This is my third month-long Show at the Bellevue Gallery, which is attached to the Farmer House Museum in Bloomington, IN. I had 16 paintings on display for the month of October. There are 4 portraits, 4 landscapes, 4 flowers and 4 figures. Paul Kane, artist-in-residence at the Gallery, hung the Show and placed them in unusual dimensions to show that I was working in different directions. I think my next Show should be more uniform and cohesive?
We had a reception on Friday, Oct 18, which was mid-Show. Attendance was low, but we had a great time playing music and talking! I am very grateful to be able to display my paintings at the Gallery.
I used my daughter, Elizabeth as a model for this picture, taking about 30 pictures in various poses and lightings. When I decided which pose I liked I drew several on 6 x 8 inch pieces of 300 lb Arches paper and tried out a few different paint triads. It was fun! They all behaved differently, and there were quite a few surprise features. This image was my favorite, especially the blends and ‘holes’ in the background. The hair was added with burnt umber.
I printed the words on my computer, cut out the strips and attached them to the edge of the painting. I had copies made at Staples, where I always enjoy attentive and caring service. The staff there always seem willing to try several iterations until I’m satisfied with the product.
These paintings were all done from the front seat of my van. Is it ‘plein air’ if the window is closed? (I think the window might have been open though! We have had weeks of gloriously clear, sunny, warm weather) It seems the important aspect is to be looking at the real object in its real life setting. The first one is on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, IN. It took me about 30 minutes.
Acrylic on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches
The second painting is also on the IU campus, done on a different day. I loved the morning shadows on the building, but feel I didn’t paint them quite how I wanted.
Acrylic on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches
I tried again the next week, using watercolor in my art journal. I like this one better. I think it was helpful to include the big tree that is casting the shadows on the building. Perhaps I was better at drawing it the second time. Perhaps the vertical format is more suitable? Total absorption for one beautiful hour!
I bought a lined, spiral bound journal for this year made by the same publisher as my 2016 journal. However, there was some small change to the paper making it more absorbent, and giving a more grainy finish.
I wasn’t happy with it, so I decided to make my own. I figured out how to print this grid onto watercolor paper. After a lot of fruitless effort trying to get the pages spiral bound, I took the simpler route and put them all in a 3-ring binder. It’s working really well!
The paper is Arches 90lb cold-pressed watercolor paper. It’s great for watercolor, but does not take colored pencil very well, and pen and ink is more difficult to use on it.
I even have a storage pocket in the back, where I keep the wonderful paint dots from Daniel Smith. It’s like having a complete palette on the go!
I started keeping an art journal in August of 2015, after reading Daily Painting by Carol Marine, and No Excuses Art Journaling by Gina Rossi Armfield. I bought a standard journal at Books A Million, and I kept this one all the way through 2016. On most days I painted in watercolor, or drew in Prismacolor pencils. On some days I stuck in found objects that were related to that day. week or time of year.
I have loved keeping the journal! Sometimes it was therapeutic-expressing an emotion, sometimes it was relaxing, and sometimes just plain fun and enjoyable. I love seeing the week’s page develop. I saw patterns in my life that were encouraging.
My children seem to enjoy looking through it, enjoying the pictures and remembering the events. My oldest daughter has asked me to leave it to her in my will!
I have recently read ‘Atmospheric Watercolors’ by Jean Haines and I started a background with her methods. It was very loose and I used cling film to create textures. Then I superimposed a drawing of these roses on top and developed them using the colors from the ‘Red-Green ‘ palette in ‘Watercolor Harmony’ by Joyce Washor. They are still tighter and more detailed than shown in eitehr of these books! I don’t know if I can ever paint ‘loose’! (The ‘rose’ in the top left corner is mainly just the cling film pattern; I liked how it looked, so I just left it).
Thirteen of my paintings are being displayed for the month of September in the Bellvue Gallery in Bloomington, IN. It is a small one-room gallery attached to The Farmer House Museum. We had an opening night on Sept. 2, where I played my harp and my son played his violin. We’ll have a closing evening on Sept. 30, when we will play more ‘family music’. I am thankful for the opportunity to have my paintings displayed publicly for a month!
My attempts to paint en plein air on vacation apparently were contagious. One day Elizabeth and William both asked for some paper, brushes and paints and each spent a quiet and satisfying time creating a painting, although neither from their immediate surroundings. (Elizabeth’s was an imaginary camping scene based on our previous stops. We had just a couple of days earlier visited a museum in Bennington, VT, where they had a display of works by Grandma Moses (painted at ages 60-99!) and I think Elizabeth was thinking of those images. William’s was an abstract).
I’ve given both of them quite a bit of art instruction in the past, so they had a good idea where to start and how to proceed. Maybe it was the quietness of the campsite and my painting that pulled them; maybe the lack of other distractions and activities? I was also satisfied to see them create with paint.