Monday, October 31, 2011

Golden Apples and Blues Eyes

Count Down to "Story Within"- 4 days to go!

The last piece I did for the show and one I have not posted on the blog yet is The Bribe, 11x14, oil on panel.
My model is holding a golden apple. She appears to be a modern girl, but could she be Athena, the witch from Cinderella or temptation in another form? You choose your own poison.
This is a new model for me and great to work with. It's been awhile since I painted a blond,  I had to really think twice about it.

Another challenge was that I wanted the model's face to be in very soft focus and the apple and hands very clear.
My daughter-in-law, Amy Strickland, found this model to be the Athena character on the cover for the second book (in progress) in her Olympia Heights Series of young adult, supernatural books.

We worked on the photography for her cover together, inspired by her Greek mythology golden apple I was compelled to do this piece about temptation. 

Here's the Peterson-Cody November Newsletter with more info about "Story Within", my two-person with Forrest Solis, opening Nov. 4, 2011. 

Here is my October Newsletter. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Count Down to "Story Within" - 5 days to go!

My show with Forrest Solis is fast approaching so I'm counting down the days by doing a post each day, featuring different work from the show till the opening.
Both sides of the tri-fold brochure invitation for the show.
Story Within is a reference to the popular literary device of a story within a story. It can be found across cultures and media in many works of fiction; a few examples are the Arabian Nights, ancient Indian literature, Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare's Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the films Moulin Rouge and Inception.

This idea appeals to me because it allows for layers of meaning and use of symbolic imagery.  In this body of work I'm playing with objects such as masks, rocks, golden apples, light and shadow.

Ripe Was the Drowsy Hour, 18x24, oil on panel
Yes, they are narrative paintings but there is room for the viewer to bring their own ideas and emotions to the painting. Several pieces in the show have multiple figures, automatically giving the viewer choices, who in the scene do you identify with? What is going on between the figures in the painting?

The story within a story idea fits this show because Forrest and I both use these types of narratives in our work.
Forrest Solis, Good Sleeping Habits, 36x36, mixed media
Ripe Was the Drowsy Hour is a continuation of my Gypsy pieces. There is a clearing on a walk near my house and I envision a band of nomadic, carefree travelers stopping there. This work touches on the sensual romantic idea and mythological idea of the Roma.

I borrowed the title from a John Keats poem Ode on Indolence, here's one verse:
How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower:
O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but---nothingness?

Interesting that I found this poem after these paintings were done while I was looking for a title.  He wrote about the same mystery and languor I've been painting about in this work.

And a few details of the painting...

Here's a video of all 6 of the pieces in the show with commentary.
See you tomorrow!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oops! The Boxed Painting Won't Fit in the Car!

The Certainty of Youth and the Complexity of Wisdom, including the frame size is 49x43 and too big to fit in any of the StrongBoxes I had on hand, first problem encountered! 

Backing up a moment - When shipping work first I wrap my paintings in Dartek, a plastic I've had great luck with. It is an archival museum product made by University Products. I find that it works great to keep foam and dust from getting on the work. I would caution that it's best to experiment with your particular varnish. I always try to varnish at least a week before the work is shipped so it's not green.

Then they are put in Airfloat System StrongBoxes, which have a puncture resistant liner and foam so the work doesn't move at all. They are expensive but reusable and I've had great luck shipping with them. They are lighter weight for shipping than a plywood crate so you will save in the end on shipping costs. 

Meanwhile back to the problem at hand - we opened up one end of my largest StrongBox and made the box bigger by canibalizing other boxes we had on hand. Ok, this is gonna work.

Then...As we are building the box we realize IT'S too big to fit in my Mazda CX 7. At this point I have already delivered four boxes to FedEx and paid for a shipping label for this fifth box and time is of the essence. FedEx had given me a deal on shipping the five boxes as a multi-piece shipment.

It seemed too complicated to try to arrange a pick up of the work so we took all the parts down to FedEx and assembled the package there.

EXTREME amounts of Extreme packing tape and many FRAGILE stickers later I finally said goodbye to my diptych.

Now I know my absolute width size limit if I'm going to haul the work to FedEx myself. Wondering, will these years be known as the Mazda years? Someone in this family really needs to buy a truck.

I'm happy to say all the work arrived safely in Santa Fe at the Peterson-Cody Gallery for my show which will open next Friday, Nov, 4, 2011.

Here are few links you might find helpful: Dartek Film,
Airfloat StrongBox  

Here's a previous post I did about  The Certainty of Youth and the Complexity of Wisdom. 

Here are a couple others about shipping art work. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Photograph Oil Paintings, Part 2

I have previously shared my method for photographing oil paintings, always a challenge and now I'm adding an addendum.

This week I've been photographing six paintings for my upcoming Peterson-Cody Show, two of which have a very dark background. I was having difficulty getting good pictures because the walls of my studio, the legs of the tripod and the silver on the camera, even my pale mug were reflected in the dark areas of the painting.
This is what I was finally able to get after much fumbling around and experimenting. 
For you the short version - here's what worked.
I wrapped a piece of black fabric around the tripod and camera, I wore a long sleeved back T shirt and I stepped to the side so my face wasn't reflected and used a cable release to take the picture. A cable release is always a good idea.
I also draped a piece of the fabric over a frame made of 1x4's that was clamped to a sawhorse and stood it behind the tripod so that it was reflected in the painting rather than the light colored wall. (luckily the frame was still in the studio from a photo shoot I'd done this weekend, the orange fabric you see is from that shoot).

I suppose I could have covered the wall with a big black sheet. Maybe I should paint that wall a dark color?
Another thing I've added is a Kodak, Q-14 Color Separation Guide. Magazines and printers use these to color correct for publication purposes. I've never used one before but thought it was time to start.
Here's the previous post about my method for photographing oil paintings.
Ode to Melancholy, 24x36, oil on panel
This is a video about the body of work I was documenting and shipping off to Peterson-Cody Gallery this week. (more about the shipping drama and solutions in a couple days!)

The opening is November 4, 130 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM. If you're in town stop in and say hi, I'll be in town.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Women Painting Women Artist on "Work of Art - The Next Great Artist"

I've never watched this Bravo reality TV show before this week, but one of my students recommended it to me. I'm not a fan of reality TV but I have to say this was entertaining.

The first show of the 2nd season aired last week. I was delighted to see Jazz-Minh Moore as one of the contestants.
I've shown with Jazz-Minh last fall, November 2010, at the Women Painting Women Invitational that was at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC. and I loved her paintings! They are acrylic on birch panel, and she incorporates the wood grain in an interesting way. They are finished off with a think layer of resin so they have a depth that is beautiful.
Here's a link for the show which airs every Wed 9/8c. Work of Art-The Next Great Artist .

You can see Jazz-Minh's work here. 

Here are a couple of my posts about the WPW Show, here and here. Press about the WPW show here.

And  finally a link to the Women Painting Women blog that inspired the show at Robert Lange Studios.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fortunate To Be At Robert Lange Studios

Chinese proverbs found in the tradition of fortune cookies inspired the premise of this group show in Charleston, SC. The show is built around "Brilliant" work, Jonathan Brilliant that is, and his Field of Good Fortune Series.
One of Jonathan's large metal sculptures will be in the center of the gallery and Robert Lange Studios' artist's and invited guest artists work, based on the theme, will hang around it on the walls.

Framed beside each work of art will be the tiny fortune cookie proverb that is linked to the piece. I thrilled to be showing again with the wonderful artists at RLS!
Oracle, 30x22, charcoal and pastel on paper
Oracle's fortune cookie proverb
Oracle appeared in American Artist's Drawing Magazine in it's Winter 2011 issue in an article entitled Forming the Figure by Ken Proctor.
Shipping a drawing that is already framed and under glass is always tricky, but she made the journey just fine. The glass was taped and she was wrapped in multiple layers of foam and bubble wrap. Thank you Fed Ex! Here's another post I did about shipping art.

I'm working on my second newsletter, and if you haven't signed up and would like to you can subscribe here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Value Study With a Twist

I'm moving my students from value studies to full color.
Day 1- This is my demo piece of an under painting using an open grisaille method. Grisaille is painting in monochrome and open meaning that the white of the canvas is allowed to show through the paint for the lighter areas of the painting, much like a watercolor technique. If we were painting in the whites with white paint it would be a closed grisaille.

This is a very similar effect as the rub out painting I had them do a few weeks ago. We thinned the paint, Burnt Umber, with a 60/40 mixture of  linseed oil and odorless mineral spirits and painted using an additive method rather than a subtractive method like the rub out. I like doing this type of under painting because it is a value study that you build on rather than do and discard.

I introduced color by adding one piece of fruit to each of the mug and egg still-lifes they'd been working on. Different set-ups had a green apple, a lemon or a red apple.

Day 2- I demonstrated pre-mixing color for the areas to be painted that day. Working from the background to the foreground and painting adjacent forms simultaneously I laid in the forms and simple colors of the lemon and the area around the lemon. (sorry no picture :(

Day 3- I demonstrated bringing one area of the painting to a more finished level. I started by oiling out, rubbing a mixture of medium (60/40 linseed oil and OMS) and a bit of Res N Gel over the sunk in area where I was going to be painting that day. Sinking in is when the oil is drying and the pigments on the surface look chalky or dry.
The couching layer of the oiling out helps the new layer adhere and also helps you see the colors you'd previously painted. Colors can get hard to judge as they dry and this basically brings them back to full saturation.

As I painted I emphasized keeping edges soft, especially in the reflections in the mug and cast shadows. I encouraged them to really look at the objects and challenge themselves to paint by observation.

Only by this intense observation would one notice the way the silver mug throws blue onto the side of the lemon nearest it, or how red the shadow on the under side of the lemon is.

All the students came up with great little paintings. Next up for the class is an all blue still-life and the challenge of differentiating and mixing all those different subtle colors.

It's fun to dream up ways to torture them in a good way!


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