Monday, May 31, 2010

A Bit O' News

So there has been a bit of excitement behind the scenes of this blog... I was approached, through email, by a lovely woman in the U.K. who wanted more info. about my work. In the end she wanted to purchase two small paintings (which I have posted before) that she found in my Slide Show; "Over The Point" (top) and "Shady River" (bottom). Clearly this was extremely exciting for me and certainly unanticipated. She was very patient as I scrambled to get myself set up on PayPal and, being the incredibly non-techy person that I am, I can't believe I figured it out (with only one email to my uber-techy Brother-In-Law!). I'm now good-to-go if this situation should present itself again. I mailed the package today and my little paintings are on their way to find a new home on the walls of a little 300 year old  English cottage! Too cool!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life Drawing Session

10 minute pose
vine charcoal on newsprint

Cheryl 2
10 minute pose
pencil on newsprint

It has been raining so much this week you would think it would have to end at some point. Today we were supposed to take part in the community garage/yard sale, but clearly that wasn't going to happen. I woke up and remembered that one of the artists from the studio had invited me to join her other art group for a life drawing session. My guys were just going to be lounging at home this morning, so I scrambled and got myself there for 9:00 (I woke up at 8:10!). I felt very nervous and extremely rusty, but it honestly felt fantastic to have my charcoal out again. I really didn't know what to expect of the set-up, so all I brought was my pad of newsprint and charcoal/graphite. We did some 30 second and one minute poses to start. My gesture skills slowly began to warm up, but are far from where I used to be years ago. The above are 10 minute studies.

Cheryl resting
20 minute pose
graphite on newsprint

Cheryl standing
20 minute pose
graphite on newsprint

Cheryl- portrait sketch
pencil on newsprint

The remaining sketches I am showing you each took about 20 minutes although I think the last one was possibly closer to 30 minutes. I used a basic HB pencil on this one- straight from my son's school supplies, so it is quite light. Sorry for the quality of the images... you can tell they are right out of the sketch pad. Let's just call them authentic!

Apparently this group is trying to meet the last Saturday of every month to do life drawing/painting sessions. I hope to attend again. I really struggled with proportions today and I need to keep up these exercises so I can continue to grow. As always, I was humbled by how much I need to learn. Cheryl was a talented model and gave us beautiful poses for the quick gesture studies at the start of the session. She had very graceful lines to her body and she was so confident!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's a Beginning...

Little Boy
oil on canvas paper

Okay, so this is my second attempt at a portrait. A couple of months ago I joined an online challenge called Following the Masters and worked from a portrait of the Madonna by Raphael (you can see my entry here). This portrait I am showing today was not for any online challenge, but just an exercise for myself using a photo I had of this cute little boy. At any rate, I am relatively happy with the result because there is actually a resemblance! The problem is I have somehow aged him by a few years! I don't exactly know what I did to make him look older than he is, but never-the-less I have done something. So at this point the only people that would ever commission me to paint their portrait would be teenagers because they always want to come across older than they really are! People 25 and older are going to steer clear away from me unless I improve! All silliness aside,  I'm pleased that my brush strokes stayed looser in this painting as compared to the Madonna painting. Also, I think the end result is pretty good considering I did virtually no under-painting or any pencil sketch on the canvas paper before I began. Having said all of that, I know I have a long way to go! I have tons to learn about using colour in portraits and using brushstrokes to convey the image in an interesting and dynamic way. There is something not right with the eyes... possibly not quite the same size or shape? As well, in the photo the head was cropped at the top, so I followed that (I really didn't misjudge the placement of the head on the page!) I'd love to hear some feedback... so please, if you have time, leave a comment or email me. The link to my email can be found on my profile page.  

I admit that when I was at the studio last week I allowed myself to get sidetracked by this portrait. I hit a snag with my large canvas in that I am overwhelmed by it! Rather than muscling through the tough stage I just turned my back on it and started something new! What can I say? I can procrastinate with the best of them! In my defense, though, I nearly gave up on the portrait several times... but didn't, so I guess I have some kind of staying power. As I moved around the 10x8 paper working on various parts of the face I remember some self-talk kind of like this: "Man, noses are hard!", "Jeez, eyes are impossible!", "No, it's the lips... lips are hard!", "You are brutal at chins", "Ears. Are. Hard." And so it went until I had hit upon every single possible part of the face thus coming to the conclusion that portraits are hard! But... was fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blossoms By The River

Blossoms By The River
acrylic on canvas
private collection

The forecast predicted a beautiful day for today, so last night when I went to bed I decided I would head out and paint as soon as I woke up. I felt the need to work on something smaller that I could complete and post. This piece still may be tweaked at the studio, but at least it is something to show. I have been trying to get work done on my large canvas, but it has been slow going. I am hoping to get to the studio a few afternoons this week and push the progress along, but today was definitely a plein air day. We have finally had a bit of heat after quite a number of rainy days and as a result the trees are blooming in full force and the grass is becoming more and more green. It was a glorious morning- birds chirping, people jogging and cycling and me out there pushing paint around. It was so relaxing and, as always, the time went by too quickly. As I worked on this piece it dawned on me that I have rarely used the colour pink. Humph... could be because there is not that much pink in the boreal forest which has been the subject of a lot of my work. And I do find it to be a bit of an intimidating colour. Odd, right? Anyhoo, I had my eye on the clock because I needed to get home before noon. Why, you ask? Well, for very good reason....


I had to check the status of my bid on an Edward B. Gordon original!!! Yup- you heard me! For those few of you that have been reading my blog since (almost) the beginning you will recall this post where I described the event of my first attempt at a bid on one of Edward's paintings. I was rather tentative to get in on the bidding process again, but just recently I decided to take a deep breath and test the waters. Sadly I lost several auctions due to swoopers (people who bid at the last possible second and steal the "highest bid" spot from you). And there were a couple of auctions where I was flat out of the running straight away. But I was determined to continue to try- otherwise I would never end up with one of Mr.Gordon's daily paintings and the thought struck me...  what if he stopped producing them before I had a chance to obtain one? There are no indications that he is getting tired of the exercise, and it has become very successful for him, but still, the "what if" was in the back of my mind. So I have been bidding here and there, desperately hoping that no high rollers show up. Much to my complete shock it turns out today was the day! I won the auction! I actually won!!! So I am now the proud owner of "Savignyplatz 15:30". I love all of Edward's work, but I seem to be drawn to his rendering of the female figure and now I will have one to admire and learn from in person. Yay!

It was a good good day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Embrace Life - It's Mother's Day

The boys woke up at 7:00 this morning and rushed in to give me their home-made gifts (my favorite kind) while I was laying in bed - Tommy made a card in Kindergarten with a sweet poem and his hand-print and Sammy also made a card in which he wrote an amazing message. A little excerpt is: "I love you mom. Thank you for razing me." That made me smile and cry all at once. He also made me a bracelet which I wore all day. You know, sometimes I can't believe I am a mom. There was a time when I didn't think that dream would ever come true and now I am eight years into it! The days are going too fast. I've asked the boys to stop growing, but they aren't listening!

We had plans to meet family for a picnic/ wiener roast down at a park near the river. It was loads of fun and the kids brought their bikes so they could ride the trails to and from the playground. The weather even co-operated, although the wind was picking up as we were leaving. Not only were we celebrating Mother's Day, but it was my Dad's birthday. As I have mentioned before, I like scrapbooking family photos, so my present to Dad was a page I made highlighting a photo of him in his workshop working on a "project" with my kids. They love going in Grandpa's workshop and take this privilege quite seriously. I put this page in a shadow box frame so he could hang it in his office. The memories they share in this workroom will last a lifetime... and I think it is pretty cool my dad has smelly markers among all of his tools!

I've spent some of the day feeling quite emotional. A thought crossed my mind as I considered the date, May 9. We have now passed the six month mark of surviving our accident. It is getting further away from my thoughts, but every now and then I have these flashbacks and I find myself staring into space shuddering at the thought of a different outcome. And today I have been thinking how lucky I am to have my children safe and sound with me; giving me hand-made cards with stick-man drawings and spelling mistakes. Unfortunately not all mothers are having a good day today and I am pretty teary knowing that. My mom sent me this video- it is beautiful and powerful... please watch it- it is short and so worth it. And please, always wear your seat belt and make sure your little ones are buckled up correctly.

I hope to have some art to show you this week. I only got to the studio for a total of about four hours last week which makes for pretty slow going on a large canvas!