Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Still Life with Gingham

Handsome's two weeks of volunteer excavating for the Keene Valley River Restoration Project is complete, and my camera is once again available. Remember the still life in progress

For it's intent and purpose, as a learning piece, it's now done. I'm partly happy with it--the glass, ceramic and metals look OK. The nectarine does look like it's floating or maybe just cut out and pasted on, though, and I realize that the check perspective is all wrong. And I need to get a better handle on leaving some soft edges. Good information for next time.

To that end, here's my next still life setup.

At the river restoration site, I found a spot in the woods where the family had been throwing their refuse for years. Seems like a lot of long-established farms have such a spot. If I'd wanted to, I could have hauled home an old, rusty bike frame, an old, rusty iron bed, and a bunch of other things. But I resisted the temptation. I did fill up a small box with glass and ceramic shards, though, and I cleaned them up very carefully.

I've sketched out this array on watercolor paper, with the intention of making it a watercolor painting. My sketch (not shown) is from life, and it's not cropped as tightly as this photo. I like the crop, though, and might sketch it out on a cardboard panel to paint as another experiment with oils.

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Adirondack Sketching

One of the recurrent motifs for sketching last week, while I "supervised" the Keene Valley River Restoration Project, was the beautiful setting. Landscapes, in general, do not flow as smoothly out of my pencil, pen or brush as do other subjects. And my consistently most difficult challenge: 


So I practiced. Failure allowed!

And I practiced some more.

And then some more.

Actually, the conifer and the barn are in color, 
but I forgot to tell the scanner. 
More on my troubles with color, tomorrow. 
Trees are enough for today.

Failure allowed is my new mantra.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adirondack Tardis

The previously posted Salt Shaker Still Life has been completed! 
However, I am not posting it--yet--because Handsome still has the camera up in the woods...

sketchbook value study on the site of the Rivermede River Restoration Project

...and the oil paint isn't dry enough to slap it onto the scanner. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Adirondack Sketchbook

Back from a week in the mountains, and missing them already, I am trying to catch up on Real Life. And soon, after I clear a week's worth of mail off the kitchen table, I will re-set-up the yellow teapot still life, and attempt the scary: painting the cloth underneath the whole thing. I shudder at the thought!

Here's the beginning of a mini-re-cap of my artsy adventures in the Adirondacks. First day, I tried to sketch the main house at the Rivermede Farm, in Keene Valley:
I've always loved to draw buildings, wished that I could draw trees and the landscape, and met with very, very limited success. Probably Because I don't practice enough. I did several versions of this type of thing that first day, before I got frustrated enough to abandon panoramic-type landscape drawing for still life-type landscape drawing:
This one was a little more fun, a little less "Argh--I can't draw!" 

Tune in again for details of the further artistic adventures of my week as a Safety Officer at a river restoration project in the glorious mountains of New York State.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chrome Domes

Here's another progress check...

The nectarine still looks a little crazy, or possibly...waxen? I'm looking forward to painting in the tablecloth. Sort of. It has many small checks that could lead to many large headaches.

BUT now I'm off to the Adirondacks for a week or two of "River Restoration." Apparently, the trout in the Ausable River in Keene Valley are unhappy, and we don't want that! I'll either be driving a loader or walking around with a clipboard, making sure that people comply with the Site Safety Rules. The oil paints will stay home, but I'm taking along my sketching and watercolor materials. There may be time to paint.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Genre: Hysterical Romance

Some novels have fantastic cover art.

Some novels have fantastic cover blurbs.

And some novels have both yellow covers.

I snagged this irresistible tome at the library book sale. Just out of curiosity, I thought I'd see if everything, everything ever written is truly for sale on Amazon, and...the answer is tending toward YES. You actually can purchase Calling Nurse Linda, and discover how "She Knew She Was Needed As A Woman As Well As A Nurse."
(If you're nutty enough to want to spend $14 plus S&H for it.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Still Life So Far

As you can see, the pear turned into a nectarine, and as you can't see, the green cloth underneath turned into a checkered red and white one.
I'm having some hate issues with that nectarine.

The red and white checked cloth will be a bear to paint, but I'm going to accept it as a challenge and forge ahead! First, though, it's time to get going with the chrome. And that nectarine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sketching and Painting: Chrome and Glass

In my attempt to consider design as well as paint application, I've sketched this still life before setting up to paint it. In fact, I even did the thumbnails before the sketch before the painting! The above is the sketch...which did help when it came time to rough out the placement of shapes on my small canvas panel. Although it's a small, simple still life, there are a couple of challenges present: the metal tops of the teapot and salt shaker, and the faceted glass of the salt shaker. Ought to be fun!

What did not help, though, is that the panel was an old, really, really sad painting that I turned upside down, and painted over.

I suppose I have to wait a while before revealing the results of this afternoon's endeavor, because I don't think I'd like oil paint shmeared all over the scanner.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sketchbook Saturday, Stockbridge Sunday

Saturday, I sketched Handsome out in a lounge chair, reading. The valley of my sketchbook is not really black. You can't tell by my sketch, but he really was wearing shorts.

Sunday, we made it to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I'd been there years ago, but I had been wanting to go this summer, to see the Howard Pyle Exhibit. 

It was great.

I highly recommend this excursion: a perfect sized art museum in that you can take your time, feel that you really saw the place, in one afternoon. And taking a break for some scrumptious Red Lion Inn sandwiches and salads out on the terrace fortifies you for going back in for a second look at all of the pieces that...require a Second Look.

Pyle's illustrations have always prompted me to go take that Second Look. His facility with paint application blows me away, but as I walked through the exhibit, I kept noticing how well-designed his paintings and illustrations were. 

I'm going to try to think about design more in my own work. I tend to either think about design (for posters, black and white logos, etc) OR painting, and I really need to start doing thumbnails, sketches, values studies, and thinking design for a painting BEFORE I sit down with the paint tubes. 

Later, after the short walk through the lawn to Norman Rockwell's actual painting studio (which has been moved. His studio was right in the middle of the village, behind his house,) we drove a few miles to Tanglewood, to hear the the Boston Symphony Orchestra . Bernadette Peters sang Broadway tunes after the intermission. The highlight for me was the BSO's encore piece, The Stars and Stripes Forever, conducted by some guy who's mother had donated a lot of money and won him the opportunity. He was fun to watch, but oh, when those piccolos take over in the middle of the piece, WOW.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Free KISMET Deal Extended!

A day off, a day spent relaxing 
(before running here and there to catch some fireworks,)
a day to read.  
and enjoy. 
Happy Independence Day!

Only Hours Left for a Free Kismet Download!

I bought a few pieces of fruit today, with the idea that they would make a nice still life subject. But while unpacking, I set the bags down on the table...and it made for an interesting impromptu watercolor pencil study. Wish I'd paid more attention to leaving some whites. I went back into it with a little white acrylic, and did not do the sketch any favors, and definitely didn't help the green plastic look more like plastic and less like a wet tissue.

Monday, July 2, 2012

This is a Real Thing?!?

Men who like My Little Pony so much that they have a convention devoted to the cartoon/toys?
And they dress up like...colorful ponies?

I really don't get this.

Free Download of Kismet today and tomorrow!
Click on the book box to the left, and be reading Kismet on your Kindle within a minute.
Or go to Amazon, download their free "Kindle for PC" app, and then download Kismet for free.

Prefer reading on a Nook or one of the other e readers? 
 Watch this blog for
The Way Back 
coming to ALL e readers, soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pencil Change of Heart

I never liked mechanical pencils. Probably, because of the thin, scratchy line fine-leaded one makes, but maybe because I'm a Luddite. I always liked the nice, soft line of a good, old Ticonderoga yellow school pencil. For a time, I even preferred drawing with those bigmonster flat-leaded carpenters' pencils.
However, I have had a change of heart, and I am enjoying my .7 HB mechanical pencil.
Present Progress on the Vintage Vixen.
I think it's because I don't have a good pencil sharpener at the moment.

On the Writing Front, I have spent some a lot of time formatting Kismet to Smashwords specifications, and this morning, before uploading with Smashwords so that Kismet would be available to Nooks, Kobis, iPads, etc, I eagerly went into my Amazon Bookseller Account to make sure I was done with the three month commitment to sell exclusively with them...and I found that, back in March, I had checked the box "automatically re-up me for another three months when these three months are over" [sic] ARGH!
So. Since I'm stuck with Amazon and only Amazon for the next three months, I've decided to take advantage of their "free" promo thing and offer Kismet for free tomorrow and Tuesday. 

Do click on the box on the top left of the blog, and download a free read for your Fourth of July pleasure! It's a good hot-day-at-the-beach read, and also a good rainy-afternoon-on-the-porch read, so you'll be set, either way. Enjoy!