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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Plaid Cloth

I have had the plaid cloth for a while, looking at it, thinking I would sneak up on it someday when it was just the right day for too much pink and today was the day.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Kitchen Trash

I am preparing for my first painting with the Texas Moleskine Authority (not the correct name, I have forgotten it) which is a sketchbook that travels among the members, each painter having a theme for her/his book, and each painter painting in each sketchbook. My theme is detritus, so I am exploring my own garbage. And I guess, no putting selected paintable objects in the trash. However, other's people's trash.....

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Terrible photo.


This is a wretched photo, but I can't get it any better.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cyclamen 3

Large bristle brushes on this one, however I did buy a 1/4 inch bristle filbert which is very satisfying to use, easy to make Van Gogh sorts of marks with it. Not that I did that, but if I had wanted to, I could, and it feels good to have that in the arsenal.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cyclamen 2

I bought some grey gesso and have been experimenting with it. It is a premixed grey so it is very neutral, neither to the blue or red side or any other. Maybe I like different from working on black. With the black you must incorporate those black bits into the overall -- I mean it has to be ok to show. With the grey, I think maybe a range of whites is easier to achieve. I don't know really yet, experience will tell. I am also trying out different brushes as I go, this one was a large flat, so it gives me some chop to the image. Not sure that cyclamen are good with chop though, they are so smooth and undulating. Also, I read on Catherine Kehoe's website, Powers of, that color usually improves when it is mixed in large batches with a 4 inch pallet knife, so I am doing that instead of mixing with the brush. I think maybe this is right, because the mixed color batch has a greater chance of not being absorbed into the rest of the paint, it holds it own better. That is the most fabulous website. Fabulous!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cyclamen 1

I have had these cyclamen sitting around for a while, thinking of painting them and scared witless because my man Freud did the definitive one, who could improve.... so because I could not face the stocks again, I had a go. Really fun after all. They are sort of fleshy. I also had a new creative mark brush (do not buy!) which the hairs all fell out of as I worked, infuriating, however it is a bristle filbert. It's always a shakeup when there is a material or tool change. I'm interested in getting the rhythm down of those leaves because that makes the whole plant interesting, not just those other worldly blossoms.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stocks and Pink Vase

I bought a small bunch of stock to put in my bedroom because their fragrance is so spicy and strong, so I have been scrutinizing these for a while. They are complicated with all their bunched petals and not much distinct blossom structure. This is my second go at them, the first was a wiper. The surprise was that the flowers were much less interesting to paint than the vase, which was so much fun, that yes.....I'm going to have to do a series so I can get it down. I might give myself a break with another flower though. This painting is after a Van Gogh - I will post the title tomorrow. I am interested in getting a field of color behind the flowers that is not just background, that has a life of its own.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cabbage and Bananas

Goodbye to the cabbage. But.... I learned a lot about using the big brush on these, and it was exciting. I like lots of paint and a broad take on the forms. It isn't as difficult as I imagined to use the big bristle brush but it takes some getting used to. Different approach. There is no bogging down in detail - a big relief.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cabbage and Cheese

Another cabbage with the large bristle brush. Lots of paint on the surface.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cabbage and Striped Cloth

For this one I used a big fat old bristle brush, misshapen so it looked like a shoe with the bristles curving. I can't believe you can get so much detail - or really any at all - with such a brush. I like this cabbage the best so far. It is no Miss America, plain except for this cloth I have to drag out every time, but I like the clarity of the entire painting, and the proportions of the elements. Maybe it could be an Amish cabbage, no offense to any of you who might be Amish. And also, the greatest thing about that brush -- you have to load up the paint on it to do anything on the canvas, so you end up with this beautiful fat paint surface. Worth the bungling.
And now, for your entertainment take this link to my video:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cabbage and Eggplant

I am getting the hang of this cabbage thing, both the painting part and the compositional part. The size of the images are better suited to the space in this one. This 10 inch square is starting to feel more normal, not so scary. Alas, the cabbage is getting old and turning yellow so I may have to prune for tomorrow, and I will try a larger brush to force simplification.

Below is a little video shot by my friend Jenel Looney of a puppet project we have been doing. She did such a great job with it, I felt like a movie star.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cabbage and Lemon

Here is the first cabbage and a leftover California lemon with a shriveled leaf. I am having second thoughts about loving the cabbage. Timing is everything. What I need is a better understanding of values and getting them down correctly the first time and I think simpler subjects would be more helpful. The cabbage is beautiful, though, with endless facets and folds and surprising grays. Maybe it's possible to simplify it, but I will have to fight myself all the way because my natural inclination is to make everything more complicated.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pansies in the Mirror, 2

The last pansy painting. I'm now in love with cabbages.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pansies and Cabbage

This one is 10 inches square. Seems huge when working. I want to make the leap to a larger size where there are all sorts of other issues present, so I just have have to juuuuummmmmp.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pansies in the Mirror

By now I am familiar with the form and color of these pansies and feeling pretty friendly about them, so I thought I'd play with a mirror and see if I could abstract a bit. That could be a very long road - I can see a hundred ways for it to go, but everything mostly ends up in Diebenkorn.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pansy Still Life with Pear

Here I am attempting to put together things I am familiar with ( the painting of) into a larger format, a 10 inch square. And, to keep to solemn colors, greys and browns as a backdrop for the strong purple so there is not too much color.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pansies in Small Vase

Another. I'm trying to work out some color stuff here. Such as, what is too much, and how can it be used most effectively. The end of the spectrum I'm not so familiar with is the quiet end. I know very well the over the top part. Currently I am in love with grays and want to learn how to use them to my own ends.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pansies and Striped Cloth

On this one I had a nice experience. Things were going along swimmingly and when I got to the bottom of the glass I realized that the stripes reflected in it, more than just through the base, in fact all up the left side. And I decided not to put them in because it was to0 much information. Very liberating. I don't think I have ever edited anything out before.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pansies and Cornflower

This was done on black gesso, some bits showing through.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pansies and Napkin

The top painting is oil on board and the lower painting is just a quick one on a canvas sheet.
I ordered the Ultimate Canvas Sampler Pad from Dick Blick I think, but they are put out by Creative Mark, so they must be carried everywhere. This one is the linen sample, and it is very different from any other surface. You have to really be determined to get a sharp edge, the weave of the material takes the paint differently. There is glare on this, but you can see the texture. I have seen people use this stuff (on Utube videos) by masking taping it to a board. My friend who showed me this had used double sided carpet tape on a panel and just stuck the sheet to it. There are four sorts of canvas in the pack, very good for experimenting. I am amazed every time how much difference materials can make. And of course, you want everything going for you that you can get.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Black Pansies

The last two days have been such great painting days, always so grateful for those. I have approached everything more experimentally and it is liberating! The flops don't count for anything, no attachment. I bought a pack of 8x6 canvas sheets and there are two examples of four sorts of canvas in the pack. There is big difference in how the paint goes down on them. I had never painted on linen before and it is quite amazing. The texture of the linen does not encourage an edge - it is really easy for the edge to get lost. Just. Like. Velasquez! It is freezing here now, but when it warms up I will shoot the try out and post it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Black Pansy

I am starting on another adventure now, it's time for some stretching. I have chosen these black pansies because the forms are simple and the apartment complex around the corner from me has a fresh supply every day. I want to reduce detail; to have more tension in the composition; to use the paint in a more fluid manner; to go somewhere I haven't been yet. The best way to do it as far as I can tell is to use the same form over and over and make happen in the second painting what I couldn't make happen in the first, and on and on.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cowboy Up

This is my entry for January to the site Some Texas Artists Like to Paint. The challenge this month is: Cowboy Up. For my friends who do not live in Texas, this is a term that means, pull up your socks, get off your behind and do what must be done. I think that's what it means. To see everyone's entry, click here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Been to L. A. #2

This was an interesting painting to do and I learned a lot. I didn't know what to put down first - some people say work back to front, some say front to back - and a thousand other shoulds. So I just started with the sky because that was the thing I was most interested in. I used a red orange ground and laid in the low whites and blues and couldn't get a good build up of paint on the surface, you know, really thick for those whites. So I left that and went on to the rest of it, trying to stay loose, even though this doesn't look loose. Finally toward the end I realized I needed a softer brush to lay the paint on thickly, because a stiffer brush picks up the paint after the first hit on the surface. Sure enough, a sable layers it on, very good to know for next time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Last California Lemons

I had to hot glue the leaves back on. It was a good run.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

California Lemons and Striped Cloth

With this one I was wanting to work with greys and strong color and some whites, both clean and dirtied up a bit.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

California Lemons in Glass Bowl

More. Really tried to keep those edges soft as I worked them, rather than cleaning them up afterward, which produces a sort of dreadful .... wiping mark, yech.

Monday, January 3, 2011

California Lemons, Mutations

Here are some of the odd shaped lemons. Now of course I wish I had more of them. The ones I painted in the last two days are huge, big as oranges. Can't wait to open one up and see what it's like inside.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

California Lemons on Aluminum Foil

This was an interesting one to do -- sort of like riding a runaway horse. At the set up stage,I thought the strange pinky greys would be a good balance for the strong yellows and greens, warm and cool together and it would be subtle... well, I was really panic stricken for much of the painting of it, the forms and reflections were so similar and it didn't fall into place until the very end, and that was a surprise. I so much like that aluminum foil -- it is reflective but not shiny -- so ethereal.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Been to L. A. #2

I am blundering along at this, but how else to get it? Spent the afternoon watching Utube