Saturday, March 31, 2012

ombre in nature

adjective  ombré  shaded or graduated in tone: said of a color

I was literally holding my breath as I painted this. It was so delicate, so perfect. And I found only one! One small blossom growing in my yard. I wanted to capture the color and respond to the emotional fragility of the moment as best I could.

How to paint something that is brilliant yet nearly translucent?
What is this kind of flower? A Jonquil? or a Daffodil? Are they the same thing?

Friday, March 30, 2012

what I saw today

So delicate, it is disappearing even as I draw.
I am intending to make a watercolor painting of this little jonquil, (daffodil?narcissus?).
 I worry that I will destroy this fragile delicacy if I breath on it too much.
I scanned this line art just to preserve the immediate moment.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

commitment: lines with pen and ink

This is my favorite type of drawing. Ink, a simple nib pen, and contour line.  I love the visceral scratch and scritch of the ink nib on the paper. I love the moment when you must pause to dip the pen into the ink bottle and while you are dipping the pen you must think and make a decision where to place the pen next and what you want to describe and just how much or little in the next few strokes. And then your pen runs out of the little bit of ink and you must stop, dip again and decide what to leave out, and what to describe with an economy of line.
We did this type of line work in the life drawing class I attend this past week. I enjoyed the group of students and how beautifully their own drawings turned out.
When I was a student at The Art Center College, I spent weeks and months immersed in this technique. And I couldn't get enough then or now.

Drawing above is from Art Center student days, drawing below is from yesterday's life drawing class.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

drawing lines

It is all lines, just lovely lines.

Let the object draw the picture using the ink brush as a tool.
(Chinese saying) 

Pen and ink line drawing, part of a series of Joan of Arc poses from a model in a drawing class.


Remember, a line cannot exist alone; it always brings a companion along. Do remember that one line does nothing; it is only in relation to another that it creates a volume. (Henri Matisse)

Yesterday was "draw like Matisse day".

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lent is almost over

Anyone notice my changing blog headers? I have been enjoying a little fun with these. This header and the one I've had for the past month, are details from a painting titled "Lenten Lily"

One more week and we will be celebrating Palm Sunday. And then, a full week of worship services leading up to the Great Allelujah and Easter time.
I will be posting about our paintings that we are working on for the Vigil readings. Oh my, they are challenging, hard work, yet so satisfying.

Here we are, a team of artists, working on a Saturday morning, as we have been doing for the entire Lenten time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

can I use your art?

"E.T. has left a new comment on your post "and again,": 

"this is gorgeous! Can I use this on one of my cards? "

My reply: 
"No, E.T, You may Not use this on one of your cards. It is original work that belongs to the artist. And the artist is me.
Thank You for asking me!  But, I don't want to give you the permission as I need to sell my work myself to make my living. 
And thank you for looking and appreciating my work! That means a lot to me as an artist. "

Thursday, March 22, 2012

silly Spring

Spring has arrived more than a month early here in the Chicago area.

Daffodils are not only fully up, open and blooming like crazy but some are already withering because the sun has been too hot.
I painted this back in April of 2009. I would not have seen these blooming that year in early March as we are now. Something is not right in the season. It is Too Early.

Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!  ~Wallace Stevens         

These bluebells are up and opening buds! When I painted these in 2009, it was in April. Maybe towards the end of April, or even early May. Wait, little blue bells, wait, I will still enjoy you in May if you could only wait.

Do you see the date on this watercolor from 2009? April! These hyacinths have already been blooming for a week. Oh, but they smell heavenly.

These are the most intensely blue Scilla. They are all over the front yard, but again, too early. I always await these in the spring with much anticipation because I love this blue hue. They have shown up and bloomed before I had time to anticipate.
A white tulip from a year ago, almost blown open.
Azaleas are open too. And these are usually a flower we see in May for Mothers' Day. Six weeks too early, what is going on?

Primroses too, is it time to plant already?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

batik/glue art project part 3, in the classroom

Here we are in the classroom painting over and between the  dried glue lines. We had spent a day applying the gel glue over our design the week before, This is my second grade class here and their theme guessed it, Christmas. Every class had a different season or holiday theme.

After all the spaces and bits of design were painted, I took them home with me to dry and then to wash out the gel glue. I just put them in the washing machine with a little bit of laundry soap and warm water. The glue rinsed out perfectly and the colors stayed bright. We had used acrylic paint that was very watered down and I had added some fabric medium to help it flow well.

What a pretty sight! My neighbor had to call over to ask what project was hanging in the sun out on my deck.
They all came out beautifully.

Here is a bit of the fourth and fifth grade class table runner with the theme 4th of July.

And the third graders made a runner with Fall as the theme. Bare trees and branches from their own traced hands and arms and then lots of leaves painted all around.

The Upper school group made a runner for a Thanksgiving table and a set of Thankful themed napkins.
The first and kinder group made placemats for a spring theme. They traced their hands and then drew flowers sprouting from the fingertips.

Posted Part 1 about this project is here. And Part 2 is posted here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

the young Mozart

We recently attended a concert that featured the work of Mozart when he was only 16 years old. Even if this music had been composed by an older genius, it would still be amazing and sublime.

I drew all over my program while I listened.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

batik/glue art project part 2

Last Tuesday, I had all my art classes make table runners, napkins and placemats for our school auction. Each class had a theme. The Kinders and First graders made placemats with a springtime theme. I had them trace their little hands and then draw spring flowers growing out of each finger. All the lines were then traced with gel glue on light fabric. Tuesday of this coming week, we will paint in the designs using watered down acrylic paint. I will try to photograph the process and the finished product, but that is hard to do because I am running about all day when I am teaching.

Here is my sample project after I finished painting colors inside the glue lines.

And here is the finished fabric after I washed all the glue out. It just needs a backing piece sewn on and hemmed. Oh, and ironing, to heat set the colors and get out those wrinkles.

I added my name.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

my crazy art project

For the past weeks I have been going three dimensional with all my art classes. I am such a locked-in 2-D person myself that this is a challenge. It has been fun, but messy. I have almost all my classes, (but not the Kinder and 1st) doing paper-mache projects. We have two foot long Chinese dragons, the Nike of Samothrace, Egyptian pyramids, terracotta soldiers of China, statues of Athena, and more. Quite a sight when we walk into the art room.

Next week we will all begin a batik on fabric project. To prepare, I have been making a sample at home.
Lots of mess and "accidents" and questioning what will happen next? This is an unpredictable process.
I don't want to risk using hot wax technique with young children, so we are using a washable gel glue that has been recommended by art teachers I follow on their blogs.

I decided to make a table cover  using this design from a water color I made last fall.

I placed the sheer fabric on top of my watercolor and just traced lightly with a pencil over my outlines. I will figure out later if my pencil outlines are going to show in the final. Maybe that was my first mistake.

Then, I began to go over my design with the blue gel glue. Next step, wait for all the glue to dry. Speeding up the drying time with a blow dryer did not work, I had to wait overnight.

Next morning, I began to paint over the dried glue with a watered down acrylic wash. I found out that wherever I had not closed in a shape with the glue completely, the washes ran over like crazy. So I will have to figure out how to make the blue running into yellow areas come out to look like a planned event?

 I will show the final product but I have to let it all dry again. I need to apply more washes but I am worried about a lot of messy bleeding of my next colors, reds and oranges into the blue which will make a mud. So maybe more drying time and then some more drying time and the final washing out of the glue to see what we have.