Posts Tagged ‘quick studies’

Been At A Painting Too Long?

November 3, 2008

How do you know when it’s time to stop belaboring a painting?

Would this do it?

Photo taken at the National Zoo in Washington, courtesy of my good friend Judy Wolfe, artist and photographer and one who knows me well.

She laughed when she saw it, knew it would crack me up, which it did, and then what? Would the message have gotten through?

” Less is More “, ” When in Doubt, Leave it Out”, ” Brylcreem, a Little Dab’l Do Ya ” ( I think that last one would be more familiar to readers the same age as the skeleton ). You get the point. Yes, but did I ?

I ordered some Raymar panels in their sample pack to test the surface, having used stretched canvas mostly. They’re small, 6X8 and ideal for quick studies as well as plein air work.

This was a photo I took at our local farmers’ market last weekend and liked the image and the subject.

Thought I’d loosen up my hand and rather than draw first, just have at it with paint and brush and my new best friend ” SQUINT “.

One hour, not one week.

Think I want to do more of these. Just not today. It’s the day before election day and I can’t paint with my fingers crossed and my hands shaking……!

Plain Brown Box (es )

May 20, 2008

-I used to live on another island. Manhattan. You could buy anything, anytime. Not so, here. Much of my shopping is done via catalogue or the web which means lots of cartons come to my post office box. Our mail has to be picked up at the post office – we’re pretty far from any main road where mail delivery might be an option.

So now there’s an attic full of heavy duty cardboard boxes that I hate to throw out but also hate saving, “just in case”. Just in case what? I have to ship back something whose warrantee expired five years ago or worse, one day after the three year extended warrantee is up? Took them down from the attic ( it always feels good to purge and re-acquaint yourself with your collective accumulations ) and cut them apart to flatten them and thought they’d make good platforms for painting. I like the color of brown cardboard- kinda like the sienna tint of a canvas that was once white.

-There were gobs of assorted colors left in my Sta-Wet palette so I tried a few really quick studies, aiming for free-hand, no drawing, fast blocking in of dark mass. The way the lights jump off the brown background creates a striking contrast without having to paint in those light spots to be whiter than an already white canvas.

-These were two really fast and painless exercises. It’s good practice. I may have to shop more.

– Now I’d like to engage the encyclopedic collective of my friends and art readers to help me identify a painting. This one immediately above, with the painting in the background of the painting, is a version of one of an impressionists’ ( the best attempt to learn from the masters is to copy them ) that I did more decades ago than I’d like to confess to. ( If I had any memory left, I believe my age group would have ended with ” teen “. )

I took it from my Jansons’ History of Art Book, which I no longer have. I thought it was Cezanne and I’ve checked on-line but don’t see this turning up in any of his archives. Does anyone have an a-ha?

Oh No! I’ve Hit a Wall!

April 18, 2008

When your current medium of choice becomes a QUART of Gesso, and your favorite brush width is a 4″ housepainters’ special, you, fellow artists can surmise that I’ve hit the old 2000 mile long Great Wall of Nothingness!

Since my last two shows, I apparently used up whatever I had and have gone blank, should be relegated to drawing stick figures like the old hangman game ( remember that one? ), and haven’t been able to paint another canvas since.

I can further punish myself by looking, no, fawning over everyone else’s blog whose work knocks me out and imagine that they’ve never known moments like these because their work is endlessly luminous, prolific and they confess to loving every minute they’re in the studio. Not painting but looking at other art blogs is akin to buying the exercise clothes, paying for membership and NOT GOING to the gym.


This frustrating condition led me to a very interesting blog by Robert Genn covering a topic called painters remorse ( hmmm, I thought- there are others …). His writings are just the thing I needed to read as well as those of other artists expressing their points of view about the same dilemma.

One of my favorite artists Carol Marine– a great painter of still lifes so alive and frisky, you’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite, also posted a comment on his blog about this very frustrating perception.

Stop whining, I said to myself. Start painting or something, said my husband ( and cheerleader ).

What is that something! I’m ruining every canvas, hating everything, what do I do? This self-flagellation is sublimely easy when you work alone without other artists to commiserate with or learn from.

I began to sketch and do quick studies just for the practice of re-introducing my hand to my eyes again.

Pencil in a moleskine book and a loose watercolor ( my first, really ) doodle just to break this streak.

In the form of confessional here and as a way of segue-ing into a workshop next week, you my loyal, kind, admiring readers get to view these.

I’ve signed up for a 5 day workshop here next week given by Bruce Williamson ( more details next week…..). This will be my first official painting/drawing class in decades. Although he works in oils and I use acrylics, I’m going to take the classes anyway to be in the much needed company of other artists and a teacher. It’s 5 full days, 8 hours a day.

That ought to slap the whining out of my psyche and get me back in the mode or mood.