with gouache, I'm feeling a renewed kinship with oils. Yeah, I know Rome wasn't built in a day - I'll keep playing around with gouache. Half a day should certainly not be the basis for throwing out what, in the hands of many other artists, has proven to be a wonderful medium. I just couldn't get the right amount of water in my mix. Either it was way too runny to cover the paper properly, or when I had a mixture that covered well, it simply dried in 15 milliseconds. On looking back, I admit part of my problem was probably my frugality. I was just not squeezing a goodly amount of paint out of those expensive little tubes to properly work with.

To comfort my self esteem which had taking a slight beating that day, I pulled out my oil paints the other day and painted the apple painting shown above. I'm starting to think about holiday small work shows that will be coming up in December. This painting is on a gallery wrapped canvas which I didn't want to frame, so I painted a little black and gray border to give it a more finished look.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fried Green Tomatillos?

"Two Tomatillos"
6" x 8 1/4"

We left our vegetable garden at the old house when we moved. We've had a garden every year for the last 15 years, but no garden at the new house. I don't think that we'll start one next year either. I've got to admit it - the weeding and watering, not to mention the chiggar infestations were getting a little old. I'll miss my asparagus bed come next spring I'm sure, and I have been missing my fig trees. I'll definitely try to get some new fig trees going here, but I think that the farmer's market will be able to supply all of my fresh vegetable needs from now on.

Each summer, I usually cook fried green tomatoes every so often. With no garden and therefore no green tomatoes on hand, we haven't had fried green tomatoes all summer. So, when my husband spotted some usually large tomatillos at a local grocery store, he got the idea that we should see how fried green tomatillos would turn out. When the tomatillos didn't get fried right away, I carried them off to the studio and did this little graphite drawing. This afternoon, I finished the drawing and so fried tomatillos were back on the menu. We fried them tonight, and I just have to say I'm glad I drew them first so it didn't end up a complete waste! Just for the record - fried tomatillos are much more tart than tomatoes and pretty much turn to mush on the inside when you fry them. Maybe I can find some green tomatoes at the farmer's market next summer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Battenburg Lace and Hydrangeas

Tea and Hydrangeas
colored pencil
18" x 18"

I finally finished this one up. After all those little petals, the battenburg lace was an absolute joy to draw. It's kind of funny, I guess, but I've been drawing still lifes with lace in them for 20 years now and this was the first time that I drew battenburg lace. It won't be the last. I've got a cedar chest full of laced edged scarfs in my studio and this is the only piece of battenburg lace that I own. Hmmm...guess I need to go ebay shopping!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hydrangea Work In Progress

"Tea and Hydrangeas" - work in progress

I thought that I'd post a picture of my progress on the hydrangea drawing. I'm hoping to finish the flowers tomorrow and start in on the tea cup. I'm really looking forward to getting to the bottom half of the drawing - there's lots of battenburg lace down there. I'm looking forward to drawing the lace. It'll be a welcome change from those flower petals!

I was very pleased with how the silver bowl turned out. The bottom half of the bowl is reflecting the cloth. It should make more visual sense once the cloth is evident in the drawing. I just really enjoy drawing round things - guess that explains why 95% of my still life setups have fruit or round pieces of pottery in them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Good News

"Red Pears at Play"
colored pencil

This is my first post in quite a while. We have successfully moved and are enjoying our new home. I am spending some time in the new studio, but have no new work to post just yet. I did hear from the Artist Magazine a week or so ago, that I was selected as a finalist in the still life category of their annual contest. One of my drawings from earlier this year (shown above) was my entry in the contest. Winners have already been selected and notified, but we'll have to wait for the December issue to learn who they are. Being a finalist means that my name will be listed in the December issue (no image of my work though). I also will receive (drum roll....) a frameable certificate! Being named is definitely better than being unnamed - I'll just literally have to go back to the drawing board and try for better next year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stuff and More Stuff

"Up From the Earth"
10" x 8"
colored pencil

Here's a small colored pencil drawing that I just finished. I had started on it much earlier this year, but it's been sitting in a drawer until I pulled it out last Friday and started back to work on it. My larger hydrangea drawing is on hold until we get to the new house. The move starts next week and I'm trying to get really serious with the packing. I've discovered that I really should clean out cabinets more often than just when we move. It's kind of amazing to find how much of the same exact stuff you can end up with. For example, way back in the kitchen cabinets, I found three boxes (800 count each) of toothpicks. I've made a mental note to never buy toothpicks again. We have enough to last a lifetime. And in the bathrooms - would you believe that we have 7 bottles of sunscreen?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Moo-ving Right Along

"Just a Little Bull"
8" x 10"

OK - Well I couldn't resist using "moo" in my post title. We are moving right along. We survived the huge yard sale. More stuff sold than I really expected. Needless to say there was still quite a bit left. We'll be moving to our new house in about three weeks if all goes accordingly to plan.

I've also been moving right along getting ready for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute show that's coming up in July. Above is my last piece of art for this show. I'm glad that I agreed to participate in this exhibit. It's been good for me to do something besides still life. I think that I may do some more landscapes once we get settled in the new house. For now though, I just started a new still life. Hydrangeas, lace, and a silver bowl... I may end up tearing my hair out by the time I get all those little hydrangeas petals done... we'll see.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Break From the Mess

"Farmers' Market Breakfast"
colored pencil
10" x 12"

My house is a total wreck right now. We are preparing for a huge yard sale that will be this weekend, followed by, hopefully, a move to a new house in a few more weeks. So, I'm wading through 15 years of accumulated clutter in hopes of not taking it with us (except, of course, for the clutter which is natural to any still life studio).

Above is my newest colored pencil work which will be in the Arts in the Air show at Petit Jean in July. This is the show with the agricultural theme. I took a few artistic liberties since no farmers' market around here is going to have strawberries and pears at the same time. They look good together though, don't they? I really enjoyed loading this one up with color. The canteloupes had me a little worried at first, but they settled down and behaved. It was a bit of a challenge trying to get the right color on them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Landscape

"Summer Sky and Hay Field"
colored pencil
18" x 12"

I just finished this landscape this week. It will be in the Arts in the Air Exhibit at the Rockefeller Institute in July. I'm already working on a breakfast fruit still life (cantaloupes and strawberries - yum) to be in that same show.

It may be a week or two before I post more. My husband and I are headed to San Diego next Monday for a week. When I get back home, drawing will have to go on the back burner for a little while. We just sold our home and have bought another. I must declutter after fifteen years of living in the same place. We shall be having the yard sale to end all yard sales in about two weeks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Post Workshop Painting

"One More Week"
12" x 6"

I mentioned in my last post that I attended an oil painting workshop this past weekend. If you wondered why I didn't post any paintings from that workshop, it's because they weren't very good. I came away with knowledge rather than finished paintings. In fact, my eldest daughter, upon seeing what I had done over the weekend, exclaimed "What happened, Mom? You paint better than that!"

One of the things that Tim emphasized at the workshop was to have a focal point in the painting. Try to make the focal point stand out by, among other things, using lots of detail there and less detail in the rest of the painting. Above is a painting that I did yesterday. It's very different from how I usually paint - I usually try to get every scrap of detail that I'm able to paint. In this, I picked the blackberry that's in between red and black to be my focal point. I painted it with lots of detail and left the others less defined. That berry was actually ripe in my reference photo, but I thought to make it stand out more by making it to be the only in-between color. I did paint the leaf up above with quite a bit of detail because I liked it - probably not a legitimate reason, but there you have it.

This painting is a lot different than what I normally do, but I kind of like it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apples and Lace

"Apples and Lace"
20" x 11"

Here's the graphite drawing that I mentioned in my last post. I did get it finished last week, I just ran out of time to get it photographed and posted. I left town last Thursday to attend an oil painting workshop given by Timothy C. Tyler. We were in a beautiful location up on Petit Jean Mountain at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and had a great time the entire weekend. I am now determined to paint with a lot more paint and really work on those lost edges! I hope to post something soon that is simply oozing with paint.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Flowers

"Petite Bouquet"
10" x 8"
oil on linen

Here's another flower painting that I finished last week. I've been waiting for it to dry enough to spray varnish and then get a photo. It's off to the framer's tomorrow and then off to Tulsa the next week for the Contemporary National Realism show at M. A. Doran Gallery.

I'm busy working on "agricultural" art right now for a show at the Rockefeller Institute in July. Getting close to being done on a fairly large graphite drawing of a basket of apples with one of my favorite drawnwork scarves. Lots of intricate lace work on the scarf. It seemed like I was on the home stretch, but I made the mistake of measuring last night. I have about an 8" x 8" square left to draw. That's 64 square inches - now it seems like a lot. I'm determined to finish it by end of day tomorrow though...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Another Mini

"Three Pitchers"
oil on panel
2 5/8" x 4 3/4"

Here's another miniature painting that I finished earlier this week. I forgot to get a photo of it before I framed it. That little discolored looking edge on the bottom left-hand side is the shadow from the frame. I tried to really get detailed with this one. I had a magnifying glass in one hand and paint brush in the other. Not an easy way to go about it! If I do many more of these, I think that I'll have to purchase a magnifying glass on a stand.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Lenten Roses"
oil on canvas
6" x 6"

Here's a little oil painting that I did earlier this week. I've had this Lenten Rose growing in my flower garden for a few years but this is the first time that I've used the blooms in a still life. It blooms so early in the spring that I sometimes miss noticing it altogether. I guess the plant is maturing because it had a lot more blooms on it this year than in years past. They are sweet looking little blossoms, a bit on the shy side (they seem to be looking more towards the ground than the sun for the most part.) They are definitely not a boisterous flower like the daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips that are also blooming away in my yard right now. I've been told that they are called "Lenten Roses" because they bloom during Lent. I'd like to think that they also earned that name due to their meek and mild manner, reminiscent of our dear Savior.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Float Trip

"Float Trip"
colored pencil
10" x 15"

Here's the drawing that I mentioned in my March 2nd post. It's finally finished and I'm glad. This started out fun enough, but I have to admit that I got a little stir crazy working on the background of ripples, reflections, and distortions. I think that on my next "typical" still life I'll enjoy the boredom of drawing the flat toned background that I usually have.

I've been invited to participate in the Winthorp Rockefeller Institute's "Arts in the Air: Bountiful Arkansas" art show. The theme of this year's exhibit is "Garden and Agricultural Art". The show is in July. I've got to get busy - I'll need five drawings/paintings by then featuring scrumptious Arkansas produce. I'm thinking strawberries and cantaloupe right now...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some Itsy-Bitsy Stuff

"Ten Little Piggies"
colored pencil
1 1/4" x 2"

I recently made the acquantance of Lynn Ponto-Peterson, a great wildlife and miniature artist. She encouraged me to try my hand at some miniature work. Above is a colored pencil drawing that I did of my daughter's toes. Besides just being small in size, a miniature painting or drawing is usually required to be at least 1/6 scale of the object being portrayed. I had first done "Ten Little Piggies" in oil as an ACEO (2 1/5" x 3 1/2"). That seemed small, but not small enough to reduce my daughter's petite toes down to 1/6 scale, so I did this smaller version in colored pencil.

Below is my attempt at a miniature in oil. I had used this same reference photo of mine for a large colored pencil drawing (20" x 28") about a year and a half ago. (The colored pencil version can be seen on my website.) I really liked how the small version in oil turned out. I'm planning on getting a few more of these done soon and try my luck at a miniature show. I'll get back with you on how that turns out.

"Trimmed in Red"
oil on panel
3" x 4"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finally Spring

colored pencil
9" x 12"

I got sidetracked from the colored pencil drawing that I was working on. Daffodils finally began blooming in my yard two weeks ago. I set up this little still life, including a glass "Bluebird of Happiness" that I purchased last year from Terra Studios. (Terra Studios has been making these little birds since 1975! http://www.terrastudios.com/ ) I usually don't have so many different colors going on in one still life, but I loved how the little striped kitchen towel repeats all of the colors from the bird, flowers, and nectarines.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Newest Work

"Red Pears at Play"
colored pencil
16" x 20"

Here's my newest large colored pencil drawing. I've been doing a lot of painting in the last two months and so slowed down some on the drawing. I kind of drug my feet getting this one finished up - I think that I was intimidated by that red striped cloth although it turned out not to be too bad. I came up with the name "Red Pears at Play" after my oldest daughter stuck her head in the studio door one night and exclaimed - "Oh, it looks like the pears are having so much fun."

I'm working on a very different sort of colored pencil drawing right now. It's a scene of two leaves floating downstream. It's been a challenge - all of the abstracted ripples and reflections. I can only work for about an hour at a time on it and then I start feeling like I need a straight jacket. I hope to finish it later this week and will post when its done. Guess that makes this a teaser post!

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Young Stripes"
16" x 18"

Well, Christmas and New Year's Day have come and gone. We've had some very happy holidays here at our house. All four kids were home for Christmas, including my eldest son who is in the Navy. I've been getting a little art done, but now am ready to get back into the full swing of things, so hopefully I'll be posting more often. I realized that I never posted the completed drawing of the young zebra that I was working on back in October. It's been finished and sitting in a drawer for awhile. I finally got around to getting a picture of it.

"Pitchers and Pears"
colored pencil
12" x 24"

I recently received word that my colored pencil drawing "Pitchers and Pears" was juried into the 52nd Annual Delta Exhibition. The Delta will be held at the Arkansas Arts Center from Jan 29th to March 14th, 2010. The juror this year is Chicago Art Institute Curator Martha Tedeschi. She will be giving a lecture this Thursday night (Jan 7th) at the Arts Center in Little Rock. I hope to attend as long as the snow flurries in the weather forecast don't get too deep.