Saturday, April 30, 2016

Whatcha Up To?

Walked a few miles with Dave before sunup.
Drove Laur and Mack to Logan to catch their flight to GA.
Did some tutorial prep.
Vacuumed upstairs.
Enjoyed a coffee date at Zumi's with Dave.
Wrote some email messages.
Prepared a bunch of food.
Visited briefly with John and Mary.
Indulged in some time on the internet investigating the work of several artists.
Read a few chapters in Flora and Ulysses.
Continued culling pix from iPhoto.
Painted (and painted) (and painted) (and painted):

started playing with a birthday card idea

mounted Stria #2 on colored background papers and then on card stock

scratched a b&w itch by beginning a postcard

worked on SNeries #3

Friday, April 29, 2016

Start to Finish

Pulled out a postcard start I'd made earlier in the month and polished it into readiness for a journey through the post once its turn comes up in the queue.

Pressed into service in short order:

• gray acrylic hanging out on my stay-wet palette,
• plastic needlepoint canvas for texture,
• black ink,
• silver ink,
• brush and black acrylic,
• white ink,
• teal ink,
• white wax pastel.


Note smudges again!

Postcard 23
4x5", acrylic and ink on manila stock
[not for sale]

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Knowing When to Stop

Took out a start yesterday and eyed it for quite awhile before adding anything.

And then made a conscious decision to stop before I added too much.

Love the smudges of red that came into the composition unintentionally as I worked.

Ready and waiting to serve in its role as postcard:

Postcard 22
4x5", acrylic, ink, and wax pastels on manila stock
[not for sale]

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A SNeries, Day 5

Not liking what I've got in front of me.

The black lines: too black, too rectilinear, too ugly—in fact, the whole piece is ugly.

My impulse is to add more black (what???), and some red. So I do.

And I scribble in some more penciled circles.

I am so lost.

I get out my brayer, soften things up a little, take stock.


SO lost.

But then I send photos to lifelong cherished friend and fellow art adventurer, Sylvia. Even before she responds, I feel emboldened: oil pastels!

OK, better.

Next, some containment.

And now, refrigeration. I'm tucking this painting, and the whole SNeries, away for a few days.




It occurs to me that I led myself to today's reaching out to Sylvia by referring yesterday to a fictitious advisory board in my blog writing—good work, self!

And, thank you, thank you, Sylvia—your suggestions, your encouragement, your insights, and your being in the trenches with me have reinfused me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A SNeries, Day 4

Day 3 ended with clutter every which way.

But, it occurs to me, maybe it's not clutter and disarray and mayhem, even though that's how it strikes me upon first look today.

Maybe once I get more accustomed to painting this way, I'll see this part of the process as the point at which I bring together a robust advisory board to nurture and guide me.

So, that advisory board? One member—imaginary though she may be—suggests shifting my attention from the series as a whole to developing a single piece for awhile.

I start with this piece.

First I play with the circles, after which I warm up the immediate surrounding space with quinacridone gold. Then I veil much of the painting to make it background.

Next I add bold and linear, and I amp up the focal space with more 'reddish' and 'yellowish.'

After that, I scribe some skinny black lines—some of which are 'straightish,' others 'roundish.'

Can't tell you the why of any of it, can't say where it's going, can't say if I like it at all.

Ever curious …

Monday, April 25, 2016

A SNeries, Day 3

Well, I've got a mess o' somethin', that's for sure!

At the end of day 2, this:

I decide to see what happens if I tone down the black rectangles.

Yeah, well.

The whole thing looks messy and crowded and chaotic.

My impulse is to add more, so I follow it—perhaps intuiting that doing so will force me into ongoing practice in covering up old layers with new. I add pattern to each piece.

Started with a mess o' somethin', ended with a mess o' somethin'.

My gut says, Give it a rest.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A SNeries, Day 2

Here's where I left off yesterday—cadmium red medium hue, cerulean blue, cadmium yellow light hue, and titanium white, all heavy body, along with pencil scribbles, on canvas paper.

With inquisitiveness as my traveling companion, I add mars black and scribble in it before it dries, using a tool whose name I don't know—I think it's an embossing stylus for use with metal foils. No idea how I came to own it.

Wonder next what will happen if I paint fluid quinacridone nickel azo gold over the cad yellow. Oo—like that yellow better. Then grab the quinacridone gold again along with a spray bottle of water, and let some color drip its way across the paintings.

Mix up some quinacridone gold, titanium white, and acrylic glazing liquid. Use a brayer to soften and veil, and scribble in the wet paint again with my embossing stylus.

More PaperMate penciling, and some Sharpie shape-adding.

Have to stop for the day.

So curious to know what will come next!

p.s. The embossing stylus:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A SNeries

For months now I've followed Simone Nijboer's blog, drawn again and again by what speaks to me as her free-spirited, inner-child-inspired experiments with paint, pencil, and crayon. Earlier in April she started a new series of four paintings, writing, I always like to have 'something reddish,' 'something yellowish,' and 'something blueish.' 

Works for me! I decide to start there, to make a Simone Nijboer-prompted series—what I'm calling a SNeries, borrowing her initials!

What I want to do is experiment with layering—covering up, painting over, scraping back, veiling, obscuring, revealing. Not my natural go-to way to paint, in case you haven't caught on.

I cut four eight-inch squares of canvas paper. They feel huge after working with recent 3.5" squares and 4x5" postcards! I choose a brush. Select 'something reddish.' And paint, trying to keep my hand moving without consulting my head.

I pick up a PaperMate Sharpwriter #2 mechanical pencil. Again, hand before head. My hand really has to scramble to stay in the lead.

I choose a blue, choose a new brush.

Brush before brain: go, go, go!

White paint. Roller without rumination.

Just do it, roll right over the canvas. Now! And now! And now!

Yellow paint. Different brush.

Fun ahead of fuss. Move! Move!

Run out of time—bummer!

The energy is … energizing. The free-for-all, fun. My intuition, enlivened.

More, more, more!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Has More Fun Than We Do?

Caroline and Emmy, who has more fun than we do?

No one!

We agreed that I would take our nine pieces of weekend art home with me, make them all into greeting cards, and mail Caroline and Emmy's cards to them to use as they choose. Tomorrow I'll pair the cards with envelopes and wrap up a package to send to each girl.

F - U - N!

grand greeting cards
close-up of color borders

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Changing Baby's Name

Earlier today I looked up how to change a baby's name:

Search Results

    1. Request consent from the baby's other parent. ... 
    2. Visit your state legislature's official website. ... 
    3. Visit the official website of your state's judicial system. ... 
    4. Contact the court clerk's office. ... 
    5. Get the name change forms. ... 
    6. Complete the petition. ... 
    7. Fill out the parental consent form.
The good news is, no need for all that rigamarole if I want to change the name of one of my paintings—I just change it!

After I posted the paintings I did over the weekend with Caroline and Emmy, I got a text from my nephew Stuart who's about to graduate from Tulane:

… maybe I've been spending too much time in the lab, but when I look at Flawed Thaw from your latest blog post, it looks just like brain cortical neurons to me!

imaging of brain cortical neurons

imaging of brain cortical neurons

Flawed Thaw 
Cortical Connections
4.25x5.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Search Results

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Direct Instruction

I attended a short art class last Saturday under the direction of my 6-year-old granddaughter, Emmy.

Emmy: Gma, do you know how to draw a butterfly?

Gma: Show me how, Emmy!

And she did.

Emmy: See? That's how to draw a butterfly! You do it now!

And I did.

Postcard 21
4x5", acrylic, ink, and wax pastel on manila stock
[not for sale]

from this start:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


As Gma*-in-residence with Caroline and Emmy over the weekend, I had such fun hanging out with them creating art and chit-chatting about this and that.

Is there anything better than being Gma?

I don't think so!

Flawed Thaw
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Space Tracers
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Feathers and Lace
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

*pronunciation guide:  jee'•mah

Monday, April 18, 2016

Guest Artist, Caroline

The other amazing artist with whom I painted on Saturday was Caroline, age nine, a homeschooling student of life filled with curiosity, creativity, and a considerable collection of interests.

Clearly her Gma Dotty's granddaughter, Caroline is a voracious reader. She has recently begun making her way through Newbery Award winners one by one, and is concurrently reading three books among which she switches as the mood strikes her.

Not only is she reading many books but also she's writing five which she will eventually illustrate.

She has sewn by hand several dresses for her dolls and is partway through sewing a first dress for herself.

In the great outdoors she rollerskates, gardens, shoots archery, and rides bikes and horses.

Footwear of choice: barefoot.

Caroline recently studied under local artists Jan Lorette and Kathy Reiderman at a Girl Scouts meeting. She explored color mixing, perspective, and the need to look at what things really look like, not just what one thinks the color of something is.

When her Papawi commented over the weekend that he just doesn't "get" (or like!) abstract paintings (including his wife's!), Caroline shared nuggets from mentors Jan and Kathy, explaining earnestly that sometimes we paint what we see but sometimes we paint a mood. If a painting is dark purple, black, or gray it might be a sadder mood, and if a painting has colors in the rainbow and pink it might be a happier mood. 

As fellow artist and younger sister Emmy had, Caroline selected at random three provided pieces cut from a larger acrylic start (see below), and then she developed each to reflect her Saturday morning mood.

Leaving a Trail
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Path to Success
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Night Under the Stars
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

If you look at the underlying black white and gray in her pieces, you might be able to discern which sections of the original larger piece Caroline developed into fuller works of art.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fourth Baby Flies First!

You know how on many days you can look just fine and head out into the world presentably enough without doing much of anything, but then sometimes you shower, brush your teeth, run a comb through your hair, take care in selecting your clothes, add a few extra touches and, in no time, you've got a bit of a wow factor going?

Well, Stria #4, the last in my recent stripes series to hatch, has fully fledged out ahead of its fellow nestlings, preened itself, and taken off in flight … with a bit of a wow factor going, if it does say so itself. From birth to birthday card in just eight days!

And where has this fledgling landed after its inaugural aerial adventure?

On Michael's birthday! Happy birthday, Michael!

Stria #4
4.5x5.5", acrylic, ink, and collage on canvas paper,
 mounted on colored paper and card stock
[not for sale]

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Guest Artist, Emmy

Had the chance to paint in the company of two amazing artists this morning, one of whose work is featured here today.

Exuberant, extroverted, and energetic, 6-year-old Emmy loves to paint and color, and currently has work on exhibit in the gallery space above the loveseat in the family room in her new home:

Easter Egg Hunt
16x24", Crayola washable paint on craft paper
[not for sale]

She is getting NEW roller skates TODAY, has lost two teeth, and has a passion for toasting mini marshmallows over the fire in the backyard fire pit. In addition to being accomplished as an artist, she has terrific reading skills; a favorite book is Ten Tiny Tickles.

Her new art is featured below:

Bye-Bye, Balloon
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Walk to the Garden
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Opening Night
2.5x3.5", acrylic and ink on Sulphite drawing paper
[not for sale]

Emmy's art above will soon be showcased in a collection of greeting cards. The acrylic start below was cut into nine pieces, three of which Emmy developed in her lively individual style.