Friday, May 29, 2015

At last

I have been working - at least on and off. I am not taking a class this session so I am working on some things I wanted to learn and try. AND, I finished the big canvas but you won't guess how. After trying this and painting that and changing this and adding that and, and, and . . .  Today I decided that I didn't like it, I would never like it and that to do more work on it would just be a further waste of time so I gessoed it. I sanded and scraped and then painted thick, opaque white gesso over it and thenI painted it again.

The scraped, etc. canvas after the gesso was applied. (I poked a tiny hole in it during all the scraping, but I fixed it)

A preliminary sketch of a view out the bus window during our trip to Italy. It is on cheap drawing paper and it just slurped up the the acrylic; I could hardly spread it. 

The big canvas as it looks now. I am not saying that it will never change, but for now I am going to put it aside. 
This is a abstract expressionist piece that is also on cheap drawing paper but this time I was ready with juicier paint. I used a big brush on it, too. 

I am going to be pursuing a different style. It will be more expressive and looser as well as making me feel what I want to feel when I paint.  I approached the style with the new painting on the BC. It was all painted with a 1.5 inch brush except for a few details at the end. Stay tuned to see how that goes. If you want an example of someone who paints in the style I am thinking about, check out Patti Mollica.com

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tech break World

I told you, I think, that my computer has been trying to die on me. The printer, not to be outdone, decided to print a whole photo or document on the bottom inch and a half of the paper. I ordered new ones of both.  I am 72 years old and I just don't have time to mess around with all that not working stuff. 
So a few days ago I opened the door and found a box. It was a big box - much larger than I would expect for a printer. 
Those are Dean's legs and his phone (iPhone 5) for reference. If I were just a little more limber I think that I could get in that box. 

Inside was, yup, you guessed it, the printer, cushioned by a strip of folded over paper. Thanks FedEx for your careful packing. Of course the printer was wedged into its own box with enough styrofoam, etc, that it couldn't have wiggled if it tried. In fact it took me about 10 minutes to get it out of the box. 


CreekBank ready to submit to my teacher and peers for review and critique. Lots of little roots. 


A detail of the big painting which as of yet has not been named. The whole thing is below. 

I have a picture of my grandmother that I have printed on organza so that it is quite sheer and rather dreamy looking. It might go under the flower. 
Right here it is just stuck on with water so I can decided what to do. Opinions? 

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

One of those days

Do you ever have those days? I wanted to do my daily scripture reading but my iPad was low on battery power so I went to my computer. No glasses. To the bedroom to get glasses. Hmmm, the bed hadn't made itself although I gave it plenty of time so I made the bed. The quilt, dumped on the floor last night (we don't have our A/C on) needs to be washed. To the laundry area with quilt in hand. Whoops, stuff in washer needs to go in dryer or be hung up. Loaded and started dryer. Made coffee. Talked to Sara. Plugged in iPad. Oh, yes, I was going to read. Went to computer. No glasses. 

As I type this I realized that I did not actually put the quilt in the washer, so I am going to do that and then go to the studio. Oh! Go to the studio after I fold the load from the dryer. Maybe get something to eat. Heat my forgotten coffee. It goes on and on. However, 

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Monday, May 11, 2015

Progress - of sorts

Well, after the technician removed the big hairball from my computer's fan, things are working a little better, although we now have nothing left of Jackson but his ashes. A new printer to replace the one that won't feed paper is on the way. We went to our Granddaughter's dance recital - cute and funny- and will be going next to our grandson's band concert. I cut the grass and did not faint. Busy with lots of things but I have done a little to the BIG canvas.


I had started the second time with photos of ancestors and was even adding a house that they lived in in 1906 but decided that those were subjects for another painting so I ripped them off. Well, I ripped off some and the last one I sanded and scraped and rubbed with alcohol (it does at least somewhat remove acrylic paint) until only a shadow remains. I think this might be the final plan, although it still requires quite a bit of work and finishing and that house must be demolished or painted over or whatever it takes to get gone. The finished piece will be a abstract piece of sorts. Can't tell you more because that is all I know. 


This is the Creekbank painting, ready for first critique. I also need to start on something about the rural south and I think I have found it.
This needs to be cropped and finagled a little but I think it will make an interesting painting. I have also asked Mary Ann Moss if I can use one of her close-up photographs of flowers and she has said I may. See the flowers by going to Dispatchfromla.typepad.com. I haven't decided which one(s) to use so you can let me know what you think. 

I am also starting to check out Blogsy which will let me blog from my iPad; that should be really interesting. Meanwhile, 

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline











Thursday, April 30, 2015

Working Hard

I don't have much to show you, but I am working hard. I have looked up reference photos, pulled things off, glued things on, sanded, scraped and painted. I still have what may be several weeks of work to do. I am enjoying the work, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew. 







Here is the way it was. The dark piece in the upper right center is a photo of some rusty corrugated sheet metal that seems to have figures in it. I began with it but as I progressed it had less and less significance to me so...





I ripped it off. The gesso and paint also came off  but I can fix that. Working on a painting like this requires a lot of sitting and looking at it and waiting for an idea of what to do next. I am going to have to move a microwave out there to reheat my coffee - or maybe just take a pot out. The lack of running water is a small problem, though, and you realize that without running water that other necessity isn't there either, so maybe I should keep going to the house to warm coffee and do"other things".

All the people on the painting are kin to each other and all, therefore, are kin to me. The two women are my grandmother and great-grandmother. My great-grandfather, his brother and his brother's sons are also there. The house (just begun - it needs windows, doors, rails around the porch, etc. curtains, lamps, a nice rug, new bedspr.....I get carried away) is one where my grandmother, her mother and her siblings lived in 1906. I will be adding flourishes (you might see the flowers chalked in) and such and doing something about the large dividers that remain. I might just paint the dividers or whitewash them - Tom Sawyer, anyone?
I thought that I might be able to work in this window or another photo I have of an old locked door, but they seem to be holding out for a piece of their own. This, by the way, is a picture from a side window of the studio into a neighbor's backyard. 

I have some other paintings to work on for an upcoming show to which I would like to submit some work. The show is titled Rural South and I have a house, a different one, in mind to try to paint. I also have a work on paper started that is about fog(below) and it is halfway done; more fog needs to be added and a lot of little finishing things. Atmospheric and a little weird is what I am aiming for. Weird is not hard for me. Atmospheric? We will see. 
This will be a companion piece to the Creekbottom one that I recently finished and it will be Creekbank. 

 The roses will definitely make the cut on the big canvas; I plan to place some near the bride and groom and other in various places - maybe climbing on those rough wood dividers. These are in our backyard near our Kids, a sculpture we bought several years ago when we were in NM. 

For the next little while there won't be much that is outstanding to show about the big painting, but I appreciate your being here for me to talk to.  I will continue to post about art and the house and I hope that you will continue to read. I like to think that these words are being received somewhere. 

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Studio. The Painting and the artist

Before I start again about the painting let me tell you just a bit about the studio. Our house was built in 1923, but the garage was built in the early fifties. It was a place for Mr. Rymer and his buddies to play poker until Mrs. Rymer grew too worried about what the neighbors might think and put a stop to it. That is the story I got from our friend Leroy Rymer, whose father built it with help from the guys at the stove works where Mr R was the top dog but not the owner. 
 There were closets in the corners, one torn down before we got here and the other torn down by me. ( if you ever want to feel powerful, take a hammer and tear something down. Hard work. but exhillerating. On the closet I tore down was the electric switch which Dean replaced but which still hangs there because we want to decide just what we are going to do before we drill any more holes, etc.
There are also two electrical outlets on walls and one in the floor (can you imagine how many things I have to plug in? ) and the two light fixtures you see below. The big one goes to the switch and the other has a hang chain that could be reached from the card table, I think.  I have it knotted up because it kept brushing my head and it felt like a bug. Actually, it felt like one of the wasps that are always so eager to see how and what I am doing.


When I came back to the studio I decided that there just wasn't anything interesting about the painting. I turned it every way and that was not easy. With the easel cranked down as low as it goes the mast had to be extended nearly to the ceiling.  Step ladder to the rescue. I always keep one handy. Up and down, Up and down. I looked at every possibility.

It was boring. It had no heart, no story. Would anyone want to have it to look at every day? Not I.  Since I really didn't like what I had done, I started changing it - this time with water,  a little alcohol (on the canvas, not in me) and later sandpaper. Hmmm. It looks better already, but what will I do?

I left the studio that night wondering if I should just use this sketch of a photograph I took of a road near where we lived in the mountains. 

I also decided that the next canvas, even if it is 60" long, will not be 36" wide.  3X5 is a good proportion for an index card, but 4x5 is much better for a painting. I am learning so much.  I think that the only way is to just jump in and go for it because those lessons really stick with you!

I also think that I know what I will do. 

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Friday, April 24, 2015

How big an Easel?

Today, after having my teeth cleaned(not that it matters to the story), Dean and I went to Chattanooga to look for an easel. I knew that there were some at Art Creations where I take classes so we went there. After a bit of examining and thinking and comparing we decided on one that would hold a 60 " canvas vertically, just in case. The thing was that last night, just before I went to sleep, I decided that I needed to wipe (gesso) the whole thing and paint a scene from my past - a dirt road on the mountains as it curves around and vanishes. Trees, bushes, grass, a little water - it has all the good things. I would have done it horizontally, of course, but I wanted to be ready for vertical if needed.

The easel is nice and sturdy, I didn't have to pay shipping, and Wow! it was already assembled!  Sandra, the store manager, and Dean rolled and carried it out to the car and the three of us just got it in with about a hair to spare between the back lift gate and the rollers on the easel. Whew! The trip  home was uneventful, the best kind of trip, and Dean liked having the arm rest. Yes, the mast of the easel was in the front seat with us.

I am sorry but I did not take a picture of each of these things and I am NOT going to start over.

When we got home we decided to rest a few minutes and we did. Then we began hoisting the behemoth up the stairs to the studio. Did I tell you that it weighs 70 pounds? Did I tell you that it was about four inches narrower than the staircase? Did I tell you that the downstairs has a ten foot ceiling so there are 17 steps plus one to the door? Did I tell you that the path through the garage was not really wide enough and we had to lift it over things?  No? Well, maybe you didn't want to know all those things but that is the way it was!
Some people have to decorate their stairway but mine decorated itself. When I am coming down at night with only a flashlight and put my hand on it it always startles me!

I didn't even take a picture of the bare easel in the studio. 
By the time we huffed and puffed it up there my heart was pounding and I had to sit down and breath and blow out to get rid of the carbon dioxide that had accrued during that trudge up the stairs. It was hard work!!
So here is the canvas. Lots of yellow. That is going to change. 

I did a little work and straightened some of the lines. It is getting better but has quite a way to go. The dark green stripes were a really dead looking color because I used Naples yellow, quite pretty on its own, to mix with.  Not a good idea.  I wiped that out and mixed Indian Yellow Hue, which is transparent and Anthraquinone Blue and got a lovely dark green that has some life to it. Opaque colors just are not good mixers unless you are looking for opaque. 

I will be using some more of the light blue-green and some of the Indian Yellow and some other colors to replace/soften at least some of the yellow/gold and I need to work on the depth. The next time I show it I will be ready for critique and I am sure that I will need it. 

Here is the old easel with the fog painting on it. It has a way to go, too but I am liking it and think that it will finish well. When I lived in the mountain I used to watch the clouds or fog roll across the yard. I always wondered which it was...cloud or fog.

All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline