Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Technology Day

Original Study of Lincoln Marsh River

I was calm when I got up this morning.  Really. But I've been having a bad technology day.  Seems everything I touch, that has to do with technology, refuses to cooperate.   Even the toaster refuses to work right.  Okay, I'm done complaining.  Not really.

The small painting above is one I did of Lincoln Marsh.  I messed up the color corrector on my iPhoto, so it looks a little different in the photo than it does in real life.  The point I was trying to make is that I sometimes use small paintings as references for bigger paintings.  I find it helps me to focus in on the joy of painting when the composition, values and colors are already worked out.  Every once in a while I need to get a big painting out of my system.  Usually these bigger paintings look very different from the smaller ones.  The small study is a jumping off point to the bigger one.  It's easy to expand on the larger canvas.  I feel more freedom painting larger.  

Lincoln Marsh River

I think I'll stay away from technology for the rest of the day.  Thank goodness there's no technology involved in painting!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Some Interesting and Not So Interesting Facts

I've been putting it off, but am finally getting to my tagee duties in listing interesting (or not so interesting) facts about myself.  Where to begin?  Well ...

1.  Many years ago I came close to getting hit by a train.  When I realized I was probably going to get hit, I froze and felt my mind go blank.  A man came up from behind me and gently pushed me along, out of danger.  He never said a word to me and I never said anything to him.  The whole experience seemed so surreal.  Two weeks later someone did get hit by a train in the same place.  I felt he was my guardian angel.  Hence, ...

2.  I have a large angel collection.  I started this collection many years ago and have received angels as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, etc., from everyone who knows me well.  I probably have about three hundred angels.  I mostly display them at Christmas when I unwrap them and put them all out on the side table in the dining room.  There is an at least one angel in every room in my house.

3.  The farthest I have ever been from home is Italy.  My son went to Rome to study for a summer semester once, so I went with my daughter to meet him.  The second time was with my husband (I had to show it to him) for one of our major anniversaries.  I'd like to go again and stay for a month.

4.  The bravest thing I ever did was go para-sailing in Mexico - a long time ago.  I can't believe now that I ever did it.  That's were they strap you into a type of parachute that's attached by rope to a motor boat.  When they boat takes off, you go sailing up in the air, about ten stories up.  

5.  My last fact may not seem interesting but I just made a funny observation.  I looked around my house one evening and realized how many stained glass lamps we have (ten).  It was my passion for stained glass lamps that spurred us to buy all these lamps within the last few years.  Maybe it has something to do with my latest interest in translucent color.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Playing Tag

Solitary Path

This is another one of the many studies I've done using transparent colors.  It's unfinished and I intend to leave it like that because it's merely a stepping stone for learning.  The sky is laid in with hansa yellow light.  After drying completely, I used a glaze of Indian yellow to give a glow.  It's amazing what using transparent colors can do if one is patient enough to allow the drying process before putting another glaze on top.  (I use Liquin original with the paint as a medium.)  I do have problems with being too impatient for the drying process sometimes, though.  So I've learned to start several small studies at some time.  That way, I'm always busy.

Onto the title of this post.  I've been tagged by Karen Phipps!  It's an honor for me to be tagged by her as she's one of my very favorite artist bloggers.  Karen is a true artist, heart and soul.  Just visit her blog, if you haven't already, and you'll see what I mean.  She gives wonderful insight into the creation of her paintings with the hows and whys.  And she does plenty of plein air work no matter what time of year.  Even in the middle of our Chicago winters!  

The rules of tagging are as follows:

1.  Put a link in your post about the artist that tagged you.
2.  Write 5-7 unusual things about yourself.
3.  Tag 5-7 other bloggers and let them know.

There are so many wonderful bloggers I've had the pleasure to read about and view their work.  Some of the following are the ones I'm tagging:

Laura Wambsagans does sensitive landscapes and portrait work.

Faye Christian Phillips uses joyful colors and compositions.  Also inspirational poetry and prose.

Maggie Latham is a multi-media artist whose paintings simply glow.

Judith Reidy just had an article published about her mist paintings.

Fabio Cembranelli from Brazil has beautiful watercolors.

I'll be posting my "interesting facts"  next time.  In the meantime, I can't wait to see what Karen has to say!

Monday, February 9, 2009



This is a study that, I must admit, came from somewhere in my imagination.  It was done purely as a way to learn more about the transparency process.  I learn from every one of these paintings.  And to make sure I retain what I learn, I take detailed notes.  Hopefully, I'll be able to create larger paintings soon.  But for right now, there's more to figure out.

I start by building the bones of the painting with dark transparent colors, then allow them to dry.  The trick is to not do this too dark, because successive colors will darken the initial colors.  For the sky I used transparent sienna mixed with white.  After drying, I glazed over it with sienna.  In the background field, transparent colors were used, but when they dried completely, I also glazed over with a bit of white and transparent sienna to cause recession of space.

There are times when I feel I'm wasting my time with the pursuit of going off in a whole different direction.  I feel like going back to what was a comfortable painting process for me.  But other times, I know I'm on the right track.  Being an artist means having difficult, frustrating times too.  

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lincoln Marsh

Lincoln Marsh

This small study is from a photograph I took last August.  My daughter and I decided to go on a photo-hike through a natural preserve area near our house.  This area is part of DuPage Forest Preserve and is a gigantic wetland marsh area.  The trails go on for miles and miles.  So I've only studied a small portion of what this beautiful area has to offer so far.    

My goal is to return at different times of the year to capture the gifts of this natural, magical place.  

In this painting I used three transparent greens - sap green, terre verte and olive green.  To lighten the greens in the grasses and trees, I added naples yellow and white, which brings the greens back to opaque, not transparent.  That's where the paradox comes in.  In order to have the transparent glow,  the color needs to be painted straight out of the tube and not mixed with any other opaque color.  Or it needs to be mixed with another transparent color.  

I'm posting what I learn along the way.  There is a lot of studying and note taking during my current painting sessions.  And I'm painting lots of small studies.