Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Studio and Thinking of Drawing

Loving my studio, although I think sometimes it is too stimulating.  I'm always tempted by the boxes of old photos and vintage postcards.  On other shelves are art books, old sketchbook journals, and folders of clippings ( old-school Pinterest).  Lately I've been pinning inspiring images from Instagram, but so far I hardly go back to look at them--so many years of clipping and saving.  Having said that, I'm going to have a look later today and see if anything prompts action.  For the time being, I'm sticking with drawing because life is full of many things right now and drawing fits.  My latest sketches are from museum catalogs.  Now that Spring is here, I'll start sketching from life outdoors.  

"Thinking of Drawing" is the title of an article by James McMullan.  I tore it out of the March/April 1989 Print magazine.  It's just one of the many items unearthed during the studio purging.  I can see that I saved this article for the illustrations of the progression of four students in his figure drawing class.  He believes that to draw is to see, and how can you create art if you cannot see.  I do get his point, but I also know some artists who draw/paint what they dream or imagine. Some construct a painting by the "stroke and respond" method--an emotional approach, or pour and manipulate the paint and build on what emerges.   I enjoyed McMullan's article and agree that if we want to paint the physical aspects of the world around us, we need to draw.  But I can't put limits on what art is.  In fact, I'm still learning what art is.

There is a blank white wall on one side of the studio.  I'm thinking of painting a mural on it, but haven't come up with a theme or design yet.  I'll let it perk for awhile.  I really like this mural seen in Zagreb back in November.

Fleeting late afternoon light on my dresser top. I really should draw that little figure.

While sweeping debris from the patio, I moved the glider bench and looked at the last of winter through the framework.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Big Clean out/Re-organization 

The many inclement days of Winter are a great time to clean out and de-clutter closets and drawers.  I've embraced the habit even more this season after reading some articles about the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo.  I don't think I care to be as minimalist as she, but I know I can do it if I ever have to.  I've adopted her folding techniques and my drawers are definitely more artful.  I'm also de-cluttering by asking myself, does this item add to my joy or detract?  As a result, I've donated
quite a bit of clothing, shoes, handbags and coats.  This is an improvement on my previous rule, which began around 2010, that if I buy a new article of clothing or a new book, I have to giveaway or discard an article of clothing or a book.

The above photo was found in a drawer.  It's a self-portrait during a time I was doing a portrait photography workshop. The print is in bad shape.  I scanned it for posting and tried to clean it up with Photoshop, but I'm afraid this is as good as it gets.  The year is probably 1998 and the camera was a Minolta SLR.  I still have that camera and feel an urge to buy some B&W film and see what I can do with it.

And now to the recent past with a digital self-portrait at a cafe on Castle Hill in Budapest.  It was a gray day outside and this orange really made me happy.

Here are some photographs seen at the Compass Hotel in Dubrovnik.  I would call them photographs as concept art because the entire hotel was filled with black & white (sepia & white) photographs of all sizes in which the concept artist had made marks on them.  I don't know what to say about them except that some of them agreed with me and some did not.

I'm still still trying to sketch everyday.  For now, I'm still into fashion magazines.  Apologies to Jimmy Fallon.

More from my photography mini project "Written in the Trees".

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Back from Seattle

My son and family recently moved to the Seattle area, and so I had my first visit to the Pacific Northwest.  I'm already planning the next trip for when the weather is warmer.  I saw enough of the city to know that I must go back as a tourist and walk around for a couple of days--go places and eat things as an old friend use to say.  We visited the historic Pike Place Market where, in spite of helping with two toddlers, I managed to take some photographs.  It was early morning and all the meat, seafood, produce,  and flower stalls were open.  It was a beautiful sight. The historic Starbucks was open and a wonderful donut concession as well.  OMG--the miniature, hot-from-the-cooker donuts.  Those really warmed up our cold hands.  I just can't wait to go back again.  The photo above is from the Three Sisters European Sandwich Shop.  I'm one of three sisters so I had to grab an image.  I'm the sister wearing glasses, of course.

All around Seattle property is extremely expensive which means housing is very expensive.  In the suburb where my son lives, a house fills most of the building lot.  There were very few lawns and landscaping was designed for privacy.  I was surprised to see irrigation systems in many gardens, but the Uber driver who took us back to the airport said that it hardly rains at all in summer.  Hard to believe right now when it rains, at least a little, everyday.  Behind my son's house is an unoccupied lot.  It has been that way for many years judging by the overgrowth on the house.  I can't resist abandoned places, so while the children were napping, I took my camera over for a look.  I say this greenhouse is still functional.  I could easily starts some seeds in those flats.

Below is an edited close-up of the painted eye you can see on the right side of the window above.

The thought came to me to search the Internet for "abandoned greenhouses".  There are lots to be seen!  Apparently abandoned greenhouses are featured in video games you can see on YouTube.  There are over 1,000 images on Pinterest and many other sites too numerous to mention.  I didn't bother to click on any of them--abandoned greenhouse overload.

And here are some of the beautiful scenes from my Alaska Air window seat:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Goodbye February

What a great month it has been.  Weather has been mild and we've taken good advantage of it.  Have also managed quite a few home repairs as well as the painting, cleaning and reorganizing of my studio. One negative in all this was a flare up of arthritis and a strange inflammation of my hands.  I talked with my doctor and he tends to agree with me that painting the floor with snug fitting latex gloves which I wore in two three-hour sessions may have caused an acute reaction.  The inflammation is slowly subsiding and most of the redness is gone. The only remedy that seems to help is ice packs for brief periods a few times a day.  When my hands are totally back to normal, I will continue work on this painting.  My intention is that this will look like a faded fresco of three holy figures (inspired by a visit to the St. Nicholas Church in Myra, Turkey).  It's all idea at this point, so I'm going through my photographs for reference material.

Found an owl image in a magazine that I liked and photographed.  Now I can't find the original image, but here are two of my edited versions--cropped and digitally painted in Photoshop and then combined with one of my textures using the Diana App.

I posted a winter pond last time.  Here is another view of that pond and a view of some of the land within walking distance of my house.

And lastly, here are some views of the improved studio.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Taste of Spring

Have been taking time to walk around the property and capture some signs of Spring.  In the process, I found many interesting shapes and textures that might go unnoticed in the lushness of Spring and early Summer.  Below are three examples.  Little winter aconites always bloom here in February unless they're buried in snow.

The lichened top of the bluebird house.

A timely find--a heart-shape in amongst moss.

Not from our property, but a winter image that I come back to over and over ever since I recorded this scene in 2007.  

Visited my friend, Ross, yesterday.  He was anxious to show me how he had arranged two obelisks in his garden and he also wanted me to see the photograph below.  It is his Great Uncle Willie and a paper moon.  Ross said it was very popular to be photographed with a paper moon in those days.  Well, I took this photo of his photo and have a plan to clone Ross in the place of his great uncle.  Of course, the challenge will be getting Ross to pose in his tuxedo for my grand scheme.

Here is another double exposure/Diana App creation of my shadow and a birch tree against a brilliant blue sky.

And lastly, my ballpoint pen sketches completed since my last post.  I'm really enjoying this activity: going through fashion magazines and finding patient models.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day to all the sweethearts out there.  As you can see, I've decorated the above photo with a painted heart.  I took the photo some time ago after reading The Winter of Our Discontent and then thought it would be clever to mix a martini because I liked a particular quote in the book that referenced martinis (I like martinis).  "The martinis came, not in little glasses, but in big as birdbaths with twists of lemon peel.  The first taste bit like a vampire but made its little anesthesia and after that the drink mellowed and toward the bottom turned downright good."  This winter has been so mild compared to the last few years, there is nothing to be discontented about.

The basement studio is 95% ready to start working in.  In fact, I am working in it, but mostly work involving paper--cutting things up and collaging.  I'm also into Day 5 of doing an 8 x 10 drawing a day.  I'm finding people (celebrities or models) in my old copies of Vanity Fair or New Yorker and drawing the subject with a black ball point pen.  With this method you just have to go with the marks you make--no erasing.  It's very liberating.  So here is a collage of the first four.

More drawings and other findings in my next post.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Art and Weather

Yesterday it was close to 65 degrees--so much like spring with lots of chirpy bird activity.  Overnight a north wind blew in icy rain and snow.  Fortunately, not that much snow, but temperatures are now in the 20's and it definitely feels like winter.  See view from my desk above.

I finished the studio floor painting yesterday.  My back and hands are thankful.  If the foam tiles weren't so pitted and marred, I would be tempted to apply a second coat because the colors of what are under the paint faintly show through.  But this seems a minor point that would take extraordinary effort on my part to remedy.  Once all the the furniture is back in place and my latest paintings are hanging or propped up to dry, all will be as it should be.  This is a progress collage.  The last of the studio progress photos.

There's another painting project going on in our house--the master bedroom closet which is in the master bedroom bathroom.  Barry is doing the painting in there.  He took the towel rack down and as soon as I stepped in the room I saw a smiley face at the place the towel rack had been attached to the wall.  I like the color negative version too.

As I've mentioned before, I love the Diana app for creating and editing double exposures.  I have used self-portraiture as one means of meditation/self analysis for many years, although I didn't consciously think of it that way until recently.  I think part of my passion for travel (in the world or armchair) is seeing myself transformed by landscapes, cities, interiors, etc.  Photography (looking through a lens) enables me to frame a world and editing through Photoshop or smartphone apps enables me to manipulate that world.