I didn’t paint much this week. I had a terrible cold. I slept a lot. Before I was debilitated by mucous I managed to paint this rough underpainting. It has elements that I enjoy painting: lettering, translucence, and details. Just for fun I thought I would practice my portrait skills. It’s been about a year since I attempted a portrait. There are clearly some flaws in the lettering and the lighter fluid can (lettering can be cleaned up and the edges refined). There are also some errors in the rendering of the bottle.
I will fix those when I feel better. Every time I look over at the creepy little doll head I get a good laugh.
I was accepted into the MFA program of Visual Arts by Vermont College of Fine Art. I am humbled and honored to have been accepted. It is a low residency program which means I can work in the comfort of my own studio, continue working my fabulous day job, and spend time with my family. This sounds like the perfect set up? Why, yes. Yes, it is the perfect set up.
But I am TERRIFIED. I will be required to delve into my art and my practice like never before. I will need to analyze my practice in a new way. It is exciting and terrifying. I will need to show my work to people who can help be be a better artist and that scares the heck out of me. I will need to write about my work and research things. (again this sounds perfect right?!)
I liken the experience of having my work critiqued to sliding down a slide made of razor blades into a pool of alcohol. I know that I WANT to do the program. I consider myself a life long learner. I want to participate more than anything, but the pain, the agony of sharing my work and being vulnerable. The thing is…I know that I will still be painting. I paint. Painting make me whole. But studying my work, analyzing my work, and presenting to other talented artists? I know I need to do that to continue growing. Imposter syndrome sets in and I start to think I am not good enough.
Then there is the cost… Thank you for reading and commenting.
Sometimes I find things unexpectedly that I want to paint. Such is the case with this Mickey Mouse stuffed doll. I saw in in the thrift store. He appears to be loved. Perhaps his ears have been replaced. Maybe his ears came like that. He even has his tag. I haven’t completed the lettering on the tag. I hope to finish painting Mickey this week..
I thought I had more pictures of him in the different stages of painting but I do not. I also spent this week applying for an MFA program. I hope I get in.
Thank you so much for liking my painting and following me here and on social media.
Work in progress on the easel. Still working on this painting but I can’t help but share it. It’s bright and happy. The vivid yellows pop against the black background but the painting still evokes feeling of calm and stillness.
The middle of the flowers are called disk flowers. The ones in the painting are dark because the flowers were cut and shipped, etc. These disk flowers would normally mature into fruit we call sunflower seeds. These flowers are arranged spirally. Generally, each floret is oriented toward the next approximating the golden angle, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals, where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive numbers. Think 1 +2 = 3. Then 3 +2 =5, and 5+3 = 8, 8+5= 13…These are called Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds mathematically and biologically possible within the flower.
The way the light and flowers were placed caused the warmest of the five flowers on the far left. I took lots of artistic liberties and deviated when rendering the petals and greenery. It was difficult to stay focused and not just throw yellow and green around.
This early pict shows how I struggled with the correct values in the yellows and greens. I started laying down paint on the left flower. This area became the ‘practice’ flower. I had to solve visual problems. I think I worked them out by the time I painted the 5th flower on the far right.
And here is the toned panel with the drawing only. Look at that nice clean palette!
Also, I listed this little painting for sale.
Forsythia, 12×12, oil on panel
Spring is in the air! Driving my daughter to and from a sleepover I settled on the idea of moving away from orange paintings, for a while, and paint the lovely bright yellow forsythia dotting the neighborhood landscape.
Mellow yellow. I learned some new things this weekend painting in yellow. I have always struggled with the ‘fat over lean’ thing. In foundation year painting classes I don’t remember ANYONE discussing it, but, I only really remember painting in foundation year painting. Painting a lot and all the time. Maybe I missed the discussion. Anyway, I have heard that one must add oil to paint when painting over existing layers of paint or the paint will crack. In 20 years of painting, I haven’t seen one of my own paintings crack. So I never really worried about it. But I do think about it when I see the terms fat over lean it in marketing materials, etc.
As I was working on this yellow painting of the coffee can I finally used the fat over lean to my advantage. I was painting the lid to the can but I didn’t get the color quite right. Normally, I would try and lift the color off and try again, but this time I mixed the new color added stand oil and painted right over the first layer of paint! Break through.
I am looking forward to adding details to the three yellow paintings I worked on this weekend. They will be dry enough soon and I can add that oil!
Spring is in the air. The trees are blooming. School is suspended for a week. #springbreak! Driving my daughter to and from a sleepover I settled on the idea of moving away from orange paintings, for a while, and paint the lovely bright yellow forsythia dotting the neighborhood landscape.
Forsythia is a yellow flowering bush native to China. It was discovered and brought to English gardens in the 1800s. Using kitchen shears I cut a few twigs off my neighbor’s Forsythia (shhhh) and set to work creating a composition.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to be painting yellow. Here are some pictures of the work in progress.
I began by setting up the composition. I took a photo and I am glad I did because the blooms I plucked off the branch withered in about 45 mins. Underdrawing and yellow paint. Did I mention I love yellow! The cool yellows began to appear green on my palette. I added titanium white as the yellows are translucent. I wanted the paint to be more opaque.
Outlining the flowers in black or brown. The yellow really begins to pop agains the black and dark brown of the base. I used blue to capture the reflections on the glass vase. I always love painting transparent and translucent pieces. I found this vase at the Dollar Tree. I use it often for real and fake flowers.
Almost finished. Must allow this layer of paint to dry before adding washes of black and scumbling in some details of the vase. It is difficult to patiently wait for the paint to dry before adding the finishing touches and details. The flowers need their details.
During the painting process I reflected on how my mentoring session with Abbey Ryan. Her influence has positively affected my painting progress in many ways. I am grateful for the opportunity to study with her guidance. She paints alla prima, finishing a painting in one sitting using wet into wet.
In my reflection I realized that before my mentoring session with Abbey, I would allow my paintings to dry for a few days. Then add washes or stumbling to the dry painting. I love all the changes I have incorporated into my practice, but I think I will also celebrate my own style and my reasons for glazing.
Less than 2 weeks until my sketchbook is due. I hope to have it shipped to the Brooklyn Art Library before the deadline. If I am honest I will admit that I sometimes work better under pressure. I wrote a little about my choice of themes here. If you are interested in joining the sketchbook project, do it!
Here are some images of my 2018 sketchbook, A Visual Narrative of the Day We Met.
I enjoyed making this sketch book. It’s a refreshing contrast to the 2017 book. I think I will continue and create another book for 2019. I look forward to the challenge of the next book.
I would love your feedback. As always thank you for reading and checking out my creative process.
In my mentoring session with Abbey Ryan last October she suggested simplifying areas of my practice. So far, I have tried simplifying my palette and my brushes. I began a new series as a result of the mentoring session. If you are interested in a mentoring session I HIGHLY recommend it.
In an attempt to continually simplify I took a design course through the Continuing Ed department of School of Visual Arts. I have enjoyed the class. The lecture is brief but informative. The assignments are challenging. I am learning and stretching my creative muscles without stressing myself out.
This week we were assigned color grids. Here are 3 color grids using primary and secondary colors.
This grids remind me of quilt blocks. My mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers quilted. I have a wonderful quilt made by my great-great grandmother. I cherish it because of the history. I admire and respect her unique design. I have never seen the pattern in a book or museum. I was told that she dyed the fabric herself. Humbling. I made these grids using Photoshop and Illustrator.
Thank you for liking reading about my art journey.
I finally had the time and confidence to enter the Artists Magazine Annual Art Competition. The process wasn’t difficult. The hard part will be waiting until July 31st for results.
I contemplated which painting to submit for months. I decided to enter the Pincushion oil painting. Read more about it here. It is a favorite. I hope to exhibit it at the Nashville Public Library. I think it would look nice displayed alongside an antique Singer sewing machine. The dark wood from an antique Singer machine along with the ivory black background would look picture perfect in the building’s neoclassical mezzanine.
Pincushion, 12×12 inches, oil on wood
This iconic image represents feminism to me. One popular design—a tomato with a strawberry attached—was possibly introduced during the Victorian Era. According to folklore, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good-luck symbol also served a practical purpose—a place to store pins. The strawberry contains sand to clean and sharpen needles. It is a universal symbol of womanhood.
Thank you so much for liking my work and sharing with your friends.