Saturday, December 31, 2011

Marlena: Almost Done!

I know this isn't vastly different from the last post, but it is progress! One of the features that I love about this painting is the way that little curl juts out and obscures her eye, just a bit. In the story, Marlena's hair is always out of control.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Starting to Look Like Marlena

At this point, I started to feel more hopeful about the outcome, but her hair still needs a lot of work, and the complexion isn't quite right.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Little Better...But Not Much

Here's the next phase. I know--it doesn't look  a whole lot better, does it. Not to worry, just keep adding layers and try not to overwork it (yeah, telling myself to 'not overwork' it is kinda pointless.)

She's looking very ethnic at this point, and she is half Venezuelan, but she's fairer skinned than she appears here. All fixable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Marlena: Not Much Improvement, Yet!

I know, she doesn't look too good yet! At this point, I was wondering if I'd be able to pull it off, but that's pretty typical at this stage. As tempting as was to abandon the project,  I made myself add another layer...and hoped for the best... (but I still wasn't confident enough about her outcome to post it!) Perhaps it was the skin-tone that threw me--not enough pink.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No, I Haven't Forgotten How to Paint!

I know, we all thought I'd given up on painting! I haven't--I've just been preoccupied with editing my novel (yay, UNCHARTED is going to be published in October 2012). Anyway, I've been looking at a painting* I found online of a young woman who looks exactly the way I imagine Marlena from the story. As you all know, I need an image to work from and so I thought I'd try my hand at a watercolor interpretation of Pascal Gentil's painting* that portrays my Marlena so well. Normally, I post my progress as I go, but this time I was feeling rather insecure about pulling it off, so I finished it first. I'm still going to post it incrementally, but if you can't stand waiting a few days, you can get a sneak preview over at my writing blog. Next week, I'll post Gentil's oil painting.*
For now, here's the  wash. (I would have included the sketch as usual, but it turned out too light.)

* Edited to say that I just found Pascal Gentil's Photography Website only to discover his "painting" is in fact a digitally enhanced photograph, which takes a great deal of talent and in no way diminishes my esteem of his work. Oh my, how I'd love to paint many of his subjects! And in a way, it makes me feel all the better about my work.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Plein Air Follow-through—More or Less

Well, after all my posturing about getting out of the studio and painting en plein air, I made myself do it! I mean, what could be better than a 70° autumn day in New Hampshire?
I started with a pencil sketch and quickly got bored and my back started aching. Once I sketched out the basic lines, I switched to an indelible black ink marker and wondered why I was even bothering.
The Perfectionist sitting on my shoulder, whispered, “You call yourself an artist? Is that what you call perspective? You haven’t laid down one plum line! And that, after resorting to an eraser!”
“What—you think I can’t see that?” I kept at it, telling myself that I really hate sketching. I was about to abandon my aspiration and simply call it an attempt. Then my Motivational Critic jumped in.
“What! You’re not even going to follow through and break out the paint—Oh, how pathetic are you!”
So, I cracked open my paint. After about 60 seconds, I got bored again and just wanted it to be over with, so started laying down paint more quickly (it dawned on me that this was likely what I should have been doing in the first place).
I shrugged the Perfectionist off my shoulder and heard my MC whisper, “At least you can say you tried and followed through—good for you!”
“But I don’t have to do this again, do I?”
“Well, did you have fun?”
“Not really.”
“Then why do it?”
“I don’t know— It’s such a romantic notion…I just really wanted to be the artist who could whip out my paints anywhere and produce something really stellar.”
“I feel as if I’m stagnating in the studio.”
“Really? But you produce some pretty remarkable stuff in there. You like it—I’ve seen how you study it afterward with satisfaction. Why can’t you be happy with that?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Well, you need to figure that out.”
“Yeah, I know…maybe I’ll carry my paints and tablet around just in case…”
Sigh. “Whatever…” 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pushing My Envelope—En Plein Air

I haven’t painted anything in so long that I think I may have forgotten how! However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. In fact, I’ve been doing better than just thinking—I’ve been planning…

Here’s the thing—As you know, I work almost exclusively in my studio, from photographs. It’s a safe and comfortable place, and I’ve done some of my best work in my cloistered environment. The problem is, I feel as if I’m beginning to stagnate. I’ve been following Bruce Sherman’s blog, Journaling With Paint, for some time. Get this—he actually goes outside and paints! That’s right—Plein Air Painting! In fact, artists have been doing it for centuries! Believe it or not, I also have done it—years ago.
Look! I even made a field kit! (Okay, notice the EKC latch that I ripped off an old camera case—I do so love old latches.) 
I even covered it in a nice soft leather and purchased a Windsor Newton field kit to go inside. I did use it on several occasions, but found that my discomforts outweighed the pleasure.

The problem is, I am overcome with self-consciousness if I think anyone might come along and look over my shoulder. I’m certain it has a lot to do with Dumbbell Syndrome.

Anyway, the point of this post is along the same vein of why I started this blog in the first place. I won’t use the derogatory term ‘guilt me into it’ but I know that if I post this, I am far more likely to follow through. As an incentive, I am also posting these samples of what I accomplished—or tried to—back in the mid ‘90’s.

I really muddied up the shodow on this one...

Some big old house in New Harbor or Pemaquid Maine

I like architecture

Not sure why I didn't finish this cemetary 

This one I'm actually proud of. There had been a lot of tourist traffic, but I stuck it out. Eventually, I ran out of light, but fortunately, I snapped a photo of it before I left so I could finish it up at home.  

To ease myself into it, I think I'll start with something from my own back yard... 

Friday, March 18, 2011


I just can't seem to get my head into painting these past couple weeks. I don't know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are just about to put our house on the market--I mean for real--like we need to be ready to up an move, cross country, really soon...Then again, it could take months and months, but the last time we listed a house in a down market, we had a buyer in a matter of days, and then life took on a rythm of another pace altogether.

So, anyone know of anyone who wants to buy a gentleman's farm and an arsty house?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Finished At Last!

Yes, it's true, I'm finally calling it done--not sure that I can't improve upon it, but at this point, I don't care. I simply can't look at it a moment longer. I think the lace was probably more of a challenge than the glass--lace has fewer hard edges and requires more blending. I could have done more, but Todd was constantly over my shoulder saying "Don't overwork it!" As if!

Okay, I did overwork it a tad, but I'm pleased with the results. It is 8" x 10" and I now need a stronger pair of readers...'ve got an idea for my next project...something highly reflective, small and sentimental...but I have to wait for some bright sunlight before I can start it, and in Michigan, well, that could take a while...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Not Quite Done...

I know I said I wasn't going to post again until I finished, but all the finer details in the cloth and lace--let alone the glass--is taking longer than I wanted it to. Therefore, I'm posting this just to show that I am progressing...

I also noticed that I needed to darken the tone in places, so, overall it looks a bit darker. Then once I'm happy with the tone, I can add the white glaze where I want to brighten it...

...and then there are all those hardline edges I need to add for the finishing touches!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Step 7

I feel the need to post something... Again, it may not look like much, but I workded on the lace, which is as painstaking as the cut glass. Just so it's not the same ol'-same ol', here's the photo, too. I won't post again till it's done. Hopefully that won't take too long...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Step 6

Okay, I'm just posting this so I can see that I have progressed...besides, I never pomised this would be exciting...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Step 5

I started out slow today, but once I got going on the eggs again, I found it oddly soothing. I must remember that for when I start feeling anxious; Paint Eggs.

Speaking of painting eggs—I can't remember if these where white eggs or brown, but I'm thinking white. This made for an interesting observation this late afternoon when the sinking sun crept in the window behind me, illuminating the photo from which I'm working. It highlighted and exaggerated the different hues of the eggshell. Ultramarine, crimson, ochre—colors you would never expect, right? (Okay, I did have a hunch they were hiding there). When the sun disappeared, the colors again subdued, but I like the color in the eggs so much better. Perhaps I’m getting creative with my painting and not so rigid…

I'll bet you wish you knew what the photograph looked like!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Eggs, Glass & Linen: Progress

Not much progress, but I want to provide proof that I have been working on it--and more than just that lace loopy thing on the side...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: Step 3

Even though I've done a painting similar to this one, it was so long ago that I don't remember exactly how I approached all those facets of glass. This one is a little larger, and good thing!My eyes are that much worse these days (go figure). As I go along, I'm finding that the best approach is not to focus on one area for too long, and keep reminding myself that it always takes shape in time.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Eggs, Linen & Glass: The Wash

Well, most of it is 'washed', however I couldn't really 'wash' the cut glass. All those facets--well, each one is its own peculiar shade of gray and umber. At least you can gather the color scheme.

This will be more of a study in texture rather than color, and an exploration of backlight and reflection. It will be tricky going--I may even need to don the magnifying goggles, but I shall prevail!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Finally, A New Project

...yes, it's true, I'm undertaking another watercolor, but this is no ordinary painting; it may quite likely be the painting that drives me to the brink of insanity! (Yes I know that's not a far drive from where I'm at.)

I know it's probably hard to tell what it will look like from all those teensey-weensey lines, but if you've been to my Website, it may look familiar. It is, in fact, a variation on a theme I worked up several years ago, and I can tell you that it tested my wits even then (back when I had a few more wits about me). I posted something about that a long while ago, and even now I can't believe I'm considering this project (okay, I'm more than considering it, 'cause I've done the drawing and posted it).

I can't gaurantee that this will be a happy ride for observers, but I'm going to try hard not to whine about it. I can't promise I will finish it in a timely manner, but I may post more stages, just to provide evidence that I'm still working on it...

The finished painting will be 8 x 10 inches, and in case you're wondering, it is titled Eggs, Linen & Glass.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Troubled Mints

I know I'm not the only one who has a hard time in winter. Every day feels like a struggle. But sometimes, just one silly little thing can put a smile on my face.

I've been enjoying Altoids Curiously Strong Peppermints since back in the early '80's when it seemed the only place you could get them was through the Vermont Country Store catalog (I think they were curiously stronger back then, but that could be my imagination).

Yesterday, when I opened a new tin, this is what I found...

Just knowing there is a home for Troubled Mints* puts my mind at ease...perhaps then, there is also a place for me...

* I think Altoids may acutally be having a little fun with the 'troubled' Royal Mint... 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Header Design for My Writing Blog

Okay, so I thought it would take me a few days, but I went ahead and got busy on it…
This is what I’ve come up with as the new header for my writing blog.

Now to apply it and change the background and fonts and colors too (to the blog itself—not the header)—could take another day…maybe not that long….

...and of course, I couldn't resist putting my Story for a Shipwright for the book title...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reading & Writing: Finished—Finally!

I almost thought I was going to have to put this on the Projects Waiting page. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood to paint while I was away (I did however get a lot of writing done). When I finally put brush to paper, it didn’t take that long to finish. I know it’s not as dark as the photograph I posted, but it is close to the tone of the one I printed. I kinda wish I had stuck to the darker, but if I don’t compare the two, I like this one just fine. (Comparisons really are evil).

…Now, to design a header from it…