An artist's journal.
Here you'll find my paintings and musings, where the featured subjects could likely cover just about anything.
The last 4+ years I've been caring for my best buddy B during his courageous fight to live through cancer and it's complications. I'm tickled to report, he's getting better and I'm finding small bits of painting time again.

Looking forward to a daily celebration of life's gifts by using the brightest, happiest colors in the box!

Visitors looking for 'B's Journey', click here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

tucson tornado watch
last night tucson was under a tornado watch... highly unusual for us... actually i can't remember ever being under a tornado watch before... and i've lived here since 1971.

i am excited about this new style of painting i'm exploring.... the indian yellow/thio violet wash over a painted sketch.... i have used it on the last two paintings i've done and really liked the resulting little patches of that underpainted warm glow left peeking out here and there.

while painting these last few weeks, i kept glancing around at the half dozen or so paintings in various stages of completion surrounding me in the studio... bigguns and little uns, all abandoned because i wasn't excited about what was happening on the canvas.... it's not unusual for me to put aside a canvas that's not working...could this new style work to bring them back to life?

several of those unfinished canvases kept catching my attention ... they looked like perfect candidates for this new warm wash underpainting i am playing with, even though they were a bit beyond a painted sketch... the biggest drawback was that they already had color on them... and the warm IY/TV wash would look dull over the existing blues on these canvases.... any existing warm and white areas would be just fine with this glaze over them.

this morning i went into my studio and picked up a painting i had started several years ago... a landscape with a tornado about to skip across a rural caught my eye...hmmm....wonder why? ......decided it was the one to be reworked with the warm glazed underpainting.

this old tornado painting needed to be readied for the IY/TV glaze underpainting.....kind of creating an underpainting for an underpainting... not something i usually do, but if this works, maybe those other lonely ole paintings might finally have some attention paid to them too.

unfortunately i forgot to take a photo of this painting as it has looked for over a year, tucked away in a corner of my studio. was simply a very rough washed had some dark details with washes of ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson in the sky...the road and fields were washed in warm siennas.

as shown above, i decided to block in white over any areas of blue, to remove as much blue hue as possible reasoning was orange over blue = mud... and i don't want a muddy sky... i also dry brushed white over most of the canvas to soften all the other colors.... i like to see the little canvas nubs created when a dry brush of paint is dragged over it. ....i'm thinking, these little white dots will also become warm when the IY/TV wash is added... of course, this may not work in the real world, but nothing ventured, nothing gained... i mean, after all, this painting has been waiting quite a while to come back to life.

a small hint of blue did still remained after several quick layers of white... but not much, so after letting those layers dry thoroughly, i applied the wash....when i need a layer to dry quickly, i will often times use a blow dryer to speed up the process....can you believe i sometimes need acrylic paint to dry even faster than it does naturally.

here it is with the wash... kinda neat... next session i'll start blocking in the opaque colors, and bring out details, making sure i leave this wash here and much i leave showing will depend on what the painting tells me to leave...i envision the finished work an abstract landscape.... bringing it to life should be FUN!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

click on photos to enlarge

'view from a vw' 2010
private collection, Tucson, Az

i occasionally work with a local faux artist, janie mccourt, when one of her clients needs a custom artpiece... she came to me with a couple of photos and an idea... her client was having a custom shadowbox made to hide their wall mounted tv when they weren't watching it... they needed a two panel painting that would slide open when they wanted to watch tv... when closed, it would look like a framed artwork... i haven't seen the shadowbox, but i understand it's pretty neat... janie supplied the canvas supports for the painting, 2 custom sized somewhat rigid 20" x 23" panels... the main reference photo was one the client had taken of a favorite spot in our beautiful desert... combined with another photo of theirs they'd taken of a glowing tucson sunrise.

"sure", i said.... "two days?" ...."no problem."

what the heck was i thinking!!??.....obviously a momentary lapse of reason on my part... i've rarely painted anything in two days, (except for my more abstract adventures)... and i'd only done a handful of paintings in 2009...this was a pretty big canvas too.

janie and her clients were quite accommodating with my request for a bit more time...and a mere week later, a 'view from a vw' was delivered... yep, that's what i'm calling it, 'cause there was this one rock that kept looking like a vw microbus no matter what i did to it...of course, once i saw it as a microbus, that was it (have i mentioned my OCD)... i kept trying to make it look like just a rock (whatever that is?) until i finally decided to embrace that rock's 'microbus' resemblance and be ok with it..., go on......look at it see it too ... it's that whimsical westfalia rock....don't ya love it! ( it also looks a bit like a hedgehog, or a silverstream trailer, but i went with vw microbus 'cause i'm a bit obsessed with them)... i could have completely changed it's shape, but the client wanted that spot painted and that spot has that rock, and that rock is what it is, so. :O)

reference photos

on my last blogpost, i mentioned this 'new' style i'm currently playing with... Indian Yellow/Thio Violet washed over painted sketch......used it again with this painting and i know it probably had something to do with the extra time needed.... i could have probably finished a few days earlier if i had done this in one of my more familiar styles, but then, what fun would that be?..... i actually was able to discover some neat new canvas magic playing with this.

clockwise from top left are a few 'work in progress' shots.

black and white painted sketch.... Indian Yellow/Thio Violet wash...and a few showing the sky and mountain colors going on... i let bits of the warm underpainting show on the edges of stuff here and there.

an alternate title i considered was "ocoti!!o" because of that 'in your face' fellow in the foreground... client's wanted it included to sort of camouflage the seam between the two panels when closed.

if you have a photo of a favorite spot that you want painted, you can contact me at ....i also do house portraits....and people portraits...and pet portraits.... and.... well, you get the idea.

Friday, January 15, 2010

click images to enlarge

"first lesson"2009
private collection, Tucson, AZ

i am still a self-taught artist.... no formal training yet unless you count the one 'arts and rec' painting class i took in 1980.... i have learned quite a bit from books, but most of my learning has been at the easel, trying this, experimenting with that, painting over THAT, trying it again... painting over it..... AGAIN... chasing that bright, elusive ???....(butterfly of love)

sometimes, clouds clear, stars align and the painting gods help me make sense of the bits of book learning stuff which may have actually stuck to my attention challenged grey cells... composition, perspective, and color mixing knowledge align with the hands on experience gleaned from many painting experiments... and... something clicks... not even the (challenging) physics of acrylic paint hold me back and i finish up with a painting i like more than most.....acrylic paint...really? can it dry any faster? how 'bout painting with it while living in the DESERT? ...can you say ARIDzona.

thankfully, after several months of not putting a single brush stroke on canvas, i was able to pick up my brushes and produce this latest portrait.... it is easily one of my favorites.... as well as being a portrait, it can stand alone as a figurative painting, a direction i really want to take with my future portrait commissions whenever possible... you can appreciate this little father son moment forever captured on canvas even though you don't know them personally.

i'm experimenting with a new painting style, again!... this short attention span brain of mine seems to need constant stimulation so i'm always trying out new ideas... this sort of explains the diversity of styles seen in my finished multiple personality disorder also plays a part :O) .

right now, over a painted rough sketch, i'm playing with brushing the entire canvas with an Indian Yellow, Thio Violet wash... i want bits and pieces of that warm glow to peek out here and there as i add layers of paint to the canvas..

the single reference photo for this portrait can be seen just above the painting... this was a cell phone photo so the quality left something to be desired, but i like the moment captured so much, i decided to use it anyway...i made a cropped copy of the baby's face to help with detail along with a black and white enlargement to help me with values... click on the finished portrait above to see bits of the warm glow i let peek out here and there all over the painting... created kind of an aura... i like it.

just breathe

heard this song for the first time last week while i was LIVING in my studio trying to complete what was supposed to be a two day painting.... it took 7, but was worth it... i think it was day 5 when this song snuck into the studio... it coincided with a bit of magic that was happening on the canvas....a goosebump moment, head to toe.

eddie vedder's voice on this reminds me a lot of brad roberts from 'crash test dummies'.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a question of balance

"Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some."~ Robert Fulgram

Where did last year go?'s a blur.

My studio and painting took a back seat for sure.... I only listed one new painting in my Ebay store... for lots of reasons.

I got more organized... went through years of life's paper scraps and souvenirs... got the VHS transferred to DVD... worked on organizing a lifetime of photos.

I spent time stretching my creative muscles on home projects....wall murals, carpentry and sewing.... I started and more importantly, finished, numerous things I'd been thinking about doing for years.

I spent lots of time with my musical interests... I played bass more... and I watched my husband make music.... his band played A LOT and I was at every gig....he really is an amazing singer and guitar player and watching him perform is one of my favorite things.

Painting can take up a good deal of my time... this time last year, I found that spending more time with Brian was at the top of my new year's wish list.... or at the very least, to spend less time in my studio when he is home... we are not promised tomorrow, and should not take for granted time spent with our loved ones.

The kitchen also took a bigger bite of studio time.... another 2009 goal was to start eating healthier which meant more time in the kitchen fixing 'good for us' food.

A snippet of my 2009 heaven on earth was sitting with Brian, on the couch, a plateful of yummy dinner balanced in our laps, watching all our tevoed telly faves... also his and her's remotes. :0)

But, I missed painting... I missed my studio... more than I thought.

So where the heck am I going with all this?

Well, there are things like the “couch potato evenings” or the "numerous gigs" or the “sharing the same book” stuff that I’ve gotta keep, but spending more time painting is high on my 2010 new year's list.

Because, after all, this is an artblog......I just have to find a balance. :O)
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"There are days when I feel I could've painted the Sistine Chapel and, then, there are the days when I'm not sure I could trace a stick figure.... the only difference between these days is my state of mind"~ Jenna Millward Corkill