Sunday, December 19, 2010

Funky Figures

Yesterday morning we had the last Figure Group session for the year, and will break until after the holidays. We had a male model who had his own funk about him. I really enjoyed drawing him in his dark-rimmed eye glasses. We drew him once before last year along with Hannah who was several months pregnant - he is a sweet fellow. Here are some of my drawings from yesterday. Trying to play some more with my watercolors and keeping some of the negative space intact. I think these are each about 20-min. sketches.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Watercolor & Graphic Arts Society Fall Members' Exhibition - Last Days

The Fall 2010 Members' Exhibition of the Watercolor & Graphic Arts Society of Mobile is winding down. We have been showing at the University of South Alabama Library since November 1st, and will be taking down the show this upcoming Monday, December 20th. It was a very professional looking show, if I can say so myself (I was the show chairperson for this show). I decided to include a few photos here:

This is me posing beside my pastel drawing from figure group, "Red Head".
Our Fall show was dedicated to the memoray of Lee Hoffman, who passed away in March of this year. Here is a beautiful watercolor by Lee, called "Sunset at Bridgehead". The Best of Show and a Merit Award were also given in Lee's honor.

We had a delightful judge, Diane St. Germain, who is a signature member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society. This is an example of her work. She was especially pleased with the mix of water media and graphic arts in this show.

Ben Shamback won the Lee Hoffman Memorial Best of Show Award for his etching, "Hagen's Head".

Bill Morris, Lynda Touart and Karen McGahagin shared the Members' Choice Award - first ever three-way tie!

Marie Nickerson beside her water media "Touch of Autumn" which won the Best Water Media award; and Judy Aronson beside her watercolor "Whose Shadow?" which won an Honorable Mention award.
You still have a few more days to catch this lovely show. And then the Watercolor & Graphic Arts Society will be hanging our Mobile Bay and Delta Show at the Mobile Arts Council for the month of January - our opening reception will be on January 14th during the LoDa Artwalk.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Figure Group and Holiday Studio Tours

Last night I drove over to see the opening of the Eastern Shore Art Association Members' Show. I have 2 pieces in the show: "Koi Splash" and "Winter Grackles at St. Marks Refuge", both have previously hung in Mobile but not previously in Fairhope. A nice crowd for the Fairhope First Friday Art Walk. And a nice start to the weekend.
We had a new model today in Figure Group and we all seemed to be inspired by her - lots of wonderful drawings today. It's been a while since I posted some figure drawings, so here are a couple from this morning - pencil sketch and watercolor (my favorite quinacridone gold) - 20 minutes each. I was concentrating on using shadows and negative space to define the form.

After Figure Group, several of us met for lunch at Butch Cassidy's Cafe, and then on to the Holiday Studio Tour. Several local artists have grouped together and opened their studios or homes for display of their handcrafted items for sale as holiday gifts. We visited Bertice McPherson's pottery studio, Val Webb's home with several artists showing together, and Kaoru Oka's home where several artists joined to show weavings, pottery, jewelry and book art. I bought 2 pottery bird whistles from Bertice; 2 sets of beaded bracelets made by Soul of Somanya (African village women from Ghana, West Africa) at Val's house; and a hand-crafted book made by Barbara Spafford at Kaoru's house. It is a wonderful feeling to have completed a portion of my Christmas shopping with purchases from local artists friends and a good start to the holiday season.

I also have started an artist journal, although it is a habit I have yet to adequately cultivate. Anyway, here are two "recent" sketches: a small utility structure I often drive past on the Brookley Field Industrial Complex which I completed in October (I wanted to capture this structure because it appears to be threatened by adjacent construction and may not remain for long); and a colorful simple sweetgum leaf which fell from the tree in my front yard in late November. We've had beautiful color this fall, and I regret not having been able to get out for much plein air painting lately due to bad weather or my travel schedule or other art activities and demands. But hopefully soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Suffering from Art "Overkill" - A good thing

One of my friends recently said she was suffering from art "overkill", which was a good thing. I could relate. It has been a jam-packed, hectic scene recently here in Mobile. I hit the ground running as soon as I got back in town at the end of October from a two-week roadtrip to Colorado to visit grandkids. We took in artwork for the Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society Fall Members' Exhibition on November 1st; Satomi Kamei and I hung the show on November 2nd; Allan Butt and I met the judge (a charming Diane St. Germain of the Louisiana Watercolor Society, from Slidell, LA) on Friday; and then we had the reception on Thursday, November 11th. I was the show chairperson, so lots to do in between to make it all happen (more on the WGAS show in future posting). On Saturday, Nov 6, Kathy and I took down our "Critters" Show at the Church of the Redeemer, and then a mad dash downtown to participate in the downtown Figure Group. We missed Lydia Host's Thursday opening reception for her Master's Thesis show at the Spring Hill College since it was the same night as the WGAS reception. Friday night (Nov 12th) was a big artwalk night. Several of my friends had their artwork on display. My Figure Group buddies Conroy Hudlow, Jami Buck and Satomi Kamei had their artwork in the Nudes in November show at the Blue Velvet Gallery, the new ArtOlogy gallery had their grand opening, Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough had a solo show at the Daupine Realty office downtown, Bertice McPherson had her clay show at the Mobile Arts Council gallery, and the Postcards from the Gulf exhibit was in the Saenger gallery. And that is just a few of the highlights - there is just too much now to see it all during the LoDa artwalks. I had to work until after 7 PM at the Cathedral Square Gallery, and then was able to break away with buddies Janie Brown, Gail Bramer, Conroy Hudlow, and Satomi Kamei to catch a couple of the exhibits. I then worked all day Saturday at the Cathedral Square Gallery, then the symphony on Sunday (had to miss Missy Patrick's opening reception at Gallery 54, but hope to catch it soon); and then Conroy, Satomi and I turned in our artwork for the Eastern Shore Art Association Members Show in Fairhope on Monday. Whew! My only lament is that there has been no time to stay at home and PAINT!

Here are photos of me, Satomi and Gail standing by our submissions to the Postcards from the Gulf Exhibit. Each postcard (and there were more than 80, I believe, from all over the U.S. and a few from other countries afar) was auctioned off for $50 as a fundraiser for the Alabama Coastal Foundation. There were so many beautiful and creative cards. It was amazing to see these all displayed together, and it was heartwarming to see how artists and others around the world were affected by the Gulf oil spill this summer, and that in this small way can help try to rally support for saving and restoring the Gulf habitat and way of life. Thanks to Val Webb for her efforts to make this happen.

Me with my alligator snapping turtle postcard.

Satomi with her beach scene.

Gail with her "water" buffalo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Chef

My parents celebrated their 60th anniversary this summer, and we had a mini-family reunion and dinner at a local restaurant. While taking photos at the dinner I noticed the chef working in the window, and it seemed like the classical "bistro" photo op. I'd been wanting to do a "chef genre" painting and this was my inspiration. I did this painting in 2 or 3 days between hanging the Critters show and the reception trying to meet the October 9 deadline for entry into the Mobile Art Association fall juried exhibition at the Mobile Public Library West Regional Branch. It will hang until November 19th. I like that this was a fast and fresh painting, and I think I was able to capture the atmosphere of the darkened restaurant against the brightly-lit kitchen, and the concentration of the chef. I call this "The Happy Chef", acrylic on canvas, 18 in. x 24 in.

More Critters

I left town on a road trip to Colorado to visit family (3 beautiful grandbabies) the morning after our "All Critters - Great and Small" reception, and could not download photos I took at the reception until I returned a few days ago. So here are a couple of reception photos, as well as photos of my 6 new critter portraits. So far, I've sold one small painting and have inquiries on another. This small exhibit has been a very positive experience.
Fellow artists and best buddies Conroy Hudlow and Kathy Friedline.
My Mom and Dad in front of the menagerie.
Artist buddies Mary Rodning and Satomi Kamei join me and Kathy.
"Audubon Petting Zoo Burro", Acrylic on canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.
"Audubon Petting Zoo Goat No. 1", acylic on canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.
"Audubon Petting Zoo Goat No. 2", acrylic on canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.
"Audubon Petting Zoo Sheep", acrylic on canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.
"Baldwin County Cow No. 3 - Robertsdale Rodeo Bull", acrylic on canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.
"P.E.I. Cow No. 3 - Belle", acrylic on Canvas, 10 in. x 10 in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All Critters - Great and Small

My fellow artist and good friend Kathy Friedline and I are currently showing our artwork at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Artists' Place, located at the corner of Hitt and Cody Roads. We will show there for the month of October. The theme of our show is "All Critters - Great and Small". The opening reception was last Sunday afternoon, during which we enjoyed sharing our artwork with friends and family - thanks for all who were able to attend and help us celebrate our artwork with the "critter" theme. This morning there was a pleasant surprise - we had shared information about the show with the local arts editor and there was a very nice article on the front page of the arts section. Here is the link to the article.

Also, here are a couple of photos taken by Kathy at the reception, and some of the artwork from the show. (I may post some more photos of the reception once I am able to download them from my camera.)
A special thanks to the folks at the Redeemer for providing an opportunity for us to show our work as part of their art mission; and for putting together such a nice reception.

Me with my recently completed menagerie.
Gail Bramer, Kathy and me at the reception.
This is the wall plaque with a wonderful summary of the Church of the Redeemer's Art Mission Statement.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Postcard from the Gulf

Today I mailed in my Postcard from the Gulf to Val Webb. She is helping to coordinate a fund-raiser for the Alabama Coastal Foundation. Artists from around the U.S. and the world at large have been requested to submit a vintage postcard with artwork with a Gulf coast area theme added on the message side of the postcard. Val mails out the vintage postcards and the artist mails it back once it has been enhanced with their artistic statement. Here is my postcard. I was inspired by the alligator snapping turtle at the Mobile Exploreum Reptile exhibit - we met there for the Mobile Sketch Crawl event at the end of July. I had difficulty sketching him during the sketch crawl because he kept pacing back and forth to focus on the visitors on the other side of the aquarium. But I was able to get a couple of good photos, and caught him in the classic snapping turtle pose. You do not want to get "nipped" by one of these guys! They hang out in the rivers and swamps along the Gulf coast, as well as further inland. I could not resist also adding a little to the photo side of the card - it was a colorful bouquet of flowers, but leant itself with a few little fishes to resemble a colorful coral reef - just for fun. (watercolor and acrylic on vintage postcard).

They will auction these cards for $50 each at a fund-raiser reception in the next month or so. Stay tuned. Here is a link to the Postcards from the Gulf.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plein Air at Abandoned Restaurant on Causeway

Last Thursday our Plein Air South group met at the Abandoned Restaurant on the Mobile Causeway to capture some Mobile Bay and Delta scenes. We had a good group, including Marie Nickerson, Jo Patton, Joan White-spunner Dixon, Satomi Kamei, Conroy Hudlow, and Jami Buck. I decided to try oils and paint as quickly and loosely as I could muster (and for me that is usually a challenge). Here is my result. I'm satisfied that I captured the colors of early fall. Also, here is photo of Satomi with her watercolor of basically the same scene. It it nice to see how we used our media differently to reflect the same view of the delta marsh and inlets. While there we saw a young gator, a little blue heron, night heron - and an osprey who landed on top of the tree in this painting. Later we saw the osprey diving and flying off with his catch. Some of the joys of outdoor painting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Touch of Fall in the Air

The last couple of nights have had a touch of Fall in the air - the front has moved in some drier air and it has gotten into the low 70s and upper 60s overnight and a semi-cool breeze during the day. There is also a touch of excitement as football season is starting and the cultural events are becoming mobilized. Tomorrow is Labor Day, and the September artwalk is this coming Friday; and then a whole slew of activities begin. This past week, our Cathedral Square Gallery artist hung samplings of our artwork at the University of South Alabama campus library. I hung my large charcoal drawing (Life Drawing Class), and an oil painting I completed a couple of years ago at a workshop with Bill Thompson. Bill encouraged us to paint "fast and loose", and we were challenged to complete an oil painting within 30 minutes. Here is one I did in the workshop, which I really did not at the time feel was "finished". However, I recently bought a frame for it and intended to touch it up before delivering it to the gallery - but somehow the frame seemed to set it off and I couldn't decide what I would add or change. So here is my "finished" painting! I call this "Koi Splash" (16 in. x 20 in., oil on canvas). I painted this from memory, but the inspiration is from my friend Connie's koi pond. This is currently at the USA Library until November 1st.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August - This and That

I can't say it's the summer doldrums, since there is still alot going on right now. So thought I'd catch up on some of the recent goings on. My artist friend Jami Buck has a solo show of her artwork at the Church of the Redeemer for the month of August. Her reception was Sunday a week ago. Alot of artist friends came out to enjoy her art and to give her moral support. You can see her artwork on her blog. I bought one of her paintings of a small boat in the marsh grass.

Also I finished my Painting in Veils class with Kimberly Krause. Our last painting was of the figure. I previously posted my underpainting, but when I started applying the glazes I realized I did not build up enough white pigment in the underpainting to capture the color glazing - I learned this was an important step. So I spent our last class session applying more flake white and tinted white underpainting. I will apply the glazes at home - I've put in my order for some glazing medium. I hope to try some more paintings at home once I've "mastered" the grisaille underpainting technique. Here is the updated underpainting. I applied white and toned white mixture to the entire figure and some of the background areas -notably the checkered floor pattern. Can't wait for the glazing compound to arrive in the mail!

Also, I've been starting a series of critter paintings for a show that I'm doing jointly with fellow artist and friend Kathy Friedline. I'm trying to finish at least six new small critter paintings for this exhibit, which will be at the Church of the Redeemer in October. Here are a couple of preview excerpts from the first two that are almost finished - four more to go . . .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sketch Crawl at the Exploreum - Reptiles!

Yesterday morning was the latest Sketch Crawl sponsored by the Mobile Arts Council. We were hosted by the downtown Mobile Exploreum, and adult sketchers were granted free admission to the Reptiles exhibit. This was a wonderful exhibit with live specimens of turtles, snakes, lizards and gators/crocodiles, as well as some great interactive exhibits teaching little known facts about reptiles. My favorite "critters" were the Alligator Snapping Turtle and the Bearded Lizard. I tried to sketch the snapping turtle, but was not successful since he kept moving - he would get a bead on the spectators on the outside of his class case, and follow them back and forth. The Bearded Lizard and Saltwater Crocodile were much more cooperative subjects. Here are my sketches and a couple of photos of the snapping turtle. You might want to go down to the Exploreum and check out this exhibit. Also, check out all the wonderful sketches at the MAC sketch crawl website.

The Figure Underpainting

Last Tuesday we had a live model and created an underpainting from the figure. This time we were to chose a single color to create the underpainting - I selected my favorite Burnt Sienna, thinned with turpentine, and then hi-lighted with lead white again. I was able to create some interesting affects from the turp and paint, and also enjoyed putting in some of the background features and the tiled floor. This is a poor photo which makes the perspective look off due to the camera angle, but you can see the general effect of the underpainting/value study. This week we will apply glazes over the deer skull underpainting we created several weeks ago, while we let the figure underpainting continue to dry. Then next week (our last session) we will apply glazes over the figure underpainting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Painting in Veils - Progress

This summer I am taking an oil painting class at Space 301 Gallery, taught by Kimberly Krause, a fine young artist and friend here in Mobile. She is sharing with us a painting technique she learned from Benjamin Shamback using a grisaille and glazing methods, similar to methods used by the classic master painters (e.g. Rembrandt and Vermeer, to name a few). We first create a "monotone" underpainting, by mixing warm and cool "greys" using complementary colors (I used burnt sienna and ultramarine blue) and lead white. We were identifying the lights and shadows (values) and letting the lead white form an impasto-type underlayer for texture. I was not too sure about what I was trying to do, but apparently the most successful or interesting results come when you get various textures and "happy accidents" using the lead white, neutral shadow colors and turpentine.

The first night we created a grisaille underpainting of a deer skull and bowls - the subject matter was mostly white/neutral colors.

The second night we created a grisaille underpainting of a colorful sunflowers/mangos still life.

The third night (this week) we practiced the glazing technique over the sunflowers grisaille painting (creating a thin "couch" layer of glazing medium, with thin layers of dry oil paint then scrumbled over areas of the painting and then rubbed out, and then successive thin layers of dry oil paint lain in, scrumbled and partially rubbed off). You can totally wipe out some glaze layers for hilights. The overlayment of color glazes are supposed to provide a luminosity to the paint. Then you can apply "impasto" paint as desired to finish off the painting.

I don't think I was that very successful with the glazing on this painting, since my underpainting seemed too dark and/or my glazes were applied too thickly. But I think I now have an idea of what to do with the next painting - at least we'll see if that is the case next week. Next week we create a grisaille underpainting from a live figure model. Should be fun and a different twist.

This is a challenge to learn a new technique while also trying to learn the special quirks of painting with oils. But just practicing using oils is helping me be more comfortable with the medium, which is what I wanted to accomplish after all.

I'll post our further progress in this class after our figure session next week!

Monday, July 12, 2010

SALSA 2010, Etc.

Well, I entered a couple of my cow paintings into the SALSA 2010 exhibit at Space 301. SALSA is the South Alabama Survey of Artists exhibit - a new regional show of contemporary art. My "Sweet Home Cheese Farm Bull (Baldwin County Cow No. 1) was accepted and I delivered it to the gallery last Monday; and the opening reception was Friday during the 5th Anniversary LODA Artwalk. It was a steamy but wonderful night to celebrate the downtown Mobile Arts scene. My friend Kathy Friedline, her husband Mark, and I made the rounds. Festivities were all along Dauphin Street, from Cathedral Square Gallery on the upper end; to the Art Gowns Project at Mobile Arts Council, a colorful, abstract exhibit of works by Mark Davis, Wanda Sullivan and JoAnn Cox at The Paper Wasp, and the SALSA exhibit at Space 301 on the lower end; as well as several other gallery venues in between. Street musicians were everywhere, and I especially enjoyed the Bay City Brass group. Here are a few photos from Friday night.

Kathy took this photo of me by my bull painting.

The Bay City Brass Band in Cathedral Square.

Bertice McPherson with one of her sculptures - she won an Honorable Mention award in the show!

Jami Buck's beautiful abstract piece.

Lydia Host's interesting figurative sculpture.

Mary Elizabeth's wonderful collage with a Nancy Drew theme.

Saturday we had our Figure Group and a new model (Mason), who had a lengthy resume listing his professional modeling experience - he turned out to be a great model. After our drawing session, Mary Elizabeth invited the group to her place for a light gourmet lunch followed by yummy homemade ice cream.

On Sunday I woke to discover a photo of my cow painting was posted along with a few others in the local newspaper Arts Column coverage of the SALSA show - which was a nice surprise. My artwork has now been accepted into two recent regional shows (University of Mobile Juried Exhibition and the SALSA 2010), so maybe I can now be considered an emerging artist (?). I don't really care so much if I sell my art work or win any awards, but it does give me pleasure to have people recognize and appreciate my art.

Later Sunday, I attended a video on Miniature Art at the Mobile Museum of Art (sponsored by our Alabama Miniature Art Society as an educational outreach program); and then rushed on to the opening reception for my friends Janie Brown and Carolyn Greene. They are holding a joint exhibition at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. They had a nice show and a good turnout at the reception. My friend Kathy Friedline and I are scheduled to show here together in October; and my friend Jami Buck will show there in August. This is turning out to be a fun place to show your artwork, even if it does not provide much public exposure. I'm including a photo from the reception. Carolyn and Janie in front of Janie's artwork.

Another busy art-filled weekend here in Mobile!