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Monday, March 30, 2009

Sun Rising

SunRise, 18 x 20" Oil on canvas covered board

This one will be a testament to how things just don't come together sometimes! I think it was at least 3 years ago ... maybe even more ... that I started this painting. I think one of the reasons it didn't come together for so long is that I didn't have a clear vision of where I was going with this ... but, be that as it may, it had more problems than that!

I painted and really didn't think the colors were right for the lighting - and then, I thought the trees looked all wrong - and then I thought I'd put it away for awhile to think about it. Then I would pick it up again and do something more and feel that made it all even worse (which was getting hard to imagine how it could get worse!) And yet, there was something in the idea and basic structure that I wanted to keep! Then, I sanded (yes, literally) the trees away - and thought some more!

Now you are beginning to see why so many years have gone by from the beginning of this one to its final form! You'll see some of the interim steps below!

Trees sanded away, and redrawn lightly

Tree repainting has begun. I'm still not sure I like what I'm doing!


So, here's the lesson I've learned - keep at it. Sometimes you learn the most by working through the many problems that continue to come out of a work. Working through them develops ideas, techniques, problem solving skills, and confidence. Its rare that a work comes together without having to work it out! (its nice when it does, but it doesn't happen that way most of the time).

So, I'm happy with the sense of light coming over the horizon - and feel that there is a certain sense of atmosphere in the finished painting. Overall, I'm happy with most of it - and know that there are still areas that don't completely satisfy my artist's eye. I've learned a lot though, and I'm glad to finally feel I've completed what I wanted to do here!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Work in progress - triptych

You've no doubt wondered, if you've been watching, what has taken so long ... why I haven't been posting quite as often. Well, there is a reason. This is a work in progress - 3 in 1, really - and besides this one, I've been working on some other larger paintings, which I'll post soon.

This one - the Pink Gerbera Daisy Triptych - was inspired by one of my own potted plants that I brought in for the winter. I've done this before, but never had a bloom indoors! This year, though - a striking bloom.... and this kind of flower has such intense color! Just beautiful.

Anyway, in celebration of that unusual event - I created a triptych showing a profusion of color! My photo here is a bit over exposed ... its much brighter and intense in life. As these are finished (still not completed) and dried - I'll be able to take better photos and post them a little larger.

3 - 8x8" canvases - Oil - measuring 24 x 8" total

This is how they started out - a rough oil sketch on the canvas - then values are blocked in (very generally). After that - colors were begun. Now at this time, I have to finish the background, which always gives me a little challenge - finding something that sets off the main idea - but doesn't overwhelm it - and remains interesting all at the same time! I also want to do a little more glazing of the flowers to create some of the deeper values within that are too general at the moment.

I hope to finish this triptych - and another larger landscape that I've been working on for several years.... THIS week!!! Well, that's my goal. Check back and see how I'm doing with keeping my goal!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ode to Spring

Daffodil, approx. 5x7" - Pen and Ink

In appreciation of Spring's arrival, I'm posting this small pen and ink. It is done with a micron pen and then the color is ink pencil. Its a medium I'm still becoming familiar with, but I've enjoyed the results. This time, I used a rougher watercolor paper. The scanner picked up the roughness more than the eye does in real life.

More to come about how this one will be used!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eagle in profile

Eagle, 4x6" Scratchboard Drawing

This is a little bit different than what I usually post, but nevertheless it is a drawing done on scratchboard. For those who are unfamiliar with it, scratchboard is a black coated surface. The artist scratches the drawing away, revealing a white undercoat. In a way, it is like drawing in reverse. A stylus is used rather than a pencil or pen. All in all, it gives a very nice effect.

My drawing students get to try their hand at this technique during the semester. It can be fun, but can also be frustrating, learning to use a new tool and a new technique.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

For My Studio Friends ~ our first contest!

I need your help!
Coming up with cool titles for my paintings can sometimes be a challenge!
These are 3 of my latest paintings - and they need something more than the
simple titles I came up with..... so -

Now through March 31st

I'm offering a contest to my Studio Friends
with a chance to win -
my newest set of floral notecards,
which are not yet available to the public.
(read the simple rules for this contest below!)

Acrylic on canvas (dill weed)

acrylic on paper (tea mug)

Oil on canvas (white tulip)

In order to participate:
1. Join my Studio Friends email group (information and a quick sign up box are located on the right side of my blog). If you get regular emails from me already, you are already a member - you can skip this step!
2. Email me with your title suggestions ... send me as many ideas as you have ~ which will give you more opportunities to win! my email address:
3. At the end of March, titles will be chosen from the suggestions for the 3 paintings above.
If your title is chosen, I'll contact you and find out the shipping address. You'll receive a hot-off-the-press set of my newest set of notecards featuring florals.
4. Oh - and of course! - Invite your friends to join us!
5. Then - look for next month's contest/drawing for all my Studio Friends members!

I hope you'll have fun with this. Its my way of acquainting you and others with my work ~ while establishing contacts and creating a little bit of fun!! Upcoming ideas, which will be open to my Friends include such things as freebie previews of some of my latest work in the form of free downloadable prints, online title parties - such as we are doing right now, drawings for free paintings, drawings for gift baskets, etc. So join us, if you haven't already!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tea Mug - preliminary

A preliminary look at a little still life I've been working on. This is in acrylic - and is done in a pointalism technique. The size is still being worked out. It currently about 11 x 14 - and I may crop it down a bit. It is done on 300 lb. paper. The colors look a bit dark here, due to my photography. Look for its final form soon!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

News! and a New Look for Spring!

If you are a regular visitor here at Brushstrokes, etc. You'll notice that I've changed my look for Spring! Its good to change things once in awhile ... spring seems like the right time to do that!
Notice my new logo, new colors, and even some updated content! I'll continue to post my art as I have been doing.

Also, I want to let you know that I've just had another article published online by Creativity Portal - an ezine dedicated to creativity & artistic pursuits. The title is "The Burn of Creative Energy". You can read it by clicking here.

And finally - I want to let you know that I am formalizing my Google Group a bit more - calling it Studio Friends.
I want this to be a place to connect more regularly with those who enjoy my work. I am intending to offer (approximately) monthly offers or promotions - a chance to win something from my studio through a drawing, a look at what's coming up, special offers for members of my group, etc. All in all, I hope it will be fun and interesting - and I also hope your own sense of creativity is sparked and inspired! It seems to me, that during this time of usual bad news - we ought to create our own fun and good news!

You'll get regular emails from me (about once a week), but not too many so that you feel inundated. And, Don't Worry!! Your information is very private. Never shared! Click here to sign up - or you may sign up on the right hand side-bar of my blog.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finally finished - I think. White Tulip

White Tulip - 28x28" Oil on canvas

Close up of the center of the White Tulip. Hopefully you can see how colorful it is!

I think I'm finished with it. Still need to sign it, though. The outer petals have been worked out with some shadows and some colorful whites. I really enjoy taking a recognizable object and abstracting it somewhat. It gives me a chance to play a little bit with shapes and colors - manipulate values and bring the viewer's eyes into places that they might not have otherwise noticed. It becomes a sort of celebration of the shapes, colors, shadows and lights ... sometimes creating a whole new view!

This one is larger than I've been working lately - 28 x 28" . The title still needs to be decided upon. Any ideas?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The tulip continues to progress

If you've been watching the progress of this larger botanical painting - here is the latest. I've made some changes... and if you'd like to compare with the previous rendition, please scroll down a few posts to see the most recent posting, and a few more past that will show the start I made on this.

The center of the flower is enlarged and the colors are heightened.

The shadows are now glazed back to be a more silver-like tone rather than violet.

I still have a little more left to do, but it is now nearing completion. I will work a little more on the white petals - trying to pick up some rose and yellow tones. Even though it is a white tulip, there is no pure white on the canvas! The white petals are mixed with other colors, but they look quite white in comparison to the silver/gray tones of the shadows.

My paint is applied rather thinly - and then glazed back with various tones to get the shadows. Also I glazed the center of the flower with some deep cadmium yellow and alizaran crimson to get a depth of color around the middle. (I use Liquin, fine detail, mixed with a little pigment. This has to be applied over another layer of paint.)

Well - I should post my final version soon! Keep watching!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hope emerges

Seed, 18x20" Oil on panel, 1999

I'm posting an older painting today - one that was completed almost 10 yrs ago - but for the 1st day of March, it seemed appropriate. It is an abstraction of a seed pod. I am truly anxious for spring to begin to make things green again! It has been a long winter.

Winter in nature - but in a way - a sense of winter has descended on us nationally, it seems. There is much uncertainty, and a great deal of doom and gloom being preached from our highest national office. It is so easy to succumb to a spirit of fear. And fear inspires paralysis, lack of motivation, a tendency to pull in and close up. The spirit of "change" that so many people embraced just a few months ago, now appears to be rather empty. The changes that have been thrust upon us are ones that are hard to swallow. They fly in the face of our traditional values of independence and hard work and honoring life.

Its good, I think, to remember that in spite of the economic fear we can't deny, and the fact that "change" is altering the face of who we know ourselves to be, elected leaders and officials certainly do not have the last word. And "springtime within" seems nearer to me - within grasp even - when I remember in whose hands this world, the political scene, and my very life are held. In the hands and heart of God - our creator - we have all the essentials of hope.

"Yet, I dare to hope when I remember this: The unfailing love of the Lord never ends.... great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day." Lamentations 3:21,22
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