Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last Images of the Old Studio

This afternoon I was cleaning up
in our old apartment
and thought I would share with you
the last items remaining

Soon I will be fully established in a new space
however seeing these last bits reminds me
how happy I was creating art here before
the construction crew decided to setup shop
outside my window...

In accecptence with everything
that has changed during this season
it is bittersweet to be starting anew.

I have faith that the new year will bring
new opportunities and happy experiences

And I wish the same for you during
this holiday season.


Monday, December 7, 2009

A Quick Hello and a New Silverpoint

Seated Figure – 11" x 7" (28 x 17.8 cm) – Silverpoint on prepared Bristol
Hello Friends ~

I am stopping by for a quick visit before diving back into unpacking boxes, organizing bookshelves and closets. The movers moved all our possessions last week Wednesday and since then my number one goal was to get our kitchen in working order, as I am just about tired of having pizza for lunch and dinner.

The day before the movers arrived I took time off from packing to attend the make-up class for Robert Liberace’s drawing class. It was the best 4+ hours I spent all last week, drawing always takes my mind off of pressing tasks… This silverpoint was completed during the class. After the class I dropped by the house to air out and do some final cleaning. Moving during this time of year has been limiting all my yuletide cheer. Hopefully this will be the last week where most of my time is dedicated to unpacking…

How have you been? Are you prepared for the holidays? I am surely not – so far this year no cards, cookies or gifts have been prepared to be shipped off to friends and family. Now I need to run, but before I go here are some lovely images of the snow that fell this weekend.

Enjoy your day, Liz

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Trois Crayons Drawing of Slim

Slim – Trois Crayons on prepared Canson paper –
half sheet, approx. 12” x 19” (30.5 x 48.3 cm)


Drawing has become my only artistic outlet lately. I go to the local library, power up my laptop and draw from photos. This one of Slim uses the trios crayons technique taught in Robert Liberace’s class and I think it really works well with fur.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be absent from updating this blog as the craziness of my home situation has just grown. S and I will be moving soon, so I am busy preparing for that and the holiday season. When it rains it pours.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Silverpoint Drawing and NGA Show

Standing Figure – 11" x 7" (28 x 17.8 cm) – Silverpoint on prepared Bristol

Hello Friends,

This is my first completed silverpoint drawing. It was finished last week Friday during my drawing class taught by Robert Liberace. I really love this medium, how line quality is so important to defining the form and values of the subject. It seems that silverpoint is very similar to pen and ink drawing and etchings in that once the line is laid down, it is pretty much there for eternity. Erasing silverpoint is possible but you risk messing up the tooth of the prepared paper, and also it will advance the tarnishing of the silver at a faster rate than it naturally oxidizes. A few spots where I touched up with an eraser and soften some lines have turned more red/green prior to the other areas, and it has only been five days since the drawing was finished.

Another value silverpoint has is the amazing deepness of value the delicate lines have, and this only gets better as the drawing ages. Robert had a few examples in class with some drawings that were only days old to over a year old, and the aged drawings had developed such a beautiful patina. I have never seen any of the old masters silverpoint drawings but I would expect they are fantastic.

By the way if you get a chance to visit the National Gallery of Art any time soon, they have a wonderful exhibit on French Drawings from their collection. I spent the most part of Monday in those rooms. Some of the highlights of the show was a Boullee architectural drawing, several beautiful figure drawings by Claude Lorrain, Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard. I have been spending time in museums lately because it is not possible to stay home and work in the studio because of the construction noises going on at our apartment building.

So over the next several weeks, I will continue to be somewhat absent from posting to this blog because of all the interruptions caused by the construction repairs. So far it has been exceptionally noisy from around 9am to 4:00pm, but yesterday lasted well close to 5pm. I made the mistake of coming home around four yesterday only to leave again. We are frantically looking for a new place to move in order to escape these intrusions. Now I have another thing to occupy my time while out of the apartment during the day.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seated Figure Trois Crayons Drawing

Seated Figure – Trois Crayons on prepared charcoal paper –
half sheet, approx. 12” x 19” (30.5 x 48.3 cm)

On Fridays I attend a figure drawing class taught by Robert Liberace and on Monday I signed up for it again. I started taking this drawing class last winter term and with only two more classes left of this term I feel it is close enough to call it a year. My goal in attending this class was to improve my drawing abilities by following the classical academic methodology of drawing that Robert teaches. And I am very happy with how the year has progressed. Here are some previous drawings {reclining figure, seated figure, profile, and seated figure}

This drawing is a method Robert developed where you use verithin colored pencils to create the sense of trios crayons of yester-year. It is now very difficult to find quality artist grade red chalk, so by using terra-cotta verithin pencils on prepared paper you can almost create the same effect. For the three colors I used terra-cotta and black verithin pencils and a white pastel pencil for the highlights. It is a fun method of modeling and using warm and cool tones to develop the shadow shapes. This drawing was completed over three sessions.

Tomorrow in class we are working with silverpoint. I think it is my favorite drawing medium next to charcoal (which to me is more like painting) where with silverpoint it is all about the lines. It is all about draughtsmanship and integrity of line and form, and that is what I admire about it so much. Here is a link to a modern artist that works predominantly with silverpoint. I think the current pose is for two more weeks and once it is done I will share it with you.

Until next time, have a wonderful evening.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mangos Diptych

Mangos: Ripe and Almost Ripe {diptych} – both together 4.5” x 11” (11.4 x 27.9 cm) –
Oil on Linen Panel


I am happy to say that today rained and thus the construction was unable to move forward today, so I had a somewhat sane day. The weather predicts it will rain tomorrow as well, so I am hopeful that the construction will not be able to go on tomorrow as well. So I can spend some stress free time in the studio.

Here is a painting I completed a little over a week ago. It is of one of my favorite subjects, mangos. I bought a box of them and I liked how there was varying ripeness found with the fruit. I have since diced them up and pureed them for future snacks and recipes.

I have had a busy day and ready to call it quits. Until next time, thanks for sharing time with me : )


Monday, November 9, 2009

More to come during the week... I hope....

{Slim curled up in a new spot}


During the weekend Slim found a new place to nap, my knitting basket, she especially loved curling up on a finished side of a sweater for S.

How was your weekend? Mine went by too fast. Minimal time was devoted to art making instead time was spent on focusing on prepping canvases and organizing and picking up my studio space. I now wish I had spent more time painting and enjoying the quite as you will see...

I am not sure how this upcoming week will progress as today was a pretty pitiful day. The building I live in started some heavy duty façade repairs today, where from 9:30 to around 4pm the sounds of jack hammers and concrete saws reverberated through my apartment, I was forced out of my home around 1pm today because the sound got so bad that headphones would not cancel out the noise. When I returned around 4pm the crew looked to be packing up.

This bodes evil as I use the day to paint, I think a new schedule will need to be sorted out so I can work around this, as management has said this project will go on until February. UGHHHH!!!!

S. recommended that I work into the night and sleep late until the construction starts up in the morning, so I may have to try that out, as nothing art related got completed today and I have a few paintings that need some finishing touches.

Well, I will let you go now and beg to defer posting any new art until tomorrow or Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing with my woes,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Persimmons {a daily painting}

Wild Persimmons – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil on Linen Panel
Available in my Etsy shop

While out on a walk I passed by an old persimmon tree that was quite wild. Instead of having large opaque skinned fruit like found in the grocery store the fruit was small and berry-like with translucent skin and chalky-white areas of the natural yeast that will be found on some fruit.

As I have been gathering items when out on walks, I brought a branch home and completed this painting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reminiscing about Photography…

This morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs Little Augury, where she had a wonderful post about the photographer Ivan Terestchenko. In reading the interview about him and then subsequently visiting Terestchenko’s blog I was inspired to reminisce how photography has been an important aspect in my life and how it formed my early sense of design and form. This post particularly is expressive of how I sometimes think about a composition.

{architectural details of bas-relief carvings in Spain}

Before moving into the art of drawing and painting I was a photographer. During my mid-teen years I started using my mom’s old Olympus manual SLR, at 17 I took it with me to South Africa for the year I lived in Pretoria. These initial years were mainly me snapping images that caught my attention, looking at them and deciphering what turned out and what did not, experimenting and starting to discern my personal aesthetic sense. Later I took photography classes, gained a lot of darkroom experience and continued to snap photos and record my surroundings.

While studying architecture, photography was the predominant means of gathering research information in the field while at the same time I began to support the photos with drawings. I was especially fortunate to receive two separate traveling fellowships to study vernacular architecture in Spain, providing the opportunity to travel and complete independant research for my Master's thesis. I always consider these trips to be the pivotal moment in my career where my interest in photography began to support my artistis pursuits versus being my only outlet for creativity.

{scenes that always evoke as sense of peace and serenity in my heart}

{architectural sketches in pencil on canson paper}

As the years have moved by I started to turn more and more towards drawing, then painting as a means of personal expression. I found the feeling of really understanding a place or an object after I would draw it to be more rewarding and deeply emotional versus the experience of taking a photograph and then later finding out how it would turn out after being processed and printed. In reviewing the pencil drawings above I can still feel the dry heat of the afternoon sun falling on my back and then sliding away as the time passed by while drawing, the hard dusty surfaces I would sit on, and with the most right drawing that my back was leaning against the stone wall that surrounds the Mezquita courtyard in Cordoba. While with photographs a sense of moment, of capturing the fleeting moment when my eyes would rest on something and the thought that I wanted to record it for future observation but the memory of the experience is not as strong.

This morning has been a wonderful trip down memory lane and looking at some of my archived photographs I begin to realize that what peaked my interest then, does so now, I just now use different mediums and view photography as one of many interests.

Thank you for sharing this experience and reading my thoughts. I really appreciate it.


{Visigothic column in mosque courtyard
now attached to a Baroque church in Carmona, Spain}

{detail of carved marble in-floor door hinge}

{hammam in Granada}

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Simple Roses Still Life Painting

Roses – 8" x 8" (20.3 x 20.3 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel
{Flower Project 2009 – No. 4}

Available through my Etsy Shop

Hello ~

This week I am inspired by English literature and on the beauty of roses. I really believe that what I listen to while painting has an effect on how I go about setting up a composition. I often listen to audio books and my favorite resource is librivox, where you can download unabridged open source audio books. Currently I am listening to “The History of Tom Jones” and yesterday I noticed words like “forbear” and “opprobrious” were peppering my speech.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Autumn Leaf {a daily painting}

Autumn Leaf – 7" x 5" (17.8 x 12.7 cm) – Oil on Linen Canvas Panel

On Saturday this leaf was picked up and carried home. I have a fondness of picking up oddments and bringing them home as momentos. This leaf was so beautiful, I was inspired to capture it in paint.

Thanks for stopping by today : )


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lemon Wedges {a daily painting}

Lemon Wedges – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

Hello friends ~

I am pretty beat today and hope you had a nice one. It is at times like this that I realize how important sleep is for keeping creativity up. So will I will keep it short.

See you soon, Liz

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lemons & Folds {a daily painting}

Lemons and Folds – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

Over the last two weeks I have worked and reworked the lemons in certain paintings. This is because I sometimes get hung up on the subtleties of the colors in the shadows, is the shadow really that green or purple, or a compilation of the two, or maybe something totally different. So today’s painting is also lemons as I continue to work on discerning these slight changes in color and value.

Before completing this painting and the previous one I did some 10 minute studies of each setup on some gessoed watercolor paper. I got this idea from Carol Marine’s blog where she had her recent workshop students complete various 10 minute sketches. Working with a timer really gets the blood pumping and enhances focus. Once I got down to painting the real painting I felt familiar with the subject and had some experience exploring some different variations of how to apply the paint and accomplish what I wanted to.

Lately I have been using cremnitz white more often than the other whites on my palette, titanium white and zinc buff white. So for the drapery folds I decided to only use titanium white and to play with its fluidity.

{10 minute studies}

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pomegranate & Plate Still Life

Pomegranate and Plate – 8" x 8" (20.3 x 20.3 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

In July my friend, Chrish, generously lent me several Moroccan and Turkish pieces of pottery to paint. Over the last few months I have been working on the two paintings with some of the pieces, and then later I created this painting as a gift for her.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mexico Series

{Mexico Series}
A Place in the Sun – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

Scooter – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

Mexico Cruiser – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

These paintings are scenes from Isla Mujeres, Mexico. In June of 2008 our friends, Craig and Yvonne, were married there and S. and I were lucky enough to be invited to join in on the festivities. While there I took tons of photos with the goal of completing some paintings. So far these three paintings and this one are the only ones completed to date.

In lieu of receiving a wedding gift within a year of their wedding, Craig and Yvonne were patient enough to let me work on some paintings for them without a specific time schedule. Thank goodness because I needed all the time it took!

Lemon and Lime {a daily painting}

Lemon and Lime – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil on Linen Panel

Hello ~

How was your weekend? My weekend went by fast, it was filled with watching movies, trying out new recipes, and working on some different art projects. I was fortunate enough to finish a few paintings which I am really excited about showing them to you, however they are gifts, so I will wait on sharing them until after they have been received.

I also started thinking about getting back into the daily painting thing. The last one was completed on Sept. 7, 2009, and the next day I left for a trip to Texas and when I returned, my focus was on larger paintings. Which was a nice change, working with larger compositions as I was able to fiddle with new ideas and painting techniques. The down side of this change in focus was that I got out of the groove in completing the smaller daily paintings.

During this time off from I spent some time assessing how I value my time and if it would be a good idea to increase the starting bid on these smaller paintings that go on auction. After thinking about it, discussing it with some valued patrons and friends, I realize it is time to increase the prices. This increase will cover my expenses and also the time spent on these paintings, which is necessary especially as I am now a professional artist. Prior to this point my goal with the daily paintings was to just cover the cost of materials, this was not a sustainable system. I want to be happy and excited when working on daily paintings not regretting the time that could be spent on other pieces. I also want my work to be valued, so after much deliberation today’s daily painting will be at the new starting price.

I want to thank you who have supported me so far and those who have helped me in making this decision.

Have a wonderful evening,


PS. I will be back soon with some of the gift paintings.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An October Afternoon

{Slim napping}


Today was a quite day working on some smaller projects and prepping for the next in the flower series. Below is a work in progress, my friend Peggy named it "Lemons in Sunset".

Have a nice evening, Liz

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunflowers in a White in White Composition

White on White with Sunflowers – 16" x 12" (40.6 x 30.5 cm) – Oil on Canvas
{Flower Project 2009 – No. 3}

With this painting I was interested in painting a scene that was set in a predominately white environment. Compositions with specific dominate color schemes has been a fascination for me since around 1996 when I took my first art and architecture history class and we studied the Russian suprematist art movement. Malevich’s White on White composition is a painting I often think about, something so simple can also be very thought provoking. The off balance square in a square format, the tension of the tangential corner on the top and near tangent on the right is stabilized by the large negative space of the bottom and left sides.

Even though I paint in a representational manner often the modern and abstract schools of art and architecture will inform my ideas for a composition.


As an aside, I often do not realize how reliant I am on certain tools to create a single blog post. Last night and this morning I could not get Photoshop to save files, it kept having a program error, so this morning three hours later after uninstalling and reinstalling Adobe Creative Suite I am able to complete a blog post with a saved jpeg of the painting! I am relieved to have my programs working well now. Without technology life would be so simple but not as fun because I would not know the wonderful benefits of blogging.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing the day with me,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial – 8" x 16" (20.3 x 40.6 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel

Here is the oil painting of the Jefferson Memorial, it was all painted in plein air over three sessions between 10am and 1pm. The quality of light as it struck the marble structure and how the shadows were cast was really important to me, I wanted to capture the golden pink tones of the sunlight sides and the cool purple and greens of the shadows.

I am finding that painting buildings with oil paint is a much more challenging endeavor than working in watercolor. It all has to do with the finessing of edges, not getting to many hard edges except where it is important and also getting the perspective correct. I also wonder if working on a larger canvas would help, to have more room for the more fiddly details. Here is last year’s painting of a nearby view.

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary and I am taking off the day to spend with my love. This morning I made a banana nut loaf to have something special over breakfast.

Thanks for reading today :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

DC Sketchbook Entries

I want to thank you for all the kind comments and emails supporting me through this time of concern over my most precious Slim :)

My husband, S., has over the weekend has been helping me see the small steps of improvement in Slim’s condition which will hopefully continue to progress. During this time I have been focusing more on working in a sketchbook, something that is permanent and is going to be kept together, and something that is more informal than working on canvas. It is a personal journal of filled with images of DC and items gathered from walks. Once a week I go into DC with the specific purpose to observe and record.

{acorns and leaves found in Dupont Circle}

{Jefferson Memorial from West Potomac Park}

{the oldest cherry trees @ the tidal basin}

I like many others that live in the DC region; I am not a native of the area. I have always considered myself from Texas and still have roots attaching me to the San Antonio area, however I have now lived here for over nine years and am truly starting to consider it home. I am beginning to value the differences of the seasons and the scenery, and I absolutely love the variety of cultural activities found in this region. This sketchbook journal is sorta like a love letter to the area, identifying what it is that makes it so special while also strengthening my ties to it.

As the time goes by I will continue to share some of the entries on this blog, and I am hoping that some larger paintings will also result from these informal investigations. Tomorrow I will post one such painting, once I get a good photo of it.

See you soon,

Friday, October 9, 2009

A little down lately...

{Slim napping in one of her favorite places}


You may have noticed that there has been reduced posting last month and so far this month, this is due to my overall funk and concern for my kitty, Slim. She is eight years old and last month we found out that she is pretty ill. A lot of my energy has been dedicated to taking care of her and trying to find some balance. She really means a lot to me and I am pretty worried as we are trying to solve the mystery of what is causing the condition.

As you can see she still is pretty agile as she is able to jump up to her favorite spot, move around, play, and overall be her normal self. It was only when talking with a friend last night about Slim’s condition and my friend’s thoughtful observation that I seemed pretty stressed about it that I realized how much I am. Thank you Marie for helping me see and feel.

As we continue to monitor Slim, I feel confident we will figure it out and find a way to take care of her so she will have several more years in our life. I will also try to find more balance and direction with my art, staying on track with some projects I am working on and get back into the grove of everything. As today's drawing class is canceled I am going to focus on organizing for winter and maybe cooking a nice meal. Extra cleaning and picking up always helps clear my head and regain some focus. Maybe I will be able to salvage some inspiration and work on a new painting I have in mind.

Until next time, have a nice weekend.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sugarbowl and Dahlia Buds Still Life Painting

Sugarbowl and Dahlia Buds – 10" x 8" (25 x 20.3 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel
{Flower Project 2009 - No. 2}

Available through my Etsy Shop

One of the reasons I started the flower project is because painting flowers really requires a rigor in studying small distinct changes in color, value, and shape, something I want to develop further. Betty Edwards says in The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain that when one engages the right side of the brain you lose track of time and the ability to focus on shapes, values, and relationships increases. It is when the left side is dominant that one fatigues quickly of these activities and it limits your ability to draw or paint in a realistic manner.

Over the summer I have made the commitment to move more towards a representational style of painting, with smoother transitions and a keener sense of value and form. I still admire the impressionistic style of painting and love how they are full of energy and color, I am hoping to develop the skill of handling paint where I can use strong brushstrokes alongside the more delicate and controlled painting of realism.

With this painting I really wanted to go into detail overdrive, seeing if I could harmonize the complexity of the dahlias with the embroidered tablecloth and the sugarbowl. Conceptually I also shortened the depth of focus of the painting to the foreground and middle-ground, while the background blurred to an indistinct edge between the vertical and horizontal surfaces. The color palette is also predominately a complementary color palette of red and green with large areas of neutral tones.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dahlias with a Mexican Platter Still Life

Dahlias with a Mexican Platter – 16" x 12" (40.6 x 30.5 cm) – Oil on Canvas
{Flower Project 2009 - No. 1}

I started this painting the day after Susan Abbott’s workshop finished, a little over two weeks ago. The setup started out with the dahlias I had picked up at the farmers market in Old Town. While the backdrops and accompanying items were chosen for the colors. During the workshop we had a color exercise where we selected complementary color pair and then the neighboring colors of this pair, playing with warm and cool color choices. This painting is a play off of the magenta/violet of the flowers and the complementary color yellow that appears in various areas of the painting. I then selected greens and blues to be the second most common colors that connect the two complementary colors.

For the first three days of the painting I only worked on the flowers, as they were changing fast and would soon wither. After the flowers were pretty much developed I then focused on working on the other areas of the painting trying to incorporate all the lessons learned from Danni’s workshop. The biggest bit of insight I am still getting used to is the need to slow down and absorb what I see and take the time to really work to capture the image without overworking it. It is a fine line and I also have to fight against some levels of impatience as I want to get to the finish line, so I have been having to let go some and just enjoy the process of each brushstroke and new evolution the painting took as I would refine different areas.

After all it is the journey and the present that mean so much.

This is also the first of the 50 flower paintings I set out to complete in 12 months.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Inspiration {No. 19}

{my growing acorn collection}

I have been thinking about drawing this week, and the various methods and styles people use to capture the world through line and mass. Here are some of the blog posts I have visited to get some thoughts moving...

} Nina Johansson's People in Airports - I love the way she creates a boarder around her sketches

} Ester Wilson's Blankets - Her ability create depth and folds through hatching is wonderful

} Via Algarviana, Dia 5 (2) - the use of gestural and cross contour lines that form the tree is simple and captivating to me

} Kevin Wueste's Three Chalk Drawings - the tonal qualities of the drawing are beautiful

} Geninne's Cosmos are wonderfully simple and graphic

} I like the thick lines and use of color in these sketchbook entries

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reworking a Painting

Treasures from Afar {reworked version}
18" x 24" (45.7 x 61 cm) – Oil on Canvas

This week is flying by and so far nothing is in the proper state to really share, so here is a painting I have been reworking some {here is the previous version}. It has a new background, some new layers of paint here and there, and it is almost finished - I am going to work some more on the lemons and the small bowl with green leaf pattern.

I am pretty excited that it is now October, which has historically been a good month. I am working on a few things and soon will be able to share them, they are not quite where I want them to be before revealing them. Tomorrow is also the second drawing class of fall term with Robert Liberace, this quarter we are working with the terra-cotta verithin pencils {which mimics the classical red chalk drawings} and silverpoint, a medium I absolutely adore and need to practice more.

See you tomorrow, Liz

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Inspiration {No. 18}

{a friend's backyard bliss}
Hello ~

Here are a few things to check out this afternoon:

. Sara Winter's Middle Creek View
. Some sketches of Via Algarviana, here, here, and here
. Mary's green-violet harmony
. Heather Smith Jone's homemade watercolors

Have a good one!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Workshop with Susan Abbott

{w/c ~ exercise of applying value and colors
of a Diebenkorn painting to a totally separate scene}

Hello ~

This week has been busy working on two new projects while absorbing the lessons learned from Susan Abbott’s workshop on Landscape.

The 4-day workshop focused on how landscape paintings are built, the premise of the workshop was that they are not just about going outside and painting whatever you see in front of you, instead the artist applies a sense of purpose when interpreting the landscape with an underlying structure.

Where Danni’s workshop was predominatntly focused on painting a single set up with the occasional demonstration, Susan organized the workshop to be half theory and discussion and the other half focused on exercises designed to have some experiential learning.

We individually focused on individual components of a painting and how they support the visual idea of a painting.

*Format (composition)

* Value

*Color Temperature (warm vs. cool)

* Color relationships (as on the color wheel)

Susan had gathered many slides of landscape paintings that supported the discussion. I really enjoyed how she gathered a variety of painting styles to demonstrate that all successful landscapes possessed these individual components.

Susan also asserted the idea that there was also an order of how paintings are organized. First the format of the painting is established by the canvas or base it is painted on. Then comes the value relationships. If the values do not hang together all efforts of color temperature and color relationships will be to no avail. After the value comes color temperature, the relationship of warm and cool shapes, how they relate and where they join, providing an interesting and convincing view. Finally color selection is chosen. Susan will often employ a limited color palette when working en plein air.

{w/c ~ color temperature exerecise}

This exercise was about experiementing with color temperature, where warm and cool colors meet while also establishing complementary color pairs (when using complementary colors you also typically have a color temp. difference)

{Oil Canvas Panel ~ plein air @ River Farm on the Potomac}

On the last day of the workshop we went out and worked on a plein air painting applying all we had learned. This painting was completed with a limited palette of alizarin crimson, cad red, cad lemon, cad yellow lt, cerulean blue, French ultramarine, and Prussian blue. This is the most limited palette I have every employed!

I really enjoyed this workshop, how the information was presented and the exercises that immediately applied what we had discussed. As most skills gained during the time were theory, I know it will take awhile to chew on all the ideas and apply the various pieces to how I go about creating a painting. My goal in taking this workshop was to improve my understanding of landscape paintings, I am drawn to them and want to become more proficient with them, and this workshop more than met my goals.

During the class I also met some wonderful people and hope to meet up with them again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Quick Hello

Hello ~

I have missed writing
and just wanted to share
that I have been busy working on
a new still life painting
with dahlias and a few other items.

I am applying some of the lessons learned
More about the workshop later this week.

Bye, Liz

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Looking for Clarity

{detail of a painting}

Hello ~

Sometimes I have difficulty articulating everything that is going on in my brain in an easy to understand way. Typically with discussions I tend to talk about everything related or unrelated and somehow it works. But when writing a blog post this method just will not work and I always try to stay on one subject per post and build upon the previous posts so there is a sense of continuity.

Since Monday I have been trying to rein in the ideas and discuss the various topics that are on my mind, and it has been difficult. I place the reason why I am unable to focus in and develop a single idea to discuss on how September is turning out to be. I began this month thinking attending two workshops and a seminar would be a nice change, little knowing it would alter my thoughts about how I view my work and transform my attitude about earning a living as an artist.

This is what has happened.

I love being an artist, creating beautiful paintings and drawings that reflect the emotive qualities I value in life. I also want to balance this personal dedication with a means of covering my costs and earning a living. These are big issues and I think sometimes the hardest thing individual artists have to balance and I am still in the discovery process. Again and again during times like these I am reminded that creativity comes in ebbs and flows. Allowing for breathing room in the creative process and which direction I will go over the next few months.

For what remains of the week, I am going to focus on the landscape workshop I am taking with Susan Abbott and learn all I can, give myself some breathing room, and enjoy the change in climate as autumn seems to have arrived in the DC area. As the ideas clarify I will share them with you, until then thanks for stopping by.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Success as an Artist ~ reflections on Ms. Fraser’s advice

I flew back from San Antonio on Saturday in order to attend the seminar “Success as an Artist” presented by Catriona Fraser of the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, MD on Sunday. The experience of learning from Catriona about how to navigate the world as a fine arts professional was eye opening.

She covered all the basics like: how to present your work, pricing, writing press releases, when to contact local curators, how to improve your odds in getting into juried exhibitions, and how to pursue gallery representation. We received a packet of information and an amazing CD full of additional information that was discussed or touched on during the day. So much valuable information was presented that by the end of the day my head was spinning some.

My husband will sometimes use the anology of drinking directly from a fire hose when in a situation where new ideas are rapidly presented for an extended period of time and every fact is so important that you really want to ingest everything so as not to miss out. This was my experience. There was just such great advice presented in a very candid, funny, and brass tacks sort of way that I am left with a need to correlate and organize the information in how it relates to my art career. I spent the majority of today thinking about and going over the seminar notes, musing and trying to figure out how to best apply this information. I think aspects of this seminar will be topics I write about over the next week and probably the following months as a plan starts to get implemented.

See you tomorrow with more thoughts, Liz


UPDATE: Ms. Fraser is going to give another seminar at Montgomery College in Silver Spring on Sunday, October 4. If you are interested in attending please visit the Fraser Gallery for more information.

Texas Watercolor Sketch & Colors

{Queen's Crown Vine ~ watercolor on paper}

Last week was spent visiting my grandmother in Castroville, Texas. For as long as I can remember the fence dividing her property from the neighbors has been covered in this beautiful vine full of delicate pink flowers. I love how the leaves are heart shaped and the flowers fall in such a delicate way.

Unfortunately it rained the majority of my time there and the rain limited my walks and time spent wondering and re-introducing myself to the various scenes of the town and area. Fortunately on my first day I took time to make a color swatch card of the various colors encountered after a morning walk (the only one that was not rained out). I will sometimes record the specific colors of items as it helps me focus and remember that specific time with greater clarity.

{watercolor on paper}

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pear {a daily painting}

Pear – 5" x 7" (12.7 x 17.8 cm) – Oil Canvas Panel


Yesterday was the two year anniversary of this blog! Thanks for being a part of this journey and I hope you continue to visit and share your thoughts!

For this painting I applied some of the painting techniques learned in the Danni Dawson Workshop. I spent about twice the typical time on this painting than is usually spent on these paintings, though it was a good learning experience and rewarding. I use RayMar canvas panels, and this is on the smooth cotton canvas. I like how the smooth canvas texture can be used or obliterated depending how thickly the paint is applied.

Tomorrow I am traveling to Texas to visit my grandmother for a week, while away I will not have regular access to the internet and I am not taking my painting kit with me. Last time I traveled it turned out to be just a heavy item in my luggage that only saw the light of day once. So for this trip I will just take my camera and take photos for future paintings when I get home.

Have a good week, Liz