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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Discordant Lilies and Matters of my Art (tm)

There are a few people in my life that I trust implicitly when it comes to matters of the art. Specifically, my art. Being my mentor is a title that I don't give has to be someone I trust, someone who wants to see me 'take it up a notch' with no ulterior motives. Cheerleaders are nice, and their opinions always welcome, and always feed the ego.

Mentors, on the other hand, are artists who I have studied with, whose work I admire, and whose skill at teaching primo. Some potential mentors do not have time, so I respect that...and some of them would make me smile if they did have time!

An ulterior motive would be someone who was insecure with their own art career, someone who had no professional skills as a teacher/artist, someone who wants to make money from you, someone not to be trusted. A good teacher always knows when to 'graduate' a student and helps them find their next level and can recommend who might get them there.

I can tell you that I am not ready to 'graduate' from any of my teachers. Pat Michael is a member of a Crit Group I was invited to join several years ago. She has mastered many types of art from glass bead making to pastel portraiture to abstract multi-media paintings. Fiber arts, acrylics, exploratory grounds with alcohol inks, are all in her repertoire. When she is too quiet during a Crit meeting, I always call her out. She is always reluctant to offer her opinions because she always sees something that will improve a painting.

I've been painting with Tim instead of going to the monthly  Crit, so had missed seeing Pat. She invited me to lunch today and I grabbed a few of my recent paintings for a personal critique.

The painting I did yesterday with Tim was something he hoped would give me pause...and be a real challenge. I took some good quality silk flowers and an 18x18" canvas and got to work. By 4pm there was nothing left to do, so I called this one done.

Pat's comment was about the lighting on the flowers...that they all had same importance. Tim's studio has a great north light, and good overhead lights. SO, I essentially had 2 light sources...and painted just what I saw! Oops. She kept looking at it and finally said the painting was 'disturbing'. We talked about it and came to the notion that it was the discordant colors in the leaves and background. We then pondered whether this was a good thing or a bad thing...and concluded that it was a good thing if the painting aroused our interest.

I SURE don't want to be a pretty painter...I'd rather mine be the one that makes you look deeper. Here are a few more photos, then a slideshow.

sorry about the glare...I'm still learning how to photograph wet oils.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Current WIP Still Life 'Assignments'

Just now got decent photos of last wednesday's efforts at Tim's . Seems oils do not want to behave until they are somewhat dry.

I think Tim stays up nights thinking of things to challenge me with...or at least things that will stump me. I'm SURE they exist...teehee. He just keeps throwing them at me! Well, setting them up for me. Each has a twist of some sort or other.

#1 was a brass teapot. He selected a #8 filbert and had me work on a slick gessoed panel. I was instructed to match colors as close as I could get, and make each brush stroke be the final stroke for that area. Thank goodness for my color swatches (ala Richard Schmid). I can get a 95% match within a few THAT part was easy. He stopped me before I could ruin this one...

It's Brass! © 2009 Vicki Ross Oil on Panel, 8x10"
Then around 11...he set up another 2 items this time. Same 'rules', but on an 11x14 panel this time. The pottery was a gorgeous rich oxide red. It had a dusty appearance where it turned into the light that made it very challenging! Got a good start before he called lunch. An hour and a half later, back in the studio I finished it by 2pm.

Urn and Box © Vicki Ross Oil on Panel, 11x14
Getting a bit tired now, Stephanie (another student on hiatus now) came over with some issues she had with one of her that added an element of chatter. Challenge this time was to make a more finished surface...but those COLORS! The Raku vase is just a level greener yellow, and the Granny Smith apple just a level bluer yellow. I did not nail this...but it is so close I can correct that this Wednesday. I love that background with the yellow. Don't know how the raku veining is going to go, but it will!
WIP © Vicki Ross Oil on Panel, 9x12
And just so you'll know how much I've been painting at home, last week I did a full sheet Leg o'Man in pastels:

Leg o'Man Pastel (left) Leg o'Man Oil (right) © Vicki Ross
Will show progress slideshow when they are both for sure finished!
AND, worked on the Flemish Method Peony...2nd color layer:

This is after the 1st color layer and I thought it was done...NOPE!
2nd color WIP © Vicki Ross Oil on Panel 9x12
AND completed the first color layer on the Flemish Method Peony in pastel! Photo is bad, but you get the idea... 
1st color WIP © Vicki Ross Pastel on Wallis 11x14
I'm sure you can tell that my little OTT light was brightening the lower left corner...but this is a WIP...and I have some great progress photos to share when it is finished!
I think that is all I worked on last week. The Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge is due March 4...and the Botkin Secret Challenge on March 14. I'll begin working on those this week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Drumroll, Please...will the real 'Leg o'Man' please stand up?

Thank goodness I did two versions of the subject for our first Diana Moses Botkin Challenge! It is so difficult for some of us to conform. I worked on this painting for 3 weeks, and just at the last minute decided to do a real L**O (brandnames unacceptable) painting.

To put things in scale, most of the eight artists involved painted 5x7" or smaller. My first one is 18x36" and the second 6x12". Takes alot to keep me 'invested'...that ADD syndrome again! LOL.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Erika Nelson gave me the idea, Randy was more than happy to model...and this is one that will remain in private collection! Lifting weights 3 times a week since he was in 8th grade certainly paid off, doncha think?

Without further ado, here is Leg o'Man:

"Leg o'Man" © 2009 Vicki Ross
18x36" oil on canvas
You have to go to the previous post and see the competition of the eight...all those little plastic figures are SO cute. Can't wait to see what we all do with next month's SECRET challenge. Make sure you tune in on March 15 for another group post!
Here is my real post for February the group challenge:
"Le-Go My Sake"© 2009 Vicki Ross
6x12" oil on panel

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February Art Challenge...L**o Man!

We've all been toiling in secret over this month's challenge...a L**o Man! Eight artists all received the subject mid-January, and had until Feb. 14 (yesterday) to email our masterpieces to each other. Then each of us posted a blog containing all paintings.

This has been so challenging...I had so much fun I did two paintings, one a bit twisted (see next blog)! Glad I did a conformist painting, too. My first painting was a play on words 'L**o Man' became 'Leg o'Man'...let your imagination run away with you a bit. Have to wait for it!

After 3 weeks on that painting, I felt I at least needed to stick with the subject...hence, 'Le-GO my Sake' was born. My mother-in-law is Japanese, and we have tons of her tchotche's packed away. My little friend, Rhianan loaned me this little Chinese L**o guy with a sword in his hand. I got the bright idea of turning a pair of Japanese chopsticks (they are pointed on the ends) into a pair of stilts. Set him up in front of a mirror (held a paper towel behind the camera so all the background stuff disappeared...and there you have it!

Many thanks to Diana Moses Botkin for putting this group together...and stay tuned once a month for more creative thinking painting! Each artist's name links to their blog, and the complete list is on the right sidebar of my blog.

Here goes (me first it's my blog):

"Le-Go My Sake" © 2009 Vicki Ross 
6x12" oil on panel
"Soldier Boy Please Don't Go" © 2009 Marie Fox
8x10" oil on canvasboard
"Anna at Play" © 2009 Robin Cheers
6x6" oil on panel
"Toy Knight Turns Artist" © 2009 Dianne Mize
5x9" Watercolor on Cold Pressed Paper

"The Line Up" © 2009 Michael Naples 
6x6" oil on board
"Call Me Plastic Figure One More Time" © Silvinia Day 
8x10" oil

"Snow! Why'd it Have to be Snow?!" © Diana Moses Botkin  
3.5x5" oil

"Cheyenne Funnel Beak" © Mike Beeman 
5x7" oil

Monday, February 9, 2009

French Mademoiselles and Jim's Pitcher

WOW! Great painting day. Good thing, too because tomorrow I work my last day at Poor Richard's Co-op. Don't know if I will leave any paintings there or not, it could go either way with the owners. Artist Leslie Newman came over this afternoon and we painted together.

I am still enough of a beginner to be amazed when a painting looks really good and I am not sure if it is finished or not. I'm beginning to learn that they rarely are finished...and what to do to take them to the next level. Jim's Pitcher is a great example. Tim emailed me the next day and said the following:

Vicki, well here's what i think judging from pictures which you know I hate to do. I think the answer is to add warms only to the part of the pot where direct light hits. I'd say, let the rest stay or move more into the cools despite the effects the warm(brown) box must play upon the pitcher. Essentially, just fiddle gently to warm and paint thicker that upper portion where hard light hits. I like the pot by the way-that must be your friend Jim who made it? 
As usual, it's warm/cool thick/thin soft/hard edges that are the answer for the "the next" level.

I understood what he was saying, but had no clue HOW to do it. So I packed it up and took it to class last week. After a great discussion Tim asked if he could do a demo using this painting...Uh, YEAH. First thing he did was to scrape down some of the background darks that had gotten icky.

Then he did a light glaze of Van Dyck Brown to re-state the strong shadows on the pitcher...then keyed the light spots. 15 minutes! Look at the difference... 

Stage one

Stage two

I worked today on it, trying to remember his instruction. Here is the end of the session:

On to painting session #4 (I think) on the little French Girls Flemish method. Here is where I left off last session:

And where I left off today...just working on the main character's skin tones...

It's coming along! AND, I'm enjoying the process immensely. Next session begins with little butcher girl's face and hands. And then fix that nasty apron.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

San Franciscan Victorian DSFDF Challenge

My painting for Karin Jurick's challenge site, Different Strokes From Different Folks . It really is fun, because the challenge photo is not always what you would choose to paint.

Couldn't resist putting me in the window...this is oil on canvas.

Check out the can see upclose photos of each entry, and then Karin does a composite window with all entries together.

That's all for today! Enjoy...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday Update on our weather!

We have had a nice quiet day, here in Northwest Arkansas! Our roommates, Ron and Pam are ready to be back in their own house...both have to go back to work tomorrow. There has been no notice of work being done to get their electricity back.

Pam made her world famous cheese dip with hamburger and sausage...and a new recipe for rum punch. While all the pregame stuff was going on, she made a few beaded things, I worked on my Flemish Method Pastel Peony. In between that, AND watching the fabulous half time show by the BOSS...I got each of us an account on Etsy and 1000 Markets.

My M&D are very tired of being without juice, but won't leave their house just a mile from Ron and Pam. At least they have wood heat and gas cooktop for cooking. Mom is all bummed about losing all the food in the freezer...and the major damage to their trees. Over 4" of ice.

Today it was 50 degrees or better, no sign of ice...but the trees look like  tornado went through. Here is our neighborhood on Thurs am...fog on top of all the ice.

this is all snow!

My boy babies...BJ (Beemer, Jr.) and Beemer (the dad)

Across the street

Obviously, I did no plein air painting during the past week! LOL!