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A 501-(c)3 non profit, all funds go to artist members. I had a successful campaign here for a project I designed. Read about it here: http://axully.com/repetition-with-variations/
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Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm DONE!

Erika and I had a doubledogdare with her unmentionable commission she has been working on for more than a year...and my new website design for Leslie B. DeMille.

Since hers is 'unmentionable' and mine is not, I can show you mine.

http://www.lesliebdemille.com

I fixed the issue I had with a phantom purple color that was just gross. Don't know WHERE it came from. Got that fixed, and the type face changes with links visited...needs to be fixed, except at least it is not PURPLE!

Still missing a few things, like captions and names for paintings...and updating his workshop page...and probably a hundred other things...but it is close enough to rescue him from hostage with an $85 a month fee for 'hosting'. I got him a new hosting plan for $9.95 a month that will probably do for a l-o-n-g time.

I'm a bit proud of this because it is totally designed and programmed by ME...using a template would have been MUCH easier, but the challenge of doing a design just for him was fun. A template would have been much easier and quicker, but not as 'creative'.

Been doing web design for at least 10 years...which basically means nothing because it all changes every day. What I was used to is passé. Every software upgrade requires a new learning curve. The web consortium (now that is a big word) changes what a designer can do all the time. Being in my 'left brain' is fun, for awhile. Urania (Christy Tarbet ) tells me I could have a good business teaching 'how to market for artists'. Sounds an awful lot of work. away from painting.

Tim tells me I need to paint more. Erika and I talk about how to position ourselves for whatever brick/mortar gallery business there is for us...and how to utilize the web for art sales. Dustie and I talked about domain names...she has had several successful ventures in the world of 'free clipart and google ad clicks'. We talked a long while about internet marketing and generally agree that it is the most viable way for an artist to create a 'following' that will drive gallery and website sales. (ps: she encouraged me to develop my own free clip art site here ). That project got me away from painting for at least 4 months last winter...:) BUT, I did reserve a new domain name today, http://www.vickirossart.com. Don't go there yet, it is not linked to anything yet.

However, what I learned with programming for the Paypal connection will definitely come in handy for what is next.

marketing/painting/marketing/painting...chicken and the egg? Or is it simultaneous? I can't answer that question, after 25 years in advertising and marketing. I sure can't seem to fluff up my 'stuff'.

Maybe 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

#7 is done and revisiting a favorite painting subject

Whew. made it through xmas #7. They do get easier, tho.
Back to the real world today. Finished Mr. Les' (DeMille) website...or at least enough to get it live. BIG milestone. Erika and I had a doubledogdare with her unmentionable commission and this website...both determined to finish this week...she finished hers yesterday!
In Dec, 2002, our good friends Chuck and Maureen 'kidnapped' us and insisted we join them on a trip to Cape Town, South Africa. They figured if we were on the other side of the world, the 1 year anniversary of the fire and loss of Sarah would pass a little under the radar...because of the time zones.

I insisted on having my very own digital camera...Randy kept wanting to take photos for me, but I wanted to learn how to do my own source photos for painting. Had only dabbled with painting for a few months...knew nothing about that OR cameras!

SO, when I got this beautiful flower ALL BY ME, it has always brought a smile to my face...I was so excited when the colors and focus were there. Of course, composition wasn't great, but I'm just sayin'!

Determined then, as now, to become as good an artist as I can be...I spent HOURS looking for watercolor en plein air gear. In November 2002 there was not much available. Finally found a Winsor-Newton mini-kit with pans of w/c paint and a bitty brush. Of course, it did not make it in time...so I made my own. The pigments in that kit are still as fresh as the day I put them in! Went to Hobby Lobby and bought empty paint pots, the ones on a plastic strips with a locking cap. Filled each one with pigment. Added a small tupperware bowl, reusable paper towel, sponge, pencil, eraser, and brushes.

Now, (OF COURSE), my gear is much more intricate...my brass watercolor palette, ala Charles Reid, was custom made and has my initials on the outside cut out of brass and soldered on. The interior is enamelled. Do I paint better? No. But LOOKING like a real artist is half the battle.

Here is an on location study I did.

Watercolors are so difficult to photograph. the paper always ends up looking dirty.

I did a larger version a year or so after the trip, when I had been learning more about how to do this new 'hobby' of mine.

This is the result...in the collection of Kim Zlevor of Wisconsin.

In 2005 or so, I started dabbling in pastels. Love at first sight! Not as problematic as watercolors, but you still have to frame under glass...and worry about pastel particles showing on the glass.

Guess I'll never get tired of painting this flower. Maybe some day I'll get tired of it. Maybe not. It was my first photo. It is interesting to see how it looks from watercolor to pastel, and now in oil.

The pastel painting disappeared in the move, and I couldn't believe I didn't have a photo of it before it was framed! So after extensive search of my computer and all archives, I gave up on that and decided to find the painting.

THAT caused another series of events yesterday. I'm a bit obsessive/compulsive and when I get something on my mind, I dream about it. Josh and I had packed all the framed paintings in my gallery carefully in boxes. There were a few big ones that wouldn't fit our boxes...so they were hand carried and moved to the new house. The ones I moved are carefully stacked in my garage...out of harms way until we get our hanging system installed.

The ones Josh and I packed were in boxes stacked 3 and 4 high in the future studio (the floored attic just off the family room upstairs. It was 70 degrees yesterday, so I thought it a good day to see if I could find the painting AND empty a few boxes. NOPE, no painting. Went through the ones in my garage twice, Nope.

Finally resigned myself to the fact that the last paintings to leave the old house were the first things in the big garage...and a trailer load of stuff 'n junk piled all around them. Today I found a way to make a path to that stack of paintings AND Voilå! There is was, and I could finish this blog entry.

Pardon the reflections...

Thought I was kidding, didn't you?

 
Since I've become enamored with oil, guess what I just had to try...YOU GUESSED IT! My Cape Town flower...

 
Whew. This blog took a bunch of effort. I'm now off to work on my portrait challenge from Different Strokes from Different Folks. Erika Nelson talked me into joining this merry band of artists. I'm looking forward to it.

Vicki

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Just for FUN

One of my favorite blogs here had a link to do a questionnaire that will result in your Tarot card. The cards are beautiful, and the outcome feels correct!

So you can now refer to me as 'Empress' instead of 'Princess'. lol! Now I command the world to make me a famous (selling) artist!

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.
The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.
The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Thoughts, New Paintings

I am NOT going to apologize to the world that I haven't posted in awhile. Could have. Didn't. I like to have some new photos to go along with the boring word stuff...and didn't have any.

We skipped a week at Tim's , so I had 2 paintings drying at his studio (for safety). I don't know where my 'home studio' time went. Except we are completely out of the big house, and this one looks like white trash lives here! Will get it put away soon. Still having workers here with electrical, plumbing, etc. Glad to have them here...just finishing all the little things that a new home has to have (as in, it is kinda nice when all the commodes work correctly).

I'm still enjoying having Tim challenge me with what I want to paint in class. 3 weeks ago he blew me away with a roll of paper towels. Shoot, that was going to be a walk in the park with a bucket of chicken...bring it on, big guy! Huh. Ok. Thas' right. huh. huh. Boy, was I way wr-wrong! hardest thing I think I've ever tried yet! The roll picked up golden tones from the easel, and red tones from a flower pot.

We talked about composition and how something so simple can still be effective. Had fun...great exercise!

Lots of texture. More color than shows in the dark areas...Still haven't figured out the new camera and shooting from north light...am getting some reflection and glare. Used one of his paintings for the pommies.
Started it one week, and finished it the next. Now what to do? I'm putting him through his paces...and my classmate, Jerry (Plumlee, co-pres of Artists Northwest Arkansas) is being put through his paces copying Sargent and others. 
Got back from lunch and Tim had set up a silver rimmed martini glass in front of a blue board...sitting on the same gold easel (a Jack Richeson w/c taboret). 
I just got right down to it...other than showing me a few stroke techniques...this one is all mine! Fabulous textures and rich colors. We varnished it yesterday (Tim uses Gamblin paint varnish that you mix yourself). It is watery consistency, and basically a retouch varnish, easily removable. I brought it home yesterday, and when I got settled down to paint this afternoon, realized the electrician was using it to put his screws on! I about had a fit...


'Chin-Chin' Vicki Ross

He suggested writing the name of the painting in the wet paint with a pencil. Chin-Chin is what the French friends say when they toast. Kristina thought it was an exotic toast based on some oriental emotion or something. It was quite a time before she learned they just are mimicing the sound crystal makes when clicked together. I'm now on the lookout for fabulous drink glasses for painting. Have even been looking at all the gift sets at the liquor stores for something stunning.

So, if any of you local people have something, let me borrow it, OK?

I might gut up and take a few photos of the garage tomorrow...6,000 sq ft of 'stuff' into 3,500 new house. Don't know how we managed to accumulate so much in the 7 years since the fire when we had nothing. I still think the Indians had it right...when the weather changes or your teepee gets dirty...pick up that sucker and MOVE IT!

OR, have you ever thought about the first Neanderthal woman who got the bright idea of using a tree branch to sweep out her cave? Prompting her neighbor to not only sweep out HER cave, but brought in a weed for decoration? It escalated from there to where we are now...remember George Carlin's skit on 'Stuff '?

Over and Out...

vicki


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sue Smith and Things That Need To Be Said

I guess this is a common issue among artists...old masters were encouraged to 'copy' other old masters. We are encouraged to see if we can 'copy' a Sargent, or a Reid. All in the name of learning. However, when does this cross the line?

I have known of a couple instances where one artist so completely copied another's style that the original artist quit doing her own! And the fake looks good, until you put the 2 artist's work side by side, and the fake pales by comparison. Perhaps copying is all the fake can do, practicing until he/she feels it is 'theirs'. With enough time, even the local public won't know which came first. Please, do yourself a favor. Find your own voice, technique, and compositional style. If you do choose to 'emulate' another artist, always give credit with the title...and even mark it on the back of the canvas/painting as 'after Sargent'...and assuming you do it well enough, future owners of the painting will know that you are paying homage to another great.

Forget the grey areas of 'I changed it enough to make it my own', 'I took the photo myself (but copied another's composition/lighting idea)', 'I put a different fabric on the sofa', 'Mine is watercolor, the original by the real artist was oil', blah, blah, snore. There are no excuses for studying another artist and trying to be just like them. Give credit where credit is due and realize that it is much easier to develop your own style than to copy another artist's style.

Sue Smith, Ancient Artist blog, reports on this quite succinctly in her latest blog entry 'Quick - What art career questions should you never ask?'

Sue Favinger Smith is a professional artist who began her art career at the age of 50. She writes Ancient Artist: Developing an Art Career After 50, a blog dedicated to empowering artists seeking to reinvent themselves at mid-life. You can subscribe by visiting http://ancientartist.typepad.com.

Quick -- what art career question should you never ask?

Answer: "How did you do that?"

I'm not talking about the simple curiosity question, "Gee, that's beautiful, how did you do it?" I'm talking about the standing at the art opening, walking up to the artist and saying something like "I'm an artist, too, so how did you do that ?"

In the corporate world, asking a competitor how they made their secret sauce would be considered corporate espionage. So why is it any different for artists?

I was asked this question recently, and my answer was, "I've spent several years experimenting and pushing the envelope on what I could do with the materials I'm using. Even if you copied me, it wouldn't turn out the same for you. You need to experiment and find your own way."

The funny thing is, this person is a highly respected artist in her own right, working in a different medium, of course, but she's "thinking about a change."

Being artists, we operate in an extremely competitive environment, and there's a fine line between being "influenced" by a particular artistic style, and "appropriating" what someone else is doing.

If you are influenced, you have responded to a larger trend and applied it to your own exploration, using your own visual style.

If you are appropriating, you're not only taking someone else's creative output, but you're stifling your own. And one day, you may realize that you've "stifled" your creative abilities into oblivion.

So what's the real question behind "How did you do that?"

It goes directly to the heart of the issue of developing a signature style. We're told that in order to succeed we must have a signature style, a consistent body of work that is immediately identifiable as "ours." In Ancient Wisdom: Emerging Artist, the Business Plan for Mature Artists that I am currently working on, I will go into this subject in more depth. But until then, here are some suggestions:


A Signature Style can be developed through your choice of subject matter, a specific technique, color choices, or anything that occurs repeatedly - either through a subconscious approach or a deliberate design - that is uniquely yours.

Paint every day and your stylistic mannerisms will quickly emerge.

Choose a medium (oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography) and stick with it.

Choose a format, or a limited number of formats (square, a 2.5 to 3.5 ratio, on custom sized panel) that you use consistently. If you are a potter, choose several types of vessels. A photographer might choose B&W, or focus on Large Format work.

Push yourself to innovate, to take risks in doing what you've never seen done before. Use materials in "totally inappropriate ways" - which is what I once told an interviewer when she asked about how I created some of my work - or focus on doing one specific thing very, very well.

You will know when you're on to your Signature Style. Everything will flow. You won't be forcing yourself to emulate someone else's style when you don't feel the same inspiration they felt. Your work won't feel stilted or stuck, but liberating and pure joy.

And the best part?

Knowing that you have a Signature Style is a huge confidence builder. It is what you should strive for, struggle for...so why would you ever deny yourself that by copying others?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why I never throw away travel photos

Thanks to my studies with Tim (Tyler)  I am feeling better about my abilities and progress as a 'real' artist. Those of you who have been at this spot for years may look at these new paintings and shake your heads that I think these constitute 'real art'. And in 6 months I'll look at these and be embarrassed that I did too. HOWEVER, that is the way it goes in the art world. Just as you reach a certain level of proficiency and get a bit comfortable with it...you discover a new technique, a new pigment or brush...or switch from oils to pastels or to watercolors. Tends to shake things up a bit, ragged results for awhile, then calm again.

I've found as well that 6 months in oil actually improves my pastel efforts. Haven't figured out what improves my watercolors, except a week studying with 'my' Charles Reid!

SO, to illustrate the title of this post. I never throw away any of my travel photos. My photos are not intended to make museum quality prints with composition, lighting, filters etc. Mine help me remember the smells, the awe when I see something that might make a good painting, and so on. I've kept photos that were out of focus...then when I read about 'shut one eye and squint the other' to enable you to simplify your source, I remember the photo I took and kept 6 years ago.

This method requires a good sized hard drive and photo management software. Being a Mac and iPhoto user, I can put my hands on the exact day we were in Cape Town, South Africa in December 2002.

Yesterday I packed a couple hours at the old house, came home and unpacked a few boxes in the future studio, and then rewarded me with a bit of paint time. Worked a bit on the one from last week, and got 90% on a new one. Both from Cape Town, both the same day

These are very loose oils, and look better from across the room than up close.



December 20, 2002. Look at this glorious sky!  just realized that my water is bigger than the photo...and the clouds are more yellow in mine...you can tell that my bay area is more daylight than the photo.
Chuck and Maureen arrived from the states, and were staying at her sister's house. Mike and Paulette's house was barricaded from the front, and had fences on all windows (on the inside, like store fronts in big cities). Every time they left the house, these had to be closed and secured to prevent theft. We were invited to dinner (we were ensconced in a wonderful 200 year old home B&B. (funny story. our travel agent booked us a hotel, and with a flurry of activity, Mike and Paulette found us this charming place instead. Turns out the original hotel was a prostitution destination!), Prostitution is legal there.
Anyway, their house is high up on a hill overlooking Cape Town Bay. On a clear night you can hear the sounds of performers down on the Victoria and Albert Wharf singing.
Anyway, inside and outside on the deck all evening. Couldn't seem to get enough photos. Here are a few more (in a slideshow)

Photo badly out of focus...but I liked the drama. For some reason, 2 brush strokes are showing up in the upper right hand corner, looks like bugs bunny! Not this visible in the painting. Also, painting is a bit darker. JJeez, maybe I shouldn't post these after all!

Maybe I should go back to moving.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday (sounds ominous, doesn't it?)

Today I have no kinks in my shoulders. Stress build-up from more than 7 years seems to be on a decline. I am sitting in the office that I thought was wasted space, having spent the last 2 hours re-wiring our network so the printers and vonage phones will work. It is NOT wasted space at all. Actually a potentially cozy spot, complete with a chair/ottoman for some quiet reading.

Kevin, Betsy, and Liam (addie the lab, and ernie the lakeland terrier) arrived from Denver after a 13 or so hour drive. Liam was SO pitiful...his routine was all out of whack. He was entitled to every fussy minute he had. For 9 weeks old, he is really doing good. I want to scream too after a drive like that! Kevin and Betsy had eyes that were kinda scary...couple of beers fixed that. Everyone got a good night's sleep, and Betsy declared the new room better than the one at the old house.

Turkey day was GREAT. We had new friends (Tim, Shandine, Hannah, Seth Tyler), old friends (Ron and Pam), Family (M&D, Randy's M&D, Betsy/Kevin/Liam, Mark and Lisa, Jessie (Jesse boyfriend), Josh...

New friends cycle in and out, some staying longer than others. The best friends are the ones who cycle in and stay. Two of our best BFFs live in Little Rock, and we don't get to see them near enough. Susan and Sharron have seen me through several last names, and many of the wheel of fortune's ups and downs. I never intended my blog to be anything other than to show the life and times of being an artist...it surely is NOT to be construed to be a weekly 'bulletin' that some people still write once a year for their christmas cards! I've received many thank you's from artists I have never met for the upbeat, sometimes silly entries I make that put smiles on their faces...all of which somehow relate to 'what keeps me in front of the easel'.

Weather was great yesterday. New house backs up to a wonderful 18" thick stone/brick wall. Many of us yesterday enjoyed eating outside, moving chairs as the sun travelled across the winter sky. When the last bit of sun was replaced with shade, we reluctantly went back inside. From 3 months to 90 years young, it reminded me of Europe. People floating back and forth, keeping in touch with those inside around the dining room table, catching a bit of ham or pie on their way back and forth, no one in a great hurry to leave. We joked about, 'here, move your chair over by the pool'. All the chairs that filled 3 levels of deck before gave us plenty of choices for a grassy, European looking yard. And if you can't tell how relaxed I was, I didn't even bring out my camera!

Now, for painting updates. I did this 2 weeks ago at Tim's...another 'see if you can copy a painting of mine' experiment. Well, I did, and it is SO different from his...not better, just different. What fun! Without all the tedium of setting up your own still life. Below are the 2 for comparison...his is much more vibrant color, mine is just loose. I didn't come anywhere close to a 'copy'...and his red is much more intense. Until you look at them together, mine looks pretty good. I just wish you could see the one swoosh I made on that front onion with pure pigment!


This was the last class...I feel much better about this one. Tim's is on the left. I was just getting ready to 'refine' the foreground when he stopped me. He says he likes mine better because it is more 'fresh'. I will learn when to quit.
Keep in mind that mine are being done with a huge advantage of being able to copy his composition...and still life setups. Easily 1/2 of the process. So, when I can call it done after an hour and a half, that is really cheating. But fun. He and I are still having fun seeing how different Ann Templeton's palette of colors work. I'm not opposed to using other pigments, but I really want to discover nuances of her palette before I jump to something different.


I gave me a break today. The kids left late morning with lint in their eyes, leaving me with an opportunity to PAINT! I have another 10 years of unpacking to do, and nest making, picture hanging to do, but I wanted to savor the quiet. 

Until my new studio space is empied of boxes, and we figure out how to finish it out, I am going to set up in a corner of the breakfast room with all that wonderful north light. By the time I figured out what gear I wanted to get out, I only had an hour of daylight left. This is a combination photo I took of the Cape Town Bay at sunset in 2002, xmas, at Mike and Paulette's house. 

Got a good start. We'll see how much influence Tim has on my paintings as this one progresses. Teehee. Like I want you to believe he has none. Just his presence in the room talking, chatting about Sargent or Schmid while I potz around moving pigment like I know what I am doing has no effect. 

Then, all of a sudden, he asks if I'm stuck...and with a 'May I', he sits down and makes one brush stroke that brings it all together.

And I have people asking me to teach. What folly!

Vicki

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unpacking the studio in the new house

Was just relating to good friend, Susan Sharpe about my day...when I realized I was saying something to her that would make a good blog topic.

I have saved all my art magazine subscriptions for 2 years, and when I didn't have a new one to read would read an old one. Realization set in when the old ones were just like new ones to me...just as enjoyable (except the advertisements are out of date).

In fact, maybe MORE enjoyable. Proof that you will comprehend what you are ready to learn. As a beginner, you 'gloss' over some of the information, tips and tricks, demos. With some experience and seasoning...there is brand-new information for you. Since we as artists follow artists like Picasso, Sargent, Henri, Homer like they were gods who walked on water from 150 years ago...the information a couple years old is still very valuable.

The new house has a large area upstairs perfect for bookcases that don't have to be 'company decorated'. I sorted the magazines (that were in scattered places in the old house) into stacks. I can't wait to start back through them.

Wonder what kinds of new stuff I will understand this time?

Big family week...Betsy, Kevin and 'my baby' Liam will be here from Denver late Wednesday night. Had grandson Tyler (15) here on Saturday, and put him on a plane for Denver to see his mom on Sunday. New art teacher Tim Tyler and his family Shandine, Hannah, and their 2 out of the nest boys, along with my M&D, Randy's M&D, my brother, wife, Jessie & Josh, will all be here Thursday. Tyler flies back in on Saturday, and his dad picks him up on Sunday to drive 4 hours south to Pine Bluff.

Pam and Mom are planning and prepping all the food, all I have to do is show up!  Teehee! Shandine LOVES to be creative in the kitchen as well, so I know we will be treated to a few of her family's favorites. I won't be fixing my own favs...or we'd have 3 different feasts!

Well, maybe I will make my own version of broccoli casserole...cream of mushroom soup, velveeta, mushrooms, rice, almonds...can't do Thanksgiving without MY fav recipes. And that fresh cranberry salad with whipped cream (scratch, of course), apples, grapes, pecans...Always had Mom do her dressing, it is always so moist...I've always 'done' Thanksgiving with all my recipes...usually asking friends/family to bring desserts (since I don't eat many sweets, that is always last on my list). I'm not in cooking mode this year...can't wait to get the house settled so I can get back to painting!

Pam and Mom are great...they did Thanksgiving cooking and brought it to our house last year too...and turned around and did it for xmas. Isn't it funny how Thanksgiving is more fun with friends/strays/family...and everyone has their menu they just have to have? Xmas last year we had an odd assortment of food, from chicken enchaladas to white queso, to chili, and we ate off and on all day. That was pur first holidays at home since the fire. We all kept real busy and avoided the pink elephant in the room. Who knows, maybe next year I will be ready to do the entire thing myself!

Hope everyone has a great turkey day!

xxoo
vicki

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Silence is Golden? Painting, Moving, AWARD RECEIVING



Hmmm. Nov. 4. Nov. 15. 2 weeks. What in the world has Vicki, aka Red, been up to. W-e-l-l, ya aren't gonna believe it.

more painting with Tim Tyler. I am having a ball, actually thought I was making some good stuff, loose, plein air, one session...then was asked if these were just studies. Wah. Hate to say I don't know the difference between 'alla prima' and 'study'. I'm sure someone out there can enlighten me! Good thing is they were totally outside.

Am picking up some glare from my new north light windows...and am using new camera, so will take me a bit to find the optimum spot to photograph in the new house.

The trees were so pretty during October. It was really fun seeing how different they were from week to week!

I'm learning how to 'find the painting' within the vast view your eyes see when outside. That is a very big step for me.

I'm also learning how to be extravagant with the pigment...and to work on gessoed boards. At first it is very strange because the initial pigment seems to go on and show the white board through the brush hairs. But as you get more paint on, you almost sculpt into the pigment.

You have to be very careful to keep brushes separate (light and dark), no turpentine or medium...just pure juicy pigment laid in strokes next to each other.

Don't you just love the color on tree #3 where the red in the left background is almost a neutral? Could have used a bit more of that somewhere else, but by the time I realized it, the sun was gone...and the painting finished. Guess that is why studies are valuable...you can go home and paint them all over again!

Make sure the bright sun grass that goes behind tree #2 comes out on the left side...make sure the bright yellow on #2 comes out a bit on the left tree...

I remember some very sage advice from Charles Reid...he said not to ever touch a painting started on location, unless you are back in that same location at the same time of day, with the same light. Keep your partially finished painting pristine, because you will never capture the same feel or color mix in the studio. Just begin another painting.

Gave my first tree painting as an xmas painting swap. I could tell the recipient was underwhelmed. But this is the funny part. She called me that night to tell me that she 'got it' after getting home and putting it on the counter. When seeing it from a distance of 8-10 feet, it was a TREE!

These little paintings do hold up from a distance. You can call me Red Monet (teehee)! I was fascinated with the water lily series in Paris. Up close there were 3-4 large brush strokes that meant nothing. Then you back up across the room and those strokes made a water lily. Absolutely mind-boggling.

This cupid statue holding the cornucopia of flowers is on the side of a street in Eureka Springs. The day after we got back from our 13 hour drive from Denver, we got up early, hopped in the car and took off to meet Tim and a few other plein air painters for a day outside. We took a leisurely morning coffee, then scouted for light, parking, lunch. I found this little grotto made of native stone and the steps went down to another level.

I was having a bugger of a time with the board, tho. The pigment went on, and the oil disappeared! You couldn't move it at all. Was trying not to use medium, but that did make it slide a bit. We finally figured out that I had picked up a Claybord, not Gessobord. It WAS soaking up the pigment. Tim suggested that I wet-sand with linseed oil on the statue and work some more on it. A good start, and I have a good source photo. I was liking the way the stone in the back was looking...even though you can't see the texture. Again, just over an hour.

The next Saturday I painted this little still life in the morning while we waited for the sun to warm up a bit outside. My challenge was to take a small demo painting Tim had done and to attempt to copy his color for color, stroke for stroke.

At one point I was struggling to match color, and he told me that Van Dyke Brown was the answer. Another time I could hear him snicker, as he showed me how to copy one of the marks...with your thumb! Another with a Q-tip, another with a watercolor brush (NOT a Charles Reid one, however). I had a ball with my fingers in the paint. He explained that was a blackboard in the background and to use fingernails to create an illusion of marks...and that would be a good spot to sign.

Was done with this by lunch, so went out and painted tree #3 in the afternoon.

Here is a photo of the two paintings side by side: His is the smaller, more proficient one. I was pleased with how close I got...an artist can't even perfectly duplicate his own paintings without changing something. Takes a forger for that!

OK, now for the rest of the story. We got a green light to move last Monday, Nov. 10. Nothing packed, we could have had a dinner party Tuesday night...a final hoorah for the 'estate'. Called our movers on Tuesday and he had a free day on Wednesday, or it would be a week. Since we are such spontaneous idiots, we looked at each other and said 'why not?'

They brought over a big tractor truck, and 6 young men, and a bunch of boxes. As they were getting the furniture out, I asked if I packed something, would they load (they did not have time to pack and move in one day). SO, when Brian said yes, I started a packing frenzy. Just kept my mind on the goal...get as much stuff out on the truck as possible, with the hardest stuff first (kitchen, books)...stuff that wears you out when you have to do it in armloads. They put clothes in the wardrobe boxes.

By 3pm we had all the furniture, washer/dryer, all the clothes, 80% of the kitchen and books, the big easels and 4 or 5 boxes in the studio I had done Tuesday night.

By 6pm the beds were up, the French Armoire re-assembled (those break down for easy moving). We slept in the new house Wed night. Randy goes over to the old house every morning to get the papers and brings back a load of stuff that is hard to pack...lamps, wine, fridge stuff.

As the movers brought boxes in that I had packed, I unpacked them and shoved them back out. Thursday my Mom came over to help with the kitchen organizing...I went and got the rest of the pantry dry goods, and that job was complete.

Friday the furniture store delivered the new sofas, office furniture and kitchen table/chairs. (thank goodness for Randy's lottery win...makes moving and getting new stuff possible) Seriously. That happened in October...no more credit card bills!

Saturday we had a luncheon for our Ozark Pastel Society xmas art swap. At the same time, the cable guy was here installing internet and TV connectivity, AND the fitness center moved Randy's weight set. Saturday afternoon I died in my chair,

Saturday evening we went to the reception for Artists of Northwest Arkansas (ANA). Their annual juried show had 285 entries from 7 states. The judge narrowed that down to 82 that he would see in person. 20 or so of those were photography and 3-d work. Of the remaining 60, I had 2 of my 3 chosen for hanging (the limit).

Ta-ta-DAAAA! My 'Eyes For You' won 2nd place in Pastels/Drawing. Got beat out with a graphite drawing of 2 horses. It was really good, even though modern art puts pastels more with paintings than drawings.

Eyes For You (aka Italian Girl)
Pastel $1500
She was standing outside a coffee shop in Amalfi in an absolute trance watching Charles Reid paint. 
Now, new house pics. I've just about got everything else in the old house packed...Josh helped me Sunday get all the studio packed, and those paintings in boxes for the movers. Yesterday I packed more on the main floor, and moved all the big art. Randy got the bar stuff last night.
The next 2 weeks should be a bit slower, hopefully. I'm off to paint at Tim's tomorrow, and the movers again on thursday...mostly stuff that goes upstairs.

The office area just inside the front door...already have my art library unpacked!
just next is the dining room

Buffet looks good here, huh? I am going to order a gallery hanging system for this wall so my good art (Charles Reid, Ann Templeton, Kippy Hammond, Leslie DeMille) can hang with spotlights.

The living room and new RED sofas

The new kitchen table/chairs
the kitchen
We are so thrilled with this new house. Never been lived in. Anything that is wrong, the builder has a crew on it. It is so cozy, and the floorplan so open. Upstairs off a media room is a floored attic that with walls and skylights (north) will make a Fabulous studio...better than what I had.
Randy and I feel this is our REAL start-over since the fire. The 'estate' house was always an albatross hanging over our heads. Here there is no acre groomed lot on the golf course, no 1/4 acre of groomed planted beds, no SWIMMING POOL to throw money into, no 15 year old house to keep repaired, no security fees, no snotty neighbors who have changed the complexity of Pinnacle from a community to being rude, out for themselves. People in this new neighborhood actually slow down when they see Randy out with the hairy kids instead of honking and floorboarding their car.
That's all for now! Whew, caught up again...gonna go unload the truck.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vampires, Mummies, and the Holy Ghost!

Yeah, I lifted Jimmy Buffett's song for my ringtone. We just had Halloween...had a good time with the kiddos in Denver...

I've got some great pics for painting source...and some great pics of baby Liam. Moî (me, Mimi), got to be the FIRST ONE TO KEEP HIM ALONE as in EVER more than FIVE hours (and I am Betsy's step-monster)! Betsy and Kevin had just purchased a new 'family' car, so she and Randy took off for tags, inspections, etc. I had to keep the kid.

teehee

He is having trouble being in his physical self. Not real comfortable yet. Betsy had made a baby sling for him, and when he couldn't settle down, I put it on and 'wore' him all day. Feeding, burping, rubbing. He was all wadded up in this thing...happy as a little clam. Did you know breast milk does not have to be refrigerated? for up to 10 hours? (at cool room temps). Sure makes things easy as long as mom does not stay gone too long.

Liam and I sat at the computer (no way, WAY)...I watched 2 DVD's of Tim Tyler painting a still life with Baby Mozart playing in the background. Liam and I were both zoned out when everyone got home. Then Jodi and Rip (our daughter-outlaw and 10 year old grandson) came over and we got some real good time over dinner.

Next day I was able to get out a bit with Betsy and Randy, got relegated to the backseat of the new family car with the 'bwat'...(teehee)...painful! We went to REI outdoor store for a bit of shopping for, of all things, smartwool socks for me since Denver has much more selection than we have. Liam got fussy...some shopper was sitting there trying on shoes...as I walked by her I did a hand-off to Betsy and said 'take care of this bwat!...I hate kids'. Betsy, of course, knew I was being funny, but the look on that lady's face! And I had on my 'Funky Feet' shoes.

Took watercolor bag with me, but was more interested in zoning out with Kevin, Betsy, Liam, Addie (lab), and Ernie (terrier)...Jody, Rip...and our 3 hairy kids (Annie, Beemer, BJ).

We took the kids out for dinner, got to our hotel around 10, left for Arkansas around 5:30am (yup, sun wasn't up)...I basically rolled out of the bed into the car and slept sitting up for another 3 hours.

Talk about brutal! We got home after 13 or so hours, met Ron and Pam for a quick mexican meal...got up early on Thursday to join our new friend/painter/artist Tim for a paint-out day in Eureka Springs.

Here are some Liam/Rip pics: (oops, forgot how to do an inline slideshow)

gotfor...betsy had her doctor's appt, on tuesday after our shopping, and we got to have him for 2 hours! Here is Poppy walking Liam down a beautiful downtown Denver sidewalk. Might be a painting here!

Poppy and Liam at REI. I overheard Randy tell him he couldn't cry in an outdoor store.


Ain't technology wonderful? Food on the table, and me and Betsy are shooting each other at the table.

Betsy, Poppy and Liam

First Feeding

Mimi, Liam, Rip, Poppy

Mimi, Liam, Betsy, Poppy
Next Post! Back to the studio...Artists have a great need to be balanced, and family/new babies/new hubbies/outlaws/grandsons/ all help with that balance.
Thanks to Betsy, Jodi, Rip, and Kevin for loving us...being our 'kids' and letting me be granny. And for those 2 'real' redheads for letting me pretend...
Red

Sunday, October 26, 2008

En Plein Air (outside) Alla Prima (one session)

My LEAST favorite thing...because it is tough! Haul gear...tripod, paint box of some sort, paper towels, trash bags, brushes, pigments, stand in the sun for a couple hours and hope it all comes together! However, when it turns out, it can be my MOST favorite thing!

Started classes with Timothy C. Tyler (Tim) the week after Charles and Judy left. Have to get up on Saturday am and leave the house at 8:15 or so (another of my least fav things)...it has been so COLD we have had an hour of discussion/lecture inside, waiting fot the temp to warm up a bit.

Tim's yard is ablaze with maples that are changing every day. You only have about 2 hours, max on each 'start'...then the light changes. One of these paintings was started one week, and then finished the next during the same time of day.

In my absolute panic, Tim helped me 'find the painting'. Since my first experience in oil was with Ann Templeton's pigments (colors) I started with those (hoping I didn't put Tim off). This was the morning session...we went to lunch, came back and the light had so totally changed we only got 30 minutes more, then put this 'start' off until the following week.

Moved to a new location. Picked up the tripod with the box, the French market basket loaded with stuff, water bottle, blah, blah, and walked it all at least a mile (it seemed) to the other side of his house to a DEAD tree. He showed me 'the painting' again. Looks easy when it is pointed out to you.

about 20 minutes into the painting...and you can see how the light has changed the shadow of that limb in the front. that is why he advised to paint that first, and not chase it as it changes. He also recommends that if you are painting a subject in the sun, make sure your canvas is also in the sun. Says you can't properly evaluate your colors if you are in the shade and your subject is in the sun. Makes for a great suntan on that side of your face! I guess if your subject is in the shadow, you can be in the shadow. Hmmm...choose your subject wisely, otherwise you might break a sweat (oops. feel the heat in southern lady speak).

Two hours. On a slick gessoed panel, NO TURP or medium. Tim shared that the pigment is the best it will ever be straight out of the tube. When an artist starts thinning it with turp or a medium, you mess with the chemistry of the pigment and don't really know what it will do when the xtra stuff evaporates. After a week to dry, the colors were still vibrant. He says they will stay that way. Also used the term that you 'sculpt' the paint. This one is thick and juicy in spots...fun, fun!

Week Two: hour and a half, then lunch. This one was done! Then we went to lunch, talk more art and come back for a finish on the underpainting from last week for another completion about an hour later. Tim is showing me how to capture the light quickly before it changes, and then to 'key' the other parts of the painting off that.

Week 2: finish this one. Tim did make a few (?) strokes, but the drawing and composition were mine. The tree changed this much in a week.
Is this fun or what? Worth getting out of bed for early on a saturday. Loose, juicy, no mediums...just a ton of pigment all mooshed together. 
We are in Denver, meeting our new Grandboy, Liam. Left Saturday after class (6pm by the time we got packed), drove to a miserable spot in Kansas in a room that 'if walls could talk'. However, Randy, me and the 3 hairy kids don't really care if the room smells good, and the linens are clean. For 5 hours, who cares? then up and off this am, to arrive in Denver around 5pm. Showered in the nice hotel room, then went to B&K's. wonderful neighborhood in downtown Denver, old houses, big huge colorful trees, parks everywhere...and baby Liam at 6 weeks old has colic really bad. So we ate fresh grilled salmon, Randy's concoction of a pecan/orange sauce and took turns trying to get Liam to fart.
Life in the fast lane! with the Ross's!
More later, when I figure out how to get the photos off the (new) camera. I'm slowly catching up. 
We plan to drive back all day Wednesday, and if we are still kicking, get up on thursday to join Tim for a paint-out day in Eureka springs...with him 'off the clock' painting for himself 'alla prima'. Be hard not to watch him, but just fun to be invited! Let's see, drive 13 hours (time difference), get up and leave the house on thurs am at 8 to 'catch the light' in Eureka around 9. works for me!
Vicki

Friday, October 24, 2008

This blog is for Kippy

Watercolor/pastel/oil...landscape/figurative/still life.
PICK ONE FROM EACH GROUP! I've been hearing this for several years now...and still haven't done it. When I am painting with Charles Reid, I luv watercolor. When I study with Les DeMille and Kippy, pastels are the greatest thing going. And it is Ann Templeton's fault that I started with oil. Not sure I am good enough at any of them to choose a favorite. 
Charles gave us a tip on becoming better watercolorists...take a Sargent book to bed and read it before you go to sleep. So, I did. And I have to say I just don't 'get' the fuss about Sargent's watercolors. Bolts of lightning coming down on me! Horrors! Did she really say that...
SO, except for Charles' watercolors, which are fabulous, I can't 'see' the value in mine.

This is the painting Charles did Friday morning. Just happened to be the one I started on Thursday.
Here are my better efforts from the Charles class...my start on thursday, and my finish from last week.
My critique group said my mountains are not as subtle as his, and my indians look pasted on. Just trying to be different from Charles...and in the B&W  photo, there was nothing in the background.


On Friday, everyone was pooped and I just didn't even think I could paint. Flopped in a chair and started a painting of HIS painting, the bouquet and his chair. His comment was that he might not have put the green behind the painting...it was a curtain. The green was staining. SO, I just made it more prominent which I felt pretty good about, since that made it more obvious that his painting was a piece of paper.

At least I didn't try to paint the stack of chairs. And Randy and Charles kept moving his red/white chair on me. AND those are my excuses, and I'm stickin' to 'em.


Oh well. The challenges of Watercolor! And then my pizza resistance (sp)...or best of the week, according to Charles and my world famous blunt critique group. And, again, I don't see it! A visiting college art professor even said my style is expressionism. I had to write that down and come home and look it up (didn't have that course in the school of business). And, it looks nothing like Naomi...and watercolor is the devil to photograph. The pose for the watercolor is first...


Pastel, is much more forgiving. Even though my source photo was from the first day Naomi modeled, and she had on a green shirt the first day...AND the light was different from my live painting...I could change all those things in pastel, but not with watercolor. What you see is pretty much what you end up with.
Below is my painting of her after one hour...I didn't get much painting time, and when I was, as workshop organizer for both and not in 'student' or 'painting' mode. Just glad I had the right number of features in sorta the right place. I spent another hour or so on her painting when I was home, and was amazed to see how little work it took to 'pull it out'.