Distracted with work on a marbling video and with teaching in Kauai, I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked. The upside is that I have had an opportunity to work on several pieces I’ve been wanting to marble plus working on a few new paintings. Stay tuned for more examples.
This is the marbled painting you saw in my last post. I don’t love it at this stage, but there’s way too much fun happening here to give up!
Below is the piece again, after painting over it with gouache and watercolor! Notice how the shape of the head and beak have changed and how the body is now defined. Adding white feathers over the marbling, along with a bit of darkening of the background near the shoulders creates that definition while the underlying marbled pattern lends cohesiveness and complexity to the piece.
SPREADING HER WINGS 22×30 inches
A word often used to describe something that is average, but was expected to be much better. Ordinary, uninspired, forgettable, amateurish…
This is not how I normally like to think about my work. But here’s the thing: Unless you are willing to take risks — to fail, if necessary — you’re not allowing yourself to really succeed!
Above is a painting of a swan, in acrylic. I didn’t love it.
While marbling over it helped, it didn’t completely “fix” it.
Marjorie Johnson, who was taking my workshop at the time, said “Well, you can’t turn a pig into a princess” ! So true. But what I love about this process is the journey.
And we don’t know yet where this painting might go…
This kingfisher I also painted in acrylic before marbling.
The marbling originally was too contrasty, so I and added a wash of white gouache to subdue it and put the fish in the bird’s mouth with watercolor.
It’s currently at OSA’s show, 200 for under $200.
The result — an award winner at the OSA show!
I’m never going to love everything I paint. But how else will I know what direction to take my work unless I give myself room to experiment? And play.
I found this crocus while cleaning my studio… not necessarily a BAD painting, but I don’t LOVE it! Marbling might help. I could also cover it with watercolor ground and start over, if it doesn’t! All I know is, it will evolve.
No tour of Tuscany is complete without a culinary discussion. And not surprisingly, food is a reoccurring theme for us. Is it because the ingredients are so fresh that food tastes better there? Maybe it’s the artisan and farm to table fare? The sensuousness of the culture? The fine local wines? Or is it simply dining al fresco?
Whatever the reason, we all agree that food tastes better in Italy.
And Italians do amazing things with cured meats. Below are piled up samples or rustic meats and breads at the May food festival in Lucca, called the Anteprima.
La CHIUSA di NANNI
MARY LEE and MARINA
This menu is from the fabulous meal that was prepared for us by longtime friends Mary Lee Damutz and her daughter, Marina, who live in a small rural village, Nocchi. The raviolis were made from scratch in our kitchen while we watched. Marina had picked the nettles and borage for the filling that morning. Below, on another occasion, they are showing us how to make tiramisu!
Below you see them on the table
with fresh pasta and salad! Yum…
The ambience and appetites improve as the shadows lengthen!
Here’s rustic bread from the festival in Altopascio.
My favorite is the dark walnut bread
in small round loaves.
Tuscany is filled with small eateries that ooze with local color. Perfect for a lunch, or inspiration for a painting!
Another fabulous May in Tuscany!
Linda Nye and I had so much fun last year that we vowed to return — after all, there is NO POSSIBILITY you can see and do everything the first time you come to Italy! Returning is the only way. This year we brought two new groups of seven to paint, visit interesting places, take hundreds of pictures, walk in the hills and sample tuscan wines, olives, meats, cheeses and breads. Janet Parker, of Oregon Botanical Artists fame, joined us for the month to help with logistics.
So much to tell
Mary Lee took seven of us into Florence
for a tour on Saturday before the workshop started.
We spent a good bit of the time looking up,
and with our mouths open!
Part of the joy for me is seeing it reflected on the
faces of the people we bring.
Clearly, Janet is having an “Oh My” moment!
We couldn’t loose our leader in the crowd, wearing these bright yellow pants!
at the Museo di San Marco
Above, Carol (right) takes the lead.
We stopped for lunch at a steak house across the Ponte Vecchio. The food was terrific and we taste tested their deserts. I think Linda expresses how satisfied we all felt when we left!
at the Bargello Museum
Florence is full of characters
These young men knew what we did not — that we were traveling with an Australian movie star, alias My Allred! They were convinced she was the real thing (and they are right, she IS sexy!)
It has been a whirlwind week…
First the WSO convention where I was given the people’s choice award for “Tranquility”!
Then Robert Burridge’s workshop Monday – Thursday.
Followed by giving a one day workshop for Southwest Washington Watercolor Society on USING ACRYLIC MEDIUMS with watercolor… as in my self portrait piece, below.
I was lucky to get in — it was by lottery!
Here are the Bobers and Bobettes (as Bob’s lovely assistant, Kate, calls us)…
While working in acrylic was a stretch for this watercolor lover, Bob did not disappoint! He exudes fun. Maybe it’s his background as a magician or just his playful attitude — he genuinely enjoys teaching and his enthusiasm is catching.
We learned to paint drip trees… And carrot people… these are Bob’s examples.
I wanted to do birds. Here are a couple of acrylic paintings in progress — loose by virtue of using lots of water. I used the new Golden FLOW medium to make it extra juicy.
Bob doesn’t draw first, but I do. Pencil doesn’t work over an acrylic background so I used a white Derwent Art Bar (water soluble crayon) to make a quick sketch.
I’m using negative painting over a background of gold gesso with an over layer of greenish paint — covering anything that is not the swan. It still needs some work.
This heron appears out of the mist — I’m liking it pretty well as is.
On Friday I went up to Vancouver to teach a workshop for Southwest Washington Watercolor Society. We had a blast!
We worked fast and covered a lot of territory. First we put watercolor paintings or paper on cradled panels, step-by-step.
Then we painted watercolor over matte medium to get textural effects.
I started this trillium painting at the workshop (left), drawing quickly with water soluble graphite. I’ve added another layer (right). The graphite bleeds into the paint when it gets wet, creating interesting effects.
Here’s Lynda working on a trillium. The matte medium makes the paper less absorbent and the paint tends to pool and make oodles of oozles. Sometimes I tilt the paper to direct the flow, propping up one side. Other times I allow it to do it’s own thing! Resist sopping up the puddles and be patient as the paint dries. Keep building up paint until the values are right.
This magnolia pod is finished, after several layers plus scribbling over the top with my black mix, adding to the darks — blending with a spray of water.
What a sweet group… some said it was the best workshop they’d ever taken! I look forward to returning next spring.
14 of us spent 12 days at a retreat center in Kauai last February.
It was a remarkable time! This will give you a flavor of the trip…
We toured botanical gardens, visited art galleries, walked on the beach, cooked amazing meals and took scads of pictures.
See, it didn’t rain the whole time… that’s Harriet with a sea treasure and Melody and Verna getting their feet wet at Hanalei, where Puff The Magic Dragon lives!
For both food and entertainment. We ate, we gawked, we took things home as reference material for painting! That’s Sharon, holding a large citrusy thing and breadfruit — perhaps more lovely to look at than to eat?
LIMAHULI BOTANICAL GARDEN
Specializes in native plants — and also labels the non-native invaders. The views from above were lovely! Here’s Peggy, referring to the handy plant guide.
Fascinating cultural landmark cut into a hillside —plus home to hundreds of orchids! I took hundreds of photos.
OK, that’s a myth, the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is just a sink hole, but it’s fascinating. We were lucky enough to be led on a tour by David Burney, who wrote a book about it, and could give us the real significance.
Janet connected us with an invitation to visit Wendy Hollender’s class at the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Research Facility. She works in colored pencil to render fabulous botanicals. One of her students, hard at work on the left, and me at the garden’s visitor center.
Pouring a colorful wash for an under layer on my rooster painting. I’m using 300 pound arches paper treated with acrylic medium. And the finished painting…
NEGATIVE PAINTING DEMO
Linda shows how she does it on this hibiscus blossom, started as a poured wash. It was so much fun tag teaming with Linda, as we could move back and forth, teaching different concepts. She also led us in stamping, which was so successful it merits it’s own blog post!
SOME OF US SWAM WITH SEA TURTLES!
This painting is still unfinished, but I like what’s happening so far. While I rarely do, I used resist to make the light lines, using a plastic bottle with a wire stem as an applicator.
Sharon introduced us to the ways of the formal doodle. Notice the breadfruit pattern on the right? It was fun to see the variety of drawings that resulted.
Laura prepared a step-by-step to show how she makes them.
GALLERY HOPPING AT HANAPEPE
A photo op — 5 of us with the cigar lady at the spice shop!