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:


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Inspired to Paint? Would a Challenge Help?

We've all heard of painting challenges...I just looked at a blog where the author is challenging herself to paint one a day! I know myself well enough to know I would NEVER be able to pull that one off...

How about one a month? Can I do it? Can you do it? I think I'll give it a try. Here's my offer: for friends who want to join the challenge, send me digitals of your paintings and I'll post them on this blog. We can give each other feedback and strokes!

I think it will be easier for me if I keep to a general theme. I'll start out with flowers and see where we go.  Here's a photo I took recently of a gorgeous pink African violet in a friend's kitchen window.

Does it give you any ideas? Good luck! Send me your digitals!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Layers of Inspiration

We traveled to Palo Duro Canyon last weekend, a place I had often heard of but never visited. The landscapes were easy to appreciate. Not as deep or rocky as the Grand Canyon, but the place was peaceful and welcoming. We stayed in a little rock cabin on the canyon rim and I took 150+ photos.

This sight appealed to me because, among other qualities, the striations in the hill were so beautiful.

Yesterday, I worked with my small class on torn paper collages. This is how mine turned out:

Just one more example of how the beauty in our environment can inspire us to express in art!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Analogous Love..

Well, color always does it for me. The brighter the color, the bigger the charge I get. And if the color combo is unexpected, that's the biggest charge of all. Take a look at these cousins, a claret cup, or hedgehog cactus and its first cousin, a strawberry hedgehog, growing right together. Evidently they like the same kind of soil!

The pink ones are strawberry hedgehog, and the red are claret cup or hedgehog cactus

Here's my first little sketch, just a quickie on a 5X7 piece of paper. I used dark colors to pop out the brights. Although I think the brights are good, I don't like the character the dark lends, so decided to do it again.
"Pink and Red," version 1

And try #2 - I zoomed in and used lighter, sunnier colors. I think this one looks much warmer and more feminine. Adding the sticks was a good idea for the texture. I may want to keep trying...
"Pink and Red," version 2

Thursday, June 25, 2015

An unexpected source of inspiration

My mom, Ruth Hanson, passed away yesterday. If someone had asked me initially about any influence she may have had on my art, I might have said, "not much." But some hours have passed and I've thought more about my experiences with her. Mom and I shared some interests: history, culture, literature, and perhaps best of all, birds and flowers. Mom taught me the names of birds, plants and flowers, beginning at an early age. I learned to "look up" anything I saw but didn't know the name of. I learned to observe my environment. And I can't think of a single quality more important for an artist.

This one's for you, Mom: "Prickly Beauty."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Steps to Creating from a Photo

Very often, an inspiring sight or idea presents itself when we are far from the studio. We may not even be thinking “painting” when the gorgeous, jaw-dropping sight appears. Our only option might be taking a quickie with the cell phone camera. Probably, any photo we get won’t be studio quality, won’t be composed well, wouldn’t make a great painting just by copying it. So what do we do, when we finally return to the studio and have only that not-so-great digital photo for reference?

The double rainbow that appeared over the Organ Mountains last night was mind-blowing.
But the photo I took with the cell phone is only a reminder of the moment. It couldn't record
the ozone smell in the air, the glowing colors in the rainbow, the gasps I heard from other 
rainbow watchers! There are elements I probably wouldn't want in a painting (like the light pole)
and I wouldn't want to copy the scene directly from the photo - I'll have to think about
what would make a strong composition and how to communicate the excitement I felt at the scene.

  • The first thing to do is to look at the photo or photos taken, review them, take yourself back to the moment you touched the photo icon. Remember the surprise, the wonder, the smells, the colors, everything you can dredge up about that moment. What was it about the scene that grabbed you? What made you gasp? Why were you compelled to take a photo? Talk to yourself about the moment. Write down some words, if that helps you solidify your ideas. Mostly, identify what about that scene made you want to paint it? The more you can put this into words, the more you review your emotions, the better you’ll be able to describe it with paint.
  •  Second step: Review your photo(s) again for information that supports and describes your exciting idea. What needs to remain? What are the elements that made you gasp?
  •  Three: What should be cropped out or discarded? Some things may be obvious: light poles, stop signs, pickup trucks – some of these might be better left out of a landscape painting. It’s all up to you, there is no right or wrong. Only what supports your idea and what does not. You have to put thought into this.
  •  Four: How can you arrange those necessary items from step two to make a strong composition? Here’s where the sketch book comes in. You don’t have to get tight and “realistic” with the sketch. I’ve been known to do my sketches with a ball point pen on a napkin or the back side of an envelope. The idea is to get your concept in front of you, move the items around so that they make a strong composition, based on what you’ve learned about composition. Indicate only the main shapes and values.
  •  Five: Try out your idea with paint, experimenting with colors and values. Don’t worry yet about details. If you need to make half a dozen little color and value studies, that’s fine. You’ll figure out what works.
  •  Six: If you are a “tight” painter, do your drawing and transfer it to the paper. If you’re a looser painter, dive right in. Having done the five steps above, you’ll be much better prepared to get your exciting idea on paper in a way you will be proud to share.