Thursday, November 22, 2007

Focus Art Calendars now on sale!

Eastern Ontario Visual Arts Association, aka Focus Art, now has the new calendars for sale as a fund raiser for the group. Calendars will be available only at the Bank of Nova Scotia, Brookdale Mall, starting Wednesday, November 28, 2007.

My painting of the hydrangeas is in the calendar this year.

Art Sale this Sunday!

I'm not in this one but will be in the next, come spring.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More done on Homer pastiche

The latest of the Homer pastiche. Not much left to do. I think the blue reflections on the viewer's left of the boat need some work in the black ripples department. I'm happy with the clarity of the blue reflections though! Actually, I'm happy with the entire painting! It's turning out far beyond my original expectations. I still can't wrap my mind around his blue tree but I'm learning a lot from this one.

I like Winslow Homer. Yes. I like him and his painting. I would love to have been able to meet him and paint with him in this very spot of the Adirondack Mountains!

Every Tuesday night, I paint with a painting group at Tracy Lynn Chisholm's Serenity Studio. On the 25th of November, they're having an Art Sale. I was invited to join but after much thought (while going through available paintings of mine) I decided that I'll go into the next one but pass on this one. Many of the paintings I've done have been given away and the ones I do have that are good enough to hang --- well, I don't want to part with them. So, really, I'm not ready for this art sale but will definitely work towards the spring sale.

Tracy's studio is a wonderful place to paint and soak up the atmosphere! On Friday afternoon, I'm going to drop in and take some shots of everything all set up and ready for Sunday. I'll post them either here or on a page I'll make at my website. Standing there on Tuesday night in the centre of the room and just turning round in a slow 360 degree turn, it was like being a kid in a candy store. The many, many beautiful paintings were like an incredible stash of eye candy. All there for the gazing! Beautiful stuff!

Gotta get some shut eye now. My baby's coming home from college for the weekend tomorrow - a day early! Wonderful!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Bit More Done on Homer's Pastiche

Well I didn't get anything more done on this until last night. After a totally exhausting day of "closing the pool", I did a bit on the water and added some more colour into the blacks of the background trees. I don't like the band of burnt orange in the shrubs on the left - I think it looks out of place. (I think it looks out of place on Homer's original too, though.)

I'm finding that I can get some good colour bursts in the blacks by using paint straight from the tube then softening it with just a touch of water once it's laid onto the black. (Example, yellow ochre.)

I keep pondering over that big mauve tree with it's wet-noodle-branches. I guess since it's a pastiche, I'll follow his colours and shapes, but .......... I still don't understand.

One thing I love about pastiches is the way you study the original soooooo closely. You notice the tiniest of brushstrokes and study them intently, gradually forming such an understanding of what the artist was trying to accomplish and why. You kind of get into his/her head. After this one though, I'm going back to my own work. Pastiches are a wonderful learning tool but to keep it real, you have to live in your own paintings rather than someone else's, or you're going to lose yourself and just not know how to paint on your own. So, that being said, right after this one, I think I'll go back to my jellyfish which have been leaning against the wall for a few weeks now. I've found that if I want to get new ideas for an unfinished painting, all I have to do is leave it out in the open. Then, I can't keep my eyes off of it nor free my thoughts from it and it's possibilities. Pretty soon, I'm itching to get back to it. Right now, I'm itching to get into that jellyfish!

Okay, here's the latest on the Homer pastiche, followed by the last progress pic and the original.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Homer Pastiche

Months ago, I belonged to the Watercolor Landscape Group. During the month I left, a Winslow Homer pastiche was being done. Since then, it's sat on my table. I'd look at it often and think how I "should" finish it. Last night, I took it to the painting group I'm in and worked at it. (A pastiche is a work that imitates the style of an artist, usually one who has passed on ages ago, and it's done for learning purposes.)

For most of the night, it was at that stage of "the uglies" when you just hate anyone seeing it. It looked so awful, I was really embarrassed when anyone would look at it and I was constantly thinking, "THIS is why I don't like painting in front of anyone!" I worked past that, though, and am glad. I need to paint more often in front of people. I"m becoming a recluse. lol.

Here's the original, above, done by Winslow Homer. (I just can't understand that tree in the background!) What I love about this is that it was painted in the Adirondacks, a favourite place of Homer. I live about an hour away from the Adirondacks and on a clear day, can see them beautifully in the distance if I look south across the river. Kinda brings you a bit closer to the painting. I also love the clarity and transparency he's got in his painting.

The tree, the man, the dead tree and a few reflections in the water are all masked out. I wanted to keep those areas pristine until I had the darks put in. I see an area though, just to the left of the standing tree that I don't like - there's an almost definite black line so that's going to be corrected. Need to work at the greens of the bushes around the base of the tree also. But all in all, I'm pretty happy with what I managed to accomplish last night. Darks can be tricky to do in watercolour but they're not turning out too badly here.

I'll post more as I get it done. Why, maybe even tonight after work - wouldn't that be a shocker!!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Notes of Interest for Monday, October 8, 2007

I'm so behind on my blog!

First note of interest - I have joined a local group of artists who get together every Tuesday night to paint. This is such a good thing! I hope to post some pics of Tracy Lynn's studio (where we meet) in the future. It's incredible!!!

Second note of interest - it's Thanksgiving here in Canada and I hope every single Canadian is having a great day! I know I am! My baby's home from college so we're altogether for our big dinner which will consist of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, baby cabbages, croissants, home made cranberry sauce, carrots and of course, pumpkin pie with whipped cream!

Third note of interest - some nasty lower-than-pond-scum lowlife has been using my website address to send out spam. Some times, in the space of one hour, I would receive over 1,000 undeliverable spoof emails!! The webhosting company has been helping me with that, though.

4th note of interest - and this is a good one!! If you go to EBSQ's live chatroom tonight at 9 pm eastern time, you can see Mary Lu's demonstration of how she makes some of her jewelry. You have to be a member, but you can join free for a patron's account! It's well worth joining as an artist though!

Gotta go make some pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, eh!

I'm Done! I'm Done! I'm Done!

Alrighty then!! The Treasure Chest is finished! Today is a holiday here in Canada - our Thanksgiving. (I'm sooooo thankful this is done!) So, Tuesday, (since the post office will be closed on Monday) it's going to be mailed to Mary Lu. Here's a few shots of it. First, the finished painting; I have to say this again - it looks much better in real life. Usually, I can shoot a painting and get the exact matching colours. This one seems to be really tough to match. If you click on some the pics, you'll get a larger version to view. (Not all but some work with that feature.)

A bit of history - Mary Lu and I belong to a fantastic online art group called EBSQart. We were partnered in the annual Ripped Off show. Mary Lu, who makes gorgeous jewelry, was inspired by my Eggs and Collander painting to make me the following necklace, which she mailed to me!

I was inspired by Mary Lu's Treasure Map ring she made for the EBSQ Paper show. Immediately, I thought of a pirate's treasure chest filled with Mary Lu's jewelry! And that's what I did. Previous to this post, you can see the progress steps.

Here's a few closeups;

If you'd like to see the real McCoy's of each of these pieces, you can visit Mary Lu's website. She's also known as Amethyst Lobster!

Thanks very much for my necklaces, Mary Lu, and I hope you like this painting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Treasure Chest Progress Report!

I've been doing some work on Mary Lu's Treasure Chest. Full sheets (22" x 30") can be so intimidating to paint! The jewelry pieces are coming along. Right now, there's no shadows in there so you still have that floating effect.

I haven't had much time to paint lately so every minute I do, I work on this because it's late and I really want to get it finished for her. I have not been able to work on anything else until this is done - and I mean not been able. I have a major block for doing anything because I feel so badly that this is not yet finished.

Long holiday weekend coming up here in Canada so I should be able to finish it this weekend. As well as start some other things I"m itching to do and get back to some drawing!!! Have a great Labour Day Weekend, Canucks!

Here's a few closeup shots:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I'm Dead Weight ....

Note: This posting has been edited to remove most of the 'rant'. I strongly feel that it shouldn't be included here with my art due to the negativity it contained and the negativity it constantly reminded me of each time I'd see it here. So, most of this post has been removed.

Online art groups are great. They are fantastic opportunities to learn and to grow and to share. I have found, through experience, that they can even be so much more beneficial than real time art groups. I belong to several of them. My absolute favourite is one (which shall remain un-named) in which four other friends and I started our own art group with the mandate of learning together and keeping the group private. (Since we often ‘rant’ together about anything we wish to rant about. For example, demanding group owners who want total obedience but it’s okay for themselves to break any rules. Shades of "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others".) Anyways, the five of us have grown so much and have become very good friends.

Then there’s the types of groups that are open to any painter who wishes to join. More great and wonderful opportunities to share. Over the years, one tends to ‘collect’ the best spots for sharing, the best spots for learning and the best spots to stay away from.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

EBSQ Ripped Off Show

Due to some serious illness in the family, I didn't get my two entries finished on time for EBSQart's Ripped Off Show. I won't be able to enter them into the show but I will get them done. Here's what I've got so far for Mary Lu's rip. I was really intrigued by her references to pirates for the pirate ring she did for the Paper Show. My two boys are fascinated by all things pirate so after many years of reading piratey stories to them, I had to do this. I went to Mary Lu's site to view her many beautiful, beautiful designs in jewelry and decided to create a treasure chest filled with her pieces, with a treasure map lying in front of the chest. Here's some progress shots, you can click on any for larger views:

This is the drawing, surrounded by several printouts of Mary Lu's gorgeous designs. The drawing is laying on the full sheet of arches watercolour paper, 22" x 30".

A bit of a close-up of the chest. The blank spots inside the chest will be filled with coins. Old pirate coins. Arrrrrrrr, Matey!

The start of the painting.

I'll post more tomorrow but for toight, I'm bone tired!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Drawings .....

Haven't had too much time this past week to draw (or anything else, for that matter, but get ready for a backyard birthday party that was held today) but last night, I did. And tonight, I will have more time.

First, I'd like to say that I was getting concerned about copyright issues of posting drawings I had done of Dan Gheno's drawings included in his many articles in the latest issue of Drawing Highlights. (See the previous post for more info on that.) So, I wrote to him, asking if it was okay with him that I posted my own copies of his drawings. He wrote a very nice letter back saying yes.

I've been reading and re-reading and re-reading again, the many fine articles in there. Each time I do another drawing and re-read the articles I'm working on, more sinks in and more makes sense.

Dan makes a very complicated subject become much more approachable, not so formidable and better to understand. Yes, his work definitely does speak to me.

I've posted an arm I did. Working on those muscles is not as easy as it looks in the articles! With each one, though, it gets a slight bit easier. I erased the hand - I just couldn't include it here. It looked more like a bear paw! I'll get to those in time, though.

Again, the scan is a bit poor. I'm sure as I post more of these, I'll get better at shooting them. It is so much easier to shoot colour work.

The second one I"m posting is a torso from his Shapes and Planes Diagram. Drawing this torso a few weeks ago would have been pretty grusome, but this one came easy.

I just love drawings of torso's and was really happy this one turned out reasonably recognizeable.

As usual, I ran out of room at the bottom of the page. (These are all drawn in an 11 x 14 inch Robert Bateman sketchbook, 90 lb paper.)Otherwise, there'd have been the upper section of a thigh there also.
Maybe tonight, I'll have another one to post.
Hope your weekend's been good.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I need a real model, but this magazine is great 'til then!

I bought a new magazine yesterday, "Drawing Highlights" by American Artist magazine. It features ten drawing articles by Dan Gheno, whose drawings I have greatly admired since I first saw them in print. It's an awesome collection of his articles and work and he's an awesome teacher. If you want to improve your figure drawing or learn from scratch, this is one magazine/book you should get immediately before they're gone from the news stands. (Just for the record, though it may sound like it, I'm not affiliated with the guy at all, just really impressed by his work and teaching!)

I absolutely love, love, love good figurative nudes and want to learn to draw them, so I plan on drawing many of the examples he illustrates his articles with. Here's the first, from the first article "1. Learn to See Form". It was done today, a Sunday afternoon, sitting outside after the sun FINALLY peeked out from the rain clouds that had taken over for the weekend. It's a bad scan but drawings seem to be so difficult to photograph. It's an unfinished thing, just like his own illustration.

When looking at it on screen, I can see that the arm muscle is too small and so is the calf muscle. Gotta work on that. But I do like, and am happy with, the muscle work!

PS - please excuse that little drop of rainwater that dropped onto the page (by the poor guy's head) from the umbrella!

PS #2 - I found his website ---> Check it out!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pastiche of Francis Towne, and Saturday notes....

I've not worked on the Rain Man for a few days but will tonight. For now, I wanted to post the pastiche I've finished for June's Landscape Study Group's work by Francis Towne. I joined the group two or three weeks ago and just finished this up. (It was supposed to be done by June 30. Insert a shame-faced smiley here!)

When I did a colour correction in PhotoShop on the original, I found the colours to be more alive. Probably more like he painted it. I think it's probably faded a bit over the many, many, MANY years since he painted it. So, I worked from the colour corrected version. Below, on the left is the original and on the right, is the colour corrected version that I kind of like better.

This piece is titled, "The Source of the Arveiron: Mont Blanc in the Background" and was painted in September 1781, 42x31cm. 1781! That's a long time ago! If you'd like to read more on the artist and the painting, you can click here: ttp://

I've learned a lot from painting this. This is a great way to learn - copying from the works of the Masters. Here's my version:

I didn't do the ink on the mountain in the background and that ice flow river gave me a great amount of grief but while painting this, it was very easy to put myself in Towne's shoes. I could almost feel his thoughts while painting it!

Painted on Arches (of course!) 140 lb cold pressed paper, 1/4 sheet. (Though the painting does not take up the full 1/4 sheet. I kept room for experimenting with colour in the margins.)

July's artist of the month in the Watercolor Landscape Study Group is Winslow Homer and the painting we're painting is called The Guide. Should be fun and quite a learning experience.

Now, to get back to the Rain Man!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Edible Art

Happy Canada Day!

I am very lucky to live in the best country in the world! I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Here's my contribution of art for today. Very yummy art! About fifteen years ago, I cut a picture out of the newspaper of a cake made like this for Canada Day. Every year since then, I planned on making it but never did. This year, I did! Without the picture to go by, just the image in my head. There was just one little glitch. I had bought a 2-litre basket of berries but ended up using them all in a rhubarb-strawberry pie and a strawberry pie. I totally forgot about needing more berries for this and ended up buying berries from the supermarket which had been imported from the US. How unpatriotic - a Canadian flag cake made with American berries! :-) They sure saved the day though, and tasted great!

I did do some painting though, this holiday weekend! I've been working on the rain man painting and on the pastiche for a landscape painting group I'm in. I'll post something later when it's looking decent enough to post. Right now, they're in the ugly stage.

Happy Canada Day, Canadians! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I did.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Painting without Drawing ...

... or, Sketching with a Paint Brush.

Whichever, I was outside swimming on a beautiful day off (yesterday, Saturday) and didn't want to go inside. But, I *did* want to paint, so I brought out a #12 brush and one paint palette and did this fast one of an interesting litte lantern that's outside on the patio. (You can put a candle inside.) The angles are a bit wonky but for no pre-drawing and a large brush, I didn't think it turned out too badly.

This is a great exercise to loosen up, paint spontaneously and to not agonize over a drawing. I love to draw, though, really I do.

Approximately 12" x 8" on Arches 140 CP.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rain Man Sketch Finished ...

This is as finished as it's going to get! One of my problems is that I spend way too much time on the drawing. (But then again, I work out a lot of problems while drawing so maybe it's not half bad.) I'm not too crazy about the figure but .... this is a learning experience for figures. The buildings in the background are going to be distant and fuzzy in the painting. The tree will be bent over more to show high winds.

If you've just stumbled onto my blog, I should add that four friends and I are all painting the same reference picture (shot by Dmitry, DZZ and posted at Morgue File). If you click on Ann and Rhonda's blogs, you can see their progress too. Paulette and Teresa don't have blogs. Yet. ;-)

We're doing this for the learning experience of painting rain and figures.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

First Sketch of The Rain Man started

I didn't get the entire thing done but a lot of it was started.

I cropped Dmitry's original reference shot to show the man and the tree. When sketching in the tree, I made it bending in the strong wind. Same as the umbrella the man is holding. It looks like it's being flattened in the wind and rain when I look at the pic so I wanted to emphasize that, too. I didn't quite get the flattened look I wanted on the top of the umbrella so I'm going to work more on that after work tonight. I think that emphasizing the wind like this will relate a lot of the motion I want to show for the rain. Think I'll put more branches and leaves on the tree, too. (You can't really see the work in the outstretched sleeve, but it's there.)

I have also found that there is going to be one heck of a lot of perspective work in those buildings in the background! lol.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Some great news!

Yours truly won first place in the EBSQ Art's "Repurposed: Art from Recycled Materials," an online art show to benefit Environmental Defence. Half the 'kitty' went to the first place winner and the other half went to Environmental Defence. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, of was the juror. A lifetime membership to EBSQ Art (value of $650 US) was also part of the first prize along with $570! Jeff did a great write-up of the contest here and while you're there, you can browse around - it's an awesome environmental site!

The artwork entered had to be made from things otherwise destined for the trash. For a description of the winning piece, you can click here.
So, I'm now a lifetime member of EBSQ Art, which is a great site to belong to! If you'd like to check out the 'zine article on the contest, you can click here.

The Rain Man

How can we be in June already???

I guess this is my first official entry of my new blog. (I actually started it a while back but never got around to writing anything.)

I'm coming out of a seriously long artist block. The Pals group and I are all doing a painting together so that's going to be my kickstart! I feel like I've almost forgotten how to paint. But that is about to change! I'm attaching the photo reference we've chosen to do. It's a shot from the Morgue File and as soon as I have the photographer's name, I'll post it. It's not your everyday kind of inspiration but we all want to do some figures and thought this one would be particularly challenging - a figure and rain - how much more challenging can you get? I've decided to crop mine to the shown shot and plan on calling him The Rain Man.

I'm off to start drawing now ..........

Edited to add the photographer's name - the shot was taken by Dmitry (DZZ) from Russia. It's posted at MorgueFile. Hopefully, Dmitry will be following our progress as we (Ann, Rhonda, Teresa, hopefully Paulette and myself) paint his photograph. Thanks very much, Dmitry, for posting such a great shot at Morgue File!