Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New York, New York

I am back in Texas after a whirlwind trip to the Big Apple. I met Phil Levine and two other artists to paint in the city and we had the best time. At least I did! It was the best trip there yet. I took 1,100 photos and painted about 8 paintings. I had my sketchbook too which I also filled with pen and ink sketches. I have enough material to work for a year and I can't wait to start!

The ladies I painted with, Petra and Sherrie, are such lovely people. We seemed very well matched in our tastes (for subject, food, eye candy, etc.) and in our energy and eagerness to soak it all in. Petra came all the way from Geneva, Switzerland. Sherrie is from Nashville and if you want to compare our reports and our work - you can probably find goodies on her blog.

I will start at the beginning I guess and show you the "dog" of a painting I did on Friday morning. We set up in the West Village again after dodging some rain. I have tried to paint the Bus Stop Cafe for 2 years now... still didn't get it. I promise, the work improves after this one! (I'm not going to show you a close up. Lets just say though that if the man at the table stood up, he'd never fit into the building!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Contemporary Gallery

12x8 oil on panel

I am packing up for my trip to NYC! I am excited to get into some cooler weather for one thing. I have things all planned out; painting the West Village, a lengthy visit to the Met, some time in Central Park, maybe a ferry ride, lots of sketching, and kicking back in some good wine bars. Any recommendations for food/drink in the city?

I'm meeting up with Phil Levine and some other artists. I am undecided about taking my laptop, so don't yet know if I will post during the weekend. We'll see how my packing goes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Approach

8x8 oil on loose canvas - sold

Guess what my daughter is doing this week? She's at horse camp! She is having a wonderful time, though how they can stand this heat I don't know. It has been hot hot hot!
This morning I watched a lesson for awhile after I dropped her off. I liked this tightly cropped image of horse and rider approaching a fence. I wish I was riding too. Been a long time.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quick Trip to Houston

I went to the big city to paint an Indian/Hindu wedding ceremony. What an amazing event. Part of the time I got caught up in the rituals and admiration of all the gorgeous saris, what a feast for an artist's eyes! But then I remembered to get back to painting. I didn't make a lot of progress, but have a decent start. It was really an honor to get to be a part of this celebration.

This morning I went to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston before leaving town. There was no special exhibit, but I thought it would be good to get some references for paintings.
I was one of about 4 people in the galleries. There were three times as many security guards - all very welcoming and friendly.

It ended up just as well that I didn't find many people perusing the art, since my camera batteries died anyway. My extras were in the car of course. Can you guess my frustration?

Aside from those shortcomings, the visit was a success. An important part of seeing the work of masters is to see that even their work is not perfection. Remember that I gravitate to the impressionists and contemporary artists. Its a reminder to me to strive for expression not duplication. I saw how thin and gestural some of their paintings are, how the underpainting remains in the finished product, even a Matisse where you could see how he scrubbed away sections and tried to redraw them. I wonder if that was intended to be shown at all, but his name is on it, I suppose he considered it finished. I wish I could get that loose and expressive for these wedding events. Maybe then I could finish more of the work on site, or paint larger. But I try too hard to be perfect and exact even in the dark, even with a crowd around me, even with my subjects moving constantly.

Another thing that I find interesting in museum collections is to see what the works are painted on; cardboard, tracing paper, "fans", wood. Funny, too, that the works were so often reviled, yet they amaze me more than all the highly-rendered European salon works.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Joaquin Sorolla y Batista Exhibition "Catalog"

I just got this fabulous book - certainly more than a catalog. Its simply called "Joaquin Sorolla" and was printed in conjunction with a Museo del Prado exhibit this year of Sorolla's work. I got the book through the Barnsite Gallery.
The book is massively heavy and has excellent reproductions. Its also incredibly comprehensive. Its delicious!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Painting Digitally

I was just introduced to fellow DPG Jeff Mahorney's art blogs via Facebook yesterday - love his work! In one of his posts he talked about doing some digital color matching using Photoshop. ("Digital Starts") Its an exercise in seeing when you can't actually get out the paints and work from life. I was reminded of another blog I found quite awhile ago and have since lost track of... but it was a small group of digital artists who used a tablet to create digital paintings. I loved the images and was fascinated by the art and the process. I even looked into buying a tablet and using it to sketch! As an example for now, I found a similar artist who looks like he has since moved on from his "Thousand Sketches" - Walter Logeman - but he has some interesting cafe scene sketches.

Its no secret I work from photos regularly and sometimes I use Photoshop to adjust lighting and color, to crop and edit and to add and rearrange, but I haven't used it to paint.
So today, while I sat in the infusion clinic with my husband, I played with painting digitally. I used a museum photo and reduced it to a line drawing of sorts using Photoshop's photocopy filter and then I set to work, matching the colors I saw in the original photo and also just being loose and massing things. It was a lot of fun. I used the regular paintbrush but should have looked into using a different style that maybe wouldn't have had such hard edges.

Its a great exercise for seeing color. I find that the more I look at photos on the computer, the more color I see. A printed photo can generally lose a lot of subtleties, as it averages the lights and darks, but I find that on my monitor, perhaps because it is bright and illuminating, I see a very wide variety of color. I don't paint in probably near as much as I see... perhaps I need to start! At the end of this exercise I began to pop in some of those colors, but I also wanted them to be small and not disrupt the color harmonies I had working in the overall painting.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

This month I could not have waited any later to paint our challenge (something shiny from the kitchen). BUT, its not that I don't consider the challenge important or compelling. On the contrary, its the one thing that made me climb over the debris in my studio, ignore my house guest and my own stuffy head and paint.

6x12 - oil on linen - sold
© 2009 Robin Cheers

The Face Off
8x8 - oil on canvas board
© 2009 Michael Naples

Flour Scoop and Silver Cup
8x10 - oil on canvas
© 2009 Marie Fox

Press Event
7x5 - oil
© 2009 Diana Moses Botkin

Serving Spoon
8x10 - oil on canvas
© 2009 Silvina Day

Gravy Boat and Cherries
8x8 - pastel
© 2009 Mike Beeman

Steel Cut Berries
12x6 - oil on board
© 2009 Vicki Ross

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What happened to the lazy days of summer?

Trip to Ohio last weekend. Visitor here this weekend. I have a cold and I have yet to get back to my studio! I'm really missing my old life! Remember when I used to paint?

Monday, June 01, 2009


Today, I am going to jury the New Braunfels Art League's show "People and Places."
I've never done this before, but I am excited to have the chance. Its a big responsibility I think. Having exhibited in a number of juried shows, and having not even been juried into many more, it will give me a taste for what a juror goes through in making decisions on the merit of the work entered. I know its all very subjective, so when my work is not chosen, I have learned not to take it personally. I can just accept that my work was not pleasing to that particular person/s. Sometimes its a matter of subject, or execution, and sometimes its not a great painting and somehow flawed. But entering shows and being accepted to exhibit and possibly winning an award is good exercise for an artist. Both for the bullet points on your resume, as well as for the feedback you do get.

I went to the Salon International show awards dinner so that I could hear Daniel Greene talk about the winners and what he saw. All the work was amazing, but I would have made different choices for the award winners. It all boils down to personal experience and tastes. That is the beauty of art though, it means something different to each person experiencing it and to the creator. So, never give up expressing yourself.
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