Monday, October 24, 2016

Shadow Trees

I generally draw and paint either from direct observation or with a photograph as reference, but I had a desire to try a technique for working from imagination that I have seen Robert Burridge demonstrate.  He sometimes flings wet and juicy acrylic paint at his paper, lets it drip, then uses negative painting to simplify and define shapes. 

That's what I have done here.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but there are layers and layers of colors in the trees - transparent greens and blues, scarlets, purples.  Along the way I sometimes stopped to add little sky holes, or break up wet paint with splashes of rubbing alcohol.  It was very messy. 

Burridge has a demonstration video where he uses an opaque yellow to paint around the tree shapes.  I wouldn't choose yellow as a first choice, but I decided to give it a go, and was happy with the results.

I suspect I'd need to do lots of these to become more comfortable with the process and with creating convincing tree shapes.  But for now, this has gone a long way toward getting me out of my recent creative funk.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Enjoying October

I have always loved October.  It is a relief to be able to return to jeans and flannel shirts.  I like my cool bedroom and morning that doesn't come too soon.  I am happy to ditch the played out summer flowers for asters and mums.  It is often sunny and relatively warm, and the trees turn into bouquets of color.  Oh, and apples.  I can buy fresh Macintosh apples and make apple crisp. 

In October we traditionally drive the convertible up the Mississippi and stay over a night somewhere.  Sometimes its one of the little river towns, but this time we returned to the St. James Hotel in Red Wing, mercifully far enough from railroad tracks to allow for a good night's sleep.  This year, as last, we scored a  couple warm and pretty days, and reveled in Wisconsin back road beauty.

This is also the second year I am leading twilight tours for the Rock County Historical Society, the only ones that I dress up for.  A friend who has a sign business made me a sign as a gift, though he made a "typo" spelling cemetery.  Ah well, people know the tour is on, and the gift of the sign was a sweet thing.  Mama always said I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, and she was right.  People are pouring into the tours, and we get a laugh over the sign.

Now go out and enjoy these days before it gets cold.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Today I finally stashed all the materials I brought home from my August workshop in Michigan, and tried to fine tune this oil painting of a traffic signal.  I took a photo of the stop and go light a couple Saturdays ago, attracted, perhaps, by the bright September sky and the geometric shapes and intense colors.  Looking at the painting, which looks best if viewed through squinty eyes, I'm not sure it was a great subject to paint, but at least I got going with working in the studio, after several weeks of real hesitation.  What is that?  What makes a person be full of ideas and enthusiasm and suddenly seize up and stop working?  I've been blaming it on my unhappiness with the workshop, and an end of summer desire to be outside.  Maybe that's all it is. Maybe this painting is some sort of message from the universe to think carefully, proceed with caution, but not stop.  I don't know.

I did have a nice day last weekend in Madison at the state day for the Wisconsin Regional Artists Program. I had a small painting accepted to the show, and also received a cash award. Can't complain about any of that.