slightly wonky


Little elephant…painful portrait progress…
September 28, 2011, 2:37 pm
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My painting teacher asked us to bring in an object to paint, or “present”, in his words.  I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded intimidating.  He brought over a Rauchenberg book to show me an example of what he meant when I asked him about it.  Hmmm.  No pressure.  Setting the bar astronomically high…okay.  Have I already mentioned that I love Rauchenberg’s work?  I probably should have just crawled under my easel at that point, but I didn’t.  Maybe if I had a stuffed goat and a tire, I might be able to sort of get within the same solar system as Rauchenberg’s work.  Maybe not.

Anyway, I picked a small elephant toy that I’ve had since I was a kid.  My childhood friend, Anita, gave it to me.  Her dad was from India, and they went there on vacation.  So, here is my little elephant…in pretty good shape if you consider how old it is…

Cute, right?  He doesn’t stand up well, and tends to tip forward.  I think that either his trunk puts him off balance, or his front legs are a little too short.  I empathize.

So, here is my painting of this little guy:

I’m happy with it.  I mean…it’s no Rauchenberg.  I know.  Trust me.  This is what happens when you don’t crawl under your easel.  I’ve always thought that still life painting was kind of…ummm…not so exciting.  I gravitate towards abstract and messy art, so still lifes are so…well, still.  Maybe I need to try it again?  My teacher said nice things about it.  Again, I know.  He has to walk that delicate line of being somewhat frank, but not completely squelching me with reality.  It’s only my third class, so I think that he’s still trying not to scare/offend anyone.  He mentioned that three people left one of the other classes that he teaches, so perhaps he was worried about making the beginners in the class, like myself, run as well.  Comments?

So, I’m still not done with this odd/icky self portrait.  I know.  Just paint over the whole thing and start again.  My teacher suggested some abstract colored blobs to break it up a bit:

I don’t know.  I’d like to help it somehow, but it might bother me too much to keep working on it.   This is one of those painful confrontations with reality.  I need to go out and buy a lot more titanium white to fix this thing.  Maybe just getting a large tub of gesso and a paint gun would do the trick…I think that I get points for even posting it though, right?  Maybe not.  Sigh.

Advertisements


A weekend away…figurative work…
September 27, 2011, 10:51 am
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For one weekend every year, my husband and I go back to where we were married…sans enfants.  Thanks to the generosity of my mom who is willing to watch my son, we can have a weekend escape!  I know.  How lucky!  We go to the place where we were married in the Berkshires.  It’s SO lovely…so quiet…just the noise of the wind moving through the trees.  Ahhhh.  I wish that I could bottle that and bring it home.  Perhaps that’s what those Bose noise cancelling headphones are like…sounds appealing.

So, I’m thinking about my next painting class coming up.  My teacher suggested figurative work.  I like drawing people, so perhaps I’ll like painting them too!  I made an effort not to “draw” the paintings.  Don’t get me wrong…I love the way that drawn lines look in a painting.  I just thought that I’d try to keep my paintings truer to the medium.  I basically reworked the two canvases that I had started in class.  This proved to be a challenge, as both canvases were VERY textured.  I mean…REALLY textured.  So, it was tough to do something on top that wasn’t abstract.  Here was the first one, based upon a suggestion by my teacher:

I think that you can see what I’m talking about with the “extreme” texture.  Here is a close up:

Okay, it wasn’t an assemblage, but still.  It was really tough to paint over that goopy surface.  Anyhoo…this was kind of fun.  I liked using the odd colors too.  I decided to do another one:

Hmm.  I layered this one a bit more, as I felt that it needed something to tie the abstract background with the portrait.  Perhaps I need to be a bit more abstract with the portraits.  Hmmm…

I’ve started another one, but this time…I began with a charcoal drawing on the canvas.  I have also added some texture to the canvas, but it actually relates to the image, as opposed to the two paintings above.  We’ll see how this one goes!

I found that the charcoal sort of smeared when I went over it with the acrylic medium, so I actually put most of the medium on the background.

I’ve also got a woodblock that I have to make some progress on.  I’m not using the gourmet shina plywood, but some other plywood from Woodcraft, a store in Woburn.  This is a royal pain.  I’m so spoiled with the shina plywood.  This other plywood splinters, is hard to cut, and is a general pain.  It’s made me sort of drag my feet about carving it.  I need to finish it up though!  Hopefully, I’ll have some prints next week to show of it.

The opening reception for the portrait show that I have a drawing in is this Friday!  So, if you are in the area…please stop by the Belmont Gallery of Art between 6-8pm on Friday.  I’ll be there!

 



I’m in!
September 21, 2011, 8:15 pm
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I’m happy to say that my portrait drawing was accepted in the show at the Belmont Gallery of Art.  Yay!  This is a show titled, “See you, See me”, and it’s only portraits.  I saw some of the other works when I was dropping off my drawing.  Should be interesting!  (You can see what the drawing looks like in my September 8 blog post).  The show opens on September 30 and runs through November 13.  Please stop by!

This weekend, I went to the Hyde Park Open Studios.  This was great, as my printmaking teacher, Selma Bromberg, has her studio there.  Her work is really beautiful.  She draws gorgeous flowers, then turns the drawings into prints.  She was doing a woodblock demonstration when I arrived.  I also saw Prilla Smith Brackett, whom I met at my woodblock print class.  She’s primarily a painter, but is starting to work more with prints.  Her work was also lovely.  It was fun to see some of the completed woodblock prints that she began in class.

My painting class is still fun.  My teacher did not like the big paintings that I brought in.  He likened one of them to a “shower curtain”.  I can tell you all of this as I’ve gone through many an architecture crit, and have heard it all.  I really appreciate his honesty.  I think that he’s a good teacher.  Let’s see if I can learn something, though!  He wants me to try figurative work, as that’s my background (as evidenced by the portrait drawing).  Hmm…okay…we’ll see!  I also did a few mini-paintings.  These are only 6″ x 8″.

It was fun to work on these tiny canvases…

I may have to revisit all of these…we’ll see…

On another note…I’m horribly disappointed that the portrait class that I’m signed up for will likely be cancelled.  It’s called “The Expressive Portrait”, and it’s at the Arlington Center for the Arts.  We need THREE more people in order to have the class.  I’m so sad, as it’s highly unlikely what we’ll get them in the time left.  Having a class cancelled on you is so frustrating.  I’ve had this happen several times.  I’m always dumbfounded when it does happen.  You mean…not EVERYONE wants to take this class???  WHY NOT????  I’ve tried to send out emails, etc. to other people who might be interested in signing up.  No luck so far.  If you’re interested…PLEASE sign up!  Seriously.  Do it now.  No joke.

I wish that there wasn’t a minimum number for a class.  I mean…don’t I count at all?  Doesn’t my enthusiasm make up for the low enrollment????  I guess not…*DRAMATIC SIGH*



Last Cambridge print studio…boo hoo!
September 16, 2011, 4:20 pm
Filed under: painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, today was my last open print studio at Cambridge Adult Ed.  It was great to spend time with Paula and Cindy (hello, if you’re reading this!!!).  They are both accomplished artists, so I look to them for advice and suggestions.  Today, Paula suggested that I try to incorporate my drawing skills (limited), with the abstract work that I am so interested in.  As I struggled to think of something to “draw” today, I just looked around the studio for inspiration.  We share the printmaking studio with clay, jewelry, and…woodworking!  So, my subject today turned to the drill press.  Yes…inspiration can truly be found anywhere.  Here was my first print:

That’s slightly wonky, right?  Anyway, when I did it in studio…I was not impressed.  But now that I look at it again, it’s kind of interesting.  Cindy remarked how one’s frame of mind really affects how we view our artwork.  Old watercolor paintings that she had previously set aside were better than she remembered when looked at anew.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder?  Maybe.  The second one:

I can’t really make a series about drill presses…as those are the only two that they have!  Maybe a power tools series in general would be interesting…not sure what that’s all about.

I also worked on some VERY messy paintings.  These were very fun…albeit a big mess.  Here is the first one:

I know.  Garish colors.  I kind of like garish colors, though.  I feel like that person on the current season of Project Runway who feels compelled to “BEDAZZLE” everything.  If only I’d had some glitter… a detail:

Messy fun!  Then, I did ANOTHER messy one.  Seriously.  You’ll see…blobs of paint everywhere…

I know…right?  Another “hot mess”.  Another Project Runway reference…I need to get a life.  Detail:

Then I decided that less is definitely not more, so I did ANOTHER super chaotic one:

I know that if I was at school, a teacher would have taken away my paints by now.  Boo!

Detail:

Doesn’t it look like the melted ice cream in the bottom of your bowl when you have slathered on a grotesque quantity of colored sprinkles?  By the way…what ARE sprinkles anyway?  Have you ever eaten them straight?  They’re disgusting.  Like little wax chips…and the chocolate ones are no better.

Okay…so tell me the truth about the messy “paintings”.  (notice that “paintings” is in quotes).  What do you think?  Keep the messy stuff for when I’m eating ice cream only?  Should I put away my paints permanently?  Should I have my artistic license revoked?  Hmpfh.

Wish me luck on that portrait show.  I’ll break the good/bad news to you when I find out myself!

 



New painting class & a local artist…
September 14, 2011, 1:51 pm
Filed under: painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I started a new class.  It’s called “Supercharged Painting”.  VERY fun so far.  Lots of messy, gloppy stuff.  This week, we were playing around with acrylic mediums to create texture in our work.  So, I have two canvases that I started…but there is no color yet.  I kind of like them plain…but they won’t stay that way!  First one:

It’s hard to see in a photo, but these blobs are different textures…some gritty…some smooth…

In Christian Siriano’s words…it does look like a “hot mess”.  That’s okay.  It will get worse…trust me… :p

The other canvas:

I think that I upped the contrast on this image too much, but you get the idea.  Big blobs!  What fun!

Most of the other students in the class are “regulars”.  There are only a few of us that are new.  The “regulars” all know what they’re doing…and it was sooo great!  It’s so amazing to be surrounded by so many talented artists!  I loved watching them work.  When I find out their names (beyond their first name), I can put some links in my posts so that you can see what they are doing.

Last week, I had a so-so time in the print studio.  A motley array of prints:

Hmmmm…  Next one:

Hmmm…

I liked some of the color combinations in that one…

Here are others more on the theme of what I did last week:

And the other:

Those prints get a sustained, “hmmm”, from me.  Comments?  Thoughts?  This week’s class will probably be my last one for the year.  Let’s see what happens!

I had coffee with a local artist, Regina Valluzzi.  Please check out her work.  She is really having some great success, and was so kind in making suggestions for me.  We weren’t discussing our artwork, specifically, but were just talking about the local art scene.  She’ll be at the Arlington Open Studios (as will I) in October.  Please stop by and see her work firsthand!  She currently has a show at the Blue Glass Gallery in the lobby of the Hancock tower in Boston.  Go see it!



Portraits excavated from attic
September 8, 2011, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Drawing | Tags: , , , , , ,

A while ago, I took a portrait drawing class.  This is really one of my favorite things to do.  I don’t know why, but I really do love drawing people’s faces.  But when I am not in a class, I find it really hard to do so.  I mean, who is going to sit still long enough?  Nobody.  The other thing about this is…I don’t think that I would necessarily want these drawings hanging up in my house.  I love crazy abstract art.  I am less inclined to like realistic art.  So…these are attempts at realistic images of people that I don’t even KNOW.  Why would I put these drawings on my wall?  Hmmm.  I am considering taking another portrait class, just because I love doing it, but I’m not sure.  If I don’t like the end products, then why do it?  Or, is that just me being too “product/end result” oriented?  Here are the drawings.  Note how the corners of them got crumpled in the attic.  Sheesh.  I need a flat file.

I’ve managed to flatten that one out a bit.  I may try to enter it in a portrait show.  Who knows.  I don’t think that it is really “original” enough, but we’ll see.  He was kind of a character.  Here is the second drawing:

She got quite crumpled.  Hmm…I will have to work on that.  I managed to crop my feet standing next to the drawings, as I thought that would look odd.  This was a hard pose to draw, as a profile doesn’t give much depth.  A 3/4 view is always better.  In a crowded class, though, you can’t always get the good spot.

I’m still chasing after abstract art.  Is it futile for me?  I’m not saying that these drawings are amazing…but I have some modicum of ability here.  Should I keep going with the portaits, or try out the crazy abstracts, which I love?

I have a painting class that starts next week.  Wish me luck!  I’m hoping it will help me a bit.

Hey, if anyone out there wants to sit still for a few hours so that I can try to draw you, let me know.  No, you’re not allowed to fall asleep!  I also don’t want to draw someone with a “zoned-out/tv-coma” face.  Not a good look.



A morning at the studio
September 2, 2011, 9:50 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was lucky enough to get to go to the print studio today, thanks to my mother who watched my son for me.  There were only three of us there, so we REALLY spread out.  When given the chance, printmakers are like molasses…oozing out in every direction, taking up more and more and more space.  I guess in the “heat of the moment” while working on a print, you just grab any space you can get to put something down, or to work on.  The more plates that you work with for a single print also means that you need more and more room.  ANYWAY…it was a great luxury today to be there and to have so much room.

I felt that it was a productive day.   Some days, I’m just off and the whole thing becomes so frustrating.  This day was better…probably because the studio was quiet and roomy.  It’s hard to think when it’s crowded, there is a line to use the press, and you have no space to work.  Here is the first print that I did:

Not my favorite…it wasn’t going well, and then I added the thin, black layer.  This helped.  I may have to revisit this one…but I’m going to leave it alone for now.  Next:

This one was also just okay…I like the bright colors, but the textures did not turn out as I had hoped.  It was a bit of an experiment, so I learned a bit…well, a bit of what didn’t quite work.  The black helped this one too.  Next:

I like that one, and it was a bit of a happy accident.  This was what was left on one of my plates from working the previous prints.  Odd, right?  The textures are delicate and interesting.  Maybe I can get better at this, and fine tune it a bit more.  Next:

So, I ran out of paper, and started to use these long scraps that I had.  It was fun to do the full bleed printing and the vertical format.  These three vertical ones work together well…a classmate suggested that I keep going with this series…

I like that one too.

I realize now that I should have taken a picture with all three together.  So, I’ll mash them together in photoshop, instead:

Hmmm!  Maybe I should keep going with these.  They would also be fun to turn into an artist book.  I’d love to do that.  Maybe that’s what I’ll work on next time…

Comments?  Artists that I should look at?

Here’s an artist that EVERYONE should look at.  Check out Jacob Hashimoto.  I WORSHIP his work.  So stunning…I have yet to see it in person, but I hope to do so some day.  Has anyone seen his work first hand?  If so, tell me what you think!

So lovely…




%d bloggers like this: