Saturday, January 30, 2010

#8 - Coming Back

Coming Back
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

Number 8 of my 100 painting project. This is a scene I keep revisiting, in my art and in real life, with every opportunity we have to travel to the South Carolina coast. The beauty of the marsh lands there never cease to captivate my attention.

And oh yeah, we did get another good snow, as did most of our south eastern US neighbors. Fun. (that's being sarcastic) Our local weather guy said that the end of January usually marks the halfway point of our snowfall for the winter. And that in an El Nino year like this one we usually get more snow in the second half of winter. It doesn't look like it will do any good to be tired of snowy winter weather. So I'll just keep coming back to these scenes of spring and summer on my little easel.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sky - painting #7

oil on canvas
5 x 7 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

If we had these summery blue skies every day would we appreciate them as much? I know I am so looking forward to their return this year. We are predicted to get another foot of snow this weekend. yay. Better get to the grocery and stock up again. And I'll keep humming summertime tunes. Gotta love Willie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Art Hearts for Haiti

When I saw this project over on Laure Ferlita's blog I knew I wanted to participate. It is such a great idea and a creative way to help with the relief efforts in Haiti. You can click on the image above to find out more about this project and how you can participate.
I followed the professor's lead and made a page of ATC sized hearts (2.5 x 3.5 inches) using Neocolor II and colored pencil. I drew in my heart shapes and colored the cards with the Neocolor II water soluble crayons. I then washed them with water and then gave them a spritz with a water sprayer to allow the colors to spread and bleed into each other. After they dried I went back in with colored pencil to further define some of the shapes and edges.
This is the one I have chosen to send to Laure.
With both of her parents participating, Kiddo had to get in on the act and make some heart art cards herself.
I especially liked this one because really, love is all you need.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Painting #6 - for Beth J.

Elk Knob
oil on clayboard
5 x 7 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

This painting was inspired by a photo taken by my friend Beth J. that she graciously gave me permission to use as a reference. So this painting goes to her. I loved the late autumn colors in this scene and the rocky path disappearing around the bend with the mountain in the distance. I used a piece of clayboard that I had on hand to find out how I liked it as a support for oils. It was an interesting surface, very smooth, but really very absorbent causing the paint to dry quickly, making the process more like painting in acrylic than oil.

I have had a couple of comments asking about the drying time of these water mixable oils and I have to say it varies. For the most part they seem to dry a little more quickly than regular oils but probably not significantly. A lot depends on the humidity and whether a medium is added or how much water is used to thin the paint. I like having the extended drying time of oil paint as opposed to fast drying acrylic. I know there are now slower drying acrylic paints available but for me, having learned to paint in oil way back when, I am more familiar with the feel and consistency of oils.

Teresa, of Blueberries, Art and Life commented on how there is a difference in my style when painting compared to my work in colored pencil. I have been thinking about that, even before she mentioned it, and have wondered about that whole question of style. With paint, I enjoy allowing the work to look like a painting by letting the paint be paint. Colored pencil almost seems to demand tighter control, those little pencil points and all. Although I do prefer to have my drawings look like drawings. I like seeing the texture of the drawing surface used and evidence of marks made. I have never been one to strive for photorealism. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not where my interest lies. One of my collectors mentioned how much my drawings changed when viewed up close as compared to at a distance. She said that from a distance all the marks and colors pulled together and the image became sharper. It's much the same with painting, except the marks are larger strokes of color. One of the reasons I wanted to do this 100 painting project was to see where my imagery would take me, in terms of subject matter and style. I am still intending to work in colored pencil because I love that media, sometimes that precise control is just what I am after and I find that for me, drawing nicely balances the activity of painting. Had I not practiced drawing almost exclusively over the past three years I doubt painting would come as easily to me. But that's a topic for another post. Painting allows me to work quickly, responding immediately and intuitively to my subject, while I try to keep my head clear of any outside artistic influence. I am hoping that when I conclude this project I will have made a body of work that is formative, taking me from where I am to where I'd like to go. Whatever the media.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Painting #5 - Summer Shade

Summer Shade
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

I'm still enjoying the summer sun, if only in my imagination. This is a scene from a park near our home. It's not much of a park, really, just a track with a soccer field in the center. One side of the track runs along the north fork of the New River. Rarely is anyone else there. So we often take the dogs to walk around the track a few times while Kiddo rides her scooter. I enjoy the quiet, unassuming beauty of the place.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - connections

Well, you can see that my stitching of this hand made sketchbook isn't as tight as it could have been. Oh well. Next time. This is how my paper white bulbs look now. The quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson, found in my current reading, The American Transcendentalists, Essential Writings, edited by Lawrence Buell.

I have long been interested in the Transcendentalist movement beginning with my reading of Thoreau's Walden back when I was a high school student and again with an American Literature class in college. I decided to revisit this interest and have begun with this volume by Buell. Since I have embarked on my 100 painting project, which will be largely inspired by landscape, I am also inspired to study more about landscape painters. For some time now I have been particularly intrigued by the painters of the Hudson River School. While researching reading material I discovered these artists were influenced by the Transcendentalists. A connection. So I have two books lined up to continue on this research theme of American landscape painters and the philosophical inspiration behind them, Nature and Culture, by Barbara Novak and American Wilderness by Barbara Babcock Millhouse. Landscape has been an interest of mine for a very long time and I am excited to be taking the topic further through such strongly connected research.

Another connection is that a new blog has been started by Katherine Tyrrell on the very subject of landscape. The Art of the Landscape appears to be off to a great start and I am sure will be a valuable resource with much careful research.
But the connection goes even further for me. It turns out that the Transcendentalists were influenced by the German writer and philosopher, Goethe. Who wrote Theory of Colours. And influenced Rudolf Steiner. Rudolf Steiner developed the Waldorf educational method. A model that we follow (loosely) in our homeschool. Through my home educational research over the years I am very impressed with the Waldorf method and if we had a Waldorf school in our area I would have given it serious consideration for Kiddo. I have read several books on the topic of Waldorf education but nothing by Steiner himself. Or Goethe for that matter. They are going on my list though. If you have book recommendations on any of these topics I would love to hear them.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Painting #4 and pictures from an exhibition

Summer Tree
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

With all of the cold, snowy weather we have experienced around here lately isn't it nice to think about a warm and sunny summer day? I enjoyed painting this little tree, bathed in warm sunlight and summer wild flowers scattered all around.
Last evening was the reception for our exhibit hosted by our local arts council. The professor had his exhibit scheduled for their main gallery months in advance. At the very last minute the artist they had scheduled for their smaller, upstairs gallery had to cancel so the director asked if I would be able to fill the spot. It took a bit of scrambling but we pulled it off. We liked the wording they used on their sign out front.
Here is one wall of my work in the upstairs gallery. I have 12 pieces on display altogether. Four pastel paintings and 8 colored pencil works. We had a very nice turn out for the reception. It was surprising just how many people had no idea that colored pencil could be a fine art media. I spent a lot of time explaining my process in creating these works.
Kiddo snapped this photo of me standing next to her favorite work of mine that is in the show. We are all longing for warmer temperatures and a little coastal scenery these days.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Valle Crucis - painting #3

Valle Crucis
oil on canvas
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

Number 3 of my 100 painting project. We visited Valle Crucis park one day last fall, did a little sketching and I took several photos. The autumn colors were softened by the slightly overcast sky that was also reflected in the surface of the pond. It was a wonderfully peaceful outing.

I have been thinking about connections. Connections of ideas, people, events. Nothing is really an isolated event. What happens in one place happens everywhere, to all of us, in one form or another, if we are really paying attention. I am moved to send what I can to help the relief efforts in Haiti. My little bit of help can connect with yours and many others who offer just a little bit to make a big difference that helps us all in the end.

All things by immortal power,
Near or far,
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling a star.

-Francis Thompson

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - snow

Yes, it is still very cold here. And yes, we are still getting snow on top of the snow we already had. It feels as if the earth has somehow shifted so that we are nearly a polar region now, a frozen tundra, a barbed wire fence the only thing separating us from the north pole.

Saturday afternoon I sat on the couch and did this snowy sketch looking out the living room window at our neighbor's yard across the road. It was sketched with black cherry colored pencil and then washed with watercolor in a sketch journal I made using a recycled book.
I realized that I hadn't shared my latest book making project here. This is the cover. It is a book I picked up at a local thrift store. I liked the title and cover, plus it was a good size for me, about 5.5 x 8 inches. I glued a strip of marbled paper to the spine in order to cover the words there and to give it a little extra reinforcement as it was pretty worn. I also used an old piece of ribbon to make a book mark.
This is the inside front cover. Again, some marbled paper that I had left over from a project I did with Kiddo a couple of years ago. I collaged another piece of the ribbon and a quote that was in the front matter of the original book. And I wrote my name and contact information here, after I took the photo though.
I wanted to try out the idea of using my sketchbook as a planner as well so I used some graph paper I had on hand for a signature in the front and at the back. I pasted monthly small calendars on the front pages for planning notes and left the graph paper signature at the back for scribbling ideas. The rest of the book is filled with Canson Edition paper in a vanilla color. It is a multi-media paper and I am really liking it for sketch journaling paper.
This is the back inside cover, again with the marbled paper end pages and I fashioned a pocket to hold loose papers and business cards. Don't ask me how I figured out to make the pocket - I'm not even sure myself, but it works!

I am enjoying using this journal, not just for sketching but as an everything book. And after working on paper of my choosing it would be difficult to go back to a commercially made sketchbook. So if this one takes me through this winter I will need to be on the lookout for another book to recycle for a spring time journal. And I hope spring shows up very soon!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Road Home - painting #2

The Road Home
oil on canvas
6 x 8 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

Number two in my 100 Painting project for 2010. This scene is the road that leads to my house, early one autumn morning. I have sketched this image before but was never quite able to achieve what I intended. I believe I came much closer with this oil painting.
Here I thought I'd share a little of my process. Instead of painting on the white gesso of the canvas, I first give it a thin coat of acrylic to make the painting ground a color. After the acrylic ground has dried I then complete the painting in oil. I like how the color of the ground helps tie the colors of the painting together, even though it is hardly able to be seen in the end, sometimes not at all, after the image has been painted. It still provides a little influence to the character of the finished painting. I don't do this all the time. Sometimes I paint directly on the white canvas. But I usually enjoy the process of painting more when I have taken this first step. The colors that I choose to cover the white gesso are somewhat arbiturary. I will be thinking of an image or two that I may like to paint and decide whether I want warm, bright, or nuetral for the color of the ground. I mix up a color in acrylic and cover one canvas, then alter it a bit and do another, continuing this way until I have covered four or five canvases. The painting above was done on the lower right canvas in this picture.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Path - painting #1

acrylic and oil on gesso board
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky
For purchase information click here

So here I am, at the start of my 100 painting project. It seems appropriate that the first painting is a sunny path, as I begin this painting journey. This piece started life as an acrylic painting. When I covered the acrylic with oil paint, it came to life. And that's when I knew that I wanted to do a whole lot more painting in oil.

Many of these paintings will be available for sale in my Etsy shop. Because honestly, what am I going to do with 100 paintings taking up precious space in my little house? And if I can send them off to new homes then I have that much more room to make more paintings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sketchbook Tuesday - it's really cold here

This page from New Year's eve marks the last day we had temps above freezing. Well, above 20F actually. I bought an avocado for sandwiches and sketched it first. I also want to try and grow the pit into a plant.
It took three tries and over six weeks through three different sellers but I finally got the Hannah Hinchman book, A Life In Hand, that was so highly recommended in Kate's journaling class. Now I know why everyone loves it so much. It is a wonderful book.Do you think we talk about the weather so much when it's pleasant? We've had a monster snow, a devastating ice storm, and now for days the high temperature hovers around 10F while the wind blows. The forecast is for more of the same.I finally am getting around to planting my paper white bulbs in order to have something blooming indoors, as a reminder that spring will eventually come. Right?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January Print of the Month

Here is a new feature I am adding for this new year of 2010. Each month I will highlight one of my works that is available as a fine art print through Imagekind. This piece is titled Stratus and the original is colored pencil on pastel board at 11 x 14 inches. The image is from Edisto Island off the South Carolina coast, one of our favorite get-away destinations. This art work is available as note cards and fine art prints.


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