I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday! Christmas was wonderful here, although I was hoping we would get some snow. I painted so much in December that it was strange to not create for the last week. I cleared my creative throat yesterday and got back into the swing of things. Felt good to get back to work!
This is another painting I am working on right now. She has a soft, distressed, sort of shabby feel. It is hard to see in this photo but her face is made of rough blocks of color. I think I am going to leave it like that- I usually do a smooth over layer but I am feeling sort of "rough and beautiful" we'll see. I haven't filled in the foreground yet. I just love the background it has such a raw, romantic feeling. I hope to have her up for auction tomorrow.
Just thought I would let you all know that Finn gave a wide berth to the Christmas Tree once we hung the rope of jingle bells around the tree. He really doesn't care for them at all!
We just got new furniture so we thought we would hang them around the furniture too since it worked so well with the tree. We have had a bare livingroom for almost a year and it is so nice to have "real" furniture. This was our Christmas present to each other and I couldn't be happier. We are starting to build a home!
The wall unit came with the house we are renting. It had a great fold out shelf - I thought it was just made to be a bar and source of books. It reminds me of old 50's or 60's shows and movies where there are always bookcases and fold out bars. Excuse the mess we just had company!
Well I finished the Madonna and Baby --- I think. I always let it sit a day and look again with a fresh eye but I feel pretty complete with her.
I thought I would share another one of the tricks that I have picked up along the way. When I begin a painting I always have a light source in mind so I know where to put the shadows. When the painting is pretty much done I go back over the whole thing and hit where the light would fall from the light source. It is almost always a diagonal. For instance, in this painting the light source is from the upper left hand corner to the lower right. So at the end I went back and brightened up the arch (it is a little hard to see in this picture), the reds in the upper left, Mary's head piece, her upper cheek, her nose etc. This for me helps the painting come alive and also gives me a satisfying sense of --done! I am sure this is not a new technique but I call it moving light. I move the light along the canvas at the very end of the process.
This painting is my version of a painting done by Antonella da Messina named Our Lady of the Annunciation and dating from about 1475. I have only recently become familiar with the many classic paintings of "The Annunciation". The Annunciation is a common theme, a depiction of the angel visiting Mary and telling her about her impending virgin pregnancy. What a shocker huh? Anyway, the paintings usually show the Angel and Mary and Mary usually looks uncertain to say the least. I loved Messina's version because it is a close up shot of Mary's face. I love the emotion I was able to capture in my version of the painting. To me her face has this wise resolve. Almost like she's thinking okay - let's do it.
I love the hands too, which I took from Messina. She is almost lit up by the angel you can't see in the painting. Another interesting point is that in all the classic paintings of The Annunciation, Mary has a book. I have heard that this is to highlight the fact that she was educated. She is also usually in a garden, thus the trees in the background which Messina didn't include but I wanted to add them.
It was very rainy today so again I had to shoot pix in the studio. The full version shows the painting on my easel and is pretty accurate - at least on my monitor. I did the background with my dripping, weeping paint that I use sometimes.
This is a 5 day listing! Ends Sunday 12/20. I am shipping right away these days for the holidays. I don't see why I couldn't get it to you by Christmas. If you need it by a certain date please let me know and I will do my very best.
Okay! - she's coming along. There are quite a few things I need to tweak but the "big picture" is all in place. I need to make her hands and her foot smaller and a bit more delicate. The bottom portion with the foot had to be done in a seperate session because of how big the painting is .... I can't work the whole thing at once. My husband -- (who loves this one by the way)- said - "why bother with the foot? just make it easy on yourself and let the robes hang down." I wanted the barefoot peeking out though - I think it lends her some vulnerability and something very real or revealed.
When I pulled the painting together I noticed her hands looked too big. As I often do, I actually compared the size of my own hands to the size of my face and realized indeed they were out of proportion. (It is hard to see when you are working close up.) I wondered how I went wrong but then I checked one of the Madonna paintings I was working off for proportion and I realized the artist also made Mary's hands too big. I think it was Bellini ... I will have to double check. Maybe I will show all the paintings I used as a reference in another blog.
One of the most important things to me is the emotion of the figures. I have just about got her face where I want it...it is amazing how a brush stroke or two can change the whole expression...I just need to lend her a little peace but I like the knowing, youthfull, thoughtfull air she has.
Maybe, in my next post I will talk about how I did the background and the robes.
I am working on my biggest commission yet. She measures 30" x 40"
I thought I would share a bit of the process and the work space. I jimmy rigged a bulletin board as you can see. In the left are the boxes that my canvas comes in where I tacked up different inspirations. Classic Renaissance paintings for composition, color and most importantly feeling. Some of my own stuff too - to remind me of what I like about my paintings :) Composition is very important so I keep going back to one of the pin up sheets to remind me of proportion. Composition is why there is a grid on the canvas. I grid the composition so all is in proportion. The math comes before the emotion. I am not sure if you can see the big art books on the floor but I use them for height.
The painting is so big that I need to stand on books to work on Mary's face.
I want to blog more about this further, but let me start with the basics.....
I laid in the background first, usually, I try to work the colors all around in a balanced way so it is a whole organism but I needed to do the "ground" first because of the technique.
I promise I will try to show and share more.....it's been so busy here......
Well the photo here is unclear but I just about finished her tonight and wanted to share. The light in the studio at 11 pm isn't great so I will just give her the finishing touches tomorrow morning and she will be up tomorrow night for a 3 day listing. I was very happy with the warmth, softness and balance of color in this one. My husband thinks this is my best Madonna yet - although she is an angel but can she be both?
This is a little peek at a small corner of where I work. As you can see just in this space there are two coffee cups....woops ... well this is where all the mugs end up throughout the day.
I took a lot from Botticelli on this one. The shape of her face, the color contour of her face and the clear blue eyes. I especially love how Botticelli uses a dark background with striking ethereal lights in the foreground. You all might find this interesting - I never use black in my paintings. (Only when I paint the gallery canvas sides - I don't like to waste the good paint on the sides)
It is always all color - which lends to the richness of the painting. I "make" black in different ways depending on the painting. For this painting I used a mix of Hookers Green Deep Hue (Golden Acrylics) and Van Dyke Brown and for some parts I added a little bit of Prussian Blue. Well that's my tip for the day. See you all soon.
I believe every baby has at least one angel. This is a very special time.
I really love these backgrounds that I have been playing around with lately. They take about four steps. First I do a thin layer - with a lot of water - big blocks of color. Then a bit of a thicker layer - more blocks of color. Sometimes I do this again. I use a pretty big brush for the background. Then I mix the over layer - depending on what kind of colors I want in the painting but it is chalky and sort of gray - sometimes a gray green or a grey blue etc. I thin this with a lot lot lot of medium and brush loosely over the whole background. It ties it all together and the the blocks of color show through. I purposely don't brush over certain areas to give it an old distressed feel - esp the edges. I got the idea from some Renaissance paintings I was looking at where they have the chipping stone walls in the background.
I am waxing very philosophical this week. Even more than usual. I have really been hit this week by how deeply pained someone can be. I just want to lessen it ..... I wish I could. I really am at a loss for words. I don't want to share other's stories .... I want to respect their privacy. I guess I have to leave it at that but I am sure we can all relate in our own way. I send you all some peace and love.
The holidays can be a very happy, spirited time. For some, at some points in their lives, the holiday season can bring more sadness than joy. Rather, it can highlight the sadness that is already there. For all who are lonely or faint of heart during the holiday season please know my heart yearns for your comfort. Who knows if this helps? - I hope it does. I keep painting little prayerful paintings, hoping they bring something to the world. Some sort of peace or redemption .... not sure. I know I probably will never know for certain but I keep going....
If you believe in prayer, take a moment and pray with me for all who suffer. If you believe in something - take that moment with me. If you are suffering, then take a moment and take it in.
This is a mixed media piece I did this week. The carolers clothing is made out of all kinds of different papers. I traced a template and then cut out lots of itty bitty hats, collars, cuffs etc. Doing this painting reminded me of playing with paper dolls when I was a girl....I had completely forgotten about them. Anyway it was a lot of fun although very labor intensive. Up on ebay this week and thanks for coming over!
First of all I would like to say Happy Halloween to everyone! For the first time of my adult life I live in a house, in a neighborhood and it was so adorable to see all the little trick or treaters. There were fairy princesses, little Hulks, soldiers, a gorilla, a skeleton, an elephant whew they were all so cute! It was magical to see the parade of characters coming up the walk.
Secondly, for all of you that check for my latest listings that almost always appear on Sunday - sorry I don't have anything for you tonight. I just had one of those slow moving weeks and the creativity took effort. I did get one painting done for tonight but the day was so rainy that I just couldn't get a decent picture. Things started moving again this afternoon and I am close to complete on another painting. I am going to be listing what I have for the week on Tue with a 5 day listing so please check back.
Okay this is the final product. We worked on Mary's nose a lot. It helped me to hear what details were important to the buyer- Mary's nose was. As you other artists know there are a million details that we could noodle and it could take years to do one painting if we let it! She also asked if I could add the headbands which I thought was a great touch. I added the Dove in the corner- actually the Dove added Himself - he kind of appeared in the brushstrokes but he did take work so that it didn't distract from the rest of the painting. The original painting had a lot of warm tones in the foreground which I morphed into flowers. I like flowers and I wanted them to grow around Mary and Jesus. Well - hope I didn't ramble too much but read what you want and leave the rest behind.
I just finished a big comission. This is why ebay is a little lean this week. The buyer wanted to be a part of the process which was great. We worked together on this one and it turned out beautiful. I emailed pix of the process as I went and she gave me such great input. I feel like she should sign it too! This was day one - the underpainting and composition. If you stay tuned I will show the finished painting. It is big 24" x 36" and is my interpretation of Song of Angels by William Bouguereau. The copyright is up on his work so I was free to re - interperet. I know these early phases can look a little raw and a bit ugly. But this is how the birth begins!
Since I can't dance or sing well but love music soooooo much, I thought I would do some paintings inspired by song. I put this up on ebay this week and in the subtitle I wrote Sprinkling for the May Queen. One of my buyers kindly pointed out that it was Spring Clean not Sprinkling. Well I couldn't change it because the painting already had bids. Instead, I noted at the bottom of the listing that sometimes words have two meanings. My kind editor said ooooh it made her wonder! So she found this great video clip of an NPR interview where Plant talks about this very line. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing he speaks about Spring Clean at about 4:00. Thank you to this awesome ebayer for finding this and sharing!
Jeanne of The Candy Corn Chronicles has given me this wonderful award! She actually gave this to me over a week ago - sorry I have been so late in passing it on. Thank you Jeanne. I'm honored! Jeanne has the greatest stuff going on for Halloween. Stop by and visit this very talented lady!
Here are the rules for the Over the Top Award:
Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's quite tricky to use only one word answers! Once you have filled it out be sure to pass it on to 6 of your favorite bloggers. Alert them that they have been awarded! Have fun!
One word answers have got to be the hardest.......
1. Where is your cell phone? Hmmm?
2. Your hair? Long
3. Your mother? Funny
4. Your father? Hmmmm?
5. Your favorite food? Italian
6. Your dream last night? Hmmmm?
7.Your favorite drink? Wine!
8. Your dream/goal? Peace
9. What room are you in? Den
10. Your hobby? Crafts
11. Your fear? Fire
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Singer
15. Muffins? Cranberry
16. Wish list item? Spa Day
17. Where did you grow up? Illinois/NY
18. Last thing you did? Dogwalk
19. What are you wearing? Sweats
20. Your TV? OFF
21. Your pets? Cat and Dog
22. Friends? Yes!
23. Your life? Full
24. Your mood? Happy
25. Missing someone? Nope
26. Vehicle? VW
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? AC Moore
29. Your favorite color? Mood?
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last week?
32. Your best friend? Hubby
33. One place that I go to over and over? AC Moore
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mr. Spam 35. Favorite place to eat? Back Porch
Okay I tried to stick to one word but cheated with two a couple of times.
Now I am passing this wonderful award on to.........
I have gotten so many comments on this one so I thought I would post about it. This painting started with such a zestful feeling in my heart - that usually bodes well for a painting. I was a little concerned about the composition since the whole painting was taken from my memory and imagination. I didn't use any studies or pictures. .. so I had to get creative with light and color to achieve balance and focus. The dog is based on our dog Finnbar and the cat on our cat Jackson.
I painted this right after I was recovering from the flu and I wanted to paint comfort.
Thank you to all the artists and art lovers who emailed me about this one. Sometimes it is hard to know how well you did in that solitary studio.
Well this one was a suggestion from one of my wonderful patrons. I just love the way this one turned out. I put it up on ebay as Buy it Now or Best Offer so she had a chance to buy since we were co-creators with this one. However, like Angel Helen I think I am having another ebay glitch. The buy it nows doesn't seem to be showing up in the search. Hmmm..... Here's the link and if it doesn't appear by tomorrow I will have to do some revising and put it up on Etsy or as an auction.
A friend of mine said she liked the Sunflower painting that is up on Etsy so I got on a bit of Sunflower jag. There is something so happy and well I guess sunny about them. I used some pictures and sketches I had from when we were in Tuscany last year. When we were there in September the flowers were really just fading but I used my imagination and brought them back to life. I just wish you guys could see these in person - the paintings are so much more vibrant -- ah well.
Something was wrong with this listing. It just wasn't showing up in search results. To ebay's credit they did issue me a refund. I pulled the listing and will relist it tonight. I will provide a new link when it's up. Thanks for staying tuned :)
The Wedding was beautiful and magical but we are still both exhausted - so many details! Whew. We had nearly 50 people come in from out of town and most of them were at our house the night before the wedding. It was great! During the reception I realized I had forgotten to wear something blue. However when we finally got home and I started pulling the pins out of my hair I realized I had left a blue hot roller in my hair the whole time. That was how dazed I was! I don't think anyone saw it because of the veil but I was laughing. Well I got my blue! The flower girls walked down the aisle to Down to the River to Pray. And the recessional was America the Beautiful done by Ray Charles. Dancing and cocktails were on the big back porch of this beautiful Southern Plantation. Dinner was in the gorgeous dining room. All my girlfriends were running around the house playing Gone With The Wind. It was just wonderful! I need a couple days to recover and then I will be painting! See you all soon.