Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More of the figure

I have been working exclusively on the figure for the past two weeks. I am on my second self portrait, and this one is in oil. I think it is beginning to resemble me, a bit. I am not sure I am ready to post it, but maybe by tomorrow I will feel a bit better about that. Instead, here is a charcoal drawing from yesterday. I struggled on this one!

Oh, and I guess you can see the final version of the pastel self portrait. It isn't too much different, but at least I have eyebrows now. Too tired to write more.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Look Mom, no eyebrows!

Here is the self portrait after day 2. Still, I do not believe it is done, because not only do I not have any eyebrows, but also, there is something wrong with that left eye. There is more in it than that to work on, but at the moment, those are the glaringly obvious issues. I am tired of wearing the same tank top, so today I decided to wear a similar one, and wash the one I was wearing. Then, if I need it again tomorrow (let's hope not), at least it will be clean. I suppose I could do what most artists I know do: rather than sitting in front of a mirror, they take a photograph self portrait and use the photograph as a reference, rather than the image in the mirror. I don't know why I don't do that, except to say that I really get bored working from a photograph. The photograph never moves, never changes expression, never needs a bathroom break. It is much too demanding a task master. I like the live, actual person, be it me or an obliging model. Then, we need to take breaks, move around. Get back into the pose and move slightly, so that I have to redraw the hand, or maybe the eyes are more interesting this time. The head tilt is different, so now I have to deal with that change. This is what I enjoy about life drawing. It is like life - ever changing and demanding that we deal with those changes. For me, it is much closer to the truth.

I hope everyone has a nice weekend! Go eat watermelon with seeds (do they still sell that kind?) and spit the seeds out! Just like you did when you were a kid. If you didn't do it as a kid, you really need to do it, cuz it is fun.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Self Portrait

It's Thursday, so tonight there is another two hour drawing session with a model. It is so important for me to draw, and draw often. It makes a difference in all of my art, whether it be abstract or figurative.

This week, I am working on a self portrait, which hopefully will turn out well enough to enter in a juried competition I have been thinking about. This is what I have so far, but it is obviously not done yet. I have given myself more hair than I really have, because as an artist you can do things like that. You see? There are advantages to being an artist!

I took a few photos of pencil cholla last night. The sun was setting, so all the light was that last little glow before the sun disappeared. This is pencil cholla, but it is not nearly as dangerous to dog paws as the silver cholla. That is the stuff that seems to be everywhere, and the spines get stuck in dog toes and people toes. Ouch!

This is going to be a short post, since I am itching to get in the studio. Have a super day, all!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Desert Willow and a painting

I finally got some non-blurry photos of the desert willow blossoms. They really are wonderful. This is from the walk and run this morning. I write "walk and run" because I run, but I am not much of a runner, so then I walk. I alternate. That way, I get my cardio workout, but it is still bearable. Of course, it would be really hard to take photos of things while running!

I also have another abstract oil painting to show you. This one was also done from the little watercolor studies I did earlier this summer. I changed it slightly. I wanted a little more contrast, and I was having difficulties getting the blue to look the same. I do like it so far. It is now sitting in the spare room, drying and letting me look and contemplate it. This is called "Summertime" and it measures 24 x 30 x 2.5 inches.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Drawing the figure

We woke up to a cool and cloudy day. No rain so far, but the change is welcome. I intend to spend the rest of the day in the studio, but I did want to quickly post some new art for you from the life drawing.

This first one is a 25 minute pose, charcoal on paper. From Thursday night.

This one is pastel on La Carte paper, the 3 1/2 hour pose from Friday. I am thinking I will work on it a bit more, since I did take a photograph of the pose.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life Drawing

I am accustomed to a weekly four hour session of drawing from a live model. So far, in our new digs I have only been able to find a group that meets for two hours. I have been attending, but it just doesn't seem like enough drawing for me. I decided to organize a four hour session. This afternoon will be the second four hour session I have organized. I am looking forward to it, especially since I did attend the two hour session last night. I should be warmed up to draw today. If I get something I like, I promise to post it for you.

The photo at the top is the desert willow. It is a native shrub/small tree. It is one of my favorites, because the blooms are beautiful. I had a photo of the blossoms, but it is blurry, so I will try to take another one tomorrow. Usually, it can be found in the washes, where it gets a little more water than it would out on the flats. I am hoping to buy one to plant on the south side of our house.

I better get going to draw. Have a good weekend, and enjoy the cottontail I did the same day as those two jackrabbits I posted earlier.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Note to self: have fun

I have decided that things were getting a little heavy in the business aspect of promoting my art. Sometimes, that has a way of seeping into the creating of art. If I feel too much pressure to "make a painting", there is a good chance I will get blocked or freeze up while painting so the art looks rigid. No one wants rigid art!!! It must look free and exuberant. (At least I think it should look free and exuberant.)

So, yesterday was a "play day" for me. I decided to play with some ideas that have been percolating in the old noggin. You know what? - it WAS fun! Here are the results. These are postcard sized. watercolor, tissue paper, soap wrapper, and ink.

Just a little reminder, my website is now updated and live! if you would like to check it out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Unexpected treats

This was supposed to be posted last night (Monday), but it was slightly delayed because I wasn't able to upload any photos. So here it is now.

It rained Sunday!!! I mean it. It really rained. In July, in the middle of the day, in the desert. It was amazing. I was in the studio, paint brush in hand, when I heard this sound. It took me a moment to determine what that sound was. Then it hit me - RAIN! Needless to say, I grabbed the camera and went outside to photograph and dance in it. It was lovely. It didn't rain long, but it was enough rain to fill up our wheelbarrow with water. I should have taken a photo of that, but sometimes I forget that my eyes aren't cameras.

I worked on a painting from one of the little watercolors I was working on a couple of weeks ago. Do you remember those? Well, I wanted to blow them up big, and do them in oil. So this was the first one. I may go in and work on it more, but it needs to dry and sit a little. There is contemplation involved, don't you know. The part I am enjoying the most so far is when I came back in with the palette knife and gave it some nice texture.

There are more photos and paintings coming, but it is time for bed.

Good night.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Art Events in Pomona

Thank you to all of you for your kind birthday wishes.

Last night, a group of artists I know from the weekly figure drawing session all drove to Pomona for an opening of a friend of mine, Esther Shaw. The opening was at a place called SCA Project. You can check out the website here. It was such a beautiful show! It seems like there was a good turnout. Pomona has a "Second Saturday Art Walk", so we spent some time looking at some of the other galleries in the area, too. It is always exciting to look at the creative things other artists are doing. Here is a photo of Esther, her husband Mike, and their granddaughter, standing in front of one of Esther's paintings.

I am planning another day in the studio today. I had a fairly good day painting on Friday, so I hope to repeat that! It can be so disheartening to spend a long day in the studio and come out feeling as though it was a waste. That does happen sometimes. This isn't a very good photograph, but here is one of the paintings I worked on. I think it is finished, but I will let it sit for a couple of days, just to be sure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I meant to write this post yesterday, but I was having trouble logging onto the internet, and lost my patience. So I am a day late.

I celebrated birthday number 39 yesterday! Birthdays are interesting as a person gets older. I know a lot of people worry about getting older, or have resentment about it. I don't feel that way. I am not in the least bit concerned about being 39, or even about turning forty next year. Maybe I will feel differently next year, but for now I am enjoying what age brings: the new confidence, the wisdom gained from life experience, and the memories of times past. It is good.

The day before I was born, my mom was up on a huge ladder, painting the exterior of the second story house they lived in. I like to think that's why I am a painter, because I got started when I was still in the womb! It was a hot July day when I came into this world. I had a heat rash all over my body until the end of the summer, and I cried a lot. The heat made me miserable! Isn't it amazing that now I don't mind the heat, and I am living in the desert? Crazy.

In other desert news, the cat's claw blooms are fading, and green seed pods have emerged. I took a couple of photos on the walk yesterday, so I could share them with you. I hope you all have a lovely summer day today.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Introducing the new and improved website

I am happy to announce that I am "done" (for now) with the overhaul of my website!!! It is not going to be redirected to until probably next week, due to some technical issues. However, you can still see it by clicking here. I chose the second header, since that one was voted most popular by all of you, my beloved blog readers. I did get a little help from a good friend on the font. You will be able to see it in action! This will be so nice, because I can update the website myself. My husband used to all of my web work, and he did a great job, but it was time for me to take it over.

I celebrated by buying some of this incredibly decadent ice cream Starbucks makes called Java chip. This stuff is dangerous, but amazingly good. It probably has absolutely no nutritional value, but I will say it is good for the soul. And it will cool a person off on a hot day. We have plenty of those here in Joshua Tree. (For example, it is currently 6 pm and 99 degrees F outside.)

Pono the dog and I came across a jojoba bush (photo at the top) this morning on our daily run/walk. For those of you who aren't familiar with Simmondsia chinensis, this bush is most famous for the oil found in the jojoba nut. It is often used in fragrances, lotions or other cosmetics. Coincidentally, I just bought some body butter today that has jojoba oil in it! It is also being researched for use as a biofuel. How benign it looked, just sitting there in the sandy ol' desert. For more reading about the jojoba, click here. Here is a close up shot of the jojoba nut, which is still green. Eventually, it will turn a dark brown color.