Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter on Leap Year Day!

Yesterday while I was trying to find out why, when I click on my blog under "favorites", I am not directed to the current day, I did make it easier for anyone to make a comment on the blog.  Or at least I think I did.  So I hope some of you will try to leave a comment on today's blog so we can see if it works.  If you do respond, please tell me if you now have trouble getting to the newest entry.  Or, if you know how I can fix my problem, let me know!

Don't worry, the photo on the right was taken of the back yard bird feeders (the blue glass ball is the top of a garden ornament that is 24 - 30" tall) last year late in an afternoon not this!  I chose this one today to keep snowfall in perspective.  Can you believe I was actually getting all grumbly about the possibility of snow today?  Think about it.  We've had almost no snow at all this winter; schools still have plenty of snow days.  It's the last day of February so why should I be either surprised or annoyed about snow? 

It's also Leap Year.  I wonder if the snow and Leap Year occurring together will be found to have some mystical meaning?  How much do you want to bet that we receive a flurry of e-mails regarding these two events?

I also made myself happier when I thought of the benefits of snow.  Think of the water.  Even after all the rain we had last fall because of the hurricanes, we need more water.  Certainly our gardens need both the moisture and the ground cover even though it may be too late for some plants.  All the plants that are sending up shoots and showing some pretty signs of life far too early may be shocked; I hope they are hardy enough and the snow is in time to prevent any lasting damage to those early risers.

Our park bench almost buried in last year's snow.

Dress warmly and be careful today so you can enjoy the beauty of nature and Leap Year. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Entry Issues and Being on Time

It's been interesting getting used to this new computer.  Sometimes it does things I don't understand (such a surprise).  For example, yesterday I posted my entry and merrily went about my business.  Later I came back and checked the blog only to find my previous entry was featured not yesterday's.  Of course, I didn't check the page very carefully, so I went into the blog-system and re-entered the Monday's entry.  Naturally, because of that I checked the blog once or twice more.  Each time I found the Photograph to Fabric posting.  Finally, I discovered that I only had to click on the correct day, and the entry I wanted was the one I saw.  Wonder why it didn't just show the most recent entry?  I hope none of you had the same problem.

David and I both have the same issue with being on time.  We leave the house extra early for where ever we have to be to avoid being late.  It's our "thing".  So, of course, since I had a class to teach at Log Cabin yesterday, I left the house at 9:00 A.M. in plenty of time to get there and get myself prepared for the class.  However, I had a niggling feeling something wasn't quite right so as I waited in line for the toll booth I checked my calendar.  My class was at 11:00, not at 10:00 as I had thought.  It was only 9:20 and by the time I got to the shop they wouldn't even be open; that was far too early!  What could I do?

Since I had a list of a couple of items I planned to pick up at the store on my way home, I decided to stop on my way to the shop.  I went into the grocery store to buy a specific herbal tea, some sponges for Rebecca (she can't get the kind she likes where she lives), and a lipstick.  Finding the makeup aisle, I looked and looked; my shade wasn't there so I bought another.  Then I found the sponges aisle.  They didn't have the right ones.  It took me a couple of passes around the store before I found the tea.  The particular one I wanted wasn't on the shelf.  I was scoring one out of three.  Not great, and it was still too early!

Books and magazines!  I can always spend time looking at those.  Round and round the store I wandered.  They had to have some; every self-respecting store has a least a few!  Finally, I asked an employee and was directed to the right place (by the plants and flowers but hidden by a lot of boxes).  Sternly I told myself to "look, don't buy" and spend time enjoying several magazines, scanning the book racks, and reading the backs of several books.  Finally, I thought I had wasted enough time so I paid and left the store. 

Arriving at the quilt shop I backed into a parking space (takes more time) and looked at the clock.  It was 9:55.  Fortunately, the front door was open!  I had an hour to get myself prepared, bother the employees and waste their time by chatting to them as they prepared for the day, and found some embroidery floss for my crazy quilt block.  Be honest, Noel!  Okay, I found a lot of silk embroidery floss; it's so lovely to work with!  And some ribbon.  And a smidgen of fabric.  And a few beads.

Wasn't it a shame that I had so much time to spend waiting for my class to begin, and aren't I glad I believe in being on time?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Inspiration All Around Us

Since I promised to have a photograph in this entry to enliven the tedium and since we have not yet uploaded everything from the old computer to this one, I scrolled through the photos that did make it to this new machine and found inspiration in some older pictures.
We all know that flowers are a great source for creative thinking. And here is one I found very intriguing when I took the picture, and still do today.  Isn't this a glorious swirl of  . . . well, I don't really know what.  What I can tell you is that it is a clematis vine, and this is, I think, the seed pod visible only after  the flower died and its petals fell.  The photo was taken in early September in the garden of a friend, and none of the clematis plants I've had (but I don't have very good luck with them) ever had something so inspiring after the blooming season was over.   I'm wondering; could I turn this into an interesting embroidery design for my crazy quilt?

I do hope some one of you can explain what this plant formation is.  Any ideas?  And then, if you can answer that, possibly you can tell me why my clematis never seem to thrive, and yes, I do know they need their roots in the shade.  We have very sandy and acidic soil.  Is that it?

Anyway, at the same friends' home I found this lovely collection of colors, shapes, and textures.  Inspiration is flowing from this photo.  Imagine painting the leaves of the sweet potato vine (and see how it has snuck around behind the flower pot in an embrace?).  The petunias at the bottom of the photo would make wonderful applique shapes and/or ribbon embroidery.   Don't overlook the white Alyssum in the bottom right, either.  But you know where I find the most inspiration?  Yes, you noticed it, too, didn't you.  The cast iron planter!  Think of all the places and all the different media in which you could use those curves on the sides and the hand-holding figures with jump ropes  (well, how would you describe that line of interlocking shapes?) on the shelf itself.

Finally, my last photo for today's inspiration, is a riotous burst of unadulterated color. I don't think I even need to write a word about what I like.  Take a minute from your busy day, and look at this picture carefully.  Try not to miss anything.  What do you like best?  How would you use the inspiration you find here? In your own garden?  In a corner of a special room in your home? Needlepoint?  Pottery?  Flower-pounding (now there's an idea!)?  Poetry?

Today have fun looking for the inspiration that moves your muse!

Friday, February 24, 2012

From Photograph to Fabric

Yesterday I went to Dataflow (on Fuller Road) and gave them some old and some not-so-old photos to transfer onto fabric.  In my first crazy quilt block (which I will show you as soon as I can),  I used some "pearl" beads that I found in my mother's work box, and I thought I'd like to include a photograph of her in this quilt.  That was just the beginning.  If I was going to use an image of my mother, why not one of my grandmother, too?  After all, it is her crazy quilt blocks that I sewed together years ago and that quilt now hangs over my fireplace.  Why not my sister and other family members?  So last night I went searching for photographs and found maybe ten that I thought would do.  Then I hunted in my stash and found the appropriate fabric (photo transfer fabric is great, but any quilter's quality cotton fabric with a tight weave will do), and off I went. 

I spent some talking with Paulette who is their photo-transfer expert, and oh my, do I have ideas now!  Paulette told me about copying a soldier's medals, jewelry, and even paintings.  The more she talked, the more my little old brain went clicking down the track and off onto sidings leading - well, off into lands I've never traveled before. 

Also, since Dataflow is a copying business, they  will resize photos if necessary.  I have a photo taken (circa 1928) of my mother's college sorority.  My mother is in the photo, but her image is half an inch at best.  Paulette enlarged the photo so I can now actually recognize my mother without having to squint!  There's also a 1950's photo of my older sister.  It was dark to begin with and age hasn't improved it any.  Paulette pulled it out and said she could lighten it as well as a couple of others that are a bit dark.  On the other hand, an 8 x 10 portrait of our daughter will be reduced in size. 

I can hardly wait to see what the finished work will look like!  And so another obsession is born.      

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brava, Esther!

If you've been wondering where I've been, you might have missed the entry about our computer woes.  We have the computer back, but we do need to buy a new one.  Since it is working, after a fashion, I'll write my entries on our aging machine until we purchase the new one.  I warn you, this means that I won't be able to post any photos.  This old guy doesn't want to fuss with that any more.  Indeed, it doesn't want to make any noise, either.  Imagine a computer without the start up chirps, the dings, and bings, and dongs as you navigate the Internet, or without the noises associated with whatever games you play.  It's really unsettling at first, but after a surprisingly short time, it's quite refreshing.

If you've been reading my entries, you know about one of my brothers and his wife Esther. Est has been mentioned quite a bit as she is a fellow artist (as is my brother Davis but try to get him to share his work - ha!), regular reader, and frequently (almost daily) commentator about something in an entry.  Est and I have been having e-mail discussions about my paintings, and she gives very helpful critiques and offers ideas for me to ponder.  Once she even sent me (after I asked for them) a few photos of some of her watercolors.

I should mention now, if I haven't before, watercolors intimidate me to the nth degree.  First of all, I have had a tendency towards photo-realism (paying close attention to all the little details and making each leaf on a tree perfect)in my artistic endeavors as well as a habit of thinking my way through a painting as I work on it over a span of time.  Watercolors don't allow you to do either.  The paint is mixed with water.  Water dries.  Quickly.  Oil paint, my medium of choice, is mixed with oil.  Oil dries . . . when it darn well wants to.  That means verrrrrrry s - l  -  o   -   w    -    l     -     y.  Lots of thinking time there.

Not so with watercolors.  You have to be loose and fluid in your movement.  What you intend to do with an idea has to be already in your mind.  Spontaneity is rewarded in the luminous work one can create.  Esther's work is full of light and suggestion.  You don't need or want to see every leaf on a tree; you see its skeleton as though you were seeing an x-ray.  Your mind accepts it and doesn't need all the minutiae.  I'm saying this badly, and it would be easier if I could show you her watercolors.

Because Esther has kicked my proverbial you-know-what when she thinks I need it (and I always do, darn it all), I took it upon myself to nudge her.  I mentioned that she gets to see my paintings from the moment the first splat of paint lands on the canvas through all the stages until they're finished, and when would I get to see some of hers?  She rose to the occasion and sent several.  Several near-paintings (not finished), some abandoned forays, and some completed works. 

I can't show them to you because I don't have her permission, and because, even if I did, my computer won't allow it, cranky little beastie that it is.

But . . . she has some trees in the first three pieces (all of the same subject but done in different colors/ways) that I wish I could have painted.  They are in a painting that she hasn't finished, but I hope she will return to.  Her shading and her suggestion of a birch tree and its lichens are grand.  I will tell you, Est, if you're reading this, that those first three slides are considerably more fabulous than your photo!

Anyway, I will write to her instead of telling you more since you can't see her work.  Maybe she will allow me to share with you some day.  It isn't easy as many of you know.  Putting something "out there" for others to critique (and not always kindly) is like telling someone you don't know your most intimate, deeply guarded secret.  But the helpful critiques and the compliments you receive in return is often well worth it and builds confidence. 

Esther has delighted me with her courage and her trust as she flung herself off the edge of the precipice.  Brava, Esther! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Canyon Caves - Final!

Our computer is still working so I will post a quick entry.  The second canyon painting is finished or at least, I am finished with the painting Canyon Caves.  It remains to be seen what I think in a month or two, but now I know enough to stop.  It's very easy to over work a painting or drawing or any creative piece.

Canyon Caves:

Wow, that's really large, isn't it?  I wanted you to be able to see it a little better, not scare you!  The changes/additions are subtle, and unless you go back to an earlier version, you might think, "Well, I don't see any difference at all."  I worked on the vegetation in front of the major cave by adding some highlights, and I thinned the tree on the right.

Am I fully satisfied?  No, as I am looking at the photograph on this page, I see areas that I should think about - maybe to keep in mind for the third painting in the series.  For example, my highlights in the different clumps of vegetation are too similar (the same is true of the tree).  The tree itself is only moderately successful even though it's better than it was before.  Even a small tree like this one would have a better "skeleton".  I know trees better than this.

Ah well, it's time to move on to the next painting.

I've been working on my crazy quilt block, and I'll write about that for next week.  Was that a sigh of relief I heard and a whispered, "Whew, at least she's going to stop nattering on about paintings!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Computer Problems

Isn't technology wonderful?  When I think of all the new inventions since I was born, my mind is boggled.  Recently, I watched a video about children using technology in school - with and without teacher approval (and I'm not just talking about cell phone use).  The video's target audience was educators and was intended to be a wake-up! call for some, a reminder for others, and a there is still more you can do for still others.  The video ended with a student holding up a hand lettered sign that read, "I am a digital learner."

Using the computer every day has become a staple in our lives.  We're checking e-mail, the weather, the news and "blogging" (see how it's affected our language, also?).  Now we don't even think about it when we want to find a new place to eat or what movie is showing where, we turn to our computer.  So when computers act up, we feel a sense of impending doom.

Our computer appears to be very ill, perhaps terminally.  If we can find room in our schedules tomorrow (today is too packed), we have to take it to the computer doctor and get a diagnosis.  We feel that, given its age, we may need to purchase a new one - just when I thought we'd stemmed the drain on our financial resources!

We will be floundering for a while, I am sure.  There may not be entries on my blog for a while.  Just think of all the exciting entries I can write while waiting for a new or a repaired computer!  Oh, wait, I won't have anything to write with because who uses pen and paper these days?

I am digitally dependent!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday's Painting

Now for my other project.  Sunday I was able to paint the rest of the surface of the larger canvas that I started a few weeks ago. It is the last of this series of Canyon de Chelley paintings although it may not signal that I am finished with the subject. As I'm sure you can tell, that trip made a powerful impression on me.  Those colors, the history, the ruins, the people - all of it was immensely moving.

Here is what I accomplished:

There is a difference as I'm sure you notice in the way I applied the paint in the foreground (canyon wall at the left and hill across the lower portion of the center and right). First, the two areas are in shadow even though they are in the foreground. Second, because they are closer to the viewer, you can see the rough texture of the rocks in the cliff and the layers of soil on the flattish hill.

To make a real contrast between the foreground and the distant cliffs that are in the sunlight, I applied the paint as smoothly as I could and then went back over it using the palatte knife to scrape the paint down. Not only did that smooth the paint, it also mixed it more than I usually do.  It gives the cliffs almost a curtain effect, don't you think?  But they are curtains without any folds; in the smoothing, I lost the depths where the cliffs have "folds".  Something to replace next painting day.   Still it makes a good backdrop. 

While I'm pleased with what I have so far, I think the hill is going to be too high for my purposes. I may have to reduce it, but I'll wait until the paint is dry enough for me to mentally sketch out the details I intend to add before making a decision about the prominence of that hill. However, I'm quite happy with the strong contrast between light and dark.

I hope the canyon walls seem to glow for you as they do for me in my memory.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Decision

First things first, I have decided (thanks in large part to Esther who gave me the proverbial kick to the posterior!) to enter the Vermont Quilt Festival.  First, I think the comments the judges will make will be very helpful.  Certainly, I can learn more about quilt design, but even more, I hope to be able to improve my construction based on their critique.  Among other things, I think one reason I don't enjoy binding is because I don't do it well!  I finished the binding for both "Miss Ruby" and "Daisy Makes Do", and I'm not satisfied that I did a great job.  While I love designing my own quilts, I probably won't be spending as much time doing that as I will in constructing traditional quilts or those designed by others. 

I muddled over which quilt to send, and in the end I decided on "Music of the Night".  First of all, "Jack" is too old.  Quilts have to have been finished after February 2011; "Jack" was finished in October of 2010.  Since both "Jack" (even if he were eligible) and "Miss Ruby" are strong designs, they would not be the best candidates to help me learn how to improve.  "Daisy Makes Do" would be an excellent choice, but the subject matter (with its heavy emphasis on quilting tradition being passed on through the women in a family) might skew opinion and therefor compromise any possibility to learn.   So that leaves "Music" which I like very much, but which, I am sure, would not be to everyone's taste. 

That should leave plenty for the judges to tell me! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Today I received an e-mail that has set me all at odds with myself.  After having missed the deadline for Cooperstown's quilt guild's quilt show, I told myself that I must not have really wanted to enter it in the first place.  Why else would the date have slipped by unnoticed?  I felt some regret because I had been invited to enter, and it seems impolite to ignore that kind of invitation.  Some regret, but that's all.

Now this morning, I receive an e-mail from the Vermont Quilt Festival telling me "there's still time" as their deadline for entries has been extended to February 20th.  Oh.  Now what?  Do I want to enter?  I don't feel the need to win anything, but . . .  It would be nice to get the feedback from the judges.  What did I do well?  What is not very good?  What should I be thinking about the next time I work on a quilt?

Then there's the one quilt maximum.  Which quilt would I enter?  "Jack" with its lumpy binding but strong design?  "Miss Ruby" with her pleasing colors?   "Daisy" with her strong family history of sewing?   Or "Music" with its wheeling stars and night fantasy?

Should I or shouldn't I and why?  Is this another experience I should embrace or is it merely vanity?

What am I thinking of?  Help! 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Crazy Quilt: First Block

Have I told you that Mary Ellen and I decided we didn't have enough to do?  That we felt we should add another quilt project because we need to keep our hands busy?   Actually, I just remembered that I did indeed tell you about our first Crazy Quilt class and how much we loved it.

What I know I didn't do was show you what I was doing.  It's too bad because it's fun (well, it's fun for me!) to keep track of the progress of a project.  Last night I spent the entire evening embroidering on my first block.  I'll show you a photo, but you have to promise to remember it isn't finished, yet.  (Esther has discovered that if you click on the photos you will get an enlargement.)
Here it is on my green cutting mat.  I didn't crop the photo so you could see it in all its raw edge glory. One of the first things Bonnie told us was that in constructing the block, we didn't want to have the first piece (the fabric scrap around which all others are added) in the actual center of the block.  That's a basic design principle.  The first piece, my center-of-attention piece of fabric, is - yes, you've got it - pretty much smack dab in the center of this block!  How's that for following directions.  Note to self:  Be more careful to plan fabric placement next time!

Embroidery has always been a love of mine.  Anything done with a needle seems to soothe my savage self, but embroidery because of its infinite possibilities is especially attractive to me.  I have discovered that since it has been so long since I've done any, I am quite rusty.  My needle hand isn't back so this block is taking a long time with a lot of stitch removal needed!  Even so, I love looking through my many embroidery book for stitches to use.

You may be able to see some beads on this block also.  In the upper left on the black and gold fabric, you'll see gold beads and dangling from the pleats in the fabric are swags of black beads with "pearls".  Those pearls I found in my mother's workbox.  Sewing those on and having them a part of this project is very meaningful to me.  I think that's the other thing that really draws me to crazy quilts (okay, in addition to the luscious fabrics and all the embellishments).  They are albums of personal history.  They are history books, diaries, story anthologies.  Now you know the real attraction for me.  I plan to make notes for each block so my family will be able to trace the significance hidden in the details.

Speaking of details:
I am trying to disguise the placement of my central fabric by extending the butterfly into the blocks around it (the odd shape of this center piece said "butterfly" to me).  It's also quite a challenge for me to embroider.  It certainly isn't an exact copy but it is based on a real butterfly, the Asian swallowtail.  Those are really its colors!  I'm using satin stitch which I couched (that means sewing tiny stitches across the length of each strand to hold long stretches of thread in place) with black cotton DMC and pink variegated and white rayon thread (for its shine) .  Last night I started on the wings.  If I'm right, it will take me four nights total for the wings.  That includes time to take out the stitches I don't like.

Jean, remind me to show you the back of this piece.  It isn't your mother's "neat-as-the-front" work at all!



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If it's Tuesday, it must be . . . Painting!

Maybe I should have a contest on naming my many painting-themed blogs?  I am definitely running out of interesting, attention-grabbing titles myself. 

On February 2nd, I showed you two paintings.  The first one where I ran out of paint has not been worked on because of our weekend trip.  So no real news there.  At least it is dry enough now so I can definitely get the rest of the base layer done this weekend - if life doesn't intervene with its own notions of what I should be doing.

Here's the second painting I showed you, and this one was worked on today.


Most of my class time was spent taking care of what I found to be my two problem areas.  The first problem for me was the caves close to the top of the painting.  They were too dark for such high, distant caves so I toned down their color.  That's nearly taken care of.  Then I wasn't happy with the manner in which I tried to show the difference between the foremost rock wall (with the biggest cave) and the wall behind it.  My choice of color wasn't right and the line was too . . . well, too much of a specific dividing line.  Today's work is much better!  The arch opening to the rock behind it was added today.  Originally I had thought to leave it out, but then I thought it would be an echo of the first canyon painting (Canyon Path).  Indeed, some viewers might think it's the same path and tunnel.

Next week I'll work on the vegetation some more but not too much.  The tree that is showing to the right of the largest cave is too dense in the center.  More canyon wall needs to show through, and highlights need to be added as well as maybe the suggestion of some branches.  Also, today I did a bit of work on the cave entrance and am not happy with it because I've blurred the sharp edge of the cave opening on the right.  So that must be tackled, too.  Again, none of this can be done until the paint is far more dry than it is now. 

One of the things that really doesn't show in the photo, but that Esther commented on is how textured the surface of the canvas has become.  Each additional work day adds paint and not all areas are worked on.  That means that the layers are uneven - much like a rock wall.  Fancy that!    

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend in Providence, R. I.

What a grand weekend we had!  The weather was very sunny and cool but not as cold as is usual for February.  We were invited to spend the weekend with David's cousin and his wife (hereinafter called "the cousins") at their home in Rhode Island, and we accepted with alacrity (our plan to go to Sturbridge's Sleigh Rally fell through due to lack of snow).  The reason behind the invitation was Alice's (David's younger sister) birthday .  The RI cousins had invited her to visit them on Saturday and go to the Winter Market (the kind of activity Alice likes a lot) and casually added why didn't she stay overnight with them (no mention made of our coinciding visit).

We arrived in Providence on Friday and were greeted by Norm and Ted, two very large, very friendly, and quite well behaved Newfoundland dogs.  D's cousins have always had this breed so it was no surprise, but I had forgotten how big they really are.  Huge!  Anyway, we spent the evening catching up on news over a delicious dinner and wine.  The next morning we had breakfast and waited for Alice's arrival.  Of course, our car in the driveway was a give away, but she was surprised anyway - especially when we broke into the Happy Birthday song the moment she walked in.  Fun and mayhem ensued with the dogs having a romping good time in the midst of everything.

We shopped at the Winter Market where we all made some purchases, and then, at Alice's request went off to Johnson and Wales College to see their Culinary History Museum.  Sound odd - maybe even a bit dull?  Well, you would have been surprised.  It was an extremely interesting and informative exhibit of culinary practices, preparation, celebrities, equipment, diners, and more.  We all had a great time as we made our way at our own pace through the different sections of the museum.  I recommend it as a unique activity that had far more appeal than you might expect (certainly more than I expected).  The only negative is that unlike most museums there was no museum gift shop, and the college bookstore closes early on Saturdays. 

We rounded off our afternoon by going back to the cousins' home, collecting the dogs, and going for a walk.  You should have been with us; what an experience!  Later I told the cousins they should have a recording to answer the questions they were asked by virtually everyone we passed, "Wow, look at those dogs; they're so big.  What kind are they?"  "How much do they weigh?"  "Do they eat a lot?" and so on.  Both husband and wife remained patient and polite as they fielded the questions, and the dogs?  Well, they're dogs.  They sniffed all the sniffable places that other dogs had visited, added their scents as well, and generally ignored the questions.

Back home to a festive dinner, birthday cake, more singing, and presents.  After dinner we played a game that was new to Alice and to us, but maybe you've come across it before.  It's called "Bananagrams".  Like Scrabble, tiles with letters on them are turned upside down for blind drawing, but there's no board.  Everyone draws his or her own tiles (the number depends on how many people are playing), and each person then tries to use all his or her own tiles to make words in an imaginary crossword puzzle format (remember there is no board).  The purpose of the game is to be the first person to use all your allotted tiles by making real words.  That's basically it. Yes, more tiles are drawn throughout the game, some can be tossed back, and so forth, but it's very easy.   This game can be played by anyone who is old enough to be able to spell words.  So it's good for everyone from, oh, say six or seven to ninety-six or ninety-seven. 

It was a super weekend visiting with family and doing the usual family things with some new ones thrown in the mix to keep it interesting.  I hope yours was as entertaining! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Update on Painting

Sunday, if you remember, I had time to do some painting.  That is, until I ran out of paint.  So for fun and giggles, I thought I would begin this painting's journey from that point.
I will take pity on you and tell you it is the final Canyon De Chelley painting in this series - for how would you know if I didn't tell you?  As you can tell, the canvas is larger and the orientation of the subject is different (horizontal as opposed to vertical) than the first two paintings which I think of as companion pieces to this one.  I ran out of ultramarine blue which is what I use for the deepest shadows on the canyon wall (on the left side) and white which I need for the brighter orange canyon walls.  Those were the paints I bought Tuesday morning before class.  Because I am now using a palatte knife almost exclusively, I like to lay out my colors and add details later after the base has had at least a week to dry,  As it stands now, the next step is to finish the rest of the base layer.

Now then, here is the second in the series that I worked on during class on Tuesday. 

This one is Canyon Caves, and I'm not thrilled with a few things I did this week so expect to see changes.  I love the fact that the rock layers are visible, and that I was able to begin to put in the green plants just beginning to put in their appearance on very wet paint at the base of the painting.  Remember there were no plants visible in Canyon Path - the first canyon painting - so this is gives a different feel to the views of this particular canyon.  I am not pleased that I have made the upper caves so very prominent.  As they are quite distant, they have to be toned down.  Also, the line delineating the foremost canyon wall is too heavy, too linear, and doesn't have a clearly darker rock face on the wall behind it.  Fortunately with oils, these problems can be addressed. 

So there you have an update on my paintings.  I do hope you aren't tired of my fascination with Canyon De Chelley!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Busy Day

Yesterday was a very busy day:

doctor's appointment
trip to artist supply store
emergency trip to coffee shop
painting class
taking care of business
doctor's appointment
taking care of business
dinner preparation
emergency glass/es of wine
crazy quilting

Today promises to be another day like this one.  No photos ready for the blog, fractured brain cells impeding inspiration for the blog, busy calendar pending, more emergency trips needed.

See you tomorrow!