Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still Life Memories

Tonight in class we didn't actually have a painting setup to work on. Instead we got a lesson in how to create our own painting surface using a mixture of gesso and marble dust, which we applied to watercolor paper. This takes a while to dry fully, so we are supposed to bring them back next week to do a painting on them.

After we finished Christina began some demos that I have already seen her do in past classes. Since this class is my weekly escape, and right now my life seems to be too busy to do artwork except when I have class as an excuse, I didn't want to "waste" the whole class without doing any art, so I decided to paint a picture.

But of course I had no setup to paint! I thought I could pull up my online photo gallery on my Blackberry as I had last week - but I could not get an internet connection, and have been unable to get one all day.

So then I decided to make something up "out of my head". Of course I am absolutely rotten at this and would only dare attempt the simplest of things in this fashion. I am just one of those sorts who needs to see the object in front of me. But I felt I could at least attempt a still life if I kept it simple. This was done on a sheet of blue Canson, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, smooth side.

Tonight we are expecting another awful winter storm - snow overnight, turning later to sleet, ice, freezing rain ... In other words the nastiest sort of storm there is. It's still January, and I'm sick of winter. So I felt an urge to paint something with a bit of a springy feel, with springy colors. So this is what I came up with out of my head.

I need to be prepared and carry photo references with me or something, as making things up is just not something I'm good at. I'm in awe of people who can create incredible and detailed sorts of painting just straight out of their imagination.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

View from the Malbaie Rectory, Gaspe, Quebec

Tonight in class Christina wanted us to try sampling Pan Pastels. I've tried them before, and while they are interesting I don't like them as well as the regular sticks - although the one place I do find them very useful is in underpainting on Canson paper. But I was more than willing to play with them again - and this class was mostly play. 

We had no still life setup tonight, and Christina was suggesting we try landscapes. People had magazine images and things to work from, but I hate to work from copyrighted material. I had forgotten to bring any photos of my own - but had a brainstorm! I pulled up my online Picasaweb photo albums on my Blackberry and selected a photo there to use as a reference.

This photo is from the trip I took to Quebec's incredible Gaspe peninsula in the summer of 2005, to visit with some friends from my 'piffle' internet group. We stayed at a lovely former Anglican rectory in the little village of Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie, and this was the view we saw across the street if you looked off to the right. If you looked straight ahead you saw the famous Perce Rock off in the distance. 

So I worked from a ref on a tiny Blackberry screen to create this one, using Pan Pastels, though I did add some work with the sticks on top to get a tiny bit more detail. I can't do the scene justice. Imagine waking up to that lovely view every morning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Citrus Study

Yay. I've been waiting for this day! Art class has finally started again, and tonight was the first class with Christina. Life has been so hectic lately, and no time for pastels at all. I have not touched them since the last class ended early in December. Boy, talk about feeling out of practice. Luckily Christina had a fairly simple still life set up for the class to work on. Since it was a new class, and some new students, she wanted something simple for people to try as she had no idea what level they were at in their art.

Good for me as I was not up for anything complicated. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I made it even more simple than her setup. And even this was a struggle. I hated it for most of the evening, and felt like a kindergarten kid again - but by the end of the session was starting to feel back in the groove again. I need to work more and not stay so out of touch.

I also gave Christina a painting for a show that will be at the Whippany Library in February. Opening reception is Feb. 9. That will be fun. I chose "Applegate Farm" to go in the show.