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".  


Wednesday, September 4, 2013


We've had such beautiful anvil clouds forming around here lately that I just had to paint this one. The photograph was taken by my friend Geraldine Garcia, and I stayed fairly true to the cloud but changed the foreground design. I wanted the bushes to form an oval to carry your eye around and back to that spectacular cloud! Hope it worked.

Painted in gouache on Bristol vellum, 2.5" x 3.5".  


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Plane Cloud

This piece is on Pastelmat, which is soft and absorbent and slightly fuzzy. The gouache soaks into the wet fibers and spreads out, sometimes alarmingly independent of my control. But once the first layer dries, the stiff fibers take on a lovely texture and accept lush brush strokes or dry brush treatment well. I find I can tame the accidents, add a certain amount of detail, and add gestural bits that please me.

Painted in gouache on Pastelmat, 2.5" x 3.5".  
I'm happy with the foreground plane here, as I like the complex and subtle colors. How do you describe a purple green? But that's what it is. Of course, the looming purple cloud sets the mood and tone. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Desert

A friend shared this photo with me (thanks Geraldine!) I reinterpreted it a bit. I love the here-and-there subject matter, the soft cloud and sharp cactus reaching out in opposition to one another. It's so typical of New Mexico in July: hot and dry, with the promise of cool rain to come.

Painted in gouache on Bristol vellum, 2.5" x 3.5".  


Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Corner

I have a whole series of little wild garden spots like this one. I especially enjoy the way the flowers disappear into the distance, dancing up the hillside. 

Painted in gouache on Bristol vellum, 2.5" x 3.5".  


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Along the Creek

I just wanted to paint a little water. It's been so dry here that it's scary. The fun of this one was to capture that lush growth, the sparkling light, and the highlight of the stream. Refreshing to paint. (And it rained here last night--finally!)

Painted in gouache on Bristol vellum, 2.5" x 3.5".


7/6 Edited the photograph, which as too light, lacking contrast!