Richmond From Legend / underpainting and photos

Camera perspective V the naked eye perspective

Camera perspective V the naked eye perspective

I drew it on paper, standing on the deck at Legend Brewery a few weeks ago in the morning before they opened, and left when the customers started to come in for lunch. It took me a few weeks to get my charcoal sketch, as seen on a post below, then more time to draw it on the canvas with charcoal. I didn’t use a photo, but measured the perspective by holding my charcoal out at an arm’s length and using the Federal Reserve building as a unit of measure. I thought I had the perspective close enough to real, then I ran into a stopping point when I started on the underpainting one morning.

The light is better in the afternoon on the city, but Legend gets crowded some afternoons, and the weather is still iffy a lot of days, which stopped me and was a problem I needed to work out before painting.

This painting is complicated, and after years of drawing from life outside in nature, I don’t enjoy painting from a photo. When you get used to seeing the subject life size, then have to look at a photo, it’s like the photo is so small and the perspective is smushed and the colors are flat. It was just more practical to use photos at this step. I had my camera set on automatic for the shots  printed out here, and taped them together, so I could get the afternoon light in my underpainting. I took these shots from the floodwall, which is a little lower and closer to the river than Legend. The skyline looks like 36 inches to my naked eye and looks like 18 inches to my camera. I did the underpainting at home. I’d rather have been at Legend.

I had to get a different  state of mind to paint using the photos. I hear other artists get stuck with a painting too. I went over to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and drew some Lotus flowers, meanwhile. And I need to draw more Lotuses before I can get a plan worked out for the Lotus painting. The Lotuses are a good distraction from the difficult city painting.

Our teachers at York Academy of Art told us to do a detailed underpainting. It wasn’t easy, but I got it, finally. At this rate, I’ll probably have the painting finished by Aug. for the show I entered at Artworks. Now I have to go to Legend in the afternoon to mix my colors. Building up layers of color on top of my dark underpainting with the lightest and brightest colors the most opaque, I hope to get the illusion of depth in the painting, and make my city POP!!


Create Life. Nothing More.


Hard to believe the year is drawing to a close. Although a cliché, it does seem like only yesterday that I was hanging up a new calendar and wondering what the year would bring. From the astonishing to the zany, 2015 didn’t disappoint.

And this year I was part of an incredibly creative group of women in a Journal exchange round-robin. Each person chose a theme. The interpretation was totally your own. I’d like to share my contribution to the monochromatic “Faces” journal.

While wondering which direction to take, I looked through a few magazines I had on my work table. And that’s when my Muse directed me to a headline that seemed perfect: LIFE, NOTHING MORE. Everything fell into place when I found a photo of a group of people celebrating the end of World War II.  Their faces held the hope of a new tomorrow. They were celebrating Life. In that moment. They were fully present. Mindful.

We hurry through our days…with Life happening around us. And as I tear each month  off the calendar I wonder…where did the time go? Did I have a hand in creating my life? And did I make time for what really matters?

The substrate for the spread is heavy watercolour paper. I rubber stamped the background with a variety of stamps I had at hand.  I tore the vintage War photo into strips, and layered it between an article printed in the Art section of our local newspaper. The headline: “LIFE, NOTHING MORE” is also from a locally published magazine. My face doodle on a scrap of tracing paper and printed tissue paper completed the work.

As the Holiday Season and the year draws to a close, this is the perfect time to stop. To be mindful. To create your Life. Nothing more.

They Have A Secret…Do You?


Why We Stand Up Straight – Digital Collage

There is just something about images…still and moving…in black and white that lifts my soul. I guess I’ll always be a “Turner Classic Movies” kind of gal at heart. The drama and the romance the absence of colour brings intrigued me in the past as I am certain it will in the future.

The current Lunagirl Moonbeams challenge is Black & White. This time, the challenge is shared with Vicki Romaine’s challenge Blog, The Cheerful Stamp Pad. The selection of images from Lunagirl’s collection are always inspiring. Looking through the collage sheets my eye was drawn to the women in beautiful dress.

What struck me was their posture…straight, proud, elegant. I loved the smile of the woman wearing the cape.  Who was the recipient of her cheeky grin? Did she have a secret? I built the collage around this woman. From my own digital ephemera collection I chose a landscape I thought would have a mysterious feel when converted into black and white. And then I found my air ship! Perfect. I love the concept of the lighter-than-air ships, gracefully floating while hiding a metal frame. And why did the women stand so straight? I couldn’t resist adding the corsets…just a peek into the private lives of our ladies. Like the airship, they are visible sophistication covering a solid foundation. And often times, the way women balance the explosive and the tranquil aspects of life is a secret only they know.

But isn’t this the story of so many women? We are grace, cleverness, and power in equal measure. What is your secret?