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Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Hello everyone:  Haven't revisited "kisses" in a while so I thought I'd dig up my very first "kiss" awareness painting and let you all benefit from my mistakes (most have been fixed!! - and the painting sold).

The photo of the painting is quite old but will do the trick.  It was 1993 and I was studying with Helen Van Wyk in Rockport Fridays throughout the summer.  She did this lesson on "kisses."  I was so excited I decided to teach this new found skill to my Wednesday evening students in Framingham.  I brought in my current work (above) and, after I explained what kisses were, they began to find kisses everywhere in my painting!!!  There were 16 or 17!  Hadn't really meant for that to happen but it ended up being a valuable lesson for all of us.

What is a kiss?  This is the painting kind.  A kiss is where two edges meet and destroy the dimension, the feeling of 3D.  Edges must overlap for us to affect a feeling of space.  We are creating a 3 dimensional world on a 2 dimensional surface (the canvas).

Let's see if I can remember where the kisses were.  Oh yes!  The three books were neatly lined up so they looked like a giant block.  And, lined up so their collective edges collided with that skinny dark stripe!  Solution:  arrange the books at different angles and move the top one just a wee bit to the right of the stripe.  It pushes the books forward and makes for a more interesting shape.  Striped wallpaper - what was I thinking?

The left top edge of the opened book was kissing the lower edge of the blue book.  Solution:  move the pages up in front of the blue book.  That moved the opened book forward.

The round candle holder was exactly kissing the edge of the round table.  The little circle with which to hold the candle holder was kissing the edge of the table.  And, the candle was kissing the edge of the dark stripe.  Solution:  push the table edge up away from the candle holder edge.  Push the little circle on the candle holder to be above the table edge.  Move the dark stripe to the candle's left.  The trick was to move edges without having to move entire objects on the painting.

The base of the edge of the wine glass was kissing the edge of the round doily and aligned with the right edge of the dark stripe.  Solution:  move the glass base onto the table and move the dark stripe a little to the left.

The opened book was kissing the front edge of the candle holder.  Solution:  make some space between the candle holder and the book.  Of course the opened book was kissing the edge of the wine glass so I moved the corner of the book so it now rests on top of the glass base.

I could not have picked a better painting for my kissing demonstration!  During the class I fixed all the kisses.  Not big moves, just a sixteenth of an inch here, a little tweak there.  But the result was a much better still life.  And the frosting on the cake was one of my students bought the painting.  Be aware of kisses.  Happy painting!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The layers of paint - Mom & Dad at the Boathouse, cont......

It's Spring!  But classes are cancelled because of snow.  Just finished shoveling my forever driveway.  Gets longer as I get older.  No going out to work in the yard - and it really needs work!  I've cleaned the house and got most of it organized - a never ending task.  So, it's down to sitting at the computer.  Always a challenge.  I have computer  gremlins.  Apparently they don't discriminate.  Doesn't matter what computer I am using.  Sometimes it's just easier to go out to the yard and move rocks.

My painting of Mom & Dad at the Boathouse - reading maps is in it's 22nd painting session. Finishing paintings overnight has never been my specialty.  Spending time, attending to the details and adding more layers of paint suits my process and that of my students.  This painting is particularly challenging.  Good thing that's not a qualification for selecting the subject matter.  It's the feeling, something the subject matter says that is the attraction to paint.

Is there such a thing as an "easy" painting?  Hmmm....haven't found one yet.  There needs to be the possibility of learning something.  Perhaps a new brush stroke, or a new mixture of color.  Don't forget the added plus of gaining more experience.  The challenges are many:  composition, brushwork, color, values, perspective.

This painting has all of that for me!  I do love a challenge.  Plus knowing who these people are add the challenge of overriding what I know in order to paint what I see.

In this addition from a week ago the focus is still on values, placement and light.  Capturing light is what makes painting exciting.  Finding the right value is a constant struggle.  Is it too light?  Is it dark enough?  Why isn't this showing up?  Sometimes the artist has to play God and alter things so the painting works.  Can't do that with my parents.  It is important for me to recognize them so the bodies, the poses, the features have to be theirs.  It is that minute attention to detail that makes them look like Mom & Dad even without their faces.  My father's body has been a challenge!  Often in a double portrait one of the subjects refuses to be captured without a struggle.  My mother has remained steady throughout the entire process!  Yay Mom!!  But Dad is giving me a run for my money.  :)

This is the current entry.  Working with my smaller brushes, a #1 round with a lovely firm tip and a couple of small filberts and brights (#'s 1 & 2),  Dad's jeans, the shoes, the grass, Mom's jeans, hands, the building shadows and even faces are starting to appear.  Feeling better about how they look.  Eventually this may be titled "Reading Maps."

When will I be finished?  Not quite yet.  Right now something is bugging me.  I'll know it when I find it!  The painting will tell me when it wants to be signed and then the hunt for the next subject matter begins.  There are some ideas in the planning.  Hmmm....possibly the paintings that didn't make it into the show will be looked at.  Totally paint over (I so love doing this) or enhance?  Now that decision is very intriguing.  Happy painting!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Show at Briarwood

Hello everyone:
Setting up a show of 75 paintings is quite a formidable task.  Where did all those paintings come from and how did I store them in my little house!!!  And how did I get them to Briarwood in Worcester, Ma in only 2 trips in my little car?  Since this is truly the largest show I have ever done, I thought I would share.  Quite an amazing thing to see all that work and know it is mine.

I'm hoping I will now be able to sleep and concentrate on other things.  I am starting to form full sentences again which is very reassuring.  This was a wonderful honor to be selected by Briarwood - over a year and a half ago.  Now my paintings are settled there until the 5th of May.  Off to class!!  Happy painting!!