Third Note to Self (Friday Debrief)

It’s been a busy, productive week. So busy that I didn’t do a “regular” post this week. I’m only here for my debrief. I’ve been working on the picture above, whimsically begun, based upon some little drawings and a dream. It measures about 38 x 40. Dimensions are not exact yet because it’s unstretched. The canvas is very rough and thus very well suited for dragged colors. It’s experimental. We’ll see what direction it takes.

I’ve been making little drawings to think about what the dream lake of shining light and clouds should look like.

Preexisting paintings have been coming along too. The suite of paintings of “hills,” all based the same composition photo collage, slowly evolve. Each one has a reference drawing that treats the motif a little differently.

The second hills picture is the one I’ve worked on the most this week. The painting measures 36 x 48 and the drawing (in neopastel below) measures about 22 x 30.

I began exploring a new motif. So far the images are not clicking. But it has been interesting to be back in R&D mode using neopastel. The two drawings are in the 18 x 24ish range, below.

Some of the color difference in the drawings comes from the radically different paper colors. The one above is drawn on a fairly dark maroon colored paper. The one below, on the contrary, is drawn on bright cream.

Maybe it was using neopastel again that got me thinking even more about dry pastel again. They can be really impractical in my small studio. But I have wanted to use them so much. I decided to just do it. Had to rearrange things a little bit, but that reorganization was more easily accomplished than I had expected. So I have done one small pastel (12 x 18) and started a second one. Below.

These pastels are made on sanded paper (UArt 500 grade) and I love the surface. What a delight it is to work in this medium. And the colors have a marvelous intensity.

I’ve decided to make dry pastel a staple. Since I’m doing paintings from drawings now, it would be simply crazy to eliminate a medium that I adore. So I have figured out a way to control the dusty pigment. I think another version of the “hills” theme would work nicely in pastel. I fished out a larger sheet of UArt 500 grade. Making this next pastel is near the top of the “To Do” list.

I took these photos. That’s a significant factor in one’s time management. Also took some photos that are not included at this post. It was a good photography session. Beautiful light outside.

A squirrel visited the window sill. Should have grabbed the camera, but don’t even think about such things. For some experiences words seem like the proper medium. The squirrel and I had something like a little conversation while he sat on my window sill. He was certainly aware of me and somewhat curious too.

Since the last debrief I also worked some on the two paintings below. Sometimes hopping from picture to picture is the way to get things done. Sometimes you have to be a bee.

The first measures 36 x 48 and the mountain below measures 30 x 40. The goal for the second painting is to bring it closer to its reference drawing. So I reworked it to make it less painterly and more linear. I think there’s more in that direction I would still like to do.

I got a lot done. I’m calling this week a great success! If you have enjoyed hearing me talk to myself in my Friday review, please share the post with your friends. Or feel free to leave a comment. And thank you for reading and sharing my art adventure.

seashell in pastel

seashell pastel updated aug 27 (3)

I made an earlier version of this motif using oil pastel (Neopastel by Caran d’Ache) but this one above uses traditional dry pastel.  It’s on a dark sanded paper.

What can I say, seashells are my favorite landscape subject with their beautiful rolling hills formed deep in the sea.

Striped Cloth with Flowers and Gourd

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Many times a bouquet of flowers will be arranged as though to get at a perfect order.  I arrange the flowers when I paint them.  But the random arrangement of weary flowers is lovely too.  The flowers bunched along two sides of the vase leaving one green fond striving upward in space alone.  That single leaf intersects the purple shadow that descends from the cloth behind the bouquet locking the composition together .

The striped cloth is a marvel to look at.  I love to portray it.  Its bands describe the shape of the space they occupy like a physics of color.  The bands of green along the sides of the gourd running perpendicular to the bands in the cloth are Nature imitating art. Many colors are scattered through this picture and only the precision of their positions gives them balance.  In a picture like this one, the only goal is to put each color exactly where it belongs.  And then the rest is easy.  The picture composes itself. And then the image resembles the things, like a mirror of life.

Striped Cloth with Flowers and Gourd is a pastel painting measuring 18 x 24 inches.

Tea Roses

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Bold yellow tea roses, a brilliant violet color in the background, a white and blue table cloth along with three bright orange, plump persimmons: these compose the scene with additional help from a jaunty white pitcher in the center that has a single pink painted rose decorating its rondure. Sometimes the colors and positions provoke a mood.  This arrangement seemed provocative to me. It feels assertive. I thought the objects seem to speak. It is for each individual spectator to decipher life’s bold messages.

Tea Roses is a pastel painting measuring 20 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches.

once I made the seashell large

seashell in progress

The drawing sheet was 18 x 24 inches large.  As you can see the shell took up much of that space, but the real shell is not — no queen conch could be — that large.  It would be a monster of a queen conch that was that large.

So what is the shell that’s larger than life size?  It’s like a dream of a seashell.

I had so much fun drawing this shell.  Seeing the photograph brings back the memory so vividly.  It was a blast.  I had to enlarge the thought while I was drawing and I loved it.  I had never drawn any of the shells large before.  I’ve never done it since.

But seeing this drawing now, I cannot wait to draw it large again.  For now, though, I have other tasks because I am reorganizing my life.  And I am tidying my home — just as Marie Kondo said I should.

Golden: Two Bouquets on a Table

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Two vases of roses sit on a honey colored wooden table.  The far edge of the table is visible on one side and the rest is covered by a shimmering yellow-gold cloth.  Behind the whole scene is a violet colored cloth.  Both vases are abundantly stocked with roses.  One bouquet sits in a clear glass jar. The other, a white pitcher, is also filled with numerous roses of many colors.  One single spent rose lies flat on the table.  Beside it sit three bright orange persimmons.  In between the two vases sits a blue pedestal bowl. A few other objects of ambiguous identity sit behind or beside the white pitcher.

This is one of the most complex still lifes I’ve ever painted so far.  While it is challenging to capture the flowers since they soon perish, it’s also important to make something of all the relationships of all the things.  The design on the cloth, its fold and foreshortening are the gravity of the picture. Everything has to sit upon that gold field and seem to belong there, and to seem as if it might always be there in that forever sense of art.  Long after the real flowers have faded and disappeared the appearance of the flowers can still last.  And the picture has to hint in the direction of that poetry, has to become a memory of things seen.

Golden: Two Bouquets on a Table is a pastel painting on sanded paper measuring 18 x 24 inches.

The Red Cloth & the Big Bouquet of Flowers

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A complex ensemble of varied objects sits on a table decorated by a large bouquet.  The table cloth is brilliant red.  The flowers are of many types: lilies, daisies, carnations, roses.  A couple of winter gourds, a queen conch seashell, and a blue pedestal glass filled with smaller seashells sits beside the flowers.  Behind them a cloth of pale blues and silver adds a sky-like element.  And off to the far right a deep red-orange cloth peeks out framed by some hanging purple flowers from a vase sitting outside the picture frame.

The complexity of a scene like this one gives the artist many sources of intrigue.  I love exploring the shapes of many things when they are bunched altogether.  It’s a passion that hopefully transfers to the spectator. In any scene of things, many wonderful visual features are always present.  One of the aims of visual art is to provoke us to look more deeply into the appearances of the world.  Every corner of the universe is filled with splendor.  And splendor can begin with the simple contemplation of even a color.  A brilliant red is a powerful sensation in its own right.  And the shapes of things, the colors of many things, the lines that the mind describes around things are all sources of the most powerful fascination.

The Red Cloth and the Big Bouquet of Flowers  is a pastel painting on sanded paper measuring 18 x 24 inches.

Glass Jar with Flowers

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If a simple glass pickle jar gives you joy, you know you are a joyful person. I found the pickle jar in my mother’s cabinet.  It was one of those things my parents kept out of a desire to give all possessions a second life. Emptied of pickles it became a flower vase.  I cleaned it up after its years of disuse and marveled at how lovely the light is that passes through simple clear glass.  The flower stems randomly distributed in the jar offer beautiful abstractions of dark green.  The glass also reflects and intensifies colors in adjacent objects — the table cloth, the backdrop cloth.  It catches highlights of daylight entering the windows.  It is in short a light catcher.  Whoever wishes to meditate on the meaning of the present tense can gaze into its interior and find passages of beauty to inspect.

The flowers are the heroes of any flower still life: comprised in this instance of carnations and a single large yellow tea rose.  But a clear glass jar also brings strong poetry to the scene.

Glass Jar with Flowers is a small pastel painting on textured paper measuring 14 x 18 inches.

Ruby Red: Flowers on a Red Cloth

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A glass pickle jar sits atop a table covered in a rich and brilliant red cloth.  Inside, the jar is filled with a spritely array of flowers of different kinds — mostly carnations of red, yellow and pink, with a couple lilies and red daisies and in the center a lovely yellow tea rose.  The jar diffuses the stems of the flowers in a soft way, heightening the light dark abstraction of the oblique lines formed by the stems.  The glass jar also catches the light of the room in intriguing patterns of reflection.

Ruby Red: flowers on a Red Cloth  is pastel painting that measures 14 x 18 inches.

Bouquet of Carnations

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Among the first of a suite of small flower paintings, this simple scene depicts a glass jar filled with flowers sitting on a table top with a gold-green cloth against a backdrop of rosy violet. The principle flower of the group is a large yellow tea rose and surrounding it are carnations of different hues, pale pink, rich red, pale yellow.  The green stems of the flowers create a lively abstraction in the jar’s interior where reflections of light enliven the pattern of light and dark shapes.

Bouquet of Carnations is a pastel painting that measures 13 x 16.5 inches.