Sunday, May 22, 2016

home for a while..... totem series in progress

i didn't travel last week and hardly knew what to do with myself- it's like so much time suddenly appeared. i felt like i could think about painting again, instead of journaling or photography.

i worked on some backgrounds

and on a draft of my next totem series piece (you can see the photo reference in the upper right corner of the image above. he'll go on the background above, after i work on it a bit more. i didn't get the head quite right- needs to be more triangular- but that's why we practice. one thing this really brought home to me is how much i like water soluble graphite. no clue what i'll do with that, but it's a fact.


it's nice to have portable art, as i worked on this in my studio annex in fairfield. spring is a beautiful time in idaho, especially so on the marsh in good water years (this is the first of those in a while).

camas lilies add another body of blue 

the marsh is alive with birdsong (a generous word for the noise this guy is making, but he's singing his heart out) and hosts a variety of avian visitors

when i was driving around the area yesterday i kept seeing short eared owls but was never in a spot to shoot them. i decided to make it work today (hoping, of course, that they'd be hanging out in the same places).

i was lucky enough to see 4 owls and to shoot 3 of them. the bottom 2 are the same owl- she let me work my way closer and i was grateful. i have a feeling that this is next up in the totem series-

it's so nice to feel inspired and to feel like painting and to have the time at home to do it! of course, i need to weed the garden and plant my pots and do a few other things too, but i have time at home!!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

finally made it to paris

and wow- it was worth the travel time- ( 3 plus to O'Hare, 8 plus over, 9 back)

 such a charming city- just take a walk and look around

i love the rooftops and clay chimneys- they say Paris to me even though this was my first visit- probably thanks to Hollywood

there's iconic Paris-

revolutionary Paris

 and this is what i see Paris:

can't wait to see what art comes from this. i journaled and brought home plenty of ephemera, we'll see where this goes.

there's a quote that says that everywhere you go becomes a part of you. i believe that wholeheartedly, and endeavor to be conscious of that fact- to bring the best of where i go into myself. i'm always looking for the best places in the towns i visit for work or vacation. paris was a very pleasant surprise. not that i didn't expect a good trip- i did. but i was so very charmed- everyone was nice, all of the food was amazing, everything went the way it was supposed to, we didn't have horrible lines anywhere, etc., etc. loved it. it was easy to see why so much great art has been created here. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

what's the point?

so many days that art is not made. work is done for the job that makes all things possible, errands run, books read, life happens but art does not.....that's OK unless it goes on for too long....i start getting hard on myself.

here's the first art that touched me this week- literally- travis berg created this beautiful memorial with no guidance beyond sugar skull and dogs. i love this tattoo.

then there's this-

wildflowers always amaze me- the growth under such harsh conditions reminding me of the powers of resilience and patience

trying to decide what to take to paris, what to leave- knowing full well that i always take too much, and challenging myself to use everything i take

i did this w/c sketch on Saturday- Hell's Canyon vineyard- with help from Jaki & Lisa on perspective, dumping the insignificant stuff and using w/c......

so, what goes to FRA? 3 sketchbooks for sure- the one i made for this year's trips, the F/E dictionary and a random w/c book.....

trying to keep the implements to a dull roar (without much success)

here i am, excited about the trip, but having trepidation and not making art. trying out media and surfaces- makes sense to know where you're going.

not always possible. sometimes gotta let it happen,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

the point is- make someone think, flinch, smile, jump, run, fly- help someone fly-
the point is- there is no point, only art and what you believe it to be
the point is- do it for yourself- it's ok if it's a sketchbook rather than a canvas, it's ok if no one sees it but me-

i'll be in paris this time next week- :)

Monday, April 25, 2016

art on "the road"

off to lubbock last week. love looking out the window of the plane & seeing big fluffy white clouds casting shadows.

i had lots of work and little spare time, so just completed 2 pages in my travel journal. i'm making an effort to find new things to draw in hotel rooms- it's a bit more of a challenge on an airplane (but i should get pretty good at drawing wine glasses.....). the third panel is part of my continuing quest to understand my tools before going to paris. the paints react differently with various papers, and these books are old, with fragile paper, so i need to be careful.

i've been making marks in journals in different ways to see what i am most comfortable with, and how the media responds. i am really liking the water soluble graphite. the ones below are from derwent, and the colors included- prussian blue and sage green are two- make this a nice addition to the blocks. but i don't think that they're easily packable on a long flight.

seeing how pens/markers work over different backgrounds. i then sprayed water to see which would run, which would stay. so now i have an idea how to whittle down the pen/marker selection.

i also tried my hand at a watercolor still life in my studio. i haven't ever painted with watercolor- it's a difficult medium- so this is all new to me. i've only used them in my little antique dictionary travel journal. i want to have a better grasp on how they work on better paper. 

one thing i discovered is that the winsor newton kit doesn't have black (which is ok- i'm used to mixing blacks and actually prefer doing that), but it also doesn't have the brown and blue i am used to using to mix black. the brown isn't dark enough. i ended up using water soluble graphite for the blacks here, may need to switch out a color or two in my kit.

next up- what journal(s) to take? jaki and pam were telling me to take only one, but i don't think that will work. i'll do a few test runs this week and report back-

Sunday, April 17, 2016

tools- so many options, so little room to pack.....

i love tools. i'm a bit of a "gearhead" when it comes to this sort of stuff- my friends call me gadget girl. this isn't necessarily a good thing- like when i bought the first surface thinking it could replace my ipad & stand in for a laptop on short trips. too heavy, not enough battery life- which was subsequently fixed. i should have waited.

i don't believe that a person needs the most expensive equipment to do the job, only that you need to know the tools' abilities & limitations. i take photos

 with my phone

sony mirrorless camera

and the D800

each works best for me in specific instances. the D800 is wonderful, but it's heavy and i am not going to have it with me all of the time. that might mean that i'm not a serious photographer, but IMO figuring out how to make art is what matters, and if it's instagram photos that's better than not shooting.

art supplies present endless possibilities, especially for the mixed media artist. i am pretty comfortable using oil and acrylic paints, but have always been terrified of watercolor. you can't paint over mistakes! things need to be planned! the white of the paper is used as the white in the painting- frightening stuff. when i started using watercolors for my travel journals i never gave much thought to the quality of the paint. i just looked for kits that were easy to pack. 

being gadget girl, i ended up with 3 of them. (one purchased after i tried to pare down my travel kit & take only pens. silly me- i got to lubbock, needed color & bought a paint set). the 3 on the right are, from left to right, the first 3 in order of purchase.

for my birthday my sister and nephew gave me a certificate to blick. i have a few big trips planned this year, including one to paris, and used the money to upgrade to a winsor newton 1/2 pan kit (far left above)

the sketches on the left done with the w/n paints- the color is more luminous, the paints are nicer to use. there is a definite difference. ( as there should be for the price!)

i found these cool art graf pigment discs in houston last week. i've been enjoying playing with water soluble graphite & these offer the same characteristics with limited colors. different feel and workability than watercolor. the bird head below is art graf & w/s graphite. the owl is done with inktense sticks. these are also water soluble and can be applied with a brush (used like watercolor) and/or used to draw with. the difference is that they are ink and do not reactivate. i sprayed water on the owl today and nothing moved.

now i am trying to figure out what, realistically, i "need" to take to paris in my travel art kit. 

 i am also realizing that i need to practice with whatever i plan to take, as this is a very different way of working than i am used to, and i want to be able to use what i bring with me well. i've been doing test runs the past few work trips on the pen side of things, but now i need to work on this part. 

fun stuff- stay tuned!