Monday, June 6, 2016

Blue Iris

Blue Iris, 2.5" x 3.5"

The irises bloom along Audubon Lake in the springtime. These yellow beauties caught my eye, sunlit against a deep blue, shadowy curve.

Favorite part: The one descending leaf. The counterpoint shape pleases my eye.

Glen Falls from above

Above Glen Falls, 2.5" x 3.5" on Arches 300# w/c 

Glen Falls is a local spectacle, located on Ellicott Creek in Williamsville, NY. I was standing on the bride along Main Street, looking down to where the falls cascade over the edge, which is why you see such a sharp edge in the distance. It's a lovely little park, and the falls are impressive. One of these days I'll paint  them, too.

Favorite part: The shady spot in the lower right-hand corner, with the rocks and reflections beneath the overhanging trees.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Spring Flowers

Tulips and Daffs, gouache, 2.5" x 3.5" on  Bristol Vellum
Alstroemeria, 2.5" x 3.5" on Canvas Paper

Tulips and Daffs: You can see the dry-brush strokes a result of dragging my angled shaper over a rag to remove most of the paint. I used creamy gouache, like thin mayonnaise, swathing the paper in a nice layer of paint, and then dabbed off the excess, so that I could go back in with the negative shape strokes to define the flowers, leaves and stems. The Bristol Vellum develops this texture as a result of way the paint is applied.

Favorite part: Those two white dabs near the upper tulip that catch your eye. I like the contrast and interesting shapes. The quickness of the strokes is evident. That pleases me, too.

Alstroemeria: Canvas Paper mimics the look of woven canvas, which I used to advantage in this painting. The texture shows where the lighter paint covers the darker strokes. I placed dry-brush effects on the leaves to enhance them and draw the eye there.

Favorite part: The color of the foliage. This green is very blue, a color that takes a little doing to get right. Too much blue and it reads as plastic looking! This time I think I got it right.

Complementary Bouquet

Complementary Bouquet, 3" x 3" on mystery paper
Do you ever forget about a painting? I painted this a month ago and recently rediscovered it under the pile of papers used to flatten it. I don't know why I didn't post it. I have it set it up on the table next to my computer. It pleases me.

The paper is a mystery. It's some I stashed away a while ago, so the brand is lost in time. I can't say I really like it very well. It's lightweight and has a texture that's too large-scale for the work I do. If I use a textured paper I like it to be fine textured enough to make the painting appear to be much larger, not dwafing the strokes too much.

But I like the color stucture and contrast here. I scratched out the stems with the handle of a paintbrush, which worked pretty well. Sometimes the direct approach is best.

Favorite part: The two long, arched white flowers leaning out of the composition on the right-hand side. They balance rest of the bouquet. Square compositions have some challenges, especially when the subject fills the page this way. Balance is the key to success, I think.

Gouache Goes On!

Viviane's Roses, gouache on Arches 300 c/p, 2.5" x 3.5" 

I'm starting to get back to more gouache, so I think I may revive this blog. I'll post some of the gouache I've done in the last year here, and leave Depticting Things for drawings and other media. 

The entire time I painted Viviane's Roses, I kept reminding myself to just have some fun. A Facebook friend said it looks Victorian. (Thanks, Toni! Hope you enjoy it!) I agree, but I can't quite put my finger on the reason why. The photo I used, on loan from a friend, was a lot less structured. I added the suggestion of a vase.

Favorite part: The star of the show rose at the bottom pleases me. I painted the flowers in three stages: medium, dark and light. I particularly like the juicy pink petal at the bottom, as it catches the light and comes forward nicely. Sometimes thicker paint is useful that way.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Blog: Depicting Things

2014 was a blur for me. So much happened in my life I can't even recall all of it. While much of it was challenging and took a lot of processing to get through, I thank God for each thing that happened because I know it was all part of the process of refining me like gold in the fire.

Without going into a lot of detail. let me mention that I moved no less than three times last year. Do you know how disruptive moving can be? Half the time I didn't even know where my paints were, let alone have a place to work, but even when I had them at hand I had little inspiration to use them.

Our last move was all the way across the country, from Albuquerque NM, our home for 36 years, to Amherst NY, my husband's boyhood home. We relocated to help care for his mom, whose needs have increased recently.

We arrived here in August, a beautiful time of year. It was warm and sunny, with autumn just beginning to lick at the trees with yellows. As the  palette transmuted to fiery reds and oranges and golds and greens, I found myself starting to paint again.

At first I did more realistic pieces, like these, all of which are 2.5" x 3.5" (except where noted):

Over a short time, I loosened up a little:

1.5" squares

Did I mention that Amherst is a suburb of Buffalo NY? Yes, it is.

My different-kind-of-snow education started in mid-November when over 7 feet of snow fell about 10 miles from us, although we only received seven inches. Still, to have people dying of exposure trapped on the Thruway and roofs caving in under the crushing weight of the snow added a certain, shall we say, focus to my consideration of the realities of living in Western New York.

After the joy of the beautiful fall colors, I was dismayed by the almost black and white palette. Don't get me wrong, we had snow in the mountains east of Albuquerque, but the sun always came out and shone brightly, enhancing the vibrant winter colors. Not so much in Buffalo.

But I started drawing. The freezing weather shook something loose in me, it seems, and I started recording some of the things I was seeing using a simple pencil and eraser in my little Moleskine sketchpad. Simple. Direct. Values oriented. As an art teacher, I preached values, values, values to my students for years. Here's an example of what I've been doing in pencil.

More Snow, Moleskine sketchpad 3.5" x 5.5"
In a way, I think of blogs as being somewhat like picture albums. They're free and easy to set up. I like the creativity of making a new one from time to time. Having this Gouache Blog intact pleases me, showing the work I did in the last six years, but these drawings just didn't seem to fit.

So, I started a new blog devoted to this new season of work. I deliberated for a while about the title, deciding on  Depicting Things. Unlike this blog, devoted to gouache, I'll probably use all kinds of media, returning to gouache from time to time, using pencil, maybe even exploring some other possibilities, since I now know exactly where my art box is located.

Please join me over at my new place. It's been going for a couple of months, so there are some snowy and not-so-snowy subjects to look at. I'm going to post the new gouache paintings over there. Thanks for coming along, but I think this blog is done!

Click here to go right to the new blog: DEPICTING THINGS

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cool Afternoon

I hope you sense the cool breeze blowing across the high plains, looking toward the distant volcanoes on Albuquerque's west side.

Painted in gouache on Arches 300 C/P, 2.5" x 3.5".