The sewing bug got me. It’s uplifting to see my chair look better and yesterday I made this new duvet cover for my down filled throw. I think it looks good on top of the chair. I flipped over the corner so you can see the ultra plush fleece I used for the backing. The front fabric is a batik and the blue trim is a thinner fleece.
It was more difficult because I used fleece. It stretched as I was sewing and I had to rip and fix it. I liked the color of the blue, that’s why I picked fleece for the trim instead of cotton. The cottons weren’t the exact blue I wanted. That’s one thing I really enjoy about sewing, the colors and textures in my hands. I have to keep my hands out of my paint, but sewing is kind of sculptural in the sense that it’s a more tactile experience than painting.Sewing is as challenging as painting. Unexpected problems always happen. You have to stop and figure out how to make it come out the way you want it.
Now the muse is telling me to make a jacket, so I must go out and shop for fabric. I have an old one I can trace a pattern from. It’s covered in fringe but looks simple to make.
Magnolia and Apple Blossom Window / TiffanyJacques Gruber / French / 1870 – 1936
I think I’ll steal one or both of these designs. Why should an artist put extra pressure on herself by trying to be “creative” and “original” when she could just copy something great? A lot of artists like to steal from the masters. There’s those funny books telling you how to steal like an artist. They crack me up. Then sometimes you still hear people saying, “It’s been done before.” like that’s a bad thing. I don’t get it. I go with the side of stealing a great design and making it my own. I remember our teachers at York Academy of Art told us one rule of stealing a design. Only steal the good stuff.
I can’t decide how to use one of these in my next project. I need to think it through and do a couple sketches first. Another funny contradiction you hear in the art world sometimes is, a teacher tells the students to just do it, don’t think about it. That sounds weird to me. I would have to take some kind of drug to stop from thinking. What those teachers want is some subconscious thought to come out in the art. They like a dream quality in art, I guess. I’m not doing that. I think there’s a reason why the subconscious is sub. It’s a bad decision maker.
These windows were well planned. That, and the great technical skill of the artists make them masterpieces.
It’s the most zen place in town. I’m not a follower of an Eastern religion, but it’s easy to pick up the vibe. That’s one of the benefits of painting in plein air. I have a reason to hang around under a tree like Buddha! hahahahahah
I started on this painting a month or so ago and finished it last week. The trees changed faster than I could paint them. I could keep going and going making corrections but decided not to because I’m starting on the next painting now.
The banana trees were taken out of the garden before I finished painting them, but I had enough of a start that I could finish them at home. I liked them in the composition. They wouldn’t have lived through the frost. Now they’re in a greenhouse.
This is what the scene looked like to my camera when I got started. I drew it before I took the photo. The photo looks a lot different than what I drew, so I’m not sure if my perspective is right or if the camera’s perspective is better. I decided my painting doesn’t need the hedge and close up fence that show in the photo. It might be too much darkness on the bottom of the canvas for a good composition.
The James River isn’t showing in the photo, but if you step 15 feet to the right you can see it and I wanted to show it in my painting. I hoped after the frost I’d be able to see more of the river when leaves came down, so I mixed my colors for the river and painted it in, knowing I was going to cover it with trees and have small peaks of water showing. I used my artistic license there. If I copied the photo the river wouldn’t be in this painting.
That’s Willow Oaks Country Club golf course on Southside.
This is my underpainting in gray.
You can see where I stood my easel under a Magnolia tree and sat on the ground on an old beach towel to mix my colors. Cones were falling off the tree all around me but didn’t hit me or my painting. I kept my hat on just in case I got hit because those cones might hurt my head. It’s not as scary sitting under a Magnolia as it is being under a Walnut tree. I avoid the Walnuts trees! hahahahah Trees dropping cones are a part of the life of your plein air artist. Is that a zen thing?
19th century, oil on panel, silver-gilt, enamel,silk
It’s at the VMFA in the Faberge gallery.
I’m not Catholic, but this is inspiring me to do an icon. Mine won’t be religious, but an American icon. I’m planning it for the spring art show at the Poe Museum, so it needs to be Edgar Allen Poe in the icon. Yes, I need to start planning now because I’m kind of slow. hahahahah This will be something I can work on when the weather gets too cold to paint outside in a month or so.
Just yesterday, I was thinking of doing a mixed media piece to enter in their annual call to artists for the show “Poe’s Enchanted Garden.” I was trying to decide on how to make cut out layers. I had in mind a Dada piece I love by Arp with cut outs, “Mountains Table Anchors Navel.” I couldn’t decide, should the image of Poe be on top of the layers or underneath to be seen through the cut outs. This real icon tells me, the pic of Poe should be inside the cut out and surrounded by an ornate border with gold and sparkly jewels. Poe won’t be getting a halo though. He might look good in an Art Deco type floral design, all dripping with sad flowers in gold and jewels. Maybe I can work a raven or black cat into the design.
It will be a challenge to do a nice portrait of Poe for my icon.
They’re standing in the hot sun on the edge of the pond. The 1st few days I worked on this painting, it was rainy and cloudy, which kept it from getting too hot. Now the weather seems to be going back to the hot and humid. I like to work on my painting in the morning before it gets too hot outside. I can find some shade to sit in and mix my colors, then I usually stand in the sun with the plants to paint. It helps me see if I have my colors and values close to what’s natural in sunlight. I’ll stand up to paint because it’s more comfortable than painting sitting down. After 45 minutes or so, I take a little break and look away from my painting for a few minutes. I can go back to it and get my concentration back for another 30 – 45 minutes. But when the temperature goes up to 85 or so, I’m done.
Now I’m looking for a place to sit and stand in the shade for my next painting.
The Winter weather is a bummer even in our normally mild VA. I hung out at the museum last week and worked on a drawing of a horse. The VMFA has a great new exhibit of etchings by Bracquemond, so I got a shot of my favorite one for you.
When I was in art school I took a print making class and learned the process of etching. It’s more difficult than drawing with a pencil because you can’t erase. My etching from art school looked kind of weak, I must admit. Strong drawing skill is a necessity if you want to do an etching.
This artist is a master. I hope you can see it clearly on your computer because I was amazed by the depth showing. The detail is so fine. The textures go from sharp to fuzzy. How did he do it?