Wow, I can’t believe it is August already. I was able to visit the San Diego Museum of Art in July and see two incredible exhibitions. On the first floor we were treated to “Brush and Ink” with works selected by Chinese painter Pan Gongkai, President of China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. The exhibition has selections dating from the 15th century to the present. The delicate and light application of ink on silk scrolls and fans transport the viewer to a time and place like no other. The seemingly effortless brush strokes belie the years of practice it takes to achieve these expressions of feelings. This runs through September 4,2016.
Zhang Daqian Lotus, 1958
The other show, “Brueghel To Canaletto: European Masterpieces From the Grasset Collection” includes some of the 40 works that SDMA has on loan from the Grasset family of Spain for the next three years. Artists from Floris Claesz van Dyck, Balthasar van der Ast, to Giovanni Antonio Canal let viewers experience daily life and the changing attitudes shaped by science as well as a fascination with Asian and American luxury items during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. The attention to detail, some of these paintings are small, is exquisite. I was mesmerized by the painting techniques that transported the viewer into the scenes. This show closed August 2, 2016 but check in with SDMA frequently for further exhibitions.
Osias Beert the elder, (Antwerp) 1580-1624) Still Life of Flowers in a Stone Vase in a Niche, Oil on panel
I start little projects intending to someday finish them. To that, a while ago I blocked in a painting on a small canvas working on the color strength and values. I didn’t like what was happening so I put it away for another day. When an appropriate amount of time had passed, I pulled it out again. This time, I slightly changed the composition. Still not pleased with it and definitely not finished, I took it over to a friend’s house for a little help. We talked about making some more changes and I was happy. So happy that when I left, I forgot the painting. A few days later her ex showed up, saw the painting next to the fireplace and exclaimed, “Now, that’s a great painting!” She laughed because our styles and palette are completely different. How could he not know it wasn’t hers? So, there is art for everyone! Here is the blocked in version, waiting to be finished!
I mentioned a while back that I use Mary Lou’s watercolor paper books. I love these books because they come in all different sizes and I can experiment painting on cold press, hot press and rough paper from different manufacturers. Mary Lou includes Fabriano Artistico in her books but I found a few sheets of Fabriano Uno and discovered it is a lot of fun to use. The cold press has some tooth so I can get great textural effects. Wet into wet yields soft edges and great luminosity. Try it you’ll like it, that is, if you can find it. Fabriano discontinued this some time ago.
This month I have been playing with charcoal on watercolor paper. I had forgotten how much fun it is to draw with a deep dark stick. The charcoal glides over the paper making scratching sounds as I guide my hand in straight lines and soft circles. Usually I would use my fingers or a stump to blend but this time I used water and a watercolor brush. I found I could very easily control the grays. If I needed more darks, I just added more charcoal. The values changed gradually and gracefully.
If you are learning about values or want a refresher just try putting down some dark darks and add water, taking your brush as far as you can until only the white of the paper remains. Try outlining the objects in darks and blend with water for the interior as I have done below. An alternative to that is to not draw a dark outline but only use the value of the object you are drawing as a guide. This is basic drawing but so very satisfying.
May 21,2016, Marque Todd will be conducting a workshop for the Ramona Art Guild. This will be a Gouache Resist workshop where gouache (opaque watercolor) is put down and then india ink is poured over the paint, revealing wonderful surprises. See www.ramonaartguild.org for more information.
Rocky and Kozy have grown since the last post. They still run down the stairs, two at a time and Kozy jumps up on the hutch in the living room but sitting at the window or at the back door watching the hummingbirds can be just as fun. Of course napping in the sun is an afternoon priority....
Where has the month of March gone? I have been still creating new images for Christmas 2016 and will be finished up by the end of April. YEA!
You know the old adage about always drawing and painting using the best materials that you can. Well, sometimes your best work comes out of not "caring" enough to use the very best. When I am faced with a beautiful, clean sheet of watercolor paper and I have done a thumbnail sketch and even a preliminary drawing with color, I feel like I have invested a lot of time and effort and the end product better be pretty good. When I just sit down and start drawing on any old piece of paper and drop in a little color, then magic happens. I haven't invested emotional time or energy, just a lot of joy and satisfaction. Well, I found myself painting with friends the other day and this is what happened. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Well, Kozy and Rocky continue to grow and become more and more rambunctious. Here they are again "helping" me with my art tools. Kozy is trying to chew on my acrylic brushes and Rocky has discovered that the paper towel roll is even better when he has chewed it! The joys of painting with kitties!
When I think of February, usually President’s Day or Valentines Day comes to mind. This year it is a bit different. While I am baking a batch of French Macaroons for a special someone, shhh, it’s a secret, I am concentrating on Christmas 2016.
A special project is underway so stay tuned.
Sharing in all this are my two young helpers, Rocky and Kozy. I find them sleeping in all sorts of different places but when they are awake, they are zipping through the house, crashing into the walls, attempting to leap tall cabinets and then settle down to help me with my drawings and walk through my palette. I have become adept at incorporating their paw prints in paintings. Kozy was very interested in a new tube of Cad Red. Yes, he punctured the tube and there was red paint all over the desk, phone and his whiskers!
Usually January brings resolutions to go to the gym, eat healthy, etc. You know all of them. I know that I have to get to my favorite classes at the gym about 10-15 minutes earlier than usual due to all the newbies. That only lasts for a few weeks.
I didn't make any formal resolutions but I decided to really concentrate on a few things. No big changes, just a few minor adjustments. I have realized that is what has worked best for me.
Since I love drawing with my pens and using watercolor, that's what I will do. Just look for a few new twists in the weeks and months to come. So glad to have you travel with me on this journey. I hope that you will be inspired to find your own creativity this year! Happy New Year!
This month I have been working on blind contour drawings and creating abstract paintings. I started this by drawing with pen and ink and followed up with dropping in a watercolor wash for the background. I had a lot of fun with filling in the rest. The great thing about this technique is that you can turn the image in various directions, get a great composition and a totally different feel depending on how you are viewing it. Let me know which you prefer!
This is a great time of year. The weather fluctuates from hot to cool with maybe a little rain. You can find inspiring art receptions and openings in and around town. Looking forward to seeing upcoming exhibitions at Oceanside Museum of Art as well as at the Olde Ramona Hotel Gallery. Friend and fellow artist Janice Reich will be one of featured artists at the Olde Ramona Hotel Gallery.
Busy working on two projects for the Tuesday Nights Group exhibition of Exquisite Corpse from October 30th through Nov1st. The artist reception for this annual show will be lots of fun. Stop by, you won't be disappointed! Here is a partial preview of my "corpse". Let me know what you think!
To keep cool when the weather is like it is now, I hunker down, find a quiet place and draw. Okay, I really just keep drinking as much water as possible.
Yesterday I painted with friends, Carol and Venus. Red gerbera daisies caught my attention and so did some orange poppies. Here they are in-process. Hope you like them.