Monday, April 30, 2018

Continuing Education

We've all heard the cliche "when one door closes, another opens".  That's what happened to me last week;  for many years I've wanted to have a taste of atelier schooling.  This is very classical type of work for an artist to learn to see and render very accurately.    Its very intense, and most are far away.   I was dismayed that I couldn't go to one this summer, but a friend suggested a teacher only a few hours from me.  So I jumped at it!

Safet Musinovic has a studio in Sioux Falls SD.   I and my friend Bonnie decided on 3 days of several hours.  This seems simple enough, hahah, not so fast!   This was hard!  Its intense!   Its frustrating!   And I loved it!  Safet was a wonderful teacher, very patient and kind and helped every step of the way.  I learned sooo much, and I see so many ways I can use this in my own work, including plein air.  (painting outside).  

I worked on a cast of a mouth, while Bonnie continued on a full face of a bearded old man she'd started a few weeks ago.  A mouth, hmm...figured I'd get that done in a few hours.  Boy, was I wrong!   But its not about having a nice sketch of a mouth--I can do that in a few minutes.  Its digging deep to train the eye to see so very well.   Instead of fixing problems, you take time to be accurate from the start as much as possible.   Its making tiny marks and adjustments. 

We used hard and medium charcoal on white Canson paper, and a kneaded eraser.   Each day felt less awkward.   By day 3, Safet's words were sinking into my poor little overheated brain, and I finished my cast drawing.   All the way home I was thinking of his words, and looking in a new way.   As hard as it was, I am enthusiastic to start another learning project.   Guess this ol dog can learn new tricks.
Bonnie and I with our work

My patient teacher Safet

the beginning with a small sketch 'plan'
midway thru

Safet's super cool studio
My final drawing.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Taking the Back Roads

5'Oclock Shadows; 9x12 pastel   $145 ready to frame
I am a pretty serious homebody--I've made a life and home that is pretty great, so its got to be a good reason to pry me out of here.   But on occasion, I do, usually for art and or a horse event.    I do not care to be in the car much, especially on the interstate; I know, its quicker but so very boring!!   So, I take the back roads. 

On the back roads, there are so many things to see!   Horses and cattle grazing in lush pasture, barns in various states of health, rows of crops, kids playing on swingsets.    The back roads are slower, yes, but to me, oh so worth it!  

I was heading home just as the sun was setting last summer, and found this scene.   I pulled over, let Arty out (another bonus of those backroads--no traffic!)  and snapped some photos.  I also just took it in--smelled the fresh air, felt the breeze, you know "stopped to smell the roses" kinda thing.   This is what I kept in mind as I painted this piece, "5o'clock Shadows", hoping those things I was feeling will come across to the viewer.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Making my own sunshine

Ah, February in SD.  One day is warm and the hint of spring on the way...then a day later, its snow and bitter cold.   Blah!   So I am not into painting when I loose feeling in my extremities, so its time to visit my reference file.  

This is from this past summer, a lazy dirt road not far from my home.   I have driven and rode this road several times, and its not gotten old yet; I can see forever on the tops of those hills!   And the sky is so big from up there, too!  
So while we are being kept in the deep freeze, I am making my own sunshine.

Dirt Road; 9x12 pastel     $145.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Just sketchin'

I had a fun commission to do and since it cannot be shown yet, I will just show what I do in my free time...some sketching.   I need to do more, can never do enough really.   Its one of those things that is hard to sit down to do but yet when I finally get to it, I just can't believe I put it off!  

One of my favorite things to do is sit down with my laptop or phone and do small thumbnail sketches.   When one really makes me take notice, I'll set up to paint it either right away or at least very soon.  

This really is a good habit, far better than watching tv or endless facebook surfing.    Then when painting time comes around, I am not fiddling and wasting time finding something to paint.  My sketchbooks are messy and private, so I am free to mess up, scribble, and experiment. 

Here are some samples, some messier, some a bit more refined...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dang, its cold!

"Winter Ride"   6x8 pastel    $45 unframed
One good thing about the cold is I get stuff done inside.   But sometimes, I just gotta get out for a bit regardless.   My daughter and I went for a short horse ride the other day and altho the temps were fairly warm, the wind slapped us hard!   So it was a short ride, but that sky!  

I snapped a photo and while sipping hot tea and snug in my studio, I painted it.   Its not a plein air (painted from life outdoors), but I think I caught that same feel as it was fresh in my mind and I worked quickly, so as not to dilly dally over details.

Its small as I have other commission work to do, but I felt I needed to get my artistic mojo going first.   I used a piece of paper I'd done color swatches on previously, and used alcohol to just blend them all together, making a deep purple underpainting.  Perfect for painting snow and cold winter skies! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day to Night

Did you know that an artist is so powerful, we can change day into night?   Yes, its true!     This past spring when out hiking, I took photos (imagine that!) of the creek behind my home.    Like it often happens, when I look at the photo later, meh, its not as grand as I thought at the time.  But I did like the composition of the photo; the lay of the land, so to speak.   So I thought this would be a good time to try an exercise I'd been thinking of....

I wanted to use a photo that no longer seemed so worthy,  and making it work in some other way.   I set out to change either the season, palette or time of day.   I did some thumbnails and then put the photo in black n white on my computer so I could concentrate on values, not colors. 

In this original photo, I mainly liked how the creek drew the eye into the landscape.   But being Spring, it was too much of the same green, the trees were boring and the sky completely washed out.  I decided I wanted to add the mood of a moonlit evening, complete with fireflies.

"Firefly Dance"  9x12 pastel  $150.
  Its not easy changing the day to night!  It really stretched my artistic eye, but I think it turned out well in the end.  I will try this idea again in some way.    It could open up many new ideas, letting me add my own 'self' into the paintings rather than just being a copier.    It was just a lot of fun!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

What a Ride!

Yup, I've been awol again...but for good reason!   I was very fortunate to have a visitor for a couple weeks, Ray Ainsworth.   He had been teaching me some long distance horsemanship and decided to come stay!   My horses and I thank him deeply, as his teaching is easy to understand and its a kind way to work with horses.  
We learned so much in such a short time!   He loved our little part of the world and it was fun listening to him almost daily say "oh wow, just look at that!" as we drove around, going to someone's place to help more horses.   An amazing time that won't be forgotten!  Now to put those lessons to use!