Posts Tagged ‘painting studies’

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother

January 18, 2010

She begat me and I became her. As a teen, I resisted, as an adult, I’m honored and hope to fill the toes of her shoes.

Wise, gentle, compassionate, I never heard her yell or be rude. Always makes people feel welcomed and wanted.  And at almost 90,  I still have her in my life. At the prodding of a friend,  I thought I’d try a portrait.

First a rough sketch in willow on linen.

Pre- toned canvas, light sienna wash.

Trying to work out the main features in a general way.

The real mom.

Thought I had a good ride with this one so far and then. Then. It all went south and I think I forgot how to paint. Can you forget? Can you forget how to apply the paint. Seems that’s where much of my angst lies. It’s either too thick, too thin, too muddied, too overdone, or just too wrong.  So this tribute to be is not to be. It’s been duly scraped and scrapped.

But let me paint a portrait of her for you with some of her/my favorite expressions and quotes that I still find myself parroting today.

” I’m too light for heavy work, and too heavy for light work “

” One mother can care for 10 children but 1o children can’t care for one mother “

” When in doubt, DON’T “

” The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know “

” For a marriage to work, the man should love the woman a drop more than the woman loves the man “.

” A woman needs her own pishka * that no one knows about ( * translation from Yiddish- a private stash of your own money – kept even from your husband )

( Hope my husband isn’t reading the last two but if he is…. Hi Honey!  You know I don’t listen to my mother ).

” After 70 there are only two things a man is looking for in a woman- a nurse or a purse, and I’m not going to be either one ” ( This said after my father died )

And after my  commenting doubtfully on a boyfriend much shorter than I, she added ” laying down, they’re all the same height “.

How can you not love the simple truth and beauty of her take on things!?

She is the source of my inspired love of painting, decorating, and general festooning of anything. She has painted walls, lampshades, shoes, canvases, and toilet seats. The latter with thick applications of acrylic paint in the form of flowers thinking we were all asleep.

Some of ” we ” were not. And sat down. And stood up with the seat still stuck to my sitbones.

But seriously, what am I going to do about getting paint onto canvas without suffering the perpetual ” Scrapenheiser Disorder “? Really. Help.

I’ll ask them, see if anyone here can lend an ear.

Surely someone HERE can lend an ear- just look at them!

The Elixir

May 29, 2008

– An earlier post ( Oh No, I’ve Hit A Wall ) showed this drawing which led to the progression of studies that ultimately produced the finished painting at the very bottom of this sequence. It’s acrylic in 11X14.

Thought it would be interesting to show how painting or drawing the same thing over and over again makes it familiar. It worked for Van Gogh. How many of HIS self portraits can you look at and never find it repetitive!

-My reference is a vintage photo from Guadaloupe seen here on top of the easel. ( Notice the red-eyed and eager studio assistant in the right hand background ). From the drawing, I moved again to my new favorite- cardboard, to do a value and placement study.

-The Committment- CANVAS! I found myself referring to some of the lessons of my workshop in the use of focal point and making the contrasts of light and dark more bold.

James Gurney in his spectacularly informative blog, Gurney Journey, describes “flagging the face” where you highlight the focal face with a contrasted light color behind to draw the eye in.

I used a glazing medium which allows the paint to be more malleable and layered the colors for subtle color shifts. Finished painting is here to the left.

-The Elixir is taken seriously in the Caribbean and Africa. There are references to ” Bush Tea ” here on St. Croix which includes some or all of : Lemongrass, Basil, Ginger, Mint. The applications of leaves that have been heated in oil and applied directly to afflicted parts of the body are legendary among the elders who have passed this information on.

Eden South, a local company here on St. Croix has a very extensive listing of plants and herbs with illustrations and uses for the endless varieties that grow here.

Let’s all raise a glass of our favorite elixir and toast to creativity, good health, free expression and a change in November!