Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Altered Books, Birds of Prey, Sun Valley Center for the Arts,

" Bird of Prey "
Mixed Media
I was invited to submit an altered book project for an exhibit at our communtiy library. I had not heard of the craft of altering books until this past August when I met Jim Rosenau during the Sun Valley Arts & Crafts Festival. He had the booth behind mine. I loved what he was doing and I enjoyed his sense of humor. He posts a disclaimer for those who might be upset that books are destroyed by the process... "No books that could change the course of the world are used".
I was most interested in turning a book into a sculpture while maintaining a "theme". So I chose an old hard back entitled "Birds of Prey" from my own bookshelf. I have quite a collection of birding books but this one was the only one I felt like sacrificing.
As I envisioned how to proceed I thought this is going to be so much fun....I actually thought I might give up painting for this new "fun" medium. When I started cutting the book carefully through from front cover to back cover with a fine blade hacksaw I quickly realized this wasn't going to be as easy as I'd thought. While I really liked the end result I will stick to painting!
I will be teaching an oil painting workshop for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in October.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Boulder Mountain View from Summer Cabins, Sun Valley Idaho, Plein Air, Art Tip #21

" Boulder Mountain View from Summer Cabins "
This view was painted from my friend Jan's incredible view of these magnificent mountains!
Art Tip #21
When you feel your painting is "stuck" and you can't quite figure out what it needs try taking it off the easel and stand it against a solid white or black background. Leave it over night and come back with a fresh eye. Often the solution is obvious. With small paintings I also put a large solid colored board behind it while on the easel to block all the distracting things around the painting as I paint(easel, room clutter, etc.)

Boulder Mountain View from Baker Creek, Idaho Landscapes, Plein Air, Sun Valley Idaho

Boulder Mountain View from Baker Creek
I enjoy painting views of the Boulder Mountain in any season. Fall color is is mostly yellow from the Aspen trees. This view included oranges and caught my eye.
Plein air painting with my friend, Julie.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Still Life Lemons French Fabric

" Lemons & Blue Olive Napkin "
Lots of sunny yellow in this little painting. I add cadmium yellow medium to my limited palette when I paint lemons, also yellow ocher as I find it faster to get the muted yellow-greens. I premixed all the colors for this painting. Decisions made..apply paint = fun! Well, sort of. Painting is hard, mental work that I wouldn't trade for any profession.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Still Life Lemons, William Sonoma dish towel Art Tip #20 Stripes

" Lemons & Blue Stripe Cloth "
Back to my favorite props... lemons and vintage William Sonoma dish towel.
It was a beautiful fall day here, sunny and warm. The leaves are just starting to turn. The fall color is mostly yellow...aspen trees. I have many climbing vines..honeysuckle, Virginia Creeper and Wedding Lace that are beginning to turn. That adds beautiful reds and oranges to our garden. I hope its beautiful where you are.
Art Tip #20: Stripes
When you are using a striped fabric in your still life use the direction of the stripes and fabric folds & bumps to creat movement & drama in the overall composition.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Still Life with Bartlett Pear

" One Pear "
I call this a funny little painting! Funny because it was a non-serious effort using pastel background colors that I would normally shy away from..not bold enough. I also like the little bit of lean to the left the pear has. I think what holds it together are the little dark punches I put in with a palette knife to create contrast. It kept me busy while my students were focusing on their work in between needing my help.

Red Plums II, Still Life, Plein Air, Art Tip #20.

" Red Plums II "
My students, Vickie and Jan, were painting outdoors with me. We set up in my garden under a huge umbrella..the light was devine and the weather warm. I chose to paint a very simple set-up of plums, fabric and spoon. The folds in the fabric key to keeping it from being too boring.
Art Tip #20: Composition idea. Look at the four corners of your painting. If all four are equal, make one of them unequal. In Red Plums I have the spoon in one of the corners, the other three are basically the same. You can do this with an object (spoon, fabric fold, etc. in still life or rocks, water, weeds, etc. in landscape) or with value or other design element. The idea is to keep the viewer's eye entertained and not have your painting be predictable. Shows you how important the corners of a painting are. In yesterday's post I used a darker value in the upper right to vary that corner. Of course this was planned as I was setting up the objects to paint, not decided after I started painting..goes back to planning from the get-go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red Plums & Blue Knife Daily Painting, Art Tip #19

"Red Plums & Blue Knife"
Wow, after a busy summer with two shows I'm finally back painting a few little dailies! It feels great. I painted this in my studio under artificial light. The next one I post was painted outdoors in natural light. You can really see the difference. Warm artificial light/cool shadows and cool natural light/warm shadows.
Art Tip #19: Fail to plan = plan to fail. My montra these days with my students is to hammer home the idea of what is most important in painting. First, composition. Second, value and lastly color. Without a good composition your painting will end up being a dog. Composition is the skeleton you hang the meat on. It sets the stage/tells the story/involves your viewer...or not, if not well planned. Take the time to do a thumbnail sketch or two before starting your out the big shapes you see, where are your darks/shadows and lights? What will be your center of interest? Change what you see to create an interesting balance/pattern/design. Study composition and learn the elements of design. I like to lay a piece of acetate over a photo of a beautiful painting and trace the big shapes to see the design the artist used. On more complicated, large paintings I do a detailed sketch, making notes as to values and colors and I refer to this throughout the painting process.