Sunday, May 27, 2018

Layers of Inspiration

Sitting on the patio last evening, I was watching the sky (surprise!). Beautiful sunsets are no rarity here, they are almost expected. The layers of pink, gold and soft lilac were like a balm after the end of a difficult day. One could just sit there and soak up the balm. Everything all better now.

While watching those layers softly move and change, it came to me that our world is presented to us in layers. Last night's first layer: the sky - up close and infinitely far away at the same moment. Next layer, mountains and mesas, 15 miles away and 50 miles away. Then trees, and finally the little "details" -- hopping and chirping birds, flowers and butterflies.

What a beautiful world we live in!

Nighthawks at Sunset

Monday, January 29, 2018

Love and Laughter

I have been inspired lately by love and laughter -- love for my lil stinker, Boogie (his name is really Bandit, but I call him Boogie unless I am yelling at him for chasing down and biting brother), and laughter at some of the things he does. Like drinking out of my coffee cup. Or tea cup. Or whatever I am drinking. You might not think cats like iced tea, but Boogie does. He likes the almond milk I put on Cheerios. He likes melted ice cream (but not Hagen Dasz Coffee, for some reason).

"Boogie Likes Cream in my Coffee!"
Love might seem like an obvious emotional inspiration, but how about amusement and even laughing out loud? The kind of amusement that makes you grab your camera? It worked for me here!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Permission to Fail

This afternoon we had a short workshop on "weaving," meaning weaving together two watercolors that have been cut into strips -- one vertically and one horizontally.  Participants brought "failed" paintings that needed a new life -- and they got it!

Mine started out as two unconnected paintings -- one was planets or moons out in space, the second was a desert floral. I chose the two by virtue of the similar colors and the round shapes.  Here's how it turned out:

We all had a lot of fun choosing paintings to work with, making decisions about colors and cutting. Every one of the participants had a very successful result. I was so glad to see them all enjoying the process, giving themselves permission to laugh and permission to fail. I feel that approaching art with this attitude leads to more successes.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My First Rodeo

Husband Bill and I took a weekend trip to Tombstone, Arizona. Well, I wasn't much impressed with Tombstone but the scenery on the trip there was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Knocked me out. Talk about inspiration!

These were taken south of Rodeo. So quiet. So unspoiled. So beautiful.
The fresh colors,  the sounds of nothin but birds and a gentle wind, it was just too too much. The layers of blues in those distant mountains...the waving grasses, the variety of greens. Very compelling and an open invitation to PAINT!

So last week I "did" a demonstration for an El Paso arts group, and I drew on all that gorgeousness to produce a just so-so collage. This one will be coming around again...

"First Rodeo"

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Negative Painting

The next few weeks, I'll be working with a group of watercolorists on negative painting. There's nothing negative about it! Negative painting means painting the space around a subject, generally with a darker or less intense color. The exercise I'm going to use demonstrates deepening space with layers of progressively darker background.

For the first layer, identify what will be the LIGHTEST LIGHTS of the painting.
Here, it's the moon. Paint around the lightest lights with light, not-too-intense color.

Second layer - identify the NEXT layer of lights -- slightly darker because
these will be on the layer that is already painted with the background color.
If you need to draw in the subject to keep from painting over it, that's fine.

Now, paint around the second layer with a slightly darker background,
this time avoiding the LIGHTEST LIGHTS and the NEXT LIGHTEST LIGHTS.

Fourth layer is same as third -- identify the next layer and paint around
that plus the second layer and the first with a dark background.
You could go on painting additional layers, deepening the space almost endlessly.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Just for Fun

We've had a lot of rain this year, which means more FLOWERS! My favorite subject...and it's also the time of year for seed and bulb catalogs. I turn the pages and drool...usually don't buy any, but I do feel very inspired by the number and variety of flowers of all kinds.

My mom always had German iris, planted up next to the foundation of the house. Lots of different varieties, different colors and different scents. Irises always make me think of her. Last week I held a class on "mingling" watercolor -- that means letting the colors mix on the paper. I chose iris to do the demos:

Then I decided to use the demo paintings to do a "weave," where the paintings are cut into strips -- one vertically and the other horizontally -- then woven together.

I decided that I needed to strengthen the design,
as only by looking at it from a distance could
one tell it was a I added the collage
elements of buds and leaves.  Still not the strongest
design, but it was fun!

  If you want to try this method, choose two paintings of the same size and format, and find something else that will hold them together -- similar colors, subject, etc. The closer it's "zoomed in," the better. Paintings with too many distant details won't usually work well for this method.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mah Jongg Inspiration

Playing Mah Jongg at my friend, Susan's,house Monday, I was repeatedly distracted by the gorgeous views outdoors:

This one is a view of the Organ Mountains, looking southeast out Susan's door. It was a chilly, windy day, and the clouds were doing acrobatics! 

This is Susan's New Mexico "bottle tree." Bright sunlight danced and sparkled on the bottle edges. Little birds were flitting everywhere, eating seeds, sipping water,  busy with bird business. The scene was shouting at me to paint it!

At home, I cropped the photo and used the grid technique to help me do a proportional drawing: