Sunday, November 30, 2008

Amis et Auteurs et Philosophes

>>>> Appendix de Grenouille <<<<

Etienne and I had the pleasure of seeing our words in print at Thanksgiving. The sister of his cheri gave him a bound volume of les Appendecis de Grenouille. Voila, there it was in a package, a surprise and a pleasure. Tres enchantes! We were moved.

It is a publication of one, and that makes it the more rare and special.

So now we join the prestigious rank of published auteurs and Philosophes over the ages, Pascal, Descartes, Aristotle, Plato. This petite libre places us in an excellent company. Perhaps we will try harder to be worthy.

Or perhaps non.

Au revoir,


AEDM 30 - House - Glee 1

This was that small piece I started while trying to think of an unpleasant memory - and it might be all I have for AEDM 30 (nope - see below), though I had most of Saturday to paint. I didn't know how to hold a negative mood while painting. I'm not used to painting in that mood, at all.

Today, though, after last night's horrific nightmare, I could do it. Black. That's the color I don't use much - I don't consider it to really be a color (more like all the colors together, or all the color removed...) and I don't see it a lot on earth except at night. I usually feel black is better simulated by a dark color, like Ultramarine, Prussian, or Cobalt Violet. Black was perfect. Pen, ink on a brush, and this house reared up with the light inside and the dark and violent oranges pressing in from the outside. I don't know that this means anything in particular, but I feel "outside looking in - excluded" feelings, and looming cold dark feelings.

Don't read too much into this. I'm a happy guy, mostly.

I think I can paint more like this during this season (winter, low daylight, holiday stress). Maybe that's where the bad stuff should go this winter - like The Picture of Dorian Gray, where all of his wickedness and old age went into the painting in the attic (while he remained beautiful and young), until it overtook him finally in his real life, and he destroyed the painting.


Later this evening I started the layout for Glee 1. Again. I did Glee 2 months ago (a completely different adventure), but it was the second idea, hence the name. Glee 1 has been rolling around in my head for a long time, and trying unsuccessfully to get on paper, but I hadn't felt up to tackling the composition. This is a good start, for what I needed. More drawing to do tomorrow - got to finish the top half and figure out the lighting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Art Every Day - Emotions - Dreams - Pain

I've been doing Art Every Day Month (November) for the last 2/3 of the month, since I found out about it. I will try to continue to draw or paint every day, because the results have been surprisingly powerful for me. But it might be seen as a mixed blessing...

Along with AEDM I changed a few more things, knowing how I'm wired artistically from experience and helpful books (like Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way). I stopped reading anything not work related (no choice there, or I would have stopped that reading, as well) and I stopped listening to the news (I already don't read a paper nor do I EVER watch TV news). I know that the part of me that dreams images is muddled or stifled by reading and news. I also cut back on blogging and reading blogs - same reasons. Grenouille has twice complained in a gentle, humorous way, but he is a patient guy. And I've been even more dedicated to The Morning Pages (write three long-hand pages every morning when you first get up. Affirmations are a good idea, but no other rules - content not important - do it before the inner censor wakes up). This is a Julia Cameron item, and it works for me - if I stop the Morning Pages, I stop painting.

The result over these last few weeks has been a burst of artistic activity and a depth of connection with my inner artist. It has changed my day job, as well, since I am more clear headed and sure of my direction there, too. The result has been more creative work and more decisive steps. It was like fasting - it cleared things up. And like the end of fasting, I will likely go back to news and reading, but I think in a different way, and in more moderation.

I have been softened up emotionally. This is a direct result of connecting with my interior child and interior artist. This has allowed me to deeply feel love, gratitude, awe, and beauty these last few weeks. It consumes a lot of energy, as emotions have more impact all the way around.

So the family gatherings over these last two days were more tiring and complicated than usual. I found myself almost shy, which is unusual for me. I found conversation to be an effort, because I am naturally more quiet. And I found the amount of emotional traffic, even when it was almost all positive, to be exhausting. So I slept 11 hours last night (I can hardly ever slepp more than 8) and I don't want to talk to anyone today.

And I was unprepared for the newspaper sitting on Mother's counter. The front page was the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. I had heard nothing of this. I read just the few paragraphs on the front page, and it was like having scalding hot water poured over me. I could not believe what I was reading. I was enraged and deeply distressed that people could DO this sort of thing, to innocent by-standers. I felt an explosive wave of fury at militant groups of any stripe, in any culture. I will post on that also, separately.

I had nightmares last night, probably triggered by the Mumbai situation. One in particular was so detailed, horrific, and bloody - full of torture and excrutiating pain and the gradual destruction of human beings, that I woke barely able to breathe. I had to go sleep in another room, in order to change my scene and try to get it out of my mind. I hardly ever have dreams of this kind, and I can't remember any dream this driven by criminally insane people.

Today I am feeling battered and bruised by the demands of the holidays, the news, the militant state of so many opinions and people in America and overseas, and the horrific dreams of last night.

So would I reconsider being this open? Would I, considering the last 48 hours impact on me, rethink keeping so in toush with my emotions and my art? Not at all. I can't imagine going back to being so disconnected. Even though I have not stayed in touch with the news, I am MUCH more connected to emotions, people around me, and the MEANING of the news (The little news I hear). I will choose that.

I am excited, also, about the prospect that my art will also gradually become more engaged with emotions and issues. That's worth all the pain. I have no idea where this is going, but I am excited to be making the trip.

Before I even found AEDM - two days before, I think - my Morning Pages seemed to write themselves, and they were telling me repeatedly (three pages is a lot of space) that today was the start of a new direction - I had crossed a divide - and my life was headed somewhere different. I should enjoy the transition and the limbo before the new commitments.

I'm doing my best. I am surprised to find that I can take the pain (maybe even relish it, as more sign of being alive, and as an influence on life and art) better than ever before.

Bring it on. I'll keep taking the steps immediately before me.

AEDM 29 - Not a Lot

Not a lot to post from yesterday's work... I completed a quick CD cover for a present, using a painting that did not gel. It's nice to convert these into something worthwhile.

And the watercolor whatever (still in limbo) got another 20 minutes of work.

And that's as long as we were home Friday - and all I have for AEDM 29. So hopefully I'll get more done on Saturday, which is supposed to be rainy. All tired out from the holiday gathering (it takes a lot out of us), but I'll get to bed early and hopefully be mostly back to normal energy tomorrow (Saturday - today - whatever).

Vicki, at Faint Heart Art, has awarded me the PROXIMITY award - which is a lovely thing for her to do. I can't pass it on, because I have so much going on these days (Grenouille hasn't even gotten to write much lately!), but it was a gift to receive it, and I am grateful. I'll let your read about the award's meaning at Vicki's blog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

AEDM 11/28 - Starting with WC

I decided to try what Linda describes, on Vulture Peak Muse, as her method for starting some watercolors. Wet the paper here and there, drop in some color, see what happens, react to it, etc. Follow where it leads. I usually start with lines that suggest forms, here the forms suggest themselves without lines. I only got to work about 15 minutes on this - busy day today on other things - but I'm looking forward to my next bit of time with it.

I wonder how Emil Nolde worked - did he start with the form and then add the colors? Or did he work directly with color first and then define the forms that emerged. I'd bet the latter mostly, but I would LOVE to have seen him work. Since his work was strictly forbidden, and he painted most of his watercolors in secret, in fear for his life since the Nazi's had declared him a "degenerate" artist, I doubt much of anyone saw him paint.

I'm using an Arches watercolor block (pages glued together like a pad, but on all four sides except a half inch space at the top, to help you separate a page when you're done). It doesn't keep the paper quite as flat and smooth as my stretching method, and it wouldn't work for larger pages, but it seems OK for now on this size (31 x 41 cm - about 12 x 16 inches). It's my favorite - hot press. So no texture to interfere with the jewel like clarity of the colors.

This is my contribution for AEDM 28.

And now to sleep. Probably only a little art tomorrow, as well. Family in town, and having holidays early.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunrise on Rough Ridge - Mountain Trip - Thanksgiving

One of the last mornings of our two week mountain trip, daughter and I got up in the dark and drove out for a hike up Rough Ridge. Everything was timed perfectly, and the clouds were amazing. First we had pink ALL around the sky before the sun actually rose. This was from Price Park picnic area, on the way to Rough Ridge.

Then when we got to the Ridge boardwalk (the environment is so fragile on the peak that they built a boardwalk to keep feet off the delicate turf) the sun was just up, and the light was unbelievable. So clear, and golden, and gentle, and stark. The wind was also incredible, nearly knocking us down with some of the gusts. It was tough trying to stand still enough to line up and take three shots each for these panoramas.

Grandfather Mountain, looming over the ridge, had trapped a cloud in an eddy of the air. As the wind howled over the top, blowing down on us on Rough Ridge, the cloud was caught and spun, with the top curling over like a waterfall, only to be tucked back under at the bottom, blown back toward the mountain and up the granite cliffs, and poured outward again. It went on for hours, because we saw it later in the morning.

We stood there as long as we could, a bit breathless in the wind. I laughed and laughed out loud for the sheer wild joy of it, and for the light, the colors, and knowing that it would be one of those moments I will remember forever.

I was particularly happy to be sharing it with my other dearest girl.

I have so many things to be grateful for - in my present, past, and the hopes for the future. I hope all of you do, as well, and that today is a good day for your to recall those things, enjoy some of them, and be refreshed.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

AEDM 27 - The Elopement - Finished?

This will be the hardest day of November to do art - but I'm determined to stick with AEDM, even though I started late. This is my contribution, completed the day before, as I've been posting late for the following day. It's tomorrow's post that will be hard to create.

Actually, I had Wednesday off from work, to relax a little before the family gatherings of the next few days. I painted almost all day, and this was the result. It's 24 x 18, watercolor.

I was completely lost fifteen minutes into this painting. It made no sense, I could not get the birds to look like anything but faded flat cut-outs, the colors were all at war... I struggled for two hours in the dark. Then a few things started to make some sense. The birds popped when I painted their eyes, and then I could see what else to do. It's really weird sometimes how just a tiny bit of white (like the unpainted eyes) can make the whole thing confusing to me. There were still lots of struggles, with the trees, with grays, which I needed more here than usual, and I'm not at home with them, yet. I needed them because of the setting for the elopement that is the subject of this painting - it was a beautiful, but dark, building in San Francisco. And I wanted the bright birds to have the strongest role, so I used warm grays behind them - like the shadows of the building where they exchanged their vows.

I wish the composition were different in some ways - but this was an important day's work for me - I learned several important things (primarily 1. I can struggle through a long lost period and then get a clue and follow it out, and 2. the way I drew the shapes left the wrong kind of decisions for the painting phase on a painting of this kind - it would have been OK for another subject, but it gave me fits in this one).

It may be finished - I'm sure I'll find a few things to tweak. And I'm not sure about the tree over the left bride... Might be too odd. It wouldn't be hard to change.

My inner artist placed four symbols of the brides in here, counting the bridal veiled birds, of course. And, naturally, there are small fish (they don't count, but my children will look for them).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Left Brain - He Won't Stay Fired

So I fired this guy when I painted over the mess (which led to the little lion painting).

This time I think the need to incorporate certain things into the Horta Harbor idea allowed the bean counting left brain to get the upper hand. So this is what I drew that evening, and then I grimaced, laughed, and shoved it under my workbench for later. I'll come back to the Horta idea, but not now.

Later was today, when I decided to paint it blue first (see paint squirt already in place). Then I added ivory and "kadmium" orange. I'm trying an experiment based on a little essay a friend shared with me - about painting while recalling painful experiences - to learn to express more than just the beautiful or the acceptable sentiments. I'll acknowledge I'm possibly repressed in that area.

I don't promise to post the result of this experiment, but I thought the start might be interesting to somebody out there. And I just had to let everyone know the left brain didn't stay fired. He never does.

AEDM 26 - The Elopement

Midnight - After several hours of drawing and redrawing the creatures (sorry, Grenouille, they did not turn out to be frogs). Click for a larger view.

It seemed to me that the veils stood out in the photos.

This is the photo that most influenced the placement of the birds. Nothing literal, just something about the energy of the leaning up and in. I didn't try to capture the laughter - I was looking for something more like dancing.

1:15 AM - I spent another half hour tweaking things - tree limbs, bird faces... Then I decided the left hand bird was moving too fast, and the left hand side of the composition needed to be tied in more - so I moved her wing, and changed her veil. Then she needed some vertical lines removed that had been fine in the lower left before, but now interfered with the movement. THEN I worked at making her face more feminine.

And I may have to fiddle more before I start with the paint... but I'm happier with this composition then the first one.

Keep your fingers crossed. This is what I have to show for AEDM 26.

By golly I just tweaked a veil some more... and then the other (both improved)... gotta go to bed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Next painting... Inspired once more by One Summer Day from the soundtrack of Spirited Away and also by a whole series of lines from a beautiful feminine place (the lovely photos of the elopement of two brides - the wedding gowns were full of lovely sweeping lines, creases, folds, gathers - stops and starts) I now have the beginnings of this dreamscape. I plan to try to capture some of the joy and glowing happiness I felt in those wedding photos. But it needs a being in the lower right, and perhaps more (I won't know until the being arrives). Something that goes with the feeling of that couple? This may be all I accomplish today for AEDM 25. Or maybe not...

>>>> Appendix de Grenouille <<<< Voila, it is a simple matter. The creature in the painting should be un grenouille. Or perhaps une grenouille, if Etienne wishes something more jolie. One need not ship animeux exotique from Afrique for affect. As one hears often, paint what you know. Eh, Etienne? Are you listening?

Au revoir,



Okay - maybe not done. Grenouille, I will think about your suggestion. I have to agree that I would prefer a frog to a hippo or a giraffe in this case.

But I primarily resumed writing to say that I think I know what I want to play with for my next small painting. Maybe others would like to play with this, too - a sort of artistic meme? Please only take this up if it speaks to you...

I was daydreaming again about the Azores - a place I'd like to visit before I die. I blogged about it here (introduced to it by the design, at that time, of DebD's blog). The thing that keeps catching my mind is the tradition that before any ship leaves Horta Harbor, the ship's owner/crew must draw on the harbor walls "a flag for a dream country" and the name of the ship, among other poetical things... See wonderful examples and more of this explanation on the lovely Marina de Horta Flickr set of Joe Taruga.

What I plan to do is name my ship, invent my dream country, and paint that flag as if I had the sea gods' wrath to mitigate, as Joe puts it. I have some idea how to do this in my case - from recent heart pulling ideas and my childhood. I plan to just do it - not explain it. It will be like those paintings in Horta Harbor - speaking for years later to anyone who passes, leaving it to their imaginations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

AEDM 24 - Cats and Sunshine

Well, Dearest and oldest left for church, and I started to paint. I meant to photograph this in stages as I went, but the next thing I knew they were home, I was done, I had been standing there for three and a half hours, I couldn't recall if any music had been playing on my headphones, and I was so sore I could hardly move. I haven't gotten that completely lost in something in a long time. Hooray for the right brain!

My Windows Media Player is stopped on One Summer's Day, and oddly, as I write this, oldest is working on his sculpey Christmas presents at his workbench behind me and the reprise of that same song is playing now. I'm being followed. It's a signal my inner artist can read, and it means another painting from that place... Probably the 18x24 this time, since the other 19x19 sheet is set aside for Glee 1.

Anyway - I'm pleased with this cat painting - It was a challenge to catch the light - it's all watercolor, 19 x 19, and the family agrees it captured our two cats. Here's the original photo, in case you want to compare and see what I decided to edit out of it. I may add more to this later today, but this is my contribution for AEDM 24. By now you've all noticed I post artwork one day off?

PS - OK, I'm having way too much fun today. I decided to finish the game with the lion. I got out my trusty acrylic squirt bottles and used the piece itself for the pallette. Basically it commits the paint, and the mixing becomes part of the piece. I wanted to bring out his long, noble face, so I wanted to contrast him against some blue. Then I knew I wanted to finish the mane to the right.

While opening the new orange I had to chuckle at the unfortunate rendering of the German in English. Below is the final lion. I added more green back and some aqua, after I had pushed the other colors around.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

AEDM 23 - Cats and Lion

I love weekends for many reasons. One is that I can get more concentrated time to draw or paint, and that makes a difference. This drawing, for instance, which doesn't look like much, and might be hard to see (click to see it larger), is the prep for the cat sunshine painting. It took two sessions over almost three hours. It's only 19 x 19, but it took so long because I had to edit the rumples in the couch cover so they wouldn't distract too much from the cats, and I had to draw the cats over and over until I had their faces correct. I didn't want any old cats, I wanted ours. Tamlin had to be done over four times before I felt I had something close enough to try the paint.

Then I was out of time - and not ready to start the painting itself. But something did emerge on the green ground... I'll continue to play with this later. This (about 7 x 10 inches) and the drawing are my Art Every Day for today AEDM 23.

Tonight we watched Amadeus. Our two oldest had been to see it, with Dearest, at the Playmakers Repertory Company at UNC Chapel Hill, and loved it. The second half of the movie is quite different from the play, and the Salieri role is smaller in the movie.

Of course there is a lot of fiction in both tellings - but they make terrific entertainment, and the music is divine.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

AEDM 22 - Who Let the Left Brain Have a Paintbrush?

This evening I got busy removing three paintings from the boards, trimming the stapled edges, and putting them in my portfolio. Then I measured, marked, and wet three more sheets, and stapled them on the boards for use over the weekend. It was cold enough that I had ice on the edges of the paper! Not a great time to be outside messing with a hose!

While I had no ready larger paper, I decided to work with my small 8x10 Arches paper block. But the left brain seems to have gotten the upper hand, and this is what we got. I hated it, but I started painting it to see what my left hemisphere would make of this. Not what I wanted. My left brain doesn't even color in the lines with any imagination, much less color OVER the lines...

So I decided to scare the left brain away. This is not too hard to do with nonsense (really silly play of most kinds), tedium (like driving the car or taking a shower), or mess. I went for number 1 and number 3, but mostly number 3. This is when it's handy to have those Lukas acrylics in squirt bottles.

I've never started with a mostly green ground before. Why not? Spreading the green out was fun, and I had some left over, which I put back in the squeeze bottle (try doing that with the traditional tubes!). The left brain was nowhere in sight. It's back for this writing, but it wasn't wielding the brush anymore. It needs to stay where it belongs - a computer keyboard is a good place.

After I spread the green paint, I added an ivory color I like, and some red pencil (Prismacolor - neon red). I've got more texture and paint ridges than I usually have even on larger pieces - I'm curious to see how those turn out (what they end up inside of). For a piece this small, this feels like a lot of texture, to me.

The acrylics, while wet, will absorb some color from watercolors, so I loaded a brush and dripped, splashed, and splattered. Then I put on a few yellow accents in some of the rare remaining unpainted paper. I have to keep my watercolor brushes away from the acrylics! I have two sets, which reminds me of a kosher kitchen, with separate dishes for the passover, to keep even the smallest trace of possible leavening from getting into the food. Hence with acrylics, which forever change the fibers of a brush, making them no longer able to soak up watercolors as they should.

Now mind you, this little rectangle is truly nothing but a mess right now - a manageable mess, with a little bit structure and manners, but a mess all the same. It may become something, or not. It might jest get painted over arbitrarily, like the recent self portrait, or it might grow into something without being mostly lost to view. We'll see. The results might be on AEDM 23, or maybe something else will be... I'll have three dry sheets by then, and I'm, itchin' to start those cats in the sun.

Friday, November 21, 2008

AEDM 21 Part Two

Actually, I'm done now. I just had to adjust some colors, liven some things up a bit, and, mostly, fix my nose, mouth, and beard (it was a lot easier than plastic surgery).

I'm OK with the final result, and want to move on, so I've got three pieces of paper to soak and stretch tonight. I'll have to work on something else for my next AEDM post...


There's a link to their copy here - but I also put it below myself.

AEDM 21 - Self Portrait

After about an hour and half of looking at the previous days' work and still seeing nothing but a background, I decided to just use it as such. So this is what I decided to do on top of the last few days. I'd been thinking of this image, and then I placed it and jumped in.

This is one case where the photo looks better than the original. I can't relax doing figures yet - so I will be painting over this with acrylics, treating this as under painting, so I can try to get the more relaxed painterly look I want. This was a lot of moving the shapes around until I had the feeling I wanted. Now that I know what I want where, hopefully I can relax and paint the acrylics without fuss.

I notice I exaggerated the length of my face, and the length and asymmetry of my nose - both things I notice more than other people, I suspect. That's how art is more "truthful" than photography. This is how I see me - something no one else normally can see.

It's late and I'm not sure I'm making sense... This is my contribution for AEDM 21.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leaf - Circle 5

This one requires little explanation (click for larger version). I will say that this is a pretty exact portrait of a real red maple leaf, and I was psyched that I managed to draw it to touch the border at all of it's tips on the first attempt. Our youngest couldn't believe I hadn't traced the leaf, which he saw lying beside the finished drawing.

And so the ephemeral (the leaf is long ago curled up, browned, and in some wet heap up in the mountains) is made permanent, passing through me on the way. I really like that aspect of drawing.

Drawn on deep pink circular card stock. Gotta get more of that.

PS - I wrote this post back in mid October, and then never published it. So it's late, now, with all the winter weather hitting the Midwest and Northeast... And I DID get more of this pink stock.

AEDM 20 - Erasure

And then, because there were far too many things going on and I HATED the composition, I struggled to figure out what to erase. The strong emotions used to keep me from continuing, now they just guide my eraser (if it's my standard pencil approach) or the white paint in this case. Shiny spot is because the paint is still wet!

I can't dream anything on this surface if there is so much visual noise. I'm looking for something from within - within the image and within me - and that requires more quiet, and more suggestions of things, rather than bold lines or shapes. Those can come later, when I'm defining whatever appears.

This is shaping up like The Storm and Angels in the Architecture. They were both carved out of a mess like this one, after there was enough going on to get the juices stated, and after my imagination got to the right mood.

Looking at Angels in the Architecture again makes me realize how much this painting is like my Nana Emery's style. That causes a pang of missing her - I would love to have shown this one to her and gotten her thoughts on it.

This might be all I get to contribute to AEDM 20.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

7 Album Thing - from DCup

I have to do this, though I can't leave the link at the Album site... And I won't tag anyone, though I hope Moominlight does this one. If she had to pick just 7... It might be fun to watch her struggle. I saw this and was invited over at DCup's Politits.

These aren't in any kind of order.

1. Synchronicity by the Police. I still think this is one of the most consistently interesting and well performed albums I know. I have it in both vinyl (ALBUM) and CD.
2. Say I Am Youby the Weepies. I never get tired of hearing this, and some of the songs still bring tears to my eyes.
3. Concerti Grossi - Opus 8 Antonio Vivaldi (the Red Priest). This is the group of twelve concerti that include the Seasons, which nearly everyone knows. But there are 8 more... and they are all magic.
4. This is really hard... Flyer by Nanci Griffith - the most consistently powerful album of a VERY talented singer songwriter from Texas. A lady with a lot of heart - a tiny thing with a huge voice.
5. Messiah by George F. Handel - it can't be Christmas without it. It was forbidden to play this in our house growing up until Dad had played it on Thanksgiving evening. Then it was OK to play until a few days after Christmas. That started the season, for me.
6. The Green World by Dar Williams - another incredibly talented singer/songwriter. I've been meaning to blog about a couple of her songs...
7. The Sixth Symphony (The Pastoral) by Ludwig Von Beethoven. This has always been my favorite of his symphonies - possibly Beethoven at his most peaceful and contented (not a common thing in that life).

Stomping in Puddles along the Road - AEDM 19

So I DID have a little time to throw some paint around before bed. AEDM 19 after all. Here are several photos of the lined square I posted yesterday - I decided to get the color in and THEN figure out what this is going to be (if). The first is just watercolor, but some is applied using an old toothbrush. Then I got our the acrylic bottles - I love these Lukas colors in the squeeze bottles. Then the image with white, blue, and finally with some green and a neon red Prismacolor pencil. Out of time - will play and ramble over this more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The thing with AEDM is that it doesn't let me rest on my laurels like I usually would. Right on to the next creative journey. I really needed that push. I'm liking this.

The first photo shows what made me reach for the camera. All that sunlight over our ginger tabbies, the dark and light contrasts on the rumpled couch slip cover (cats - beautiful and destructive all at once - between walking around on razors and spitting up on everything, there are days... but then they look like this, or fall asleep in my lap and all is forgiven), and Miss Santolina, in particular, asleep with her head against that book.

But mister Tamlin would not cooperate. As I knelt there for nearly 10 minutes (I could hardly get up afterward) daughter and I were unable to distract him from his tongue bath. When I finally DID get him to look out, so I could get his profile in the sun, Lina picked her head up. It's like trying to get a portrait of kids! This child's face is perfect, but the others weren't looking at the camera. Oh here they're almost all fine, but this one put his finger up his nose. Oy!

So I just cut and paste what I wanted using paintbrush (I don't own anything more sophisticated for editing) - close enough - and I'll fiddle the drapery back together in the drawing. I stretched Tamlin a bit, because in the original photo he just didn't extend far enough to the left for me, leaving that half of the composition too unoccupied. He was also too small. I pasted in the version of Lina I wanted, though I had to fiddle the size some to get it to nearly match the book and couch around her in the other photo. You can see corners giving away my band-aids.

I'll show the drawing, once I do it, before any painting begins. I've never painted something with this much contrast before - that will be the challenge. Show the light! Not sure if this can remain just watercolor, or if it will become a mixed media piece - I will do whatever seems to work.

Then this other picture here is of the random lines that I'm still exploring. I had so much fun drawing blind contours from the deadhead crowd scene at Jerry Garcia's funeral (photo in a book in the mountains - see results on previous blog posts) that I Flickr'd for more deadhead crowds and "felt" my way around heads, collars, hats, t-shirts, etc. as the pencil wandered the page unseen.

I spent a good twenty minutes tonight just staring at this tangle, waiting for something to emerge, turning it 90 degrees and waiting again. Nothing yet. I added more lines and repeated (after this photo). Still nothing. I erased any lines or shapes that annoyed me. Still nothing. I'm used to this. It might take a while for anything to emerge - or I might have to add and subtract quite a bit more first. I'll know the moment when it arrives.

Dinner tonight with my brother, to catch up - probably no art time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall in our Yard

The jack-o-lanterns linger after the holiday - the only thing we like to see afterward. Youngest son and daughter draw their jack-o-lantern faces on paper, quite small, and I have the pleasure of making them larger on the pumpkins they picked, and then carving them with a kitchen knife. This face was youngest son's design, faithfully reproduced. Daughter did the grotesque part of the job, this year, before I got home from work on Halloween (cutting open and scooping the pulp and seeds).

Daughter's design is always something unexpected. This year it was an umbrella. It was challenging to carve. And oldest does his own design and carving. This year it sported the most enormous sparkling smile.

Gotta post this thing before it gets too late. AEDM has been getting all the posting and I have a backlog of other stuff I've written!

Woodpecker Finished - AEDM 17

Here's the finished painting, and my entry for AEDM 17. I'm pleased with the composition and the colors. The curves and motion work as I'd hoped, and the trees lend some height and structure. I realized while drawing them the the trees are tulip poplars and cypress - I'm not sure how I know that or why it is, but it is. Ain't no arguing with the inner artist, or even much fruit in questioning. Listening is good, or getting out of the way.

Next painting is already in my head, though I haven't drawn it yet. It won't be a found painting - it sprang entire up in front of me, in our living room. And another set of random lines is already started on another square, for yet another painting. I prefer to have several going at once.

Tonight we went to the Graham (an old theater in the heart of Graham, NC - a real place) to the The Dark Knight. We was my two older children, who have already seen it twice, and myself. Dearest and youngest should not see it. I was as overwhelmed with the movie and Heath Ledger's performance as my daughter predicted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

AEDM16 - Woodpecker Continued

And here's the woodpecker painting one day later (click image for larger view). I guess if I botch this painting now, you'll all get to see it. Usually my failed paintings are quiet affairs, and they maybe get cut up for CD covers... But I think this one will come out all right - I know just enough of what I'm doing that I can see the next steps - so the risk isn't too high on this one. It's when I'm all in the fog and have no idea what to do next that the odds are more like 50-50. The Storm came out of such a fog. So did a piece I painted completely over in white three times to start over, before I finally tore up the paper and gave it over as bad luck. I felt much better with a new sheet - actually that's the sheet this woodpecker painting is on.

I have not had as much time to paint this weekend as I sometimes do... First I had to go to Raleigh for the Jerry's Artarama sponsored North Carolina art show, which has one of the best vendor/exhibitor setups for art supplies. I bought a year's worth of paper, a lot of Lukas paints (I love the exceptionally strong pigments) and some canvases - small ones (12x12 and 10x10). I saved over $250.00 buying the supplies at that event. The canvases will help me keep up with AED even after AEDM is over, and let me experiment more with acrylics. I have a painting in progress, but it has such a lot of drawing to go before the next stage, that I'm not getting much traction on it.

When I got back from the sale I did a few hours of gardening with my dearest - lots of things to cut back and plants to put in for the winter. She puts in a lot of pansies every fall. We had crazy weather today, with roaring clouds, spotty showers, and glorious beautiful sunny patches after four days of gloom. So it was great to be outside, and the best thing was to be doing it with her.

Then I went riding while daughter practiced driving and she and I grocery shopped at Trader Joe's.

Then I did get to do about an hour of painting, before going downstairs again to make crostinis with the help of youngest son. He arranges all the little slices of bread and helps to separate and place all the prosciutto and mozarella before I place (on some) tomato, portabello, and (only on mine) olives.

Then we all watched Ocean's 13, which we have to agree really was almost as good as Ocean's 11.

It was a good day - one of those that feel like two or three days instead of one. Put several of those in a three day weekend and I go back to work feeling almost like I've been off for a week...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

AEDM15 - Woodpecker - Greensboro Trip

Here's how far I got on the painting tonight. I had to tackle the bird first - everything else needs to be in response to him. And I did go for the underwing pattern - which turns out to be a series of spots on the leading edges of the feathers. Funny, I've found their feathers in the yard before and didn't have any idea who might have spots like that - I guess I never really observed them closely enough before, even at photos. That's that drawing does - it makes you really look, and set your preconceived notions aside. We tend to see what we think we see, and we miss what's really there. This is my entry for Art Every Day Month - 11/15.

I took the day off Friday and we went to Greensboro, to the science museum. They have a great littel zoo, and we spent over half the time there. We saw wallabies (up close - you get right in their space), white handed gibbons (swinging through their enclosure and sitting on their faux temple ruin, on the top of the big face sculptures, under the roof eaves out of the light rain), tigers (gorgeous male and female, restless and snarling ocassionaly at the smell of the maned wolves in the next habitat), red ruffed lemurs, koati mundi (comically sticking their long noses into a bottle of food hung on a string) and what do I take pictures of??? SHEEP! and Nigerian goats (below). No pictures of the more exotic critters at all. I guess I deserve the stupid sheep paintings.

We also stopped (after a good Italian dinner) at Edward McKay's used books and CDs. Huge place (GSO has their biggest store). We left with a box of books and CDs. My personal haul was 6 CDs for painting to:

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (uncensored version)
10000 Maniacs - Our Time in Eden
Los Lonely Boys - Los Lonely Boys (I already have Forgiven)
Cake - Motorcade of Generosity (the only one Alex hasn't got)
David Wilcox - Underneath
The Cranberries - No Need to Argue

$27 for all six, all in great condition - not bad.