March 31, 2015

James, yellow

March 30, 2015

This is James, two weeks before his third birthday. While I painted this picture, I felt his need for me, his defiance, and the boy he's becoming. I thought about how irressistible he is, and about everything we give up for children. I thought about how I don't need a photo to remember and shape his beloved face.

March 24, 2015

Getting somewhere

My painting received its name this week, which I will share a bit later once I get photos of its new setting. It's amazing - my paintings hang in Peru.

I started a painted version of The Engineeress picture that I blogged about earlier this month. It's moving at a slow pace, hence the lack of blog posts. The painting is only half-finished, after several sessions.

So many challenges that I'm not equal to. For example, what is the best colour to put under flesh colour? Skin looks quite good if it has a few colours in it, I know that much, and especially if you put one colour under the surface colours. So I underpainted the hands with a brown, and then wanted to add another colour. Which one would be best, considering my lighting and the overall mood of this story?

International Artist arrives at my door every couple of months, so I flipped through some back issues looking for answers. What a resource these magazines are! I decided to cataloge them with post-it notes. "Portrait painting process." "Explanation of eye level." "Arranging figures." Writing out one sticky made me pretty happy - "Flesh colour underpainting" (!!).

Of course along the way I'm growing familiar with contemporary artists. I've really enjoyed learning about Julio Reyes, Kevin Grass, and and Warren Chang, who make heavier pieces, as fits my personality. But the magazine is a faithful lover of everything, from flowers to still lives, to landscapes and abstracts (though the last one doesn't get much play, really.)

After a few hours of this, I figured I ought to consult my books, since I was floundering around so much. Only to discover, I don't have any books on painting. I have one book called The New Acrylics, and another called The Materials of the Artist, but not how-to stuff. And I further realised, I've not studied painting much. I took Blair Paul's landscape course three times. Valuable stuff, but in effect, I've taken exactly one painting course and read no books. In fairness, I was a visual arts major in high school, but that was long ago (sniff), and the teachers knew better than to waste their time cramming a lot of technique and theory into a red-blooded teenager like me who just wanted to be left alone to Create My Art (sorry, yes, I was that teenager).

So no wonder I don't know what I'm doing!

I'm fine with "self-taught." As long as it's not code for, "not getting anywhere."

March 1, 2015

New Website -- and, under the influence of pop

Revamped. Renovated. Brand new website!

I read a neat thing about Katy Perry. I had heard of her, but I'm kinda out of the loop when it comes to pop stars these days. Anyway, while sitting next to James' crib waiting for him to fall asleep, I watched a few of her fantastic videos on mute. Female empowerment, yeah! The megalomania of Roar and Dark Horse is amusing and scary. Thoroughly enjoyable!

I read in some article or maybe Wikipedia that she was heavily influenced by two albums, one Beatles and one Beach Boys. She was quoted as saying that she listened to them almost exclusively for two years. Two albums mostly... for two years!

Imagine the freedom? It means, contrary to what I've believe, that I don't have to go to the gallery shows (I don't want to go to anyway) or know all the artists (the more art I look at, the more intimidated I get). It means I can pick a couple of things, follow them carefully, and not worry about it. Other art is generally not inspiring. I'm usually miserable after looking at it.

If only listening to two works was good enough for a global superstar, I think it can be good enough for one career mom toiling far from her churning soup of talent.

So yeah. I really like Mercer Mayer (of Critterville fame)'s East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I've talked about that before. (Just Google it, what do you need me for. Okay fine.) So I'll keep thinking about what I'm learning from him and apply that.