Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quick Show & Tell

Just dropping a quick blog post, keeping you up to date on my "backgrounds" progress etc. First, I finally received the permanent pens I'd ordered for doing Zentangles, the ones I was using ran out of ink, Grrrr. So, here's a tangle piece that felt so good to do, I'd missed the calming effect it evokes in me. I love drawing.

Here's a question, should I colorize the "dots"?? I can't decide. I'll take a poll using the comments and do what you people tell me to. Hey!! Maybe this will get more of you happy lurkers to say something to me. I promise I don't bite. Come on... give it a try... I know you're out there. I see you... (Bob), hehehe. Anyways, it'll be interesting to see what you all say.

Next! I did a bunch of backgrounds, playing with different techniques and colors and more or less water. It was such a fun exercise as I wasn't trying to create anything specific. My only goal was to please the eye. Here's what happened...

On the right, I laid down color in gradients then dripped a bunch of water on top of the yet to dry surface. I think I really like this technique. It makes terrific patterns of positive and negative space with the color and if you don't like what you get you just sop it up and try again.

This one still needs the flower painted in, but I thought I'd show it before I did that. Then after, I think it'll be interesting to see how it improves and changes when the subject is added. I used cobalt blue and yellow ochre mainly for this one then added some clear water close to the stem to make the color "run away". I think this one is my favorite. I want to do this combination on a larger sheet.

This one is also missing it's subject, obviously a branching tree. I am less happy with this background, I think I need to darken some portions and modulate others. I think I need more contrast, although I do like how it looks as though the sun must be somewhere to the right of the branches. I used a stippling effect with similar colors with this one and I think I melded them too much on the bottom, not leaving enough contrast.

And finally, the largest one... This one will get not only dark bubbles but also background bubbles that will overlay and meld with the background that's there now. The background bubbles will be in light colors while the foreground bubbles will be darker browns and berry colors. We'll see how it turns out.

I'd love to hear your comments and don't forget to tell me whether to color in the circles on the zentangle. (I'll take any suggestions anyone wants to leave, lol.)

Can we talk later? Yes? Good!

P.S. I just thought of something else! If anyone wants to suggest future titles for any of the above, I'm all ears. (so to speak!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

See The Forest For The Trees.

1. Autumn Beech, 2. On the Red Carpet, 3. Autumn Remains 2 ..., 4. Para Rubber trees and a snake!

This Tuesday's mosaic with Artmind I did forests & trees. The idiom  "Can't see the forest for the trees" really stuck in my head this week. Maybe because that's exactly what I've been doing for too long, focusing on the details of a problem instead of seeing the whole thing, the Gestalt of it. For years I've been dealing with physical anomalies like not feeling well (lots of stuff in this category), plus dark circles under my eyes and low grade allergic skin reactions. None of these symptoms had been pinpointed to any specific cause but I was tested for celiac disease last year and it came up negative.

Well, I should have listened to my own intuition. I was so focused on how I felt and what I had been told I didn't have that I missed that it all added up to the reality that no matter what the doctor told me, I was having a serious problem with gluten. Every symptom pointed there. Why I didn't step back and  see that sooner, I don't know. Silly me. No, I am not a celiac patient, but I sure am totally sensitive to gluten! I went completely off any wheat  and gluten producing products and within 48 hours all of my major "not feeling well" symptoms went away. WOW. I still have dark circles etc. but those group of symptoms will diminish over time as my body heals from the constant bombardment & overstimulation from consuming gluten products over the years.

This last week has been a study of "how does one change one's whole way of eating" without getting totally flustered and confused. I want to stick to a gluten free diet and eat in a healthy way. Although I'm not really worried about very small sources of cross contamination on my oatmeal or a small amount of gluten in the vanilla I use, I do want to be knowledgeable about where gluten is found in larger amounts so I can avoid those products. Luckily I'm not a full blown celiac disease sufferer.  I just play one on t.v. ;o)  Yes, joking. No offense meant, just trying to lighten the mood in here. I have a lot of learning about gluten free cooking to do. But, it's kinda fun. I needed to eat healthier anyways. This just forces me to stay on program. So, this is me, gluten free. Good God, I rhyme too. Is there no end to my talents? Onward and upward, peoples!

So, I totally suck.  Last week I didn't get any posts done. I started the tulip painting and bumped my preverbal nose up against a truth. I really haven't learned to do a successful background yet. This truth stopped me in my painting tracks. I didn't want to go forward until I learned more about creating backgrounds. So, that's what I did.

I went through my constantly growing & bulging e-file of paintings that inspire me, looking for terrific examples of successful backgrounds. Here's what I found...

Title: Lemons & Cherry, Still Life with Bee

I love how soft and smooshy this background is. Yes, I said smooshy! I think it compliments the lemons beautifully. If it was more detailed the simplicity and beauty of the painting would be diminished. I love how the blush color in the upper right make me think the lemons are somehow innocent. :o)

Title: Waddle

Is this not the most adorable chicken you ever laid your eyes upon?? She looks fantastic! As the artist says, "She's so deliciously plump!". I think if the background was anything more complicated than just washes of color to evoke the feeling of sky and ground, it would take away from her beautiful plumpness. She is definitely the star of this terrific painting and the artist knew how to create a background to show her off to her best qualities. Brilliant.

Artist: Alfred Ng
Title: Memories Of Spring

Wow, this background is so bold! I love the expert randomness of it. There is real technique to getting a background to not look to contrived yet also look not so random as to suggest amateur status. Now, obviously this painting could never in a million years look at all amateur. The tulips are so exquisite they hurt my heart with the excessive love I have for them. I think this artist is masterful in adding the background. The color is bold yet works expertly with the white flowers. I'm fascinated.

Please go check out these artist's sites and blogs, their work will not disappoint! I'll have several smaller pieces to show from last week in the next 24 hours. All done to learn how to do backgrounds. What fun. I'm going to go find a rice cake now... We'll talk very soon.

I Promise!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Happy, Happy. Joy, Joy!!

1. don't stop believing, 2. Habanero splash, 3. 2009 Challenge 32/365 - Color: Red, 4. torn

It was a red letter weekend, which inspired my mosaic. Here's what I did to make me so happy. I threw a dinner party for family! Two of my mom's siblings (Aunt Mic & Uncle Bob) came over for a fantastic dinner which consisted of Moose stew! Yep, I made moose stew successfully. No Palin jokes, please. Seriously, I know I can't see Russia from my house! Here's the recipe I made up as I went, which turned out so well we all made rude slurping noises. Hehehe.

Moose Stew
serves 4-6
2 1/2 lb Moose meat, cut into 1inch cubes 
2 tbsp Olive Oil (or shortening) 
1/4 tsp black pepper 
1/2 tsp Paprika 
1 Bay leaf 
2 cans Condensed beef broth (~10 ounces each) 
1 can condensed apple juice 
1/2 can water 
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 lg Onion; diced 
3 Carrots; sliced 
18 small Whole white onions 
12 small New potatoes 
2 Tbsp Butter 
2 Tbsp Flour 
1 pkg onion soup mix 

1. Make a dredge for the moose cubes by adding approx. 1/2 
cup of flour to a baggie plus salt & pepper to taste. Throw the 
meat into the bag and shake. 
2. Saute meat cubes, diced onion and carrots in the hot olive 
oil until meat is brown on all sides but not cooked and onion
somewhat is caramelized. 
3. Add  the meat mixture and pepper, paprika, bay leaf, 
vinegar, onion soup mix, beef broth, apple juice & optional 
red wine to a slow cooker. Cover and simmer until meat is 
tender, at least 2-4 hours. 
4. Add whole onions and potatoes to a roasting pan and
add olive oil and s&p to taste, then roast for an hour, or 
until the vegetables are  tender. Add to stew.
5. Mix butter and flour into a paste. Drop into simmering stew. 
Cook, stirring, until stew bubbles and thickens. Serve with 
plain white rice or polenta.

-1 cup Dry red wine could replace one can of broth, I didn't and the recipe was terrific without it.
-recipe also works with beef.
-we added a sprinkle of oregano and thyme after a few hours to help cut the sweetness of the apple juice.

If you want to join in the fun with Flickr Favorites Tuesday Mosaic Day just go to Artmind's blog after you make a mosaic using this site (just go find a bunch of great pics, throw them in your Flickr favorites folder then go over to the site and upload them from your flickr account favorites, it's that easy!). You can add a border to your mosaic here

New stuff coming soon. Talk later?  :o) 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

I lied. I said I'd be back with a new painting this past Wednesday. I didn't mean to tell an untruth, I just didn't have any idea how bloody long this current painting was going to take me! I guess I should have figured it would take at least a couple of days since it's twice as large as the usual size I do. Hindsight is 20/20. :o)

This painting was very much an exercise in controlling the paint and the use of technique. It's the first one I've had enough knowledge under my preverbal belt to do that. Normally, I slap paint on the paper and hope for the best, the painting being mostly unconscious. This time it was so enjoyable to be able to have some degree of thought go into my brush movements.

It was such fun to paint this one! Also, I got to use my very favorite Holbein paint color. Opera. This is such a wonderfully unique and bright magenta pink. Love it. It was such fun to work with an incredibly vibrant color. It layers beautifully, getting more and more intense with every addition. Since the flower is mainly painted in Opera, I've decided to name it just that. Opera Rose, 16"x16" watercolor painting.

Tomorrow I'm going start another painting, this one even bigger, 15"x20". I'll be painting from a photograph my mom took of an incredible open, blown tulip. It's been on my list to do for months but I didn't think I could do it justice until now. I probably won't have it ready for presentation for a few days, until then...

Have a great week, peoples. :o)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Explosion Of Ideas

1. Sunlight Explosion, 2. Rosa de agua, 3. celebrate !, 4. Explosion of Color

This week's "Flickr  Favorites" mosaic at Artmind is all about the amazing increase of creativity and happiness I feel. For some reason, I'm just feeling euphoric about painting. I seem to have forgotten how to feel trepidatious about my talent or fearful of my artistic future in general. I guess I'm finally embracing the present and allowing the light of happiness in. It feels like an explosion happened within me, so that's what my mosaic is about this week. Movement upward & outward. It feels great. :o)

We'll talk later, K? For sure!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Hate Roses

It seems that the Universe is playing a little Karmic joke on me. Let me elaborate. When I started making designer wedding cakes, the part that made them "designer" were the flowers that I sculpted, shaped and painted out of cold porcelain. These flowers then adorned the wedding cake, making it something fit for an elaborate wedding.

When I made my first lily and it not only looked good but the techniques to make it came easily to me, I knew I had found a natural talent. Although I would get more proficient at making each kind of flower over time, the wide variety of flowers I tried in the next 7 years came easily to me. That is, all except one. The ROSE. The most popular flower for weddings, bar none. This flower would quickly become the bane of my wedding cake existance!

At first my roses looked slightly strange. Then, over time, they improved to just looking stiff. Finally, after 4 years and many roses later, they looked fairly good and only somewhat artificial. I was never totally happy with them and they took more time, practice and tweaking than any other flower, by far. It also didn't improve my love of them that each full blown rose took something like 25 individually formed petals. And coloring them was a nightmare because they had to be colored before they dried. I'll skip the boring explanation about why, just suffice it to say that coloring was tedious work. If I got an order for a cake using ALL red roses I would curse the bride and her damn taste for months as I made my nemesis over and over again. I hated them for all the above reasons but mostly because I couldn't achieve the loveliness of a real rose, no matter how hard I tried. It frustrated the hell out of me. Seriously.

Now, here's that little Karmic joke. I can hear the Universe chuckling & slapping it's preverbal knee as we speak. I paint roses better than I paint any other flower. I seem to understand the unique way they grow, mature and open. I can capture the curl of their petals beautifully. I can recreate a rose with paint even better than I can sculpt a lily out of paste. And now... I Love Roses! :o)  I don't hate them any more. Any of their species are welcome in my vase or garden. I apologize for my previous hate, it was really my own sadness & ineptitude at not being able to capture their beauty that masqueraded as hate. I humbly beg their forgiveness. It's a good thing that flowers don't hold grudges. ;o)

Here is my latest painting. Surprise!! It's a rose. (you weren't surprised at all, were you?)

I think I'll name it Karma. It seem appropriate, don't you think? Me too. I have five, yes, you heard me correctly, FIVE other paintings drawn out and ready for paint. I finally moved into larger paper this week. I'm doing one that is 16"x16" and another that is 15x20. I'll have to switch paint brushes and bring out the big guns. Uhhh..... brush. LOL. This behemoth of a brush is certainly at least twice as large as my favorite brush. And I can see myself having to hunt down larger brushes as I move to full sheets of 20x30 inch paper. The brush needs to hold enough paint and water so it doesn't streak when I am trying to cover a large area. Anyway, I'll keep you all informed on how the new brush works. I'm crossing my fingers.

I'm off to bed to get a good night sleep, I have paintings waiting to be painted! Don't forget me while I'm gone, K? I'll be back Wednesday morning (or Tuesday evening, right after the mosaic if I just can't wait, hehehe) with a new painting... I wonder what it'll be of??? ;o)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

St. Joseph's School Of Nursing

Fourty-five years ago this week my mom graduated from St. Joseph's School of Nursing. She looked so stunning in her white cap and navy blue cape with red lining (I saw the pictures). She chose obstetrics as her specialty. She said that it was always changing, obstetrics was never just routine and most everyone there was happy and left the hospital in a day or two with a bundle of joy. She really enjoyed her time as a nurse but "retired" when she had me, in that same hospital. Let me say, I was the MOST spoiled baby in the entire world for the few months I was in the hospital (I was very premature so I spent a couple of months being carried around by all my mom's nursing friends). Mom said that when she finally got to take me home I was so spoiled that I drove her crazy!! I would cry every time she put me down. I think I owe her one. ;o)

This week I'm doing the celebration cake for their 45th Anniversary Reunion. The reunion is a three day event that started on Monday with a meet & greet. Tonight mom's at the University Club (my alma mater) for the official dinner, then tomorrow there will be a luncheon where my cake will be the dessert. I also did the card that's shown in the picture. Inside is the above photo of their graduation. It's really satisfying to be able to help.

Mom just got home from the Dinner, she says she had a wonderful time. I'm so happy for her. It must be cool to have history with a group of such stand up women. I love nurses, mine especially. :o) For all those scraped knee fixes, kissed & disinfected booboos and that steadfast attitude when the bee stung me? Thanks mom.

Don't miss me too much, blink and I'll be back with a painting. Ya, ya! Promises, promises! :o)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Color Is My Day-Long Obsession, Joy & Torment

It's Tuesday Mosaic day with Artmind. I have noticed, as I do these Flickr favorites mosaics, how attracted and excited I am by color. It really stimulates my mind and energizes my thoughts. It makes me itchy to make something. It amazes me how color, in the eye of the beholder, leads to creation. That's what my mosaic is about this week.

1. You see me better than I am, she said and I'm worried what'll happen when your vision changes..., 2. Teal peel, 3. Against the Colors, 4. Colourful inchies

By the way, the title of this blog post is a quote from Claude Monet. It seemed eminently appropriate. :o)

I'll be back soon with something or other colorful, I'm sure.
Talk soon? Yuppez!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Inner Aspects

It's Tuesday Mosaic with Artmind. I'm a little late this Tuesday, just under the wire, lol. This week Mitsy has given us a theme for our mosaic. She decided to shake things up a bit and do a theme week for the first Tuesday of every month. Our first theme is about emptiness & loneliness. Here's what she said about this week's theme...
"A bit gloomy, scary and sad perhaps but I think it also has a very beautiful aspect. When you feel empty or lonely, you are forced to deal with it somehow. It reflects on your whole being and it will make you stronger and more concious then anything else."

I think it's interesting that Mitsy chose this theme, I've been trying to work through just those types of feelings in the last few weeks. I'm not lonely per say, but the empty feeling that comes with also being uncertain about the future has been plaguing me lately.

I'll be back with paintings soon. :o)

In The Mean Time....

I haven't done any painting in a few days, I took a long weekend off. I needed to power down a little and enjoy other things around me. I thought, however, that I could post this little tidbit to keep you all interested while I get back to painting wonderful flowers this week. I'm sending the following double sided ATC (artist trading card) to Teresa from Creations by Tee. If you remember, she was the blog friend who sent me a lovely  pendant (seen on the left) for my birthday. What a lovely and generous woman she is! We decided to trade ATC's too. Here's what I'm sending her.

I'm also sending along a bookmark with abstract watercolor stripes on one side and a yellow daisy on the other. Here it is on the right. It really turned out cute! It's such fun to have other people to trade art with. I'm really not sure what I'll decide to paint this week, I'll take any suggestions under advisement, though. :o)  I owe my mom a couple smaller paintings to "go" with her yellow rose, "Torino". She decided to put it over the fireplace and has purchased frames to make a group. She likes the idea of my doing a study of the yellow rose so I'm going to do a bud and either detailed leaves or a partially open bud. I think I'll go with the bud and leaf close up. I miss doing leaves. Hey, maybe I'll do the 5x7's for mom then do a larger painting of leaves... like a Hosta plant. We have like 40 Hosta in our very luscious garden. This year they're looking especially terrific, with all the rain we've been getting. Don't ask me about the tomato seedlings that have yet to be planted, though. They're slowly dying because it hasn't warmed up enough to permanently plant them yet. Grrr, this cold weather! 

Oh, by the way, I wanted to mention that many times I want to answer your wonderful comments but so far I haven't found an add in comment widget that allows that to happen. On other people's sites I've seen it where if the blog owner comments back, their comments come out in another color so it looks like a conversation instead of just looking strange, like the blog owner is commenting on herself, hehehe. I'd love to get my hands on that widget! Just know that I appreciate all comments and every time someone says something wonderful I want to thank them and send a hug. You all make me very happy with your kind words. So, this is me, sending out a very large thank you and a group hug to all of you lovely, caring people. You've all made blogging such a joy to do! 

We'll talk soon, K? 


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