Monday, September 29, 2008

Painting in progress #2

This is a finished image from an earlier post. See this for the earlier one. 

The gilding shows up very well on this photo which is very unusual for most of the photos I take of my work. The colors are not quite right but I don't have Photoshop and use iPhoto instead. I'll let is "simmer" for a bit and then put a coat of polymer medium on it and probably not change anything after that. Or not!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another art book

I've stopped reading "The Unknown Matisse" by Hilary Spurling at page 166. I've been dipping into a book published for an exhibition of work by Louise Nevelson titled "The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson" being held at the de Young museum (October 27, 2007 to January 13, 2008).

Since I had a doctor's visit I needed a smaller book to carry in my purse rather than the large hard covers. So I was forced to pick a paperback from my stack of books to read. What a wonderful detour I took with "The Lost Painting" by Jonathan Harr. It's a true story about finding a lost Caravaggio masterpiece titled "The Taking of Christ". First the author learned to speak fluent Italian since many of the people he wanted to interview spoke little English and he didn't want to use an interpreter. He did not change the names of the people he wrote about. Who would imagine a book about art experts, art restorers, art researchers and art historians would be so interesting? Since his focus was narrow he gives many resources for Caravaggio if one wanted to follow up and learn more.

My focus is on contemporary non-objective or abstract art. But I have to say I learned so much and enjoyed every page of this book. I would recommend it even if you don't care about old masters or what they did. Caravaggio was not an admirable character. He lived a very marginal life and died at 39.

Now back to Matisse and Nevelson.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Painting progress & reunion

I was gone for a few days to a school reunion. We were near Shady Cove Oregon on a classmate's ranch. The school mascot is below---Grizzlies.  Makes a good cup holder, huh?
A view of the ranch.
I'm working on the paintings I posted last time. They aren't quite ready for progress photos or far enough along to show any real changes. I'm at the place where it's easy to go over the top or over do it. Thank heavens for alcohol. No, not for me to drink although there are times when I'm not painting that some alcohol would probably be helpful. I spray 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol on the painting and wait a few seconds and scrub (gently) with a stiff brush, spray with water and wipe clean. If the paint is thick it may take several times with this treatment. Guess you can tell I've over done it in the past!

Also go take a look at Casey Klahn's blog The Colorist. His last two posts have been about moral courage and art. Interesting topic.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paintings in progress #1

The painting below is an acrylic, 40X30 piece in progress and I wish I had taken a picture earlier but I usually need the help of a photograph further into the piece. The beginnings always go very well. It's the middle or adolescent part that slows down the process. So I'll keep posting until it's done.
The painting at the top is a second photo showing more work. So until I learn how to place photos--this one is out of order. The photo always seems to be placed at the top of the post and I see no way to correct it. At least for now. I'll figure it out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Artist's Studios

Since my studio is a 10 by 12 room with one window on the west side of the room I often think about what is the ideal studio. I would like to have a room with lots of storage, large windows for natural light, a small kitchen area plus an area to sit and look at art books or to look at art in progress from a distance. Right now I take my paintings outside in order to see them better. Not when it's raining though.

I have bookmarked several studios I like. The neatness or messiness doesn't matter nor does the sort of art created in the studio. Artists just know what looks like a good studio to work in.

Here is a place to start looking at artist's studios.

The images above are just samples from two studios on the site.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I took some photographs of my roses on September 4th and they still look wonderful. I can't claim much credit except for giving them good rose fertilizer twice this year and watering them. It must have been a very good year for roses in our area. They really are not that much work for the return. I dead headed them yesterday in the afternoon and the scent of roses was heavy and sweet in the air.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Continuing art education & a list of books

Alyson Stanfield at artbizblog posted a wonderful list of non-fiction books about art on August 20, 2008. Be sure to read the comments because several people posted about their favorite art books too.

First I went to the web site of my local library and placed several titles on hold. They send an email when there are books to pick up. I do wish they didn't come in clumps because I picked up six books. I can always renew or return them and place on hold again. The rest of the books I placed on my Amazon wish list which is about five or six pages long but it's a wonderful way to keep track and to let people know about if they want gift suggestions.

First I read "Dawns + Dusks by Diana Mackown which are taped interviews with Louise Nevelson over many years. The author has done a wonderful job of editing all the conversations because it's a very readable and interesting book. I've learned so much about LN's life and especially her art and work ethic. Even as a child she was focused on exactly what she wanted to do and carried this throughout her life. She speaks about her parents briefly but very little about her son. Again, her focus is on creating art. 

 LN worked very hard and designed her life around what was most efficient in her living arrangements in order to concentrate on making art. She wore cotton clothing to work in so it was easy for her to just fall into bed in the same clothes and get up and work again. She didn't care much about what she ate or when she ate--just something on the fly and continue working.

There are many black and white photos in the book and I have to comment on her eye make up. Her eyelashes look like two dead caterpillars perched on her eye lids. She said: "I don't feel dressed without my eyelashes. I don't wear one pair....I glue several pairs together and then put them on. I like it and it's dramatic, so why not?"

About clothing she says: "Let's break tradition. That's exactly why I dress the way I do." "I love old robes. I think I was the first person to wear a sixteenth-century Mandarin Chinese robe on top of the blue denim work shirt."

So it's a good read and talks about her life, her work, her process, her confidence and her single minded focus on working.

Now I'm reading "The Unknown Matisse" by Hilary Spurling. Should be interesting since I know very little about him and the period of time the book covers is 1869 to 1908, the early years.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I make color charts of all the colors I use especially acrylics. Sometimes I'll buy a new color and other times samples of brands I don't use are given out in classes. So it was time to update all my yellows. Who knew I had so many? 

One of my favorite deep yellows is Holbein's Marigold. I found Azo Yellow Orange at Utrecht and it looks very much like the Marigold. I'll know better after I've used them both in a painting. I also really like Golden's fluid Diarylide Yellow. So I bought a tube of it too. There is a difference between the tube and the fluid. I was shocked to see how different. A Golden artist told me the reason there were fewer colors in the fluid series was because the colors are more intense and have more pigment than the tube paints which have a wider choice of colors. I believe her now. I'm going to take back the tube and exchange it for the fluid.

The other interesting point was the difference between brands with the same color. I have Grumbacher, Utrecht and Holbein Cadmium Yellow Light. All totally different colors.  It's the small piece on the left of the photo above.

Sure wish I had thought about including pictures of my chart on the blog because I would have been much neater! Usually I draw lines to make a grid and label more carefully. But the chart will work just fine for me in it's present messy state. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More photos

More photos from Art in the Pearl                                                                   Artist: Pat Condron

Monday, September 1, 2008

Art in the Pearl

Today I went to Art in the Pearl an annual event of the Labor Day week end in Portland Oregon. This year the weather wasn't too good with cooler temperatures and rain yesterday. I was there early today (the last day) which was fine with me since on the first day it's usually too crowded. The jewelry was outstanding as it usually is but this year seemed even better to me. I took a few pictures. I saw many artists from Portland and Oregon generally as well as farther away places too. Was it just my imagination but were there fewer booths? Maybe the bad weather yesterday sent some artists home. 

The image on the right is from Mike Baggetta and on the left is Marla Baggetta link here.

I will add more images next time.