Saturday, August 29, 2009

Relax Your Mind

A relaxed day, half spent painting on the flowers. Easy way to spend 5 hours. They are finally shaping up. I am now happy with the basic form of them (finally) and tomorrow will do more work on fine tuning highlights and shadows.

The weather was very stormy part of the day and windy the rest. Not a good day to photograph bees, as had been planned. Maybe tomorrow ? Ask me about that next post....

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pretty Reminiscences

I love carousels and have had a love for them since a child visiting Balboa Park in San Diego (my grandparents lived in San Diego). I really loved the San Diego Zoo too, and the carousel was just outside, and had real antique carousel animals and real brass rings you could try to reach (and if you did you got a prize !).

Here is a carousel in Paris, just below Sacre Coeur up in Montmartre. It was lovely and lit up at dusk, with real antique animals, and check out the leaping horse at the top of the carousel. Magical !

In Prague, I saw this newer carousel, inside a shopping centre and with a lovely white horse with a grey mane with sea blue and orange colors on its saddles.

And then I saw an antique carousel horse in Virginia City Nevada, in the window of an antique seller. It is very pretty, but perhaps a bit sad to be parted from its original partners ? Maybe it will be happy when it goes to a new home, rather than wait in a shop window. If it could have been easier for me to ship it home, I might have considered acquiring it myself !

And this last animal is a carved animal, polar bear with a Father Christmas, seen in a shop window in the old town of Vilnius. I really like polar bear figures (and I have a Steiff polar bear I bought in Germany over 25 years ago). I wish I had had more time to send this one home...but with 4 weeks of biz travel ahead of me, it did not seem practical. What a great centrepiece this would make for a holiday table !

I don't think I want to stop photographing these sorts of carved statuettes and images, they have sweet adorable expressions and are decorated with lovely detail. Decorative art in their own right, and provoking imagination too. These figures have a magical presence to them that is very appealing.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crimson, Magenta, & Alizarin

I have been working on a line of vintage and antique map covered cahier notebooks for the shop, my new launch of a vintage and upcycled wares shop on etsy. I decided to keep the art shop ( and the vintage and upcycled craft one separate, as a lot of other etsy sellers also do. I have used winstonpook as a handle for buying and selling on ebay for a fair few years now, named after two of our beloved cats, Winston and Pook (Maggie helps too >^..^<). Check it out, or follow the link below on the right in the etsy mini box called winstonpook to see what I am selling there.

Today I had a few color themes going. In addition to the maps, I found a vintage Campari advert and it almost was the perfect size for covering an 8 x 5 inch moleskin cahier. With a stripe of vintage map trim, it worked great (and I found an antique map border with "Rome" on it, perfect !) So here is the color theme for today, a brilliant crimson ground shown on this advert.

Cut over to painting. And it is more work on flowers and the color theme continues. Apologies for the golden cast in the pic, due to flash as it was too late in the day to get a good daylit photo. I have a color chart there with some of my favorite reds and brilliant pinks used in oils, but I am painting in acrylics (and I have most of these in that medium too). Today I used magenta and alizarin to work on the flowers. More to do tomorrow, with more and better light. I really must start working on the painting earlier...but I do so enjoy ending my day with the painting, I wind down and have a happy evening when I do this :)

To close: Here is Winston, whose picture I am using as a winstonpook etsy shop avatar. Just as shown here, he chomps on a perfect yellow rose bud (he and Maggie are Rose Grazers).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Laundry As Art

I have been thinking about domestic forms of art from time to time of late. And one of the areas that has occurred to me has its own symmetry and poetry is Laundry. "Laundry ?'" I can hear you saying... "What is that possibly about ?"

Well laundry, especially when involving drying laundry on a clothesline, offers an opportunity for creating a visual installation, albeit a short-lived one (because most people will bring the laundry in before dark, at least that is what I do !). And this installation might require a bit of creative thought too, because you have to work with what you have before you (unless you go find more clothes to launder to add to your "palette").

Anyhow, I chose to use what I had in the works, which was some kitchen and table linens. And I
have been thinking about color blocks, so I did not do anything overly fussy or fanciful with sequencing of the individual items, preferring to group them into blocks of color that had some strength in numbers.

And at the end of the life of one installation a new one of disorder
was created ! I like to think that this is what the clean items want
to do--get all crumpled and tangled up, a momentary chance of
free play before they get put into their place. Eventually, the individual subjects were assembled into the orderly neatly folded pile, ready to be taken to their waiting places. And there they wait until they are chosen to be the next towel to work in the kitchen, or the placemat for some night's dinner.

When I was in Santiago in March (around the 26th), I saw another art installation involving laundry. Actually I had seen the photo of it in a newspaper while flying to Santiago (they had local papers aboard the flight, I decided to practice my Spanish reading). I loved the photo, thinking that someone had done an amazingly life like painting of the folds in the cloth. When I found this exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) in Santiago, I was very surprised to see it was a real shirt, on a real line strung across the canvas ! And the backdrop was what was painted. It is called "Entre la cordillera y el jardin", which means between the line and the garden. I am sorry not to be able to find the artist credits, which I had in hand notes I now can't find ! Looked online too and no luck. If someone knows the artist's name, please post me a comment so I can provide proper credits.

It seems I am not the only person who sees potential for art in laundry !

Friday, August 14, 2009


Hello there, almost feeling like Springtime here in Sydney, in the day time warmth anyway (nights are still chilly). I have gotten a bit of paint time in this week. Here is what I have been working on--the pink floral composition. I have made the correction to the base of the urn the flowers sit in and it looks ever so much better. When I compared with the previous photo (see previous post to see that), it really is an improvement. It was not a big effort to do the basic fix, but I also spent time improving the detail and color on the urn. It is almost done, just very subtle touch ups to make at this point.

I started work on the flowers, only second pass so really a lot to do yet. But the basic color key is there. If I get enough done on this, or finish this painting tomorrow (Saturday), then I will go back to work on Lion #2 again. He waits patiently.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Floral: Work in Progress

Hi there ! I continue slow work during the week, around work appointments, on the floral composition. Actually have not touched the flowers, am working on the urn/vase. It is coming along and needs a few subtle but important perspective corrections to its base. In the spirit of sharing the learning and development process, I share the following with you. It is amazing to find these "to-do's." Just looking at the canvas casually (without thinking about this), I feel like I do not see them. But I know to look for this based on working on my perspective detail, especially properties about ellipses (a weak point of mine, so I need to inspect and check for it). This is a tricky area I just do not (yet !) intuitively or automatically "see" or get right. Though by doing some study and also some metrics I can find it and know it is something I always need to look and check in my work. Maybe it is some comfort that there is always something to work harder on and to strive for !

So be patient and kind--I have not fixed it yet. (look for a future post for a pic with the corrections !) After the correction, the flowers will be next to work on.

Meantime: here is more wall painting in a vivid color. The feature wall of the studio guest suite. Color credit: Pomodoro by Porter's Paints. This color was absolutely exciting to see on the wall and to go up. Rich, deep and warm. A sophisticated red with a great personality that gets along with neutrals. A great mixer with Dreamy Teal in the Studio kitchenette (which can be seen through the doorway.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Painting

Hello, from a blustery day in Sydney.

I do have paintings to continue working on, and it is hard to dive right into them after being away so long with recent business travel. I kept looking at the Lion #2 and wanting to work on him, but just kept looking at him instead. Some of you may recognize these paintings-in-progress from previous posts. I suppose this weekend and next it will be time to finish them. And I will do exactly that. As for the Lion # 2, I will work on him NEXT, but knew I needed to first break the ice with something else.

So today I started something new.

I have been wanting to do another floral composition. I have a few references that I have been thinking about. One with yellow roses that I am editing in Adobe Elements (as I learn to use that application). Another is very pink peonies and flowers in a white urn. I have wanted to do that one for awhile, so it won.

I sketched the main aspects of the composition in willow charcoal onto a canvas that I am recycling. This means the canvas had another painting on it that I decided I did not like too much, so I painted over it with Titanium White to make it a blank canvas again. The painting I painted over had some texture in it, so this new painting will have texture too, because its ground is not perfectly pristinely flat. That is ok with me, as I may use impasto medium in some of the flowers, or in the texture of the urn vase they sit in.

Here is a picture of the first underpainting. LOTS more to do on this, but today was about: 1) Getting the painting flow going again. 2) Getting the basic bones of the composition in place. 3) And having some navigation reference points to work from to develop it further.

The photo here shows the scale of the canvas compared to other objects, as you have Winston at right, offering himself as a comparative scale reference ! He seems very happy I am painting again (he loves watching me paint). This all makes me feel very much to be back "home."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Turquoise Teal Blues

Hello There, it is great weather here and the past weekend I was painting the upstairs studio. I had found a photo in a magazine while traveling and it had a feature wall in a gorgeous bright teal blue color. I liked it so much, I kept the pic. This past weekend I matched it up to a paint color by Bristol called Dreamy Teal. Which I have put in the studio kitchenette wall. And it looks great ! The studio is not done yet, but it is coming along (it doubles as a guest suite).

I must have had this color on my mind more than I realized, because when I reviewed my recent travel photos, I found a recurring theme of it ! I found:

A great looking retro bicycle in a shop
window in Montreal. A fabulous chandelier in a shop in the village of Farnham, in Surrey in the UK. Also in Farnham I saw this fantastic old timber fruit or veg storage cabinet.
I would have acquired any of these items if it had been more practical to get them home !

And flying into Chicago O'Hare airport (ORD), I got a great photo out the plane window as we approached the city, at the lakeside. It was a brilliant day and the lake was a great color.

I am sure this won't be the end of my love affair with this great color that can inspire dreams of water, sky, and freedom.