Monday, March 18, 2013

Disaster in the studio

No, nothing flooded or broke. But that painting with the morning glories (revisit that post by clicking HERE), which I was told was not really done? It’s now probably trash.    It’s so bad, I have no intention of posting a pictures of the current “after” to compare to the before.  It’s too too embarrassing how badly that painting has crashed and burned.  Well, I’ve read and repeated, the goal is to try for the best painting possible, even if it means ruining a few along the way. That one is well and truly ruined, I do believe.

Instead of posting that, here are the “before”  and after" of an experiment I worked on a  week ago.  I set a goal of using still life objects in a simple composition, choosing a limited palette, and then going overboard with pattern, to find out when is it Too Much. 
The "before"  was taken at the first pause to reflect.  I decided that I liked the subtle hues, I liked the repeated shapes and patterns. What I didn’t like was the lack of contrast and therefore drama that I often attempt in my paintings.  So, the “after”  version reflects a serious change to a lot of values.  I think it helped  for the overall painting, although the posted images here don't look that different to me now. I do still like the palette and the pattern.    I don’t think it’s a work I’d show or enter anywhere.  But it’s not a disaster like the one I’m not showing you at ALL!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation.

Four artists gathered Wednesday to plan a journey. Each of us  there knew at least ONE other person, but of the four, only Pat and I have travelled together, so it was really more about getting acquainted than planning.
In (exactly!) three weeks time, the four of us, Pat, Lori, Darleen, and I, will climb into a pair of overloaded Escapes and escape, caravan style, to North Carolina, where we hope to find warm weather, inspiration, knowledge, new skills, and lots of new artist friends.  This is, of course, Kanuga Season. 
Pat and I, having experienced this twice already and heading for our third repeat, are filled with one kind of excitement. We already know our way there and in many ways what we will find.  Pat especially knows what she will find, as she has signed up for Marilynn Derwenskus’ workshop there. Pat has already had – three? – workshops with Marilynn, and loves how she teaches (well, I guess that’s apparent).  I will have an adventure, I’m sure, in my class with M.E.(Mike) Bailey: the workshop is entitled  Watercolor Beyond the Obvious.  The materials list emphasizes NO SOURCE PHOTOS. And requires a 2 inch brush, plus a stick at least 3 feet long.   Adventure here I come!
Lori and Darleen, new to Kanuga AND to each other, are of course full of a different excitement, tinged with anticipation of the unknown.  Lori is signed up for Marilynn’s class along with Pat, and Darleen is signed up for Lana Grow’s.  Needless to say, all four of us are extremely “geeked”. 
And it only made it so much better when our lunch at a Chinese restaurant concluded with fortune cookies.  Lori’s was  Don't be afraid to take that big step”. And mine was, you may have guessed, the title of this post:  Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation”. We can hope!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What's everyone ELSE painting?

Yesterday was the annual presentation of paintings submitted to be juried into the 66th annual Michigan Watercolor Society Exhibition.     Some 200 paintings from more than 100 artists were shown (in silence -commentary is discouraged!), to fellow artists and visitors. I love this event every year, although there are some drawbacks. 

For one thing, one often sees one’s own work very differently when it is suddenly projected 6 feet high in a darkened room in front of all the other artists.  The painting may look better than you thought. But, more often, for me,  disappointing: sometimes the composition or color or drama is lost. 

Another drawback of the event is that of the 200 artworks, only 65 or 70 will make it into the upcoming exhibit  (this year to be juried by Pat Dews).  Many many many more than 70 were beautiful and/or interesting, absolutely deserving a closer look,   a  second and third look.  But this was the only time to see them, and only for eight seconds each!

With so many wonderful artworks for the juror to choose from,  I recognize right now that if my paintings aren’t selected (as they weren’t last year, oh well), they are STILL in very good company.  It is inevitable that many good paintings will not be in the show.  If with good fortune either of mine ARE selected, wow.  What a compliment and ego boost that will be.

I enjoyed, as usual, seeing what everyone else is painting these days.  Each year the mix seems to change – I sort of wish I could chart it. This year, fewer flowers, fewer landscapes, fewer dogs and other animals, but, along with abstracts of various natures, more figures and portraits.

The juror will get the images in the next few days, and will return her results to the board before the end of March.  A small committee will process the results to get them into the mail on time: look for your results in early April.

 Fingers crossed. For myself, and everyone else!