Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're On Our Way: Painting, Partying, Planning

The holiday rush is on. I don't know about you, but I'm stressed, and I don't really have any big commitments for Christmas. However, there is something about this time of year that, at first, inspires curmudgeon behavior. Then, about two weeks or less before Christmas, I just want everyone to have a prezzie. 

Here is a portrait that I am working on (22" x 28," oil on canvas). I've been layering, starting over, re-doing sections for a few weeks now. My boy is going to be home tomorrow night after a very long and difficult semester away at college. He'll probably still have snow in his hair when he arrives. I know he'll be tired. I am going to be distracted for a few days. I may not be online for awhile.

Even though I'm not finished with this portrait, I wanted to post my process. The grand finale will come later...Oh, it would be nice if it could be finished before the end of the year. We'll see. I've got gifts for you, my online artist bloggers. The following links are for art submissions. I believe they are all legitimate. I know that I am hoping to submit work to at least one of these opportunities. Here they are: Emerge Manifest Gallery in Ohio Santa Cruz Art League San Diego Art Institute of the Living Artist Slow Art Los Angeles Printmaking Society Art interview online magazine MOTA Let me know, won't you, if any of these are ones you find interesting, or if you apply and get accepted? Best wishes to all!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Into the Wilderness--Plein Air, Sans Weapons

I'm shifting slightly toward another direction this week (I've got a portrait that is developing adequately, but I'm not ready to post it yet.) More on that soon. 

We took a short day trip down Sonoita way (45 miles southeast of Tucson) on Friday. Just before the Border Patrol Checkpoint (have you got your papers in order?), we turned off onto a small, bumpy road and headed west. There was another road about three miles later that led off to some hidden hills. We took this washboard dirt road, but became intimidated by the sign that warned travelers that drug smuggling and illegal immigration could be encountered in the area. 

We decided to park under the sign and set up our pochades. Was it quiet? Sort of...except for the single engine airplane (drug smugglers or law enforcement?), the friendly group of off roaders with the ATV and the man with his two huntin' dogs with subsequent shooting. Yes, it was mostly quiet. We brought along our German Shepherd, Loki, and his fluffy companion, Katie, for moral support, ahem, safety. I wondered out loud, again, about the laws concerning concealed weaponry. Actually, I could be heard blurting, Whars mah gun?! We looked at Loki and smiled, deciding that he's always loaded. It was bright and sunny, too. This hill, with its minimalist shape and few bushes intrigued me. I usually make different choices. Mr. artyfice set up across the washboard looking west. The dogs, watered and fed, lounged in the vehicle, at the ready, eyes attentive on the surroundings. As I painted, I asked myself how would Jeffrey Boron paint this? And, what approach would Silvina take? I really like how each of these artists use their brushstrokes and textured paint. Another great reason to visit artists' blogs. I'm still exploring this style. As we passed the Border Patrol officer on the way home, she smiled and waved us through.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude, Thankfulness, Best Wishes

Made a fire, grabbed the Sunday NY Times, and sat down outside in front of the chimenea. It's so nice to have a sit. Should I feel guilty about that man over there who's raking the yard?! 

Another moment of clarity, this time with a note of peace and gratitude. My boy flew in and shared good food, good times and a couple of walks around the neighborhood. It's been a long semester and now the next few weeks promise that the Christmas holiday is near--more time to listen and share stories from the East and the West. 

 Did you have family gatherings that you will now cherish as your loved ones return to the demands of work? Perhaps you'll write some of your best memories in a journal, perhaps images will come to mind that you'll paint about later. This reminds me of genealogy research. There are significant dates in every history, but those that include stories (silly or serious) and images (photos, drawings, paintings) make a history worth remembering. 

I continue to be thankful to all who visit here. I'm especially grateful when you comment and when you teach me new things. It gives me joy to know that there are kind hearts out there painting and overcoming all the trivia that seeks to keep art from existing. But, of course, we all know that that is impossible. We are unstoppable! With best wishes--m --

Here sits a visitation of joy, captured by a flickering light 
Easing the cry of a world yearning to rest 
Just for a moment 
This is my gratified wish 
To be present in this warm light 
Not far away 
Where I am of no use 
mse ©2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unusual but True: On Being Art 'Tagged'

From the truth window: This really made my day. Barbara of Barbara Paints tagged me yesterday. What a delight. I had been a bit discouraged this week...with the usual questions, you know, "Shouldn't I get a real job?" "Who am I kidding?" and "There are so many skilled, expressive, and talented artists, who needs to hear from me anyway?" Then, I had a deadline--make mailart for Ell and send it off with a food package before the post office closed, and, after creating a piece in two hours that I liked. 

I felt that it is worthwhile to make the art I do, that I'm like the bird who builds a nest, gets it blown over, and builds again. It's what I do. To have a talented artist tag me...well, it was more than swell. I am extremely grateful to everyone who visits and offers comments and camaraderie. You have no idea how meaningful it is to me, but, I will hazard a guess that you, too, find the art community to be as essential as water. I drink from this well feeling refreshed and renewed. I will continue to offer a cool drink in the summertime, and a warm cup of tea in the coldness to any who wander through, seeking art medicine from a fellow traveler. These are the rules for being tagged. You need to:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you. 
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself. 
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know. 

Here are some truths about me that some may find unusual:
1. I knew a "Russian prince": 
When I was a kid, my folks were friends with a man (Alexis Badmaieff) who had been smuggled into France during the Russian Revolution. He wanted to become a doctor, but, instead, became an engineer. He operated on my foot after a run-in with a sharp shell on Santa Catalina Island in southern California. He drank a glass of vodka every day with a raw egg in it. He died in his mid 50s... I later found out that, in fact, his father (Dr. Alexei Badmaieff) was friends with Rasputin and not a Russian prince. (I continue to research him)
2. Almost became a professional actress: 
I started performing at a young age. In high school, I was nominated best actress in AZ during a theatre competition. I was subsequently offered a full scholarship to NAU as well as a small role in a movie being filmed in Texas. I turned these offers down, believing I wasn't good enough. 

3. Thought I'd become a classical pianist: 
While I started out playing folk guitar in my teens, I really wanted to play classical piano (or play lead guitar in a rock band). I studied with a woman whose instructor studied with Rachmaninoff. I used to play an impressive Prelude in C# Minor, but my teacher said my wrists were too weak for a professional career. After a traumatic brain injury in 1997, I could no longer play anything on the piano, but my guitar playing is coming back and my artwork is much improved! 

4. Art found me when I was in my mid-twenties: There was a lot of tragedy connected to my early adulthood. I wandered around lost until a week of intense grieving produced two words that seemed to come to me from God--like lightning--STAINED GLASS! They were powerful words. With only $60 dollars to my name, I set out to teach myself to work in glass. I returned to Tucson with six crooked pieces and lots of confidence. I landed a job and began designing windows. As a 'commission only' artist, I made $15 my first two weeks, but four years later, I had completed two large restaurant commissions totalling over 200 square feet between the two. It was then that I felt the need to get some proper schooling in art and I later earned an associate's degree at our local community college. 

5. I cleaned the pools of the wealthy: After graduating from college, I got a job cleaning pools. I felt very lucky to spend my days cleaning and swimming in pools at million dollar properties while the owners slaved away in order to pay the bills. I made enough to work part time to buy an MGB Roadster (which I loved working on and pretending to race), and to work on art the rest of the day. 

6. I held a tarantula in my hand: When my boy was in the fourth grade, the teacher had a contest in which the student who brought in the most crickets would win the class tarantula. Most people are afraid of spiders. However, I had a serious phobia. I couldn't even look at photos of them in magazines. But, you know, it was my opportunity to overcome this fear and teach my son about changing one's mind. I made lots of artwork from our Molly Francesca Gomezina. We had the very special gift of observing her molt. She'd come to us with one leg missing (a common thing), but after her molt, she had eight new legs. 

7. I married a man ten years younger than me: After community college, I organized drawing sessions in my home. One of our models became my roommate and asked to invite her friend from school. We married two years later. I always feel ten years younger. I think he mostly feels ten years older...I am grateful that he provided the safest, most nurturing environment in which to raise our son, and for me to finish my BFA in 2004. I couldn't have done it without him and my son tutoring me in math and other subjects. It's been an amazing journey so far! 

Please visit the following artists who inspire me and give gifts of beauty, insight and wisdom to so many: Karen Silvina Loriann David Jeffrey Martha What a challenge to limit tagging to only six or seven. I hope to do this again sometime. Thank you, all, for being so generous and supportive of me and your other fans!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Mexico Light

Although the painting currently on my easel is a portrait, here's a small painting (5" x 7") that I finished about a week ago. I reworked this puppy several times and am okay with it now. Funny how a small painting can almost break your resolve to see it through. Life is just so much better this week, yes?!

Wishing every artist a new start.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Keep Painting

Make art because you love it. Paint because you must. Don't worry about rejection. It doesn't have anything to do at all with that moment...that moment when you smile, calmly satisfied, after struggling with hue, composition, contrast. Not a thing. One of my favorite artists, Grace Hartigan, said, "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers---only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." I got an email notice today from the National Portrait Gallery that my submission was rejected. I had submitted the self portrait that can be seen further down the page (She Learned Obedience Suffering). It was good participating and I'm looking forward to seeing the paintings that were chosen. It's a wonderful exhibit. Thank you to those who viewed my selections and gave me really good feedback. I might even try again next year. Les Brown wrote, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." Journaling last night, I finally finished a small study of a place near San Simon, Arizona and Lordsburg, New Mexico. I snapped this photo while traveling to Silver City, New Mexico this last spring. The little bushes were so interesting. Easy to pass by at 85 miles an hour and not take any notice. But, being a shutterbug, I'll snap photos through the car window without even looking through the lens, just to see what I catch. This is another Caran d'Ache, but this one is on watercolor paper. (8 1/4" x 5 1/2") An exciting day tomorrow. I hope to work in the studio but may be too darn distracted. Wishing all artists a calm day. One last quote that causes a chuckle each time I read it..."Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven't tried before."--Mae West.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Strawbale night study

Years ago, we here at home in Tucson, got a wild and crazy idea to add on a room to our house by in-filling the patio, 18' x 18,' with straw bale walls. Of course we had to do most of the work ourselves. Of course we weren't qualified. Of course it took at least three years longer than we'd planned. Of course, technically, it's not completed in the interior closet area. However, it is a glorious room and we humbly pat ourselves on our backs for having got this far...and for surviving. Even the little pony wall on the porch hasn't been painted yet. This view is so comforting and inviting that I love to go outside and stand in front of my studio and stare at the lighting, the strong, thick walls, the beautiful solid wood door with the lovely flagstone on the porch. Inspired by Silvina's Blog and her gorgeous nocturne, I set to work on this little study. It is 5" x 7," on gessoed panel.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Journal: Cyclamen and the Mud House

Pensive, looking for signs, seeing light in a cloud of darkness:
Write something cheerful. Draw something kind--
of friendly
of real
kind of
hopeful and reminiscent of Ginsberg's
wandering in
"A Supermarket in California"
"...Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour..Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love
past blue automobiles...home to our silent cottage?"
wandering in
to this house made of mud seeking the key to flags of peace flags of reconciliation amidst a country struggling to remain whole.
A cyclamen sitting patiently
waiting out the cycle of human discourse dissent disagreement
voting that come spring there are more leaves more blooms fresh soil
food for the soul good dirt for insulation against the cold imaginings of
unkind of hearts
--mse 10/17/08

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Walk, A Gathering, A Cup of Desert

What do you do when the economy is tanking, fuel is too expensive for traveling and politics resemble a mangled car wreck from which you find observing it too difficult to turn away? Take a bucket and a pair of tongs, wander over to the nearest prickly pear patch in the evening sun, harvest some fruit (tunas) as the ancestors, the Tohono O'odham, did long ago. Put them in a pot, boil them into a softer mixture, mash them until they release their dioxazine purple/permanent rose-like liquid. Add lots of mesquite honey and some lemon juice. Have a small cup of desert.
The Moleskine journal paper seems to be the most ideal surface for Caran d'Ache that I have found. I'm really enjoying the way the water soluble crayons hug the paper, producing a soft, blended, painterly like surface. Image: 4 1/2" x 6 1/2," on moleskine paper

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landscape du Jour and Dream of the Blues

A quick study showing process. J. H. Thomas has an interesting approach on landscape painting that fascinated me. My response was to take a 5" x 7" canvas panel and try his method. I'm not sure if the painting is done, but I'd like to think so. I started with a thick covering of cerulean blue and titanium white, followed with the major shape of the mesa with indian red. Later, I added the mixture of alizarin crimson, french ultramarine, etc., for contrasts. I did use a palette knife and brushes. I miss playing my guitar lately. "The Marshall is supposed to be 200 watts, but mine's never worked right; it peaks out at 80."--Stevie Ray Vaughan Yeah. This is how I feel. My amp is an old Legend...but, when it works right...80 watts is enough.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In another life...

Take a day off. Go have some tea. Think about clouds, next painting, next mailart, next days. From San Xavier Mission on the Tohono O'odham Reservation, a small pastel on canvas, (5" x 7"): From the Ettan Press, a monotype (22" x 17") with gold paint:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Art as Metaphor

We all know this, art is metaphor, but we still have strong preferences for the way in which that metaphor is painted. I'm eager to see the film Silvina has posted on her blog and thought of some of the ways I've painted portraits in the past. David's blog has some wonderful portraits in watercolor and acrylic that then led me to Barbara Paints with more fabulous portraits. If we constrain ourselves to one genre, or 'ism', we do so out of choice today. That is the positive side of Post Modernism. What we often call 'ugly art' may send us running, but it really provides a broader base from which all artists can work. Here are the three paintings I've got for this musing. The first is my attempt at photo realism of our family friend of long ago: 36" x 36," oil on canvas. The second is a looser, more impressionistic portrait of Mr. Arty Fice himself, also from a few years back: 24" x 36," oil on canvas. The third is a self portrait (I don't really look like this, except in the morning). This is a narrative piece about the day I was biking with my dog. He bolted, his leash wrapped around a mailbox and I went flying. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that rendered me dog-like for quite some time--couldn't write, couldn't read, couldn't speak well (only in telegraphic sentences, as they call them). Are these valid paintings? Is one better than another?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ironing with Ray and Women at Work

I am so inspired by the community of artists blogging and want to add my own comment with a mailart piece. It was because of Lisa at onpainting that I thought this mailart would fit in with the current discussion on women in the arts.

The text for this piece:
Here are some symbols for you to ponder in a way that will stimulate emotional filtration. The joy of ironing provides a moment to consider the ironies of life. Irony being: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. We see this in calling war, peace, etc.. So, I was ironing with Ray the other day thinking about the pressing issues that face us all in this new century, remembering how far women have not got...I'm still ironing. Waiting for God to show..Loving the few moments I have for art, the smell of clean laundry and the fresh ink from my press. Press...Pressure to keep up~cold press~hot press~Permanent Press~~Never needs ironing--but enjoying the irony, especially sardonic irony from political comedians. Then I thought about~~~missing you~~and~~~I became upside down and a sad iron~

So, I feel like Mrs. Pott's~~old, wondering if I can finish all my work and keep in touch with you. I'll ask then.....Is she also thinking about painting or pressing...Press: Ettan Press Co.~~What are your pressing issues???

Trying to iron out the wrinkles becomes a sculpture, an abstract that seems, or is like the perfect French seam, an elegant line like a woman's breast or delicate line like the rolled-like hem that is the butterfly's body beneath its winged fabric. Let us seek the gathering of spiritual, artistic and optimistic community, not in the pocket of the cruel, not merely basted in, but toward a clean finish that always supports directional stitching.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Traveling with the Tablets

Years ago, I wrote a short poem for some exchange students from France: Here it is:
O the encounters of brave travelers-- 
Teenagers flying above the clouds bouncing toward futures 
Ricocheting with the shots of good fortune and
Blessings of strangers/angels in Cowboy's grinning hats slinging rays of sunlight 
or smoothing moonlit nights of softened light 
Night of Tucson chirps 
despite the howl 
Of dogs of war--and clich├ęd wanton greed--lassoing 
The world out of linguistic conversations of hope and Sanity 
Cuidado jumping cholla 
Cuidado ricocheted words 
Cuidado and Vaya con Dios muchachos 
Cuidado et bon voyage 
© Melinda S. Esparza 

As my college student returns to his school so very far away, I recall the mailart tablets I made and sent to him this year. These took much longer to make. I wanted him to have before him a reminder of the most important things. The painter, Fritz Scholder, once said that we kept the Tablets, but lost the Ark...But, I think we carry both within. What do you think?

Friday, August 29, 2008

It Rained in the Desert Today

We dance, we sing, we rejoice when it rains in the Southwest. This letter, written in November of 2007, was about a day when it rained here, but I still had to water the plants with a hose. The text: Sunkist, burnt to a crisp...It rained in the desert today. The ground began to gather in small circles as droplets struck its roof. The rain could not soak in very far, because the celebration was short. As dirt met heat, the dance burned away water as birds watched and quail waited patiently in creosote ancestors. It said, "I could be a rainmaker and this gave me joy! I waved my arms holding the water's source, drinking in the smells of earth and green. Then, sky looked down and called clouds to gather like the pebbles on earth--coolness moved in to see what all the talk was about.....If there are snow flurries to the east, surely we can share our bounty here in the west. In sharing, we free up space to be replenished. O Earth. O Sky. Let Go!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mail Art and Letters to Ell

What do you do when the passage of time abruptly interferes with your routine and your child, once the toddler, now takes off for university? You write letters.

But, as an artist mom, it's a lot more fun to make sermonettes more palatable by making art out of them.

This week, last week of summer vacation, is about preparing for an empty nest again. I don't like it.

I wouldn't have it any other way:

In the company of angels
In a complex world
I think of what it is--
To be a simple kind of man
To be a simple kind of woman
Arcing a lifespan
Resorting to good--
Making courage jump from a pool of fear
Making gratitude sing from a selfish mouth
Graphing a perimeter > (greater than) a stony heart

Staying on target

IHOP toward my landscape

oK Ma rt!

A new GAP

Sears my gray and we UTurn

That will be our Gold Bond
(Then we get a bickie)
M. S. E. (Jan. 2008)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tobacco Sphinx and Datura

In the studio, I've got five little paintings and one medium sized one in the works. Until I can say they're finished, I've got the following: Two more journal studies--one Tobacco Sphinx moth and a Datura drawing I made sitting out when it wasn't blistering hot. 4" x 5," on paper.
Definitely feeling the dog days of summer and looking forward to cooler temperatures. What's the weather like where you are? Does it affect your artwork...the subjects, the number of paintings you make?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Helper Dogs and What's on the Easel Today

It's really great to see inside the studios of other artists. Thought I'd share one view of my humble studio. I'm lucky to have two good dogs offering support today as I revisit a painting of San Felipe de Neri, Albuquerque, NM. This painting has been languishing for awhile and I just can't stands it n 'more! Must finish it up. It adds a little variety on the blog and reminds me that missing New Mexico is an ongoing feeling. The press waits quietly to the left, knowing that the monotype I made the other day is just the beginning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to Landscape Studies...for now

Working on three pieces in one day? I don't recommend it! Makes you crazy with paint fumes and you can drive yourself so far that your body says, "Hey. You're not taking care of yourself!" Here are two of those studies. I'm liking these two subjects. They provide some dramatic lighting as I try to learn how to transfer impressions into paint. This is proving more challenging than I had thought. I wish I could travel more. Wish I had more energy. I'd paint twelve hours a day. 6" x 8" and 5" x 7" oil on panels. The second one is available on eBay. Oh, but the critical mind is very, very tough. Reminds me that the more one paints, the quieter that left brain criticism becomes. Yet, even a few days away can limit creativity!
A question from Writing About Art, "Who creates 'meaning'--artist or viewer?" Roy Lichtenstein is quoted as saying, "I wouldn't believe anything I tell you." Today, I will consider this to be my left brain's cautionary note...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another journal study while getting sleepy...

A photo of our trip a couple of years ago to Los Alamos has been wandering around, on the floor, picked up, on top of the dog crate and on the nightstand. Okay, while journaling before sleep, why not Caran d'Ache the darn thing?

The crayons were starting to build up and would not allow any more layers, so I started scratching into them with my fingernails. I like this effect.

Still musing about which image to submit to the portrait competition. Go ahead. Tell me what you think. It's okay if one is preferred over another. I'm inviting criticism! I'm thinking that portrait #1 is probably the one I should send in.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Portrait #3

This is a painting I made from a 1920s photo of my grandparents' wedding day. I thought this pose looked a bit like the painting, American Gothic. They really were standing out in the middle of a field in Texas that day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Portrait #2

Little King of Everything
And...another self portrait. When I was a little girl living in California, my mother, war bride from London, made a Queen of England Halloween costume for me. I was very proud of it. As I grew older, I realized that the boys seemed to be treated with more respect and privilege. This was very disconcerting and I became a tomboy in response. A few years ago, I did a bunch of genealogy research and learned that my family is both British and Native American, plus the usual mixture! (We're talking Heinz 57!) This painting is a commentary on my genetic history and how I feel sometimes as a woman. I was always green with envy that my older brother got to go places and do things I could not...Please scroll down for the first portrait.

Warning: Landscape Intermission

She Learned Obedience Suffering. Here is the first portrait I am thinking of submitting to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's portrait competition. Yes, I know. It is a radical break from the entire flow of previous posts. However, I really want to submit something. Only one submission per artist is allowed, and I can't make up my mind. I do have a super real painting I could offer, but psychological themes are more my thing. This is a self portrait, a self narrative, that refers to the way I felt after a traumatic brain injury years ago. Life became so simple for a long while, like a dog's life. I read a scripture once that said, must paraphrase here, Jesus learned obedience through suffering. This was a puzzlement. Why would he have to learn obedience? Was it his humanity that needed the lesson? What about the rest of us? Having a tragedy, or even many for that matter, is a brutal way to learn discipline, humility...any number of things. I don't have the answer. I do know that we sometimes receive comfort, sometimes clues and there often seems to be an angel or two to guide us forward. National Portrait Gallery

Friday, July 25, 2008

Windy Point Revised and Revised Again

Something bothered me about this Windy Point study. For one thing, I didn't think the composition was strong enough. But, it has been so helpful working out paint issues that I have added manzanita and touched up other areas. It won't make it into any catalogues any time soon, but, well...that's not the point. Catalogues are for another day. I'll continue to work on it a little.

The following painting is now available on ebay! It's my first offering and I hope you'll visit.

This got me to thinking about another painting I did before my recent study of landscape painting. Here's a painting I did from a photo of the hills south of Sonoita and on the way to Patagonia. I opened the photo in Photoshop and set up my pochade in the relative comfort and light of the computer screen.
Feeling a bit ambiguous today. There is a big deadline that is nagging at me, too. I've got three portraits that I'm considering for submission. I'll post them and see if I get any votes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Windy Point, Mount Lemmon

Spurred to post after a weekend and one sleepless night, I've got a study of Windy Point on Mount Lemmon. I think I need to go back into this and finish the right foreground by adding in some manzanita. The first hour was pretty rough going and I almost tossed this. But, using a palette knife, I put down a bunch of paint and that seemed to clear the way to go forward. I learned a lot from this process. I used a fairly limited palette and went back in today adding some glazing. The lookout from Windy Point is spectacular during the monsoon season. This day delivered some exceptional colors and light. The crowds were polite, the dogs obedient, but the public restrooms reminded us occasional wafts of our humanity...

Friday, July 18, 2008

And...I'm done

I found a couple of other landscape artists on the internet that also have been moved to paint the Sonoita area: Herb Wood; Roderica Tilley, watercolorist; I wonder how many there are.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sonoita oil study

Robert Henri said, "Don't worry about your originality. You could not get rid of it even if you wanted to," from The Artist's Mentor.
This study was a lot of fun. I had a 5" x 7" panel with a red ground on it. This is the same view as the other studies except this one is worked with Artisan water mixable oils. The question I ask myself a lot is why paint and why paint a particular scene?
Sometimes it's because the shapes and angles are just right. Sometimes there is a personal connection or the weather is so phenomenal that it is inviting. This series contains all of the above as well as a desire to learn from the materials. Well then, sometimes I'm avoiding that monster canvas, 5 x 4 feet, of the Grand Canyon I've not worked on in a month.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sonoita and Oracle Studies

Here's a quote that I think of often. It probably is the way most artists feel: "I worked in between carpools and buying food and cooking and whatever else I had to do. I lived an outside life, but really I was living an inside life." --Anne Truitt from The Artist's Mentor.
Caran d'Ache water soluble crayons are quite the challenge. I think I'll go back to working in oil for awhile. I've got two more studies today. I started by thinking that I'd try to work with the crayons like a watercolor, but that didn't work. Maybe it was the w.c. paper. Maybe, if I'd wanted watercolor, I should have gone ahead and used watercolor! Included in this set, is a study of the Oracle view of Mt. Lemmon that I did a month ago. Comparing it to the Sonoita Hill study I made today, there really is a different approach. Caran d'Ache is very tricky indeed. Approximately 5" x 6"

Monday, July 14, 2008

self portrait study

I received a DVD about Fritz Scholder's life and work. I thought it would be a good time to do a self portrait. I took some photos and then did two studies from those with Caran d'Ache. I don't really like either one, but felt that it would be a useful and humbling experience.

Oh, yeah, it's that. Yikes, they are the most difficult. There is a likeness, but this isn't the way I paint. It's very strange. I think I'll have to try one in oil next. One of Fritz Scholder's self portraits was an outline of his hair and just a nearly flat surface of one hue for his face. I see why.