Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dry Weed Nest and Line in Watercolor

 Dry Weed Nest
6x6in  watercolor on aquabord 
waxed. NFS

Artist Note
I was asked to explain about 
line in watercolor
and how it is used.
This one is for you, Edith!

Traditionally, water-colorists have used a pencil
to draw their subject. Often they will go over
the pencil line with a stronger paint line
where they want to describe the form
with more emphasis. Line can change from 
thin to thick, straight to round, 
over or under a mass of color.

In my nest above I used line
with opaque paint over a dark base.
It is called "form line" because it 
follows the direction of the form
A curve is a curve or  
straight is straight...etc.
I mixed different values
 to create the weaving of the grasses.

In the painting below,
Winslow Homer used the form 
line around parts of the boat
creating an outline, and 
even lightly around the sail 
at the back.
This was to create a separation
between boat and water.
So form line and outline are the same
thing, but used for different reasons.

If you look at the clouds
you will see the edges
are formed from the 
mass of the sky color.
No line. But the weeds
and lines on water are 
line. The way he painted
the dark shadow under the 
right end of the boat
could be a lyrical line...
it is expressive and 
yummy as it dissolves into an area of shadow

Andrew Wyeth, below, has obvious lines which
emphasizes the flow and direction of the water.
They merge into an area of color. No longer a line.

Sargent, below, has the lady on the right 
with lines to describe the folds of her
clothes, but on the lady on the left 
he used a softer line and
gently massed in with color.
Ask why one and not the other?
Most likely to direct the eye to her
first, but he did add a sharp line on the 
bonnet to bring some focus 
back to the other one..
 Line can be an important way to 
add some direction and emphasis.

Sargent used lyrical or expressive lines to 
describe the flounces in the one below.
And left it "as is". 

Many of the popular artists of today
like to use the line all the way through
their painting as a style -instead of using them for 
direction or emphasis. 
See Stefan Duncan below

My personal fav is
Shirley Trevena who is
at mixing all types of line and mass.
Explore all the lines in this one.
It is fun to look through art
magazines trying to find the 
different types of LINE.

If you stuck all the way through this - I thank you!
Edith - hope you enjoyed it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Roses #2 Plus Picasso and the Lyrical Line

Roses #2

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $135. SOLD

This is the second rose painting 
I have painted using the foundation 
of this month's focus at the Guild
 - using LINE in painting.
The base is underneath - trust me!

Artist Note.

The continuation of 
 the value of LINE
is for a few artists I mentor
who are interested in adding some 
power to their work. 
Hope you find it interesting.

Notice the lines Picasso used in
Woman In White
(Metropolitan Museum NTC)

Unlike Cezanne, who mostly used his lines 
to turn the form,
(darker at edges as they turned from the light) 
Picasso used both the lyrical and form line.
I have stood in front of this painting
and marveled at the beautiful layering, 
but mostly at   
the fluidity of the lines for the hair
in comparison to the structure lines of the face.
So simple and they describe so much.
 (close-up below.)

In Picasso's Blue Period, 
The Old Guitarist

You can see the lines are clear
and used beautifully. 
 He needed the eye to 
flow around the painting
so "value" was important 
along with line. Notice how the 
head and one hand are lighter -
 legs and other hand drop a value 
and the clothed torso disappears
 by keeping it in the same value 
and color family as the background.
The simple line around the guitar
plus the warm color 
moves it to center stage.

Two years earlier he painted
Le Gourmet
When I saw this painting I was fascinated.
 Picasso had skipped around 
with form, lyrical, and 
crosshatching line work..
 You can see the different quality lines
almost everywhere, but none appear on
 the top edge of the tablecloth 
where he played around with 
a lost edge on her cuff by
making it the same value 
as the cloth, 
creating a beautiful flow
from tablecloth into her arm 
and up to her face.

Only 6-7 years after the 
stylized painting of the guitarist,
Picasso painted
Portrait of Ambroise Vollard
I have not seen this one in life,
(it is in Russia)
but it is the force of movement 
that line and value can achieve
together which knocks my socks off.
We see artists today losing edges
with deliberately smooshed strokes 
of the brush, breaking up edges
 - me included -
in an attempt to be 'loose"
and here is Picasso with pure
control and logic, 
fracturing the image. 
Not all of the cubist paintings 
Picasso painted
achieved this effect 
to the same degree.

If you are not bored silly by now
 look again at the 
Woman In White
painted 12 years after this one.
Examine his use of line 
and your personal response to it.
You may find it very contemporary.
Neat eh?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Roses and Cezanne's Outlines.

8x6in oil on canvas panel $135. SOLD

Artist Note
This was a demo I did today
at the Artists Guild.
A mix of fracturing, brush and knife
work using a
charcoal drawing base to step up from.
First, I did the drawing with charcoal
and used a
spray fixative (outside) to secure.
 Next, I applied a light transparent color
over the drawing then started to add color.

As you can see from the above step
 I eventually 
covered up the lines in my finished 

The advantage of this drawing base is that
you can use it for several 
different techniques.
Here is a famous one.

Leaving the outlines 
showing here and there was a
technique Cezanne loved to use.
He went back over his drawing and emphasized
 his lines with paint

As time went on he learned to 
 forgo the initial drawing and go 
straight into drawing with his paint brush...
 like in the drapery above.

No matter the method -
the use of line adds so much to the 
power of the painting.

I am still not able to "see and evaluate"
my paintings after I have finished them.
My brain apparently is in a different
place at the moment.
It still works for teaching, thank heavens.

Thank you for all the great comments
to my last post.
I will be round to check all your blogs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Narcissus and Lilacs (painted in car)

Narcissus and Lilacs
5x7 on moleskin 

Artist Note

In my previous post I showed paintings done on the 
way TO our destination, and on the return I had freshly
picked lilacs and 
narcissus in the glove compartment.
The three hours flew by as I sketched in my moleskin.

Still making sure I do not aim for perfection!
I used a water soluble graphite pencil
to draw the basic shapes in. 
No pressure 
only fun!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Rooster With A Checkered Past

Rooster With A Checkered Past
7x5" gouache on paper  SOLD

Painting in a decorative style.

Artist Note
This was for an invitational show 
I had previously 
committed to be part of. 
 It had a rooster theme.
" Something to Crow About" 
This was painted at the last moment
and the mere fact I painted
something I could use 
 I credit to the solid advice and 
sharing I received from some 
wonderful, caring artists 
regarding my call for help in 
my last post.
The comments are quite
 remarkable in their candor and 
genuine desire to help
by sharing of their own 
It allowed me to see that 
many others fight through it 
what ever it is -not a block
in the usual way because 
painting is still fun,
but equally insidious in the doubt
it creates about the future.

Following much of the advice, 
I changed my focus
and media and just painted with 
no wipe-offs.
The Rooster was number 3.
It was so different from my regular 
work I did not have to be
judgmental about  it.

Another tip was to get away from
my regular routine, sooo...
we went on a trip for Easter. 
I still had to 
paint in the car... can't not do that!
But instead of painting the landscape 
like I usually do
I took along a plant a friend had given 
me and painted large.
This was on the way there.

The glove compartment came in handy!
I painted different flowers of the way back.
I will show those in the next post.

Once again a HUGE thanks to all those 
who took the time to send helpful advice 
either by email as well as the blog. 
I do not know how 
long my weird state will last, but at least 
now I do know 
and trust that it will pass and I will 
still have my passion for my art.
I am so truly grateful for the 
amazing artists who blog.
I am blessed.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reflections #2...and call for help!

Reflections #2  

8x6in oil on canvas panel  SOLD

Artist Note.

This one should be labeled number 6.
I did 5 - yep 5, wipe-offs.
Much nashing and moaning.
Something is wrong...
 I paint and I enjoy the act of painting,
but do not like the end result AT ALL!
I cannot "see" clearly what I have done.
I also have no emotional response and 
I am wiping off what may not be 
as bad as I think.

It is not what I would call a block
because I can't wait to paint,
but I am in a weird place of not liking 
the end result of anything I paint.
It is rather unusual for me and I am
wondering if any of you
have experienced a similar 
situation? If so, it would be great if 
you wouldn't mind sharing it with me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reflections #1


8x6in oil on linen mounted on panel  $135.

Reflections from a water feature I visited
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Artist Note.
This piece is the start of what I hope will 
be a series of paintings 
based on the reflections
created by a stunning Water Feature
I visited last year

I made sketches and took lots of photos. 
enjoying that inner feeling of excitement 
all of us artists get
when something really connects.
I wanted to start a series and as luck
would have it, Carol Marine came out
with some 
marvelous water reflection paintings
on her blog at the same time
so I put the idea on the back burner.

BUT the images still persisted.

I had wanted to see if it was possible 
to "fracture" something so fluid
It has not left my mind so 
I am looking forward to seeing 
what develops.

Just in case you are interested...

I have completed the HUGE painting
I was commissioned to do. Here are some 
images. The first one has the underpainting
showing at the bottom
with exaggerated warm and cool colors
at this stage..

Too large for my easel  

These two panels are made to go over a large
flat screen TV - sliding apart at viewing time.
Each panel has to hold its own in the 
design when parted, and yet become 
seen as a complete image when together.
They are mounted on an oak,
three inch deep frame so they 
would not fit on an easel.

I placed them on two tables
 each panel is 48"x30".
My reference photos are up 
at the side for easy viewing.

Block-in wash  -close-up
Same area below -completed 

The painting is so large that reducing it down
to the viewing area of the monitor 
makes it lose the looseness of the mark-making.
so I thought some close up images may help.

The family wanted their three dogs
included. Two have passed on, sadly,
one during the painting process.

It is the largest painting I have done using the 
fracturing technique. The new owners love it!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It Has To Be A Universe Thing...In Just TWO Days.

It started with a delivery of 
Happy Face and flowers
from a dear, dear friend who winters in France

Then on the same day I was given this
amazing and simply beautiful book from a friend
who knows my heart...

The same day another wonderful friend sent me this 
deeply moving poem.

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and 
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

—Naomi Shihab Nye

Then - on the very next day the morning started

 with a
Starbucks delivery from a great guy.

Then in came a Shamrock plant 
from a truly special lady...
PLUS Delicious muffins from

a smiling friend...
followed closely by 
this gem from another good friend. 
Can you guess what it is?

Yep -  a FAB holder for my panels.

The gift below was a total surprise from a a 
dear lady I have known 
for many years, but we do not exchange gifts 
and she waltzed in 
and presented it to me with a 
beautiful coordinating bow.
Four place mats of nests and birds.
Love, love them!

 But wait continues, 
NO it was NOT my birthday. 
I tell you it is a 
Universe thing...

A simply lovely pair of  
silver calla lily earrings. 
(I am wearing the other one!)
This gift is from a close friend 
who is going through
tough times and can still think of 
someone else.

She also brought these beauties 
in from her garden.
Then another neat guy gave me a tall
dog treat can,  and I 
opened it up to find this gem.

A great little bird nest safely resting 
at the bottom. 
Wait..not finished yet...

I arrived back home to find a box 
on my doorstep
from my wonderful 
(honorary)niece in Florida
This was hand made by an artist
with jasper and other wonderful  symbolic

She also sent me a card made from
a watercolor chart
made by her closest friend
for 40 years before she passed on.
I held it and had tears seeing her writing
and feeling the love.

So it is rather overpowering to think of the 
bounty of His Grace and Blessings 
in my life and these 
reminders poured all over me.

I have started painting again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Red, Yellow and Blue

Red, Yellow and Blue.

6x6in oil on canvas panel   SOLD

Artist Note.
I am still not painting but am grateful
that I am getting round to see everyone's work.
It should inspire me to get cracking...

Another Re-post. This one is from May 2012
34 months ago.

I did a series of lemons and shiny cans
It was a real challenge to see how far I
could fracture the cans and not lose the ridges.
Did not want them stiff so it was a case of

 I should try them again and see if it is any easier.

Sorry about it pulling up the old comments
but neat to see  familiar names.

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