Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day morning at Knoxville National Cemetery, which adjoins the historic Old Gray Cemetery in downtown Knoxville. I had to go into work for a couple of hours, but did so early enough that by the time I got off the sun was clear up and beautifully bright, and before the arrival of the daily haze we've had in the heat this past week. This monument is known as The Tennessee Monument, The Wilder Monument, or the Union Soldier Monument -- depending on what source you use.

Note: For more information about the monument at the Knoxville National Cemetery, click HERE for a rather interesting history, and, amazingly, the only photograph of the monument I could find on line. I think I'm going to fix that problem, and will be posting a photo soon! If you read the information, you'll note that I took a bit of artistic license with the monument, shortening the tower by about the height of the figure, in order to get the bits I wanted to fit on the page. I wanted to get the top against the sky -- the arches with the door and wreath -- and, most importantly, the nearby bright red, white, and blue flag.

And here are some Canadian geese along with their latest addition at Norris Lake on Sunday. There were several families with baby geese, and they were so cute! Ma and Pa Goose stayed close by, and didn't hesitate to take turns hissing at anyone or anything that came too close to Baby Goose. Since it was a holiday weekend the lake was MUCH too crowded for our taste. Still, we went out to do some start-of-season cleaning and maintenance on the boat and had to take just a short run up the lake and back. NEXT weekend, if the weather holds, we'll be out on the water playing! I do love summer ...

The technical bits: I did this with 2B and 6B pencils in my new Raffine sketchbook -- the very large one (10.4 " x 15.2"). There's not been enough time yet to pass judgement on this sketchbook -- the paper seems a bit more textured than what I'm used to, but I do love the size! However, it doesn't fit onto the scanner, so I had to use the camera, and found that it's much easier to photograph a watercolor than a graphite drawing. I had to adjust the contrast some to get these to look right, and this is as close as I could get it!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

After the Art Show

Diahn and I are left standing happy! The art show last night went just wonderfully, with a tremendous amount of fantastic 2-D and 3-D art to be seen. There was a total of 140 pieces, approximately 110 of which were 2-dimensional. The weather was clear, the food was tasty, the flowers were beautiful, the crowd was elbow to elbow, and everyone seemed agree that it was one of the best shows the Art Center had ever had. And, when it came time to announce the awards, Diahn and I were especially honored and thrilled to each receive an award!

I received an honorable mention for my little watercolor "Other People's Stuff":

And Diahn received a third place prize for her fabulous mixed media painting, "Contemplation #5: Fear ":

(note: We both forgot to bring cameras last night, so we came back this morning to take pictures. We really looked much dressier for the real event....)

My little magnolia painting hangs under a beautiful portrait by John Houglam:

Diahn's painting with beautiful blue background was my secret favorite of all the paintings in the show -- yep, a real big secret! (Contemplation #6: Value)

But I think she thinks her self portrait is the best of the three she submitted. I think it's pretty GREAT, too!

I wonder what's next for us? Now that we're "award winning" (okay, we say that phrase to each other now just so we can roll around on the floor laughing until we cry, while spouses, family, and friends just stand around looking bemused...) what shall we do? We have to set the bar up a little higher now! We'll see -- for now, we're just having fun!!!
If you haven't already, go visit Diahn and tell her congratulations!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May Goal Update and NEWS!

Mayapple from an old art journal in ?2004?
I just started playing with watercolors then -- doing them only occasionally in my journal, and then abandoning them for months and months at a time.

Diahn and I met the other day to go over our 2007 Art Goals and were both pleasantly surprised to find how much we had accomplished in a relatively short period of time. We even had to UPDATE them ...

(1) PROJECT -- 500 Objects. I'm still working on this, and gave myself the task of doing 5 in May, 7 in June, and 10 in July. Seems like I'm having a hard time with this, and needed to "chunk it down" a bit.

(1.a.) NEW drawing related goal -- I will be doing value studies before any new painting and really studying composition. Composition, value, and temperature seem to be going awry lately, and I think it's because I've gotten sloppy.

(2) I will be working more in pastels. Well, I've been doing that! A more specific and updated goal NOW is:

(2.a.) I will be doing one pastel landscape a week. (Maybe I'll do Landscape Thursday, like Teri does Cactus Monday and Wild Wisconsin Wednesday!) :-) It's doubtful that I'll be posting all of them... I'm still at the stage of putting out some serious FLOPS!

(2.b.) I will set my sights on having at least one piece that I'm willing to enter into Pastel Journal's Pastel 100 Competition in September. We'll call this a tentative goal, okay? If not this year, NEXT year, if pastel still feels good!

(3) I'd like to take an art workshop sometime this year ... I got to do that! And I'm hoping that Paul will be coming back to town to give another workshop, which I will take. What a wonderful teacher he is, too -- he's graciously given me some very helpful, positive, and HONEST critiques of a couple of pieces that I sent him via e-mail. How many workshop instructors have that kind of follow up?!

(4) I WILL be hanging art for sale at the gallery at the art center. Ahem. See BIG NEWS below. :-)

ACCOUNTABILITY -- Diahn and I decided that we are going to review our 2007 goals with each other on the 17th of every month. We've done exactly that! And folks, I highly recommend that you have a buddy to meet with regularly to help keep you on track. You DON'T both have to be artists -- maybe your friend has goals of another type entirely. You will STILL help each other more than you can imagine!

We are also working on studying marketing, since we really need to do something to help support our art habits!

NOW for the BIG NEWS!
Last week I submitted three pieces for a juried show at Fountain City Art Center -- a BIG first for me! This morning I heard that ALL THREE were juried in ... :-)
Diahn entered three awesome pieces, too, and they were ALSO all juried in ... we are flying today!

I entered: Gossip, Other People's Stuff (listed for sale!)and, Magnolia Bud
Go visit Diahn and let her show you what she entered! It will rock your socks off!

The reception will be Friday night ... and I believe we will have treated ourselves to new clothes by then...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Double Tag

I'm posting this depressingly overworked bit of pastel because this is an art blog and I feel obligated to post a picture. Don't worry, I'm working on it. Newbies take heart! A new medium is TOUGH!!!

WHY I POSTED -- because I got tagged. Double tagged, actually, by Janey and by Jan, both wonderful art bloggers!

So, the tag is to tell 7 little known or odd facts about yourself (as I recall), and then tag 7 other bloggers to do the same. Since I don't very often say things like, "bah, humbug," and because I like games and never get to play them because SOMEBODY else around here does not ... somebody who shall go unnamed but who I married anyway... since I think this is really kind of fun, I'm going to play along.
;-) If I tag you, I hope you play along, too! (hmmm... now I have to think of seven interesting things...)

1) I once spent a week alone camping along the Gulf coast of Texas on up into the Louisiana coast, with no itinerary other than starting out in Port Aransas searching out whooping cranes. I wonder if it looked to some people like I kind of ran away from home, since I left my husband and daughter behind (although I called every single day -- and this was before cell phones.) It was one of the greatest trips of my life, and I'm really glad I adventured solo! Everybody should do that once in their life. (I was also very glad to get home!)

2) I'm addicted to Sudoku. I tried not to get addicted, but it happened. I even have a small Sudoku book stashed in the back seat of my car , just in case. I'm also addicted to books on tape...

3) Speaking of addictions, I smoked for about 33 years and quit a little over a year ago. (Specifically, 1 year, 3 months, 12 days, and about 3 hours ago...) I still have a half pack of cigarettes in my drawer, and will keep them. I'm allowed to start back anytime I want, but I have to start with THOSE. (They are pretty nasty by now, wouldn't you imagine?) I truly believe I will never smoke another cigarette again.

4) I've been the bride more times than I've been the bridesmaid -- that sounds really tacky, but I've only been a bridesmaid once (about 20 years ago), and I still have the blue dress with the big bow on the butt. Seems like I have one of the other bridesmaid's dresses, too. Up until a little over a year ago I could still fit into my dress. Now I can't. (see item #3)

5) So, Jan's afraid of grasshoppers; Janey loves grasshoppers, but doesn't care at all for ants... along the same line of conversation, I'm 100 percent terrified -- horrified -- mortified -- phobic!!!! --- about slugs. I shudder to type the vile word! YUK! I am, however, not at all afraid of snakes.

6) So, here I am not afraid of snakes, yet I'm the only person I know who's been bit by a snake not once, not twice, but three times. All three times the snakes were in the right, I was in the wrong, and they were just looking out for themselves! Fortunately none of the three were poisonous, or snakes might have moved down on my list of tolerable animals.

7) I'm blind in one eye. (Stick with me here -- there's a moral to the story) It happened suddenly some 18 or 19 years ago. I noticed a small grey fuzzy bit in my vision that didn't go away. That afternoon I went to a walk in clinic, thinking that maybe my contact lens had scratched my eye, and the doctor prescribed neosporin ointment to put in my eye, even though he didn't see any kind of scratch. This was on Friday. By Sunday morning I had NO vision in my eye -- total darkness -- and went into the hospital where I was diagnosed by an ophthalmologist with acute retinal necrosis (the retina just started dying -- they never found a reason!) With treatment, the necrosis stopped, and in time reversed. For a bit there I didn't have any color vision in that eye -- everything was really and truly black and white. Then one afternoon I caught a flash of something from that side, and turned to realize that I could see the color orange in a bowl of fruit on the table -- it looked like someone had colored over a black and white photo -- cool, huh! Eventually I got most of my vision back, but several years later some of the scar tissue began to contract and pull up and cause problems again. I ended up having to have laser surgery, which basically wiped out my central vision. Now, if I look straight at you with that eye, I'll see your shoulders and maybe your hair, but not your face. I have terrible depth perception in certain ranges, but since I'm fortunate enough to have peripheral vision so I'm good to go with distances. Still -- the moral of the story is -- TAKE CARE OF YOUR EYES! Don't trust them to anyone other than an eye doctor! Don't fiddle around and be afraid to have any change of vision checked -- if your vision changes, you need to consider it AN EMERGENCY!!! If I had gone to an eye doctor the day I first noticed the problem, I would have been treated so quickly that the whole incident would probably have been forgotten by now. Trust me.

Now -- let's think of who to tag next ... some are well known to EDM'ers (this meme is going around EDM pretty fast) but some may be new to you. If they are, stop by and say hello!

1) Diahn , mi amiga, who puts up with me in person on occasion, and who also happens to be an awesome artist! I went to her house the other day and was stunned to finally see her original paintings in person ... wow! (She's also one heck of a decorator.)

2) Lynne ,whose gorgeous pastel work just blows me away. I go look at her stuff regularly, and look at it REALLY closely so I can try to see how she does it! Lynne is Wally's sister, and I'd bet she could come up with seven very interesting things to say, if she decides to play!

3) Joey, who not only knows what the word quotidian means, but actually POSTS daily. I love visiting his blog!

4) Bonny, who has travelled a lot lately and told us a lot about it. I wonder if she can come up with seven odd things she's seen or done in her travels??? ;-D

5) Annie, who was one of my earliest visitors and is always supportive. She is a great photographer and writer!

6) and 7) good grief. I think everybody who might have time to play has already been hit. If you haven't yet, stick your name in here and get writing! :-D

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Evening in Gulfport

I know -- it's been a while since I've posted! We've had loads of fun company (my parents passed through and D's parents came last weekend) and some not so fun company (corporate types invaded us several times the past two weeks at work...) I'm way behind on e-mail, too -- so if you've had some big news, and I haven't responded, that's why. There's no way I'll catch up with all the EDM e-mails -- whew -- so I'll just be reading the past three digests or so. I'll try to catch up with everybody's blogs over this week as I can! :-)

So, this is the start of a pastel piece that has been in my head for a few weeks. It is based on a photo of a palm tree shadow against a white building taken one evening when we were in Gulfport (or it may have been in Bay St. Louis?) -- anyway -- southern Mississippi. It's the kind of thing that really catches your eye, but makes a lousy photo -- exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking pastel is probably perfect for.

I didn't think to take a photo until about stage three -- I'd already sketched it out, done a pretty good layer of color, and then gone over it all with acrylic medium and more grit. I don't know why I did that -- I'm overusing that technique, I think!

The next step, after everything had dried, was to add some good color. Here I have the sky blocked in and some nice bright blues... (I think I was also at this point wondering what the heck I was getting myself into???? )

Here I've blocked in even more... This is the best part, because I get to add all kinds of reds and weird stuff in that area behind the trees. It's really a hotel or something totally boring in the photo. In the painting, it doesn't have to be anything but the right value, I hope!

Still work to go, but wow -- have I learned a lot on this one so far! I just have to let it rest for a couple of days - I tend to overwork really quickly with pastel. Pastel artist friends -- I'm having a hard time getting the space behind the trees without having all those obviously jagged-y MARKS. I've followed the rules of using my softest pastels last, but that's messing up my detail. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of using pastel pencil last to tighten it up, but wonder if that isn't going to be too much. I like the almost abstract quality of the left side ...

Wonder what it would look like as a watercolor?

And here's something fun to do when a work looks iffy big, but looks pretty good small -- take a photo of it with your camera phone and use it as your wallpaper. This one works great! ;-)

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( "One Evening in Gulfport" work in progress - pastel on sanded multimedia board)