Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sky study 13

Some skies are unapologetic.


It's so hard to get any work done when every time one turns around, one's animolecules are cuddling in new ways and combinations. This was actually a very rare one: Lynx and Rumi. They do like each other, but generally only as play partners. Lynx had been dozing in the papasan already when Rumi decided to join him.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sky study 12

...And some skies are more delicate.


I've always thought Lynx looks very owl-like. You can decide for yourself:

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day moon

Do you know the day moon?

A few weeks ago, SamArtDog and I were out walking our pooches, and I looked up and marveled.

(The little bumps are "inclusions" that happened when I prepared the UArt with an acrylic underpainting...and paper towels. :D
I decided I didn't mind them, though...they're the "day stars.")

How to have a lazy Saturday (Miss Lemon's no-fail rules): 1. Locate couch. 2. Locate soft white belly on said couch. 3. Lay head on said belly.

And then there's this photo below, from the archives. It's out of focus but so funny that I just have to post it anyway. Couch cushions as black hole:

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Sky study 11

Some notes on these sky studies of late:

1. I don't know why I started doing these, but I'll do them as long as I find them engaging, and then move on to something different. (And then if the urge returns, I'll do more skies.) I try to follow these desires. Whenever I go in the studio and try to force subject matter or medium, it always fails. (I'm slooowly getting better at realizing this. Why it seems necessary to relearn this lesson continually, I don't know. Stubborn brain?)

1a. The translation from: in person --> camera --> iPhoto --> Photoshop
-->blogger realllllly makes them lose something, these sky studies perhaps more than any other pastels I've put up. In person, they are soft, yet have a certain clarity that never comes across on screen. Endless frustration, endless hours wrestling with the technology (pixels, image size, sharpening, color adjustment, raw-format nauseum). You'll just have to take my word on it. Or else send Casey's photographer wife.

2.. The few times I've tried using a photo reference, results are poor and I have to give up.

3. These skies don't come from my memory per se (you assign me too much credit, Loriann), but rather I just approach the paper with an "anything goes" attitude, no particular shapes in mind. I then tend to work in one of two ways:

a) grab whatever color is calling to me, and rub it on the paper. Then another color, and make some marks with it too. Then perhaps a third color, and at that point, stop, take a good look and start making some conscious decisions about form, value, composition, and color harmony. My paintings seem to go best when I am able to let go and let them begin to tell me what direction they want to take.

b) propose a challenge to myself before I start, e.g.: can I make an electric-orange sky? can I make a pink cloud in a turquoise sky? can I do a high-value-only sky? or a low-values-only sky? can I make green clouds? yellow clouds? gray yet colorful clouds?.......and have it all look somehow believable, or feasible.

4. I don't consider these realism, nor wholly abstract. One thing that's extremely interesting to me is that, without any visible terra firma reference at all (e.g., no painted or drawn tree tops, horizon line, mountain ridge, etc.), and in spite of them in tangible reality existing merely as smudges and marks of color, people see them as skies and clouds. Why? I'm fascinated by how our brain interprets things to fulfill its own agenda.

You can see from his facial bone structure that Rumi is becoming quite the handsome young man. (Yes, he still adores being in the dishwasher.)

In Munnar.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sky study 10

Well, I got the camera back to square one. (Patting myself on the back.) Now it remains to be seen whether I progress in my camera knowledge from there, or just be lazy.

No room for dogs.

Quite the muttonchops on this guy, huh?

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Just photos today (and Mojito baby pics!)

Here's the problem with a really nice (digital) camera: the instruction manual is a book. That's what happens when cameras are more like computers these days. And it's a book I never have time to read, not that it will make for pleasant reading in the first place. All the photos I've been taking lately of my artwork are coming out terrible, and it's surely because neither I nor The Husband (much as he would like to think so) really have a clue what we're doing with all the settings and such on the camera. My goal is now to try to find the time to learn enough from the manual to at least remove all current (mostly inadvertent) settings and get it back to tabula rasa.

So, in lieu of artwork today, I bring you some photos...

After nearly two feet of snow, the sun came out for two days and started meltin' with a mission. My friend Ann and I went for a hike...and our shoes will never be the same.

And now for something completely different (say in Monty Python voice): The Husband finally found our dog Mojito's baby pics! I've been wanting to have them for some time now. When I look at Mojito now, four years old, very noble-looking and almost wolf-like sometimes, it's hard to believe he was ever that little wooly bear cub. He came to us as one of our foster dogs (we used to foster rescued Goldens) at the tender age of about 3 months (with the name of Biscuit, ha ha) and the moment we saw him (he gave us a skeptical look, which he still sports frequently) there was no question we'd be keeping him. He came from a bad situation and still has a few phobias, but he's mostly just fine now.


Mojito's on the left here, supervising Jazz's ripping up of the dog bed:


And now, take a deep breath, and...

Prepare thyself for the killer cuteness!:

Didn't I warn you?

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sky study 9

This is a soft painting, but not as fuzzy as it appears on screen.

But here is something fuzzy:

Fang says hi.

Local entertainment: running alongside a jeep.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Sky study 8

...Because some skies are dramatic.

Ugh...woke up to this. (Typical Colorado; yesterday was short sleeves and sandals.)


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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sky study 7

Because gray skies are not simply gray.

Tea bushes, with rubber (latex-producing) trees interspersed. (In Munnar.)

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Hello, new yoga class participants! My name is Rumi and today I will demonstrate the assisted-backbend pose. It is best done from a prone, sleeping position.

(P.S. I love the little "dance" The Husband does while deciding which way to pick him up.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sky study 6

A mini. If you're old enough to remember "film strips" in grade school, well, this is kind of a little cloud strip.

Jazz and Rumi.

In India.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sky study 5

I like knowing that there's an endless variety of skies out there to paint. This is another pastel with a lot of blending. Doing these skies has got me interested in trying them in oil too (believe it or not, I've never tried painting a sky in oils; I've never been a landscape painter).

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Need your kitchen knives sharpened? Keep an eye out; he'll be coming through your neighborhood...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sky study 4

I've been much admiring Astrid's pastels. Inspired by her work, I decided I'd start learning how to blend--something I've never done. In my now ponderous experience (i.e., a few days), I am liking some of the effects that blending can give, especially when the painting is mostly blended, but with a few areas that are not. It feels like a good balance, the blending counterweighting the non-blended parts. The light-value part of the clouds here is not blended, giving it some visual texture, though you can't tell on screen.

Mojito + interloper.

Almost anywhere you look in India there's a photograph waiting to happen.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Jaipur 7

The evolution of abstract imagery fascinates me--how one can get visually from "reality" all the way through different phases of semi-abstract, and finally into pure abstraction. This one started like the previous "Jaipur palace wall" paintings, but it wanted to...keep going.

Rumi enjoys being held like this when he just wakes up, so he can get a good stretch. I think it's safe to say he's the weirdest cat I've ever known. I like the funky perspective in this photo.

Tea transport in Munnar.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To the coast

...Where I'd like to be instead of here, sick, with the snow coming back for yet another unwelcome visit.

This came out with kind of a Milton Avery feel to it, I think.

By March, only the dogs are still fans of winter. (Photo credits: The Husband.)

Dreaming of Lakshadweep.

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