l am a self-taught artist and a retired inner city school teacher. Several years ago I began painting watercolors while observing work done by artists who I thought had a special take on how they used color. As a starting point for my pursuit to paint with determination a few of the artist I have become familiar with are Alice Neel, Marlene Dumas, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet,and Henri Matisse. “Warriors” is the series title I’ve given to a block of my work.. This series is initiated in part from the colorfully painted faces and bodies of native peoples, who decorate for the various stages of life from birth to death. When I look into their eyes, I see their souls. I feel that in portraying them in the deeply saturated colors and patterns and symbols of my own design, I capture a mystery of humanity which is reflected in their eyes. I always strive to paint with loose, expressive brush strokes, and use bold, vivid colors. I work very spontaneously, mostly in mixed aqua media on paper because I like the way the paint flows and I like the transparency of the colors resulting in an organic piece. I am constantly experimenting with new colors and techniques.
This is based on a scene of a couple of guys on the beach in Malta during their lunch hour. The beach was all rock made from years of limestone building up to make a very uneven rocky beach. I think I have captured the feel of the beach on the day I observed it.
Am working on roosters but not ready to unveil any yet so am having a throw back Thursday and am posting this piece that I did last fall , before the snow fell. These were painted from actual sunflowers that I picked. They were growing wild in a field.
The other night at around midnight, I took a drive out to Lake Superior because there were reports of fantastic Northern Lights being displayed. I wanted an unobstructed view of the light show. Well, when there is no moon or stars out the lake is pitch black. So black that once I turned off the headlights I could not even see my hands in front of my face. Thank god for the flashlight on my phone. I worked my way down to the lake where I heard frozen water cracking. It was the only sound around. I saw lots of clouds that appeared to have been back lit by the Northern Lights. I did not see any of the movement of the lights but never the less it was pretty amazing. A bit of me thought how foolish I was for being out there in the dark where it was icy and where there was lots of icy snow to slip on but the tranquility and beauty of it made it worth while. This is my interpretation of my experience.
I am officially switching over to chickens and roosters. It doesn't mean there won't be an occasional cow or bull or calf in the mix but I need to fill the barn or hen house with some new faces. This guy is done on a much larger piece of paper than the cows. It is 15 by 22 inches which is 4 times larger than most of the cows I have done. Arches watercolor paper and professional grade paints as always. Rise and shine...
Baby Pink is new to the playground. She is that awkward stage: no eyelashes, no udders, no lipstick and no boyfriend. What's a girl to do?? The other kids are telling her it is just a matter of time. Let's go play in the mud they say. So they started a game of Frisbee using the mud-pies they found along the way to the playground.
I challenged myself to paint something with only two colors so I used Cadmium Orange and black to get this baby. Black of course is my forbidden paint from a tube so I had to borrow a smudge from someone who doesn't know better. (tee, hee) I usually make my own shade of black from my limited palette. Anyhow, this is my resulting piece.
I started with an old unfinished painting a friend of mine was about to toss out. See top painting. I saw shapes and colors I could develop so after looking looking at it from various angles, this is what I cam up with. I saw these two guys in the background so I developed them by painting around what I saw and blurring the background. I wanted to keep some of the vertical lines so it would look like these guys are in the woods and poking out between the brush. I may tweek it some more, I am not sure but I do like what was developed. The cows were there all along, I worked mostly on the background. This is my version of doing a makeover.
When I do the dishes, which seems like a never ending job, this is what I see outside my window. The large rock is a local landmark and comes with all kinds of stories of things that happend at the rock and how the rock got there. This view almost makes me want to wash the clean dishes in the cabinet. It is so tranquil and ever changing. I used a combinations of 3 colors to make the black color and then I played with the shades of that color. The white comes from not painting that part of the paper. What fun this was. Enjoy the View.
I can't stop myself... FIVE of my farm animals have sold and my field looks empty. I have so many cows swimming around in my head. Here is the one I finished last night. I have another one already started. Oh My, whats a girl to do??
Here is a collage of the 30 paintings I did in the last 30 days. I selected a focus of farm animals with the idea that I would do a lot of cows and it was a no brainer in terms of coming up with subject matter
I used only three colors on my palette
American Journey : Bumblebee Yellow, Rambling Rose, Cobalt Blue (in other words, all of the variety in color came from only these three colors)
I used two different brands of watercolor paper: Arches (90 lb, 140 lb and 300 lb) and Fabriano (140 lb and 300 lb) and 3 different weights of paper. Most of the pieces are 7.5 by 11 inches. A couple of pieces are 11 by 15 inches.
I did mostly watercolor but did a few ink and watercolor and one collage.
I played with different styles and techniques.
Things I learned…
There is a big difference between Arches and Fabriano. Both quality watercolor paper but each reacts totally differently to paint. It forced me to change how I painted. My preference has always been Arches but I learned that to achieve certain effects, Fabriano is the way to go.
I learned how to just get it done and not to second quess it. When your goal is to do one painting per day, you don’t have time to be too critical. I fell off the wagon a time or two and wanted to give up but for the most part, I followed my rule to JUST DO IT.
I learned that what people like and what I like may be different and is an interesting surprise to me.
I learned that my art has a common thread running thru it. I was wondering before I started if I had a recognizable style and I see that one is developing.
I was reinforced with comments that told me that I have a sense of humor which I believe is reflected in each of my pieces. So that's it, I am done. Now I can sleep.
OK, this is the FINAL painting in the 30 day Challenge. Just when all of those farm animals were getting to know each other, look who showed up in the mix. Her name is Tur-mingo ,she has a very strong attraction to Turkeys.
Well here we are at Day 29 of 30 and this little lady is looking for a little companionship from one of the Felines in the barn. Her choice is Tommy Cat or the Pimp...Wonder if she likes Gentlemen or Bad boys.
I just thought bubbles and chicks kinda go together and as I was painting this I was just thinking that the chick that is a day or maybe just a few hours older just couldn't be bothered with the drama of the younger one..For sure they are sisters. Cheep Cheep.
Well Tommy Cat is watercolor and ink and lots of water. I have mixed feelings about Tommy but after 27 paintings in 27 days, I am wiped out. This is it...Tommy made the cut. There was no saying no to Tommy Cat, the Barnyard Gentleman.
Day 26 out of 30 for my Challenge of painting a farm animal everyday for 30 days. I had a hard time today. Just couldn't get it together. For this one I used Fabriano Paper, 140 lb, rough. New to me and totally different than Arches which I usually use. In some ways I find it difficult to work with but I am learning from the challenge. So here is my drama Dairy Queen getting ready for her shot.
This barn cat does not have the luxury of crooning. His survival is a result of his skills in the barn. He likes fresh meat, and there is plenty of it in the barn. Its a tough life but as long as those crooners leave him along, he does just fine.
Today I tried a new paper. I used in once before on one of the pigs. It is Fabriano and it is really different than the Arches which I am used to. In addition to that, there was a power outage in the middle of my painting. Turns out there was no lights for a good 3 hours. It gave me time to start a fire and finish a bottle of wine...I like starts and finishes. So this is it for today. I am reserving judgement . I am just glad I got it done.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a gentleman farmer with one big green John Deer. The Farm collection needed a Gentleman farmer so for day 23 of my 30 day challenge to paint a painting each day, I brought this Gentleman into the mix. He looks so serious, but Ms Farmer (number 15) knows better.
This is the 22nd painting out of 30 and I just wanted to do cats and a barn theme. I have nothing clever or funny to say about this. Sometimes, when one does a painting each day challenge, I have found the lesson is not to get it right, sometimes the lesson is to just get it done and learn what you need to do the next time around. On this one I learned how I would approach the cats in a different way. I also was not happy with the paper I used. I mistakenly got a few sheets of 90 lb paper in my inventory of paper and it really isn't so good to use with the way I paint. I use a lot of water and 90 lb paper warps a lot while painting so I had to stop and let it dry so it would be flat and ready for more paint but then it was too dry to do what I wanted for an effect. With a heavier weight paper, the paper can be damp with out getting wavy so it is possible to paint wet into wet without the paint running. I do like how the red barn turned out both in color and texture. Anyhow. after 22 days, I have gotten a bit more down to business. These crooners are cute, might do them again, on different paper.
So here I am on day 21 of my 30 day challenge and out of ideas that I like but wanting to go more abstract. So what do I do...I took an old painting that I didn't like. I soaked in in my sink and scrubbed it..yes you can do that with good watercolor paper. There was a lot of color left on the paper and it was mostly smudged..just what I like. I drew a cow on top of the mess and all day long I tweaked it, scrubbed it some more, cussed at it, added some more water, added more paint, threw paint at it, scratched it and cussed at it some more. So this is it. I give up. I am opening a bottle of wine. Salute. Cab is poured..
Well I am still in the challenge although I was about to give up last night. This is number 19 out of 30. I was all mooed out today and wanted to try the almighty Sheep. Worked on this baby all day long with many layers of color. It isn't easy to do white and curly white to boot. Hoping this puts a smile on your face.