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Monday, March 30, 2009

Paintings of the last week

As promised, here are the efforts of the last week (and one that was a hold over from the week before). And before you ask yourself if I do anything else but paint, let me tell you...not much. Although working on the new La Bonne Etoile blog for ad for the IAPS convention magazine...some floor duties, open houses here and there, NOT MUCH!

I've developed my habit (30 days is supposed to do that), so now I paint first, put off chores as long as possible. I'm gonna guard this habit faithfully.

This first painting is a Tim Challenge. Paint a copy of 'Mona' by Anders Zorn. And that wasn't the hardest part. Neither was painting it 9x12 (the original was 32x42"). The hard part was that I only had 4, yellow ochre, cad red light, and white. Rumor has it that Zorn only used these 4 pigments. Tim said later that he has always debunked the theory...and that if I couldn't get the colors, no one could. Don't know what he meant by that, soooo. Everything went great until the greens. There is NO possible way to get that bright green without either a blue or viridian or bottled green...I mean tube green.

Here is the original painting:

"Mona" by Anders Zorn 32x42" oil
here is the print-out Tim had ready for me, with my WIP:

The photo colors were a bit pinker than the original

Below, the mixes with the 4 pigments (the brighter colors are left over from previous paintings)
here is the final:
"Mona after Zorn" ©2009 Vicki Ross, oil on panel 9x12"

Two Cuties:
"Green Glass" "Peacock Glass" ©2009 Vicki Ross oil on panel, 6x12"

Another session on "For My Soul". Fixed the issue with the bricks on the left, scraped off some texture on the flowers, added a bit on the wrought iron so it didn't disappear behind the plant...toned down the greenery a bit. One more attack to 'push' the flowers a bit and I'll claim victory on this one!

"For My Soul" © Vicki Ross oil on canvas 18x18"
And another 'quickie'. I may go down in history as the artist who does brown jugs!

"Little Brown Jug" © 2009 Vicki Ross oil on panel 12x12"
That brings us to Thursday: worked on the Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge due this wednesday...I will go back in one more time:

"Beach" ©2009 Vicki Ross oil on canvas 6x12"
Then on Saturday I made a good start on a photo from Prague of the Charles Bridge, but it is pretty rough at this point. Hopefully, I will be able to do as much this week! And next week is the March Secret Moses Botkin Challenge painting announcement!

Friday, March 27, 2009

La Bonne Etoile, Fontaine-Fourches, France

La Bonne Etoile
creating and recreating together

Those of you who know me, know that Randy and I are convinced that this spot is much more than 'a vacation'. The stress of the outside world stays outside. For at least 2 weeks, you get to relax and not do anything you don't want to do!

Randy and I have been twice together, first time for a month, second time for 2 weeks. I've been back twice by myself. Would buy a weekend 'place' there if it were feasible.

I've been assisting Kippy and Jerome for several years with their marketing, first with our joint collaborative effort that culminated in 'Mélanger avec Amour'. Or otherwise fondly referred to as 'The Book'. Follow the link to Lulu for preview pages.

This latest venture is announced NOW! The blog for La Bonne Etoile. Ta-ta-ta-DA! Kippy's sons are computer programmers, and insisted on WordPress for its versatility. I'd have thrown something together with Blogger THEN figured what I would want it to accomplish. When I heard what Kippy had on her mind, I agreed with them. This has potential to be a wonderful resource...Many national and internationally known artists are among the alumni, and we are hoping they choose to participate. Kippy has done a fabulous job of bringing this to life. Maybe now she will get back to painting!

The Studio at La Bonne Etoile

My function for this first little while will be to moderate 'The Clothesline Gallery" and "The Wall" pages of the blog, or as Gallery Director. The wall is at one end of the studio at LBE. At the end of every day, paintings are pinned to the wall for a continuous reminder of progress made. Those who are timid artists are reluctant to 'show their slip' with unfinished works, or studies. However, we quickly learn the necessity of writing our names on the backs of our the end of the trip you sometimes have trouble picking yours out of the batch!

The Clothesline Gallery is on the last night of our adventure. The entire community is invited to our Vernissage for champagne, snacks and art viewing (of the most finished pieces).

The Wall is for posting works in progress, or finished alla prima paintings (painted in one session). The Clothesline Gallery is for finished work. To participate, you must be an alumni of La Bonne Etoile. But, that shouldn't keep you from enjoying all the eye candy! There will be plenty of interaction here, with Jerome's 'J-Wiki' and all things French, articles written by Kippy and others.

So, follow Kippy's well written directions about how to join so you won't miss a thing!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today's WIP 'For My Soul' and an extra 'on creativity'

Tim got me interested in books on tape while painting. I returned one he had loaned me "How Green Was My Valley", and it was so good, I got my own library card and checked out "Mists of Avalon". I've read it before, and re-purchased it in hardback, but it makes a better door stop than entertainment!

'For My Soul' is credited to Leslie Newman for bringing them to me. We've had so much fun on our weekly paint-togethers, and she somehow got the idea I was helping her paint better/different. SO, she showed up last week with the Hyacinths and some orange violas for our concrete pots by the front steps. I wanted to paint the hyacinths before they were planted...

Today was the day. After running a few errands and my BOT from the library, I was all set to go out on the front porch and paint them sitting in the opening with the ironwork. Opened the front door and was blown away! Literally! 35-40 MPH, almost blew me off my feet.

OK, plan 2. combo photo and life. Yeah, I know, should have waited until a prettier day...but Still! Randy was so funny when he looked over my shoulder...said he the painting was so good he could even smell them! (of course, the real flowers were sitting right there).

I forgot to take my usual early snaps, but will show a slideshow anyway from when I remembered to shoot.

"For My Soul"
©2009 Vicki Ross 19x19" canvas

here is the slideshow:

Here is the bonus...Elizabeth Gilbert shares her thoughts about creativity. She is author of "eat, pray, love".

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WIP Two to view!

After Zorn
Tim came up with a good one copy a painting by Anders Zorn. Zorn repeatedly only used FOUR pigments on his paintings, so that became part of the challenge! Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Lt, and White.
Believe it or not, I did everything but the green with those 4 colors! We both decided there was NO EARTHLY way to get a bright green with the 4 colors. Tim got back on the computer and did more research and found that we were right...Zorn did use more!
I have about 90 minutes on this to finish...mostly her face and the background. Also, Zorn's original painting was 30x40" while mine is 9x12. No way I could get the detail he had! (that'z my storie and a'hm stickin' to it)
Worked today on some graphic design stuff...some exciting things you'll hear about soon...and around 3pm set out to paint. A few months ago I would just have plopped down to watch Oprah and do fun things on my MacBook Pro. But today? I did a painting! I now know that I can do something worthwhile in a couple hours.
I had a book on tape playing..."How Green Was My Valley" and at 6:20 I realized what time it was and I barely had time to shower for pizza night with our other daughter, Ashley. (more about that later, another time)

my setup shot, a beautiful handpainted wine glass with real peacock feather, given to me for my birthday a couple years ago by Rhonda. She thought I should be using it, but I had to take the tag off today to paint it!

view from the easel, sorta. It is hard to get the same view from a camera that you see when you are sitting up in your chair painting.

North light gone, this is photographed under house lights and you can see how different the light source is. Much more golden than the previous north light shots.
Can you imagine washing this glass with the stem all wrapped in gold wire with beads...AND a real peacock feather? Not me...I'll paint this one over and over.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Botkin Challenge for Eggplant!

The secret is out of the bag...we are all posting our paintings TODAY! This was my month for the challenge idea, and since it was our second 'formal' challenge we were a bit late with the communication about the March subject. On the fly I came up with an eggplant...not very original, but everyone stepped up to the plate for it.

What a group! From super-realism to the wacky and insane. Of course, everyone knows where I fall. Stopped at the store on the way home on thursday evening to find an eggplant...this oddly shaped one fit perfectly with what I had been thinking about. I love vegetables with personality!

First up is my effort:

"Egg Plant?"
© 2009 Vicki Ross 
Oil on gessoed panel, 11x14"
6"x6" Oil on Board
Michael Naples

"Huddled Eggplants"
Oil on canvas, 11" x 14"
© 2009  Marie Fox

Farmers Market - a page from my sketchbook
© 2009 Robin Cheers

"Eggplants" 8"x10" oil/canvas.
© 2009 Silvina Day

"It's Just A Big Ole Eggplant", Oil on Canvas
14" x 10"   © 2009  Dianne Mize
Dianne Mize:  Bagatelles and Meanderings

"Attack on the Eggplant" Oil 6"x8"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Pastel Works and a new Challenge this weekend!

I've had these in progress for several weeks, but for some reason wanted them 'finished' before posting.

The Peony was started with an acrylic underpainting, emulating (in my mind) the Flemish method I bastardized. Not sure it is worth the extra effort because pastels are opaque...oils used in this manner are more transparent. BUT, it was an excellent roadmap. I worked it from the top left to the lower right because all the values had already been worked out with the underpainting.

"Peony" Vicki Ross ©2009
12x16 pastel on Wallis Paper

The Jessie is from a photo I took xmas day. As usual (I am learning fast tho) the photo was not good enough to nail this easily...back lighting from a west/south window and some interior light, but overall her face was in shadow. Some rim lighting. When Jess saw it, she said I made her look pretty. Go figure. 17 and does not know that no portrait can make her prettier than she already is.
"Jessie" Vicki Ross ©2009
12x16" pastel on Velour Paper

"Sweet Dreams" is from a photo taken on our first trip to La Bonne Etoile in Fontaine-Fourches, France. Little Leo was around 5 in this photo...he sacked out on the sofa under the stairs, covered with the community cashmere blanket. The fire was crackling from the left front (wish there had been more evidence of that to put in)...and he was too hot, but those pink cheeks! I got a great start one afternoon, and woke up in the morning realizing I had planned the painting around the size of the paper...and had his little head almost 2x life size. You can see evidence of that in the slideshow.
"Sweet Dreams" Vicki Ross ©2009
18x24" pastel on Wallis Paper

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday at Tim's

I feel behind on everything! No wonder...out friday night (art salon at Tim's) and saturday night (Rhonda's birthday dinner out)...time change...up early on Monday for all day continuing ed class for real estate. Actually a great class! Our agency, Lindsey & Associates is recording ONE MILLION page views a month. Things are getting good there.

Tuesday was Village Art Club board meeting. I skipped out on the general meeting because I am hours away from completing THREE new pastel paintings I haven't blogged about yet! You are in for a surprise...

Wednesday, just about my favorite day, TIM's!

I started this painting a few weeks ago, and today I finished it. Seemed like a good day for a slow, deliberate finish. Tim spent quite a bit of time explaining that the last 10% effort is what takes a painting from good to great!

this is the first session...obviously needs some more work. The apple finally gave up on the artist and turned bad. Originally, there was a color shift...a slight one, but if you sit real still and look. The apple was a value more blue than the vase.
I slowed WAY down and micromanaged this finish.
halfway through...
Shades of Yellow!
©2009 Vicki Ross
We had a good lunch at Madame Wu's just across the way, came back for the final touches on Shades and I thought about quitting for the day. Nope, Tim already had another challenge set up.
Some sort of antique wine bottle
And behind it is a partially finished painting of a man-chest by Karen...just to add an element of color.
Tim was funny...he was working on his painting while I started on this one. When I was halfway he was surprised at the colors I used...said he would have advised against me seeing colors that weren't really there and that he hoped I wouldn't turn into a Flauvist (sp). BUT, that I pulled it off.
©2009 'Black Bottle' Vicki Ross. And here is the slideshow for those of you who enjoy them
OOPS! had to quit for dinner. Got hair done tonight, and Randy came in prepared to cook dinner for me 'n Diane. Chicken breasts with homemade pesto, some kind of new wild rice, salad with a homemade balsamic/olive oil dressing...rustic bread and baked apples for dessert! How lucky can 2 girls get?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lamé Mountain

Lame Mountain ©2009 Vicki Ross 9x12 Oil on Gessoed Panel
Well, Tim did it again! Not only a setup with shiny gold lame fabric, but he put a mark on the floor 4 feet from the easel and made me paint from there! Sight-size method of painting. You step back, study the setup, determine where your next mark goes, and walk up to the easel and make your mark.
Verrry Interestink! Looks more like a Georgia O'Keefe (yeah, right) than gold fabric.
About half way through the painting, Tim couldn't find Shandine's car keys. I carefully slid my hand under the fabric trying to help, and of course, shifted the drape. We decided we liked it better. Kinda like painting HAVE to remain flexible for whatever happens. Painting definitely is not static.
Here is the source photo:
AND, the slideshow!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

DSFDF Wig Store Challenge

Whew! Just under the wire...a place I hate to be. Painted all last week on a couple of figurative pastels for an upcoming show, and realized on Monday that this deadline was HERE. Almost blew it off, and then remembered that I made a commitment to me about this challenge.

Yeah, I know. It is just 'busy' work. NOT. To be assigned a photo that is off the wall (Karen, what are you smokin'?) then to be late...The ONLY way I could figure out how to attempt this was to paint at night. AND, those of you who know me know I am pretty well done by 6pm...chair/beer time.

Plus, Monday our daughter Betsy was in town for a quick visit from Denver with baby Liam. Can't think of a better way to spend the day! Lunch with Randy's M&D at noon, enjoyed Betsy & Liam all to me in the afternoon (our hairy kid boys had a fit with the fussy baby), then on her way back to her mom's house we stopped at my M&D's. It was so much fun to see my M&D play with the baby...and how he responded!

Got back home around 7pm and started the painting. Just eased into it, trying to keep the pressure off. Fairly pleased by 10pm.

Tuesday, Art Guru, Tim worked up a group 'field trip' to Tulsa, OK (2 hours away) to visit their 2 nice museums. Got to see my first Fechin up close and personal...The Philbrook also had a Fechin sculpture. Tim said just seeing those 2 pieces was worth the entire trip! Wonderful lunch, then motor over to the Gilcrease Museum. Gilcrease had an exhibition of American Impressionists. Got to view THREE Sargent's...which Tim knew were studies for one of the Normandy Coast paintings. All in all, a wonderful day. Still have a painting to work on.

Paint again Tuesday evening and think I might actually pull it off. Wednesday class with Tim (man, am I ready for a bit of sleep tomorrow). Painted hard all day, then came home, took a nap, and worked on this another 3 hours.

Here is the source photo from Karen Jurik, founder of Different Strokes From Different Folks: Visit the website for all the wig stuff from other artists!

AND, ta-ta-da! Since I have had so much feedback about my it is: