Friday, December 26, 2008

And Why Not?

The image on this tall strip of canvas has been haunting me, so I had to get it out. I have attempted to portray what is termed "mezla"* before, with little success. This may also turn out to be a blind alley, but when I got down a folded piece of canvas to make a new stretched canvas, it unfolded into this long strip and suddenly I thought, "well, why not? Why not tack it to the wall and paint on it unprimed? After all, acrylics can do that!" So here it is, and I like it now. I hope I will like it later also ... but who knows?

Mezla: The flow of energy, consciousness, and matter through its various phases of expression in the Tree of Life, from subtle unity of the absolute to the dense realm of matter.source: Kabbalah for Health & Wellness, Mark Stavish (Llewellyn Publications)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let There Be Clouds!

I seem to be constitutionally incapable of taking a straight square photo of a painting. Oh well. These clouds are PINK ... yes, believe it or not. Pale, pale pink, to be sure. I think they give a lot of life and dimensionality to the painting.

The sky is cutting into the foreground for the time being, so that when I reinforce the tree trunks they will be in front of the sky.

What a Difference Value Makes!

While this sky is currently "chalky" and too flat, it brings the foreground to life by showing the trees against a light sky. While it dries, I upload and share with you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aspens in Process and Progress

This is the painting now. I have re-applied a very dark green background for the trees. Why did I bother putting in all that red-orange, you ask? It is there, it is just not consciously visible. Like nature*, a painting has underlying colors to give strength, body and impact to the ones on the surface.

A portrait of the painter as an old pirate.

Making a nice green ... out of red, yellow and blue ... ah the magic!

Yes, blue and yellow make green, but it is not nature's green yet!

All these tones appear in the painting, in what is technically known as "the central blob of color", the aspen leaves.

*in nature, leaves are red under all that green. In the fall, the green is stripped away to reveal nature's underpainting!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Aspens in Progress

I am in ecstasy during this part of the process. You can still see the ground in certain areas, but I have used mostly complementary colors for the underpainting, so that scraps of those colors will enliven the mostly yellow, green and blue of the image.

By the way, this painting is 36"H x 24"W x 1 1/2"D, on heavy cotton canvas and heavy stretcher bars.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Genesis in the Studio

I took this photo on vacation, and I really like the contrast of the white aspen trunks against the dark evergreens. I manipulated it in Photoshop to emphasize that contrast in the printout, which I will use to paint from. The road entering from the corner is something I really like, although it sometimes can be a dangerous placement, because it can lead the eye out of the painting, unless used carefully.

Here is the printout with my gesso mixing container and brush.

There is something very satisfying about making a canvas. This one is a recycle, so it already has a hanging wire on the back.

Tabla rasa ... the canvas before the application of the gesso.

Sign of the Cross ... the first application of the colored gesso is done out from the center to the centers of the four edges in order to prevent pulling the stretcher bars out of square. The gesso, acrylic paint and water are very strong and the canvas drooped toward the center, as though it might not tighten up, but I knew it would, from past experience.

The Ground of Being ... the deep blue-violet will be a nice place to begin. All the lighter colors will "pop" from this deep background. For me, this part of the process is exciting; it must be accomplished quickly before the gesso begins to tear the canvas.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Paintings in Progress

As you know if you have ever done any painting, it is a process of looking and working, back and forth, over and over again. These four paintings are close to being finished. Putting them on the blog gives me smaller images to look at. In a way it is like standing back from the paintings to assess them.
I hope these will be finished in a day or two, and I can have slides made, then ship them out to a gallery.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I worked on this old painting of circus horses ... they were blue with a rather violent orange. I am learning to work with greyed tones, FINALLY! I guess it takes me a long time to learn one simple idea, but I work my way into it very gradually.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tree of Fire

I did this black drawing on impulse today, because I saw a song titled "Tree of Leaf and Fire". The image just popped into my head.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Illustrator at Work

This is a sketch of an illustrator circa 1982.

Portrait circa 1980

This is a somewhat idealized portrait from my sketchbook of a painter from 1980.

Portrait of an Ex-Husband circa 1980

When I was in therapy I drew this image of a vivid memory ... my ex grasped my wrists and hit my eyes with my own fists, then laughed and said I had hit myself. This is the only time he hit me, so it made quite an impression. This was after I had the affair, so it is less gratuitous than some spousal abuse. In the background are pale blue figures representing our children.

I had to wear sunglasses for a week to cover my black eyes.