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Richmond skyline / charcoal sketch

My pretty city as seen from Legend Brewing Co.

My pretty city as seen from Legend Brewing Co.

Legend put out a call to artists for their participation in James River Days, scheduled for this summer. The city has a lot of events planned along the river. This art show isn’t until Aug. at Artworks, but I need to get started. We’ve had a lot of rainy dreary weather lately, which isn’t good news for your plein air artist. It seems like we only see the sun twice a week and not for long.  This weather pattern can’t last much longer.

I’m excited for the chance to draw at Legend! It’s a great view of the city, and it’s friendly and safe. They have a good reputation for their craft beers too.

My plan is to transfer this sketch onto three 12 x 12 canvases and paint a triptych. I’ll have to draw it again with charcoal on the canvases and make more corrections before I start on the underpainting.  You can see the smeary places where I made corrections and the charcoal didn’t erase very well. And I taped four pieces of paper together to get the drawing up to 36″. I tried twice to get a start on the sketch and didn’t get anything I could work with until the 3rd try. Then I used the width of the Federal Reserve building (the tallest one) as a unit of measure to check the scale as I went along from West to East adding the buildings. It might not be exactly accurate, but it’s not too far off. The temptation when I’m trying to draw buildings is that they keep getting bigger as I go along. That tells me my drawing is out of control, stop and check the proportions again. So, sometimes I check the proportions by measuring with a pencil held out at arm’s length, and sometimes I just eyeball the scale.

It’s going to be a challenge to paint this.

Who Doesn’t LOVE Vintage!

Friday-Favorites-Living-Vintage-Blue-7Vintage is a word dear to my heart…as I am sure it is for all collage and mixed-media artists. Breathing life into an object once again is thrilling. You never know where it will lead you.

In this case, my tag celebrating the magic of receiving a letter in the mail was one of the featured “Friday Favorites” on Kim’s Living Vintage Blog. Kim lives in East Texas and her company deconstructs old houses, then builds new, “old” houses and renovate existing homes using reclaimed materials. Their home is breathtaking, as you can imagine!

Please visit Kim’s Blog, Living Vintage. But be prepared to “oooh” and “ahhh” over the lovely photos and interesting restorations. I fell in love with her Dogtrot Breezeway...stained glass and bookshelves! HEAVEN!

The Best Things In Life!

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE

Lovelier than a thousand kisses,

Smoother than muscatel wine.

Coffee, I must have coffee,

And if anyone wants to give me a treat,

Ah! just give me some coffee!

The Coffee Cantata J.S. Bach

Coffee. Or as we say where I come from, “cawffee” is more than just a morning ritual. Its intoxicating scent eases you into the start of the day. Rich and bold, it is a relaxing conclusion to the evening. It warms you up on a cold day or cools you down in a variety of disguises from iced to ice cream. It’s an excuse to meet and share time with friends. No matter how or where it is served, I love it!

Working on my next collage using the wonderful Artistcellar Halftone Dots stencils I moved on to my next new love: Mineral Paper. Sleek and smooth, made from rocks, I couldn’t wait to try it out with a variety of media. It took the acrylic paint I stenciled on like a dream. No buckling or wrinkling. I was left with a wonderfully smooth, flat surface.

But would the mineral paper hold up to something a more liquid? I reached for my ever-present cup of coffee. I covered the sheet with a general wash. While drying, I sprinkled on both wet grounds and instant granules. The page performed just as described by the Yasutomo Company. No bending. No warping. Just a flat surface – as pristine as when removed from the pack.

I loved the way the paper responds to wet media, but I wanted to try just one more effect. When dry I spritzed the sheet in several areas with my spray water bottle. The mottled look was just what I was after. Again, when dry the Mineral Paper remained flat, smooth and ready to be scanned.

Of late I’ve been in a ‘50’s kind of mindset. I decided to add the image of the surprised woman. But what could she be thinking? Did she just make a fantastic discovery? Of course! It has to be the best things in life.  And what could be better than a reassuring rotation of Art, Sleep and our Daily Brew? Who wants to join me?

Is A Letter A Work of Art?

THE ARTISTSIt is no secret that I am passionate about letters…good old fashioned stick a stamp on the envelope letters. Don’t get me wrong. Texts and emails have their place, especially in business. We can be in touch quickly, and hopefully efficiently, with our newest form of common communication. But there is a special romance of anticipation when dropping a letter into a mailbox. And who can dispute the great joy felt when receiving a little part of someone’s day, set aside especially for you.

It was when I read the 1876 quote from the book How To Write Letters, by J. Willis Westlake, that my heart skipped a beat:

“A letter should be regarded not merely as a medium for the communication of intelligence, but also as a work of art.”

Finding this quote dovetailed flawlessly into reading a letter sent by artist Frida Kahlo to Georgia O’Keeffe. Frida reached out with compassion to Georgia when she suffered with a nervous breakdown. The letter was not only the thoughtful gesture of a friend, but the meeting of two supportive inspired artists.

The May Lunagirl Moonbeam challenge is Mother’s and Sisters in the most encompassing sense. The images to choose from were lovely. I decided to use two women from the “Just Us Girls” sheet. Behind the women you can read Frida’s letter to Georgia. I finished to collage with a selection of flowers, which always speak to me of happiness and generosity.

On this Mother’s Day I hope you will reach out to those women who support your creative spirit with tender affection. Strong women support each other. Flood your letters with the art of your heart.

Fearless in Poe’s Garden / oil

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The Poe Museum has 2 black cats, Edgar and Pluto. You already know that miscreant, the Raven.

The opening of the upcoming art show “Poe’s Enchanted Garden” happens with their “Unhappy Hour” on May 26. You should go, it will be good.

Chris S. at the Poe museum told me the cats worked together and caught a squirrel. They had it cornered. The garden was set up for an event with a huge white canopy and tables with black tablecloths. The cats dragged their victim into the formal set up!  Later, I wondered if it was a wedding, and if the bride fainted at the sight of the squirrel’s murder. It seemed somehow appropriate for the Poe Museum.

The Redbud trees and Tulips are from my memory. Redbuds are bushy little trees, and there’s no room for one, but I put them in the scene, because I think Poe might have liked them. Just imagine they’re espaliered. hahaha, yeah, I espaliered them for Poe with the magic of art.

I  tried to draw that planter  4 or 5 times on paper. Every time, when I got home, I’d look at it and think, that’s close, but not right. So I traced my sketch and tried again on another paper. Finally, I got it to look  symmetrical and right proportionally, then drew it again on the canvas. I was still making corrections with paint, until I decided it was close enough. The planter has a little green bush and some pansies, not Tulips. I wanted to put Tulips in so the painting could have a line of bright red flowers.

It’s a great thing about art, you can make changes to a scene if you want to. A plein air artist doesn’t have to record the scene as it is in real life. I’m using naturalistic colors and values by mixing my paint outside in natural light and trying to match my colors to what’s there. That’s what makes it look like “Realism”.  If you go to the Poe Museum, you will be able to see how much this differs from reality.

 

 

Do Your Prayers Take Flight?

GARDEN OF DREAMS PIZZARROThe weather has been gloomy the last few days, but late this afternoon the sun and a hint of blue sky finally made an appearance. The feeling in the breeze was so much like the art I finished for the next Gecko Galz Team Challenge: Garden of Dreams.

When I reviewed the collage sheets sent to my Inbox, my heart was drawn to note paper with a delicate aqua umbrella and a row of flags. But what to match it with? And there she was…a woman with a wreath in her hair, seeming to float along a caressing breeze.

I love the Tibetan concept of Prayer Flags. The flags to don’t carry prayers to God, but rather it is believed they are blown and faded by the wind, scattering good wishes, peace, and compassion into the Universe to be shared by all who are touched by the breeze. The Tibetans continually pin new flag beside the old to keep the hope and wishes for the world alive.

Although I know the flags in the collage aren’t traditional Prayer Flags, my thoughts and hopes mirror those of the Tibetans. The digital collage incorporates two sheets form the Gecko Galz lovely Spring Awakening and Dreams of Spring collage sheets. I also added the new Artistcellar Halftone Dots stencils.

With the gentle days of Spring finally with us, and Mother’s Day just a few days away, why not make a Prayer Flag of your own? You might even add the free digistamp here compliments of the Gecko Galz.

MAY 2016 MD10Who knows, your hopes and wishes might be just the thing to transform the life of someone you’ve yet to meet.

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