It had been over a year since I enjoyed a “Life Drawing” experience. I call it an experience, as it is not a class, but more of a session. A model is provided, and you bring everything you intend to draw with, and sit and sketch. In this session, it started with four minute sketches, went on to five minute sketches, then ten and finally twenty minute drawings. Our model had strong facial features, so I decided to focus on that. I brought a variety of tools to use. This drawing uses 8B, 6B & 4B pencils that can be manipulated (somewhat) with water. Since I had never tried this before, it was a bit challenging.
This was my first twenty minute drawing, using only charcoal and little pen and ink. I did not get the eyes right, but like the fierce look it gave the drawing. Need to practice a lot more!
This is the same model, but I wanted to show the softer side to him. He looked so very serious, till he took a cellphone call on a break and gently started laughing. I do realize his eyes are looking in two different directions, so a bit of an error on my part, but now too late to change.
I do suggest joining a session like this to loosen up your drawing skills. I firmly believe that if you cannot draw, you cannot successfully paint.
Life is about the experiences we have, not about what we have or often what we do. I’ve been painting for several years and never really entered a larger competition. I took a class in Mendocino and my teacher suggested I should join the upcoming Mendocino Paint Out; so I signed up. As the weeks went by, I collected frames and made sure I have enough canvases. I made an hotel reservation, and thought I was set to go.
About a week before I was set to leave, I thought I should check with the hotel about my reservation. I am glad I did, as I accidentally booked a room with twin beds and a bathroom down the hall. I upped it to another room with twin beds, but my own bathroom. In the interim, my husband decided to join me for the weekend festivities, so when I arrived I asked if I could upgrade a little more, so I would have one bed, not two. I ended up having a living room, bedroom and bath, which was large, but very old and very sad. The draperies in the rooms, had blackout shades in shreds. At one time they must have been beautiful, but today they were old and looked tired. Everything looked tired. It could have been spectacular with a little love and maybe a little money.
When I got back to my room after dinner, and discovered the TV did not work, I was glad for my IPad and was set to watch a movie on it. But as I pulled back the sheets I noticed a fairly small drop of blood on both the top sheet and the bottom sheet. That did not make me smile, but I was tired from the long windy drive in pouring down rain. I just crawled in, poured myself a glass of wine and watched my “Chick Flick”.
And then it began: The first day, we all (or those who started that day) lined up to have the back of our canvases stamped. We could enjoy viewing the one piece painted before the paint out, that everyone was to bring and hang. It was a wide of assortment of talent and style. The three main artists (the judges) had their work on display. The work was interesting and varied, consisting of two oil painters and a watercolorist. Although their work was artistic, it was not particularly to my personal liking. I would learn a lesson from this later in the week.
So we all took off to find out place to paint the first day. I headed to Little River Inn, where I has stayed before, and enjoyed the distant view. I finished my first painting in a couple of hours, and headed back to town to get a bite of lunch. Waiting in line, a nice young man informed me there was a spider on my backside, before he knocked it off. I had been sitting on a quite old and damp bench painting. As it turns out, I was lucky he saw it and ended its life, as it was a Black Widow. So that was how my week began?
My first painting was 20″ x 10″, and I painted it in an already framed canvas. I forgot to have this one stamped, so had to call to get permission for it to be allowed. They were very nice, and let me use this the first day. I had time after lunch and it was a beautiful day.
I had discovered when I set up my palette to paint, that my plein air paints had all dried out, so I decided to drive to Fort Bragg to a local and wonderful art store to refresh all my oil paints to the tune of $260. Fresh and new, but an expensive lesson. Since I was already in Fort Bragg, I ventured to MacKercher Park, hoping to paint the lagoon. As I was setting up, a creature crawled out of the lagoon with a direct line toward me. I did not know what it was, but it did not look “friendly”! I had never seen, what I found out a few moments later, was a Crawdad, alive. Luckily a young woman in the parking lot knew what it was, as her father was a commercial fisherman. But I decided I would go to the other side and paint the beach!
The next day, I decided I would paint one of the beautiful houses downtown. I worked on it most of the day, and wiped it clean at the end of the day, not liking it. The next day I tackled it again and upon finishing it called it “a day”.
The last day was a quick draw contest. They give you a location and send you out. You have about a half hour to set up and two hours to paint. This year it was downtown Main Street. You could paint the beach or turn around and paint the town. There were 50-60 artists all painting downtown. I chose to go quite simple and painted the distant shore. I never knew so many small bugs could fly into a painting. Apparently they like the smell of the paint. I still need to finish the piece I did, as a gnat flew into it after I hung it up on the wall.
You can see the bug and the scratch marks, where someone tried to remove it.
That evening they had the rewards ceremony. My lesson with all this was: If you are not particularly fond of the work of the featured artists (judges), why would not be surprised that you would not have selected the same pieces to win the awards? Of all the talented artists in the contest, I did not agree with most of the winners. Many that were by far better, did not win any awards. Of the awards given, often another piece by the same artist was more beautifully executed. One of the awards went to the husband of one of the judges, and it was the one I really thought was color straight from the tube, poorly drawn and actually a little ugly.
I did not go expecting to win. I went for the experience and an experience it was! I met a lot of really nice people, and a few that were a little too overzealous about their art. I ate some great food, and some not so great food. I could not find a good latte anywhere in town, but the raw oysters in abundance made up for it, even if they were flown in from Washington State.
Many artists do ten to twelve of these a year. I found it exciting, exhausting and challenging. Would I do it again? Maybe for a shorter duration? I might try doing another medium, as no one was doing gouache, there were only a couple pastel artists and maybe one doing acrylic. That might up the odds of having a chance to win. Some paint outs provide a free place to stay, so that might make a huge difference expense wise. There are so many factors that go into deciding what to do with your art.
It was a last minute happening, so I have to take pieces that are already framed, as other than two inch canvases everything needs to be framed and ready for hanging. Fifteen pieces are now ready to go. In other galleries where I’ve shown my work and had my own show, you took your work in, hung it yourself and each one was labeled on the wall with information: Price, size, material & etc. At this one, there is a list to be made, someone else hangs your show and each piece has a rather complicated tag. It took all day to pull this together, and I still do not have a list of cards yet. Those need to each have a description, even though I put the name of the piece on every one.
It is about this point if you wonder if it is worth the work? Since I am new to the area, it will be interesting to see if anything sells?
This the largest piece I am showing at 36″ x 36″. It has been in my family room for the last year and I do like the piece, but needed a “Show-Stopper”. Hope it catches the attention of people coming into the gallery. It was painted after the fires in Vacaville and is called: “The Air is Clearing”. It is available for $2500.
Lagoon Valley was painted from a photo I took while walking around this lake. It is 24 x 18″ and is for sale for $750.00.
A River Runs Through is 12″ x 9″ and available for $450 at the gallery.
There are several other pieces.
Come visit the Fairfield Suisun City Visual Arts Association
Yesterday in our watercolor class we had the option of painting something with green. I had taken a photo while driving along the coast and thought this might be fun to paint. I am still struggling with watercolor, but had a little fun with this.
This is the original photo.
This is just a quick blog post to show three different styles of the same thing.
Back to the watercolor class today with mixed emotions. I wonder if watercolor is even my medium? Do you ever wonder why you are trying something new. I was told the piece was very “painterly”, which was nice, but I really did not like the piece. I came home and added some pen and ink to the watercolor as it looked to bland to me. I am having a hard time figuring out how to have more dark darks in watercolor. It is so very different than painting in oils.
How do you control the movement of the water with the paint as you apply it, so you do not get splotches? How do you get the vibrant color that you get with oils? I won’t give up! I won’t give up!
It is a class of beginners, so hard to learn from anyone else in the class. I am using the class as a reason to force myself to try something new once a week. Not sure if it is working, as would I ever be able to sell anything in this medium. Maybe that is not a good reason to be taking a class.
Life brings you joy, happiness, challenges, changes and a long list of other things. This last year I sold my beach house, got a divorce and could only afford a small older cottage. It is amazing how well we all can adopt.
So begins a new story in my life in a small waterfront town in Washington half a year, and in California the other half. The little house has literally nothing in the yard, but brush that people left for years under the trees. My gardener from my last house took out two full dump trucks full of yard waste and etc. I have spent a lot of time putting down beauty bark, and will slowly plant the garden. (not today) Friends have been generous with gleanings from their gardens, so I know in the long run it will be lovely and carefree! (In appearance, not maintenance)
The entire little house has been painted the brightest white available, and I would love to replace doors, trim and cabinets, but that is not in the budget at the moment. I cheated on the drawing, as the house is actually yellow, not my favorite color! So hopefully next summer we can paint it a nice dark gray.
Every day is a new and mostly fun challenge. Today I discovered who ever lived here waxed the ceramic tile floor. It was already kind of an ugly light pink, but it never looked clean. Today Clorox and a brush on my knees, and a metal scraper, helped it look a tiny bit better.
I serendipitously came to see my first love from college again about a year ago. His late wife was a sorority sister, a beautiful and smart woman whose Celebration of Life I attended. It was wonderful to see they had a wonderful life together. I guess I had always wondered how his life had gone. It was a beautiful celebration and I was so happy to know he had a good life and two wonderful children. It was amazing to reconnect with so many of my AX sorority sisters from fifty years ago.
Over time Reed & I talked and discovered, both being widowed there was still some magic in life. We are having a amazing time getting to know each other in our seventies. You never know what will happen in life.
With the wildfires and COVET 19 life is not simple for anyone. The air quality was so bad in Washington when I wrote this, I was not sure if it is even a good idea to go to my garage to paint. We are having strange times. I feel lucky to be sharing it with someone so positive, loving and laughing.
One of the other classes this summer was given by an artist that paints in oil, but more successfully in watercolor. When I arrived at the class I realized everyone else taking the class was painting watercolors. I do Urban Sketching and luckily had my kit in the car, so I could do watercolor. It was NOT why I was taking the class. It was an expensive class and I had to drive an hour each way to attend. I only attended two of the four days. I think I learned everything I could the first day.
The class was about painting moving water, so we were drawing from printed the examples on the first day. I quickly learned it was a very beginning class and many of the students had very little drawing experience, let alone watercolor experience. They had a lot of drawing equipment, but not educated skill.
The teacher had, as many do, sent out an extensive list of supplies with several new (to me) oil paint colors. So I had to find the colors quickly and $$$$ before the class. I did not use even one of the colors required and more than that the use of these color combination was never discussed or explained. The teacher was a lovely talented lady and I enjoyed talking with her but did not enjoy the scattered and unorganized class.
In this small watercolor, we were to work on the direction the flow of the water, by bringing the edge over the top and puddling it at the bottom. That was the extent of what I learned in class. The next day we went to a local park to paint moving water, but there was no moving water. There was a rather stagnant pond. I did a small watercolor of it but did not like the result, so put it in the “not to be shared” file, otherwise known as the trash can or round file.
Later in the day, I did the little gazebo by the water, but there was nothing new it this either.
I will continue to admire Julie Gilbert Pollard’s work, but what she does versus what she teaches are two different things. I would have loved to have learned how to use the new colors that I bought for the class. I will never take a class that attempts to teach both watercolor and oil painting as the approaches are the complete opposite. In oil painting, you generally start with the darks and in watercolor painting, you add them last.
The other thing in signing up for a class, find out the experience of the other class members overall. If there are a lot of beginners in the class they are “time hogs’. They don’t mean to be, but they just want to learn so much more.
I have taken classes taught by the same teacher at different locations and discovered when most of the class is beginning, you don’t walk away with nearly as much new information. The other “light goes off”, was that every artist thinks that their way is the best and sometimes the only way to do art. Keep in mind there are a lot of different ways to come to a beautiful painting.
Every art studio could use a cozy corner for reading art books. This last week my husband built these two-inch shelves with a lip for setting finished small pieces and works in progress. Now I need to get busy and paint some more small works.
Next weekend he is going to add more shelves for bigger pieces. It is wonderful, as they are all straight on the bottom for once.
Every challenge yourself to something and feel either great about accomplishing it or bad that you failed (the first time). This year I challenged myself to read 75 books on the Goodreads challenge and can very proudly say I accomplished that goal. The year before I attempted to bake every bread in Paul Hollywood’s Bread Book. I made it about 2/3’s of the way and gained a couple of pounds, but did not finish the book. I still love to bake and may just try to finish it. I take my baked goods to my local fire department, so they are enjoyed and not wasted. My wonderful local fire department surprised me with a gift certificate the last two years. That made me cry the first year, as I was amazed they recognized the gift. This year I felt a little guilty as I felt I did not take as much, but will up the ante as the year goes on.
Now with 2019 coming up, I decided I would follow the example of Kevin McPhearson, the author and artist of “Reflections on a Pond”, and paint the view of the water in front of my house every day of the year. If I don’t have time to paint on a particular day, I will take a photo and paint it later. I find it an interesting thought and am hoping it will improve my painting skills.
Happy Housewarming to a good friend of mine and former interior design student. Snuck by a couple days ago to take photos of this adorable house in downtown Poulsbo. For every house I list or sell I will do a drawing for the owners, as a memory for selling and a fun drawing for buying (with cards to share with family & friend). Hopefully you will be seeing a lot more of them here. I did not sell or list this house, but thought this might make a nice housewarming gift for a very special person.
Back in time to Port Gamble with its Post Office. Port Gamble represents one of the few remaining examples of company towns, thousands of which were built in the nineteenth century by industrialists to house employees. Founders Josiah Keller, William Talbot, and Andrew Pope planned the town to reflect the character of their hometown, East Machias, Maine, where many of the early employees originated. For 142 years, the community existed to support sawmills that produced lumber for the world market. The mill closed in 1995, but as a National Historic Site, the townsite has been preserved to reflect an authentic company mill town.
The first known residents of Port Gamble were members of the Nooksclime, Clallam, or S’Kallam tribe who fished and gathered food along Hood Canal. The S’Klallams belonged to the linguistic group, South Coast Salish, which populated Puget Sound. Tribes traded and intermarried and generally experienced little conflict except for raids from outside the region. In 1841, a U.S. Navy expedition led by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798-1877) named the two-mile-long bay at the mouth of Hood Canal after Navy Lieutenant Robert Gamble, who was wounded in the War of 1812.
In the summer of 1853, San Francisco lumber merchant and sea captain William Talbot (1816-1881) spotted the sand spit at the mouth of the bay as a likely place for a lumber mill. Talbot was a partner of Josiah Keller (d. 1862), Andrew Pope (1820-1878), and Charles Foster in the Puget Mill Company. They planned to cut the abundant trees of Oregon Territory into lumber for sale in California and across the Pacific. The sand spit sheltered ships and was close to stands of timber.
S’Klallams already lived on the spit and on the bluff above. Keller induced the natives to move across the bay to Point Julia in exchange for free lumber, firewood, and Christmas gifts. The S’Kallams called the site Teekalet, “brightness of the noonday sun,” for the way the water and sand reflected light on sunny days. Talbot borrowed that name for the mill.
Here is the oldest photo of the building I could find.