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



Thursday, April 23, 2015

The big painting

Somehow I got it into my head that I would like to paint large. A canvas became available and I went for it. Now I had painted large before. The blue hippo, now at Jenny's house, is 36"x36". The Rose is 30"x30". They at fit into the car with room left for the three from Cleveland to drive to Chattanooga to class. This canvas is 36" x 60". That is my height by more than my width (although I am deeper - much deeper). The back seat in the car has to be put down and the canvas fit in at an angle. What, you might ask, was I thinking?  Well, I am not so sure that "thinking" is the word to use here. I have never been one to hold back so I just jumped in. 

The canvas has been in the studio for several weeks but I have been busy. However, yesterday I decided to go for it. I gessoed it with two coats and today.....I began. 










I made two large marks with dark blue paint. Hmmm, The brush didn't hold enough paint to make smooth marks. Must get a different large brush. Deciding to just go on with things and deal with the marks later, I began adding some yellow and, getting into the blue, some green. I stepped back to look. The large marks I made were practically lost on the much larger canvas. Not only that but they were bad ugly. More than any other thing they resembled a hammer and sickle. I vaguely remember the House UnAmerican Activities Hearings but I remember them well enough to want to change those marks. 
By the time I thought to photograph the progress I had already wiped off the first blue mark and started on the second. Then I decided that I didn't like the others any better.




 I began again. This is a little better except for the magenta Don't add a color that wasn't in your original plan. I added a little magenta and ugh! I had to wipe it out. 






Now another problem reared its head. The easel that was just large enough for the "rose" is not large enough for this. The canvas slipped. I had to lift the canvas and hold it with my knee while I tightened the knob. Even then, it kept slipping here and there, each time threatening to fall. Trip to Chattanooga tomorrow for a sturdy easel and better large brushes (two and three inch ones).  By the way, turning this monster was a real bear!

The floor in the studio is uneven (as is everything at Tantivy) Couple this with my tendency to go high on the right and everything was aslant. I got out my T-square and chalked some marks. Tomorrow I will straighten these lines. Today I wiped off some of the most offending parts. I was getting tired. I called it a day. 


All this time I had been wiping off the things that just weren't right. I started with a package of 90 baby wipes and over half are gone. Fortunately, I buy them by the case and have another few packs on hand. I also have a wastebasket full of painted ones, blue fingernails and some really tired shoulders. 

Maybe while I am in Chattanooga I can look for another canvas. I think that they have a 60 x 54.  I wonder if it will fit in my car. 


All will be well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Friday, February 27, 2015

An interesting week

It has been interesting this week. First we were promised 6"-8" of snow that did not fall. A few flakes, a scattering, stuff that you could see but that then melted only to be r placed by more of the same which also melted. Then on Wednesday night we were told that we would have less than an inch and awoke Thursday morning to 5" or more. This is the best illustration I know of for climate change - no one seems to know what is going on weather-wise.

Today is lovely and sunny and the white stuff is melting. It might take a while for the ice clumps on the from steps, though. I swept a path for the postman to get up to the porch, but didn't get the whole width and the remainder is all ice.

While I have been inside waiting for warm weather, I have been painting. Here are the latest ones.
This looks springy to me

For that matter, so does this. 

I will next attempt an extreme close-up of a rose and if that works I will do several more of different roses or views, but always very close-up. 

All is Well
XOXOXO
Caroline

Friday, February 20, 2015

In the middle of the night

Sometimes  From time to time Often I get my days and night mixed up. This is one of those times. Last night I couldn't sleep but I had to get up this morning soon after seven so that this afternoon I was nearly dead when I stretched out on the bed for a few minutes and ended up sleeping for two and a half hours. Now I can't sleep tonight. Oh, well, I should be accustomed to this schedule by now.  

During dinner at Vicki's house tonight, Sara called. Now, Sara is doing her clinical at the hospital and she was on her way home with a story to tell. I excused myself from the table because I know that hospital stories all concern either blood, pee or poop.  It is just a given. All this is new to Sara because it is not all injuries on a playing field;  I believe that she is going to be a very good nurse.  She has a good heart without being soft about things. I won't share the story - it was about one of the major three, though. 

Here is the painting I am working on now. This was taken a few minutes ago in the dark kitchen so it looks a little dark but you get the idea. I am not sure how I will resolve it but it has been interesting to work on so far. Maybe some pink? Maybe not. I do think that the green needs to be smoothed out a little but I am not sure about how I can do that. I am not even sure which way is up. That is the way it is with beginning paintings when you don't have a "picture". Lots of questions. I have to make up the answers as I go. 

All is well, 
XOXOXO,
Caroline

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oh, Dear

When I went to the audiologist two weeks ago I made an appointment for a follow-up, as one does of course. The appointment is for tomorrow. At eight in the morning. The forecast temperature is 3 degrees F.  Three. No zeros. The windchill will make it feel like -11. That is minus 11. Fahrenheit. Cold. What was I thinking?

DH bought flowers at the end of lat week. Isn't this rose just beautiful? In the background are some Alstroemerias and there are also two large Hydrangeas. I would like to paint this rose. Maybe. Someday. 

Here is what I really am painting. The upper right hasn't been started yet and I don't know whether to just continue with the color blocking or add an image. (not the rose). 
This is the image I might go for if I decide to add an image. Just the flower. Not the chair, blanket, neighbor's house, etc. 

This is the latest painting. I wish that the colors were closer to the real thing because I really like this in person. 

We had snow to day several times with melting in between. Snow again later in the week. I think our weather forecasters must have predicted the big storm in NYC because they said that we were to have five to eight inches and we had about that many flakes. 

All Is Well, 
XOXOXO.
Caroline

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Posting regularly?

Well, I meant to get back to a regular posting schedule in 2015 but so far that has eluded me. I am working on painting...
You can see the photo I took to work from on the table. It is of a River Birch in our back yard. 

This is just about finished, I think. 

and I have been working on adjusting to wearing hearing aids. I can hear everything. Sometimes I hear more than I want to. I will be working with the audiologist to fine tune for the next several weeks and these are just being tried out for a two week period. At the end of the time I can keep them or we can try something else. 
I think that I will let my hair get longer or cut it over my ears again. Right now the hair ends just hit the microphones. I have a haircut scheduled for Tuesday, so I will decide then. You can't see it in this picture but there is a little plastic tube that goes from above my ear around the front  and into the ear cavity. The little speaker is pushed way in and can't be seen unless you are really looking into my ear. 

Here they are. The little wire at the end is like a kick-stand. It just serves to hold them steady and is hidden in the "bowl" of my ear. It is not necessary but probably is a good thing. The little button you see sticking out on the left one is the volume control. Louder on the right and softer on the left. 

And that is what I have been doing. What about you? Anything interesting (or not) happening at your house? I would love to hear from you. 

All is well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Clean Desk Is Worth It

Yesterday was Vicki's birthday and the dinner was planned to be at my house. All was well until we discovered that in the cleaning up of the wiring tangle (another story) in the basement, the oven was out and the problem was not not easily traced to the source. Texas white sheet cake mixed. No oven. Dean took it to church but the oven there left us with a thin black corner and three thicker slightly over-cooked corners. The beef noodle and crumble noodle casseroles went into the toaster oven and microwave. We had a lovely Sweet Kale (bag) salad, good conversation and a loving family. That's how it rolls at our house. 
Lights on the microwave - none on the oven

I did get some flowers arranged in the dining room.
and I got my desk cleaned off and it looks so good that I am going to try to keep it that way,getting out the things I am using, then putting them away. The "away" part needs a little work, but I am up to that thanks to reading The Magic of Tidying Up.

I should have one of those tables that have a top that lifts, revealing a storage place. Then again, that lamp is a little heavy to lift every time I need something!

All is well and all is well, 
XOXOXO
Caroline