But I've been working a bit more slowly as I learn to look more closely and paint more deliberately. I've finished a couple of Charleston paintings.
I've also been experimenting with drawing on plates.
And finally, I end the year with an art award from the LCAA Holiday Art Show (where I sold the space painting last year--at a loss) I won the "Theme Award" for my painting Freesia. (The theme was "Joy.")
This painting had been hanging up in the Heritage Center for the month of November, and I was intending to pick it up to take home when I was there helping accept art for the show. I found out that because I had gotten more than two sponsors for the show (I got three), I could enter one painting for free. The easiest thing to do was to just enter this one. And, voila, I'm an award-winning artist without even really trying. There is a lesson in there somewhere. It came with a $50.00 award, so this year, I came out ahead.
This is a pond near my house that I thought was a perfect representation of autumn. I painted it in class so I could get some instruction along the way about brushstrokes and values. I like the way it turned out, but I cannot take full credit for the water or the tree in the back--that is where I got most of my help.
At the suggestion of Cricket (from Scrivner's) I tried simulating stained glass with flat glass marbles and resin. It has potential, but I'd like to try it again. The green in the background is not the color of the glass, but the grass outside behind the glass, which changes the look a bit.
I did not get around to posting this on Paint and Draw Together in time, but I enjoyed painting it. When I thought I was finished I took it to class and Mark Weber said the shadows needed to be darker--that the shadows ALWAYS need to be darker in a painting. It made an amazing difference. I wanted to change painting styles after doing two realistic works, so I am currently working on a very loose rendering of a pond behind my house. The basics are in, but I'll see how far I get tomorrow.
Saturday night, Meredith and I went to Waterfire in Kansas City. It is a fabulous arts festival on Brush Creek by the Plaza that features artists singing or playing--everything from opera to jazz--on the bridges and on stages on the banks of the creek while 50+ bonfires burn in the water. Stunning.
This is my painting of Split Island on Lake Superior that I painted for my painting class. It was slow and painstaking, but I learned a lot. I'm ready to do something fast with big strokes for a change of pace. After spending all that time looking at this rock, I've got Lake Superior on my travel list so I can see it in person.
On this morning I went to my third art class, and I finally got to paint. It was much more methodical than I usually work, but I learned a lot. I won't show what I'm working on yet, but, to my surprise, Mark Weber offered me the demonstration piece he did last week of a young boy. I love it.
In the afternoon as I was working in the shop, I discovered that I had several missed calls from my parents. When I called them, I said, "Gosh, I've got a lot of calls on here from you, I hope it's good news." My father answered, "It is not." He told me that early in the morning my cousin, Nicholas Ivie, a border patrol agent in Arizona, was killed in an ambush. I'm heartsick. This morning on the news I saw footage of my Aunt and cousins who had traveled to Arizona to be with Nick's wife and children. It seemed like this could not be real. Then the reporter interviewed a spokesman for the family who said, "The Ivie family relies on their faith and they believe families are forever." I felt the weight and relief of that simple truth.
Over a week ago Meredith and I went to the TCM presents one day showing of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Even though we knew what was going to happen, the big screen experience was retrospectively novel. Novel because I still got nervous. I noticed that it was the total package of sound and visuals that cued my anxiety. Plus, all of those birds on the monkey bars were certainly more menacing on the big screen. Retrospectively, I was refreshed by movies as they used to be--a conscientiously constructed film that could not rely on computer generated explosions to fill most of the time. I was, however, worried beforehand that clumsy special effects of the pre-computer era would now seem so unrealistic that it would be distracting. It was not the case. Even though the blood obviously came from a bottle, it was only one part of an experience that was well-orchestrated on many other levels.
That brings me to all of the movies that I did not write about this summer. (Now that the DVDs are coming out, maybe I'll give them a short mention.) I was not impressed. For the most part, they were 30-minute storylines sent off to the computer graphics shop with instructions to stretch it into a full-length film. Watching fantastically over-the-top explosions and violence over and over in film after film has a de-humanizing affect. The worst was Snow White and the Huntsman. It was unduly menacing and sinister; the twist on the kiss was frustrating and unproductive (a bad attempt to be innovative and modern); and in the end we are left with a stern, Joan-of-Arc wanna be heroine with no happily ever after.
Interestingly, the best movie of the summer was the other Snow White movie, Mirror, Mirror. Like The Birds, it effectively used all of the movie making tools to create an experience and tell a story. Special effects were expertly used as part of the package--it was really fun to watch the aging and magic in the story, but it never became the reason for the story. Evil wasn't sugarcoated, innocence was preserved, and modern innovations were unexpected and delightful. This twist on the kiss was full of anticipation and humor. In the end, we get a Bollywood happily ever after that is a perfectly unexpected fairy tale ending. I'd like to see this one again.
Today I started a painting class in Kansas City, Mo, with the artist, Mark Weber. I just happened on him in a google search when I discovered that the class I was going to take at the Kansas City Art Institute had been cancelled. I think that was to my advantage. I feel like a real amatuer after what I learned and saw today. I am going to stop work on everything I've got going until I learn some more.
I'm glad the class was worth it because I got a $130.00 speeding ticket on the way there.
We decided to make the 18-hour drive home from SC in one day, which means I was home to go to the LCAA meeting on Tuesday night. (It also means I could hardly straighten up when I got home Monday night.) As an activity at the end of the meeting, we all got a box of crayons and a piece of paper to draw a still life--I guess to stretch our idea about possible media choices. This is what I ended up with. I liked doing the shadows as abstract shapes.
I learned a new art skill while here at Kiawah--glass fusing. I am hooked. I think it is so fun and so beautiful. I only made a nightlight, but now I want my own kiln so I can make dishes and such. I doubt that will happen anytime soon, so I need to find a friend that has one.
Here's a picture of the beach--it deserves equal time with the marsh.
We are spending the last of our summer on Kiawah Island near our hometown of Charleston, SC. It is fabulous. We rented some bikes that we scoot around the island on, but the beach and marsh are both within walking distance. I tried some plein air painting of both the beach and the marsh, but each was just a so-so experience. I thing I need some instruction or a little more practice to be able to enjoy it. I'll just do some sketching.
One particularly nice thing about the beach house we rented is that it has very nice paintings on the walls of varying styles.
Since I've been home I've worked on two paintings. I helped Meredith do an action painting for her bathroom.
And I did another version of the Mt. Timpanogos painting to see what difference using "mud" as a base would make. I learned about mud in Chicago. I also tried to loosen up the brushstroke in the flowers more. I'll let her choose.
Meredith suggested the quail, and I like them better than the deer.
I came home EXHAUSTED from my class. It was not the quiet studio class I was expecting--it was work. I was always on my feet or on the floor painting, installing, or coloring. Although I learned some techniques, it was more about how to think like an artist. What questions to ask and how to push yourself forward. I overcame my fears about being a legitimate artist, and I understand more the "struggle" involved in creating. It was a worthwhile experience. Here are some photos from the week. When I got home, Jeff and Meredith had a graduation celebration waiting for me.
*Note: This post comes a week late because our internet was down for several days.
Starting on Monday I will be in a one week intensive painting and drawing class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). I've never done anything like this before, and I'm excited and apprehensive. I can't wait to see what I do and learn, but I really don't know what to expect. I think it will be fun. Minerva Teichert began her art education there, so I feel like I'm making a good start.
Wanda picked up her painting of the mailboxes when she came through here, and LaNell placed an order for a painting of Mt. Timpanogos with a meadow in the foreground. I did a little research and found that most of the views of Timp with a meadow are atypical views of the mountain, so did a little cutting and pasting. I painted a recognizable view of the mountain in the distance with a meadow that would be found on a different side. I put the deer in there just because, and I'm uncertain about it. But, LaNell likes it there.
This has been just what a summer should be--hot and busy. Maybe just a little too hot (my car thermometer said it was 110oF the other day) and just a little too busy to write on my blog or do much painting. After Joseph left, my sisters, Wanda and LaNell, came with LaNell's three children on their way to Charleston and again on their way home, Jeff and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, Meredith, Matthew and I hit the waterpark before Matthew went back out to Utah for a summer job, we (Jeff, Meredith and I ) went to Nauvoo, I taught a drawing and a painting class for children that ended today, we celebrated Meredith's 19th birthday at The Cheesecake Factory and then Peter Pan at the Starlight Theater, and I'm sure there is more that slips my mind just now, but it has been fun. I did one quick painting this month based on a painting I saw in the KC Temple. I call it Light in the Forest. I was working on a looser brushstroke. I think I did a better job of it in the lower half of the painting.
Well, Meredith and I did paint her bathroom as well.
I've decided to paint a Leavenworth Series because there are tucked away scenes like this one that could be here--or could be in Germany. There is also lots of interesting architecture--mostly old houses--that I would like to paint. I guess the Centennial Bridge started the series.
It took me so long to get this posted because my sisters, Wanda and LaNell, and LaNell's three children, have been visiting. It was fun to have them here.
Orange became the color that held this painting of Centennial Bridge together. It started in the sky, but was the answer to unify the background trees and make the foreground trees interesting. It was fun to discover that.
Joseph has been visiting this week, and today we finally got in to Kansas City, MO. We went to the Kansas City Public Library, which I have been wanting to visit. It is in a great old building that was originally the First National Bank of Kansas built in 1906.
I was delighted to find an exhibit there, Fred Geary: Missouri Master of the Woodcut. I've never heard of Geary before, but enjoyed looking at his work. Since I've been working so much with color--and reading Betty Edward's Color Theory, I was struck by the art of black and white. The pattern of light and dark is perfectly orchestrated in his prints. Look at these steamboats--to make one a night scene, the boat goes black, not the sky.
One of my favorites was a New Orleans street scene.
I'm feeling a little landlocked right now and would love to spend a week at the ocean. That prompted me to post a painting I did in 2006 of a house that was across from us at Edisto Beach, SC. It is a nod to Ed Rice, who I discovered at the Morris Museum of Art when we lived in Augusta, GA.
Any suggestions for the best beach? I really do want to go on vacation.
I've always wanted to paint something that was a little bit "Fauvish." Les Fauves (Wild Beasts) were a short lived expressionist movement that was all about color. I think it is easy to rely so much on color that the work looks clumsy or amateurish--even paintings of the original Fauves sometimes do. I decided to just do it. As I was painting I thought, "I don't know--I don't know," but then all of a sudden, it worked. What do you think?
I am going to submit it to DPW because the challenge this week is stripes.
Last month I had my Bowls in an exhibit at the Mutual Bldg. downtown,
and this month I have my What if Cezanne Painted a Bowl of Tomatoes in an art show at the Heritage Center.
I also have the "one-woman exhibit" I tongue-in-cheek referred to, which is really just office space the LCAA rotates artist through. Their June artist fell through, and they called me. Since I am working on and saving some pieces for an exhibit in the library in August, I just grabbed some old things--and the White Lillies--to hang there. (Notice the nod, once again, to Cezanne in the blue vase of flowers in the background?)
I included a painting of Hueco Tanks near El Paso, TX that I like.