Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hey Dad

Here's this week's challenge entry. The rules were:

"Paint this image using only burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and titanium white. That's it. No other colors. With that combo you can have it look pretty darn close to a full color painting by achieving a wide array of values and temperatures."

Here's my version. Not loving how it turned out but it was a fun exercise. Check out the other paintings to see how each artist interpreted a pretty straightforward photo.

8x8 Oil on Canvas
I can't see a Zippo without thinking about the big box of tchotchkes we had in the basement when I was a kid. When I was little my father was a salesman for a paper company. Like all good salesmen he had a big supply of branded freebies for his clients and prospects, which ended up in our basement. There were pens, ashtrays, pads of paper and - best of all - Zippo lighters with a little tree logo on them. And yes Dad, Carol and I pilfered goodies from the box on a regular basis.

That was a looong time ago. I just googled and not only is Boise Cascade still around but they have the same logo that they had in the 70's.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The 10 MInute Challenge

Almost two years ago (wow - I can't believe it was two years ago) I took a workshop from Carol Marine. I had no clue who she was, or what I was getting into and I'd only been painting for about 8 months or so. I signed up because I saw it listed in my local community center flyer and I thought "cool - something remotely interesting is happening in Westford". It was a great experience because I learned a lot, although I was a neurotic basketcase because it was way over my head. I didn't even know I had learned so much at the time, but even now dribs and drabs of what she taught come back to me.

I've been following her ever since. She recently started a weekly painting challenge on where she posts a photo or challenge and a bunch of painters take the challenge. I just found out about it and its already on its 3rd week, but I'm really excited to try it every week.

Four Yellow Cups
8x10 Oil on Canvas

This painting was my first challenge. These were the rules: "Get a timer. Divide your canvas or canvases (I used 2 - 6x6in Raymar canvases) into 8 or so small squares (or rectangles). They should be smallish – a couple or 3 inches square or thereabouts – they don’t have to be perfect. Now choose ONE object. Just one. Set your timer for 10 minutes. Paint your object in the first square. When the timer goes off – stop! I mean it. Repeat until you are done. You can rotate your object and/or change the light for each new square."

I didn't do 8 - I took an 8x10 and broke it into 4. I actually did two of these exercises on Sunday because I liked it so much, but the other photo was too blurry to post. 10 minutes is SO short, but it really helped me loosen up and it just isn't enough time for neurosis to set in.  I just have to paint the color, shapes and light and STOP.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fall Morning

Back at the studio for the last two weekends. I didn't paint for over a month. Same old reason -work taking up my time and energy.

It's an all or nothing thing with me - once I start painting I don't want to stop and that means the house doesn't get cleaned, dinner doesn't get made, and the laundry piles up. Hours go by unnoticed and it is the only time my mind shuts off. It is the greatest thing ever, better than any drug, drink, mindless TV watching, or retail therapy. When I walk into my studio, or start a painting, I am so filled with calm and gratitude for this small part of my life that it helps me put the silliness of work stress in perspective.

Fall Morning
Oil on 8x8 panel
This painting is based on a photo I took of this gorgeous tree near my house. It's just another tree for most of the year, except for the one week when it hits its peak fall color.  I tried painting it before but it didn't work out very well. I'm pretty happy with this one though. I can't seem to capture the painting's vibrancy and saturation with the camera without making the contrast too harsh. This is the best version, though it flattens the shadows quite a bit and there is a bit of glare.