Tuesday, August 27, 2013

All Hail the King!

Here is another photo from the recent trip to the North Carolina coast.  This larger-than-life King Neptune was a fun thing to stumble upon when we were exploring the boardwalk in Morehead City. 

And another fun photo just a little ways from the King.  This is painted in the design of the Cape Lookout lighthouse.

I hope you find these photos as amusing as we did.  The day was a bit overcast but the photos came out better than I'd hoped.  I did tweak them a bit so you could get the full effect.

If you ever get to North Carolina, plan to visit the Crystal Coast as I don't think you'll be at all disappointed.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Home From Beaufort, NC

Got home from a fun trip to Beaufort with two of my four sisters and they left yesterday to fly back to their homes. 

We drove down on Thursday then I did a pastel demonstration at the Artestry Hideaway on Friday afternoon.  It was sooooo hot out there on the boardwalk and not many people were about.  But it was still a fun experience and I was forced to actually make some art!  I didn't get to finish it during that 2 hour session but I'll finish it soon and post it here for you to see.

Before and after the demo, my sisters and I did fun, touristy things and just had a ball.  One of the things we did that was the most fun was going on a boat tour out from Beaufort.  We got to see much of the area from the water including both Carrot Island and Shackleford Banks (or Island) both of which have wild ponies.  While the ponies on Carrot Island are wild and are probably from Shackleford, they were once cared for by relatively modern means.  The horses on Shackleford Banks, called "Banker Ponies" or "Bankers", are direct descendant's of Spanish mustangs brought to the New World by Columbus and other Spanish explorers in the 1400's and evidently have the most pure Spanish mustang blood of all the wild mustangs in the U.S.

I did get some photos of the horses both on Carrot Island and Shackleford Banks but we were some distance from them and the photos aren't all that clear.

The photo above was taken from Shackleford Banks and shows a parasailor.  The area around Beaufort is full of fun things to do.

My youngest sister acted as our chauffeur and spent a lot of time looking at maps and reading brochures.  Because she was doing the driving, we often ended up in places we hadn't planned on going!  The last evening in Beaufort, we thought we were going to dinner at a restaurant a few blocks away and ended up at the very end of Harkers Island about 15 miles or so away!  We also ended up at a local "greasy spoon" instead of the classy restaurant we had intended to go to!  The four hour trip to Beaufort ended up being an over eight hour trip home but we stopped at a farmer's/arts/crafts market, a couple of art galleries and a spice packaging and distributing company along the way!

As I said, it was a fun trip and so nice to be able to spend that time with my sisters!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Bit of a Plug

Just a quick mention that I'll be doing a pastel demonstration at the Artestry Hideaway gallery in Beaufort, North Carolina on August 23rd at 2 pm. 

I hope you'll stop by if you're in the area.  The Hideaway is a great gallery and the owner, Angie, is fun and friendly.

My sisters and I will be enjoying a little "Sisters Reunion" and taking in the sights of beautiful Beaufort after the demonstration.  I'll hopefully have some photos to show you when I return.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The (Mostly) Clean Art Studio!

 Whew, I'm finally in the short rows with cleaning the studio - at least enough that I'm not too embarrassed to show it to you. 

The views are from #1 - the doorway, then panning to the right until we're back at the doorway again.

I still have some more straightening up to do but at least it's clean!  lol

Take note of the third photo, especially the blue pillow under the desk.  That's where our little Maltese stays when I'm in the studio.  However, lately she's refused to come in because I've been making a lot of noise with the vacuum        cleaner and other instruments of cleaning!  She hates noise of any kind so hides when we make any.

It won't be too long before my sisters arrive and now that the studio is nearly presentable, I'm getting excited!  Now I just have to do a little special cooking, make up the beds and I think we'll be ready!  But, this will probably be my last post for a while.  Sisters are special and if they come all this way to see me, I definitely want to spend some quality time with them!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another Unfinished Find

I think I need to quit cleaning my studio!  I keep finding unfinished work that makes me want to stop cleaning and start painting! 

The iris on the left is a watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord and has a background made from scrunched up cling wrap.  I've tried this technique in the past and it didn't work well for me but I actually like it in this painting.  Of course, there's a ton more work to do on this and I may finish it in gouache instead of transparent watercolor.  It's only when you get further along in a painting can you really tell whether a background is going to work or not.

In any case, the background will need some tweaking as work on the foreground will throw off the background.  In painting, it's work on the subject, then tweak the background.  Tweak the subject a bit then the background's off.  The whole painting process involves working back and forth between subject and background.  The painting just isn't finished until everything is balanced to the artist's satisfaction.

I'm So Excited!!!!

I know, I know, I should be preparing for my sister's visit but I just had the most amazing thing happen & I just had to share it with someone!

I had to run up to the Dollar General in our little rural community and there was the most lovely woman in line behind me.  She was dressed exactly like one of the women in a vision I've had for a painting!  Not only that, but I asked if I could take her photo and she let me!

I've had this vision rolling around in my head for probably a year or so but just couldn't get it to come together like I wanted.  This was mainly because I didn't have access to the specific painting reference photos I envisioned and I really need some good references as you all know I'm not normally a people portrait painter!

As I said, this lady was really pretty yet in the age range I was looking for.  The only problem is that the only "perfect" reference photo I have is of her & my vision calls for several ladies.

I want to tell you that God is good, He's so very good as not only was this lady willing to pose for me today but when I told her what I wanted the photo for, she offered to round up some friends to pose for me also! 

Now how often are you in the perfect place for the possibility of your dreams to be fulfilled? 

I'm excited, I'm really excited!  I can't wait to be able to start painting!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Still Here

I'm still here but have been exceedingly busy and not with any art stuff!  Unfortunately, I've not had time to paint any and probably won't be able to paint for another week or so.  I also won't be able to post here all that much either so hope you won't give up on me!

I'll check back in after next week after my sister's have gone, ok?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Oldie in Oil

Oil from maybe 30 years ago
Today I've posted an oil painting I painted about 30 years ago.  My sister and her husband have it hanging in their home in Kansas and I had asked for a photo of it which she just sent. 

The colors aren't quite accurate here because the photos were sent via email and not quite accurate.  I tried to tweak the photos as much as I could but sometimes it's like horseshoes and you can only get close.  But I wanted a record of the painting and am just grateful she sent the photos.

I posted this because oil painting has been on my mind lately and I'd like to get back to it.  It's odd how inspiration comes in waves with dead spaces in between!  But now is not an ideal time to begin an oil painting!  We're still canning, I'm still cleaning on the studio and I'm trying to figure out a subject to paint for a demonstration I'm to do at the Artestry Hideaway (more on that in another post) which won't be in oil!

Oil paintings take time and take up room and are generally one of the more messy art mediums.  As much as I want to, I just can't start a painting right now.  That creative urge will just have to wait.

Inspiration is such a fickle thing sometimes and must have a twisted sense of humor as it occurs at the darndest times and usually when it's inconvenient to do anything about it!  There are times when I feel it mocking me or maybe it's daring me to take it up on it's offer.  Because inspiration is rather fleeting, I often do drop whatever I'm doing and follow it's siren song.  Other times, like today, I just can't do that.  I only hope it will still be there when I can give in to it's seductive call.

Friday, August 9, 2013

An Oldie and a New Find

 This is a painting I did in oils probably 25 years ago.  I thought it was finished then although I wasn't quite satisfied with it.  Now I can see that it isn't even close to being finished and I plan to work more on it in the coming days and weeks.  I'm trying to straighten up my studio and keep finding these old paintings which serve as a benchmark to show how far I've come!

The photo on the left shows some shaggy asters which are flowers we planted for the first time this year.  We have tons of the little white and purple fall asters growing wild all over our farm but this variety is different and I'm really pleased with them.

I intend to modify the painting above to incorporate the look of the these pretty asters but it won't get done or even started for quite a while.  Two of my sisters are coming for a visit plus I'm supposed to do a pastel demonstration at the Artestry Hideaway gallery in Beaufort, NC August 23rd so I'm in something of a time crunch right now.  That's also why I'm not posting as much here on my blog as I'd like to so please bear with me.

On another note, Sue Clinker from the PencilPix blog blogged about Shag Dancing with a link to a video of some teenagers shagging in a contest.  The kids were really good but the young man was outstanding with his moves.  Sue made the comment that the girl let the boy shine.  I'm not so sure she let him - it seems that with shagging (oh, my! let me amend that to read shag dancing!), the men are usually better at it than the women.  I think it has something to do with the way the dance seems to be performed with a "loose connection" from the waist down and men seem so good at that.  Anyway, Sue got me real nostalgic even though I have two left feet and I spent quite a bit of time looking at various shag dancing videos.  Below is a link to one of a mother and son dancing together that won my heart. And, if you look to the side of the screen, you'll see other videos that may help you understand shag dancing just a little better:


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Put Off Painting!

I honestly don't know how long I've been "working" on this - several years I'm sure.  It's one of those paintings that I really want to finish but nothing seems to go right with it.

For one thing, it's being painted in acrylics which is my nemesis.  And for another thing, it's all dark, creepy and green except for the egret.  Of course, all the swamps I've been in were dark, creepy and slimy green so I guess it's pretty authentic!

I guess I don't mind the green so much and I actually like the background of trees although there's still a little bit more to do there.  The thing with slimy green swamps is the green on the surface is sometimes kind of phosphorescent and I'd like to portray that but it's escaping me.  The foreground, and of course the bird,  need a lot of work and I'm just not sure where to go with them.

The composition is a mix of many reference photos and my own memories of camping in the swamps of Mississippi back in the late 60's.  I guess I want to capture the feel of the swamp rather than the actual look of it and it's proving a very elusive thing to do! It's too bad one can't paint in the sound of a bobcat's cry in the middle of the night.  I'm sure that would certainly complete the picture of the very essence of the swamp!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Great Art Tool

Although not specifically for art, the Preval sprayer is definitely useful for the artist and my number 1 favorite tool besides paint, brushes and supports!

The Preval sprayer acts like a mini airbrush without all the hassle or noise.  I use it for spraying paint and also for varnishing finished paintings because it gives such even coverage.

The full kit comes with a glass bottle and lid, the gas canister and the dip tube (or stem) with filter.  Once you have the glass bottle with the lid, you can just replace the gas canister which also comes with a new dip tube and filter. 

If you saw my post from yesterday - the one with the photo of the messy studio - you'll see a piece of cardboard sticking up on the left side of my table.  That's my "spray booth", lol.  The cardboard keeps the spray contained to one area then I have plastic bags covering the table to protect it.  I also have an old vinyl shower curtain protecting the floor under the table.  I probably don't need all of that as the Preval is really pretty precise in it's spray pattern and there's not a lot of overspray.  I just feel it's better to be safe rather than sorry!

Hope I've given you another tool to put in your arsenal whether you're an artist, a woodworker or another sort of crafter.  This little sprayer is easy, relatively cheap and a real help in many situations!

Friday, August 2, 2013

A John Brown Mess!

I don't know where the expression "A John Brown Mess" came from but it's a favorite in this area for describing something that's so messed up it's likely never to be fixed!  Unfortunately, that describes my studio right now and I have guests coming in about two weeks!

If you've been a reader of my Pets To Posies blog, you'll know that I've gotten myself into this predicament before & I honestly don't realize it's happening until the studio is such a catastrophe that it takes a near miracle to get it back in order!

I think it happens because I tend to have several projects going on at one time and I think I'd do better if I did one thing at a time then cleaned up before starting something else.  But sometimes that's just not feasible.  It's the nature of paint to take a while to dry (unless it's acrylics which dry before you want them to!  lol)  and I just like to have something to keep me busy while waiting to go to the next step in a painting or project and I end up with stuff all over the place!

I'm really not this way when it comes to the rest of my life.  When I worked in an office, my desk was usually as neat as a pin and my house stays pretty neat too (especially considering that I share it with someone who's not exactly a neatnic himself!) so I'm not sure how my studio gets to be soooo messy!

Well, I refuse to call this a real John Brown Mess in that I know it can be straightened out.  However, it will take time, lots of time, so let me get to it!