Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Blue Star

Blue Star
Oil on Canvas

This is part of my Rosie the Riveter series and it is significant for a few reasons.  For each Rosie I  like to have a story and significance to the piece.  In this piece she is reading a letter, we used to read letters.  I can remember running to the mailbox to see if I got a letter that day.  It was a big part of "social media."  The letters I got were read over and over again.  They were treasured.  So in this painting I am bringing you back in time to when the written word was so much more significant than it is today.  Of course she has her signature red polka dot kerchief on her head.  She also wears a blue star pin.  Blue star pins are worn by military family members who have a loved one in harms way...that is... at war.  My paternal grandmother had a blue star pin with 4 stars...that means she had four people fighting for our country.  They were her husband and three sons.  I cannot imagine the angst she felt not knowing how her family was.  I am proud to say I still have the pin and it is one of my most prized possessions.  The other significant item is the locket around her neck.  I painted it in the shape of a heart and my thought is that it holds a picture of her loved one.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Karen Wooly Offutt workshop

Karen wooly Offutt workshop

Alia El Bermani studio

February 2018


I arrived at Alia’s studio at about 9:30 and most of the students were there setting up.  I only knew Judy Tacketts and was anxious to catch up with her and talk about her latest “Chicks with Balls” painting.  If you haven’t seen Judy’s work you much check it out.  As I walked in the room I was greeted by Alia and Karen…the other students introduced themselves as I walked by.  It was a welcoming atmosphere.  I noticed August Burns and remembered her from the Portrait Society Conference.  I love her work and may have gushed a bit. 

The first day we had a demo by Karen in the AM and then we painted in the afternoon while Karen walked around and gave us the benefit of her expertise.  Her comments were always complimentary…but she gently nudged me in the right direction. 

During Karen’s demo she talked about her palette.  Titanium White and burnt sienna mix her light skin tones.  Burnt sienna and manganese make a shadow.  She will mix one color for a basic skin tone and then take from that puddle of paint adding colors to make darker and lighter tones.  Karen stressed the use of optical mixing…when you create paint colors not by mixing on the palette but through knowledge of color theory and how the eye perceives colors that abut or overlay each other. 

Squint…see shapes and values…place anchor points on the figure to emphasize areas. Put in all shapes and values…use the same value but use warmer and cooler colors to turn the form.   Blend on your palette.  Colors can get cloudy if you blend on the canvas. 

A great exercise:  do a small study THEN do a larger piece using the same number of brush strokes.  It helps keep the spontaneity.

There were many quotes throughout the three days. 

Karen quoted David Shelvino “We are not dismantling a bomb here.” 

Karen’s quote 's included “always paint as if there is not commitment” “break the rules”  August Burns chimed in “know the rules…then break them” “Don’t create challenges you don’t need” “once you get to a certain point in your painting you have freedom to play” “magic happens in your intuition not in your logical brain” “Avoid Challenges”

Karen’s quote from a Savvy painter podcast “when the task and your ability meet you are fully engaged”  

And finally the long awaited Vincent Desiderio quote “Great technique is often on the cusp of collapse under the weight of its own ambition.”

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Future is Now

The Future is Now

This is part of my series of women in traditionally male roles.  This is Samantha.  She works at the United States Senate. The red and white polka dot blouse is a nod to her Rosie the Riveter sisters who wore kerchiefs of the same cloth on their heads.  Strong, independent women...cut from the same cloth.  

Samantha was kind enough to let me into the Senate offices in the Russell building and photograph her in her office, in the senate.  The history of the Russell building is impressive to say the least.  It was first opened in 1909.  This photo was taken in the conference room where countless senators have met.  Republicans and Democrats have conferred, argued and agreed.  Our country has been shaped by the decisions made in that room.

We had a great photo shoot and I took pictures of her in some very powerful and commanding poses.  Then as an aside I asked her to sit cross legged on a table.  It is not what I was going for at all, it was a lark.  When I analyzed all the pictures and tried to find the ONE...the one that would say what I want it to say this pose kept drawing me in...then I noticed the clock above her head and a light went on...that was it.  It is her time...it is our time.  The Future is Now.  Samantha is our future. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rosie the Riveter - Contemporary Warrior woman

Linda - Contemporary Rosie
oil on canvas
20 x 24

Rosie the Riveter is a moniker for women who did traditionally male jobs during world war one and two.  They worked in factories, mechanic shops and did manual labor that their male counterparts did before shipping off to war.  Their efforts helping the war effort are enormous.  For most of my Rosie the Riveter series I have concentrated on original Rosies and how they feel about their contribution today and re-enactments of Rosie in different 40's and 50's settings.  

Continuing with my Rosie the Riveter series...this is a contemporary Rosie.  Linda is a dear friend.  Her story is one of perseverance.  She has proven to be a formidable force and rises to any challenge.  She works in a traditionally male occupation...she owns and runs the Grapevine fine art Foundry.  She has overcome obstacles I cannot even imagine.  I am in awe of this woman...she is a Warrior.  While I usually am pretty adamant about using only my own resources for paintings, I saw this picture of her and immediately asked if I could use it.  She graciously agreed...and so here she is.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rosie the Riveter on Break

Rosie the Riveter on break
24 x 36
Oil on Canvas

Continuing my Rosie the Riveter series I painted this Rosie as she took a break from work.  My Rosie's aren't pensive, thoughtful and sometimes portrayed as very tired.  It was a trying time for all.  

Rosie the Riveter is representative of all the women who took on traditionally male jobs while the men were out fighting in World war one and two.  The women work in factories, mechanic shops, and assembly lines.  They did hard, physical labor while still holding their families and homes together.  It was a tough time for everyone.  Everyone was involved in the war effort.  I love that women of all ethnicities worked side by side.  I hope by doing this series it shines a new light on how much women were involved in building our great nation. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Selfie, Women Artists Mentors, and travel

Top Hat selfie
16 x 20
Oil on Raymar panel

I try to paint a self portrait from time to time.  It gives me a chance to paint from life and I get to wear some of my wonderful hats!  This time as I was painting it reminded me a funny story...

I belong to a mentoring group.  Women, Artists, Mentors...we refer to ourselves as WAM.  Debra Kierce, Helen Beacham, Carrie Roets Waller and Kim Minichiello are the members.  We work towards helping each other by advising, encouraging, cheering, commiserating, informing, and mutually admiring each others work with a genuine feeling of love and affection.  We have been fortunate to be able to travel together from time to time.  Our first meeting was a show in Charleston...we were all able to attend except for Carrie who was living in Japan.  I hated to see her left out so I decided to take a page from "flat Stanley,s" playbook and printed out a picture of Carrie that I mounted on a stick...so we could include her in all the group photos

A few years ago Flat Stanley was all over the internet.  Classes would send a cartoon character to friends and relatives to see how far and traveled he could get.  It was quite a phenomenon.  I decided it was a great way to include Carrie in our show!   I often have these ideas and they are not always met with enthusiasm...so you can imagine my delight when my fellow WAM members embraced the idea and it has become part of what we do when we travel.  We have pictures of each of our faces and we bring them along whenever two or more of us meet.  It is a fun way to keep everyone included.  We started calling them flatheads.  You can see my four flatheads that grace my studio...my WAM members are always with me.  

Funny story...we recently had a show at a wonderful museum in Miles City Montana.  Waterworks art Museum, coincidentally WAM also, hosted us.  Deb and I were able to attend so we dutifully brought along the other three flatheads.  As we were recounting the story of the flatheads to those in Montana we were quickly told that there is an Indian tribe nearby that are known as the Flatheads!  Who Knew????   We certainly did not want to offend and so refrained from using the name for our cutouts.  

Our next WAM adventure will be to Montreal to see Helen's hometown!  There will be sightseeing, sketching and we will get to meet Helen's sister.  No flatheads will be necessary as all of us are able to make the trip.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

bowler hats and vanilla beans!

A twofer!  I recently visited my dear friend in Charleston.  We celebrate our birthdays together and have for he last 25 years!  Having missed last February with her I decided to drive to Charleston during Spoleto to visit and celebrate.  Spoleto is a big art festival...my dear friend Helen Beacham participates every year so it was a great way to get to see her too!  What a great time!  

When I travel I always bring kimonos and hats with me in the hopes of finding willing models.  I am not fussy about whether they sit for let me do a photo shoot...I prefer the sitting but I am happy to have photos.

My dear friend Kathy offered to pose with the bowler and tie...who doesn't love a bowler and tie!  I was trying to think of how to spice it up a bit when I thought of a moustache...of course it has been done but I wanted to put my own spin on it.  I thought of a vanilla bean!  I was fortunate enough to get one that had the perfect little curl at the end...it reminded me of Snidley Whiplash...dating myself but it amused me!  After Kathy so generously sat I asked her beautiful daughter in law to do the same.  Here are my first two attempts at