DAY #350 – AS GOOD AS I CAN GET

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Wow, I never thought such a little painting (11×14″) could be such a challenge.  The next time I have the great idea to grab ten highly reflective things and attempt to paint them, someone stop me!

I truly thought I’d be able to finish this watercolor in two hours and then start something else.  Five hours later, I just put down the paint brush.

The inside of the large ball proved to be the greatest challenge.  It’s an example of a reflection within a reflection. It’s also an example of a total nerd because I loved every moment of it! I love trying to figure those little areas out.  I bet if I tried this painting all over again I could totally nail it.  Too bad my attention span isn’t long enough.  Of course I want to move on to something else…that’s just the way my energy flows!

I  have pottery tomorrow.  I am biting my nails wondering if my glazing experiments have worked out.  I’m so nervous!

So pottery play tomorrow and then I will figure out something new to begin on Wednesday… Hmm. time is ticking, what shall I do in my final days???

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#348 – MAKE IT TWINKLE

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What was I thinking taking on such an ambitious subject matter?

I am attempting to paint vintage glass Christmas ornaments, incredibly sparkly ones at that.

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First I attempted to paint in all of the painted patterns on the ornaments. I thought they’d be brighter if I painted them in the first layer as opposed to over three layers of darker colors.  Not sure this was the greatest approach.  It broke up the flow of paint on all of the ornaments. My aqua blue water-color paint is a bit grainy as well.  It sticks in some places and not others making it difficult to create the illusion of transparency or reflection.

So I am going very slow.  This painting is going to take quite a few layers of watercolor to produce depth and light. I knew I should have just painted a snowman.  You know, a white snowman in a blizzard (aka. a blank sheet of paper!) .  I should have painted two coal eyes and a carrot nose and called it a day!

I have another project I wanted to do for tomorrow too. Wish me luck on getting both done with the kids home and hopefully some sled riding in our future! Tomorrow is gingerbread man baking day as well. Plus we wanted to go see the movie Frozen. Maybe I should just stay up tonight and push on through to morning.

The snow is coming down outside. Everyone is asleep.  It’s quiet.  Now it’s really beginning to feel like winter.

How does it go?  “Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…”

Nap. Hmm. I can’t think of anything better!

Goodnight to All.

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DAY #339 – ROSES WITH ROSEMARY

 

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For some reason when I woke up this morning I felt like changing the color of the roses.  The roses were from my garden and in real life they are cherry red.  The color is mystically somewhere between red and hot-pink.  Although I have tried, I just can’t duplicate its magnificence, so might as well go with my imagination.  Red it is!

Now this painting is not a true rendering, it’s loopy on purpose.  It is a contour drawing that I then water colored.  I like it when other artists work is loose and imprecise, so I figured I’d try to loosen up a little too.  The paintings take on a bit more personality and quirkiness I think.

Roses with Rosemary also features a couple of my pieces of pottery.  I love how the bleeding of watercolors is similar to the blending in glazes.  They are imperfect and flow where they want to go.  I like this about both mediums.

Also, this watercolor is smaller than I have been working lately.  It is an 11″ x 14″ and yet it still took me two days.  That’s roses for ya.

I may be resigned to smaller canvases as I try to navigate through this marathon of a month, but hey, I started small so maybe that’s fitting.

Tonight is opening night for my daughter’s play.  I’d tell you to wish her luck and to break a leg, but she’s actually the kid that would land in the emergency room.  So let’s just wish her a happy & exciting night and smooth sailing for mom!

Humbug!

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#298 – YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY…AN APPLE A DAY

#298 - YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY...AN APPLE A DAY (1)

This still life just came calling to me from…from… my counter!

It’s an 18×24″ watercolor on 140 lb. cold-press paper.

This was the last of our orchard apples.  From here on out, it’s back to the store-bought variety. tear.

The bowl is one of the first bowls I ever made in pottery class.  I can only imagine what my pottery teacher was thinking as she watched me randomly painting a bowl with glazes (most potters dip their pottery to achieve an even beautiful finish).  Yeah, I painted on the glaze. It dripped and speckled and became very uneven and quite frankly that’s what I love about it.  It’s silly, I’ve made many other bowls since then, but this little cereal bowl is still my favorite.

Here is the progression of the painting:

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I’ve slowly learned to always add the shadows before using red or black paint.  If you so much as touch either of those two colors with water after they are down on paper, they run all over the place.  Keeping that in mind, I was able to keep my whites white.  See, look at that.  It only took me 298 days to figure that one out!

As for my private life, I got word today that after the political mess of speaking out against something, the parties that be, got the message.  They are meeting with us next week to fix the problem.  I’m glad something good can hopefully come from all that emotional turmoil I felt this week. We shall see…

I have a busy weekend away which always puts the “challenge” in my 365 Creative Challenge.  I’m going to have to come up with a creative project or two that can be accomplished in the car.  That’s about the time I will have.

Hmm…I’ll come up with something. Surely!

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DAY #297 – DONE AND DONE-ER

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I got it done!

That felt good.

I mentioned yesterday feeling miserable about confronting someone politically on some touchy stuff.

It totally threw off my energy and I was filling my brain with all sorts of scenarios…this could now happen…that could now happen…who supports me…who’s against me….

It’s what my mom calls total EGO.

I was aware of it and knew from a zen perspective I needed to quiet my mind.

I put on some peaceful “yoga” music, had a cup of tea, then decided heading outdoors was the best place to find some peace.

I walked through my neighborhood, studying the falling leaves and breathing in the newly chilled air.

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I sat on a glider in my back yard enjoying the birds and squirrels when all of a sudden, I noticed something.

The maple seed pods on my table were all standing up. I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever seen.  Did my son do it? No. I sat and watched.  We have so many maple trees that when the wind blows the sky rains seed pods.  I watched them land.  Some fell perfectly aligned with the holes in the table others blew away.

What a tiny phenomenon. I was just so happy to be the observer of such a pretty thing.

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I then went to the front yard to take in the beauty of my rose bushes, one last time before the frost takes them.

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The last of my Gaillardia too.  I treated myself to the last of my summer garden and then sat down to get to work.

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I finished this 25″ x 35″ Day of the Dead watercolor and even had time to start on tomorrow’s painting.

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Can you tell what it’s going to be?

No. I’m not telling.

You’ll just have to wait to find out tomorrow!

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DAY #296- SO CLOSE

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I’m very tired.  Something is weighing heavy on my heart.

You know I’ve complained more than a few times about national politics in my blog, but today I was tested on a local political issue and I feel like I failed.

What does this have to do with the painting I almost finished today? Nothing. Except that dramatic email messages surged through my computer distracting me from my work and raising my blood-pressure.

It threw off my entire day.

I won’t go into details, but there have been a few times in my life now, where I’ve stood and truly said what I believe.  I might still, even to this day, think what I said was right, but at what price?

Politics is doing a little dance, where you both don’t say what it is you want yet you make it abundantly clear and through subtle channels, you both get what it is you want.

Sometimes blurting out your truth, as true as you think it may be, ends the dance or may even have you losing your dance partner.

I had one of those days.  I spoke out and it will most likely have done me more harm than good.

Those them there are teachable moments.

Learning what not to do.

I’m so very tired.

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#294- THE PAINTED FACE

#294- THE PAINTED FACE

Wow. Painting in the skeleton’s face today took longer than I thought.

That’s most likely due to its size (25″ x 35″ inches) and the fact that I had to keep on mixing a ton of different colors.

However, with the color, my subject matter is beginning to emerge!

  I can only imagine how long it is going to take to paint the 50 some-odd beads of the necklace in the foreground!

I also see where I need to add some darker shadows like the entire bottom half of the mug.

Adding the color to the oranges on the left should help balance the focal points and get your eye moving through the painting.

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It’s pretty cool creating a still life that incorporates your own work.  In this case my pottery.  It takes personal to a whole new level.  The black and white striped bowl to the left is something I made in pottery as well.

 When I look at the still life, I don’t just think “how nice a weird little mug”.  I think of throwing the vessels, building the face and painting and glazing. I think “Wow, something from pottery class that I didn’t mess up!” I had also mentioned, my glasses and brightly colored necklace are part of my body décor.  I have fun wearing crazy color combinations every day too.  Seeing my things in a still life makes it very personal.

They are a small part of me and each small aspect is a part of being creative.

As usual, I’m thoroughly enjoying the process!

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Day # 291- FROM THE SHADOWS

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From the shadows emerges…

…a half-finished painting!

Today was spent painting in the shadows on my 25″ x 35″ still life featuring my day of the dead mug.  I might as well call it a self-portrait of sorts.  I’m known around town for wearing brightly colored trappings.  My rhinestone glasses and multi-colored glass bead necklace are just the beginning.  The pottery studio, where I receive instruction, is filled with cappuccino & earthy colored glazes…and then there’s Mary’s work.  It could probably be confused with Pee-Wee Herman’s!  I’m also infatuated with black and white patterns which you’ll find in bowls, pitchers and fabrics throughout my work.

Yep, this painting features a few of my favorite things.

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As usual, Willow likes it.

My daughter thinks it’s the funniest thing.  Every morning we find the cat sitting on my most current work.

Silly cat!

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Tomorrow comes the color…so enjoy the peace and tranquility while you can!

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Day #290 – THE MAKING OF A STILL LIFE

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I had a tough time this morning.

I am on day #290 and only today does it feel like I woke up not knowing what I wanted to do.  I’m always teeming with ideas. I have to say it felt quite strange.

First I thought I’d make some mini-paintings.  I’d take a stack of 2″x3″ watercolor paper and see how many tiny paintings I could create in a day.

I wound up staring at tiny blank canvases. I decided to scratch that idea.

Next I took out an art book for inspiration.  The book was “The Artist’s Eye” by Harriet Shorr. If you have a minute, click on her name above.  Check out her work.  It’s amazing. Harriet works VERY LARGE. Roughly 5 feet x 8 feet. Her focus is still-lives.  At such a large size, she works on distorting reality.  Most things are traditional, yet a few unexpected things pop in or out of her paintings.  She is also a bold colorist.  This is why I look at her work when I need inspiration!

Harriet Shorr also uses small numbers of objects, generally around three objects on a GIANT canvas.  She says it’s to focus the eye, yet also let the eye rest.

I started with three objects.  My new day of the dead mug I made in pottery class, an empty Magic Hat #9 beer bottle and a bowl of oranges.

The only problem thus far, is that I’m not Harriet Shorr!  Somehow I wound up adding my favorite eye glasses, a brightly colored glass bead necklace and a paintbrush showing signs of love. Now it began looking more like a Mary Ercoli Walsh!

The idea of working large-scale appealed to me as well. However, I have no place to put something 5 feet by 8 feet, so I went with 25 inches by 35 inches which is still PLENTY BIG bby my standards.

I like to photograph my still lives and this is why, I don’t want to wind up with this:

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A flat still life.  I want the eye to go in and around the objects.  In the olden days, artists would create a small frame and look through the frame to accomplish the same thing a lens does for me.  Figuring out how to crop what you are seeing.  I like to heavily crop objects, so that they then take on a new shape.  I like to focus on the negative space, just as much as the positive.

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Out of the many, many photos that I took, these were the few that personally, held visual interest for me.

Somehow, I picked one from that group and began to sketch it out on the large watercolor paper.

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I left my feet in the photo to give you a visual cue for gauging it’s size.

Tomorrow I should be ready to rock and roll!

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I made it through a very mild case of artists block today. It sure is great knowing what I will be working on tomorrow!

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Day #285 – LADY LIBERTY

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Painting complete!

I finally decided on a name for this painting, Lady Liberty.

The still life began with apples as it’s focus, but I think my Statue of Liberty planter stole the show.  At least for me, it’s the constant thing my eye is drawn to.

It was nice to turn off the radio today and get away from national politics.  Away from the stories of people without paychecks, economists predicting a collapse of world markets if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, Syria, Egypt, Iran, the list of doom and gloom goes on…

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Instead, I spent the day outdoors.  Taking in the last of the sun’s warm glow, our local farms, the beach, the fish markets.  I saw a lot of my local environ today.  My family participated in a town-wide scavenger hunt which was a benefit for Easter Seals.  It was a terrific event.  It sent us on a wild-goose chase taking photos in front of monuments, doing push-ups on docks, visiting local businesses, even saluting our American Flag.

It gave me a moment of pause, a check in, a reminder that even if there is a lot of drama in our capitol or the world at large for that matter, my small little town is doing OK.  Parents are playing with their kids, businesses are giving back to their community and together we raised a good amount of money for a very good cause. A local cause.

The Little People of this country keep on keeping on.  We do our best, we come together, we create common goals, we accomplish them and we even have a terrific time doing it.

If through art, my focus was upon our nation this week, the lesson I take with me is this.  What makes our country great is not our form of government.  It’s not our financial market, nor our impact on the world.  What has always made this country great is the communities.  Rich, poor, legal, illegal, Democratic or Republican.  We are all humans.  We love the people in our lives, we try to help our neighbors, we try to make our little patches of our country the best we can.  That has always happened on a local level.  Mayors and governors are more in tune than the men on The Hill.

Perhaps my focus for this upcoming week will be more on my community and less on the nation.

Congress could learn a lot from us Little People.

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