Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Pause For Station Identification

It's so much easier to keep a habit going rather than trying to resurrect one, but that's where I am at with my art. I did not draw or paint while I was on vacation. It was a good vacation and sometimes it's good to take a break. However I wasn't home very long before I got distracted and consumed by something else.

When I look back on this year, I think the theme will either be addressing or attacking secrets or tying up loose ends in parts of my life.

The latest one is that I took a DNA test, recently. Given the lab processing time on their website, I was expecting results towards the end of the year. Instead, they showed up on Thursday. As an adoptee with only vague, non-identifying information until this point, all I can say is that I fell down a rabbit hole, a reference to Alice in Wonderland,which fits since it's all been pretty surreal.

I started this journey just wanting to know more about where I came from and in less than one week, I have some answers and information. Through the DNA testing site, I connected with one of my matches and it turns out this person has been researching his family's genealogy for 30 years and documenting it, extensively.

While I am not 100% certain, I am pretty darn certain that I've identified my biological mother. She died several years ago and she was the last member of her immediate family. However, if I go back to my grandfather's brother and two sisters, there are a lot of people out there. It's a story of immigration and I don't think any of the rest of this family is in this country. By the way, I'm 2nd generation of this country on the maternal side.

I'll get back to drawing and painting, soon. Right now, I just don't have the brain power for it, since I can feel my brain working on processing this new information about my roots.

There's also the paternal side to research. That won't be as easy, but I do have some clues from the DNA test and the information about my maternal side. I'm not planning on starting on this until late December or January.

While the last 6 days have a been a roller coaster. Yesterday, when I was drive between work sites, I had the most powerful feeling of gratitude wash over me. My partner is so supportive and my friends are also supportive. One of them has been helping me figure things out, including creating a cheat sheet of how family relationships work along with the genetic stuff, since I am really clueless on this stuff.

Stay tuned. Art will be back on the agenda soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Tired of Painting Apples

I have no one to blame but myself. When I got back from vacation, I didn’t have a plan about what I wanted to paint, so I grabbed an apple. Between the lack of focus, jet-lag, work, and laundry, I found a few pockets of time here and there to work on this. That means it took me 3 days to finish a small, simply apple painting.

#287 - Another Apple - 5" x 5" - paper

In other news, I have been sketching a bit and I stopped at the Como Zoo on my way home and worked on sketching the giraffe. Since I’m working close by the Zoo and Bell Natural History Museum tomorrow and most of next week, I might try to do a little more sketching. I am excitied about trying to sketch from animals in the dioramas at the Bell which do not move!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Pleased To Be Jet-Lagged

Yesterday afternoon, I returned from a 12-day vacation in London. It was a very, very good idea to take today off, as well, to unpack, do laundry, and generally recover from jet lag.

It was a fabulous vacation. I was with my hubby and 4 other friends. It was a good thing that I took notes each day of the things we did. Otherwise, I am not sure that I would remember it all. If time permits, I might do a few blog posts. Most likely, I will get busy with other things now that I'm back home, including getting back to drawing and painting and wanting to document that! However, I want to mention one of the most amazing exhibits from this trip.

The Tate Britain currently has an exhibit of Edward Burne-Jones which continues until February 2019. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wowwy, wow, wow.  One of my friends is a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. I am a fan of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts era, so this was right up my alley. I haven't studied up on Morris' contemporaries, so I didn't realize the connection until the night before we went.

I enjoyed the exhibit so much that I purchased the book about the exhibit in the gift shop. It was an extensive exhibit with more than 150 pieces. There were early pen and inks. There were unfinished paintings and studies. As beautiful as all of the finished work was, I especially enjoyed the studies.There were paintings in watercolor, gouache, and oil. There were tapestries and other forms of art, including jewelry.

There was something so spiritual and sensual about his work. It just drew me in and took my breath away.

I don't think it's legal for me to post copies of the pictures that I took, so I won't.  If you are interested, go look to the link above, since it shows two of my favorite works. You could also look at this wikiart link, search online, or borrow my book.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Many, Many, Many Layers Of Paint

After class on 11/08, I came home and painted another apple.  I wasn’t concerned about the shape. Was trying to get the feel for the paint and medium. It was amazing watching how Carl could change things so easily.

I started to play with my apple and tried to do the same by deliberately making a hard edge and going back later to try and soften it. I picked up wet paint and tried to fix the spot later.  I played with the apple color going from predominately greens and yellow to adding a lot of blue, magenta, brown, purple and back again. While I tried to stay true to the values, I never got the whole apple to work at the same time.  Sometimes the top worked, Sometimes the dark side worked.  Sometimes the light side worked.  The apple shape got distorted.  It didn't matter.  I would paint it all over and over and over again.   It was practicing.  It was play.  It was fun.  I stopped when it was time to feed the cats and go to bed and it didn't matter what point I stopped at. Yup, it looks like a cross between an apple and a pear. Plus, there's a hard edge and a splotchy part. Still, it just doesn't matter.

#286 - Layered Apple - 5" x 5" - paper

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Next Classroom Painting

This painting is from last week's class on 11/08, so I am still behind on my blogging. In last week's class, we painting on white canvas panel that we tinted with color before we started.  The first layer of tinting I did was a muddy color.  I think it was burnt umber. The next layer was mostly Pyroll Red Light with a little Titanate Yellow.  Both layers were really diluted with thinned down matte medium.

I'm still not getting how to work in this diluted, layered way, but by the end of class I was getting a tiny bit of insight.  It helped that Carl come over to help.  I also watched him paint when he helped the person sitting next to me.  When he demonstrated things, it was amazing how much he could change the character of an area with a few brush strokes.

#285 - Classroom Still Life - 11" x 14" - canvas panel
While he uses some of the same colors I use, I played with new paint colors.  Also, we used gloss medium (ick, ick, ick) rather than matte medium with the paint.  It was good to try, yet, another new thing.  I found the gloss medium to be too glossy, plus it makes it harder to figure otu when your paint is dry.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Trio Of Apples

For class on 11/08, I knew we were going to start working with color.  We were going to be painting on different color backgrounds.  I've tried this several times in Kat's classes.  The different this time was that the color was going to be more translucent.  Additionally, we weren’t going to try to paint the actual colors of the actual objects.  That meant it was time to practice using a simple object.

First up, I went crazy with the colors and put no thought into creating anything cohesive.  You can see the tinted color that I used for the ground.  That is because I keep trying to add a layer of paint in an area where the previous layer is not dry. I do this over and over again in class and outside of class.  This is a perfect example of what happens.  You end up picking up a lot of the previous paint, rather than laying down the additional paint. I could have tried to fix it, but I decided to memorialize this, as a reminder to stop doing this.

#282 - Apple - 5" x 5" paper
The next time I went to painting, I worked on two paintings at the same time and used two different ground colors.

This is the painting done on the orange background.  You can see how it really dulls down the purple colors. 

#283 - Apple - 5" x 5" - paper
This is the painting on the purple background. I like how this apple turned out better. 

#284 - Apple - 5" x 5" - paper. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Another Painting From Class

I am a little behind on blog posts. We have been working on a complicated still life in class.  First we painted it in black and white and for class on 11/08, we painted it in color (any color - - - not the actual color of the objects - - - there will be a post about that later).

Carl has the class working in a different way than I usually work. It's been good for me to stretch and try new things!  While I'm used to using a view finder, I'm using one without my handy-dandy grid lines. We draw on paper and might do several studies to get a composition to explore.  The drawing is used to transfer the outline of the drawing to the painting surface. The lines on the painting surface are sealed with the matte medium and left to dry for several minutes and then you are good to start painting.

I decided that I was mostly in class to learn skills, so I didn't agonize over my drawing. I also edited out several elements.  In last night's class, Carl was saying that sometimes you are making an artistic decision, since the point is not to just reproduce what you see.  While that is a good out, at this point, any goofiness is due to my drawing skills (or lack thereof), not artistic license.

This painting is from the 11/01 class.  Working in gray scale has been good practice.  I can't say that I feel very successful working with the medium and the paint.  I feel like I use way too much medium and my paint strokes just feel big and sloppy. I hope I don't sound too negative.  In actuality, I am enjoying learning a new way to paint and think it's going to help quite a bit overall.

#281 - Classroom Still Life - 11 x 14 - canvas panel
Carl helped me with the painting.  My vase looked really flat and he added the extremely light part on the side.  At first, it looked too harsh to me, which means I must be back to not making my lights light enough.