Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rise up this mornin, Smiled at the risin sun, Three little paintings...

Well, in reality, there is NO sun to speak of today as it's completely overcast and disgusting outside. But the bright and filtered light coming in through the windows actually makes for perfect lighting conditions for painting, so paint, I did.

I've got the backgrounds on all 3 of them done, and the leaves on the top two are finished as well- they may need a little bit of tweaking and cleaning up. The leaves on the bottom piece need a few more coats.

These are 3 small canvases, 8"x10" each, and are studies I did from the three tulip tree photos I posted here. My original intent was just to do one big painting with focus on the flower, but before I tackled that, I thought studies might be a fun way to play with the colors and really get a feel for how I want the final big piece to look.

I added a lot more blue than in the reference photo to the top left painting, since the sky blue against bright green leaves is such a pleasing combination (thanks, Nature) and with an orangey-yellow flower in the middle, this color combo might be my favorite.

I saturated the browns a little more in the background of the bottom piece, as that photo was taken pointing directly into the woods, and I thought such dark colors might make the lightness of the flower pop more. The flower- the focal point of the painting- has a lot of orange in it, and I wanted to see how it looked to use a color in the same color family (time to get out your color wheels), rather than the complimentary color (blue), in the background.

In the top right painting, I used both the blues and the forest browns (and greens) to give the viewer a look at both sky and woods, which is what one would see when looking at low-hanging tree branches. The greens mixed in with the background are also a good indication of the time of year you can find these fabulous blooms- the end of spring, when the leaves on all of the trees have finally fully released themselves from their tiny little buds and everything is lush and vibrant, and the hazy intense heat of late summer is still months away.

I'm still not sure which background I'll go with for the final piece, as each has benefits. The blue background gives the piece a summery and almost tropical feel, and how could that ever be a bad thing!? But the view of the flower with the deep woods and sky in the background gives such an accurate representation of the environment in which these trees grow.

Don't forget about Earth Hour tonight!
Are you ready?
(I have no idea how people "get ready" to switch off electronics, but maybe there are some who have to have massive preparations in place to play Amish for an hour?)
but over on twitter everyone's "getting ready" so.... I better go make sure I'm ready, I guess.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Earth Hour! March 28th, from 8:30-9:30 pm

Mark your calendars!

Saturday, March 28th, from 8:30-9:30 in the evening, be sure to turn off all of your lights and televisions and other electronics.


Simple answer- all the time zones are sharing the exact same time! So it's very easy to remember. 8:30, no matter where you are.


There are some interesting stats from last year here.

This is also a neat video about Earth Hour starting in 2007:
The video is less than 3 minutes and fascinating! Be sure to check it out.

What else can you do...? Spread the word!
Send an email about this event to all of your friends and family and encourage them to pass it on. You can even print and post posters/flyers from the official website, but just try not to be wasteful about it- and of course, use recycled paper! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We're sick and tired of shades of grey and brown...

Today it was all of 55 degrees outside, and the sun even made an appearance! I went out for a run and noticed one of the first signs of spring:

I wondered a few days ago if any crocus were coming up, but I had no idea where the hell to look for them in the city. Surprise! Here they are!! They are in a random grassy patch near the river.

And my crazy fella here was glad to feel (and smell) the spring air too- I think he hates the cold even more than me, even despite his Husky lineage.

You got the coloring alright, but got gypped on the long fluffy coat, huh?

I tried really hard to get a picture of him smelling the crocus. That's what dogs do, right? They smell EVERYthing. I figured I could just loosen up the leash in the crocus patch, and in no time I'd be well on my way to some great photo opps! Unfortunately, dogs also like to pee on a lot of the things they smell. Not such a sweet spring photo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flowers in the Concrete

I've been a busy bee!

In this picture, you can see how I've completely taken over and trashed the dining area of the apartment. (This is what happens when you don't have an actual art studio!!) But the good thing about having everything in the main area of the house is that it does force me to see it every single day, and also makes me want to hurry up and finish so I can clean up the mess :)

(But I'm actually hoping to keep this momentum going and not give myself enough of a break to clean up. We'll see how that goes...)

I'm working on the 2nd grape painting, but I'm not a fan of repetition so it's already boring me. Don't get me wrong, I think when it's done it will be nice, and I look forward to having a series. But my mind is already racing with ideas for new paintings, which doesn't help at all with the repetition.

So to alleviate some of this boredom/repetition, I've also started small paintings of the tulip poplar flowers. I had those three photos (see previous blog entry), and I like each of them- so I thought I'd do some small studies before tackling a larger size painting, which I eventually intend to do. Plus I have no small paintings, and I want to get into the habit of working smaller than 16"x20" on occasion because smaller pieces take so much less time to complete. The great thing about working on 3 at a time like this is that I can work on a section of one, put it down, work on a section of the others, and so on. By the time I've worked on all 3 of them, the first is already dry and ready for more.


I feel like I'm back in college!!!

Here is the progress so far. They're still a hideous mess for the most part, but I've printed out my reference photos and put a layer or two of paint on some of the leaves, and about 3 or 4 coats of paint on the backgrounds of these. I can see in the daylight today that the backgrounds still need more work.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh, You Pretty Things!

I've wanted to paint a Tulip Poplar blossom for a long, looonnnng time now- as long as I can remember. Unfortunately about three years ago when it occurred to me to go take some reference photos, it was about a month after the flowers had come and gone. They don't last long at all, which makes the blooms even more special.

The following year (2007) I promised myself that I would absolutely NOT miss bloom-time, and thus kept a very watchful eye on a carefully selected Tulip tree (with low-hanging and easily accessible branches) in my dad's yard that entire spring.... waiting for the flowers. Exactly when they bloom depends on the harshness of winter, the warmth / intensity of Spring, rainfall, and of course a host of negative man-made influences which is pretty much a given with anything in nature now... but I digress.

I was able to capture these photos in mid-May, and the blooms- as usual- didn't last more than a few days, a week at most. I photographed them daily in various stages of bloom (okay, call it what it is: TREE SEX). You can easily see the differences in lighting/weather/time of day in these 3 pictures I have posted, and these are my favorites of the set. I'm looking at these 3 pictures as inspiration for a new painting. Or three.

Surprisingly, I actually have never seen this flower painted, although I'm sure somebody has had to feel the same inspiration as me and captured its glory with some form of artistic media.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's A Livin' Thing...

Or at least it is until I kill it!... Well, them.


I have found new love.
In the form of succulents.

I've had an aloe plant for a couple of years now, as well as a jade plant. The jade plant took a lot of trial and error but I finally found success with it in bright sunny windows with a tiny bit of water once a week or so... and most importantly out of reach of the dog.

I believe the one in the green pot is a member of Haworthias. The other two look similar to my jade plant, so maybe it belongs to that Family (Genus? Order? Whatever)? They look like a jade with fatter, pointier leaves.

They've been surviving in this spot for about a week now with no signs of ill health, and the dog hasn't discovered them. Or maybe he HAS discovered the bitter stuff I sprayed all over them. At any rate, I've officially taken them off suicide watch for now.

I bought them to compliment the Carribbean wall my husband and I just finished up, here:

We finally got to hang up some of the pottery we painted on vacation in Cancun, back in 2007! (Which happens to be the same trip where I took the inspiration photo for my Palmera del Coco painting.)
I had gotten these great teal stained picture frames a while back, so I put some tropical pictures in them.

Here are some photos of the ridiculousness during the painting process.

What an awful photo, but I'm sharing it anyway since it's funneh.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Do ya, do ya, want my bugs?

Well, I've taken about a week long hiatus from painting- which is sad, since the first painting of grapes really didn't take a long time and I know the second one won't, either. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated when your best areas to paint are right in the middle of your living room (and you have to make a mess of it when it's just been cleaned top to bottom), or your alternative is to paint in a somewhat cramped and dimly-lit office.

However, I did work on a fun project last week... Bug cakelets for my husband's birthday!! Yeah, I know I'm the bug person, but how can anyone not love little bug cakes?

I started with this adorable cake pan from Williams Sonoma (unfortunately I think they no longer sell them, however, you may be able to find one on Ebay or something).I ended up adding green food coloring to some of the batter, figuring that would increase the buggy factor. Cause when you bite into a bug, you would expect it to be green, right? Luckily I spared our guests of any slimy explosions upon biting into the cakes. I could have filled them with vanilla pudding or something, I suppose..... but, ew.

Here are the cakelets awaiting the decorating committee! (That would be me.)

Aaaaannnnd, here they are all decorated! Admittedly they do not look nearly as cute as the bugs in this Williams Sonoma promotional photo for the pan (below), but I also had no idea what time my dear husband would be home that day and didn't want him to end up arriving in the middle of my surprise-cakelet-decorating fun.