Personal Art Blog

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sunflowers and Vessels

Sunflowers and Vessels

8x6in oil on canvas panel  $125.

A friend brought me some sunflowers this afternoon.
I thought they would be all gone by this time of year,
but these were from her garden.

Artist Note.

Below is an old painting that I had never put on
my blog because I had two others with the same items
already on there. On this piece I had changed the
background several times with light - dark - and middle values,
purely for the learning experience. After each change I checked
my pulse for the type of response I was getting.
Great learning technique.

Being short of time I decided to use the painting for the sunflowers.
I wiped the panel with some linseed oil and Gamsol first.
Placing the sunflowers in a blue vase
I decided to place it where the 
striped vessel was.
 I altered the lighting,
placed a smaller,
striped piece of paper
and had at it.
I think it is a great example
of how a painting can be
changed to suit the different
needs at different times.
I cannot do a good job of fracturing because of the texture
underneath but I did use a knife and brush.
I do not want to get into asking myself
if any of the changes were better than the others
because I have learned that it is the act of painting
which gives me pleasure. Once I start analyzing too much
the pleasure can disappear.
I am planning and  formulating my future DPW Artbyte
and want to thank
all of you who sent good wishes and support.
What great friends you all are.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cat in Sun

Cat in Sun (sketch)

6x8in oil on canvas board   $100.

This was painted as a very quick demo in the afternoon session today.
It was painted from a photo and I placed him in a grassy setting.
It is definitely a sketch, but I feel I was successful in having him look
as if he was moving. What a lovely, chubby Tabby!

Artist Note.

I know I said I was going to show a step-by-step demo of my
fracturing technique with the painting, Pouncer.
Here is what has happened.
A while back Daily Paintworks had contacted me to see if I would be interested
in making a couple of ArtBytes on my Fracturing Technique as they felt there
would be some interest in them.
I went through th typical feelings of, no one will want to see them...
I am not good enough, but Jennifer Newcomb was very nice
and suggested I take my time and think about it.
In between then and now, I did the move into the new gallery and
teaching space. My life was hectic.
Then along came the Birdbrain Challenge and I submitted, Meet Mr Gull.
From the response I received  from DPW and my blog, I gathered that there
are quite a few who would enjoy seeing how I do my technique.

I sent Jennifer the notes and demo I had prepared to go on my blog regarding "Pouncer"
and I received a very encouraging reply so I am going to work on it
in earnest and see what I come up with.
The DPW crew offer proffessional help and guidance so it could be fun.
Wish me luck please.
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

No painting but a great Bat.

I did do the demo but with all the steps,
it took longer than I thought.  I want
to arrange everything and read with fresh eyes.

Meanwhile here is a cute little bat on our
(perfectly maintained) garage door frame.
Look at those tiny little hands holding on.
Wait a minute -  they are feet.
They hang upside down don't they?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pouncer- Bird Watching.

Pouncer - Bird Watching. ( sketch)

6x8in oil on linen (mounted on panel)  $100. SOLD

No matter what country you live in in this world, this is a universal

Artist Note.

Another sketchy type painting where I leave the linen canvas showing.
After painting the gull I thought I would try the Fracturing technique on a
cat. This is from a painting I did of of one of my grandcats in 2004.
It was painted in a more decorative and linear style.
This is a detail - a small part of a large painting.

I tried to copy more or less the same position of the cat,
but put him up on a ledge instead.

The new one was painted on the Senso linen I mentioned yesterday.
I used neutral colors to see if I could paint an animal
without deforming it too much with the fracturing technique.
I found I was a little bit tentative and it looked like a hedgehog quite
a few times as the legs would come and go!!!!

If I didn't say they were birds in the title, I bet you could not tell.
They certainly are tiny as the canvas is so small.

It is funny how you can mush a tree or flower and it is okay, it works,
but you mush a specific animal beyond a recognizable shape and the party is over..
There is a quality about this painting I like but have to figure it out.
Like most of what I paint, I need to really have a familiar feeling  or good
image to get it right. I know you understand and are thinking, been there, done that.

I think I will try it again tomorrow in the colors above
and in a square format.. I will try and show a step-by-step demo.
I love bright colors so it should be fun.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cloudy Skies over the Organ Mountain, N.M.

Cloudy Skies

6x8in  oil on canvas  $125. SOLD

This is the view from my house. Those are the Organ Mountains,
here in beautiful Las Cruces. Directly behind them about 40 miles is the
White Sands Missile Range. One of the thrills I remember was watching
the space shuttle land in the early 80's and later today (Thursday) the
Space Shuttle Endeavoris scheduled to fly over here on its way to California.

Artist Note.

I have a deck I can set up my paints on and wait for the golden hour.
Remembering the motto when I was in the Girl Scouts
Be prepared!

It was strange painting in a straight forward manner and not fracturing.
It went a lot faster for sure.
I wanted to do a cloud study so I painted the large creamy mass first.
I was careful to have the clouds in perspective, receding back behind the mountains.
Honestly, I saw the sky turn this amazing aqua blue right in front of my eyes.

This is the time of year we have clouds and I hate to see them go.
Come October, our skies turn pure Cobalt Blue and the glorious yellows
and golds of the cottonwood trees vibrate beautifully against it. Maybe,
just maybe, there will be a puff of white here and there but nothing as
dramatic as this.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Albuquerque Garden Gate

Albuquerque Garden Gate

8x6in  oil on canvas  $125. SOLD

Having taught painting all day I found this was a pleasurable
way to do something  impressionistic for the blog.
Color, sunlight and shadows - they are what I am
attracted to.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Turquoise and Roses

Turquoise and Roses

6x6in oil on canvas panel  $100. SOLD

I love this turquoise vase which was hand-made in Japan.
I like it even more with flowers in it.

Artist Note.

This is a redo from a painting I did a year ago. It does me good to see
how the fracturing technique adds interest and movement
to the older style of painting.
I remember this one was all about capturing the overhead light
on the vase. I had recently purchased it and was in full exploration mode.
In the new version above, I altered the position of the rose to face the front
and removed the stem to bring the vase forward visually. 
If you check, the base is at the same level on both of them even
though I think the new one looks nearer after the removal.
I added more roses in the vase to have a better eye flow with color.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Desert Pods

Desert Pods

20x20in   oil on canvas   $1200. ( in gallery)

Not a typical Julie piece but one Julie likes!

Celebrating my first large painting using
the fracturing technique.

This is a contemporary viewpoint of  Yucca Pods
from right outside my studio door.
The background suggests the summer rain
which can come down in sheets during our monsoon season.
The distant hills have some tiny areas of pure turquoise paint
on them to represent New Mexico's extensive use
of the stone and color.

Artist Note.

I have had several blogging requests to see this painting and I thank
them all for their interest.

One of the really nice things about the blogging world is the
friendships formed  and encouragement offered. I have grown
much more accepting and less critical of my own work because of this.

Yucca Pods is in an invitational show in Mesilla, NM.
The opening night was fabulous with over 20 artists participating,
many with several pieces in the show. It is a sign of the times
that there were very few sales (3) but it was packed with people and hard
to see the work. I know others like myself will be going back to view
in a less crowded environment.

Here is photo of the pods for
those who have no idea
what they look like.
In the spring when they
bloom they have beautiful,
soft white petals which
turn a light green.
It continues to
amaze me that they harden
into these pods.

I first did some sketches
trying different formats.
I knew I wanted to
do a close up because
I am fascinated by the
shapes and details.

I also knew I wanted a
more contemporary
design and decided
on this square format.
The dark background
on one side is to
suggest the rainstorms
we have at this time
of year.

I do not have any steps of the painting process to show
as I didn't plan to show it on my blog.
Thanks again to all of you who were interested in seeing
the painting.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Golden and White Roses

Golden and White Roses

8x6in  oil on canvas panel  $125.

I am feeling like using some extra color after the egg tempera
from yesterday's post..
These are the last of the roses from my opening a week ago.
The golden ones are not yellow and not orange, but have
reddish tones mixed in. Very dramatic.

Artist Note.

I am in an invitational art show and the opening is tonight.
I did my first larger piece using the  fracturing technique.
It is 20in x20 in. and has a bit of a contemporary feel to it.
 I do not always say OR feel this...
but I really like it. I am learning to trust and
let that mean something to me.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Egg Tempera Landscape - Unfinished Demo

Egg Tempera Landscape - Unfinished Demo

11x 7 1/2in  on museum board,   Not for sale

This was a demo today and unfinished. I will be developing it
more at the next class. The colors are brighter here than they will
be in the finished piece.
If you follow my blog you will know that my absolute favorite
medium is Egg Tempera. (ET)
Unfortunately I have an eye problem
which prevents me being able to spend the time needed
to do it full time, but I am fortunate enough to be able to teach it.

Artist Note.

After the last ET demo where I showed a method using precise detail on the  face
(click to see.) or August 23rd on this blog.
I thought it would be interesting to show a different  technique of what is possible with ET

Here is a step by step of what it took to get this far.

With a highly textured
sea sponge
dipped into
color already tempered
(with the yolk of an egg|)
 I dabbed the color on
thinly in
a random manner.

Turning it around in different
directions to see if anything
would "appear,"... my imagination
saw rocks and water
so I painted a dark negative
area to create the shapes of rocks.

This is a tonal image
so I can see how the
values and composition
work so far.
This really helps me
think about how I am going
to develop it further..

A little bit of info about ET for
those who do not know.
The paints are powdered
pigments which you make into a
paste with distilled water.
These are placed into a small
screw top jar. NO egg is
used at this point.

Here is my palette -
a piece of glass. I place
a small amount of paste
onto the glass and mix
enough of the egg yolk
into the paste to get the
right consistency
and do a test strip with a

stroke of the brush to make
sure it is tempered correctly.
This means it should gather up
like a ribbon instead of crumbling.
Here you can see when I
cleaned the palette it
stuck together beautifully.

This is a wonderful medium  - especially for a water-colorist who wants to
explore taking their art into a new area.

An oil painter who uses glazes will find a traditional egg tempera
under-painting provides a glow of light that cannot be beat.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pushing Color in the Landscape

Pushing Color - The Landscape

8x6in oil on canvas panel   $125.

My mission was to take the color into the magic hour.
That is when the sun starts to impart a golden glow
on the landscape.

Artist Note.

The golden glow time of the day can be magic.
It starts a full hour or so before sunset. The sun is still high enough
to have impact shadows. As it gets closer to sunset, the shadows
are longer, but more mellow without a high contrast to punch them up..
I took the colors I saw and pushed the contrast of warm and cool.
This is a spot I have painted many times and now I can just
drive to it and sit and take notes as I watch the colors change.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

New Mexico Adobe

 New Mexico Adobe

8x6in oil on canvas board  $125.

Same as yesterday - this is another piece painted just for the pure
pleasure of doing it.

Artist Note.

I find after I have had a really intense period of time I want to paint
things I enjoy... more than having a difficult challenge.
I love the New Mexico adobe houses and this one is close-by
in the Mesilla Valley. It has the metal roof which gives it a
different look from the flat roof adobe. I find both styles hold
a different appeal to me, but I like to paint the metal roof because
the reflective quality creates a link to the sky.
It was painted plein air and I fudged a bit on the tree by moving it to
the back. Good to feel in charge!
I remember when I first started to paint plein air I would try to paint
the scene exactly how it was, but I soon started to listen to my
inner design voice and found I enjoyed having my own
landscaping service, moving things at will.
It is always the light I try and capture. Today the sun cast strong
shadows and the one I was standing in
kept changing, so I painted it first and then started on the rest.
Most of it was done with a palette knife.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012



6x6in oil on canvas   $100. SOLD

Painted just for fun.

Artist Note.

Thank you for all your good wishes for my grand opening
It was a fabulous night full of friendly
and appreciative crowds. The estimate was 250 - 300 attended
the Art Ramble and a couple of times we couldn't move it was so jammed.
I had some wonderful friends who helped without being asked.
Holly - who came when I finished teaching and helped move tables, dusted and
did the floor.
Karen, who took over the "drawing for a painting" area with great style
bringing pots of calla lilies, basket and her warm personality.
And... what can I say about Sherry, who baked for a week and brought
in trays and trays of the best home-made lemons bars, chocolate brownies,
fresh fruit sticks and many other delights, that you have ever tasted.
Can you imagine, she volunteered to do all that? I am in humble awe.
I publicly thank them as I do my hubby. who made and attended to the
punch and helped clean up.
I had flowers and plants sent by good and loving friends - no wonder
I felt so blessed and fortunate.

This pic below is taken in the studio area and some of the
Guild members pieces are on display. Click to enlarge to see if
you can see the art better.
Those are my drawing aids up on the top shelf!

This next shot is more of the Guild member's work on the
wall at the end. I used my I-Phone so the shots are not anywhere
as good as my Nikon. Their paintings received as much attention
as my work so I am full of pride at being included with them.

My gallery area looked bright and colorful with my work.
I received very positive feedback and many people had
never heard of the, "a painting a day movement" and
seemed genuinely interested hearing about it and
seeing the smaller paintings.
I am happy to say I did very well.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Callas and Roses #2

Callas and Roses #2

8x6in oil on canvas panel  $125.

This is what I did using the scrape-off ghost
from the post two days ago.

It is late and I am tired. I have been working at framing paintings
after I got home from teaching.
Last minute Julie should be my name.
The reason for all the extra work is because it is my new gallery
and studio's Grand Opening tomorrow and I want new work
up on the walls and everything looking great.
The artists in the Guild will have their work on display too and I
will take photos so you can see how lucky I am having
such a talented group.

We have a fabulous art crowd here in Las Cruces who attend this
monthly Art Ramble so I know it will be fun.
Will let you know how it goes tomorrow . 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Strawberries and Cream

Strawberries and Cream

6x8in  oil on canvas board  $125. SOLD

Nothing can be better than strawberries with fresh whipped cream.
...well... except maybe raspberries!
I am a whipped cream addict. I cannot be trusted to be around it.
My uncontrollable finger sneaks into the bowl and exits with a huge mound
of delicious cream going right into my mouth.
AND I admit to licking the beaters!!!!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Callas and Roses

Yellow Roses and Calla Lilies

8x6in oil on canvas panel  SOLD

Had a wonderful weekend with a visiting friend who also is an art lover.

Finally did the flowers and I am going to send this to my daughter, so
Rainy - if you are reading this I hope you like it!

Artist Note

I have painted this and wiped it off so many times - at least 12 attempts.
I do not know how many of you go thru this, but I could
see so clearly what I wanted it to look like and for the life of me
just  could not pull it off.
What I do find helpful is sitting and analyzing what I DO NOT LIKE
and then examine the areas that are left.
Here is a ghost scrape off that I do like most areas and am going to work
on this again.