It was 2005. I was practicing figure drawing at open studio every week but didn’t go out to draw in plein air yet.
My daughter, Sarah went to Perth, Australia as an exchange student. She stayed 3 months, I went along and stayed 3 weeks. We did some sight seeing before her classes started. Before we left I was thinking how cool it would be to hear and see a kookaburra. I must have had my hands on the rungs of my headboard that night because I dreamt I had a hold of a huge bird by the legs. I thought, this isn’t a kookaburra, what is it? Oh No! It’s a phoenix! The bird lifted me off the ground and I hung on.
This is my watercolor illustration of my dream.
The phoenix went above the clouds. I saw strange constellations in the Southern Hemisphere. I dipped my toes in the clouds.
This is my pastel illustration of my dream.
I almost lost these two when my art got stolen but was happy to see them when I got my stuff back, even though they might not be my best work, since I did them from my imagination.
A guy just called me from the same apartment complex where my art was stolen, different building and told me he had my art. He found it propped up at his door. He knew it was stolen. My phone number was on the back of this drawing. He’s an artist too, also named Chris, and refused to take a reward.
I’m so glad to see this one again! All I can say is thank God. I got my stuff back. And thanks to everyone that was pulling for me to get my art back! I never would have figured prayers would help me but maybe they did! Everyone come over tonight and let’s celebrate! the drinks are on me!
The model for this is another statue in Hollywood cemetery. She’s holding a wreath over a grave and I changed it to a cornucopia. I think I took the wings off her, but that was long ago, like 2008 or so, I forget.
My computer is still on the fritz. It won’t upload another photo.
This is another one of my favorites that didn’t get stolen. Now it represents my angels on wordpress who I never met but actually care. Thanks everyone for your understanding and support. It means so much to me.
About the drawing: When I first started drawing in Plein air, 2006 I think, I went into Hollywood cemetery looking for a good view and the sad stone angels grabbed me! Hollywood Cemetery is still burying people but it’s a tourist attraction in Richmond because of all the famous dead guys there. It was a real rough time in my life and the cemetery was my refuge. I practiced figure drawing there for a few years. The grave diggers called me the angel lady.
This statue is missing the hand holding the wreath. Vandals took it. After I improved on figure drawing I was able to draw the missing hand. I considered it a major accomplishment.
I have so much to do today and tomorrow that I might not keep up as well with likes and comments, so don’t worry if I miss something.
You might think I look like Venus. It’s me. I’m left handed. hahahah
After my art folders and favorite paintings got stolen a couple days ago I wondered what was missing and what I still have. I still have one big cardboard folder with some things I was really glad to see. This is one of them. That’s me painting in the nude under the weeping cherry.
I also have a bunch of oil paintings that I’ll try to keep.
This is a classical theme explored by a lot of great artists. It tells the story of the Greek myth that lead to the Trojan war. Paris got roped into judging a beauty contest between the goddesses. I forget all the details, but one goddess offered him wealth if he named her the most beautiful. Then another goddess offered him wisdom. Then Venus offered him the love of the most beautiful woman in the world and he gave her the apple which was the prize. It happened that the most beautiful woman, Helen, was married to a king and she ran off with Paris. They made war over it. The gods and goddesses were all playing around with the mortals and taking sides in the war which made it much worse.
I’d also like to illustrate this story some day. If I could paint it I’d like to have three little girls having a tea party under a weeping cherry tree. They’re playing dress up and all wearing sheets wrapped like togas with wreaths of flowers in their hair. One girl could have her favorite books on the table with her hand on them. Another girl could have her jewelry box open and holding up some sparkly gems. The girl playing Venus would be holding her toga up which is falling down and reaching out for the apple. Paris could be leaning against the tree.
I had Chinese food the other day and my fortune cookie said “Your best work is yet to come.” This judgement of Paris inspiration has been in the back of my mind for so many years. I think I can do it. I just need some young models.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep practicing with other drawing and painting projects. I’m still healthy, there’s no hurry. I’ll do it before I die.
They don’t move. There’s no need to worry about running out of your 20 minute time allowance before the model needs a break. The artist can take a break any time they want to and the model will be in the exact same pose. You can even go back any time any day and the model will be the same.
I can finish a drawing. Don’t get me wrong on this, open studio figure drawing practice is necessary, the more the better, but I never could finish a drawing. I had lots of sketchbooks full of sketches that I threw away when I moved. When I looked back at my figure drawings from years ago I could see an improvement that came from the open studio. I work slowly though, and I do enjoy finishing a drawing, which I could never do in the 3 hour or so time of the open studio.
Lighting isn’t a problem. Check it out and decide what time of day you like the light and go then. There is no getting stuck on the dark side of the model. You can’t beat natural light.
The pose is good. Like to see a graceful model in an interesting pose? Statues are more likely for that than some nude sitting or standing around.
They’re ideal figures. Easy on the eyes, in perfect classical proportion.
It’s not crowded. Sometimes at open studio figure drawing, my view is blocked by another artist . When I go out to draw a statue, I get to pick the best side to draw from. No other artists are there drawing.
Last but not least, THEY’RE FREE! Who needs to pay a model to do figure drawing?
This sculpture is “Breaking Ground” by Kathleen Farrell. It’s the WPA monument at Norfolk Botanical Garden. During the depression the government had this project where they hired 220 African Americans to dig gardens by hand. 200 were women and 20 were men. It looks like back breaking work, doesn’t it? And that’s not all, they had to watch out for snakes, and the weather made it even more difficult. This model probably saw something moving on the ground, because she’s not looking at her shovel, she’s looking to the side. Yikes!
It’s a great show of American Impressionists titled “The Artist’s Garden”. I drove to Norfolk yesterday to see it. The show ends in the beginning of Sept.
It’s exciting to see old Impressionism. There’s a lot of variations in the different artist’s styles. These artists had academic training. You can see it in the beautifully drawn female figures. An artist doesn’t get this kind of results by tracing a photo. This took years of figure drawing practice.
I wanted to see if the old Impressionists used glazes, and yes, I see layers of glazes in a lot of the paintings. Modern Impressionists don’t use glazes. This painting shows a lot of variation in the way the paint was applied. Some is glazes and some parts are painted thick.
The old Impressionists didn’t have a formula. I doubt this was finished in one day. They had inspiration. They were daring and groundbreaking. Modern Impressionists are in a big hurry to finish paintings because they think it makes them look “prolific”. They have a good level of successful paintings that are marketable because they have a formula, which they might call “streamlining” a painting, or “simplifying” or something like that. That’s why all modern Impressionists work looks the same. Modern Impressionists are on some kind of art treadmill. I want to paint like this guy, Curran.