Thursday, November 15, 2018

Another Drawing

In yesterday's blog I included a poor photo of a very early drawing of mine - poor because of the distracting reflections on the glass.  One of these days I'll ask a friend of our who is good-enough-to-be-a-professional photographer how to avoid problems like that. But maybe I should wait until I find out how to avoid the issue you'll see in today's photograph!

Also in yesterday's blog was my embarassed recounting of finding myself in class with no paint - what an idiot!  However, there was something I could do - draw using one of the photographs I had with me.

But first, a little background.  Our first post-retirement trip was to China where I started taking photographs especially for reference material.  The second trip was an exploration of the Four Corners in the Southwest. Those photos inspired three oils of that very special landscape.

Yesterday as I looked through the photos I had with me, I found one I knew had to be a contender.  It was one I'd toyed with but just didn't know if it was too, well, just too much like one you'd see in a travel magazine.  But I love it anyway.

The photo isn't available for me to post here, but I can tell you that it is a study in perspective which is why it was a good candidate for drawing.  The subject is a trading post in Monument Valley with towering cliffs in the background and a wagon in the foreground. Note the line of the roof and the lower edge of the wagon - perspective fun.

The shadowing - especially on the left side - is caused by erasures made with a kneaded eraser.  It took time to get it almost right, but as I discovered while drawing, it was time well spent.  It needs to be finished (the right side of the trading post ends within the porch - past the doorway line).  The wagon's back wheel isn't right, and the barrel is far more burly. 

But here's the real problem for me.  I don't see it as a watercolor.  Do you?  Would it work?  I see, no, I feel it as an oil painting.  But either way it will be a painting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Continuous Line Drawing

Painting day, and off  I went to begin work on what I hoped would lead to a finished painting of the view from Pienza.  But, foolish me, I was a bit late and so was rushing as I left.  That, as most of us know, is the sure set up for a problem.  

And it was.  We did a bit of "Show and Tell" first.  When it was my turn, I showed my framed continuous line drawing from 1965-ish when I was an art student at Syracuse U..  It is something very different, but I have always had a real fondness for this piece.  A "continuous line" means one begins to draw but does not lift the crayon, marker, pencil, or whatever from the paper.  It takes a bit of forethought to figure out how to get from one side of the subject to the other (usually one side of the paper to the other), and it may require several attempts before one is successful. I still do them from time to time.

Back when this drawing was done, I was a commuting student living at home so I chose the living room of our family's flat as the subject of this drawing.  Right now I can't remember for which class this was as assignment, but I suspect it was a basic drawing class. There is no sign of a grade on the paper nor had I signed it, so possibly it was simply an exercise that became part of a portfolio that was graded at the end of a quarter.  That doesn't explain the lack of a signature though - so maybe it was just something I did for my own practice and/or fun.

Anyway, this is it, framed, over my desk - complete with reflections.

After we talked about the various items we wanted to share, we each got our materials out.  Sharon was working with one of my friends so I started to get ready to paint.  That's when I discovered I had left my paints at home.  ALL my paints.  

Fortunately, before I began to tear my hair out, I remembered I had something else to work on.  I'll write about that in another entry.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

View from Above

Last week at painting, I worked on the drawing of Venice which was put away when I got home.  I didn't do that because I was tired of the idea but because there were so many other things that needed doing at home and also because I needed to do some research before continuing.  That research didn't happen - the "other things" I mentioned included a three day quilt retreat.  
All of which is to explain why I started something new - again - today.  This is only a preliminary sketch.  By that I mean that I have no expectation of being able to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear or more to the point, take this sketch and turn it into a finished painting.   Instead, it's an information gathering exercise.  Which paints can I combine to make the many greens distinct from each other?  Indeed, which colors look better or best - say green or blue?  Can I improve the composition by adding this or taking that out?  What techniques can I use to enhance my basic drawing, my manipulation of water?  You get the idea.

Anyway, here is Rough Draft #1.

This is a view from one of the walled hill towns in Tuscany; we were standing at the wall looking out at the countryside.  I discovered later that it is considered "an iconic view" which I well understand.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Spooky Tree and Finshed Painting

We had such fun greeting our little Halloween trick or treaters - and some that were that little!  Although to be honest there weren't as many as we used to have and no high schoolers.  Is that a sign that the neighborhood is aging?  Or could it be a sign that the malls are drawing more adults with their youngsters?  Or simply that the neighborhood is in transition and the kidlets aren't old enough to be out yet?

Even so, we had a great time.  The children are such fun, and David had his own way of enjoying it.  Here is his Halloween tree:

Thie next photo was taken later when it was darker and is a close up of the neat decoration he found; the "light" is in a skull!

Today was also painting day.  During the week, I worked on the second Bayou painting and realized that it just wasn't working. So I decided to return to the first.  Today I took it into to class for Sharon's verdict. She took one look at it , and said -

"It works, and it's DONE!"

My response?  "Hallelujah!"

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Lots of Work, No Photos

In the last two weeks (of not particularly nice weather), a lot of work was done around the yard. D worked very hard outside - some was the usual mowing, but a lot was raking leaves, taking care of bonsai specimens that live outside during the moderate weather, and even trying to corral the acorns.  Those acorns are huge!  They are so large that we can't park in our driveway because the acorns can mar the car.  I wonder what the insurance company would say that if we told them dents were caused by those pesky nuts!

Acorns aside, D spent a bit of time helping me with the gardening chores which, at this time of year, take a lot of time.  But first, before he came home from the trip that included being inducted into the Middle School Hall of Fame, I did take out all the garden annuals in the front yard berm.  They were looking sad and not at all pretty.  The removal of dying annuals didn't take too long, and it improved the appearance of  the front of the house.  However, carrying pail after pail full of those droopy, dying annuals off to our dumping spot adds both weight and time to the job.

The next day of gardening instead of finishing the front I started with the biggest job - the backyard garden. That garden, if its dogleg were straightened out, would stretch almost all the way across the back.  By the time I was within sight of the end, I was moving very slowly and was very tired.  That's when D, my hero, came to my rescue and helped me finish up.  Even so, it took a full day of work. 

The third day,  I realized that I hadn't finished the job in the front yard. The perennials in the berm needed to be cut back - a job that would take more time.  Clipping is hard on the hands and also requires more care than yanking plants out to say nothing of the carting away part of the job.  There were also some summer blooming bulbs - Peruvian daffodils that hadn't bloomed - that I wanted to lift and hold over to next year Maybe they will like next year's weather better.  While they didn't bloom, they certainly multiplied!

Once finished with that, I decided to stop for the day, and toddled off to have lunch.  As I ate, I glanced out at the daylily garden and had to be clipped down.  It's a longish stretch of garden that is suffering from the white pines that shade much the bed's length so as I clipped - again! - I pondered where I could move the daylilies.  The continuous clipping left me with a very sore hand but all garden areas clean and neat for winter.

As for the daylilies?  Still haven't figured out where to move them.  Maybe next year.

Friday, October 19, 2018

David is Honored

A quick post to mention the award David received last night.  The New York State Middle School Association recognized him for his "lifetime commitment and achievement in advancing the goals of middle-level education."  

There was a banquet and speeches and laughter.  To say nothing of the back-slapping and hugs and even a few teary eyes.  Our daughter managed to drive in after work and arrived in time to enjoy both the dinner and see her father awarded this plaque.

He was really pleased, and daughter and I were very proud.  Unfortunately, our daughter had to dash back home before this photo was taken by a friend (who used my phone so I'd be sure to have a photo).  I think other people were able to get some with daughter in the picture, too, and hope copies will be sent our way.

We will say nothing about the woman he is standing beside- except that she was thrilled that all his years of hard work were appreciated.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Way it's Going

Another interesting day  . . . D and I made sure the furnace was available for Furnace Man (aka FM) to be able to access.  During that rearranging of things that live in basements, I realized that I would not be able to do the laundry until after FM did his magic both because I could not get to the washing machine since I'd walled it off with basement items and because I decided having unmentionables hanging about over FM's head wasn't something any of us would appreciate.

So instead of laundry, I busied myself with sorting through some boxes that had been unearthed and seemed to have things that we could get rid of.  For example, there were two plastic drawer-bins that had kitchen items we used to take with us when we went to Vermont each summer.  We haven't gone back since 2016, and even in those last years, we didn't need to take those items because the place we rented was fully furnished.  We found some things of David's that he had no difficulty getting rid of.  Then there were two boxes that were clearly for me to sort more carefully as there might be treasures.

And there were. First,  I found fabric that was supposed to be borders for the hand-sewn spool wall hanging I made several years ago and for which, since I no clue where I had hidden that fabric, good friend Sandy replaced from her stash!  I sent her a text today with a photo of what I had found and will give it to her tomorrow during the Crazy Quilt "class".  Second, I found an "antique" (in quotation marks because I don't know if its 100 years old) flour sack with which I had planned to make an apron.  Third,and oh, this was special, I discovered fabric from which I made part of our daughter's first Christmas dress and a little slip of hers, also.  Those finds may find their way into a wall hanging along with the very worn placemat/dish cloth (my memory won't come up with their exact use at the moment) that were also in the box.  

And, of course, there was something more that.  Here is another of my many unfinished projects . . . but this one goes back a way . . .

A while ago, I was discussing this project with my best friend and told her I was sure these blocks (all 26 - 28 of them) which had been put away each on its own paper plate had been accidentally thrown away.  And knowing that, all the coordinating fabrics had been re-purposed or tossed.  

So - of course, I found the blocks.  That's the way my week is going!