Tuesday, December 29, 2009

100 Paintings

A brief departure from my usual Tuesday sketchbook posts to announce my goal for 2010.

100 paintings.

I know this a bold move, over ambitious perhaps, but this is my new project and starting point for the year.

It all started in October when I bought myself a set of water mixable oils. Now, you know that I am no stranger to painting in oil, even though it has been quite a long time since I put a brush to canvas. Over the past several years I have made a few attempts to paint with acrylic but just couldn't get the results I was after with that media. And not wanting the fumes and mess of oil paint I let the idea of painting go. But when I began reading about water mixable oils I was intrigued and wanted to give them a try.

I have been playing with these oil paints for a couple of months now and the process feels very comfortable and familiar. I wondered what would happen if I made 100 paintings. Where will this take me? I want to find out. I can't say whether I will actually complete 100 paintings in a year's time, but that is my goal. I will consider the goal achieved when I reach 100 paintings, even if it takes more than a year.

This past year I have been swimming in ideas, images that I wanted to explore but the drawing process slowed me down so I was becoming frustrated. But with paint the ideas flow much more quickly. I plan to keep these paintings fairly small, in a size that can be completed in one or maybe two sittings. From this body of work I hope to find inspiration for larger paintings later on.

In addition to making paintings I intend to continue with sketching and drawing. I am not placing any expectations on these activities however. I see drawing and sketching as a counterbalance to painting. For me, painting is active while drawing is meditative. Expand and contract. Like breathing in and out.

So watch this space! I will return to a Sketchbook Tuesday post next week as well as begin to post my paintings in the new year. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sketchbook Tuesday

We did get an awful lot of snow on Friday. We woke up Saturday morning to 17 inches of snow. Our local weather expert said we haven't had this much snow in one event since 1997. It's the most snow Kiddo has ever seen. She's had a blast sledding down our driveway while we fretted over how we were ever going to dig out. Luckily a neighbor showed up with a tractor. But being stuck at home has allowed plenty of time to make holiday goodies. And this elf still has gifts to wrap before the big guy shows up. So here's wishing all of you a Merry Merry!

Peace to you this holiday season.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice!

Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.

~Minna Thomas Antrim~

Friday, December 18, 2009

207 Days

While I am sitting here waiting for snow, as we are predicted to get 2 feet or more, yes FEET, I thought I'd take this time to do a review of my year in art. Above is my calendar that I keep taped to my drawing board which shows I worked on art 207 days in 2009. And there are a few days left where I may be filling in more squares before the year is out. Especially since it looks like I'll be stuck at home for a while.

So here is my art year in review.

I had wanted to try working in a series. After much experimentation I settled on Rising Museum Board for a support. And even though I did over 27 drawings this past year (not counting sketchbook work) I never did manage to stick with any sort of a theme for a series. Just too many ideas zipping around in my head to stay with just one for any length of time.

However, I did try moving beyond landscape imagery with a few still life pieces, which I enjoyed doing.

I also worked in graphite in addition to colored pencil.

And I tried a couple of pet portraits in graphite, just to see if I could. And I have a couple to do still, some folks are still waiting.

I had wanted to put together a gallery submission pack, which I didn't do. With the economy and my lack of a body of work with any continuity, the timing just didn't seem right. Although I did enter two shows, got work accepted into one and both of those works sold.

It was also important to me that I continue with Everyday Matters challenges and working in a sketchbook. I let the Everyday Matters drawing challenges slide after a few months into the year but I did do much sketchbook work. I participated in the Every Day in May challenge. I also took two online classes offered by Cathy Johnson, Watercolor Pencil Workshop and Keeping an Artist's Journal. Even though the intensity of participating in a class took me away from my non-sketchbook art works, I found it was time very well spent. These classes also helped me focus on my goals for my art and how it can all integrate, art and life.

And finally, even though I wanted 2009 to be a year of "focus" it actually became a year of discovery. I did quite a bit of experimentation with process. In addition to the pieces above and discovering how lovely Rising Museum Board is for drawing with colored pencil, I also played with color and a process of using Neocolor II watercolor crayons to develop a loose underpainting before layering dry colored pencil on top. This proved to be much more expressive with the media than the highly representational method that colored pencil so easily lends itself to. One thing led to another. And now I have a very clear objective for 2010. Which I will share with you soon.

Since I started this post it has been snowing steadily. It won't take long to get those FEET of snow. Feet. Good grief.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sketchbook Tuesday

Thank you to those who responded to my previous post about your favorite sketching tools. I find it fascinating just learning even a little about how other artists like to work.

Cathy Johnson's Artist's Journal class finishes this week. It has been an interesting journey and I am glad I decided to take part. Spending a dedicated amount of time focusing on one topic in a class setting is a marvelous way to accelerate your skills and creativity. The topic of this class, Keeping An Artist's Journal, also helped me define my goals for my art work. At just the right time too.

So here it is another Tuesday, another gouache landscape study. These are a fun and challenging way to plan a composition, looking at the placement of values and contrast. And they are a clue to what my new project is for the coming year. But you're going to have to wait a little while longer to find out exactly what that is all about. To help you wait here is a little sketch of Sammie. He's a very patient dog. Most of the time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sketchbook Tuesday

I decided to do a little media exploration to see how well I might get along with various media for working in my sketchbook. You would think I already had some idea but by doing this exercise I did learn a thing or two. I chose one of my reference photos and repeated it in all sorts of different media. The images here are just a sampling.

I learned that I do like watercolor for its immediacy in journaling and that a black grape Prismacolor pencil works wonderfully as complement to landscape colors when I want to scribble in a bit of structure with line.
I also learned that a good old pencil is still a favorite of mine for sketching. It works just as well as a brief statement, like the one above, as it does for more finished drawings.
And as much as I enjoy colored pencil and watercolor pencils I do tend to spend much more time when working with these media. Sometimes that is exactly what I want, to spend some time, but if I am looking for a way to quickly get down an idea this would probably only frustrate me and not be a good choice for sketching. This is all good stuff to be aware of if I am to make a habit of keeping an artist's journal. So what are your favorite sketching tools? When working in your sketchbook, what floats your boat?

Friday, December 4, 2009

More journaling

Lately I have been mostly working on sketches for Kate's Artist's Journal class, plus my other project that I am not ready to share just yet. So I thought I would share a couple of my journaling exercises. Both of these are done in my hand made sketchbook. The top is another view from the Christmas tree farm where we did find the 'perfect' tree.
And here is a little rant to go with a yummy brownie. Writing out my complaint helped me feel better. Making safe brownies for Kiddo made us all feel better. Now that I have that out of my system I can get back to my new works in progress.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sketchbook Tuesday

Here are a couple of watercolor sketches from my moleskine watercolor journal done over the holiday. We had a wonderful, relaxing visit with a very good friend, cooked and ate a lot and went out the day after Thanksgiving to get our Christmas tree. That's our tradition.
Christmas trees are the main agricultural product in our area, and there is a beautiful tree farm just up the road from us. At this time of year it is a common site to see truckloads of trees leaving town for sales all over the country. A sign of the season.

And yes, it is now December already. Time to think about those yearly goals and planning for the new year. I already have a plan in place. I have been working on something new and exciting, a bold project for the coming year. But I'm not going to tell you yet. That would spoil the surprise.


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