Saturday, April 22, 2017

Portrait Revolution

Spring is, well, springing in southern Wisconsin, and I have not been in the studio very much at all.  In fact, most of my time has been spent working outside, especially at the local cemetery where I photograph for Find a Grave, and also planning my upcoming May walking tour of the historic parts of the cemetery. I enjoy both doing research and getting outside to stretch my legs.

I have been working in sketchbooks a bit, and on a self-portrait. But today I'm tooting my personal horn about being included in a new art book called Portrait Revolution: Inspiration From Around the World For Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles, by Julia L. Kay. Julia Kay started an online group on Flickr devoted to drawing a painting portraits.  People join the group, post photographs of themselves, and then are free to interpret the photos in any way.  Some people draw, some paint, some use digital media, one even did portraits on an Etch-A-Sketch. Some portraits are realistic, while others veer into abstraction or caricature.  All are interesting.

Anyway, months ago I was asked to submit a couple portraits for the book.  I was flattered to be asked, but had no idea what the final product would be like.  This past week I ordered and received my copy, and was thrilled to see what a beautiful book it is.

When I was first contacted about including two of the portraits I did, I was a little disappointed that the ones they chose were not favorites of mine.  But looking at the book now I can see what an effort was made to include a wide variety of artists, and a wide variety of media and artistic approaches.  I tend to experiment a lot, and both of my portraits included here reflect that. One is rather abstract and brightly colored, the other is a monoprint, enhanced with colored pencil.  I love seeing the way the folks who compiled these portraits show the original photo, plus several different approaches JKPP folks used to create art.

So thank you, Julia Kay for bringing together so many diverse folks from around the world to create art, and to find artistic kindred spirits.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Coming Back

This morning I'm honking into my Kleenex, barking out ragged coughs, and slouching around the house in my wooly socks and slippers.  And the thing is, I'm feeling much better.

What is it about taking a nice winter vacation?  Why can't I just pack my bag, go have fun, and be done with it?  Why must I be a magnet for other people's viruses?  It happened last year in Mexico, and this year it happened again, after our cruise into the eastern Caribbean.  I'm not sure If I was infected by our chatty team trivia players from Memphis, or from one of the many coughing and sneezing fellow travelers in the Fort Lauderdale airport, or even from other human sardines on the airplanes.  It's a mystery.

It doesn't matter.  Colds happen.  And they spread.  Now my dear husband is sneezing and coughing and stretched out full length on the sofa.  I used up all the cough medicine, so I need to go out and buy some for him.

But back to the trip.  It was good.  Windy, but good.  This was our sixth Holland America cruise, this time from Fort Lauderdale to Aruba, Curacao, the Panama Canal, and Costa Rica.  We were supposed to have a day at Half Moon Cay, but there were 40 mph winds and high seas, such that the ship could not safely tender in, so we had an extra day at sea. Oh well. The cruise accomplished our greatest winter goal, which was to warm up and to see green. 

What I like best about cruising - coffee delivered to our cabin in the morning and then sitting on the little verandah to drink it,  the incredibly pleasant staff, walking around the navigation deck looking at other passengers and whatever else is out there in the sea (other ships, islands, flying fish), playing trivia in the Crows Nest, cocktails in the Crows Nest, catching some sunshine, meeting interesting people from around the world, seeing new places and wild creatures. Seeing masses of Pepto-Bismol colored flamingos standing in a salt flat was a wonderful surprise. I also enjoy having time to read.  This time I plowed through three enjoyable books: Life after Life; Life Itself; and Miss Hargreaves.

Things I don't especially like - worrying about how the cat is doing back home, sleeping in a strange bed, constant time zone changes, constant commercials for spa services and consumer goods, clueless people in the buffet lines, loud music piped into every public space, toxic individuals at dinner, the mild vertigo I get from the rocking of the ship, getting there and getting home again.

Anyway, I took a few photos, some of which follow.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Month Off

I see that I have not posted for an entire month.  In fact, while I have not been doing any painting for portrait work, just some sketching, I have been busy with other pursuits.

At the beginning of the month we spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We've traveled there several times, because we crave sunshine during gloomy January, and for the whales in Banderas Bay,  for the interesting art galleries and for the food. It is also fine to be able to walk outside without bundling up for the cold or worrying about slipping on ice. 

This time we made it a priority to try new places to eat, a little off the beaten path.  I found myself falling in love with all sorts of tacos, pork carnitas, fish, barbeque shrimp.  All were delicious.

We've been back for a while now , and the sun already feels like it was long ago.  I've been busy with mundane things since we returned - replacing my nearly dead iMac and printer, figuring out how to use the new equipment, and purging parts of my wardrobe that no longer fit or are useful. 

What follows is a handful of photos from the trip to Mexico.  Maybe I can figure out a way to incorporate some of them into paintings.