Friday, June 29, 2007

Making fun of myself

Radio and Hammer
Oil on Panel

Much happier with todays results. It isn't glory, but its better than THIS one in my opinion. Just to be sure I didn't injure the radio, I put the hammer in my still life set up. Sometimes a girl just has to amuse herself. This is an example of my sense of humor. If you think thats dry, you are probably glad you don't have to hear this kind of stuff all day!

I changed the palette up a little. I opted to go a little cooler this time. I am still not sure if indicating the numbers on the dial was a mistake, but its there and its signed and I really need to leave it alone before I ruin it. I do like the reflection the fabric on the back makes on the top.

After making yesterdays post, I found an article on "The fine art of pushing yourself"

This may not be "pretty", but it is "pretty funny". I will probably laugh at myself every time I see this.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Got Tools?

"Got Tools?"
Oil on Panel

"Basically, Those who continue to make art are those who have learned how to continue - or more precisely, have learned not to quit."
- Art and Fear (Page 9)

This is me "not quitting". I have been on a bit of a painting disaster run lately. I want better results. No - I demand better results! I noticed that my attitude has a specific pattern. When I first started picking up paint a few months ago, I thought everything was wonderful. "Oooh.. look at that!" Every brush stroke was a marvelous surprise and I loved everything I painted. (Just because I painted it) I enjoyed painting. I enjoyed the results of painting. I loved all the colors! When the new wears off and I start upping the ante on quality I hate absolutely everything I do. (and did) As I discovered in drawing, the root of the problem is not subject matter or even in my ability. I become impatient that now that I have figured a few things out, why must I continually be in practice mode. Where is the dang masterpiece? I want to skip the steps between learning the initial basics and masterpiece. I want things like perspective to come easy to me once I have done a correct perspective drawing - for example. I want sketching to be a simple task after a page of sketches. I am probably not going to ever see that happen. I will probably have to go to Plan B: "Be patient" It is easy to do that with anyone but myself.

After a few months' practice, David lamented to his teacher 'But I can hear the music so much better in my head than I can get out of my fingers'. To whichs the master replied, 'What makes you think that ever changes?' - Art and Fear (Page 14-15)

I really like the shadow shape on the wall that this belt makes when the light hits it. I think this would be a great part of a still life. I didn't quite find the cream color I was looking for, but for the sake of time and the lack of good light to work under I used what I had mixed up. This was to be more of a proportion study than anything and I did a little better in the initial drawing than I have been able to accomplish lately.

I am getting quite a collection of "Things you find in my garage". I enjoy painting out there. I don't enjoy the heat, but that is a small thing compared to the endless supply of subject matter and the great view out the garage door. It is quiet and peaceful out there. Last night it was me, a tool belt and ZZTop. It was pouring outside and I left the garage door open to let it cool off.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Watching the Radio

Oil on Panel

I struggled and struggled and struggled with the face of this radio until I wanted to toss a hammer at it. It is still wrong, but I am going to have to do this again and see if I can't get a better base drawing than what I started with this time. I don't have a clue how much actual time I spent on this. There were lots of interruptions. This painting failed at the drawing stage. I absolutely cannot draw and talk on the phone. Bad Anna!- for even trying!

I have been reading Art and Fear (again). On page 5 it says "Your job is to learn to work on your work." A little farther down, it says "The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars." I guess I get to chalk this one up to that effort.

Here is what I have figured out:

When working with a picture, I seem to do just fine. Working from life presents a challenge that I have yet to truly master. Rather than just give up and take a picture and move on, I am going to drill the life studies and improve.

I really like Raw umber. I like the way it mixes with other paints. I really like the difference between the Artists Grade paint vs the Student Grade. The student grade is a lot more stiff. I like the way you can build up darks with it and wipe out lights. I think I want to have a love affair with Raw Umber.

I like the results of a good drawing. I have felt horrible for not being able to whip these things out in an hour and come up with a pleasing result. I have pushed myself to get faster and more painterly. I love painterly. I don't do painterly well and I don't love what I have come up with. I feel so much more accomplished when I do a grisaille and layer paint over it than I do with direct painting. I haven't decided what I am going to do about that. David, from Wetcanvas, posted about Spatial frequency, composition, and likeness and it has my brain whizzing.

I wanted a lot more "pretty" from this painting than I got.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tori's Paint Can

by Victoria Sellers
approximately 6x4
Charcoal on gray paper

Tori (my 10 year old) came out to the garage this weekend and asked for a drawing lesson. She has been playing with my charcoal and wanted to learn how to use it better. I set her up with a can and a light and proceeded to teach her the sight size method of drawing. She has seen me do this on countless occasions, so she caught on to what was going on pretty fast. Tori is a very precise child. Using a sight size method suits her personality well.

While we were doing this, she asked if we could have a drawing lesson party with her friends. She has lots of artist friends that would love to come paint and draw! By the time the conversation was over, there were plans to have Dad make lots of easels and we would have several stations out in the garage. We would have to order lots of charcoal and erasers! We would also have to get the special paper because they don't have the special paper in Walmart. We could make some cookies and we could set up a snack station. My garage was transformed into an amazing art school for girls in less that 2 hours. I love 10 year olds!

I am such a mom. I think this can is just fantastic and deserves a frame!

Old Faithful and New Beginnings

Old Faithful
Oil on panel

I just had another child graduate and I am feeling the pangs of "what will I do when they grow up?". I have been a stay at home mom for most of their lives. When they start to pack their things, they start to pack up what my life has been about for the last 18 years. I think most stay at home moms must feel this. I have 4 more to go and if the pattern holds true, I get to feel this every two to three years.

I am moving my art stuff to make a studio in the garage. To celebrate, I pulled the first interesting thing off the wall and put it on the shelf to paint. Setting up a space of my own is one of the first steps in taking myself a little more seriously. I am embracing my gradual independence.

I am going to like having a studio out there. The door faces East, so its not the optimum North Facing set up, but I can block out all light if I need to because there are no windows. I have enough space to have lots of storage. It will be so nice not to have to hunt in the closet, basement, bookshelf or in the pantry for art supplies I have tucked away. During the day, I can open that big garage door and pull my easel outside to paint if I like. From about noon on, the light is fairly consistent enough to use natural lighting. When it gets a bit cold, I have a kerosene heater I can set up. I have my CD player out there with mixes of my favorite music. The best part is that once I get things set up, there will be no need to tear everything down daily. There is nothing more de-motivating than having to move my set up so we can eat dinner. The family is really going to miss me if I decide to move a coffee pot out there.

Yesterday when I painted with the door open, my neighbor wandered over to see what I was painting. I am horrible about not being able to talk and draw/paint. I warned him about that when he first came over and he said he didn't mind. He just wanted to see me paint. He sat silently watching me while I stood silently painting at my easel. It was an interesting silence. It was not at all as awkward as I imagined it would be. Maybe it is because he reminds me of my dad.

This isn't a great painting because I did such a wonderful job. This is a great painting because it is the first "garage" painting. It is a great painting because I took myself serious enough to make a space to paint. It is a great painting because I knew I could leave it set up if I wanted. It is a great painting because I truly felt like an artist.

In hindsight, it is fitting that I painted a lantern to "light the way". I wasn't thinking that when I pulled it off the wall. I was just looking for something interesting to paint. To feed my need for habitual metaphor, I will go with this.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Near the End of the Mess

The Reading Spot
16x20 Oil on Canvas

We went for another session today. There is still some refining to be done. I am not entirely happy with this. I am having a really hard time with her legs. I can blame it on the model and say that she has moved too much, but had I thought about the fact that I am working with a 12 year old, I would have taken a picture to get the forms and then worked with the live model as far as colors go.

I also learned that my eyes get lazy when I sit. I stand for hours in front of an easel and maintain a sharp eye as long as I don't get too tired. When I sit, I tend to get too involved with the canvas and less involved with the model. I know, I know.. it shouldn't matter, but for some reason it does for me.

This is one of those between paintings. It is between a flop and a success. Perhaps if I manage to get more of the background put in and warm up those legs a little in just the right spots so they read correctly, I can turn it around. Right now I am discouraged and my sunlight is gone. Before I go too bonkers on this, I am asking for advice on Wetcanvas HERE.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Middle of a Mess

The Reading Corner
Oil on Canvas

A few more details and still working on how I am going to treat that background. She is in need of some more warm colors on her face and I need to get some of the red in her hair on the opposite side. The good news is that I have nearly all that charcoal problem cleared up. I really struggle with being loose. It is probably going to take another session, but my model is a patient kind and she is fantastic about sitting there for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Beginning of a Mess

The Reading Corner
Oil on Canvas

This was my 2 hour study for today. I decided to get out a real canvas and do a study of my daughter Toni (Antoinette). It is a lot more canvas than I was remembering. I did a quick charcoal outline to get started. Toni read while I painted. It was very quiet out on the front porch between the two of us. I made the most noise with my brush scraping across the canvas.

Since I am using the natural light for this, I have about a 2 hour time frame to work with. She and I will pick up tomorrow about the same time to see if we can capture this interesting contrast of cools and warms. I am getting better at painting a moving target and she is getting better at sitting still.

I have a lot of mud going on. I didn't fix that charcoal very well and it kind of blended into the paint. I hope I can correct this tomorrow when we do the sitting. If I am lucky, I will get this done in two sittings.

The Best Day Ever!

Yesterday was our 9th anniversary. We went to Adams Mill (Indiana) to remember the old times and enjoy the beautiful country side. We had a picnic under the trees and fed each other strawberries. We toasted sparkling cider (No drinking and driving going on here) and we simply enjoyed being all alone in the world for a little while. It is hard to describe how incredibly romantic the whole day was without sounding cliché. I think its better to live a cliché rather than hearing it.

We took some pictures of ourselves in the same locations we were in 11 years ago when we went there together for the first time for some "Then" and "Now" contrasts. We were a lot thinner then. We were a little younger, a little more naive and we both had a lot more hair. Today we are a lot wiser, a lot stronger in character and quite a bit more stable. I am happy to accept that trade off. The deciding factor is that even though we thought we could not love each other more back then, we somehow found a way.

Here are some photo's of our adventure. I am going to upload some of them in a larger format to the reference library on Wetcanvas if you want to use them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Flower Power - Another Challenge

White Flower
Charcoal on paper

This is another weekly challenge done on Wetcanvas. I don't do many flowers. When this challenge came up, I thought I would give it a shot. I thought I would do a charcoal because it is a lot faster than most other media. These quickies are really getting me in the art groove!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Yucca Shall Live in Eternity!

6x6 Oil on Panel

My husband hates these plants. We have two of them and every year he swears he will cut them down and rid himself of these ugly bushes forever. Every year, I give a little chuckle and listen to him rant about how he hates them. I had to smile while I painted this thinking "Even if he does eventually cut this thing down, I have a painting to remind him that it did exist!".

Quite honestly, this is a beautiful view from my front porch. I have my own little slice of paradise with the lush green of the corn fields as a backdrop and all the glow of a sunny morning to light these plants up. I may not have done this justice, but it is a reminder that every day I can wake up in the summer and soak in scenes like this as I suck down that morning cup (pot) of coffee. It will be kind of nice to have this memory on my wall in the winter months when I miss it so much.

Lucky lucky me.


6x6 Oil on Panel

Every Friday Wetcanvas holds a Weekend Drawing Event This is my attempt. I don't really like it. I wish I could have had more than a black and white as a reference. I remembered the red, but didn't really capture how intense it was, so I just made it all blue and white. I struggled more with the background than anything, which I found a bit ironic.

It is just nice to get back into the groove of things. I am going to check next friday for a new WDE.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Pretty Kitty

Lots of Dots!

Pretty Kitty
Ink on Bristol Board

This was a Weekly Drawing Challenge on Wetcanvas. It was a "just to see if I could" sort of project. Once I had the initial drawing and layout done, I did most of it in front of the Television while listening to TV with my family. I am not that into cats, but this had a lot of challenges. The biggest thing I learned was that I am in love with Micron Pens. This is the first one I ever tried without it and quite honestly, I was spoiled. I will never do another one without it.