New Painting Provokes Comments

I found the original photo online of a woman dressed to the nines but with tennis shoes on.  What intrigued me was the orange stucco of the background and the crocheted skirt.  In the original picture the woman had the butt of a cigar stuck in her mouth!  She had a fan but it was at a different angle.  She was in a different chair.  Her face was totally different.  When I sent this painting out to a group of friends I got some very different reactions.  Most were bothered by the tennis shoes.  Some wanted more in the background.

I have not finished this painting, but I had to stop and re-evaluate it.  I think the shadows need work (especially on the right side of the chair.)  I would appreciate any helpful comments.  Thanks!

"Laundry" Makes the Cut

My painting "Laundry" was selected to be in the 22nd Annual Juried Competition of the Arts Council of York County (Rock Hill, SC).  I feel honored to be included in the show for the fourth straight year with a different judge each year.  Especially so, since I've only been painting that long!  Of course, I was always waiting to be an artist, but I copped out again and again--quitting art in college for literature, teaching English for years, taking an occasional drawing class.  Always saying when looking at art, "I could do that!"  Well, one day I had a "sit-down" with myself and said, "How many years do you think you've got?"  

Please take a look at my older posts as well.

"Composition in Shape and Shade"

I have the windows open and the birds are giddy.  We should all be giddy after the winter we had.  I know we're lucky to live in the mid-Atlantic, but still, compared to most years...

I'm posting my new painting "Composition in Shape and Shade." (Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 48"). I'd love some feedback.  For instance, my mom wants to know the little boy's name, what he's looking at, what he's reaching for.  I tell her it's not my intention to tell those things.  I'm just asking the questions!

I hope my (awkward?) title tells you that the subject matter is not important for me but that I'm exploring light, shade and shadow.  This painting is from a photograph I took on Spring Maid's pier in Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago.  I was fascinated by the light patterns on that November morning.

"Pointer" Sells

 My painting "Pointer" whose story is below, recently sold.  This painting is the first that went to complete strangers, and my husband and I had mixed feelings about its sale.  I knew some details about the couple, but Larry Elder of Elder Galleries, in Charlotte, did not give me their names.

My sister is a professor at U of Florida, and one day when she was walking with a fellow professor, she told the woman about the painting, describing the couple as I had described them to her and as Larry Elder had described them to me.  My sister's friend said, "I know them.  They're friends of mine." She told me about the couple, and now I feel like I have "placed" the painting with friends. My goal is to get invited to dinner at their house so I can see my painting hanging in their dining room!

"Pointer" Set to Travel

My painting "Pointer"has been included in the Elder Gallery's traveling version of "Carolinas' Got Art," traveling for a year in both North and South Carolina. I am honored to be included, as 39 pictures were chosen from 1800 entries.  "Pointer" is 48 x 36"acrylic on canvas.

I should tell you the miracle of "Pointer," I guess. More than two years ago, I found a photo on the internet on which this painting is based, and in transferring it to my files, I lost the source.  I thought it came from The National Archives, but after trying unsuccessfully to locate it again, I basically gave up.  When it was accepted into the recent show in Charlotte and they asked us to write where our inspiration came from, I tried again to verify my source, going through some 4000 photos on line, to no avail.

Imagine my surprise when two days later I was browsing eBay's antique photos, the very photo I had downloaded more than two years ago popped up for sale.  The owner had indeed put it up for sale before and it had not sold.  She was offering it as an "Buy it Now" option.  She and her husband travel the US buying stuff to resell, and she could not give me any details.  The photo was included on a torn- out photo album page and included some other characters and some children playing on what may be a porch of the antebellum house in the background of the photo. So now I own the photo on which my painting is based, and I feel more at ease about it.

New Series?

I can't be sure, but I may be starting on a new series:  Mothers and Daughters.  Above is my first piece.  My second piece is giving me trouble.  I took an old canvas bought at Goodwill and covered it with gesso. Then I randomly collaged the canvas. (This one is 20 X 20," small for me.)

Next I tried a technique from Anne Bagby (google her if you aren't familiar with her work or her DVD from Creative Catalyst).  Bagby says she draws faces 15 minutes every night, then manipulates them for size on her computer and prints them out.  She tapes these faces onto her canvas and develops her picture from there.  I was surprised how helpful this technique was.  Later, Bagby uses a carbon transfer to draw the face on and then paints it in.

Another technique she uses is stamping.  She makes her own stamps, masks off the figures with clear Contac paper then stamps the background. I developed my own stamp by burning with a wood burning tool some dense foam blocks I cut up from an upholstery project.

I left most areas of this painting loose, leaving my drawing lines and just developed the faces and the mother's hand.  I like the ambiguity, the push/pull in the relationship.

I watched the documentary "The Rape of Europa" yesterday, about the confiscation of artwork by the Nazis during WWII.   (Very powerful theory on why Hitler did what he did.  I recommend it if you haven't seen it.) One of the pieces by Klimt called "Adele" reminded me of what I did here.  Of course I love Klimt, but I didn't realize I was influenced by him.  More likely I am influenced by people like Bagby and Polly Hammett and Carla O'Conner who were influenced by Klimt.  Nevertheless, this painting was a surprise to me.

2011 Small Shoulders Calendar

I have begun printing the third edition of my
Small Shoulders Calendar. These calendars are
quite labor intensive, as I do the artwork, print
the calendar and assemble it all myself. If you
are interested in owning this "collectors item," shoot me an email. My calendars are 8 1/2 x 11" and sell for $25 plus shipping.

New Adventure: A Year-Long Journal Swap

I envy and use for inspiration the book True Colors from a few years ago by a group of collaborative artists who exchanged art journals with each other. Because I long to share my art with another person on a deep level, I jumped at the chance to collaborate with another artist through "Blissfully Art Journaling,"
moderated by the wonderful Kim Owens. Kim keeps this rowdy group in-line by giving us daily journal prompts. She also matched a fellow artist from California and me through telephone interviews. We are about to embark on a year-long journal swap starting this month.

My journal will follow the model by Teesha Moore (one of my idols) shown on YouTube of her 16-page 8 x 10" journal made from one sheet of watercolor paper. If you haven't seen the videos, search for it and watch it. She's terrific.

My journal partner and I have elected to send signatures and bind later. My first signature will deal with "Things I Used to Be," and will include some "Defining Moments." I plan to title the next signature "Things I Am Now" and the third one, "Things I Want to See and Be."
The picture above is the cover of my first signature.

The Dancer

This picture evolved when I took a failed painting and painted over it with gesso. The substrate is yupo paper. Before the gesso dried, I sponged and wiped and stamped and scratched into the gesso, taking much of it off. I spritzed it with alcohol and then buffed it. Then I turned the paper until I was pleased with the arrangement.

I played with ink (Pitt pens) over the acrylic and gesso, outlining the splashes from the alcohol and from the gesso. Finally I found my image of the tree and the dancer and the painting began to take shape.

I have a friend who asked me how come my paints don't look gloppy and shiny like hers. (She's just starting out and is really hard on herself.) I told her I usually take off more paint with a tissue or paper towel than I leave on. And then I use the paper towel or tissue for collage when it dries.

I hope you like my newest painting, "The Dancer."

The Dress

Do you remember your first formal dress? I was in the 9th grade when my mother made me a white long dress out of rows and rows of net cascading down to the floor, with a red cummerbund around the waist. It was strapless and I thought I was "It on a stick."

This painting commemorates that dress in a way. I am real excited about my technique. I guess you could call it "Mixed Media." Months ago I glued papers down on a large canvas (36 x 48"). Then I was stuck. That canvas has languished just outside my studio, taunting me. Well, yesterday I got it out, painted the collage with watered down gesso, rubbed black gesso into that when it dried to show off the yummy texture of the collaged papers. used gold gesso on the part without collage. It looked like a mountain or a pile of garbage. The maroon moon didn't help all that much. I'm not into painting landscapes, so I wasn't satisfied with it until, suddenly, there she was, my young girl in her first long dress. I hope you enjoy her.

Laure Ferlita's Journal Course

I'm taking an online course from Laure Ferlita at called "Foundations" class. We are learning to use the waterbrush and watercolor, neither of which I've done much with. She's a real patient and attentive teacher and we have a good group. I've included some of our journal assignments so far.

Taking a New Class

I'm taking an online class called "Complex Collage" with Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard. I have to admit. I wasn't connecting to the first six "lessons," a testament to the studying and practicing I've been doing for the past few years and how far I've come, rather than speaking of the class. I just realized that I should have had this course 4 years ago and no telling how far along the art superhighway I'd be. Beginners should take this class to get a great foundation under them. The first six lessons start with fundamental principles of design. More experienced artists will still get their money's worth IMHO. I got 4 "ah-has" in lesson 7 alone.

I also took another Julie Prichard class that I especially recommend if you're interested at all in bookmaking. It's called "Super Nova," and it explains and helps you make three different journals.

So far I've taken just two online courses before this one. The first course I took is Mary Ann Moss's "Remains of the Day Journal." Mary Ann is wonderful. She's the 2nd grade teacher you always wanted (which, in fact, she is). Let's just say, nobody else could coax me into using a sewing machine, but not only did I use one, I bought a cheap machine and haven't looked back!

I really love the concept of taking online classes, and now, with these Flip camcorders, it's so easy. I'm ready to make a video of my art journals. Stay tuned.

This series, called Paris Shop Windows, was made in response to the lovely shop windows we saw in Paris last year. The subsequent reflections in the window and the challenge of reproducing them, was fun. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

"Hope Chest"

I joined an altered doll furniture swap on one of my online groups and made a Barbie-sized "hope chest" filled with a bird nest, a bird and quotes related to hope (think Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers." I also included one of my favorite CDs as a surprise!