I think one of the most challenging types of art is the portrait. It is difficult to capture the essence of a person in a painting. You can paint all the parts, and they can fit together nicely, but do they really look like that person. I have started taking a portraiture class and decided even if my painting does not look exactly like the model, I am going to enjoy the experience of drawing and painting. The first day of class we learned proportions and worked on value. We did not get to far, so I finished this at home.
The second day of the class we had a lovely model for four hours. Once again we started laying out the proportions with burnt umber on the canvas. We just started to add color and it was time for the class to be over. I do not feel I captured the beauty of our model, but do not feel bad about the painting as a piece of art. I think I am starting to get the idea of making it smoother, and add only detail that is necessary. My teacher felt I need to add more of a highlight on the right cheek.
The third week we had a new model that was a different type of beauty, but had almost perfect proportions. There were only two of the five students in this class, so it was almost like a private lesson.
Of the three so far, I am most happy with this one. I feel she looks softer and more lovely than the previous paintings. It is fun at this stage of life to constantly be learning something new. I think it helps to keep us alive.
This is the result of the final class, and though I have a lot yet to learn, I am enjoying the process. I hope to continue learning and practicing by doing portraits of family memb
Sometimes when you are “out & about” you view a scene that makes you think about how different our culture is today, that it was twenty years ago. Before cell phones became such a way of life, we interacted in very different ways. Maybe in the good old days, we read the paper instead of talking with coffee, but that was the only time of the day that happened in most families. In today’s world we start the morning with coffee, email and checking the different social media sites. In my house, we don’t really talk. We get ready and walk to the gym or to pilates and chat along the way. Many people then go back on their phone to catch up with “what’s going on in the world” or play a game or are back to social media.
When I was younger, “social media” did not exist and I think it was a healthier way to live. You met your friends for coffee, or lunch and/or maybe a drink on the way home from work. You actually talked to one another and used a telephone in a very different way than it is used (by many) today.
We recently went to a wine tasting at the beautiful Domaine Carneros, near Napa. It is situated on a hill with beautiful views. As we were sitting enjoying our tasting, I looked over to see a younger couple enjoying the afternoon in a different way. She was talking on her cell phone and he was turned the other way looking at his cell phone. I don’t know if the sun was in his eyes and he could not see, or if this is just the new way of life. I see this all the time.
I decided this would make a good painting as a statement of how we now live our lives. It is no wonder that people don’t talk as much as they used to… They don’t think it is necessary? I think that is why I love and admire my best friends. Our phones are in our pockets or purses when we are together and only come out for fun photos!
Is this how you interact with your family and loved ones, or do you actual talk to them and listen to what they have to say?
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.
I signed up for my first ever Art Sale called the Crush, as it is held at a local winery. I paid for my space and went to put it on my calendar realizing I was out of town that week, at another “art first”! I signed up for a Plein Air Open Paint Out in Mendocino the same week. I already paid for that, and the week of lodging and am very excited about entering a contest, but disappointed I won’t be able to do both.
Trying to stay on top of everything you sign up for and want to do can be exhausting. Next week I am taking a figure drawing class in Sacramento, then meeting a high school classmate for lunch. It is a casual class.
In the interim, I decided to paint a couple of wine pieces. This one is 9x 12 inches and was fun to paint. I will start showing in Village 360 in Suisun Valley starting the 23rd. This piece is available for $450.00.
So many artists paint one thing, and I think it is important to experiment to see where you excel. I have been painting for a long time, with more in the last view years and love to try different things. At this point in my life, I like to go big or stay small, with nothing in-between. Just a random decision I made lately.
When we were staying in Newport and having dinner, this fishing boat passed by the window. I liked the composition, but not the colors. I thought about it for a while and decided I would try to add a sunset behind the bridge. I painted this about a year ago, and still thought it looked a little dull.
Every time I go to San Francisco, I love to stop at Buena Vista and have an Irish Coffee. I have been doing this since before I was even 21. (Oh no). I only ate there once with my family when my sons were very young. I highly recommend the Irish Coffee, but not so much the food. (Although it may have improved in the last thirty years) The fries were good.
I recently went there with a group of fun women, where we laughed and loved our Irish Coffees. Can’t wait to go there again. It is always perfect, no matter what time of day! I loved the ambiance of the restaurant, even though the view was cut off by a tent outside because of Covet 19.
I painted this a couple of months ago and just kept looking at it, thinking it was just “too light” in color for a bar. I’m hoping to paint a few more bars in the future, as they just seem way too interesting to me.
I am not a portrait painter by calling, as I find them challenging. Babies and small children are the hardest. I just spent two days working on a painting from this photo. It was not easy for me, as I do not do portraits very often. The grandmother wanted trees and surf in the background, so I made up a background with Palm Trees and surf and clouds in the sky. She did not want the block in the hand, so I formated the painting without the hand.
The more I have done commissions in my life, the less I want to do them. People either love them or hate them and there is no middle ground. I was told it does not look like her granddaughter and that she had too much “makeup”. I do wonder how you are to have roundness, depth and light without any change in color.
I did a little research before beginning and read that babies (i.e. young children) are the hardest to paint. I watched a few videos on painting babies and felt pretty good about the result. The person I painted it for is coming over tomorrow to see what she thinks. I think I don’t like doing portraits and am really an abstract or impressionistic painter.
Since the grandmother did not like the painting, I decided to work on it a little more. I thinned the face and lightened the eye. I think the trees in the background more of a distraction, but that was part of the request. The other was to take the toy out of the hand.
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
Last year this reserve was dry with very little water. The other day we went for a walk and I was lucky to capture several lovely photos of the area. It is close to Vacaville and always busy with a lot of families enjoying the day.
When I walk or travel, I am always looking for the “Next Possible Painting”. I enjoy the walk, the views, the company, but looking for the next painting is always fun.
This one is 18″ x 24″ and is available for $650. If I ship, I will have to bill additionally for shipping.
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.