Value Studies

I was quite productive today... went shopping with my sis, came home and cooked dinner - chiles en nogada and homemade refried beans - then I finished the value study I did in class and did two more.

The whole exercise was to to learn to look for shapes of values first thing when painting. So we each picked out at least one photo to paint. I picked one for class, then three to take home. We were to do a quick sketch on our canvas - nothing detailed - and just noticed the shapes of the lights and darks. Then we would start with the darkest darks, filling them in, and working our way to the lightest lights. We weren't to try and do anything detailed or blend, etc. Here's what I ended up with:



This was the one I started in class. I got about 2/3 of it done in class and finished it up at home.



This was the second one I did. I don't normally paint men, so it was an interesting change to work on this study.



This was the third one I did and the one that Linda demonstrated in class.



A view of all three.

Next class we will be working with color. It'll be on 20x24 canvases. The studies were done on 8x10 canvas panels. I'm looking forward to seeing what Wednesday brings!

Also on my plate is experimenting with creating resin pendents. I will be doing a number of them at the same time, several of them Frida Kahlo ones. One of those will go to my partner in the Frida handmade jewelry swap. That is, assuming at least one turns out, one will go to my partner. If not, I'll be attempting something else!

I'll also be creating several works of art with my beloved four year old niece tomorrow. She's been begging me to paint with her and since we're having a girl day tomorrow, it's the perfect time. :-) I bought a cheap sketchbook with a plain, flexible cover so that she could decorate the cover herself and have a sketchbook to draw in just like her auntie. :-) I am so looking forwarding to hanging out with my princess tomorrow!

La Catrina

I had done a Dia De Los Muertos sharpie postcard swap a few months back and decided the other night that one of the designs I did needed to become a painting. :-) The perfect activity on a Friday night after a wicked long day at work answering the blasted phone (I was seriously ready to throw it out the window.) Here's the final result:



I actually used this painting as an excuse to try painting on a gessobord... and I loved it! I have two more 7x5 gessobords to use, so now I'll try doing an oil painting on it. I have a feeling I may be doing more paintings on the gessobords then on canvas.

Now my next project is to finish the value study I did in my oil painting class and maybe do another one or two of them. :-)

Opening up a bit...

Apparently my brain has been pretty active the past 24 hours and I ended up having a very interesting dream. But a bit of lengthy back-story first…

I’ve been in a bit of a reflective mood lately… thinking of hard choices and sticking with them. Doing what scares you. Taking that step and hoping that the net truly does appear and that you don’t end up going SPLAT on the ground. *g* Trying to do what you think is the right thing, what you feel God is calling you to do, trying not to look too far into the future and then start faltering. (My specialty.) It’s hard to press forward, keep the faith, and stay focused on the present. Yep, this is about the whole art thing… from the class I’m taking to etsy to what the future holds.

For instance, I ordered a set of moo cards the other night before I went to bed. You can have up to six lines of text on the back, so I chose to have my name, my email address and… my etsy store address. I’ve been planning on opening my own shop for a while and the other night I got a wild hair and listed the only painting I have available. (I’m hoping to have another couple of things to list within the next week or two.)

What’s the first thing I wanted to do when I woke up the next morning? (Besides go back to bed?) Order new moo cards (because it's too late to cancel the other order) that don’t have my etsy address on them, because it’s not going to work, I only have one thing so far and no one will ever buy it, the new stuff I make won’t be good, who wants my stuff, I’m not good enough, I’m embarrassed to even let people know in case I fail, they’ll all laugh because who is she to think someone would pay for a stupid painting, etc, etc, so on and so forth. I couldn’t possibly send those cards to people.

Sheesh! The battlefield of the mind is one brutal thing. And never-ending! Logically, I know that all of that isn’t true, that it’s that evil, nasty little abusive voice in my head spouting off. :-)

No, the store thing may not work out, it may never take off. Maybe it will. Maybe I’ll sell something in a few months. Maybe I’ll make a contact out of this that will lead to something else entirely. We’ll see. I have to say that joining that Creative Every Day thing and actually posting a link to my site for this week has been awesome, as has joining Swap-Bot and posting pictures on Flickr. People who don’t even know me have been so supportive. I’m stepping out, finally participating and things are happening. Just have to keep the faith and not retreat back to where I was.

I wrote the above to one of my sisters who then kindly corrected my delusions and gave me some straight talking and support. :-) She’s good at it – been doing it for many, many, many years!

So then I was reading another artist’s blog and found this…

"...a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively....If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to what has been created for our appreciation....We are all in danger of thinking, "Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent", without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people's lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative creature."

--from The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

For those who are not religious, feel free to ignore the first part. :-) But I think many people (of all belief systems) can relate to the rest of what she says. How many people in this world feel that way? Do that exact same thing? I know I did for many years. So I had all this brewing in my brain when I went to sleep. That’s when my subconscious had a field day.

I had this dream that there was this werewolf that came out every night to devour people. There were only two things that could protect you… If you were sleeping, he couldn’t get you. But if you were awake, the only way to protect yourself was to be touching canvas. It was like it made you invisible. So throughout the dream, if I was awake at night, I would grip this canvas wallet type thing I had (and when I woke up this morning, the hand that was gripping it in the dream was aching from me gripping it in my sleep.)

The most vivid part and the part I remember the most was the end, where I was in this big room, I think it was a restaurant, and the werewolf came. It was sort of a U shaped room and he entered through the other side from where I was. I stood against the wall, mostly facing it and gripping that canvas thing like crazy. I could feel the werewolf coming towards me. I thought that if he brushed against you, he would figure out you’re there and turn you into a tasty little snack. But when he brushed against me as he passed by, he never figured it out.

After he passed me by, I turned to look at him and I was so surprised. He didn’t look scary at all. Don’t get me wrong, I could sense the danger in him, but he looked like a whacked out grown man with a frizzy bush of hair doing this exaggerated prancing tip-toe thing. Nothing like a wolf at all. It would have been absolutely ridiculous if he didn’t have that underlying sense of danger to him. He made his way back through the room and left. That’s when I woke up.

I'm not usually big on dream interpretation, but every once in a while, a dream will stay with me and be rather obvious. Interpretation? The werewolf is those fears that haunt me regarding my art. Obviously art, because of the canvas. Boy, my subconscious is not subtle. LOL! If I’m sleeping - ignoring my creative desires like I did for most of my life – the fear has already gotten me. Of course he’d leave me alone. If I’m awake and not concentrating on the work, those fears can distract and hurt me and I can let them prevent me from being creative, from working on my art.

The fears can brush against me, but if I’m DOING the work, keeping my attention on the work where it belongs, it won't stop me. And when I really stop and look at the fears, I see how powerless many of them really are, unless I give them the power to hurt me. Now, the fact that the canvas was in the form of a wallet… I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be making money from the art in the future! :-)

All in all, the dream was actually kind of cool and reassuring. :-) Not so cool was the fact that it woke me up at 5 am with a horrendous headache and an aching hand. *g* But it’s given me some food for thought.

Now I'm off to go work on a quick Dia De Los Muertos painting and then finish my value study. I'll blog later about my art class and how it went!

Update


Just wanted to post the latest update of the oil painting. She's now got (incomplete) eyes and I've layed down the first layer of hair. I've still got to finish her hair, the paintbrushes in her hair, her eyes and the background.

I usually have a hard time adding the darker values. They scare me. *g* When I painted in her hair tonight, I realized that some of the shadows on her face weren't nearly dark enough. And here I thought I had gotten some good dark values in! So I darkened some of them even more. I must learn to lay in the darker values first! It really does help. :-)

Oil Painting in progress

This past Wednesday I was supposed to start a ten week oil painting class (for portraits - my favorite!) but due to weather conditions, it was cancelled. So, I was sitting around tonight, jonesing to paint something and decided to go for it. Here it is:



I've wanted to do this picture for a while. Last year, on the night before Halloween, I was wandering around the house, wondering what costume I could scrounge up before work the next day. We work with kids, so a lot of us dress up and try to be quite festive. All of a sudden, it hit me... I could be an artist! :-)

This painting was inspired by that. Like the woman in the picture, I pulled my hair up and stuck paintbrushes in it. (Even went to the doctors and the store like that!) Plus I wore my grungy, paint-stained sweatshirt and brought one of my paintings and a few sketches to decorate the office. I even dabbed paint all over my face and carried paintbrushes around with me. I just wish I'd had different kind of palette that I could carry around with me. The ones I do have wouldn't have worked. Anyway, it was awesome!

It was good to sit down and paint again tonight. I haven't done an oil painting since my last intensive class in August, the week before my mother went in to have both her knees replaced. I was one of two primary caregivers for her during that period, so I knew that I wouldn't be getting much painting done after that class.

I'll be sure to post another picture when I work on it some more! First, I have a couple of swaps that I must work on, but I will be painting again sometime this weekend!

2009 Word of the Year

Every year, I chose one word as a theme for that year. I started doing this in 2007 and chose the word Listen, then picked Artist for 2008. Those words came to me quite fast and I knew right off the bat that those were the right words for me. And at the end of the year, when I looked back, it was amazing how the words shaped those years.

This year was a bit more tough and it took me longer to figure out the word. I finally sat down and just did some stream of consciousness type writing, trying to figure out what I wanted for this year, what I felt drawn to. And finally it came to me:

Be.

I like this word. I have a nasty little habit of trying to look too far into the future, trying to figure out what it is I want, what I hope for my future, but then not believing it will/can happen or that I can do it. That then leads to me losing faith and faltering in the present. This word will help me remember to just be in the present, to concentrate on just being who I am. Learn who I am, continue to follow the path that I'm on, and doing that will get me to where I need to be in the future.

Every year I get a bracelet that has my word on it and the year inside it. Then I wear that bracelet all year long, rarely taking it off and never for longer than 24 hours, if that. It's a good visual reminder for me. I ordered my bracelet earlier this week and I am hoping that it will be waiting for me when I get home next week!

Happy New Year!

So... it's been a while since I posted. But it's a new year and I'm considering it a new start for my blog. :-) I've been very lazy about posting in it, but then life has also been quite crazy up until a few weeks ago. That's when I finally got to escape from reality and go on a three week vacation to Hawaii. Absolute heaven!

First piece of business is to post the final picture of my "Winds of Change" painting.



I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I've got it hanging up in my office at work and have gotten a number of comments on it, which was very nice. :-)

I'm very much looking forward to this new year. One of my goals is to do something creative every day. Work on a painting, tinker with a recipe, do a quick sketch, anything at all at least once a day. And I just happened along a blog by the artist Leah Piken Kolidas who is doing the Creative Every Day challenge. (See the sidebar to the right.) Serendipity, indeed! So I have signed up for that and am looking forward to participating and being inspired by the others who are involved.

Another thing that will help me is the portrait painting class I have signed up for that starts in two weeks. I'm thrilled! And I'll be returning to oils, which is what I love most. It's being held at the local museum and it's with an artist, Linda Infante Lyons, who's done many other classes there, two of which I've taken.

I'm definitely making my art a priority this year and am trying to find ways and opportunities that will support me and encourage me in this endeavor. So far, I'm off to a good start. Now I'm going to sign off and go sketch something while enjoying the beautiful weather outside!

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