Archive for July, 2009

Thinkin’ Bout It- A New Painting

July 31, 2009

Don’t Just Do Something, sit there!


We’re used to the opposite edict.

Hurry, do something, clean, paint, organize life’s relentless messes, write letters to Congress, save a life, call your mother,  but do SOMETHING!

I’m going to do what she’s doing. My doppelgänger, above.

ˈdäpəlˌga ng ər| noun
an apparition or double of a living person.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from German, literally ‘double-goer.’

It’s high summer, and low motivation. Why do I  think I can be Superwoman in the Tropics? Why am I the only senseless organism  still pushing it at 3 in the afternoon when every other mammal in the house is sleeping off the mid day heat?

Because we were supposed to Not Just Sit There- We were supposed to Do Something.

So I did this 6X8, loosey goosey, alla prima, fear of green painting. I’ve photoshopped for corrections in sharpness, but fear overcompensating and losing it completely. She really looks sun sprinkled in the original.

As I expect to be this week. A good friend arrives tonight from NY for a weeks’ vacation with us. And I’m going to show by example, how taking your time is not only essential, it can garner you extra attention.

Maybe a manicure though……..

Beating an Inanimate Horse

July 21, 2009

It wasn’t dead until I got my hands and brush on it. Then I really killed it.

full speed sienna

The sienna wash sketch seemed a good start. Trying to minimize painting an outline but a horse’s anatomy isn’t familiar to me. Thought I needed some lines for proportion.

And then! And then, with a few deftly and consistently  wrong swabs of a brush, I kept at it until I ruined it.

The horse is full speed ahead, the young man, bareback, barefoot, confident, slender stick in his teeth.

This is the only section that had redemption.

speedcolor If that.

What started out a steed, ended up looking like the equine version of Carol Channing. Like a carousel horse. With garish make-up and curly mane.

When you start dabbing and poking at it, it’s time to scrape.

Especially after looking at Frank Gardners‘ new painting of a horse called Ben. One brush stroke at a time you can see how he sees color. And the shift from sun to shade. Just go look at this painting and double click to see it close. It is so beautiful.

I don’t have it this week. This might be why.

beautiful beamer

Our beautiful girl Beamer 1/99-7/09. She was just as she looks. My first dog. And never went anywhere without her football purse. A very sad day.

Or maybe THIS is the reason:


Cute? Yes. Claws like Freddie Kreuger? Times velocity? Plus a lower lip ( not mine ), a moving vehicle ( my husband ), all together equals a trip to the emergency room.

Cliff note version: ( so aptly named if you saw the hill I’m on ): walking above cute dog on our hilly road. Daddy passes in pick up truck, stops, and dog, all 58 pounds of him tried to leap like a Chihuahua through the open window and instead makes contact with Kellys’ lower lip. I see spurts of blood, I hear expletives. I know it can’t be good. He drove with one hand, holding his lip together with the other. I ran home with the dog.

With only two people ahead of us, we thought we’d be a quick in and out. That turned into almost 4 hours.

By 10:30 PM we were back home, 8 stitches later. A double cocktail week- both stirred AND shaken.

Decided to read about art instead- another Gardner- Isabella Stewart Gardner and the world’s largest and most mysterious  art theft.  The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser.

Still, none of this really explains why I don’t have it this week. Does it? Anyone??

The Details are a Bit Sketchy: Life Drawings

July 9, 2009


Being away for a month without picking up a brush reminds me that my next cocktail should be Rust-o-leum on the rocks and not a Cosmo. How best to re-enter the atmosphere of painting than to sketch.

It’s been decades since I’ve had a life drawing class and was thrilled to find one here when I got back home.

Through a grant from the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, a fellow local artist, Cindy, applied for and recieved a VICA grant to open her studio to anyone wanting to draw from live models at a ridiculously low fee for two hours.

She’s providing the space, the advertising to keep the word out, and live models in all stages of dress, period and regional costume and no stages of dress too.

Photos remove a critical dimension that flattens your perception. The flesh and muscle of a live model moves your pencil without trickery or shortcuts.

It’s hot, didn’t want to dally around details so I tried drawing from the feet up, to think of the model as a landscape of body parts and not a head on a neck on shoulders.

After 40 years of not doing life drawings, and feeling like a rust bucket, I wasn’t stretchbloghorrified.

It’s an exercise of stretching before doing a race.

And it makes you see what’s really there, not what you think you see is there.

And while mentioning buckets, how could I leave without some organic reminder of where I live.

This is another kind of bucket and although not of a rusty nature, it was a surprise from my husband who brought it home with the same pride your 4 year old would have shown in handing you roadkill.

5galsof It’s bat guano. The best darn fertilizer an urban transplant gal like myself could ever wish for after, perhaps a gift certificate to Bergdorfs’.

He really, really missed me.

Eat your hearts out ladies…………and you men, take notes.

It’s good to be home.

Now I’m going to open a tube of Ultramarine and see what a sniff of oils will do to get me motivated again.