Saturday, August 30, 2008

Still life oil copper, pewter and apple

Diamond Mine by Erika Nelson"Warm Copper" 9x12 oil on canvas panel
I painted this day before I left on vacation this month. I am fortunate to be a part of a small group of artists who are passionate enough to get together for weekly session to paint together. This was our first meeting and I've since missed one when I left for a week.

I like what I came up with although I was my usual lack of sleep condition because my husband and I were preparing our home and pets for a week of self sufficiency (we did ask my neighbor to look in on them which I think she kindly did once or twice daily). Anyway, we also wanted to clean the place because for some reason my DH decided two days before vacation that it was a good time for us to switch locations in the computer room. Since were are both major geeks and pack rats, this proved to not be a simple undertaking. But he certainly surprised me that he was able to bring the house to a presentable (to good friend Shirley), situation! I had requested that we had to make the place clean so I didn't have to worry about sending Shirley for tetanus treatments lol

Our Body by Erika NelsonThe highlight of our vacation was the trip to the Crater of Diamonds - an actual diamond mine which is the 8th largest in the world! I felt like a marooned person in a wheelchair in the middle of a moon crater! The sight of 37 acres of clay like open landscape dotted by people with their mining equipment waddling and digging under 90 degrees weather was not inviting! Luckily there were a couple of shaded areas where people "screened" their clumps of clay in water. There wasn't anybody jumping with glee or trying to put up a poker face while they pocketed precious stones. All I could think of was the money the place was bringing since they convinced people to till their land and charge people to do it lol Well at least it's now out of our system and we can move on and wonder about other unknowns to us :)

Still life oil painting by Erika NelsonWe also went to the Science Museum where they had a traveling exhibit of Our Body: The Universe Within The idea of seeing actual human bodies from the outside in was fascinating to me. In my last 2 years of college, I dedicated my studies to figurative art which meant I also studied in depth human anatomy. It was enjoyable to see landmarks I use in the flesh (pun intended), because all I ever had to work with were illustrations, photographs and some small sculptures.

It was interesting that the bodies in the exhibit were all Chinese. I wondered how much bureaucracy was saved by not using Americans lol

In the gift shop I saw some butterflies mounted inside a double glass. I thought it was really cool to see nature up close and I didn't have to worry about them being scared of my wheelchair. No I didn't buy any. The one I wanted was $90 which was too expensive for something I might decide was just a fleeting fascination. I have brushes I want to buy so I decided to get those instead! We were pleased to catch up on our sleep but we fell right back into our bad habits once we got home, oh well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Watercolor Starlings on Yupo

"Sterling Starlings" 26x20 watercolor on Yupo

Indeed I enjoyed painting this piece. The reference photo was excitedly sent to me by my dear Internet friend I haven't met in person but known since 2002 Leanne Wildermuth. Now she can't accuse me of never painting from her amazing photos :) She is true to her domain name

I hear I didn't get any award in the pastel show
but I move onward and entered this piece in the ANA (Artists of Northwest Arkansas) Annual juried show. For now it's the closest to museum art viewing as I can get without going out of town. I've seen some amazing works exhibited in this show so last year I was particularly pleased to receive best of drawing for my "On the Edge" charcoal drawing on toned paper. It's always an honor to hang among some great fellow local or almost local artists in this show. Last year was the first time for me to meet Theresa Rankin and her well done art in person. She took in best of oils last year.

is a wonderful tool for me to playfully express my colors in watercolors without losing the intensity to the fibers of paper. Every pigment and brave and carefree brush stroke is preserved on the surface of the paper. I am very pleased that I've met some new buyers by using this paper.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dutch Iris Flower Challenge

"Dutch Iris" 2.5"x3.5" watercolor
This format is also known as ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals). I took the reference photo 7 years ago so I'm glad to have finally painted from it for my watercolor group's flower challenge. This iris was simply begging to be painted with the its beautiful contrasting colors of yellow and purple along with the ridges on the tips of its petals that fold along the tips for added feature.

I paint a lot of this small format art which I tend to sell in auction sites like Ebay, Etsy, and Ebid. I enjoy painting them because they allow me to be extremely portable in my productions and also because I can effortlessly ship them anywhere the buyer might be. Because of this my work is owned worldwide which is quite exciting!

Tonight I will be attending a pastel figurative demo by Leslie DeMille. He is a guest artist and this year's Ozark Pastel Society's juried show judge. It's been since the 90's that I watched a pastel portrait demo done in Fine Art style (I mean versus a typical amusement park portrait that tends to be more of a caricature). It should be fun; I'll be attending with my art gurls :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pastel still life

"Teacups and Roses" 14x37 pastel on paper
I managed to keep myself together and finish this big piece for the Ozark Pastel (juried) Show. I was also sleepless for 33 hours as a result so I could finish both pieces and frame them then deliver them to Springdale Art Center of the Ozarks and finally to get home in time to attend our niece's baby shower. After all the sugar they had at the party I was pretty alert for a few more hours lol I had to chase all that sugar with some veggies and dip.

Well it would have been nice to be able to see some fellow artists and their works at the Art Center but when fellow artist Shirley Mullen and I arrived there, my van ramp wouldn't go down so I could get out :(

I also won't be able to attend the reception as the hubby and I will be out of town so I guess I'll have to catch the rest of the show another day.

After about 10 hours of sleep I'm feeling a little more like myself. For now I need to do some yard work and check into some portrait commissions waiting for me .

I will be painting still life with a group mid-week so hopefully I will have something to show for the effort :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pastel portrait

"Watching The Red Balloon" 9x12 pastel on toned paper

I drew this today while I "worked" all day at the gallery. Frankly, I can't believe I came up with something decent considering there were lots of distractions since it was not that slow. I wanted to see if I could swing a portrait for the Ozark Pastel Show since a renowned portrait artist Les DeMille is the judge. But I am also working on a big still life for the show mainly because I am trying to kill two birds with one stone.

My friend Dustie has these odd sized frames and she has challenged me and fellow artist Shirley Mullen to see who would be able to use it first. The prize? A free frame lol Oh well, it got me to work. When the show due date? Well tomorrow of course! Big shout to dear friend RED aka Vicki Ross for coordinating this show :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

God must be an oil painter

"Aqua Magik" watercolor on yupo

I was so pleased to receive a call that the gallery sold my full sheet watercolor of the above painting. It's always nice when I make a sale especially a big piece! It was a much needed good news as that day we had to take my dearest Mom to emergency due to her first bout with high blood pressure. She will have to see her doctor when she returns home to California. I sure wish we didn't live so far apart.

The watercolor I sold was painted on Yupo paper. I wanted to approach my mermaid painting using a different technique for making the subject interesting to look at and fun to do. Since it was a big piece, I was able to play with some liquid mask so I could paint the piece more carefree and keep it fluid. Would I do it again? Well, I tend to see masking as more technical and not really painting, so chances are I will not use as much if I ever use it again.

I have sold a lot of mermaid paintings but they were mainly small format and no bigger than 6 inches. How impressed was I to realize a big one sold too! I was also aware that fish images are good luck so I think that gave it some mojo along with some symbols I added.

Last night our Netflix movie was "The Kite Runner". I've decided it was my #1 fave flick of my recent viewings (in fact I've even added a section on my side bar to show my top 5 recent faves). I've always been drawn to foreign films because I love not knowing getting an inkling about the plot. Also, I enjoy being exposed to different thoughts and culture. But this movie got me thinking that it was a good example of people being exactly where we need to be despite how bad or difficult the situation might seem. It reminds me of painting in oils and I'm just dabbing paints all over the place while someone who might be watching the piece in progress don't get the image at all. Oil painting has to go through ugly stage and you can't really appreciate the final piece until the very end. I guess the movie gave me hope that we just need to trust we are fine. The casting of Hassan, the good kid, was just perfect and he absolutely stole my heart!

I also saw "Mama Mia!" in fact I'm so happy I saw it with my Mom as she really enjoyed it :) The main thing I loved about it was Merryl Streep. She was on top of her game! GOSH I can't believe her energy and bottomless resources for talent!

Finally, for something erotic, I LOVED "Lust, Caution" Man oh man oh man oh man! Definitely food for the artist appetite I say!