Some of you may recognize this young woman from an earlier post from April. I resurrected her this past weekend to get my painting muscles going again. My friend Barbara graciously traded homes with me for a few days...a gift beyond measure as her beautiful home came equipped with a working studio and a gorgeous view of fields and mountains. My home came with Mom, a cat and two active dogs to care for. I spent a weekend painting hats of various shapes and color--black porkpie, blue knit, bright green with orange flower (I'm not kidding). Then I'd wipe it all out. I finally changed the background and her clothing, and returned to this odd headgear that's not too far from April's version. She's almost done. Thanks to Barbara for the much-needed respite, and to friends Pam and Mark for their hospitality on Sunday. Much appreciated!
I know it's been a long time between cupcakes and Christmas. Mom continues to decline, and I'm hanging on. Please know that I'm thinking of you, that I miss visiting everyone's blogs as often as I used to, and that I'm wishing you and your families joyous and heart-filled holidays.
For Taz's story, visit Art for Animals. Thanks to Pam Townsend and the PGSPCA for the photo reference of Taz, who was adopted in 2007.
This is my entry for James Parker's Windows to the Words Challenge. The subject this month is old folks and wrinkles. A friend of mine, Barbara Motter, has wonderful photos from her world travels, and kindly let me submit some for this challenge. This is an old gentleman from Russia. Thank you, Barbara. Please visit the WTTW site to see the other entries, and also stop by James' blog to say hello.
Also thought I'd post the beginning stages. I roughed in with shades of burnt sienna, and then wiped out the highlights with a paper towel. Then I came in with thin washes of more intense colors to establish rough value patterns and warms and cools.
I hope that all of you Dads and Granddads had a Happy Father's Day!
In the mid 90's, I attended a friend's wedding on the Island of Malta. The setting was spectacular. The ceremony was in a lovely church in the historic city of Mdina, and the reception was held in a converted palace complete with courtyard and formal gardens. Twelve years later, I uncovered the photos I'd taken, skipped over all of the landscape and architecture shots, and as an experiment, began a pastel on canvas of the maid of honor and one of the flower girls. Pastel on canvas was not a happy experiment. I scrubbed it, came over it with acrylic, then water-miscible oils. ack. Peeled off the maid of honor's head, re-gessoed and built up the paint again. Then painted over everything with regular oils. Someday I'll be brave enough to try the architecture.
Thank you to Akiko Watanabe, who kindly sent me the Noblesse Oblige Award. Akiko's animal paintings and ACEOs are breathtaking. I spend a lot of time scrutinizing her work, and still can't figure out how she gets so much loving detail and spirit into such a small format. Please visit her site to see her extraordinary portraits of animals. Thanks, Akiko--am humbled and honored. (award details in May 17 post).
An older work, based on a strange dream I'd had. I put together a small collage first of the elements, and then worked up the larger painting. The cat is my mom's cat, and the shell is another from my grandmother's collection. I don't know who the women are, but rest assured, the one with the egg is not me. Well, then again, it was a dream.
Update: Thanks to Sara Winters for passing along the Kreative Blogger Award. Please visit Sara's site to see a beautiful painting of one of the most creative "castles" you'll ever see, and to enjoy the rest of her fantastic work.
Another week with little productive painting time, so I'm posting an older painting. The copper pot is Mom's, the conch belonged to my grandmother. In retrospect, I'd take out the wood stand, but at the time I was more interested in the colors, and the light bouncing around.
I've heard the definition of insanity is endlessly repeating the same action while expecting a different result. Every day I'd darken Trixie, and then lighten her up. Then darken, then lighten. I'm not sure I've got it yet, but I've got to stop. My hope is that in the time it's taken me to paint this, sweet Trixie has been adopted! This painting is a donation for the the Prince George's County SPCA/Humane Society, and my first submission to The Art for Animals Project.
Thank you to Sara Winters for sending me the Passionate Painting Award. Please check out Sara's blog and see the magic she creates with a limited palette of 4 colors. She is an inspiration.
My 7 loves and passionate painting rules are listed on my March 25th post. I will name a few additional artists who inspire me:
I've been working for a week and 1/2 on my first portrait (no not this one!) for Sheila and Carrie's Art for Animals Project. I thought I was close with my painting of Trixie, who's being fostered by the great folks at the Prince George's County SPCA/Humane Society in Maryland. I sent a jpeg to my friend who volunteers there, and she gently pointed out that Trixie is a dark brindle, and not the pale grey I seemed to have her. Today I darkened her, lost the shape of things, made mud, tried to "fix" the background to help poor Trixie, and generally botched it up. Which brings me to today's post of another stalled painting.
In Progress: Oil on gessoed watercolor paper
This young model was trying her best to stay alert to no avail. I tried my best to get some spark, but no luck. No matter what I did, the heavy-lidded bored expression crept back onto my canvas. I brought the portrait back to my studio to finish, and started to think of her as a contemporary Turandot. Do you know the famous opera poster of Puccini's mysterious, dark-eyed princess? I decided I'd give my subject one of those knit hats with the ear flaps and tassles that teens wear, give her a nose ring, and intensify the red. On a whim, I blocked in the changes, and came to a roaring stop. I have no reference for the hat, and I'm thinking she looks more Ed Norton from the Honeymooners than Princess Turandot. She's now holding court in a corner of my studio with the rest of my Where do I Go From Here stack, which sits next to the What on Earth was I Thinking pile. Tomorrow I'll tackle Trixie the foster pup again. (Wasn't Norton's wife named Trixie?)
Thanks so much to all of you who have been leaving such kind comments. You galvanize me to keep painting.
I lucked out, and was actually close enough to the model for this studio session to see into the shadows. My goal was to develop an orange/green/violet triad, and to paint the air around her as much as the features. She was the most pleasant woman. Her eyes shut by the end of the session, but she was still smiling. She seemed to radiate light.