Going going gone…

Sorry I’ve been “gone”  from my blog recently, but I have a very good excuse.  I was on a murder jury for nine days, my first jury experience, and it was eye opening, hard, and I’m glad I had the experience.  It certainly messed with my schedule though!  I planned on spending many studio hours reinforcing skills I learned at the three days workshop in the end of March, but that didn’t happen!  I did spend my free time at lunches sketching outside in our redone downtown park, and also read Jan Hart’s fabulous color book during down times.

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I found out when my piece Gone But Not Forgotten: Globe Mills will be auctioned.  It will be this Saturday, April 22nd, from 6-6:30.  You can see the piece and others that will be auctioned that evening at this KCOC TV page.  Bidding starts at $140.   This is my second time to participate in the auction and I hope that it sells well! You can read about the auction process details here.

This beautiful historic building was torn down early last year to make new highways.  I hate when that happens.

 

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Contemplation. 16″ x 20″ framed. $250.

 

I also found out that my piece Contemplation was accepted into the New Mexico Watercolor Society’s spring show in Albuquerque!  The show opening is May 6th from 1-4 at the Expo-NM fairgrounds and is free and open to the public.  In previous years I’ve attended and it is a LOVELY show!  well worth attending if you are in town.  It runs through May 28th and is open Thursdays-Sunday 10-4 pm.

Please share my blog post with anyone you think may be interested in either piece or in following my art progress! and thank you for leaving a comment…

 

 

El Paso Union Depot

There is something really beneficial in joining an organization and jumping in to participating in challenges.  The NMWS local chapter in Las Cruces is hosting a “For the Love of Art” show at the Las Cruces Railroad Museum, and the theme is railroad architecture. I’m not horribly comfortable with drawing or painting architecture, but I wanted to pitch in and have something to contribute to the show. Just this very process led to a great experience in learning about perspective, and trying new materials.

Well, I’m calling the masa paper that I have “new” but truth be told, it has been in my supplies for years waiting for “just the right time”….haha!  I know you understand how that goes… I also have a lot of books on my shelves, several at least have to do with perspective and drawing and architecture, and again…they have been on my shelves for quite awhile.  I guess I think that if I own the books, the knowledge is in my head automatically.  A little learning turns out to be a great thing!

So on a gloomy day with some sun shining through, I drove down to the El Paso Union Depot and sketched and took pictures.  The sun never came out when I was down there, of course, but that’s ok.

El Paso Union Depot tower sketch

El Paso Union Depot tower sketch

El Paso Union Depot sketches 2

El Paso Union Depot sketches 2

Rough painting El Paso Union Depot

Rough painting El Paso Union Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to my painting group and tried to paint it without a good drawing underneath, no ruler, and no ability to concentrate.  Life gets like that sometimes, and I knew that I’d have to try it at home.

After a day or two, I thought the colors and basic shape were interesting on the painting and thought, why not try and collage masa paper over it?

After viewing several tutorials and videos on the paper, I jumped in, cut paper to the right size, wadded it up several times, dunked it in water and glued it down to the wc paper with a mix of diluted gel medium and water, and then put some layers of color over it and let it dry.

first stage of masa paper overlay

first stage of masa paper overlay

Second stage of masa paper overlay

second stage of masa paper overlay

So I had a decent collage with potential, some of the previous painted image painting through, and I thought, ok, perhaps that could be the “historical” depot shining through the collage with the present day painted on top, an idea that didn’t come through because of the logistics of the size, but again, playing with possibilities was fun.

I used the book The Art of Perspective.  On page 115 it speaks about your eye level, a line you determine and you use to establish the sideways angles on buildings with the vertical lines parallel to each other. In this sketch, my eye level is below the tower, so the angled lines on the sides of the building go DOWN to meet the eye level line, and if I were looking down on the tower, hovering in the air, those same angled lines would be angled UP. it makes perfect sense when you see it in black and white, and even better sense when you get out a ruler and try to make the lines and angles match what you see in real life or in the photo.

I used the angle of the left side of the cupola or steeple top from the photo and copied that angle and laid my paper on a much larger paper with a yardstick and drew the line down to that eye level line I drew and that point where they intersect  became my vanishing point.  Then all the other lines on that side met at that vanishing point which made the window tops and bottoms, the decoration on the building, etc all line up in perspective.

Masa paper collaged and painted overtop with accurate sketch

Masa paper collaged and painted overtop with accurate sketch

positioning on the lightbox

positioning on the lightbox

I took the collage and the sketch to the lightbox and played with where I wanted the sketch to be in relation to the existing lights and darks of the painting. The piece must be 8.5″ square, so that limited where I could put it, so I couldn’t do the vague idea of a shadow depot in the painting, but I’m much happier with this and how the lights hit the side of the steeple.

graphited on back, spray fixative, light marks on piece

graphited on back, spray fixative, light marks on piece

Because of the layers of paper, I couldn’t use the lightbox to transfer the sketch onto it, so I used an 8B graphite pencil to darken the back of the sketch, sprayed it quickly with a workable fixative, and then lightly sketched. I didn’t want to put graphite smudges onto the collage, and I could see that even with the spray the potential was there, so I kept my marks light, but I could, and should, have darkened the details on the tower because I had to go in later and do that roughly after the background tower was on.

So here are the final stage of painting the tower.  I really like the misty effect of using the masa paper to add texture.  Because it is soft and fragile, this technique doesn’t allow for much lifting color, but I could do enough manipulation of values and color to be happy with it.

Stage one of the finished painting

Stage one of the finished painting

Stage 2 of finished

Stage 2 of finished

Stage 3 of finished

Stage 3 of finished

Stage four of finished

Stage four of finished

So I am now looking forward to the show! The opening will be on the First Friday Art Ramble of February, and all of the pieces in the show will be framed identically in 12″ square metal frames with an 8″ piece of art inside the mat. All the pieces will be $125. I will blog more details about the opening as it gets closer.

Keep current on what’s going on in my art world through monthly emails. I’ll let you know where you can see my art, what shows I may be in, and other art related news. Free subscription to my email updates includes a discount on purchases of my original work. Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear from you!

Mesquite Shade — Day 20

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Over the past couple of days I’ve worked on a larger more detailed version of the mesquite shade value sketch that I blogged about earlier.  There are parts of it I’m happy with, and some I am not.  I need more practice on foliage for one.  The other is that it looks like the rock wall/bench is higher and slopes down toward the foreground, and I’m puzzling over how to make it look flat.  Any suggestions?

Here’s the photo reference again:

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photo and pencil value sketch possibilities

 

And here are various stages in the process:

For the underpainting I used cobalt and pyroll orange.  It has a pinkier look to it, a variation from the underpainting colors of cadmium orange and cobalt that I learned in the Michael Riordan workshop last fall.  I painted around the lightest lights and put the orange into the areas that would be warmer.

For the greens, I consulted some color charts I’d done earlier in larger blocks on my paper (as opposed to the teeny tiny squares I did when I was a novice and didn’t “get” the value of color charts) The top row is hansa as the first layer, the second as new gamboge, the third has lemon yellow laid down first.  I decided the mid summer warmth of the foliage would be best made with new gamboge.

greens

And here’s the last in process photo.  You can see that I took the foliage area and at times went over the edges iof the branches of the trunk, but I knew that the browns would be able to cover those edges and make them thicker.

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Stage 3 of mesquite shade

As always, I welcome comments and constructive criticism, and thank again for stopping by!

Day 27 — Desert’s Green Glow (plein air)

Plein air painting of mountain with green patches

Desert’s Green Glow. Click image to view larger. 8″ x 10″ watercolor. $25

The El Paso area is bisected by a mountain range.  The mountains are a beautiful rocky presence in the life of the city.  For most of the year, they are subtle shades of ocher, sand,  gray, blue, purple, and browns, tinged into a watermelon color for the several moments of the gloaming before sunset.  We get 7″ of annual rainfall, and most of it falls in late summer/early fall.  It’s called our “monsoon” season which is a laughable name in some respects! It is during this period that we see the subtle green glow of grasses on the mountain. It’s an exciting time for me and lets me feel like a true El Pasoan (even though I’ve lived here less than 20 years) because I know that freeway travelers passing through will not even notice this green glow.

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My painting set up under a shade overhang of a picnic table in the state park area of the mountains. The mountains across the road are what I focused on. Click image to view larger


I traveled over the mountain today through the pass created when the road was built, and set my plein air paint set up on a covered picnic table in the state park area.  You can see it here.  The weather was cool, even with the sun’s heat, and I spent an enjoyable couple of hours painting and experiencing nature on a quiet Sunday morning.

The Promise – bead embroidery shoe sculpture

"The Promise" -- bead embroidered and felted toddler shoe

My bead embroidery sculpture  of my daughters’ toddler shoe won a Judge’s Award at the El Paso Art Association’s Colors of Spring show this past weekend.  It will be on display until March 28th.  Here’s a link from the website so you can see the other winners and pieces there.  It was a nice show and exciting to see paintings and photography represented.  http://www.crosslandartgallery.com/current-exhibition.html  Many thanks to the Damon Crossland Insurance Agencies for their support of art in El Paso and this show in particular.

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture side view

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture side view

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture back

beaded embroidery shoe sculpture back

I started the front panel of this piece right after they outgrew the shoe but just completed it these many years later.  It is amazing how much more time you have when the kids are more self sufficient, the rest of the panels seemed to create themselves.  I had such a good time making it!

The Promise front view

The Promise front view

 

 

Ardovino’s Farmer’s Market YEAR ROUND!

from farmer's market

from farmer’s market

I just found out that the Farmer’s Market  at Ardovino’s will be open year round, starting this year.  For local folks, this is great news.  it’s a fabulous place to visit, good vendors, yummy food and artists’ stuff!  Here are some of my favorites there:

http://breadsbybarbara.com/
Jewelry and art by Cecil and Susan, phenomenal couple and great work!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/SooZen Their jewelry has spoiled me for any other jewelry artists.
Cactus Mary soaps  this is the only hand soap I use, and I love her subtle natural scents.

And the restaurant is fabulous!  For those of you who don’t know, it was a roadside inn, before travel on the interstates, that was featured in Life magazine, and is still in the family, has been restored and continues to serve locally sourced food that is crazy good!  Here’s more on its history.   The grounds are so beautiful, done by Jennifer Barr Ardovino of Desert Elements Landscape Design.  It is a special place.

In April a very good friend (who currently lives in Cambridge, MA) visited me for the first time in 12 years.  We went out to for her birthday dinner and had a scrumptious feast, she thoroughly enjoyed the classy duo playing in the bar area, the view was so beautiful.  it was a really special night and I was so proud that El Paso has quality places that rival the whole range of choices she has in the Boston area.

Downtown Art and Farmers’ Market

Today was my first time down at the newish DWNTWN Artists and Farmers’ market ., it’s in the Union Plaza area and has a different feel than the Ardovino’s market.  More younger artists, smaller veggie stands, a wool stand that I enjoyed, and yummy home made breads, cupcakes, and more.  I will definitely go back and hope it continues to thrive.

I’ve snapped some of my purchases.

Veggies that may show up in watercolor pictures

Veggies that may show up in watercolor pictures

Home made sweet breadsHome made sweet breads

Yarn from Wooly Burro Fibers, jewelry from Nenas Art and Designs and a cool cabochon for a beaded barrette

Yarn, jewelry and a cabochon

Yarn from Wooly Burro Fibers, jewelry from Nenas Art and Designs and a cool cabochon for a beaded barrette

Surround sound mural

This amazing mural, spread over three walls, of El Paso’s downtown back in the day, complete with dogs is at a local groomers-Julians. http://www.elpasopetgrooming.com

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