Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Agave Painting

For a couple of years I've been using up my stock of Daniel Smith watercolor paints.  Recently I started using Dick Blick paints again as they're more affordable.  Today I started a new agave painting using Pthalo Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Lemon Yellow from Blick.  Here is the underpainting:

Lemon Yellow and Alizarin to help with the different color variations in the background to foreground

The Pthalo Blue isn't nearly as intense as Daniel Smith's version, making the vibrant greens difficult to mix

Moving from yellow/greens down the paper to bluer greens with violet shadows

Finally starting to feel in my groove and getting somewhere with this

When the masque is removed and the thorns are ready to paint, this will come alive!  I hope.  In the meantime, I am thinking I'd better stick with the Daniel Smith paints.  Rats!  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fiber Color Study, 3

This week I finished dressing my school loom for a new color study in wool.  Measuring the warp and dressing the loom are the most time-consuming parts of this process (and tedious to me).  However, once the weaving process begins, this is fascinating.

The warp ends through the heddles and ready to tie off and begin the weaving process

This piece is to see how neutral colors will affect primary colors through the weft, with some bright primary color thrown into the warp for design.  The piece will be wefted, or woven with yellow, blue, black, red and maybe a raspberry color just for kicks.  As the colors weave with the brown and grey colored yarns, I'm hoping they'll appear warmer in the brown and cooler in the grey.  I'm new to fiber color properties, so this is a big experiment.    

The front of the loom, ready to be tied off onto the bar you see in the foreground of this photo

I am pretty anxious for the semester to end so we can start building the Navajo loom.  This is addictive.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Faber-Castell Pitt Brush Markers

This week I ordered a few Faber-Castell brush markers to try out for fun.  I love the look of work with visible strokes in it and thought these would be fun to carry around in my purse for those times that a spare 15 minutes and the opportunity to sketch something fun comes up.

Today there was finally time to play around with them a little bit, so I played around with them in my 7.5 x 7.5 sketchbook by Moleskine.  Twenty minutes later, I have a drawing that gives me local color reference, and a fun painting idea.

These pens are water based, so there's no odor and waterproof when dry.  They blend well and the colors are intense enough to stand on their own, but not so intense that they can't be layered.  I can see more fun like this in my future.  And probably more pens, too..

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fun Swap

I took a painting class a couple of semesters ago and painted this:

Chamisa, Oil on primed board

The teacher of the class, Judith Meyer, painted this:

I Bought Matisse Some Flowers, Acrylic on paper

We traded them this week, so I am now the owner of this happy painting you see above.  I love it!  If you'd like to see more of Judith's work, you can find it here:  


Monday, March 17, 2014

Hubbell Trading Post and Navajo Looms

Recently, my husband and I drove to Ganado, AZ for a visit to one of our favorite spots, The Hubbell Trading Post.  Not only is this beautifully managed by the National Parks Service and a cool place in the world, it's still an operating trading post where the artisans trade their work for cash or goods.  This place has been active and going since 1876.

Hubbell Trading Post, front door

As soon as you walk in the door of the trading post the squeaky, handmade door and the creaking wood floor greet you.  When your eyes adjust to the interior lighting, you are surrounded by shelves of goods, things for tourists to buy and a high ceiling hanging with "stuff."  Stuff, everywhere you look, and it is wonderful to behold.  In one glass cabinet is a cheap toy watch with a cigarette lighter in its face that was very tempting, laid right next to silver and turquoise rings!  Off to the right is the jewelry and basket room with the rug room opening out of it.  This is where the real bounty is kept. There are hours and hours to be spent in just the looking.  This place is a veritable treasure cave.

Barn, complete with the old wagons and tack and two fat, friendly horses

We came here to look at the edges of the Navajo rugs to help me understand how the mechanics of the weaving process works so beautifully in their weavings.  We were also looking for an actual loom to look over to see how it's constructed. I am used to working on a four harness loom, and learning this kind of weaving will be a bit different, but I can hardly wait to figure it out!  Tom will help me build a loom as soon as my semester ends and I already have designs dancing in my mind.  I seem to be possessed by the whole project and waiting till May seems a bit harsh.

Remnant of an old Navajo loom

We got to look over the looms in the visitors center and take pictures.  One loom is for the local weavers to demonstrate to visitors, while the other is, oh joy, for us touristy types to try out. It was a slow day and I got plenty of time to look it over and try the weaving joints out. 

One question I had was how do the rugs come off of the looms finished on the warp ends, which was answered here.  I could see how the twining works and how the warp is attached to the loom boards.  

The demonstration loom has the beginnings of a Two Grey Hills pattern rug on it, my husband's favorite pattern and color of rug.  While I ran around wringing my hands and exclaiming in excitement, he measured and figured out how the whole thing is put together and other practical things like that.  We work well together that way…  

Tension bolts across the top are the perfect solution for increasing and decreasing the warp tension

The pipe this loom builder used is designed to adjust into different places, allowing for different sizes of rugs

The beautiful Two Grey Hills pattern in the beginning stages

Behind the trading post and barn, nearly out of sight, is this old hogan with the remnants of the loom under the tree.  I love to think of the woman who lived here sitting in that shade.

Churro sheep, traditional in Navajo work, in the field outside the grounds

Stone hogan, built in the 1930's and now used for the resident artist program.  I hope to apply for this next year!  

My treasures from the Hubble Trading Post

Right there on the shelf at the visitor's center was this book by Caroline M. Spurgeon, which is exactly what we need for this project.  I also bought a skein of red yarn to add to the wool rug I have going on the warping board right now.  I'll weave a little piece of the trading post right into it my work.  And that makes me happy!  

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another Prickly Pear..

I painted this for a demonstration for my watercolor pupil.  I like it and will save it for my senior art show next Dec. before I graduate, but boy was it a lesson in layers.

I've read about getting too much pigment on the paper and having subsequent layers mess up the paint beneath several times.  As I was demonstrating I was going back and forth between my student's easel and mine and had to keep starting over after the paper had dried.  By the time I got this done, I had really fought getting the heavily pigmented areas, particularly the reds, to lay down evenly.  Next time, less passes over each area with paint.

This is on 300 lb. Arches paper, cold pressed and is 22"x30" in size; full sheet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Documentary by Philosopher, Roger Scruton

Today I watched the BBC documentary linked below while working on a presentation that I have to make at the university in April.  I am adding it here because it is the single more valuable source I have found in talking about art, beauty and post modernism.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

<a href="">Why Beauty Matters Documentary</a>

Bravo, Roger Scruton and thank you for standing up for different principles in a world that applauds ugliness and the lowest forms of art.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Morning Train...

Morning Train, complete, except for some trouble with the graffiti area on the main car.  I'll have to take a break from it and fix it later.  I'm tired of it for now!  Here's the progress…

I really liked working over the pinkish wash, feeling like it gave me a unified look and feel as I went.  

I wanted a powerful color for the graffiti area, but am not happy with the result.  Later on I'll try to lift some of the pigment and help the area look a little more faded and dirty.  Oh well, on to the next piece..