As part of the annual Library Big Read program (by NEA and Arts Midwest) the River City Art Association provided a visual display of works related to the theme of the book. They are on display at the Vigo County Library.
I read the book in January, and chose to represent the passage where Denver describes her birth story to Beloved. There are several aspects I find beautiful about this story, one being that a white woman helped the escaping slave, Sethe, give birth to Denver (on a boat in the middle of the Ohio River), and it was ‘done appropriately and well’. Another inspiring aspect is the description of the blue and silver fern spores in the river, each one containing information for promise of the future.
The display will be up until Friday, April 1, 2022.
One of my major painting goals for 2022 is to paint from life as much as possible.
After my enjoyable sessions at the live portrait group in Pennsylvania, where I simplified the process by using only the Zorn palette (yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black and titanium white) plus transparent red oxide, I decided to concentrate on using the Zorn palette for more portrait practice this year.
I returned to photos that I took in Nov 2019, when I asked family members to sit for me for an hour at a time during the week of my birthday and I painted 11 x 14 portrait sketches using water-mixable oils:
Now, in 2022, I’ve repainted from these photographs using a 3-step process:
I decided to apply the lessons I’d learned from the live portrait group to some work at home.
Sadly, I did not have a live model anymore (working on ideas to find some!), but I revisited the time when I did have live models sit for me, during my birthday week of 2019 (one of my birthday wishes).
At the end of the session, the model inspected the various representations of himself, with generous comments to all!
The group plans to continue painting veterans every other week, and in Nov 2022 have a display of all the year’s portraits of veterans at the VA hospital. At that time each veteran may choose one portrait of themselves to keep. I thought that was a great plan!
Several months later, I painted the same subject again (from my photo), on a larger canvas and with a more expressive background.
During our fall stay in PA, I went to a couple of two hour live portrait sessions at a local art center. On one occasion we painted a class member and on the other, a veteran. There were 6-8 artists present, using a variety of media.
On the first session I attended we painted a class member. I started in charcoal, and was pleased to find I could make a decent likeness in about half an hour.
Then I painted the sitter again using a very limited palette of oil paints. This was yellow ochre, cadmium red, ivory black, titanium white and transparent red oxide (a modifed version of the palette used by Swedish master artist Anders Zorn).
I started with a very rough block-in, then painted all the shadows with transparent red oxide for the face and ivory black for the clothing. I found the limited number of colors easier to manage and mix.
I was very happy with the glow that the red oxide gave to the face. The other class members had useful comments to make about my efforts and said I’d captured his likeness exactly. It was all very enjoyable and satisfying.
This is the final painting from Kelli Folsom’s Painting Roses Masterclass series. ( I bought this Masterclass as a stand-alone series, but now you have to join her Vital Art Sessions or Art Life School to see it).
It was so much fun to paint. For the background I experimented with ‘12 Shades of Grey’ that I bought from Jerry’s Artarama last year. It was a bit risky, since the tubes do not list their pigments, but I liked the background effects that resulted.
After I enjoyed the lesson by Kelli Folsom so much (Terracotta Pot with Grapes, that I painted with my sister), I bought her Masterclass on painting roses. The first lesson was black and white studies of roses structure and form and the second lesson was on colors for roses.
This painting is from the third lesson. It included instruction on still life set-up, composition and colors. Kelli has such a warm, friendly and encouraging manner that it is a pleasure to listen to her, and her information is always useful. I loved doing this lesson!
My two sisters came to visit me Nov-Dec 2021, to celebrate my significant birthday on the day after Thanksgiving. We all have art interests and I was very happy to be able to paint with my sister Hilary. We both painted from the same lesson by Colorado artist Kelli Folsom, in the free Intro to Art Life section of her website.
It was so much fun and we were both pleased with our results!
I was delighted this year to once again have a painting selected for exhibit in the Swope Art Museum Annual Juried Show. My painting ‘Flying 2020’ was chosen by Juror Drek Davis from Louisiana. In his comments he said,
“While there is no specific theme for the exhibition, it seemed to me that the vast majority of the works submitted in one way or another spoke to the moment that we find ourselves in. Nina Simone is famously noted as saying “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” And while it is debatable whether that charge is an actual duty, per se, the works assembled here suggest that numerous artists in the Wabash Valley understand it as an opportunity to address some of life’s persistent emotional, social, and psychological issues. In the times that we find ourselves, for this moment, that’s important I think.”
That was exactly how I felt at this moment in the airplane! I sat there with my face almost totally covered, one mask required by the airline, one mask desired by me, and thought, “This is a strange situation we’ve come to in the world”, and was motivated to capture the moment in paint.