Thursday, September 30, 2010


Kansas City was fantastic.  The Plaza Art Fair, a major art show, was going on last weekend.   Here are a few of the pieces that I found interesting.  There were lots and lots of  artists working with recycled materials.  I don't know if this is a trend or those in charge of jurying the show had a preference, but I love the creativity and inventiveness expressed in this type of art.  The last two images are actually photographs.  The painterly, textural effect was fantastic.  The artist was very generous in sharing a little of his process.  Now, if I can just get that effect with paint!

Tonight is the awards ceremony for the San Diego Watercolor Society International Exhibition.  I am looking forward to seeing the show.  I have been honored with a big award.  I will post more about the show and award later this week.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The passage of time is a mystery to me.  Some things seem like they happened so long ago, perhaps I only dreamed it.  Other events seem like yesterday.  I just realized the other day that I was fast approaching the third anniversary of starting this blog.  Now that really seems like yesterday!  I have a tendency to not follow through on projects, so three years is just short of a miracle.  I think that all of you who follow along and give me encouragement have been the motivation I need to keep it going.  In the past, everytime I decided to keep a journal it lasted for about 3 days.  To think that this on-line art journal has lasted 3 years boggles my mind.  I do enjoy sharing what I am doing with everyone and making new friends I never would have met in any other way is part of the wonder of this modern age.  Maybe that is what was missing from a traditional journal for me....a connection to others.  Now it is possible to create a book through Blurb of my blog postings.  I may decide to do that as a tangible record of all this activity.  It will involve a number of volumns.  It is not high on my priority list at the moment, but nice to know for the future.  

Wrestling with the idea of the passage of time, I decided to start fresh with my 50th High School Reunion book.  I found a board book that is 12 inches square with 10 pages, so I dedicated the front cover, which I created today, to the 24 members of the committee.  Each square has a background of a metallic paper, the names are stamped using 3 different alphabets I couldn't resist buying, and then the drawing was done with a Sharpie Ultra Fine point permanent marking pen.  It is almost impossible to photograph metallic surfaces. but it looks quite snazzy in person!  Two of the people on the committee didn't have their photos in the year book, so I used other faces that look somewhat like them instead.  Most of the images don't resemble the person that much but it was a fun exercise.  I am hoping to get a photo of each of them at the reunion.   Can't wait to do the "after" images!!!  

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I spent a delightful day observing Master Plein Air painter, David Savellano, teaching a group of eager students.  He graciously let me join them, at my request, so I could hone my skills at outdoor painting.  I have much to learn but I picked up some great tips and techniques watching David paint.  He is such an open, friendly person with a great sense of humor, so it was a fun time for everyone.  He even charmed the weather into cooperating.  The weather reports predicted rain put we lucked out.  It was balmy, but overcast and gray.  He showed how to make up the shadows if none were there.  One of David's greatest tips is to have a portfolio of figures and animals in different actions (walking, jogging, bike riding, etc.)  He uses this reference material to add figures to his compositions without having to worry about the actual figures that are present at the time but moving!  We set up near the  Lake Chalet Restaurant at Lake Merritt in Oakland.  It is a former boathouse and and interesting view.   I was able to add to my reference portfolio people rowing sculls and a fabulous white pelican that had settled on the water.  I see lots of brown pelicans in my area, but not white ones.  There were some ducks waddling by, so I took some photos of them as well.  There were 5 and each one was distictly different.  

No, you can't see what I produced because it was a pathtic mess.  I forgot and didn't use a permanent ink pen, so the whole thing bled badly when I put the washes on.  I have provided you with David's initial thumbnail sketch and the finished painting.  If you would like to see more of his beautiful work, you can go to his website. Just click on his name in blue for a direct link.   He even has a section with tips and techniques that you will find very helpful.

David was featured in the June issue of Watercolor Artist Magazine and has a painting in the National Watercolor Society 2010 international exhibit.  David is also a dedicated, hardworking Signature Member of the California Watercolor Association.  I am so happy to call him a good friend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Next weekend is my 50th highschool reunion.  Hard to believe so much time has passed.  I took out my highschool yearbook and thought it would be a good memory refresher to do some sketches from the senior pictures.  Some of these are actually pretty good likenesses.  Most missed the mark but were fun to do.  Lots of crew cuts and flat tops.  No tatoos, piercings or other embelishments.  We were square.  lots of sweater sets and all the girls wore a strand of pearls for their photo.  Move over, June Cleaver!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I am excited about how this experiment turned out!  I learned a lot and had the most fun painting on both sides of the paper.  There are a few things I wished I could correct but it isn't possible.  Overall, I like the image a lot.  This was painted with acrylic inks in a very watercolor like manner.  I was able to do some lifting and changing by brushing rubbing alcohol over the dried ink.  Interesting, I could not lift thinly applied color.  I was able to lift areas of concentrated color.  It was a little tricky painting back in and getting it to blend in.   The background behind the head turned out as I had hoped.  I used clear contact paper as a mask to keep the stamping from overlapping where I didn't want it.  This paper made positioning (and repositioning) the sticky paper very easy and it lifted off when I was done with no problem.  

Coming up with a title for the painting is a fun family game.  So far we have "Contemplating getting accepted into AWS" and "How about this one?" Feel free to jump in with any suggestions.

Painting on this surface was rather slow (for me).  I was constantly having to wait for areas to dry so I could check out how it looked or turn the paper over to work on the other side.  While I was waiting, I started reading a great book, "The Element" by Ken Robinson.The Element (1st).  I am always interested in ideas about creativity.  I had seen Sir Ken on U Tube delivering a speach for the TED convention.  He is charming, witty, and entertaining besides being brilliant.   This book talks about all the different kinds of creativity, matching your talents with your passion and how we need a revolution in education so that everyone can find their uniqueness and harness this talent pool for the benefit of our country and outselves.  Now I want every member of my family to read it.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010


In case you think I have been goofing off, here is the painting I have been working on.  It is probably 2/3rds finished.  It is slower going than I thought because the paint is beading up significantly and it is taking a long time for some of the paint to dry.  I have to wait until it is dry so I can stand it up and evaluate how things are coming along.  I was originally planning to put some patterns on the back side.  Now, I am not so convinced.  I do like the corrections I have made in the drawing (fixed the right eye and enlarged the hands) plus showing more of the clothing and gesture.  When I am through with this side, I can put things underneath to see how it will look before actually adding anything.  It is hard to see how transparent this paper is but the blue line drawing is actually on the back side of the paper.  I am using my iPad in the studio propped up next to the painting with my reference photo which I can then enlarge at will to really see the hands, evaluate the different shapes in relationship to each other, etc.  I am careful to keep it dry and paint free!  I am only using three colors here and I am pleased with the range f hues and values.  

I hope to enter this painting in the next AWS National show.  If it doesn't make the grade, I still have time to create another.  It is very unusual for me to paint toward a show.  I usually just paint away and set the better ones aside for competitons.  This year everything I have done has collage on it which is not accepted by American Watercolor Society.  I managed to get in one time.  Lightening could strike again!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I am excited to be teaching a workshop next year in July for Art in the Mountains in Bend, Oregon.  I have heard such wonderful things about this exciting venue.  Check out the workshop schedule page for details.

This is the longest I have gone without posting!  I finally have something to show although I have been working all along.  Lots of personal family activities kept me on the run for much of the time.  This painting is a total experiment.  It is very freeing to begin with the intention of trying all sorts of things and not worrying about ruining anything.  I received my entry form for the American Watercolor Society annual international exhibition.  I knew they didn't accept any paintings with collage.  Since I have spent the entire year exploring collage, I needed to come up with a new painting.  I heard about translucent yupo and thought perhaps I could get a layered effect without glueing anything down by working on both sides of the paper.  You know how you can see it in your mind's eye.  Well, lots of my assumptions turned out to be false, but it generated some new ideas which I will be trying out tomorrow.  I do like how the paint ( I used acrylic inks) puddles on the paper.  I think my idea has potential.  Now to work out the kinks.

Related Posts with Thumbnails