Personal Art Blog

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Feather Series - Kris's Feather

Kris's Feather.

6x8 aquarelle graphite  on paper NFS

I have a remarkable friend called Kris
under Hospice care at home, and I
am one of a group of women friends who
were regularly scheduled to visit so her
devoted husband could attend to his business.
Never complaining and totally unselfish,
Kris would always ask me how "I" was doing,
and when she found out I was
painting a feather series she directed me to
a place where she kept this rather large feather
...hawk or owl?
I sat and drew this as we chatted quietly
in-between her drifting in and out of sleep.
Several of my other feather drawings have been
worked on while sitting with her.

Kris passed early this morning with her loving
husband holding her hand.
Kris had breast cancer.
She put up a long and magnificent fight against
this stranger in her body, inspiring a whole
lot of us with her grace, strength and good
humor through some rough times. She will be
deeply missed and will always be in my heart
...until we meet again.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Feather Series - Variety Study

A Variety of Feathers - Study

8x5in watercolor and graphite on paper  NFS

Another friend from the Artists Guild came in with
a bag of the most wonderful assortment of feathers.
Karen Curry - thank you... thank you!

Artist Note
I used one of those spiky flower holders - frogs- to
hold the feathers as I observed them.
I started the exploration of the different textures and
shapes with the mechanical pencil and then I moved
into a pale watercolor wash. Before it was dry I
began using the wonderful AQUARELLE GRAPHITE
pencils and white Caran D'Ache-Pas ll,  water soluble
crayon/pastel. Now I want to figure out how to make
a painting from this. I am sure you all agree,
what works as as a drawing does
not always transition well in paint.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Feather Series - Chicken

Chicken Feathers

6x6in oil on canvas panel NFS

I am very fortunate to be a member of our
artists guild. Another member came in on
Friday with a bag of feathers for me. She
owns four chickens and the brown one
(called Bunny) is molting at the moment.
Thank you so much Phyllis Davis.
I loved painting these.

Artist Note.

The previous  dove and parrot
feathers had a certain weight and form
to them. By comparison, these chicken
feathers were almost weightless.
Soft, curved, speckled with fluffy ends near
the quill. My goal was to capture the feeling
of how light these feathers were.
That - and how to make a painting out of them.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Feather Series - Dove

Box of Dove Feathers

6x6in oil on canvas panel  Not for sale.

A fellow member of the Artist Guild heard I was
painting feathers and brought me in a box of ones she had
Thank you so much - Bonnie Wetzel

Artist Note.
My FIRST feather painting in oil paint! I used a palette knife.
I was so excited to get these feathers and for some reason
the box appealed to me too. I think it was the warm color
next to the blue/gray of the feathers.
I first did several drawings, and then these wash studies
from life. I quite liked the one with the feathers outside the box.

Apparently these studies stayed in the visual box in my mind
and I found myself starting this one at the guild studio
without the items.
It was arranged and re-arranged to suit the design qualities,
totally from memory.

I got completely lost in the awesome pleasure I get from using
creamy oil paints while painting something very special to me.
Anyone else relate to that?
I have no understanding of why the feathers appeal
to me on an emotional level the way they do. They certainly
will have no commercial appeal. I am pretty sure it
has to have come from my series of nests. I was
always fascinated by the discovery of feathers in the linings.

There is something quite solid about this painting
that I really like and have decided to keep it for a while..

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Feather Series - Parrot

Parrot Feathers - study

pencil and watercolor NFS

I would like you to meet Bonnie Marie.
She is 17 and have to love this,
a Pionus Parrot.  I am lucky enough to follow
her owner's blog and she follows mine.
Check out this post about the feathers. Blanche Niznik

Blanche was good enough to mail me some stunning feathers.
I am lucky - the timing was great because it is molting time.
The feather with red must be on her tail. I am starting off with
several studies because trying to catch the iridescence is going
to take quite a few attempts.
Thank you so much Blanche - you have a heart of gold!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Watercolor Weekend - Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren Study

8x5in watercolor on paper  NFS

Continuing my exploration of nests and feathers.
I had a Cactus Wren build a large and wonderful
nest very close the house. The opening is on the side,
very protected among the spikes of the cactus.
A large 'something' attacked the nest and tore
it apart. I found myself rather upset when I saw
lots of feathers on the ground.
We have Roadrunners here which are
large enough to do the damage, but they usually
stay away from cactus. Maybe a hawk from above?
Can anyone enlighten me?

Artist note.
These Strathmore sketch books (I have mentioned
before) come in beige and gray paper as well as white..
I used the beige one for this sketch.
They are adequate, not great, for watercolor as
they buckle a bit, but still very satisfactory for just
the simple enjoyment of piddling with ideas and concepts.
I do not usually paint the bird, but this one happened
all on its own. Maybe in memoriam?

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

O'Keeffe's Pedernal

O'Keeffe's Pedernal

6x6in oil on canvas panel  $100. SOLD

Cerro Pedernal is a narrow mesa (mesa means flat/table top)
and is the Spanish word for Flint Hill. Abiquiu Lake lies at its feet.
Georgia O'Keeffe loved to paint Cerro Pedernal. She apparently
loved to hike up it too and would clamber right on up there...
all 9,862 feet, just for the view.
She would also lie under her car for shade during the hottest
part of the day.
That's what I call one amazing and sturdy woman
Her ashes were scattered from the top of Pedernal at her request.

Artist Note.
There are deliberate repeats of the mesa shape in the clouds,
ground, and bushes. I was testing something I recently read.
My internal jury is still out on it.

Painting a "site specific" view is hard on an impressionist like me.
A lovely blue blur of a shape would have been much easier.
Georgia Okeeffe was a modernist and clearly defined shapes
were what made her tick.  I am confident she would never have
considered working on a 6"x6" format...especially to capture
a vista view of Pedernal.
Forgive me Georgia -  but I do love your work.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pansies Have Arrived!

Pansies and Creamer

6x8in oil on canvas $125.

I was thrilled to find pansies at the garden center. I love
them because they bring me joy throughout the winter.
Who can resist their smiley face and beautiful colors?

Artist Note
I had a request for a pansy painting quite a while ago
and I had been waiting for the live ones to come in.
Unfortunately when my computer crashed it took all
my flagged emails with it so if the interested person
likes this one, I will delay placing the paypal on DPW
for a day to give them a chance of getting in touch with me.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Aspen Glow

Aspen Glow

6x8in oil on canvas panel  $125. SOLD

It is that time of year again. I love it!

Artist Note.

I remember when I started blogging how amazed I would
be if I got a "follower." That has never changed, and today
I celebrated with great pleasure when number 400 showed up.
To make it more special it happened to be a fellow member
of the Artist Guild of Southern New Mexico. She is a
wonderful artist.
Thank you, Ann Beacht.
And another thank you to all my other followers.
I do appreciate your support and interest in my work.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

New Mexico Vista

New Mexico Vista

8x10in oil on linen panel   SOLD

I have painted this magnificent vista several times.
It is northwest of Albuquerque on the way to Santa Fe.
I am looking past the hills of pinion bushes, down onto the
green ribbon of trees which follow the banks of the Rio Grande.
Behind the mesas are the Jemez mountains.  A volcanic group
which holds Las Alamos National Laboratory , Bandelier
National Monument, two pueblos, hot springs and countless
hiking and climbing opportunities. During late summer, the
clouds gather and the New Mexico skies grab my heart
with their beauty.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Late Afternoon Rays

Late Afternoon Rays

8x6in oil on canvas panel  $125.

Late afternoon on the Rio Grande just outside
Las Cruces. NM.
There is a place where a ray of sunlight cuts through
a gap in the Robledo hills and casts a beautiful ray of
sunlight on the river.
These hills lead to the
Prehistoric Trackways National Monument.
If you are interested in paleontology you may find
a visit to the link interesting.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Farmers Market #23 - Musicians

Farmers Market #23 - Musicians

8x8in  oil on canvas panel  $150. SOLD

These are two guys who entertain us at our farmers market
on Saturdays, here in Las Cruces, NM.
It was the market in Santa Cruz, California which got me started
on painting this series, but the one here in Las Cruces was
voted the #1 Farmers and Craft market in the country
two years ago. Who would ever "thunk it"
Right outside my door!
The Artists Guild building is on Main Street, downtown, and
the market occupies three city blocks of the street every
Saturday. I have been out regularly with my camera and sketching.

Artist Note.
I went to a larger size with this one after I had complete
failures trying to get this one on the smaller square.
For some reason this was one of the hardest paintings I
have done in quite a while.The success is having recognizable
figures. The features are almost non existent but body type
comes across and someone saw it and knew who these
guys were right away.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Watercolor Study - Linking Light.

Watercolor Exercise - linkage.

12x9  watercolor an paper  NFS

This is a friend's studio and this painting was done
to help her understand how to manage linking
the light path in her paintings.

Artist note.
This exercise is great for making either the
dominate in a painting using linkage.

1. Draw simple outlines with overlapping areas
    where possible.
2. Decide on light pattern - linking shapes where
    possible even if only by a small area.
3. Start with local colors in middle values
4. Hit your darkest areas. Add ones that are not there
    to help your design. ( I made the window dark)
5. Add any texture or patterns last.

Obviously the top of the table, easel and chair were
not white, but for this exercise I left them untouched
to add some punch to the design. I had moved the
furniture around to fill the space better. Pale washes
of color can be added for a more traditional finish.
The goal is to keep the light areas connected and
NOT to get SPOTTY.

Although unfinished, I hope you can see
this exercise can work well  in all medias. It is fun to do!

Thanks for the emails asking if all was well with
my blog having no posts
for a few days. My hubby had been quite unwell, but
I am happy to say that he is getting better.
Life is good again.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Snow in the Arroyo, N.M.

Snow in the Arroyo, N.M.

14x11in  oil on Raymar canvas panel  600.

This is a truly beautiful area of New Mexico,
on the outskirts of Santa Fe. I have painted this
arroyo quite a few times.It can be very dramatic
when the storm clouds hover and it fills with rain.

Artist Note.
Recovering quite nicely from the challenge and
enjoyed relaxing and finishing this piece which
was started as a plein air painting
in the early spring. The white snow does not
photograph well to show the texture.

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