Thursday, February 25, 2010
When my parakeet, Calvin, sheds his feathers, I collect and save them; they're just too beautiful to discard. By now I have enough to make a new bird! Calvin is about 9 years old and such a cheerful little guy whose chirps and songs cheer up dreary winter days. This painting is layer upon layer of masks and washes. I used cerulean, French ultramarine, indigo, phthalo blue, sap green, and permanent rose. The green and rose don't show much after at least 8 washes and 6 or 7 layers of masking and 2 final very dark washes of ultramarine and indigo. Size is 10"x14".
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I jost love the soft colors of birds' eggs. I even always buy brown eggs at the market and admire the subtle differences in their shell colors. This is a small painting (7"x10") that's inspired by the photos in a book, "Birds of America," published in 1936. The book belonged to David's Aunt Julia, and was passed on to us by his mother, Bernette.
I have always enjoyed the work of the Abstract Expressionists-Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, who is one of my favorites, and the best known of them all-Jackson Pollock. I thought I would do a quick take-off on the last 2 and make rapid progress on my alphabetical assignment. Little did I know how much time it would take to work so recklessly! This is a full sheet-22" x 30".
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I went out to Overfelt Gardens in East San Jose with the SCVWS on Thursday. There were 8 of us this time around. There's a lovely Chinese Cultural Garden with a huge gate, a pagoda and several smaller gazebos in the area. The trees haven't begun to leaf out yet, but the purple leaf plums are in bloom. I forgot my pencils in the car and didn't want to walk back and get them so I just started putting paint on the paper. It isn't my best effort, but it's always fun to get out with the group.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was in Seattle last month and went to the Daniel Smith store. I bought some of their PrimaTek pigments and haven't really used them much up to now. I decided to enlarge my crab from last month and try him with those pigments. I used 4 colors: Sodalite, Blue Azurite, Green Apatite, and Sugilite. I took geology in college, and I must say that I have never heard of the last 2 minerals! The paints have very unusual properties and were challenging to even get down on the paper, as they fall out of solution and separate from the binder very quickly. Some of them are quite gummy. The sugilite is a light violet and has a beautiful iridescence. The painting is 14" X 17".
I was not trying to produce an acurate shadow pattern; my aim was more toward pulling the composition together. I also wanted to use negative painting-I managed some, but not as much as I originally planned.
When we visited Red Lodge, Montana last summer, My mother's first cousin, Ed Kahila, took us for a drive out to see the original homestead built by his and Mother's grandfather, a Finnish immigrant. His last name was Matson. The house is gone, but the barn is still in good shape. The smaller building is newer. The cemetery nearby is full of tombstones with Finn names-there are lots of As Ks, Ls and Vs. Some of the names sound Hawaiian!
Once again I'm taking a painting class at Mission College. This semester the instructor, Mark Engel, came up with a new scheme for the class: we are to create 26 paintings-one for each letter of the alphabet. For my first, I used a reference photo I took when we were in Italy 2 1/2 years ago. We visited the town of Alberobello in the region of Puglia. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to the hundreds of trulli-little dome-shaped stone and stucco houses with stacked stone roofs. We even stayed in a trullo for 2 nights! The living room was large with a wonderful soaring ceiling of exposed stone but the bedrooms and bathrooms were teensy and oddly shaped. There's even a church in the town made up of several trulli.