Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Outdoor Painters Society Associate Members Show and Sale

I joined the Outdoor Painters Society a few months ago. When I got an email announcing that they would be having the First Annual Associate Members Show and Sale in Corsicana, Texas, I thought I would enter the show. It will be in August and run into September. Each associate member could submit up to 4 paintings. They guaranteed that one painting would be accepted, and no more than two would be accepted.  So I submitted four paintings, and two were accepted.  The two that were accepted were the two of the Golden Gate Bridge that I had painted while in San Francisco for PACE19.

I happen to have photographs of both paintings "in progress" at the Golden Gate Bridge back in April when I was at the conference.
"Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field" in progress, 4/25/2019

"Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field," oil on 11x14 linen panel
"Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End" in progress, 4/27/2019


"Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End" oil on 12x12 canvas panel
My next step is to follow the very detailed directions to box up both paintings and ship them to Texas. They will keep the shipping box to ship them back to me after the show - unless one or both of them sell. Ha! I'd have to have them both sell in order to recoup the money I'm spending with shipping them to Texas. I'm not expecting either to sell. However, at least I have paintings in an official art show, and I'm listed on their web page as one of the "contributing artists."  And that's exciting!

Entering Art in our County Fair

Today was the day to enter items in the "Cultural Arts" part of our local county fair. Cultural Arts includes a "Judged Art Show" which has several different classes. Since one can enter three items in each class, I entered three of my paintings in the amateur class 04 for "Painting/Pencil/Charcoal (includes oil acrylic, watercolor, 1 dimension mixed media)".

"At the End of a Road in Tuscany" oil on 12 x 16 linen panel
"Let's do the Twist" oil on 9 x 12 linen panel
"He Planted Wildflowers for Me" oil on 8 x 16 linen panel

I also entered two of my fused glass items in the amateur class 06 for "Other fine art (ifiber, stained glass, fused glass, silk screening, jewelry etc.)"  Here are those two items:

Fused Glass pendant and earrings. Two fusings were necessary to create these glass "beads."

Fused Glass vase. Three fusings were necessary to create this free form vase.
Thursday morning I will submit all my culinary entries to the fair. Then the fair will open on Friday evening. That is when I will find out if I won any ribbons.

Last year I put three of my paintings in the Fair - and didn't win a single ribbon.  I won some for my cooking - even a "Best of Show" for my biscuits. I hope that one of my art offerings will get a ribbon this year. We will find out in just three days.

Update: I peeked at the art work when I took my culinary entries to the fair awhile ago. The fair opens tomorrow evening. I only looked at paintings - didn’t even think about looking at the fused glass.  Here is my part of the amateur painting results:



When I remembered that I’d submitted two fused glass items too, I went back to the fairgrounds and looked. I figured it’s a lot less crowded today because tomorrow night it will be a madhouse. Here is my part of the amateur “other” art results: 



To say I’m pleased with my two blue ribbons would be an understatement!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Painting a Georgia Cabin and Pasture

I recently visited my Mother in Georgia. While there, my sister, Beth, and I visited a friend who lived about 30 minutes from my mother's. Wendy lives out in the country, and across from her house is a rustic cabin with fences and pastures and trees all around. So I took a bunch of photos, chose one, and completed this painting a few days later.
"View from Chateau Bacon" oil on 12x16 linen panel


Friday, July 12, 2019

Fused Glass - Getting Back into It . . . Somewhat

Wednesday I got back into doing fused glass when I went back to my friend, Margaret, who has a glass studio next to her garage.. It has been a lot of fun designing various projects there. However, I've found it difficult to regularly go there. We've had so much traveling the past few months. And it will be another 3 weeks before I can go again.

Wednesday I saw this platter that I had completed a month or two ago, and since then Margaret had fused it again in her kiln. We decided that it needed to have a "full fuse" in order for the flower designs to more fully fuse onto the clear glass. 


Then I worked on this platter more - adding more leaves, a red bird, a blue bird and a butterfly.  Margaret will put it in the kiln and fuse it before I go there again.


I've been thinking of what I want to work on next. I'm thinking of doing another vase similar to this one - but this time I want to do a design completely my own. This one was fashioned similarly to one that Margaret had done. 

I also want to do more beads. That involves choosing the colors I want and then stacking/gluing glass with those colors together. Then they'll be fired into one big blob with the colors all fused together. Then I'll take a hammer and whack into a bunch of smaller pieces. We'll fuse those - and they form beads. Then I'll select the pieces that I can use for pendants and earrings. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

My Church - Take Three

I love our church! It's a small country church, and it is so picturesque with its red brick and white trim. I like it so much that I've tried to paint it a couple times before, but I've never been happy with the way my efforts turned out. So yesterday I decided to try it again. This time I went larger and painted it on a 16 x 20 linen panel.

Here's my sketch.


And, despite promising myself that I'd photograph all along the way, I got so engrossed that I was suddenly at the point below before I remembered to take another photo.

Look at the photo.  Do you see any glaring errors? There are at least two.

First, the church looks like it is leaning a little to the left. That was what jumped right out at me when I stepped back and looked at it. If I bring up the photo on my phone and put it in "edit" mode and rotate it just a fraction to the right, it looks perfect. 

So this morning, I straightened up the sidewalk - although that doesn't change the angle of the sides of the church, it helps give the illusion that it's straight.  I also worked on a couple of the lines of the church to make them straighter. I was mostly satisfied that it was no longer leaning.Then I had a good time adding some texture and color to both the sky and the foreground parking area. I sat back and looked at it again, and the second error suddenly hit me! Do you see it?


The second error is that the front door is not centered on the tall middle column. Once you see it, that's all you can see! At least that was all I could see. That was an error I couldn't leave. So I got out a scraper and completely wiped off the overhang above the front door. Then I carefully painted it back - this time centered and a little smaller, too, to be more proportionate.


I've found that usually the first few days after finishing a painting, I will look at it with fresh eyes and see something else that needs to be done. So we will see what happens to it over the next couple days.

I laugh at the tall bushes to the left of the church. They are so overgrown that if it were up to me, I'd cut them all down to about 2 feet high! They'd fill out quickly enough. Right now they block that entire side of the church. However, that's not my area of expertise or responsibility. It has been several years since I took the photo that I based this painting on. Since then, there have been trees planted on the right front side of the church - and those have gotten overgrown, too, blocking much of that side of the church. I decided to paint based on the photo I have and not include those newer trees. I like have more of the church building itself showing.

I didn't think I was going to like this painting when I finished working on it the first day. It just didn't look right to me. However, after making some changes today, I like it more. It still doesn't have the easy, free-flowing look I am working toward. However, I DO very much like the sky and the parking lot, the church looks like the church, the trees look like trees, I didn't get bogged down with tedious details - and I'm happy with it. And that's a good thing!

After it dries and I get it varnished and framed, I may donate it to our church's Fall Festival auction. Of course, that would be a big step in vulnerability because there are some really great artists in our church.  

Update: 7/11/2019. I made more changes.  The three photos below show some of the progression of changes.  And the last photo is where it is now - and I've vowed not to touch it again.

I made the sky too patchwork-y in this version. And I angled the sidewalk downward again. Nope. However I like the look of the brickwork now.


So I straightened the sidewalk again, and I put longer strokes in the sky.


I added more blue to the sky and darkened the foreground of the front parking area. I'm still not happy with the sky - but unless I decide to scrape it all off and paint the sky completely over, I'm not doing anything more to it.

Now I'm trying to come up with a good title for it, and I'm working on a poem. Nothing is coming to me easily. So I will probably just think about it for a few days. Usually I will get an idea that will eventually lead me to where I want to go as far as a title and poem.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cold Wax Medium Abstract

Yesterday I wrote about looking forward to working with cold wax medium again. And today was the day.  I took photos as I went so I could show the process I go through.  Ha ha! From that statement it would sound like I do abstracts with cold wax medium on a regular basis.  However, this is just my fourth time trying it - and the third time trying it on my own outside of a class setting.

In my palette below, you can see where I mixed piles of cold wax medium with various oil colors across the middle of the palette.  Then across the top, I mixed some secondary shades - with a big pile of white.  Along the bottom and right side of the palette are the oil colors.

As you can tell, I love multi-colored things!  And I wanted this painting to have bright colors.



To begin, I took a palette knife and covered the linen panel with color.  I had toned the panel with a reddish and greenish color a month or so ago, and then set it aside. So the background color was completely dry.


I kept adding color - seemingly random patches, although I intentionally had patches of darker colors near the bottom and lighter colors at the top. I kept harmonious colors together. So it wasn't as random as it might look.



Once I had all the colors I wanted on the panel, I used a paint scraper to start moving the paint around. Some long strokes and some short strokes - some to the side, some up and down.



Then I used a sponge to give it some texture.  I didn't like this look at all. It was mottled and unattractive.


So, I brought back the paint-scraper and did some VERY light-handed scraping. What I found was that there was still some of the texture from the sponge showing through, and I DID like that look!


Next I used the edge of the scraper to put some vertical lines in it and then lightly pulled the scraper over a few other places.

And here is the "final" painting for today.  I put quotation marks around the word "final" because I will add to it, take away from it, change it up over the next few days until it expresses what I want. It's already close to that point.



One of the things I like about good abstract art is that you can see so much in the painting.  I can visualize more than one scene within this painting already.  I like the softness of the darks and the lights blended into each other. I will come back to this post over the next few days with updates as I continue to work on this painting.

My description makes it sound as thought I whizzed through this painting in about ten minutes. In reality, I spent over a couple hours on it.  I also didn't put on gloves or my art apron - and my hands and clothes are evidence to the lack of protection. I've got to dig out the nail brush to get all the paint out from under my nails. And my shirt and pants already had paint on them - so what's a little more? Even my sandals have a drop of red paint on them!

By the way, the paint/cold wax medium is VERY thick on this panel. I would guess it would take weeks for it to dry enough not to come off easily.  So changes have to be made carefully to avoid blending the colors too much and making it a muddy mess!  

Update: July 6, 2017
I worked on this painting today, and I'm done!  What I learned is that the previous paragraph is NOT true!  The paint/cold wax medium was very thick, but when I went to work on it, it was too dry to blend any more. Wow!  Apparently the cold wax medium makes it dry faster - not slower. No issue whatsoever about making it a "muddy mess."  I added more blue along the bottom and tried to smooth out the vertical lines somewhat.  I really like it. 



And since it is already too dry to work with it further - and since I don't want to make any changes anyway - it is done!  16 x 20 oil on linen board. I actually like the first "final" copy better than this one.  LOL!

Any suggestions for a title?  "Beyond the City" is the first title that came to me. I don't really like that, though.  


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Illness and a Dry Art Spell


I've been sick since last week. Just a digestive issue (diverticulitis) that gives me fits occasionally. I went to bed last Friday afternoon, fell asleep, and basically slept until Sunday - only arising long enough to take care of the essentials - and then going right back to sleep. I've found that is how my body handles illness - lots and lots of sleep.

Since then I've gradually felt better. There's still a lot of fatigue, but mostly no more pain.

Today was an interesting day in diverticulitis-land. I decided to have a breakfast of two poached eggs and one slice of dry toast. Nice, bland, non-irritating food - right? Within a few minutes of eating it, I was in digestive distress again, and it lasted for several hours.

Later in the afternoon, Ron came home with barbecue ribs and some pulled pork. It's the 4th of July, after all. Now I've been on a mostly liquids and soft foods diet for almost a week now. I was craving something with more flavor. So, even knowing I would likely regret it, I ate two of the ribs, maybe a couple tablespoons of baked beans, and a little pulled pork with a slice of bread. And, miraculously, I have felt fantastic ever since - and that was many hours ago. Absolutely no stomach upset or pain. It makes no sense - but I will take it!

But, enough of my physical ailments - that's over, and I'm fine now. Let's talk about art.

So I've had a "dry spell" the past week when it comes to painting.  I have done a good bit of writing the past few days - working on a writing project I've started. Writing comes fairly easy to me - especially the personal memoir/journaling type writing I've been doing. But have I done any visual art - painting - this week? Nope.

I went to my studio a couple times while I was sick, and I straightened it up a bit from when my two youngest granddaughters were here last week, I looked at some ideas I want to incorporate into a painting, I planned a couple paintings, I watched some painting videos, and I got online and ordered some art supplies (because you can never have too much!), but I didn't paint. I started to several times, but then couldn't quite muster the energy to do it.

What I have learned is that I go through phases in my painting.  Dry spells will come, and they will go. Productive spells will come, and they will go, too. Painting is a joy for me - and if I force myself to do it when it's just not in me at the time, then I will lose that joy. Now sometimes, I will tell myself I will paint for only a few minutes, and that turns into the beginning of a productive spell. But even those few minutes are too much at times. When I was sick, it was too much. And that's okay.


My project for tomorrow is to start working on one of those ideas I had last week. I'm excited just thinking about it. I also want to do more with cold wax medium. I really enjoyed the abstract art I worked on a few months ago with cold wax medium. The two pieces I completed then are the two photos with this post. I want to do that again. It was a fun technique using different tools to form different textures. I'm eager to see what I can create with it. I might even get one of my really big canvases (24 x 36 or larger) and do a cold wax abstract piece on it. Ha! I might have to buy more cold wax!

Speaking of "buying," one of the art supplies I ordered this week was gouache! I ordered a basic palette of colors, and when that package gets here, I will try out this new (to me) medium. I'm looking forward to working with the colors and seeing what I think. Gouache, by the way, rhymes with "squash" - "gwaash" - although I've heard it pronounced where it rhymes with "ash," too.

So, here's to tomorrow being a new day - feeling healthy again - the miracle of the human body and how it can heal itself - tackling new projects - and getting back into my Mary Carol Studio and wearing it out!

Williamson County FCE Clubs' Cultural Arts Day

Many years before I started painting, I enjoyed doing crafts - lots and lots of different crafts. I didn't believe in myself as an artist, and so I did something more structured that I felt I could be more successful in doing.  I've done beadwork, macrame, rock-painting, weaving, stained glass, crocheting, knitting, sewing, and more recented, fused glass.

Last week, was our Williamson County FCE Clubs' Cultural Arts Day, and so I entered three of my crafts and one of my paintings into the competition. Here are my results:

This are the fused glass necklace and earrings I made. Fused glass is fun to do, although it's important to be careful! I like that no two completed pieces of glass are identical.  

This is another fused glass piece - a vase. This was particularly fun to make, and I love the way it looks.

These are prayer beads made with a cross of olive wood from Bethlehem. I got the crosses off Amazon.  I've probably made more than 100 sets of prayer beads over the past few years.


This was my solitary painting entry, and it got a second place ribbon.  Out of all the paintings, I could have chosen, I'm not sure why I didn't chose another painting. I like this one, though. It's my second painting of the wild flowers at the front of our property.



Pandemic Painting

The Coronavirus pandemic is in full swing, and people across the world are self-isolating in their homes. Quarantines are wide-spread, and s...