Monday, June 30, 2008

June Oil Painting #14

I used an analogous color scheme for this granny smith apple. Scanning did not work for this piece--the scan produced blues and greens, but no blue-greens. So I used a digital camera to take the picture. (I usually scan.) This image is close to the actual colors. I need to learn the best way to photograph art work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Illustration Friday - Hoard

The definition of hoard is a hidden fund or supply stored for future use; a cache.

A socially acceptable form of hoarding is to save for retirement. In the United States, the 401k is the most popular way of saving for retirement. We are constantly told we need gazillions of dollars saved up for retirement or we will be poor. In my illustration, I tried to show a worker laboring to build his 401k retirement fund, living a life of quiet desperation.

Here is a second version, where modern corporate man is Sisyphus and the rock he must push is financial security.

Here is a third version, where modern corporate man seems to be happy building his hoard.

Friday, June 20, 2008

June Oil Painting #8

I am off on a short vacation to Galveston, Texas. I'll be back next Wednesday.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Illustration Friday - Punchline

I don't hear many jokes. But here is a joke I remember from my childhood. My mother or father told it to me:

A minister's wife and her friend are downtown shopping when they see a dress in a boutique shop window. The minister's wife exclaims, "Isn't that a beautiful dress!" Her friend encourages her to go into the shop and try it on. "Oh,no" the minister's wife firmly pronounces..."we could never afford it." Her friend replies,"But it wouldn't hurt just to try it on..." So in they go. The minister's wife tries on the dress and of course it fits perfectly. Feeling as if the temptation to buy the dress is getting the best of her, she stiffens up, looks straight into the mirror and commands,"Satan! Get Thee Behind Me! All of a sudden she hears from behind... "I am! And it looks great from back here too!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June Oil Painting #7

I heard an inspiring story on National Public Radio (NPR) today. It was about a study of 213 visual artists aged 62 and older living in New York City. The average income of these artists is $30,000 a year--amazingly low for New York City. NPR interviewed two artists from the study, both of whom expressed their lifelong love of art. They don't mind being poor, because doing art is what is important to them. Their entertainment? Not travel, eating out, or the movies. Rather, 78 year-old Hank Virgona says
a walk down a quiet street — especially toward dusk — is as good as going to Caracas or Venezuela or anywhere.
81 year-old Pat Dillard says
The first thing I do when I go out of my building, I look at the sky, white clouds and a blue sky, my heart goes pitter-pat.
Pat Dillard supplements her income by pet sitting cats. Art and cats. Does life get better than that?

The study found that artists never retire. If they can't continue to do their art because of arthritis, they change their art form.

You can read the story or listen to it at Perfecting the Art of Frugal Living in NYC. You can also find a link to the complete study there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

June Oil Painting #5

It is June 15th, and I have completed 10 oil paintings (the remaining 5 are in various states of drying). My goal is to complete 20 oil paintings in June, and I am on track to meet that goal. Here are my thoughts on painting almost every day:
  • Painting almost daily is hard work. Each painting takes me between 1 and 2 1/2 hours. This exercise is giving me an idea of what it would be like to be a professional artist.
  • Painting almost daily builds artistic discipline. I get up and paint because it is a habit.
  • With each painting, I concentrate and strive to do my best. Once the painting is complete, I let it go. There will be another painting tomorrow.
  • Because I paint almost daily, I find it easier to experiment and takes risks. So what if a painting doesn't work out? There is always tomorrow.
  • Painting almost daily is the best way for me to learn. There is a place for learning from teachers and books, but learning by doing is the best teacher.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, to my dad and to all dads everywhere! This is the card I created for my father this year. It is colored pencil over watercolor and is based on a photograph of a sunflower from our garden. I used 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper. This is the first time I applied colored pencil over watercolor, and I really like this technique. It really speeds up the colored pencil work. I learned about this technique in Colored Pencil Explorations by Janie Gildow. This book presents a number of multimedia approaches to colored pencil (e.g., combining colored pencil with watercolor, pastel, acrylic, ink). The book includes a large number of awesome, inspiring pieces of multimedia colored pencil artwork.

I enjoy experimenting with colors in Photoshop Elements. Here is one such experiment. I like the blue background as well as the green one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Adirondack Dreamin

The Mamas and the Papas may have dreamed of California on a winters day, but I dream of the cool Adirondack Mountains on a hot Texas summer day. This is a quick little watercolor painting of Lake Placid, New York. I used a vacation photograph as a reference. The perspective and composition doesn't quite work, but I do like how the lake turned out. I am trying to paint fast and loose and learn how to let watercolor be watercolor.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June Oil Painting #1

My June goal is to create 20 oil paintings. Each is 6" x 8". I scan the paintings, so I need to wait until they are dry to post them. As a result, there will be a 7-9 day lag between the time I paint a picture and when I post it. I painted this picture on June 1st, 2008.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Illustration Friday - Forgotten

Toy rabbits seem sad and forlorn to me. Perhaps this viewpoint is a result of reading the wonderful books The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margrey Williams . In any case, I present this drawing as an illustration for the prompt forgotten.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

EDM #171 - Draw Some Ice Cream

I painted this bowl of ice cream from life. In Texas, in summer, this is truly a challenge. I first sketched the empty bowl. I then put the ice cream in. I painted 10 minutes from life, then put the bowl and ice cream in the freezer. I painted from memory for a while, until I got the bowl out from the freezer and repeated the whole process. Even with this procedure, the ice cream melted a little and as a result shifted and changed appearance as I painted. I hate it when models can't stand still!

I am really enjoying painting in oils. In June, I am challenging myself to paint 20 small oil paintings of simple objects. With work and kids, I don't think I can paint daily. But I can paint almost every day. Since it is summer, there is no homework in the evenings, which frees up some of my time. I'll see if I improve by painting frequently.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rock-a-bye Baby

This silhouette illustrates the nursery rhyme and lullaby Rock-a-bye Baby. Here are the lyrics:

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

You can find an article on the possible origins of this strange lullaby here.

Here is another version of this piece. In this version, I added more detail to the figures to add interest, such as the apron and hair strands. I also tried out a vertical format.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Illustration Friday - Baby

I did this watercolor of my son Christopher a few years ago, when he still had baby fat in his face.