Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Red Apple

Red Apple – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I really like this simple painting because of the folds of the dishtowel. The white of the dishcloth reflected into the shadow area of the apple creating some fun reflected light.

On a side note, my office is in the midst of a move so unfortunately I have not had much time to sketch during my lunch break, because I have not really had one lately L. Though this is not keeping me back in working on sketching, in the evenings I have been working on some contour line sketches and something I am calling “memory sketch exercises”. These memory exercises consist of me viewing some photos I have recently taken of tourists in the DC area. I look the photos for a full minute or so and then reduce the image and sketch what I can from memory. After I am complete, I then restore the photo preview and in another color ink pen, draw the person more accurately over my original memory sketch. These exercises are helping me build my memory skills in remembering fleeting scenes and images I like. I was talking with Danni Dawson about this today in my painting class, and she said that with time this skill of recalling and remembering gets to be more natural and of a second sense. So hopefully my mind will start to understand this game and improve on remembering what I see. So if a person I am sketching does stand up and walk away, I will still have the image in my mind enough to sketch the gist of what interested me in the scene in the first place!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Three Lemons

Three Lemons – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

This is a small study of a larger composition I have begun. It will be another “frieze” painting this time in a 1:2 ratio. I really like working on paintings that have analogous color palettes, there is something soothing in them.

Thanks, Liz

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Standing Figure

Untitled (Standing Figure) – 8x10 Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

This figure painting is a fun and exciting piece for me. I completed it during one of my figure painting classes with Danni Dawson, she pushed me to see and interpret the different colors on this beautiful woman. With this painting, I treated the female as a whole being, rounded and with volume, then to push the painting more towards a modernist feeling I flattened the background. I feel it makes the figure more dynamic and while also creating an environment that only she belongs in.

Thanks, Liz

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Memory Sketch Exercise

Graphite, Cachet bound sketchbook 8-1/2” x 5-1/2”

I have recently subscribed to Katherine Tyrrell’s blog and this Sunday her post listed another blog by Vivien Blackburn, who had attended a lecture by Liz Minichiello where at the end of the presentation everyone was given a sheet of paper and encouraged to illustrate there day from memory in 12 squares/rectangles. Vivien shared her cartoon depiction and encouraged other bloggers to do the same. This exercise really captured me, and I set out to complete it on my lunch break on Monday, however I found this to be more time consuming and challenging than I had anticipated. So 1-1/2 lunch breaks later here is my cartoon sketch of Friday, April 18, 2008. And the summation of my day:

- I am awoken by husband, Steve

- We share a few slow moments over tea and coffee before starting the day

- I slowly get ready for work, brushing my teeth, washing my face… the usual drill

- Commuting to work in traffic, not so bad for a raining Friday morning…

- Morning presentation with clients and consultants

- Lunch break at the Georgetown waterfront, where I sketch and watercolor

- Afternoon spent at the computer working on project and meeting minutes from morning’s meeting

- Leave work and drive to National Mall to meet Steve for our Friday night outing/date

- We meet up at the Lincoln Memorial, check out the site and read Lincoln’s second inaugural speech

- Picnic on the steps near the reflecting pool facing the Washington Monument and the Capital Building

- After our dinner, we return to the Lincoln Memorial, sketch in the fading light

- Go to sleep after a long and rewarding day with our kitty, Slim, cuddled at the foot of our bed

After working on this exercise I now realize that there are areas of draughtsmanship I need to focus on to improve my ability to remember and record the surroundings around me. I will continue to do different exercises that work the mind. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment and share. I figure I am not the only one in the blog-o-sphere that would like to know more about drawing memory exercises.

Here is a ink sketch I did after I finished the cartoon series during today’s lunch. I was using ink to make me see better and be more definite in my drawing judgement, as there is no erasing with ink….

Black Ink , Cachet bound sketchbook 8-1/2” x 5-1/2”

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Zoomed in Dogwood Bloom

Dogwood Bloom (Zoomed in) – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Here is another dogwood bloom. I really like these flowers, they are so pretty and simple, though I am learning not so easy to paint… simplicity can be deceiving sometimes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Frieze Painting

Apple Frieze – 5-1/2” x 24” Oil on Canvas

This is the second frieze painting I have competed of a series I began earlier this year. I have been working on it since February. In this painting I have utilized the new techniques I have been learning from Danni Dawson and I have also been using glazes. The small paintings I sell on Ebay are typically painted in the alla prima manner very directly, where with this painting I would work on it for a few hours or a day and then have to wait for the paint layer to dry before I could commence on the next step I wanted to take.

I am hoping to get this painting into a juried show in the DC area, I will keep you posted if this ever occurs...

Here is a detail of the painting.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dogwood Blooms

Dogwood Blooms – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel

In the DC area the dogwoods are blooming. They are such pretty and delicate flowers, I love how they just sprout from the end of the stems surrounded with little green leaves.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Midday Break – Sketching in Georgetown

Pencil and watercolor – Holbien multimedia sketchbook 9-1/4” x 6-1/2”

The last page of this sketchbook… I love the feeling that drawing on the last page makes me feel like. I sense of accomplishment, however it also is a moment of sadness, like leaving an old friend…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

# 3 of the Lady Apples

Lady Apples Color Study #3 – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

This is the final of the three paintings. I zoomed out the most on this one and incorporated the striped pattern of the dishcloth I had as the background all along. I like how the blue striping accentuates the blue tones in the shadows, they were always there, and however I saw them more in this painting.

Midday Break – Sketching in Georgetown

Pencil and watercolor – Holbien multimedia sketchbook 9-1/4” x 6-1/2”

Here is a view of Roslyn across the Potomac River from Georgetown. This lady was taking her lunch while I was sketching the scene, and she finished her lunch shortly after I had blocked in the drawing and packed up and left. So the color notes of her clothes were from memory and choices that reinforced the colors of the scene. I was surprised to notice that the tree had orange-red buds. This is my first spring to notice that when trees are coming out into leaf that often they are colors other than the green they will be in full summer.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lady Apples Color Study #2

Lady Apples Color Study #2 – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Here is the next color study I completed for Danni’s class. The assignment was to paint the same setup but to vary to composition each time. So in this painting I zoomed in. I believe with this color study I began with a cad green pale and white mixture to begin the green of the apples…

Midday Break – Sketching in Georgetown

Pencil and watercolor – Holbien multimedia sketchbook 9-1/4” x 6-1/2”

A few weeks ago I shared that once the weather gets warmer I will start going outside to sketch instead of drawing inside from my George Bridgeman book. Here is my first opportunity to be outside is good weather!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lady Apple Color Study #1

Lady Apples Color Study #1 – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Again I am taking a painting class taught by Danni Dawson. She is a great instructor, and regularly gives out homework to be completed between classes. This painting is the first of three color studies assigned. Danni apprenticed under Nelson Shanks, who followed the colorist theories of Charles Hawthorne. Color studies essentially are paintings where you experiment with paint handling and color interpretation. You start by using pure color (mixed with white to adjust value) and then using another value adjusted color you lay that on top of the paint already on the canvas. The exercise is to improve color application and paint handling all at once. Sometimes you make a real mess out of the painting, and that is where the term “mudheads” come from… Though Danni has emphasized how these color studies also teach you how to get out of bad situations, how to recapture the glow of the subject.

With this painting I began with cad lemon and white and then used different layers of blues, greens and yellows again to capture the green in the Lady Apples, and conversely I used a different color as my initial starting point for the red areas. It was real fun though the real trick to keeping the painting clear is to clean your brush all the time! Otherwise the color mixes into a brown mush…

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Apple Halves

Apple Halves – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I am working on a 6 inch x 24 inch frieze painting of apples, that include apple halves. I have been having difficulty in capturing the apples in this larger painting, so I have been practicing with these smaller studies. I think I am getting the hang of it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lime Wedges

Lime Wedges – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Here is a small study of lime wedges, in this painting I wanted to focus on how the light flows through the fruit. I also liked the idea of having a grid behind the wedges to emphasize their organic shape and irregular placement. Though I thought the background would have seemed totally contrived if the grid had been too square, so the plaid cloth also has some irregularities to create interest. In this painting my awareness increased, I had been noticed before how the lime rind is really diverse as it wraps around the fruit, getting thicker and having more white area where the stem once was.

This painting nearly did not survive the curiosity of my kitty, Slim. She managed to bring down and break a bowl of another still life I had set up… However I am happy that this survived and to post this painting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What is a still life?

On Thursday evening I was asked about my painting and why I paint still lifes. The person asking me this question went on to say that she really did not "get" still lifes. She wondered if they were just technique or composition. I can understand that some people may not get emotionally involved with the genre that is still life, as all art appreciation is very individual and personal. As the discussion progressed, there were a few more people at the table that agreed with her and asked me to elaborate...

My answer was that in still life paintings I get an opportunity to focus on items that are in everyday life and items that most people are familar with, and then I interpret it and share my vision of this simple item that brings about a greater awareness and appreciation of this object. For me, life is about appreciating and enjoying what is around you. By enabling opportunities where your awareness of specific items or surroundings are increased, life becomes more full and full of new opportunities. I love it when I learn about a new item or even an idea that I never encountered before, all of the sudden the world has just opened to me a new avenue, a new opportunity to investigate.

In my life, I try to make the most of it. I like the adventure of new surroundings, new people, and with still life, the new posibilities of appreciating any object, has just made my daily life become more full and colorful. I may not always succeed in presenting this world view in my still lifes, that is the artist journey I am on now. How to paint well and present my message in an effective and creative way.

Tonight I investigated some other websites that discuss still lifes. Here are a few links to ones I liked:

Wikipedia has a great article on still lifes. This website is a great glossary of many art terms. And here is a blog that goes into great detail about what a still life is. If you get a chance do not miss out on this!

Tomorrow I will post a small painting of very common items that I believe represents how simple items can be grouped and presented in a manner that increases appreciation for the simple things in life... Until next time, Liz

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Flower with a Lemon

Flower with Lemon – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Last week I bought these really cool cloth napkins from Anthropologie in Georgetown. I just really liked the bright colors and graphic pattern. When I was trying to set up a still life study, the first thing I included was this napkin, everything else had to work around it…

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Orange - Green - Voilet Triad

Three Peaches – 6" x 6" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Today is my first day of normalcy… and being that it is the weekend I am free to paint! Here is a small painting of three peaches. I was trying something new out; I was pushing the colors and at the same time using a more vibrant background than I usually choose. I really like the strong shadows and shapes of this composition. What I am also gathering as I look at the painting, is that the color palette is also predominately made up of secondary colors - orange - green - voilet. I like this as well as it has a strong color balance, but also feels a little unorthodox...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

On the Road to Recovery...

Orange Gerbera Daisy in a Blue Bottle – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Here is a painting I completed over the weekend, it is a flower painting. I really like how it turned out; basically it is a complementary color palette of blue and orange, with the darker yellow-green center of the flower providing a needed color vibration.

Today I am feeling a little better; I again stayed home in bed. Not feeling good enough to paint… tomorrow I am hoping to go back to work… and to also start feeling more human…

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Under the Weather

Today I have been home all day sick with a sore throat. I really dislike being home and unable to paint, in my mind, it would be better to be a work than home but stuck in bed not feeling well enough to watch TV or other similar distractions... Alas going to work would not be very thoughtful as I work in a small architecture firm and could risk spreading it to my co-workers...

Well, hopefully tomorrow I will wake up feeling better and able to go into work... tomorrow I will post a painting a I completed a few days ago, I just do not feel up to it now.

Have a good evening, Liz

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stripes and a Blood Orange

Blood Orange on a Striped Cloth – 5" x 7" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

I have been having a lot of fun working with patterns and color lately. I enjoy the challenge of seeing more information, and capturing it in paint, however I am also having fun working to simplify shapes and form. The stripes in this painting were all about simplifying what I saw; otherwise I think I would have driven myself nuts.

Thanks for all the kind words I have been receiving from those that receive the email updates. I like hearing from you. Liz