Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cotton Gin Prep

The old cotton gin in our area is being taken apart, piece by piece.  Nobody grows cotton here anymore.  It has been fascinating to watch the deconstruction each day as I drive past it on my way to work.  I've noticed it more since it began to die than I did before, and the light and shadow patterns it creates are wonderful. 

This past weekend I sat next to it, walked all around it and looked at it up close and personal.  I took photos and sat again and sketched it out in my travel watercolor book.  It's time to do a large painting of it and playing around with the colors helped me see beyond the blue/gray of the skin and begin to get involved with it in a deeper way.  This study has been a good process for me as I start to think about how to present the old gin on canvas.  Hopefully I can capture some of what I feel.  Hopefully, I can find time to begin! 

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Monday, October 9, 2017

One of These Days

A day off is almost unheard of in my life lately.  I find myself in "hurry mode" so often it has become the normal for me.  Today, however, is a day off of work, a glorious southwestern New Mexico day off.  Just in time, too.  I was needing it.
Crows above the Playa- they made me laugh, as though arguing over which direction to take.

There is a dry lakebed along I-10, around here called a "playa," that captures rain water and holds it on the surface for weeks.  The dirt is alkali and makes terrible dust storms when it's dry, but when wet fascinates me.  Waterfowl rest there as they migrate and the reflections of the sky in the water mixed with the clumps of grass create a strange landscape all the way to the distant hills.  Every morning I pass it on my way to work and tell myself that I'm going to stop and soak it in "one of these days."
The Playa in October

One of these days..  One of these days I'll be dead.  I decided that today I would go take a long look at the playa.  So I did.  And it was lovely.  There's a painting lurking among the water and the grasses and I think that one of these days......  Sigh

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Let's See

If you are a creative person, I'll bet that sometimes you look at your work and wonder if it's any good.  It's hard to be objective when looking at something you've just made.  I "see" differently after I've just finished a piece.  It's like I can't see it anymore.  Actually, I've found that if I put something away for awhile, I can see the strengths and mistakes when I pull it back out that I couldn't distinguish right after I had finished it.
Calvin at 5
Copic marker of Bristol Board
20" x 16"

Recently we visited our daughter, Katie Kellogg and her fabulous family.  She had a Copic drawing in her studio that was headed for the trash because all she could see when she looked at it was a mess.  The flaws she knew were there were so big and upsetting that she felt it was a failure.  I found it charming.  I was even jealous of her ability to handle her Copic markers so well.  In fact, the drawing is framed and hanging in my house.  I rescued it.  I suspect that one day she will visit me and "see" it and be able to enjoy it in a whole new light.  It's important to remember that what we think are not our best works may still touch something in someone else.  Don't throw that piece out, hang on to it and preserve the record of your work.  You may look back at it someday and find a treasure.

Thanks for stopping by! Alice

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cloud Shadows

One of the things I like to do sometimes is make another version of a painting I've already done.  This past weekend I actually finished a watercolor, which you can see here.  Although I liked it well enough, I wanted to try the clouds in a different way.  The distant hills were drawn larger than life so that I could emphasize the shadows a bit more, as well.  It was fun, but it was also clear to me that I've gotten out of practice and have ground to gain.
Cloud Shadows
Watercolor on paper
16" x 20"

Using the same color palette as last time, I mixed the colors less graying down.  Just for fun.  Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Manganese Blue, Phthalo Blue and Alizarin Crimson, with a touch of Sepia for darker darks.  Nothing new or amazing; it was amazing enough to do two pieces in less than 4 days! I think I'm about ready to take on something exciting.  Just thinking about it gets me giggly.

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Autumn Arrives

Evidently it takes about 10 months to adjust to being a library director, because here I am- 10 months in to the project and finally able to begin to contemplate eating, drinking and breathing something other than the library.  Thank heaven.  Why do I take things like this on, anyway?  Never mind, don't answer.  I probably don't want to know.

Yesterday I spent an entire, whole and complete day messing around in the studio.  I tidied, I puttered and finally picked up my brushes and paint and began!  It's hard to begin again after a long absence, but it sure felt nice once I got going.  The palette I used for this is pretty much my standard, yellow ochre, manganese blue, pthalo blue, burnt sienna, sepia and some unidentified mud from the bottom of my palette.  The colors of the desert as it dries out from the monsoons.
14" x 20" on 140 lb. cold pressed Arches Paper
"Autumn Arrives"

I drew this a couple of weeks ago, but had been putting it off.  Too tired after work, too much stress, too whatever.  The point is, I did it.  Whether it's a masterpiece or not doesn't matter at this juncture of my life.  What does matter is I'm still in here, under this librarian suit still beats the heart of a painter.

Thanks for stopping by!  Alice