Personal Art Blog

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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mugging for the Camera

Mugging for the Camera

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $125.

Some mugs from my collection. I really do like the polka dot one
but never drink out of it.
I bought it purely to paint.

Those who follow this blog know that my daughter moved away with her job
and I had been missing her.
Last Sunday, our local paper did a very nice story on my
move into the new gallery/studio space and also about my daily paintings.
I forwarded Rainy, my daughter, the newspaper link and she sent me
these beautiful flowers with a note saying how proud she was of me!
Tears and tissue time!!!

Artist Note.

Yellow roses are my favorite rose and Callas are my one of my favorite
flowers to paint, but I worked on these flowers for hours today and
for the life of me could not get something I liked.
I do want to paint them so I will try again tomorrow.
I think the problem was  the long shape of the callas mixed
with rather a large rose.
Have to work on getting the design much stronger than what I was doing.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Flowers - On The Shelf #5

Flowers - On The Shelf #5

8x6in  oil on canvas   $125. SOLD

My second shelf painting with flowers.
My wonderful daughter sent me some beautiful flowers
(not these) and this is a trial run on using the shelf.
I am looking forward to painting them tomorrow.

Artist Note.

This was an effort at trying to paint this in half an hour - failed!
It ended up taking almost three hours because I kept having to
scrape it off. I was being too realistic, making every flower equally
realistic. Not my goal of how I wanted it to look.
I know I can paint "realistically" if I wanted to, but I was after a
very loose interpretation. The goal was to have only one of the flowers
portraying what it type of flower it was and the rest had to be believable,
but really abstracted.

I am still having major problems downloading into Blogger
from my Picasa program. Before, I could click on "create"  and it
would go directly down to  "publish to blogger."
Is there any other easy way to handle downloading into Blogger?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fracturing Re-do


8x6in oil on canvas board  $125.

I am not sure if my Blogger is working as my usual way to download does not work.

This is another re-do of an older painting. I always loved the colors in it so I had it in my studio to use for inspiration. It was lacking some structure which I provided with the dark background shapes.

I had classes all day and we did a neat exercise. I will share more when I can see that
everything on the blog is back to normal. 
I hope Blogger has not changed something without my realizing it. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

With Lemon, Please. On the Shelf #4

On the Shelf #4
Tea with Lemon Please.

6x8in  oil on canvas   $125.  SOLD

This is an older painting which has gone thru a revival!

Artist Note.

Here is the original painting.

I placed the teapot on the shelf over at the other end to see how it looked
and then I changed the painting.
First, I lightly sanded the surface and then I rubbed a mixture of 1/2 linseed
oil and 1/2 Gamsol, wiping off any residue. I used this as a medium for the
new layer of paint. Fat over lean rule!

When I placed the teapot on the shelf, my viewpoint changed.  I cut into
the table and created more of the dark area so the spoon would go off the edge.
I eliminated the lemon at the back because the shelf was not as deep as the
table I had set up the original items on.
I made the striped area more intense in color/value as I did the teapot.
I am not into deciding which one I prefer because I paint for the
sheer enjoyment and challenge of it. At the time I liked the original one
and I now like this one.
And if anyone is interested... I found it is hard to use the fracturing technique
over an old painting!

I want to thank Lauren Nelson for advising and sending directions
for me to place a "search box" on my blog. Check out her blog.
Cute title - PerPetuity. She works with rescuing animals too..Kind heart.
She is confident it will make it easier for people to find old information
on the fracturing technique.
She also advised me to take off that difficult word verification  
which had to be entered after leaving a comment.

I do appreciate everyone who has suffered through the verification process
and still commented on my blog. I hope this new way will make it quicker
as I love hearing from everyone. Ta!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Red Teapot - On the Shelf #3

On the Shelf #3

6x8in  oil on canvas panel  $125. SOLD

A few of my favorite items on the new shelf in my studio.

Artist Note.

I have overhead light for the still life set-ups on the shelf. I can change it
to suit my preference, but for now I am exploring using it this way.
My previous two set-ups have shown the top of the shelf
and I felt like a change.

When I am looking at the shelf straight on like this, there is only a thin
line of light to define the top of it. The trick is to indicate how deep it is
by overlapping some items. The same principle is used in landscapes.
Starting at the bottom moving up...
The angle of the sunflower shows volume in space next to
the flat drop of the leaf.  (I was tempted to overlap the flower but resisted)
The top part of the leaf, the curve of the stalk, plus the little spice
container added another level in front of the pot. Same with the bud
in front of the bowl.
The matted print set behind everything, completes
the illusion of depth to the shelf.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

On the Shelf #2

On the Shelf #2

6x8in oil on canvas   $125.

This is very different  from yesterday's post and that is because
today's class was in oil painting.

Artist Note.

As an art teacher I am exposed to many different techniques.
I really enjoy a variety of medias and the ways they can be used.
I agree with no matter what the medium or style, certain principles do apply
to help make a better painting.
But I do not like the word RULES  because I see them passed around
without foundation. A favorite of mine is one so many people use
about not putting something right in the center.
It can be misinterpreted.
I have seen magnificent work with the center being the focal point.
Well... this painting is not a masterpiece, but I have enjoyed painting it.
The placement is more or less in the center, but the flowers link
to form an angle across the upper half. Another couple of angles
are made by the shelf, The eye flow is helped by the buds on the
edge and top of the shelf.(forming another angle)
So my advice is, if you have something in the middle and you like it there
then look for ways to produce an asymmetrical  and interesting design.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Something Different

Something Different

Portrait of a Woman -  unfinished demo study    egg tempera  Not for sale

It was egg tempera class today and I brought in an old master
copy to demonstrate the strokes following form.
The original was painted in 1430 by the flemish master, Robert Campin.
He has been credited as one of the founders (along with van Eyck)
of the realist style of oil painting in the Netherlands.
The original is in the National Gallery, London, and I was really
mesmerized by how alive her eyes were - almost with a sense of fun.
I thought she was a nun at first, but reading more I found it was a headdress.
The companion piece, Portrait of a Man,  was done the year before
and he is wearing a marvelous red headdress
so I think Robert was into painting fabric folds.

Egg tempera is a linear technique and you build up with many layers to
create the marvelous colors and shading. I have done a close-up here for you to see.
They are not this obvious in the actual piece.
As you can tell from the top view, I have drawn in the painting first with a
watered down India ink applied with a brush, establishing the dark areas.

There is quite a revival going on with egg tempera and I am thrilled
to have a group of talented artists here in Las Cruces who are
enjoying exploring this fascinating medium.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the Shelf - #1

On the Shelf - #1

6x8in  oil on canvas  $125.

I have a shelf by my easel in the new studio and I am
planning to do a series of still life set-ups on it.
Today it holds my Licorice Altoids, small mint Altoids,
a baggie of raw almonds, a sample jar of blackberry preserves
and my mechanical pencil.

I found it difficult to fracture the baggie and still make it look
like clear plastic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blossom Study

Blossom Study

6x8in oil on canvas   SOLD

This was a quick demo to show how to work on a color
study for a large painting.

Artist Note.

Here I am exploring warm and cool overlays for vibrations.
You can see them bouncing around. I scumbled a lot of this
using the side of the brush. It gives a broken brushwork effect.
The final painting lost a lot of the looseness and vibrations
of this study and this is where personal taste comes in.
Knowing what you like and don't like about a painting is very important.
Libby Fife and I had a neat blog discussion on taste in art.
See comments Libby Fife
She was kind enough to respond. I really enjoy hearing
other artist's viewpoints.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

On the Edge

On the Edge

6x8in  oil on canvas

We have all seen this...a thriving tree right on the edge of a cliff
growing out of what appears to be solid rock.
I can plant seeds with tender care into perfect soil...
only to see some survive better than others... and weeds leap out
of places where there has been no water.
Mother Nature continues to astound.

If this appears familiar - good eye and good for you!
It is a repeat of a painting I did back in April but I went back to
where it was and made some changes to fit how it looks now..

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Apple Demo for Class

Apple demo for class

not for sale

Working with a different group I did another apple demo.
Maybe you remember that in the classes I teach, the focus this month
 is painting from the imagination so these are not copied from real apples.
It appears that the hard part of painting from the imagination
is understanding the light and how it falls on a surface.

Seeing how many in the class had painted light on the sides as well as the top,
I quickly drew in the box showing the apple with a top surface to
catch the light. They immediately "got it" and some pretty decent apples
were presented.

I am always using the phrase, "light follows form," but I found
that it is not always understood. Another way of saying it is...
The path of light can not go around corners.

Different methods of broken edge work and colors were also included in
this little demo so this may appear a little weird, but I thought it may be
of interest to those who do not have access to instruction.

Having a great time with my wonderful grandchildren but admit
to being tired after teaching all day and then building a fort
(from a precious sari) to play cowboys in. I got the midnight watch!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No painting today, just a...

No painting today but thought I would show how hot it still is here

Our dog on the air conditioning vent
and walking on the desert with us.

She is a Blue Heeler and the smartest dog ever!

My grandchildren are on the way here as I type this
I am wondering how Kat, who is now 12 years old,
will be with a 4 and 7 year old.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hydrangeas and Part Demo


8x6in  oil on canvas panel  $125.

Hydrangeas with sprigs of coffee bean plant.
These  hydrangeas have a lot of a creamy color in the center
with pale blue edges to the petals. I got them at Trader Joes
in Albuquerque at weekend. They are not perky!

Artist Note.

This was a demo done in class today.
I had a lovely set up using the the reds of the strawberries from
yesterday to move the eyes around from the coffee bean buds.
I blocked it in like this.

Then I realized I would not be able to fit it all in in time.
So  - off with the strawberries heads!

Using my wonderful, handy tool.  Love this part!
If interested in seeing tool and how it is used, go to
(May 2nd, thru 5 or 6.)
You have to scroll down to get to the correct dates.

I then had to change the vase. Why? To link to the blues of the hydrangeas
I had used a dark green vase first to link with all the leaves,
and the design on the strawberry bowl
had blue in it to link with the flowers.
See how changing one thing can lead to rethinking the other areas.

All these decisions are made with the class watching and
I give the reasons why... and it can lead to some lively discussions.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Study of a Lavender Rose

Study of a Lavender Rose

6x6in oil on canvas Not for Sale

This is my first ever try at painting a rose this color.
I was trying to see the nuances of blues from the sky and warmer purples
here and there. I will do a few more studies and then do a painting,

My hubby and I drove to Albuquerque this past weekend to see a play
our Goddaughter directed in Community Theater.
 (Doesn't everyone drive 550 miles RT to see a play?)
The play was hilarious - received a standing ovation -  and we returned
the next day full of laughter and pride.
She is quite young, working on her masters and managed to do this too.
So what has that got to do with this rose?
Well, it was blooming in her parent's garden where we stayed the night.
When I left England, I gave my mother a gift of a lavender rose bush
and this brought back a lot of memories.

Another bounty from a friend's garden. Talk about a green thumb!

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Strawberries and Roses

Strawberries and Roses

8x6in oil on canvas board   $125.

This clear blue, glass vase is one I have had for a long time.
It has a heavy base and is perfect to hold long stemmed

Artist Note.

What is the difference between this type of rose and a peony?
The peony has more petals, but as I was painting these roses
they sure reminded me of peonies. Both have a full
bulb shape with many petals and both have pink centers although the
peony is more of a dash of red in separate areas.
I deliberately made these have more of center shape than what
they really had
As an impressionist painter I have to ask myself if it is all about
capturing the essence of the flower or a perfect rendition.
Easy answer - that is why it is called impressionism!!!
Give the impression of a flowers by colors and shapes

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Peony Trio

Peony Trio

6x6in oil on canvas $100.  SOLD

This little painting combines three things I love...
my special shawl, a Murano glass vase and peonies.
After the storm of activity I have just been through
I was perfectly content painting objects of
such quiet beauty.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sunrise and Apple

Sunrise, Las Cruces, N.M.

How about this for a view to wake up to?
( from our deck.)

Artist Note.

It was my first day of classes in the new studio.
The focus was on testing memory against reality.

Everyone had to draw an apple from memory.
With every one's eyes closed I first led them through imagery
with shape, volume, details like stem, base, surface, etc.
Next step was to draw the apple created in their imagination.
The results were excellent and surprised the ones who thought they
could not draw anything unless they had something to copy from.
I then gave everyone an apple to paint as realistically
as they could. As they had already learned to fully explore
the essence of an apple, the results were pretty dramatic.
I then did a small demo of an apple with the emphasis on edges.
If I had done the demo first they would have been trying to
duplicate what I had done instead of being truly original.
The final step was to freely paint an apple in any color and style
they chose. It was fine to use the inspiration of the demo brush
and knife work to add to their previous accomplishments.
 It was a great session and I get a genuine high
seeing how well all the artists do.

This little apple demo was on edges.
Notice on the photo of the apple
below how the wall background color
was pretty even.
In the painting I varied the colors
and values to give a more interesting
and painterly effect.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Roses in Terracotta.

Roses in Terracotta

8x6in  oil on canvas panel  $125. SOLD

Roses left from my gallery opening. Too beautiful not to paint.

Artist Note.

I have been busy setting up the studio/classroom for Tuesdays session.
I am cautiously excited about teaching in the new space.
It will take some time to feel the comfort level I have here, but
the opportunity to have the artists exhibit their work in the studio
on the monthly, First Friday Art Ramble is worth the change. I feel
Art has to be seen and there are not always opportunities available.
I hope to make it a fun  and relaxing situation in a true studio setting.
Will report back in September with details and photos.

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Egg Tempera - My Daughter!

My Daughter

20x 16  egg tempera  NFS

It is an older painting but I am showing it because I have not done
a painting today - or yesterday.

I am still missing my daughter. She used to model for me all the time.

This painting is very special as my daughter is reading a love letter my father
sent to my mother when he was courting her.
She is wearing my mothers pear earrings. The shawl is the one I paint a lot -
my aunt gave it to me for my first child's christening.
The vase belonged to my grandmother and
the three calla lilies are symbolic of the three daughters
my parents had.
The background is an homage to Vermeer. I put his floor on the wall!

Egg tempera consists of many layers with little specks of color peeping through
here and there. I know it had a huge influence on helping me develop my
fracturing technique...even though the outward appearance is so different.

On First Friday's, Las Cruces enjoys an evening Art Walk and I opened a new
teaching space including a small gallery where I can show my daily paintings.
My regular gallery is one block south and we both hope it will work well for clients.

My new gallery pics.
ART STUDIO las cruces
The entrance leads in from
from another gallery - which is great - and it was the gallery
of a wonderful local artist for 10 years. It is on our Downtown Main Street.

The classroom is behind
this longer wall

This is a 20 foot wall and
I placed the unframed
paintings on easels.
My husband and I made the
wooden pedestals from
wood we had cut to sizes.
My favorite wall fountain
adds a little bit of interest.

Next month will be the Grand Opening and I will have the bugs worked out by then
but we had lots of well wishers and quite a few sales with fabulous comments.

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