Friday, January 30, 2009

City Beat VII

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h

Another birds eye view. This guy was hefting this construction cart around the corner. It had wheels...but I guess no handle. I would've been riding it like a skateboard!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

City Beat VI

6x6 oil on panel
$100 + $12 s/h
Its been an age since I did a small work like this. I spent a long time this morning just trying to find something to spark my imagination again. I swear, two days ago I had a hundred ideas and then suddenly this morning I had nothing. Even those ideas that were pressing me to work the other day left me. I can look at the very same photos and sketches and I see nothing. Its like lighting a match... sometimes that flame just catches and roars to life and other times, its a wet match, and nothing will make a spark. Its very annoying.

Finally today I recalled these overhead views. I needed something a little different, something simple and graphic almost. I painted several of these which I will post over the next few days. It was a good morning, after all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gallery Walk - 30 Minute Study

12x9 oil on paper

Purchase This Painting

I had a goal today to paint two paintings. I did that, but I should have been more specific and told myself two good paintings. I really enjoyed painting them, but I am not sure ultimately that they turned out well. I will have to let them sit facing the wall for a day or two before I decide what they need. What is really disappointing is that I was very energized last night when I decided on what I'd paint. The 12 hour delay getting to it must have been the trouble. So today I have a 30 minute study.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Corner of the National Gallery

17x12 oil on cardboard

This is very much in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec. If you hadn't yet guessed, he is one of my favorites. I had this cardboard - something called museum board actually - laying around my studio and I wanted to try to paint on it directly like Henri did so long ago. Its a very thin cardboard, and somewhat brittle. It will crack easily. But it was a fun experiment with - I left a lot of the board showing through the paint, using it almost entirely to represent the floor of the gallery.
The painting the art lovers are looking at is "A Corner of the Moulin de la Galette" by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

PS - I want to send a huge thank you to all my friends out there who had such high praise for yesterday's piece. You really made my day! Its so nice to have feedback and to be part of this new-age artist's community.

Monday, January 26, 2009

French Masters Gallery

30x40 oil on linen

This painting took me about 3 days of work. Its big and there are a lot of people in it. I think I spent about an hour per person. Pretty amazing since they don't have faces! I rarely work this large for the simple reason that I can't do it all at once. I don't like starting and stopping on paintings. I feel they lose some of their magic that way. My inspiration fades and I am ready to move on to something new.
This is actually two weeks old now. My daughter was home sick all last week and now I'm suffering either her virus
or cedar fever and feeling pretty puny. I certainly have missed painting and I hope to get more done this week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Morning

9x12 oil on panel

This morning I went painting at Spicewood Farms with Plein Air Austin. The weather was brisk, and the sun didn't make an appearance until we left, go figure, but I got a couple of nice paintings/starts. The stables were bustling with morning chores and some riders. And the horses were frisky because of the cold air.
Its funny that I don't paint horses more often. Growing up I did everything I could to be around horses. I've worked with saddlebreds, racehorses and hunters. I mucked stalls and cleaned tack and groomed all to pay for lessons and in the hopes of getting offered a ride. I eventually got to own them too (thanks Mom and Dad!) and spent many years training, riding and showing hunters. I think they are truly one of God's most amazing creations. They are such beautiful animals. And so curious and friendly. I think only the dog could compete with the loyalty and affection a horse can share with its master.

8x8 oil on panel - unfinished obviously

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Watching Rehearsal

pencil sketch

This little girl was in her leotard, just came from her dance class, and got to watch the big girls rehearse The Nutcracker.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lessons from the Masters

24x18 oil on linen - sold

I'm not sure this is the best photo but I sure enjoyed painting this scene and I'm very pleased with my work. The artist is copying Berthe Morisot's painting, "The Mother & Sister of the Artist." I did another painting of a similar view a month ago. And you will probably see more. I've been painting a series from the National Gallery of Art. Its a great deal of fun to paint the architectural space and all the people interacting with the art.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NY State of Mind

I just learned that one of our Plein Air Austin friends was in Manhattan and that another was on her way shortly. I am so envious. I do, however, have this wonderful blog to browse and get a little taste of things. Do check out John Fraissinet's site. His Street Observations are wonderful shots of life in the big city. They are a huge inspiration to me. I especially love his "Below the Waist" shots from his November posts.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

21st World Wide Sketchcrawl

This morning I finally got to go on a Sketchcrawl with a bunch of fellow Austin artists. We met at Ruta Maya coffee house and fortified ourselves with coffee and hot cocoa. Then worked our way up South Congress Ave. (SoCo) It was fun being back in these areas. I used to live down there and it has a really fun and funky vibe that is distinctly Austin. I walked, I sketched, I shopped, I chatted with a nomadic photographer and bought some of his lovely photos, and I finished by getting a few cupcakes to go from Hey Cupcake - located in a shiny silver airstream parked on a vacant lot.

Ruta Maya and my mug o'cocoa

Empty mug - it was really good cocoa. I almost had to get more, but given that this was the large, I thought I might be overdoing it.

I stopped the car real quick to get a sketch of these folks selling tomatoes from their van. What I wonder is who "certifies" that they are organic?

I bought this recycled metal goat at The Great Outdoors garden center. Very cool place.

The airstream cupcakery and chips and "soda" (not salsa) at Gueros Taco bar.

And my final sketch, back home. My dog likes to to rest on the very top of the couch cushions and pillows. She is like princess and the pea on top of many layers of softness.

I can't tell you how much fun this was. Really, what it was, was relaxing. I just walked and observed and watched the world go by and it was very cathartic. I highly recommend a jaunt like this.

ps - I love my new pen - thanks Mom!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Self Portraits

The Daily Painter's Gallery wanted to do a self-portrait showcase on Wednesday, so I am posting to have my work placed with the others in the gallery. A self portrait is something I've contemplated doing lately. But I've been very lazy. I've been so relieved to have my normal routine back that I can't figure out what to do first. So I've been sketching, reading, relaxing and thinking a lot. I think that counts as gearing up for my next paintings. I did these very quick sketches tonight while my daughter was in her bath. My reflection was in the window next to me. Not very clear. I contemplated going further and getting a little Picasso action with the double shapes I was seeing. As it is, I did a contour type drawing and a pencil sketch. I think I like the contour best.

Thinking about self portraits, I look up on the wall in my studio and see this self-portrait I did 8 years ago. It was so labored. I remember hating the work. I did a complete grayscale charcoal sketch, transferred it to canvas, did an underpainting in burnt umber (or sienna, who knows) and then worked into the opaques - and worked and worked and worked. And never got to color.

detail view)

I wonder if that style of painting eventually helped me to hone the loose, alla prima style I am achieving now, or if it was just a way to work for awhile. I think when I got into plein air painting I realized that the underpainting was not going to work. I've since abandoned it completely. Sometimes not even toning or shading areas of light and dark. Just going straight into color, opaque and/or transparent.

I find the alla prima style so much more suited to my tastes - its energizing to paint and to look at I think. I am amazed by the work that some artists are able to put into a piece and I admire their superior craftsmanship, but I find that the work that really turns my head is that which was created with minimal description, with passion and - well - that conveys the artist's impression. Something in which a piece of the artist's heart or soul is in the work and which has been interpreted through their hands, and comes out something new. I read somewhere that some great contemporary (i.e. living) artist was quoted that to be able to make the mundane beautiful was the mark of a real master.

I'm waxing poetic this evening. I usually have a very hard time expressing "arty" thoughts ( I did not say artsy fartsy.) Though people tell me I am a good writer, this particular subject is hard for me to express. Speaking of, if anyone wants to volunteer to jot down a blurb or two for a bio for me, step on up!! :-)

Friday, January 02, 2009

Turning Forty

Times Square
30x20 oil on canvas

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I've been focused lately on household matters. I think being at home with all my family so much makes me see the changes in decor, organization and such that need to be made. That and deep cleaning. I've been rearranging, selling furniture on Craig's List (what a great resource that is), and redoing my daughter's room (anyone want an upholstered glider with oil paint on it?? That paint gets everywhere!)

Deep cleaning was on the agenda today but my mind is slowly contemplating my next paintings and ideas for the blog. I'm itching to get started again.

As the title suggests, my thoughts are also on my birthday this weekend. The idea of entering my 40s is quite acceptable. Its just another age. Just like all those before - and I like any reason to celebrate and have a nice dinner out! Mostly, I know that I have so much to be happy about. I and my whole extended family enjoy good health, I have a wonderful husband and amazing daughter, I have a great job, a comfortable home and many blessings.... life is good and I see no reason to think otherwise just because I'm turning 40.

And in this new year, I hope that all my friends and family, far and near, experience the same
feelings of contentment, good health and happiness.
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