Saturday, September 9, 2017

No Time Like the Present

24x24 inches, oil and cold wax on canvas

I used to laugh at people who claimed to be blocked.  No more.  The past year has seen me change from a person who drew or painted almost every day to a person who often sits in the stdio staring at sketchbook and canvases and big sheets of paper and thinking.  But not doing.

I have reasons/excuses.  I attended a couple different workshops with people whose abstract work I admire, and came away feeling like a zero.  A person incapable of taking any sort of risk.  Then this year I was diagnosed with cancer, had extensive surgery, and am in the middle of chemotherapy.  For a while I was too stunned, too sore, too scared to think about painting, and in fact my hands were too shaky.  

But then I thought, if not now, when?  What have I got to lose?  I took an old canvas that I rescued from the Goodwill, gessoed over it, and got out my old oil paints and new jar of Gamblin Cold Wax medium, and just played.  Since I don't really know how to clean my brushes with this wax medium, I used palette knives and my fingers - something totally new to me.  And guess what. I sort of like the results, even though my only goal was to see how the cold wax and oil paint behaves.  I layered, and sqeegeed and scraped.  I even added some collage papers in the first layer.  I mixed up too much paint and then gave myself permission to waste it by throwing it away.

So, whether this ever sees the light of day or not, I am pleased that I finally took some action.  I'd hate to never have tried.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Wild Flower Friends

Last week I took a quick drive north or Kewaunee and Door counties to see my dear aunt and my sister-in-law.  I had an urge to see visit them both, see Lake Michigan, and get some more smoked fish before fall.  My sister-in-law has lots of naturalized gardens filled with mostly native plants, and these photos are from her flower beds. The trip was good for my soul in all sorts of ways, and I think they were relieved to see me looking well.

I also have had a number of friends gifting me with all sorts of things - scarves to cover my bald head, nice hand written notes, vintage pottery, and sometimes old books they think I might like to include in my art.  One woman friend gifted me a small volume of poems published in 1931 that had belonged to her mother, and this poem was in that book.  The style is not modern, with all the lines capitalized and a regular rhyme scheme, but I liked the sentiment and appreciated the gift.

Wild Flower Friends
by Emma Peirce

One of our rarest joys
   When we country roads explore,
Is to welcome wild flower friends
   Of the seasons gone before.

They come crowding all about us
   As if with welcome too;
They give high lights of color
   To every distant view.

They are clambering up hillsides,
   They are massed in meadows sweet,
They are roaming through the woodlands,
   They are right here at our feet.

So true they are and loyal,
   We can always count the day
When we will find them ready
   To greet us on our way.

Some are shy, in hiding,
   For those we have to seek:
But we're sure to find them waiting; --
   We know the very week!

So individual are they,
   For all occasions meet:
Though different in myriad ways,
   They all are passing sweet.

They are marvels of shape and contour,
   Through the gamut of color they run;
Oh! They are wonderful pals of ours,
   These children of the sun!

While radiating beauty,
   They are serving their own ends:
But they make us more than grateful
   For those hosts of flower friends.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Melinda for JKPP

Melinda, colored pencil on toned paper

I keep thinking about painting, and then going back to the trusty sketchbook and working with colored pencil.  This is Melinda, and I did the portrait for Julia Kay's Portrait Party.  I took way too long with this, going back and adding darker and darker values to make her face stand out.  I probably could have pushed the dark values more, but I wanted to be done with it.  I usually choose reference photos that have dramatic shadows, and that was true here.  But mostly I think I liked her direct gaze.