Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Peaches and Imagination Painting

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

On Sunday morning I went to a local pool with a friend to swim laps. It had been a very long time since I had been in the pool so I tired out a little before my friend did. While I was hanging out in the Jacuzzi and later in a chair beside the pool I decided to “practice” painting in my mind. I visualized a painting I wanted to paint and mentally went through the motions of how to accomplish it. It was a fun exercise, one that made me realize how very reactionary my painting tends to be. Typically when painting I put down a color and then decide how to respond to it.

So later in the studio I tried to recreate the exercise in real life. The mental painting had informed me some about how I would proceed, but after the first few steps of laying in the first layers of paint nothing was like what I had imagined. I found myself having to rely on the moment, by being in the present.

I am coming to realize that it is the requirement of being present - being mindful that makes painting such a wonderful experience. Anna T. over at the See. Be. Draw. blog has been writing a number of posts that cover being mindful when creating art. It has been a great inspiration to me lately.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Peach in a Bowl Still Life

Peach in a Bowl – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

Painting peaches are one of my favorite things. I simply love the rich variations of color they have. To emphasize the warm color of the peach I chose to place it in a cream bowl and on a gray background. I think the shadow shapes and the muted surrounding colors really bring out the vibrant colors of the fruit.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tangerine Still Life

Tangerine – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel

Funny thing about painting still lifes is that sometimes what you set out to paint is not what you end up with. I had cut up two lemons in different ways, had started a painting when I realized it just was not working out. It just was not capturing my interest, so I scraped the painting down to use the canvas panel another day. We had a bowl of tangerines nearby and I decided for a break to eat one. The tangerine ended up replacing the lemon slices and I did not get a chance to eat it until about 4 hours later.

The paint on the canvas panels are getting very juicy and creamy lately as I am trying to use up the several tubes of titanium white I have before I go out and buy some more cremnitz white. The creamy consistency is because titanium white does not setup and stiffen like cremnitz white does. I find that cremnitz can be whipped up into a thick consistency of butter cream, where titanium white is more like meringue. I have to paint with an even lighter touch than usual, which is both fun and a challenge. I used bristle brushes mainly on this painting in order to build texture and emphasize the white pith that stayed on the tangerine slices. This detail shot shows how creamy and thick the paint was.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lemon Still Life - Blue, Green, and Yellow

Bowl with Lemons– 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

Yesterday with a day off was spent painting. I am looking forward to when painting during the week is a regular occurrence, but now it is just a luxury I savor.

For this painting I thought it would be fun to paint with an analogous palette of blue, green and yellow. Occasionally I would mix in red to either knock the saturation of a color down, or with the white bowl, to create a color vibration off of the predominating colors in the painting. This is an exercise I am going to play with more in the future.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

US Capitol – 6" x 6" – Oil on Gessoed Masonite Panel – NFS

Today my architectural firm was closed because of Inauguration. So I took this opportunity to paint and thought it would be a good idea to paint the US Capitol Building. History was made today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pomegranate Still Life & Thoughts

Pomegranate – 6" x 6" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

This is a simple bright view. I scrapped down a few versions of this painting before starting this one. Each previous version was more complicated with other items in the composition.

I like complex compositions, however lately the simplier the better. Life is complicated enough and keeping things clean and uncluttered is great for the mind and spirit. So here is a single round object in the middle of my canvas, what is complex in this painting is the shadow shape with reflected light on both the pomegranate and the tabletop.

A feature I love about pomegranates, is that as they age and dry out some, the round forms starts to get indentions, which enable some fun in the way the shadow curves around the form and how highlights land on the shining but sometimes textured surface.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Red Onion Still Life

Red Onion – 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

This onion was left over from a meal I had prepared. I liked how it looked on the cutting board and thought it would be fun to paint. Before I had never noticed how cool, almost blue white red onions are. Red onions really are cool in color tone, except the outermost skin which is almost orange.

When my husband saw the painting he quoted Shrek “Onions have layers”

I love that movie.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Brown Egg

One Brown Egg – 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

After painting the apple paintings last week, I was inspired to complete one more painting with a white linen napkin. At the same time I was trying to figure out what shape would add to the challenge of the white napkin. Eggs to me are a universal shape that can, where I can always improve upon. So here you have it more folds and an ovoid shape.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Two Honeycrisp Apples

Two Honeycrisp Apples with a Linen Napkin – 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

This is the second painting of white linen. I added another apple to the mix, and since the apple on the side was deeper in value, I also got to play with how to represent reflected light in a convincing manner without it taking over my shadow shape on the apple.

I really love the various puzzles and problems that can be created when deciding to paint. I guess this is why I find painting to be so satisfying and relaxing. I can tackle a problem, experience the journey of investigation, and then look at the end result and analyze what the results were. When I was in architecture school, this was what I loved most to, the investigation, research, and analysis of the found results.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Apple Still Life

An Apple with Linen Napkin – 6" x 8" – Oil on Canvas Panel – SOLD

For Christmas I received this wonderful book from my husband Steve. In looking through it I was inspired to paint white linen. I chose a simple composition with a honey-crisp apple that I had been saving for awhile. This was my first attempt at painting the folds of a white napkin in many months. This experience was very interesting and led me to paint a second painting of apples and the white napkin; I will post that one tomorrow.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Graphite Sketch of Slim

In the past few years I have come to view the holiday season as a time to take stock and be thankful for all that has occurred during the year. I also use the month of December to focus on friends and family. Now with the celebration of Christmas behind us and the commencement of a new year I have spent some time today and during the past week to plan and establish some new goals.

Typically this mental “cleaning house” also coincides with the physical cleaning and organizing of my desk and filing system. So I have been busy this week organizing and moving some furniture around all in preparation of starting the new year off well. With my house physically in order I feel am better able to commit to and take action on the resolutions I have set for the upcoming year.

Here are the main goals I am going to work towards this year:

* In 2009 I will dedicate time to the exploration of different techniques and mediums. Currently I focus primerily on painting with oils. I want to spend some of my "art" time exploring soft pastels, watercolor, drawing, and woodblock printing in addition to oil painting. I have already signed up for a drawing class with Robert Liberace this winter term at the Art League as my first action to incorporate this goal. I also spent my freetime today sketching instead of painting. The sketch above is of my kitty, Slim.

* In 2009 I will carve out more time to read. My current reading list is:
-The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
-I'd Rather Be in the Studio!
-Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting
-Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
-Civilisationby Kenneth Clark (the TV series is also great!)
-The Art Spirit
-A book on composition, maybe this on or this one

* In 2009 I will work towards transitioning my career focus to being a full-time artist. This is by far my most ambitious goal. As it will require me to organize my life in a manner where I take a break from the profession of architecture. I have the support of my husband, Steve, and my friends and family I have shared this with. So it is just a matter of getting everything together and being comfortable with the transition when it will take place.

Well, here are the goals set for 2009, I will evaluate the status each quarter to see where I am and to see how I may need to tweak the game plan as necessary. In reflectiong of 2008 I realize it was a challenging year for so many of us. I am hoping the past difficulties were just the rough part of the road leading to a smoother journey in the year to come.

What are your plans for 2009?