Tag Archives: Richmond VA.

Day lilies / pastel

IMG_1920

I sketched them with charcoal 4 times on 4 different days. Every time I got home and looked at my sketch I thought I could do better.  It seemed like each sketch did come out a little better than the previous one, and all that sketching helped me plan my pastel. Each time the flowers looked all different from the day before so I decided to use pastels because I can build up layers of color in one day, as opposed to oil paint, when I have to wait overnight for a layer of glazes to dry before going over it again.

One day when I was sketching with charcoal a visitor to the garden came over to this beautiful bunch of flowers and said to me, “I can’t resist.”

When I’m in the zone drawing I can still talk to people but sometimes it takes me a second to see what they’re talking about. The lady was pulling off something from the flowers. She told me they’re “dead heads”. She has day lilies too and told me they bloom better if you take the dead heads off. We talked for a couple minutes about the day lilies.  I asked her to look for the plaque, but she didn’t see anything saying what particular variety this is. She continued to pull off the dead heads, but I told her to leave some for me to draw with pastels the next day. She said, “Oh, you’ll have a lot of new ones tomorrow.” She told me they only bloom one day, that’s why they call them day lilies.”  I thought they got that name because they closed up at night. So you learn something new  if you hang around and draw.

Next time I draw them I might do an experiment to find out for myself if they really only bloom for one day. I could tie a thread around the stem of a big bud and check it for 3 days in a row as I’m hanging around there working on a pastel every day for a couple hours. I’m always kind of a skeptic, and like to verify  some things if I can.

We had some real nice weather this week. It’s going to get hot and humid again soon, but I want to do another pastel of day lilies in another color. I’ll go back next week and try to find a place in the shade.

Advertisements

canna and coleus / charcoal

IMG_1915

The canna is yellow (the tall stalk like plants) and the coleus is dark blackish red (the shorter plants in the fore ground).

I had a look at the lotuses standing in the sun and decided to find some flowers where I could sit in the shade to draw. It’s not as hot as yesterday, but sweat was still dripping off my hair after walking slowly around the garden. After cooling off on a shaded bench for a while I was ok to draw. And there was a little breeze that was nice. I haven’t been out to draw for a while and I enjoyed it very much.

A lady I know liked this sketch and asked me if I was going to do something with it. I told her I’ll just put it on my blog. Sometimes I do a lot of charcoal sketches before I get something that I want to paint.

The thing I enjoy about drawing and painting in plein air is not in knocking out a painting in a few hours, it’s hanging around in a beautiful place for as many days as I feel like being there. In fact, the painting is secondary in my mind. I’m so thankful I’m not on some kind of art treadmill where I’m under pressure to do fast unfinished paintings for some arbitrary time limit rule some person made up. That would destroy the zen like experience of it. And one of my main reasons for not fitting into the art scene. I don’t care if fast unfinished paintings are in style. I don’t care if all the other plein air painters out there take hundreds of photos then trace their best one onto a canvas and go back and hurry fill it in like it was a coloring book. I don’t have to do that.

I’m not interested in taking a class to see if I can paint fast. I’m not interested in taking a drug to make me keep painting all day either, because a drug is the only way I could ever get that kind of energy. So, there you have it friends, apathy to the art world in a nutshell. hahahahahahhaha

tie dye shirt and shorts I made / modeled @ Lewis Ginter

IMG_1908

The tie dye was fun. The shorts were difficult..

This time I cut 3″ off the length of the shirt and cut the fringe 3″ before sewing on the beads. I like this length and it’s more practical with the shorter fringe because it doesn’t get tangled.

The shorts are a polyester linen blend so they’re cooler than my denim shorts, but I had to resew my seams to make it fit right. I used the same pattern that was ok before, but this time it seemed too baggy. Now I want to resew the blue ones I made and then take them apart so I can draw my pattern to fit exactly next time. It will be a big job.

Sewing is more difficult than painting. I don’t understand why “craft” gets less respect than “art”. They’re the same to me. Art and craft both require practice, patience, skill etc. so I wonder why sewing isn’t seen in the same way as an oil painting or a sculpture. No one would doubt YSL is an artist, but is the seamstress who makes her own clothes also considered an artist? I would say yes. The sewing ladies are artists  too. And if you have enough dexterity and patience to sew you can also do any kind of painting you like. The more you practice and experiment the better you get at it. Good teachers help. I was lucky to have good sewing teachers and art teachers.IMG_1911 When I made that tie dye shirt, I wanted to try to do a flowery motif. I was thinking of making flowers on top of the shirt and green foliage on the lower part, kind of like the YSL dress.  This one is my 2nd try to get the flower look with tie dye. The 1st one didn’t come out.  I’ll probably throw it away.

I’m ruthless with the things I make. Sometimes I throw away a whole year’s worth of paintings if I decide not to show them again, and I’ll throw away any tie dye that doesn’t look good to me. If I wasn’t that way with my “creations” my apt. would be too crowded.

I’ll try another tie dye.

Meanwhile, here’s some roses for your inspiration.

YSL fashions at the VMFA

IMG_1898IMG_1899

Hmmm. My photo is a little fuzzy.

This one is my daughter’s favorite.

Evening gown. Autumn-Winter 1983 haute couture collection. Paris pink silk satin bodice with large bow and black silk velvet skirt.

IMG_1897

This one is my favorite. I might try to steal it some day.

Daytime dress Autumn – Winter 1967 Saint Laurent rive gauche collection. Yellow cotton pique dress: sleeves and hem trimmed with red guipure (a kind of lace). Archives Anouschka Paris

IMG_1894

Sexy piecing, huh?

Evening gown. Homage to Tom Wesselmann Autumn – Winter 1966 haute couture collection. Purple wool jersey with pink wool jersey piecing.

IMG_1895

Evening gown Autumn = Winter 1997 haute couture xollection. Bodice embvroidered with silk organza, sequins, and raffia in a poppy and leaves pattern: red silk pleated skirt with red silk satin ribbon tie belt. Embroidery by Lesage.

omg. He stole my idea! hahahahahIMG_1893

When I saw a photo of this it reminded me of a pine cone. When you see it in person it’s kind of elegant. I guess YSL can make a pine cone look elegant. Sarah said maybe he got his inspiration from nature.

Short evening ensemble. Spring – Summer 1967 haute couture collection. Fringed raffia coat, neckline embroidered with brown wooden beads: ivory silk dress embroidered with wooden beads. Embroidery by Lanel

This is a really great show if you’re interested in fashion design. And the only East coast venue is the VMFA.

 

Chloe by Jaume Plensa @ the VMFA / story I made up about her

That’s me in front of Chloe modeling a top I made. Do I have a story for you.IMG_1902Does Chloe remind you of a movie like Avatar or Cocoon or something?  She’s an ET.

She’s a goddess from the planet Eatme. A lot of ETs from Eatme are in Richmond and they phoned home that it’s nice here so Chloe decided to come on down for her vacation. She has a giant UFO about a mile wide that she landed outside of Richmond totally flattening a lot of woods, soybeans , buildings and also blocking 95, causing a huge pile up of cars. A cop put a parking ticket on her ship but she’ll never pay it. That’s how it is with foreign dignitaries.

She got out of her ship and started walking into Richmond up the James River. She didn’t want to cause further damage, but still kept stepping on cars, so the river was easier to walk in. The armed forces sent out helicopters to try to communicate with her but she ignored them until they got too close, then she blew them away in a giant breath of air that smelled so sweet it was intoxicating to the pilots. One pilot radioed in that he wondered if she was married, and dispatch radioed back, “Repeat that Delta Niner.” It’s like all the guys fell in love with her when they inhaled her sweet air. So they sent in some tanks, but she laughed and turned them upside down.

Then they called in Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. They’re our heroes with the most experience dealing with ETs. Tommy and Will got on top of the museum because Chloe started walking up the Boulevard and they shot her with enough tranquilizers to stop a whole heard of elephants. All the ladies wanted to kill Chloe. The scientists wanted to study her dead or alive, but the men wanted to keep her alive and talk to her when she woke up.

The VMFA was setting up a conceptual art piece in the yard by a Chinese artist, Sum Young Guy. (his real name) They had dug this 100 ‘ hole for Guy’s installation and they were awaiting the art piece’s arrival. So they decided bury Chloe up to her neck in the hole and keep her prisoner there. They tied her up like Gulliver and used a crane to lower her into the hole gently.

She looks peaceful enough asleep, doesn’t she? When she woke up there was hell to pay. She let out an ungodly shriek that people heard for 15 miles. All the ETs in town ran to the museum and dug her up. She shot laser beams out her eyeballs and destroyed the museum and a lot of priceless art. The generals were yelling at Will and Tommy because they didn’t know about the laser beam eyes.  Then she went on a rampage destroying everything.

That’s the last I heard from Richmond. I was in my car and out of town as soon as I got my picture taken with her. There were traffic jams and accidents everywhere.IMG_1900 Chloe’s kind of flat from this side.

Here’s a pic of another giant ET head buried up to it’s neck. This one is on Easter Island.

easter1

2 stained glass windows I love at the VMFA

img_1841Magnolia and Apple Blossom Window  /  Tiffanyimg_1838Jacques 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.

A Good View at Agecroft Hall / oil

img_1828

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.img_1813

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.img_1814

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?

 

 

Gazebo With Fall Foliage oil

Painting in plein air is my therapy.
Painting in plein air is my therapy.

I enjoyed it so much, sitting on the thick root of an old Magnolia to work on this painting. It’s kind of a Zen thing for me.

I’d be more comfortable standing up to draw and paint, but I walked all around the gazebo and thought the best view was  more uphill from it, under the tree. A big branch was partially blocking my view so I had to move around  too see. I decided not to paint the branch that was in my way, but I also enjoyed the way the leaves glow when the sun shines through them. Have you ever noticed that? This painting wasn’t about the Magnolia, though.

If you look in the other direction from there, you can see the end of the Italian Garden, with a stone wall and roses. It smells sooooo sweet, even in the end of Oct. I’m going back to that tree next year.

What I don’t get is, why am I on this beautiful path alone?

Exquisite Corpse by Bernard Dumaine and Paulo Cunha

graphite
graphite

This is my favorite piece in the Exquisite Corpse show at Artworks.

The show opened tonight.

I met Paulo Cunha who came down from Canada. Dumaine is in France. That’s one fun thing about the Exquisite Corpse game. Artists from all over the world can collaborate. These two guys have a lot of experience working together on corpses.

The Exquisite corpse is a surrealist art game where two or more artists work on a piece and neither knows what the other has done until it’s finished. The second artist has to try to connect to what the first artist started with only an inch showing of the lines the first artist drew. It’s not easy to explain and it helps to have more than one try because it’s not always easy to do. It only works if both artists use the same medium or colors.

The show is in the skylight gallery at Artworks on 4th St. and Hull St in Richmond VA.  If you’re in the Richmond area you should check it out because there’s some crazy stuff in there!

The James River From The VA. War Memorial / oil

james river from war memorial

I was sitting on top of the hill there at the War Memorial to work on this painting. It’s more comfortable to stand up at an easel, but I was in plain sight of 1000s of commuters on 2 busy roads. Also, people working in tall buildings could see me there in the sun on the hill. Sitting down makes me feel less obtrusive in the scene.

When I did my 1st charcoal sketch for this painting, I drew a pile of logs in the river, then later decided to eliminate them from the painting. But, in reality, the logs are there in the river providing a habitat for all kinds of wildlife.

You can see the Southside floodwall and the pilings from the old bridges that got destroyed. Plus the Manchester Bridge and railroad bridge.