BRRRRRR!!!!! irthday!

It's another cold morning, but it's also a day to celebrate. Rhonda Carpenter's birthday is today. Happy Birthday, Rhonda. It's been a good year for her, and I'm sure today will be special, too. This month she was voted Watercolor Workshop Artist of the year - see info and accolades at http://www.susieshort.net/2008-wcwaoty.html or go to her diverse blog at http://rhcarpenter.blogspot.com/. Here's Rhonda experimenting with a new process in class... looking pretty contemplative at this point. Karen's behind her, and you can just see Kathy's hands in the back.

Rhonda loves cats so today's post is a painting of the cat we used to have. Sam was a gray, long haired Maine Coon cat with the gentlest disposition in the world. When he found us, it took well over 3 months for us to get to touch him. He was a mess, matted fur, etc. Eventually, he knew he could trust us. He lived to the ripe old age of 19 years old and was probably even older than that. He was the best kitty.

"TIME FOR LUNCH?" Transparent Waterolor on Arches 140#CP 6 x 6" SOLD



There's an unwritten rule somewhere that proclaims, "All artists must paint a specific quantity of barns and lighthouses early in their art journey." I certainly followed the rule well. Going through old photos of my paintings, I found way too many barn paintings. And some lighthouses, too. Since I don't keep the best records of all my paintings, I'm certain there are even more out there. GROAN!

It was VERY cold at 7 am this morning when I left to take my husband to the airport, and the painting below portrays how frigid it is here. It is one of those obligatory barns that had to be painted but was done quickly - a twenty minute painting.

Out of the dozens of barns that I've surely painted, this is my favorite one, and I did it the year I started taking watercolor lessons. The style and technique are typical watercolor. Twenty years later, I am still attracted to the shapes and angles that barns present, still photographing them frequently.

I grew up with barns in my neighborhood, and I like them. I like the openings, the darks and lights, the textures, the varied edges, the sag of the roof and rafters, the muted colors, the patterns created by the various windows and door, and all the shapes of junk and weeds that exist in abundance around most old barns. I just may have to paint another one soon. Until then, look out.... there's a remote possibilty of my making (and posting here) a slide show of all the barn paintings I've ever painted! Scary thought.

"ARTHUR'S PLACE" Transparent Watercolor on Arches 140#CP 12 x 8" SOLD



I recklessly painted the right hand side of this piece, then set it aside for several months. After deciding it was worth pursuing, I tried to capture that same reckless abandon as I worked on the other two thirds of the painting. Of course, as soon as you try, on purpose, to paint recklessly, you become immensely aware of each movement, therefore not painting recklessly.

Can you see the difference in the left and right hand sides? The left side still looks more calculated, timid, careful. The right hand side has a vitality to it that happened because I was just playing, not caring as much about the result as the joy of doing the painting. I was focused on the shapes, colors, textures, darks and light, edges...

I really really worked at getting the two sides to work ok together in the same painting. This fall, I'll be painting in Venice and the northern lakes area of Italy with several of my friends from Wednesday's morning class, so I may give this another try then.

"CITY OF LIGHT" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 36 x 22"



Painted several years ago, this YUPO painting shows the patriotic leanings of a business owner in our town. Soon after 9/11, he had one of his semi cabs painted to resemble a waving flag, and it gets a lot of attention. After capturing the truck on film (in the days before I had a digital camera,) I knew I wanted to paint it.

Because watercolor on the plastic YUPO surface stays exceptionally bright, I was able to capture the intensity of the colors on my cropped version of the cab of the truck. I liked the abstract shapes within the realistic reflections. The painting now belongs to the truck owner:-)

"ALL STAR SALUTE" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 26 x 20" SOLD --- Giglee' prints available



Here I go again. Same picture but I think a much better composition than the demo I did last Friday night - see January 12th post.
The large dark cruciform design shown here goes off the page on all four sides and is connected. I like this painting the best of all five that I've done. I'll send it to Myrna Wacknov as Week 3 for her challenge.
I'd drawn 'TEXTURE' (YEAH!!!) as the dominant element of design to use plus the 'cruciform' design (easiest one for me to do,) so painting this after designing it was very freeing.
It was done quickly with no fussing or fiddling, mostly relying on instinct and intuition. And it's on YUPO, too. That made it seem even more spontaneous and fun to do.
Colors I used = Burnt Tiger's Eye, in every color to unify the painting, as well as Ultramarine Turquoise, Cobalt Teal Blue, Quinacridone Violet, Quin Magenta, Transparent Pyrrol Orange, Raw Sienna, Perylene Green, and Indanthrone Blue, all from 'Daniel Smith/Seattle, WA' Watercolors.

"CALL IT A DAY" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 11 x 15"



"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that ALL men are created equal.....'
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.....
* "We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
And so I'm happy, tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of
the coming of the Lord!!"
"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!"
* The third paragraph above was from the last speech he ever gave. The other paragraphs are from his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Dr. Martin Luther King would have been 70 years old this month.
"DETERMINED " Transparent Watercolor on Gesso on 140#CP Arches 9 x 15"



California artist Myrna Wacknov recently started a weekly blog painting challenge which intrigued me enough that I finally jumped in. Her challenge goes something like this:
First you select a photo reference to work from - one you LIKE a lot.
Next, you randomly (without looking) select one of the seven elements of design - line, texture, shape, size, direction, color or value.
Then, randomly select one compositional design motif to use to design the painting. These include a vertical or horizontal compositional design, or a cruciform shape, or a pyramid shape, a bridge shape, a 'T' shape, or an overall pattern, a checkerboard pattern, a spiral, a radial design, frame-in-frame, or medallion shape, etc. There are many to choose from, depending on what you read. Marianne K. Brown's book called "Watercolor by Design" teaches about them extensively, and Gerald Brommer does a great job explaining various design compositions in some of his books.
The final thing to do before painting is to select one color to mix somehow throughout every bit of the painting. Myrna calls this the mother color.
Once these four selections are made, the challenge is to paint a picture and make your selected element be obviously dominant in the selected compositon. Each week, a new painting is completed, using the very same photo reference, but selecting a new element, a new design composition, and a new mother color.
I like doing this so much that I am passing Myrna's challenge on to my classes with a few variations to the challenge, (with her permission and blessing.) So far, everyone's really enjoying the challenge, as well as discovering that they are no longer in their comfort zone.
The painting posted to the right is Week Two for me. I randomly selected LINE as the element to dominate the painting and CHECKERBOARD as the design composition, with TRANSPARENT PYRROL ORANGE as the mother color. It was challenging and fulfilling to play with the concept, especially with the conflict that line and checkerboard together presented. I think the line here needs to be more dominant and broken so that shape doesn't play such an important role in this painting. I may have to break out the Caran d'Ache crayons for some more line work, and I'm already looking forward to the next painting.
Week One (left side) incorporates the same composition as the YUPO demo done on Friday night. My Week One's selections were VALUE, VERTICAL DESIGN, & RAW SIENNA, easy ones to handle because I use them a lot.
Each painting is 11 x 15" on Arches 140#CP. You can see the reference photo which I'll continue to use at the end of yesterday's post. And, no, I do not ever get tired of painting from the same photo, especially with all the diversity that's happening with this challenge.
To see Myrna's blogspot and website, check the side bar info on the right of this blog, titled, "PLACES I VISIT." Thank you so much, Myrna, for so freely sharing, teaching, and encouraging others. You are an inspiration!