Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Postman Rang Thrice

ONCE

to show how I wrapped up smorgasbord Monday, by finishing pepper painting #3. Zac's eyes would have stressed me out after a full day of home maintenance. Today and the rest of the week, housekeeping slides as usual while I work at painting and Ellis works at work till we meet for a glass of wine, some cheese, some conversation followed by dinner and Scrabble. I play both sides. He got mad at me and threw the tiles years ago when I beat him with once spectacular seven letter blitz.  He seems to hold a Scrabble grudge.

Peppers #3. Alla Prima Watercolor, 7 1/2" x 7 1/2"
It was still wet when I took the photo. I started the painting last Saturday and didn't like how it was going so I abandoned it for the weekend. Picked it up again after all the laundry had been returned to drawers whiter than white. I began by running it under very hot water to soften up the paper. Then went back in to firm it up/ fog it up. I was working from memory. The peppers I had left out all weekend had black spots, pruny skins and penicillin growning on them. They went into the trash another expense for YOUR ART,  Ellis, who does the grocery shopping, quipped. I put peppers on his new shopping list. 

TWICE: 

Zac's Eyes--nose, mouth, hair, you name it, I hate it. The one thing good that is happening with this painting is that I find I'm putting together a Caucasian skin tone formula. I really prefer Naples Yellow to Cadmium Yellow Medium. It's calmer, not as blatant. And I'm leaning back to Burnt Sienna rather than Transparent Red Oxide. Burnt Sienna doesn't take over the whole mix with one tiny little addition.As for Zac, I've had it. He's way out of whack. He looks like he's some sort of Black Seed. There's six ways to start a painting obviously free hand wasn't the method to choose for this one. I'm shelving it, chalking it off to learning. But it isn't the last you'll see of it. Expressions like this do fascinate me--maybe because I saw so many of them when my boys were growing up and horsing around? Those were joyous times.

Before throwing in the towel--the brush, I noted his nose was too long,
as was his chin. He really is getting over done. Better to call this a sketch
and move back to my three guys till the canvas for Mr Fuz Zy Pants arrives
the end of the week, where I hope I will be a lot more successful. How hard can an
expressionless cat be?

AND THEN CARMI GOT ME WITH HIS CURRENT PHOTOGRAPHIC THEME: GROUNDED

 This foundation was poured during happier times.
Out of the construction business, floating about in the art world the last three years,
I've  never felt so grounded as when I took this photo and this project was going on.
See other interpretations  of grounded at Carmi's site. Link above.




29 comments:

  1. Oh, no, don't shelve it...go back to it in a couple of weeks/months, even. You can do it! Love those peppers...never thought to soak a watercolour, what a good idea!

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    1. You really think so? He's looking so ghoulish to me. Is this how portraiture goes? What have I gotten myself into? I'm going to take him to paper using a grid system.

      You can soak nearly all of the color out of a watercolor just letting the faucet run. It has to be on good paper and the white doesn't come up as pristine as untouched paper, but light enough if you miscalled the highlights. I like to see how far you can push a medium. Knowing boundaries affects how you handle it with kid gloves or abandon. I like abandon.

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  2. I agree with Sharon. I love it as well.

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    1. Thanks JJ. I do need fresh eyes. He's still muddy.

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  3. Did I miss a post? Of course I did, you are a serious blogger-nothing like me. But, got my punishment, lost Zorbas, that serves me right!
    Allow me make a question; if you could move the earth for folks when you were at the construction business, which sounds quite poetic and artistic itself, why you consider working as an artist a less grounded reality? A painter can move the sky too, an artist can move the universe. I can be hovering and you -as it has happened- with one sketch, or painting, could ground me for good. Maybe I'm babbling hear, but I do believe that art has great power.
    If I may, you feel nostalgic for a certain reason and that blocks you from seeing all the wonders you are creating, or the other way around. Give it some time and it will come back clearer, as it always does. Don't abandon the Father and Son painting!
    Hugs and smiles my dear Linda.

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    1. Forgot to say please.. Don't abandon the Father and Son painting, PLEASE :)

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    2. I don't feel less grounded working as an artist --well maybe I do? If I had a subject I favored(which I think I do in portraiture)and if I had some reasonable skill with the medium I think is right for portraiture, I would feel I had some degree of control. However, I'm still struggling with this genre and this medium. If I wasn't so stubborn about being a painter, I would go back to pencil where I know I have skills.

      Feeling grounded to me has to do with having control and being sure of myself. I felt grounded in residential space design and construction because I was good at what I did. I knew what I was doing. I don't feel that yet in the fine art field. But I haven't been at it that long, so there's hope. I do have the heart. And blogging keeps me doing it daily. You ask good questions Konstantina. Thanks.

      I'm not going to abandon Steve and Zac. I'm too stubborn. I'm not going to abandon art either. It's in my blood.

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  4. I love those colors of peppers. A lovely and warm watercolor painting. I am also looking forward to see the progress of the portraits. The process is like a good book or movie, it has drama, comedy etc.

    Happy painting.

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    1. Where's the comedy Roger? I could use a good laugh. I had to throw the peppers away. They were too moldy to paint and too moldy to eat. That's funny.

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  5. What an interesting technique with watercolour, a favourite of the great JMW Turner who would have a number of paintings on the go at once and would immerse them in water as part of his process as he moved from painting to painting.

    Add me to the list of those exhorting you to stick with the portrait.

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    1. What bothers me about a lot of watercolor paintings is that they are too pat, too tight. Wetting them down to whatever degree the artist thinks is necessary adds a more painterly feel. I didn't know that wetting was part of Turner's process. Thanks Mick.

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  6. I read Mick's comment. Fascinating. I will try that. And I agree about the too pat - too tight thing. I've often wondered what would happen to one of my pictures if I took it into the rain, just to see the effect. Haven't found one I'm willing to do that to yet, though. lol I'm even attached to my ugly children. But one of these days.

    Anyway, your watercolor is anything but pat. Lively, interesting and unique! Annoys me every time. ;)

    I agree that you need to shelve your painting, but only to pick it up again when your heart is in it. If your heart ain't in it, it will show and produce nothing but frustration.

    Btw, read yesterday's post - and I am also disgusted by that gorgeous painting of Quinn's - they should spread that talent around!!

    L'shana tova tikatevu.

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    1. L'shana tova tikatevu to you too lonsman. All week I've been trying to blow the Shofar--not the chauffer--to welcome the New Year. I've managed one very meager keeya. I think they should use that horn at physicals to measure lung capacity.

      I'm going to cut Steve out of the painting and throw Zac away and begin again. Maybe just Zac? Getting his expression is good training for JD who had an equally challenging look on his face. What's with my boys? They like to irk their nana, I guess--or nana likes to irk nana is more like it.

      Try wetting any watercolor you did that you weren't that crazy about. It's amazing. It gives it new life. It gets your mind going on new possibilities--like cherry tomatoes. Always a good addition when your composition is lacking. The bleeding isn't wild; it's controllable. Carried to extremes, colors that are stains will remain even with prolonged wetting, but will be very faint. Just be careful about rubbing; you don't want to flaw the paper. Gentle is key.Timing is key.


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  7. For myself, Linda, when I try too hard on a painting, all I see is frustration. Why not put this one away for a while and try it all over again from the beginning? You just might surprise yourself.

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    1. I'm cutting out Zac and beginning again. I'm frustrated about his smirk, which I guess was his intention the moment I took the photo, but I'm not discouraged about the painting. It's a tough expression for a beginner. I will attempt it again. This time coming at it in a highly calculated way, rather than free-hand. --As for the skin tones in that lighting situation, had I known what high noon does to highlights and shadows and multiple tones in between, I would have waited till three in the afternoon to snap the shot. Thanks for your encouragement Susan. Between that and my own stubbornness, something good is bound to happen. :-)

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  8. Awesome grounded picture, sorry the project stalled.

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    1. Thanks Max. That project didn't stall; the house was completed about 2006. Projects like that stopped cold in 2008 when the banks stopped lending. When the banks stopped lending and the real estate market hit the skids and no one's house was worth anything, residential design/construction and all t he other businesses connected to home improvement went to hell. I, the designer, was forced into retirement. My husband, the builder, was doing mostly home maintenance projects--insurance work. Projects like the one I photographed are not happening today, the real estate market is still insecure. Except in Seattle, where houses are way over priced for what they are. This year there seems to be a little recovery. People are starting to renovate their homes, but not to the extent of that addition we designed and built. I loved that job. It was thrilling to see what I had drawn on paper, become a reality. I photographed every step to completion. Seeing the poured foundation was a very exciting day. The addition was ground and so was I with self-satisfaction.

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  9. Happy painting indeed. I do hope you get the project back on track as well...I sense you really want to see it happen. Great sources and story line for grounded!

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    1. That project was completed in 2004 when the building business in the States was booming. I'd
      like to see the industry boom again. That would mean the world's economy has recovered. Currently, it's stirring and that's exciting, for it really has been dead since 2008 and the fall of the real estate market and banks. Thanks for following Karen. I'll be stopping by your place later today.

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  10. I want to touch the surface of the fruit. And smell the earth on that construction site. Grounded indeed ;-)

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    1. The earth smelled divine Magaly the day that foundation was poured. It was thrilling seeing what I had drawn on paper become concrete in the ground. Peppers are always fun to paint wet into wet free handed. After using drafting instruments for so many years, I am enjoying loosening up with just a brush and colors. Thanks for visiting. Un abrazo.

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    1. Yes it was. Thank you. Now I've got to find out about The Muddled Market Place, for that it is.

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  12. Life is never dull with you, Linda! :) That construction site photo would make an interesting abstract. As for Zac, you've got him, I have my bridge. I still am not 100% for it, but I took it to the framer yesterday. At least the framing will look fab.

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  13. So cool what you did with the watercolor to change it up. I like that about you, that you often do not get "attached" to your work, so you can go somewhere else with it. That's art! This double portrait has proved to be a huge challenge, but every step of the way you've gained understanding for the next go. Thanks for sharing it all with us. It may be that it is simply a better pose for a photo than for a painting. I read somewhere that most portrait painters prefer the quiet composed look for a painting (less smile). No broad smiles for Lady Agnew or Madame X! I'll be watching for what you do next...it is always fun to check in with you!

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    1. But that's what I like about Zac's goofy face. A half smile, no teeth showing, no facial muscles distorted, that's usually goes down easily. But have some character-a laughing boy, a smirking boy, a cocky boy and there's something to stretch for. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm going t keep plugging away at this genre this year--though my pastel class is going to be flowers. They should be a breeze, but I'll bet not, knowing this woman.

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  14. Loved the foundation shot - great perspective, and the delicate shade from the trees is cooling.
    And the peppers look so delicious!

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  15. Your construction has given an idea for a second grounded post - a construction around 2000 years old. There will be no reinforcing bars in sight. The centre chamber with the unusual shape pulls in towards this shot.

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  16. your pepper painting! yum!
    i really like the 'human' one too...your tones are great, i could NEVER draw or paint anything realistic...but i think we are too critical of our own work sometimes. looks great to me!!

    the 'grounded' foundation seems to be calling me in...to walk along the upper edge...like a maze. too bad it had to be stopped...

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