Student progression.

About 15 months ago, ‘Jo’ took my absolute beginner’s class.  Earlier in the month, she took the class again, not having painted very much in between.  One of the things that I ask at the beginning of the class is what the student hopes to get out of it.  It can help me tailor the class a little to hopefully cover any specific items. In this class Jo was lucky in that she was the only one, so we got to discuss her progress a little more.

She had indeed painted the day before, using watercolor crayons.  The papers were tiny piece of printer or drawing paper – not the best surface.  Jo expressed that she had had difficulty making out what she had painted afterwards and had ended up using ink to define the items painted.  Towards the end of the afternoon, after the standard Shadows exercise, we looked at Jo’s paintings and I thought we could tackle one of them as a larger watercolor and make a more realistic painting.

Working a little larger does help.  This time we used watercolor paper (Canson 140lb cold press) – about 12×9″.  I drew a quick value sketch first on a scrap to outline some of the changes that we would make to make the little barrel cacti look more round, and the rocks “rocky”.  The main adjustments were addition of shadows/shading to bring out the shapes of the cacti and rocks.  I suggested a simple blue sky/purple hills/sandy mid-ground behind the cacti in order to make them stand out from it, rather than a green one of a similar tone.  The cacti flowers didn’t come out as well as hoped – I’m not by nature a floral painter and they were a little on the small side to do much more with than a bit of impressionism.

Jo said her husband thought everything she painted was wonderful, but when he came to pick her up after the class and we showed him the before and after, there was no faking those eyebrows shooting skyward.  Here’s the before (on the right! 🙂 ) and the after.

After and before cactus paintings

Monday’s cactus painting on the right, and Tuesday’s redo with Absolute Beginners class and a little individual guidance.

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Collapse of an eco-system and the last superhero.

reflectingpoolchange

I’m not usually an openly political person – this is something of a political posting, but more of an ecological item, not party politics.  If you live anywhere in North or Central America, this could affect you.

Monthly Newsletter

 

The Pylos Combat Agate.

I thought that this article was very interesting.  About 3500 years ago, a Minoan warrior was buried along with some stone carved artwork.  Now that it’s been unearthed, the details in the artwork suggest a level of artistic knowledge beyond its time.

It is certainly a detailed piece of realistic carving!

 

Going bananas enough to have a day off.

bananasculpture

We went to the International Banana Museum on Saturday, one of the few Touristy Things To Do Near Me that we had never done.
display2

This is housed in half a former bar in North Shore, CA. The bananatender is the son of the original bar owner. The other half of the bar is now a liquor/convenience store.

display1
Fred started the museum about five years ago when he stumbled on the Guinness Book of Records Banana-related-items collection available on eBay and decided to make it his retirement business.

bananatree

There are a lot of bannanery things here as you can imagine.

bananaflipflops

The banana flipflops were one of my favorites.

weknowtheartist

I couldn’t believe there was a piece of banana-related artwork in there by an artist we know – D actually has a one of his prints.  Neither could Fred and Kim. They’re looking forward to me getting them in touch with him.

splittingasplit

We couldn’t resist splitting a banana split. Can’t remember the last time I had one.  They had a decent selection of ice cream flavors too.

If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a look – but do go to their website first and call to make sure of their open hours.

A life-in-the-desert moment.

I thought for some time that the hole that was dug under the fence at the south corner of my yard was a jack-rabbit construction.  The cottontails can get through the chain fence, but not the jack-rabbits, so they would need a way of getting in if they wanted to get some water from the bottom half of the birdbath.  But I did begin to suspect that hole was rather larger than jack-rabbits needed.  I was right.

This morning I saw a coyote walking down the street outside my window. He glanced over at the birdbath and looked at the water level, then continued along the fence out of sight behind the plants. A moment later indeed he reappeared but did not initially go for a drink.

coyote in my yard

Maybe he’s curious about the movement of the blinds…

He turned and walked round the house to the west and I lost sight of him – there’s no window on that side of the house.  The pigeons, feeding at the back suddenly scattered so I knew he was close.  Went back hopefully to the bedroom window and was rewarded.  Looks like android movies upload seamlessly to Windows10, so I hope this works for you!  I wasn’t able to upload it into my post, but I was able to put it on my website: CoyoteInYard

 

Global warming and art

There’s something to be said about global warming – like ‘it’s real!!!!’ – when even art museums are changing the way they choose and store art because of it.  I found this article very interesting.  Maybe art that is destroyed when it becomes too wet is going to be ‘ephemeral art’ in the not too distant future.  Perhaps I should start sculpting in stone…..

Silence, Trees, Weather.

Cloudy Sky

Salton City, August. Weather coming in, I hear the thunder getting closer. I hope it will clear before I go out for an arts meeting this evening!

Yes, 9 days since I blogged – I’ve been on the road for most of those.  I have seen a lot of skies, a lot of roads and was astonished by Mount Shasta – whose awesome beauty I was unprepared for.

While I was in Bellevue, WA, there was a lull at the fair, during which I was able to add to my list of sonnets.  One step further to that bucket list item.

Tree Work

The upper leaves spread up to gather light

The lower leaves reach out to seek the sun

The branches stretch and grow with all their might

Until leaves redden when the summer’s done.

The colorful flowers that bloomed bright in the spring

Are now brown crisps around a precious seed

that wait for autumn’s winds to find their wings

and fly to other grounds that might just lead

to sprouting from the earth when spring returns,

to rooting and to spreading and to growth

into a new tree; life’s desire thus burns

for life itself will not succeed with sloth.

Look at a tree and it will show you how

To plan tomorrow just by doing now.