Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo vs Life

"Maggie" 5x7 oil on clayboard

This month I've had the opportunity to paint from a photo that a dear friend had posted on his Facebook and I also was invited to a friend's home to paint from their property. Remember, by clicking on the image you will see a bigger version.

It was another hot day.  It seems we've been in 100-degree days for 3 weeks, maybe 4.  My friend Linda was house sitting her sister so I guess the opportunity inspired her to have a painting session with me.  I saw the figure in the garden and chose her for a model (they call her "Maggie").  Linda repositioned some potted plants around her.


Recently I've changed the way I start painting because I haven't liked the way I was drawing things. I was starting out too detailed and tight so my subjects end up being too solid for my preference.  Without thinking too hard about it I began painting in silhouettes to place my subjects.  Then...if I may be bold to claim, I try to connect with with the soul of the subject (there I said it yikes!).  I don't know, for some reason this puts me in a good place.  This stage is the left one above. 

We hoped we'd be shaded for the session but we got started a bit late so by noon, we were in full sun.  I got as far as the image on the right and we hurriedly packed our gear. When I got home, I decided I really should try and refine her immediately while the necessary information was still with me.  The result is the first image at the very top.  I didn't want to give it a super finished look, I wanted to preserve the plein air feel.

"Treat Lily" 12x12 oil on cradled panel

Most of my paintings are from photos because the scenes I would be wanting to paint tend to not be accessible to wheelchairs.  And when I paint portraits... well it just always seem more convenient to paint from photographs so I can pursue it on my own time - anytime.  I do prefer taking my own photos in both cases when situations allow.

Next set was a gift to our dear friend John who was ordained into priesthood.  I chose to paint from the picture of a lily that he took and posted on his Facebook.  I figured, he was drawn to the flower that's why he took the picture.  Facebook resizes photgraphs which lowers resolution but I proceeded with a prayer! :)

I was at the stage of the 2nd image when I remembered my double vision condition makes it a big challenge to paint flower petals or anything that's repetitive with similar shapes and in varied positions.  And on top of that, my memory bank is convinced that white flowers are hard to paint.  It was my will to be able to gift this piece to a very dear friend that allowed me to finish it and for that, I'm very thankful.  My husband Scott and I were so honored to have witnessed a special ceremony.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Well Oiled Wheels are Life Supporters

First of all I'd like to say THANK YOU and express my apologies for not responding to the kind people who emailed me and posted on my previous blog post.  Sometimes it takes all my focus and energy to get back on track so I end up not having enough left to do extra things.  But please believe me when I say your kind interests and love and effort you took to spare me the time was gratefully relished and helped me in my weak times. :)  Reminding you that you can click on each image to see bigger version.

My basic training, as far as how to manage my art career, is to tap on opportunities.  I have found that even though the tapping didn't seem to yield anything, the benefits tend to confirm on a later date and usually at a very needed moment that I made a difference.  Perhaps this was the result of the lovely article above, written and photographed by Cassi Lapp of the Weekly Vista, a local paper.  I must say it is one of few very ACCURATE writing I've ever been a subject of!  When I get requests for an interview, I go through a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  Happy, Excited, Honored, Thrilled upon being recognized to a Cringe, Hold my Breath and Brace for the misconstrued, and condescending, cornball or absolutely doesn't makes sense construction of a newspaper article.  I once was interviewed and the article sadly made me sound like I was criticizing the gallery and gallery director that was hosting a show for me - OH MY GOD!  It was one of those "Big California Earthquake please swallow me up right now" moment!  Not so in this case and I am now more seasoned in anticipating how a reporter would write so I had no worries about Cassi's article.  I was excited about what she might highlight.  As it turns out, Cassi highlighted ME :)  Thank you thank you Cassi Lapp!

The day of the interview, Cassi kindly helped me deliver my new paintings to the gallery which is officially called MaJesty Republic run by Terry C Semler.  And since the interview took place in mid-May, I have since left the other two galleries mentioned.  Part of my recovery to feeling better was to simplify my days.  I'm so glad the other galleries were supportive and understanding.

Now that I seem to be feeling better these days, I have been catching up on some painting and having some successful days and some not - but each attempt is never a waste as they are all learning moments!  As side note, the mold that was lurking in our master bathroom might have been contributing to me being sick because now that my hero husband has eliminated the mold, the air seems so much cleaner and my eyes are not constantly burning *big smile*.

A couple days ago I had my dear artist friend Linda over because she expressed to me that she wanted to paint the lean-to structure in our property.  I had recently painted it en plein air in oils on this 5x7 panel.  It was another 100° day we've been having.  But I had recently gathered most of my oil supplies together so I wanted to just paint!  So glad it was a successful session :)

Anyway, I think the day Linda came over went up below 90°.  Our property still has too much construction clutter and so I wasn't crazy about painting any of them or the lean-to again.  So I focused on Linda :)  She is so paintable and a wonderful model.  I've painted her before and I'm sure I will paint her again and again. I am always in awe of artists like Winslow Homer who painted figures in full action so this was a good chance for similar. Here are pictures of my session.  She didn't know I was painting her until it was done.  I'm so glad I was far enough from her to get away with it.  Then,after I painted, I was surprised I was able to paint her because she was kinda far away hahaha  She loved her painting :)

I started out blocking her in, in case I changed my mind what I wanted to paint.  Well by the time I put her silhouette on there, I knew I would go ahead and stick with the composition.

"Linda Plein-airing" oil on 5"x5" wood panel

Happy Friday the 13th until next time! :)