Chiles en la Mesa

I am putting the finishing touches on this piece which will be donated to the Art Con Corazon fundraiser run by El Paso Human Services, Inc.  for their programs helping current and former foster youth.   

This is a first for me, not in donating, but in using watercolor ground to put on a surface, in this case a wooden board, to allow it to accept watercolors.  The ground needs to cure at least 24 hours before it can be painted on. 

I like how the wood grain surface shows through the ground which is the white background. The next step is signing it, putting a finishing spray on it, I believe, and getting it to the organizers. 

It has been a hectic couple of weeks so I am happy that I accomplished this and hope it does well in the auction. 

Art con Corazon will be held next Saturday, October 7th at First Baptist Church, 805 Montana Street, El Paso. It runs from 12-3 and the $10 entry includes appetizers, refreshments and music. Lots of beautiful art will be available for auction and all funds benefit the kids.  Hope to see you there! 

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Apples a la Blasdell

Apples a la Blasdell

This was done in the last day of Patsy Blasdell’s workshop put on by the NMWS Southern Chapter. The apples are made from a variety of oranges, reds and red purples with spots of turquoise in them in fact.  Fun fun! Colors are used throughout the piece to give it harmony.  This is a half sheet, one of only several I’ve done in that size.

I learned the most this day by watching how she paints, and hearing her thought process as she proceeds.  Because the paper is wet thoroughly both front and back, and put on a glossy surface, it stays wet for an hour or two, less when it’s really dry in the room.  I was focused on how she blends on the paper and thoughtfully places a stroke, evaluates, it thinks about the patterns of lights and darks she wants, and then places more strokes, mingling the colors on the paper.  She works top to bottom with the board and paper almost on a vertical on an easel.  I used that position to make the drips along the bottom portion of this half sheet.

There is so much more to say about what I learned in this workshop, but frankly, I have to get painting again today!  so more later…thanks for stopping by!

Scapes next stage day 21

After today’s event, i painted more on this scapes painting.  I am liking it so far and letting it sit until tomorrow to figure out the next step. I would welcome suggestions! 

Scapes in process day 20

This is where I am in the process of painting the still life of garlic scapes, pepper, and greens.  I realized that the greens are probably chard not kale and need to be suggested rather than be fully detailed all over, because the details are only important around the focal area.  

What do you think? 

Kale take 2–day 18

I am happier with how this is coming together.  After sleeping on it, and spending some time painting upside down, I think I can perfect this. It feels fresher to me. Needs more work but I need some distance from it to know what to do next. 

This is how it started.  A puddle of pigment with plastic wrap crumpled and laid on top with weight on top until it dries. 

And here is yesterday’s with judicious additions, liftings and glazing. 

So I think I can use this technique in a confined area on kale in the bigger picture. Kind of fun to use the abstract pattern that occur and glaze over in leaf sections. What do you think? 

Kale day 17

OK. I am sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly! I am not quite sure where this kale study fits in.   LOL. I tend to go too bold in dark values so I have to lift it out and I think a cleaner look would be thinner glazes.  And I feel like showing the form of this krinkled surface makes me feel tight.  Anyway, those are my ramblings late on a tiring day… 

One idea I had was to try texture technique of using plastic wrap over moist wash but I am not sure that would turn our any better for me. 

Another thought I had was to work from life rather than a photo.  

Or…..Or….If you have any tips, I am sure open to hear them!  Please and thank you. 

Here is the photo from which I am working

Pepper study. Day 16

I am painting this again in preparation for a food still life for an upcoming show.  I have painted this previously in a piece called Harvest Song which is hanging at the EPCC show on Viscount until the 24th.  I would paint it differently now including the background, and after some frustration on another piece for this show, I decided to switch to this subject to get the submission done.  

Merry Christmas Ristra

merry_xmas_ristra_rachel_murphree_watercolors

Merry Christmas Ristra

We have had a quiet Christmas here, the kids are home and we’re all sleeping in late, reading books we didn’t have time for during the year, and just enjoying being together.  I have been painting though, and this is one started plein air in my courtyard when the afternoon soon was hitting the ristra on either side of gate.  I had fun making the background by awakening the colors of the ristra by running a damp brush over the edge.

I hope you all had an enjoyable time with friends and family.  It’ll be time soon to gear up for the new year, which for me means exhibiting eight pieces at the Alliance Francaise art show at EPCC Administrative Offices at Viscount.  The opening is January 6 from 7 – 9. Hope to see you there!

It also means painting 30 paintings in 30 days during January for the twice annual challenge I do.  Stay tuned!

Breakfast Brushstrokes

Warm-up pieces I call ” breakfast brushstrokes”

I am realizing that I need to put painting more front and center, and focus on that! Now that the days are cooler, I find that I don’t need to walk the dog at 6:15 so instead I’m up and painting.  Just little warm ups like this to get back into the routine for the day and sometimes that’s all the painting I have time for that day.  It feels good to get it done and know that in the middle of this hectic time especially,  I at least have gotten some painting in for the day. 

Don’t forget, if you are looking for a unique gift thus season,  I have prints and cards available at my online store at squareup.com/store/rcmurphree_watercolors

Chile Trio again demo

The other weekend I did a second informal demo during the opening of the Sunland Art Gallery’s el Paso Scenes show and it went more smoothly for me.  I am consistently using my easel these days to get more comfortable with it.  I also did an underpainting first (see below) to not have the “fear of white page” syndrome!

chiletrio2-demo_rachel_murphree_watercolor-2

I’m realizing several things about demos.

First, it’s not a race and I don’t have to “finish” the painting.  So if I’m not at a critical point with washes, I can stop and answer questions without painting.  This may seem obvious but I realized it was one of the thoughts that was stressing me.

Second, you do learn more by teaching or demonstrating, so it’s worth doing and getting better at.  And you don’t have to do it perfectly; you just have to be able to explain why you are doing X and if it worked or not, and why /why not.

chiletrio2-demo_rachel_murphree_watercolor-1

Speaking of not perfect, right off the bat i had a runaway wash that dripped down the paper and was staining.  So after that, nothing else could go wrong!  Big smile.  I don’t have the glow of the first painting in this one, and I don’t think I’ll finish it, but I’m happy for what is:  a demo.

The third thing i realized is the continuation of “it’s only paper”  is….it’s only a demo!

tres_chiles_framed_rachel_murphree_watercolors

So here’s the finished framed piece which is now hanging at the Sunland Art Gallery but I have prints, cards, and ornaments of it for sale there and at the show this weekend at Queen of Peace church.   (and also at my online store)

I have blogged about the process for the framed piece here.