Thursday, February 25, 2010

Caribonsai House

I can't seem to get down into the other painting yet this morning. I'll probably throw some paint around to break the impasse.

But I also finished this one, and wanted to post him. This is Caribonsai House, and is grouped in my mind with Mistletoe House, though the style isn't much the same.

A number of things came together in my head - bonsai (we photographed an exhibit of them last year at the NC Arboretum, and I had reviewed the photos a few days ago), baobab trees, caribou, and the house in CA called the witch house (I love the assymetry, height, and curves of it).

Watercolor - 19 x 19. Here is a detail. Click either image for a closer look.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Starting Over

After more than six hours on a watercolor portrait that did not capture the likeness, I gave it over and covered the image with acrylic paint. I love the squirt bottles of Lukas paint I bought last year. They make it alarmingly easy to make a mess in a hurry. Five minutes was all it took to bury six hours of watercolor painting, leaving not a trace.

Then this evening I took a jar of white and painted out everything that I found irritating or ugly, things that would interfere with any image emerging.

Next I'll look for what this wants to be.

This is how Foxwood and The Storm were painted. It's like how I imagine scuba diving - a trip through a different element, silent, colorful, disorienting sometimes. Patience and daydreaming are the most important parts of this process for me (I understand that daydreaming is dangerous when scuba diving, so the similarities go only so far...).

With the Winter Olympics on television this week I am reminded that this painting process had its origins with the discovery that the Carnival of Venice theme of a pair of ice dancers was the key to one of my earliest watercolors. So it's been a little over four years that I've been painting again. Seems a lot shorter than that...

Oh - I've completed another painting (a watercolor) - but that's another post.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Totem Portrait

I recently visited the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institute, and a national treasure trove. I have always been deeply moved by the art of Native Americans. The work of the tribes of the Pacific Northwest have a special appeal for me.

After that visit it's been on my mind to try some totemic art, working with the essence of the item depicted, trying to illustrate its spirit, communicate something of its deeper meaning.

Half humorously, half seriously, I combined this urge with another self portrait... I don't think this is a good literal likeness, but this does capture some of what I'm about, from the laughter to the bowtie, from the monobrow to the fish (a visual lark I like to slip into paintings). And naturally my image would have paintbrushes and eyes to look even when mine are closed.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I'm painting this week, while I'm of work, trying to get back into a deeper place with that - more involved with the creative and visual side of me. Trying to shut up the left brain and let the right brain out more.

This is a small piece I had started weeks ago, and finally finished over the weekend.

Today I started two new paintings, finishing one (that will be another post - maybe) and getting the preliminary drawing done on the second. That's more than I typically get done in a month, lately. The first painting was almost entirely done in one long heat, which felt like about two hours to me but turned out to be more than five hours when I looked at a clock. I was surprised, sore and hungry.

"Hatching" is mostly watercolor (a little Prismacolor and a little acrlyic). 10 x 14.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Where did this come from? Birds

This painting came along over the last few weeks, stretched out like a conversation that wouldn't ever finish and wouldn't go away, either. I have no idea what all the birds are doing in the bottom of this - nor why there are loose flowers strewn through the middle. I painted this because it would not go away. It wasn't until this evening, when it was nearly done, that it finally set up some static in my head, like most paintings do. Then I owned it, I guess. I like some things about this image, and not others. Paintings are kind-of like people that way.

Watercolor and India ink - 19 x 19.

This image is in the same series (comes from the same place) as:

Coming Home


Roofs and Birds

I like it there, and I hope I can spend time in more parts of it. I've noticed that it's always the last hour of light there.