Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Horizontal Wispiness

Winter, Part I

16" x 40" x 1.5" acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
(My goodness, the blues aren't this blue, though. More subdued.)

This is the first of a four part series of abstract paintings I'm doing for our new house/art show. This style of painting I learned while trying my hand at learning abstract "vertical wispiness". When I first started selling my art and taking commissions, I had a friend who trusted me to paint her a triptych with these instructions: "Vertical wispiness".

Um, what?

She found a painting, actually from the set of the movie "Twilight: New Moon", that she wanted me to try and duplicate using her color palette. I had never painted anything abstract. I had never painted anything that was supposed to be free and wispy, yet organized and "finished".

I have just used a whole lot of """" in this post. I don't know the real "artsy" terms for "wispiness", "finished", or any thing else so please forgive my """"'s.

Anyway. I tried a thousand different techniques and finally came up with one that blended the colors gradually yet retained the deep values of each tone. I tried to make them airy and light, though I think the final product was a tad too heavy and not cloud-like enough.

A few months ago, I painted a triptych for my mom using the same technique using greens, browns, and gold. This time, I used a modeling paste to lay down a scroll pattern on the canvas (using a stencil), that I painted over. When the wispy colors were dry, I touched up the raised scroll design with gold paint, varnished the whole thing, and BAM! awesomeness was achieved.

(I lost all of the pictures I took of those paintings or else I would share them.)

For our new house, I wanted a wall of "horizontal wispy" paintings that could be a focal point in our government beige appointed house. I have chosen to do four paintings of equal size, one for each season, and hang them one atop the other.

I also am doing the 3D effect in each painting. Winter has "snowflake" shapes (shh! Don't remind me that snowflakes are supposed to be different from each other. I couldn't find any snowflake patterns!) Spring will be pastels with a few flowers; summer will be bright colors and a sun; fall will be, well, fall colors and 3D leaves.

I'm hoping for a Wow! wow factor in our low-ceiling-ed base house.

Here are a few close-ups of the snowflake and the wispy color application.

Seeing it one the computer, I don't really like how the white and black looks like clouds. I meant for it to be more stripey.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bold Butterfly

Paige's last day of public school was last week, and while in the school un-enrolling her, I noticed how wonderful the art projects were hanging up and down the hallways.

I remember elementary school art class as being the best thing ever. Better than Santa. Better than popcorn. Better than ANYTHING. Like Paige, my art was always the one by the front door of the school, usually with a blue ribbon attached to it.

Then I grew up just enough to stop doing art except when absolutely necessary. Sure, I always got 100's on the projects I made for class, and yeah, you need an exact replica of this drawing? Sure, I can do that, too. But I never thought anything of it. Yes, I'm a good at art. So what?

Fast forward too many years and I add to my very, very short list of regrets the fact that I missed so many opportunities to take art classes. My high school had a nationally recognized art program. Did I take a single art class? Nope.

I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Heels!), which is as liberally "art"sy as they come. Did I take one measly little art class? Nope. Not one. Not one in four years plus three summers of continual higher education.

I took advanced evolutionary mechanics, embryology, and genetic diversity classes instead.

Those were awesome classes, don't get me wrong. But had I known, had I had one inkling of what my adult life would really be like, I would have dropped organic chemistry level 401 and taken Drawing 101.

What's the point? I've lost my train of thought......

Oh, yes. Elementary art education.

Because I took so little art instruction classes, my mind is limited to what I can come up with as new art projects for my children and myself. I will be homeschooling in the spring so I need ideas for cool art projects. I will be, amongst many other things, the art teacher.

While waiting for the paperwork at the school, I walked up and down the hallway snapping pictures of the many art projects the kids had done. I won't put any online because I don't have permission, but this butterfly I did is an example of one the projects they did. Each child drew an animal and then filled in the open areas with blocks of patterns using many bright and wonderful colors. Paige made a snake that I'll post here soon.

Point of my ramblings: If you have the opportunity, whether young or old, to take an art class, do it! Life is short, art is precious, and evo devo is limited in potential applications.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Gift for Grandma

I painted this orange half for my grandmother for Christmas. Every summer of my youth my sister and I would spend a month or so living the sweet life in the care of this wonderful woman.

A daily routine during these summer days was to enjoy an orange, eaten with one of her tiny collecting spoons of which she has hundreds. My sister and I would stand on tip toes and stare into her spoon cabinet, searching, searching for the perfect spoon to eat our perfect orange. One day it would be the New Zealand spoon, another day a spoon from D. C. No matter your mood she would have a spoon to match.

My grandmother is 88 now and just this past summer my kids enjoyed selecting "their" spoon from her collection to eat their orange halves. As did I.

When someone is 88, they don't need more stuff, more things to decide what to do with. So I painted her something I hope will mean something a little bit more. A thank you, in acrylics, for all of the love, memories, and oranges she has given me over the years.

I don't think she reads this blog, but if you do, Grandma, Merry Christmas! I love you!

(Oh, and I couldn't find an image of any spoon that I know for sure she has, so I made one up, using the Connecticut flag as my inspiration.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snow Globe Christmas

"Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow Globe!"

6" x 9" acrylic on canvas

This is my submission to the December Calypso Moon Artist Movement challenge. We were to paint a Christmas/Holiday card with the option of exchanging our cards with another artist from the challenge. This assignment worked out well as I was planning on doing a painting for our Christmas card this year anyway.

I got the idea to paint a snow globe from another contributor at CMAM. I loved the bright colors and simplicity of this snow globe I found for a buck at the Dollar Store.

I left the background white to make the painting stand out, but now it looks too washed out for a Christmas card. I may try to add a background if I can find time before the Christmas cards will need to go out.

My problem is that I do not have a very good camera or location to photograph my art so the images never come out nearly as well as the real thing. I always photograph my art outside in a neutral shaded spot or wait for an overcast day (kind of hard sometimes here in San Antonio), but even then the true feeling of the painting is lost.

I don't know how well this image will translate to paper. I'll take it to Kinko's later and see what they can do.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mrs. Starkers it is!!!

I had to. I just had to paint her. Me. Whomever. A half-crazy, cooped up housewife running nekid through a field on her way to the blissful land of insanity!

Thanks to all who voted!!!

(Don't worry. The beauty of acrylics is that Mrs. Starkers will be covered over with a barn tomorrow, with only you and I the wiser for what's inside!!!!!)

Gosh, I love to paint.

***Notice the red fingernail/toenail polish. At least crazy Mom has a good mani/pedi going on!

The Missing Subject

This landscape needs something. There is a perfect spot, right there in the middle of the hill in the foreground. A perfect spot for..............something.

I need suggestions!!!

My original brainstorm was a red barn or school house type building.

But I don't know.

Maybe a windmill? A grazing horse? A burned out housewife running starkers through the grass screaming?

Please, PLEASE, pretty please with clouds on top give me a suggestion!!!!

I'd be much obliged.