Back to Watercolor Class

When is a class not a class. I love taking art classes, (and cooking classes) but need to learn something new from the person teaching the class. This is a watercolor painting from a class I took on Tuesday. I am trying to decide if I should pay the money for the camaraderie, and know I am not really going to learn anything new. The teacher is delightful and tells other people how to mix colors, I already know how to mix.

What do you get from a class, where you are just given something to draw or bring your own photo? And there is no real instruction or suggestions for change, is that instruction. The teacher is very nice and seems to do fairly nice (standard) work, but there is not much inspiration for me here. To continue or not?
Back to Watercolor Class

Taking Art Classes

I took an art class this Sunday for the first time in the area. I admire the work of the artist, although quite different than my normal style, and I did learn some new color mixtures, which I enjoyed. The work is a little darker than my usual style, but I had fun.

One of things that I have learned from taking art classes over many years is that even if you really like their art and style, it is not your style. Every class I have ever taken the teacher thinks their style is the only good one. I do always learn something, but I am not about the confidence that comes with it. Maybe I wish I had more confidence in what I do, so I could feel that way too!

I learned some “sweet” color combinations, but think I am back to vignettes of my own choosing, or scenes I select. I just can’t get excited about either of the paintings, and I can’t sell them (legally) as his paintbrush touched my canvas?

The picture below is part of the setup:

I might have to try to do it again with a little lighter hand and see what I think. I won’t mention the instructor’s name, as I do really respect his work and he did the following in less than an hour.

I would love to know what you think of what I have posted?

So I decided to add my own personal view to the vase scene and this is what I came up with in about an hour. Would love input on what look you like best!
Taking Art Classes

Sometimes It’s Just the View

The view from our motel in Dillon Beach was just so beautiful. I took a photo of it and loved the photo, but I wanted to make it softer. It was early in the morning and the sun was soft on the water. Looking at it now, I see I need one straight line in the left side. And looking below, I think a little change can make a big difference. This came together in one day and is 20″ by 10″.

People often ask artists how long it took to paint a painting they might be interested in buying. What they don’t take in to account is how many years, how many lessons, how many paintings did it take to get to this point? One of my friends, an industrial designer once told me it took years of practice to get to the point where you could do something in a limited amount of time. I think that is so very true! When I first started painting I used larger canvases and most likely wasted a lot of good paint on them, but they helped me define what I now enjoy doing.

Sometimes It’s Just the View

Happy Chinese New Years!

Watercolor is usually not my medium, but since there is a small class nearby once a week I thought I would give it a try. Watercolor works the exact opposite as painting in oil. Light to dark versus dark to light. The photo below is an oil painting that I did of a similar image about two years ago. Same idea, but two very different looks. I’m not sure which one I like working in better.

I’ve been doing a lot of pen and ink drawings with a watercolor wash of the houses in my neighborhood and I like the effect of the combination. Structure or no structure?

Happy Chinese New Years!

Cows

I’m not sure why, but I have always been fascinated with cows. I did grow up on a farm and when I was very young we had dairy cows. My grandfather attempted to teach me how to manually milk the cows. It was fun for about thirty seconds, or until the cow kicked you, or knocked over the bucket you had worked so hard to retrieve. They are just oddly shaped unusual creatures. To me they are beautiful! Funny thing is, I don’t eat much beef.

When we drove to Dillon Beach this last weekend, I was surprised to see so many cows, and so many different cows. I took lots of photos, hoping to come home and paint a few of them.

These are the photos, and I need to figure out which might be more painterly:

1. All “cows” are female. Males are called bulls or steer. Before having a calf for the very first time, a female is called heifer. Then, once she has her first calf, she becomes a cow.

2. There are over 800 different cattle breeds recognized worldwide (according to Wikipedia). For example, beef breeds are raised for their meat, and dairy breeds are raised to produce milk. At Clover Meadows Beef, we raise Angus-based cattle, which is a beef breed.

3. What do cows eat? Grass and sometimes grain. Cows don’t eat meat – ever. They’re always “vegetarian fed”. Therefore, if you ever see “vegetarian fed” on a beef label, you know it’s a marketing t

2. There are over 800 different cattle breeds recognized worldwide (according to Wikipedia). For example, beef breeds are raised for their meat, and dairy breeds are raised to produce milk. At Clover Meadows Beef, we raise Angus-based cattle, which is a beef breed.

3. What do cows eat? Grass and sometimes grain. Cows don’t eat meat – ever. They’re always “vegetarian fed”. Therefore, if you ever see “vegetarian fed” on a beef label, you know it’s only a “marketing term” designed to get sales.

4. Cows can see almost 360 degrees. As a result of this near-panoramic view, they can watch for predators from all angles. However, they don’t see well straight in front of them and they will typically turn their head to look at you.

5. Cows have an acute sense of smell and can detect odors up to six miles away.

6. Cows are very social and don’t like to be alone. For example, when a cow isolates herself it’s usually because she is sick or about to give birth.

7. Cows have no upper front teeth. Therefore, when they’re eating food, they press their sharp bottom teeth against the top hard palate of their mouth to cut blades of grass.

Cows spend about 10 hours a day lying down.

8. Cows will stand up and lay down about fourteen times a day.

9. Cows can sleep while they’re standing.

10. The first cow arrived in the U.S. in 1611 in Jamestown.

11. The main stomach of a cow, the rumen, holds up to 50 gallons of food that has been partially digested. To put that in perspective, a bathtub can usually hold 30-50 gallons of water. A cow will consume about 40 pounds of food in a day.

11. Farmers use ear tags as an animal identification system that helps keep track of important information about each animal, such as birth date, gender, age, weight, etc.

12. The main stomach of a cow, the rumen, holds up to 50 gallons of food that has been partially digested. To put that in perspective, a bathtub can usually hold 30-50 gallons of water. A cow will consume about 40 pounds of food in a day.

13. Farmers use ear tags as an animal identification system that helps keep track of important information about each animal, such as birth date, gender, age, weight,

14. Cows can see color. They can even see red. When you see a Matador waving a red flag at a bull (a male “cow”), the bull charges because of the flag’s movement.

15. The average body temperature of a cow is 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

16. Cows have 4 digestive compartments in one stomach – the rumen (this is where the cud comes from); the reticulum; omasum; and abomasum (this is sort of like a human’s stomach).

17. In the 1850’s, nearly every family in the U.S. had its own cow.

18. All cattle (even grass finished cattle) sometimes need to eat something other than grass in order to be healthy, like mineral. Like all animals, cattle require a balance of nutrients for survival. They receive these nutrients through their diet, which provides six basic cattle nutrients: water, carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.

19. The hamburger debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Yum!

20. Almost 2,000 quarter pound hamburgers can be made from the ground beef in one cow.The hamburger debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Yum!The hamburger debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Yum!The hamburger debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Yum!

21. Cows have an acute sense of smell and can detect odors up to six miles away.

22. Cows are very social and don’t like to be alone.

23. Cows are strong swimmers! . They’ll tell you that many cows swim just as well, if not better than people. In some cases, cows swim across bodies of water as part of normal farming practices. For example, a herd of cattle in Ireland swim across a large lake each year to graze.

24. Cows are intelligent, emotional, and affectionate creatures forming strong social bonds within their herd and with humans. Cows show their affection with cute and friendly behavior much like a dog would; for example following you, licking you, and letting you pet them.

25. Cows can’t bite because they don’t have top front teeth. They may “gum” you, but they can’t bite you. Cattle do have molars on the upper and lower jaw, but their incisors are only the lower jaw. As a cow gets older, their teeth shows more wear.

26. Cows can’t vomit!

27. You can walk a cow up the stairs but they can’t walk back down them! Their knees don’t bend the right way.

28. Holstein cows are the ones that are white with big black splodges or spots on them. Like fingerprints on humans, these spots are unique to each cow. There are no two cows with the same patterning on them.

Why is cow poop called cow pie?

 Cow dung has a soft texture and tends to be deposited in a circular shape, which gives dung patches their alternate names of cow pies and cow pats. The feces is a good manure when used correctly. … Cow dung “chips” are used in throwing contests, and cow pie bingo is played as a game.

Dried cow dung was used for fuel by early settlers in the American West.

Cow Chip Throwing is taken quite seriously by some, but I am guessing not the cow!

Cow Chip Bingo is an entirely different game.

A grid is set up, typically on an outdoor field, comprised of numbered, one-yard squares. Spectators buy tickets that stake out a specific square. If Bessie chooses your real estate to do her business, then shazaam: You’re a winner, with prizes running upwards of $10,000.

Typically only one cow takes the field, but flashier fundraisers release up to four. In multi-cow play, the first dookie earns a grand prize, with lesser awards for second and third poopers.

Some onlookers will try cajoling the cow to visit their plot; “Come over here, I’ll rub your belly!” in Wells, Minnesota. To stave off this kind of trickster, the town of Anaconda, Montana doesn’t allow its cows to go free-range. They are led around by harness, ensuring equal time spent in each square. It may seem like an austere approach to a light-hearted game, but consider the stakes: Anaconda’s game pot was $6,000 this year.

In Missoula, the playing field is bounded by an electric fence. Purportedly this is to keep Blessame from escaping as one year, she made a break for freedom. Admittedly it helps with rowdy spectators.

It’s not like cows will reliably poop within the lines. What happens when manure lands in multiple squares? Turns out, it’s all in the percentages. There’s typically a judge who determines which square contains the most dung. They’ve been able to eyeball winners thus far, but are prepared to use a scale in close cases: the cow bingo version of a photo finish.

Cows

How to decide what to paint?

After a trip to the coast, I took so many great photos it is decide what to paint. These were all taken near Tomales Bay in front of the Motel Inverness. It is such a beautiful spot! Can’t wait to go back!
Sunrise over the water, but I missed it by two hours.
Love the colors and the water in front, with some clouds in back
Tree beside the hotel is quite painterly
This composition might work for a almost uncolored painting.
Great colors.
Across the way.
How to decide what to paint?

Branching out a little

Moving to California from Washington it has not been easy to find my art buddies. It has been hard to find classes. I have finally found a few to follow, and hope to be making more connections. At this point in time I really don’t have anywhere to show my art, but in my studio which is luckily on a main street.

I walked down to the Senior Center in town, and yes I am a happy senior to see if there were any classes. One of husbands friend mentioned they had a class there. I decided to see if I could sit in the class. The teacher was very generous and asked if I would stay. She gave me paper, a pencil, water colors and a dried rose to paint. It was fun to try a medium I very seldom use, and fun to see what I could do with one single rose.

She asked me to return to the class the following week. Sometimes we just have to step out of our boundaries and try something new.

Branching out a little

Catch Me If You Can?

When I was young we went to the city to go shopping for fabric and clothes each August. We dressed up and wore hats and gloves. So now you know I’m of a an older generation, as who does that now. When I went to the city right before Christmas, the only gloves worn were to keep your hands warm. There was not a lot of “dressing up”. Downtown it was hard to tell the shoppers from the transients. It’s just so very different. The restaurants are still fabulous, but all the little boutiques are gone, replaced by Gucci and Prada and etc.

I have been going to San Francisco for over forty years, and every time I have been, I have gone to Buena Vista Cafe and had an Irish Coffee. I painted it a while ago, but may go back and work on it. Maybe add some more darks.

San Francisco used to be the perfect place to get away from the mundane life, but now I think it has become the mundane city. It’s so sad that there are so many transients living downtown, and the city is just not as pristine as I remember it was when I was young.

You still can’t beat restaurant life and I still love Cable Cars and all the wonderful restaurants!

Catch Me If You Can?

Going to the zoo!

What is your favorite animal at the zoo? We went a while back and I have always been fascinated by Flamingos as they just seem outrageous! Amazing colors, weird shape, very long strange legs and a strangely beautiful face. I took several photos of them that day and thought I might try my hand at painting them. With their aesthetically pleasing neck and slightly different way of standing on one leg or occasionally two, I found it a bit difficult to capture them perfectly. I decided to give up on perfection and go for fun.

These Birds are Crazy. 8″ x 10″

It is fun in a kind of crazy way. Going back to landscapes or cityscapes for a while in the future, or maybe some big abstracts. I just need to find a venue where I now live to sell my work. Any ideas are welcome.

Going to the zoo!

Lemons are Yellow

9″ x 12″

In the backyard of our California home we have an abundant Meyer Lemon Tree. At first it does not look like you are going to have many lemons. Then they slowly start arriving. The little buds show up and they must grow and divide, as all of a sudden there are lemons everywhere.

Last year I made Limoncello, Lemon Bars, Lemon Marmalade, Lemon Chutney, Lemon Pie and etc. So in other words, if it had lemon in it or on it I made it. This year I am making the Limoncello, but little more than that! This year I will paint the Lemons, not bake the Lemons.

Lemons are Yellow