Thursday, October 13, 2011

Horse painting work in progress

Full Tilt • 16 x 12 • acrylic WORK IN PROGRESS

This one has changed quite a bit since I posted the first version. Something about it was bugging me; the horse didn’t seem to have as much energy as I wanted, so I kept playing with the color. Then after really studying my reference photo and comparing it to my painting, I realized that the horse’s chest was too broad, and the angles of his front legs were wrong, especially his left front leg. It needed to be much more slanted. So I drew the legs over, using black paint for the outline, filling the leg shape with blue, which was the underpainting for the horse, then painted in the negative space around his legs with red (a mixture of naphthol red and vermilion), which is the underpainting color for the grassy areas ... et voilĂ , THAT’s the energy I was looking for! I got it back by correcting the angle of the legs.

Here’s the painting with the old legs superimposed on it, and then the corrected version, so you can see the difference.

Check back again tomorrow for more work on this!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Edgewood Old House Restoration
Here’s to all you old-house geeks!

It’s no secret. I am an old-house geek. I can’t get enough of old houses. 

I love reading about them, looking at them, living in them. The history and character. The unplumb walls, the non-square corners, the creaking stairs, the worn floors, the age-crackled paint on the fireplace bricks.

I’ve worn out issue after issue of Old House Journal, Old House Interiors, Early Homes, Restoration Style, Period Living (this last one is a UK publication; I only thought our house was old; over there they refer to an 1870’s built house as “fairly new.”)

So, for all you fellow old-house lovers out there, here’s a post with lots of pictures of the upstairs:  Last week I took these “after” pics of my fall studio and office clean-out, and I finally got them all off my camera and onto my blog. The walls and trim still need painting, and the floors need some work,  and we don’t have working plumbing in the two bathrooms up here, but meanwhile, here’s my tour.


Above is the view of the hall as you come to the top of the stairs. I can’t take full credit for the “HEY” on the wall; I saw it in a recent issue of Where Women Create (another favorite of mine, showing the workspaces of women in all walks of creative vocation). One of the studio pictures showed these large wooden letters spelling out H-E-Y and it made me smile. So I got these smaller ones at Hobby Lobby and put the word to greet you as you arrive at the top of the stairs. It still makes me smile every time I come up here. 

Okay, now we’ve stepped out into the upstairs hall. I love the white painted built-in bookcase on the right. Now that everything is cleared out, it makes it much more noticeable.

In my unpacking of boxes, I rediscovered these Scottish watercolors that I got years ago at an antique shop, painted by an artist named John Evans, and I hung them here in the hall. There’s a fourth one in one of the bedrooms.

These are my two favorites: Loch Ness and Eileen Donan Castle.

Here’s the doorway to my studio. I have a pretty little desk that someone was throwing out that I’m going to refinish one day and put here under my Mary Engelbreit print instead of this folding table. 

The quote on the print is from Marcel Proust:

The real voyage of discovery consists
not in discovering new landscapes
but in having new eyes.

Here’s my studio: plenty of room for students here. For last week’s workshop everyone was kind enough to bring their own chairs ... it was great!

Here we are back out in the hall, looking back toward the stairs. 

Here’s a peek into my office through the door on the right.

Here are some of the books we’re keeping. On the bottom two shelves of the left-hand bookcase you can see stacks of my old house magazines. Yep. There are a lot of ’em. I look through them from time to time for “old house” ideas and inspiration.

Here’s an old chair that I threw a quilt over. One day we’re going to reupholster all this comfy old furniture that was in the house. I love the oak tree outside the window; it gives me the feeling I’m working in a tree house. Like the Swiss Family Robinson.

Over in the far corner you can see my big archival printer, which is covered by a rug, because You-Know-Who No. 1 and You-Know-Who No. 2 like to nap on top of it, whether there’s a cover or not. So the rug keeps the cat hair from getting in the printer when I’m not using it.

My desk is an old wrought iron patio table base, with a wooden desktop that my husband and I recovered from the curb whilst driving through our old neighborhood in town one day. I like it.  I think it’s super cool.

Here’s the room across the hall from my studio.

You might recognize it from my Morning Light painting, with the sunlight spilling across the floor. I love that! Which is why I painted it.

There are two sets of French doors from this room out to the front balcony. One day this will be a guest room. For now it’s empty, and rife with possibilities.

I’ve decided to paint this room a really soft, cool yellow, which will complement the lavendar-ish fireplace tile. If you squint, concentrate and use your imagination, you can just see the little paint chip I have leaning against the wall, on top of the mantel.

And now, just so you know I’m not Wonder Woman, below are two photos of the fourth upstairs room, where, for the time being, we’re storing a bunch of stuff we still have to take to town and donate.

Plus all our Christmas decorations. 

Plus all the throw pillows from downstairs that we’re keeping up here until Roadie has completely grown out of puppyhood and is no longer interested in dragging throw pillows all over the house. I have faith that that day will come. Soon.

I know it’s still a bunch of stuff, but just look how neat everything is stacked! 

Not that I’m patting myself on the back or anything. 

Well, maybe just a little.

Finally, in this corner are the last of the books that we still have to go through. My favorite thing in this photo is the box of Kleenex balanced on top of a stack of stuff on the mantel.

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little tour. And tomorrow, since I have three (yes, 3!) commissions stacked up, plus a horse painting to put the finishing touches on, not to mention an iris painting I started ’way back in the spring, it will be back to the easel for me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Art trek

Judy Felker is a blogger who wanders all over in internet-land seeking beautiful artworks in a wide variety of styles and different mediums. On her blog, Creative Wonder, she shares what she finds. I’m honored that she included some of my work in yesterday’s post!

Click here to hop over there and see all the breathtaking works she’s found! Just a friendly warning, though: this little adventure may take you in a lot of different directions, and may last a while, so you might want to freshen that cup of coffee before you take off!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beautiful weather, great group, wonderful workshop!

The workshop yesterday was wonderful; the weather was perfect, a beautiful day ... we had nineteen in attendance; a very lovely and attentive group. I decided at the last minute to make my painting a little larger, 16 x 12 inches, and so there was a little delay while I put my sketch onto the new board, but once I got going on the demo things went swimmingly. I was glad I made the painting larger, because it easier for everyone to see. It was a lot easier to talk and paint at the same time than I had thought it would be, too, and I enjoyed answering questions as I went. I didn't take any progress photos, but one of the ladies said she would send me hers, so I'll share those as soon as I get them. I also neglected to take a group photo, but hopefully someone got some pics of the group; I've put a shout out for anyone who has some of the group to send them to me so I can show them here.

Even though I didn’t complete the entire painting, I got far enough along that I got to show a lot of the different techniques and principles involved in my process. I plan to finish the painting over the next couple of days, then post it here. Here’s how the painting looked at the end of the afternoon’s session:

We gave out two door prizes, the announcement of which cause many an excited murmer amongst the group: a copy of Susan Sarback's Capturing Radiant Light and Color in Oils and Pastels (signed by Susan herself!) and a $20 Hobby Lobby gift card. All in all it was a fun, productive and info-packed afternoon. My favorite part was at the end when several of the ladies said, “This makes me want to go right home and start painting!” At that, I said, “Good! Then my goal has been accomplished!”