I need a bigger house….

Four panels in various stages of painting the back.

Four panels in various stages of painting the back.

I think I’ve officially outgrown my studio.  The living room is also full of work.  On the two tables in the middle of the living room are two large panels that will become a diptych (48×36″ each panel); they have had the front and sides gessoed yesterday and the back has just gotten the first coat of gray.  They’ll be getting a second coat in a little while, and when dry will be wired and stored on a wall somewhere until the refractured watercolor that will go on them is ready.

On the kitchen table and computer table are two slightly smaller individual paintings (36×36″ each) which are there for final touch-up of the back (when I paint the actual painting on the front, I inevitable manage to get some round the edge) and glazing.  On the footstool is a box for the one on the computer table.  After I’ve photographed the one on the kitchen table that will need to be glazed also.  This painting, as yet unnamed #1143 will be the front cover for my new poetry and paintings book that is currently in progress.

Mixed media painting in progres

#1144 awaits the next stage of construction.

Back in the actual studio, another panel is ready to have the refractured watercolor part adhered (I laid it out last night then picked up, marked and numbered the pieces).   Alternatively I could first work on the watercolors for the diptych and lay the six paintings out to dry on the bed, ironing board and stove top.  Then the house would really be full!

A morning in Sky Valley

Dillon Road arcs to the north of a stretch of I10 that I zoom up and down, and runs through Sky Valley.  For a skyaholic it is odd that I should never have taken Dillon Road – it’s been on the bucket list for awhile.  Well I was invited to speak about my work in front of the Spa City Palletteers and they meet in… Sky Valley.  No more excuses!  This posting is mostly pics – I spent a little while talking about my work then did a really brief demo.  Thanks to Caren Godwin for taking the photos.  It seems that I must zoom around very fast when I work as my hands were usually blurred.  And thank you to the Paletteers for putting on such a wonderful welcome!

Talking about my work with the slideshow.

Talking about my work with the slideshow.

Last Stop

Using ‘Last Stop’ as an example.

Paper wetting stage of my demo.

Paper wetting stage of my demo.

Partially completed watercolor.

Partially completed watercolor.

Dropping in some darker clouds.

Dropping in some darker clouds.

Arranging a refractured watercolor.

Arranging a refractured watercolor.

Marking up so they're in just the right place at the gluing stage.

Marking up so they’re in just the right place at the gluing stage.

Even made a few people laugh.

Even made a few people laugh.

Wet and nameless

Partially completed oil painting

Partially completed oil painting

One of the advantages of the cosy summer days is that the oils dry faster, so my previous oil painting is already dry enough to go on a wall, and the next oil is in progress.  I was inspired by a misty scene I saw on the internet and decided to incorporate some of that mistiness and put a sky of similar colors above it.  This is what I have so far – I intend to put a tree on the left when this layer had dried enough to paint over it rather than sinking into it.

I nearly made myself sick painting this layer though.  I’ve only got one large brush that I was using for the background, so I was continually cleaning it as I worked through the color gradient.  As I’m using odorless turpentine, I didn’t realize how much the fumes were building up in the studio – and indeed the whole house – as was about 108 outside and the A/C is on and the house isn’t very big.  I was feeling queasy and developing a headache. Even after I’d taken out the turpy paper towels to the trash can, it was still an issue.  Serendipity to the rescue again.  I noticed there was a stiff, hot breeze blowing outside and I thought – there’s nothing for it – I need a different batch of air.  Opened all the windows and doors for five minutes – the temperature was quickly up to 90 degrees inside (I usually keep it around 79) – but that hot air was fresh.  The A/C quickly got everything back to 80 after I’d closed up – but I know I could not have done it without that breeze!  The wind died down soon after too.

So, from a breezy phase to another quiet sky.  I have not yet settled on a name for the painting – I usually don’t until they’re complete.  More in a couple weeks when I can get the tree on.

Pre-flight checklist.

The final throes of preparation for the museum show

The final throes of preparation. Three more to pack. Labels, check. Business cards, check. Brochures, check. Tape gun, check…..

This morning I was packing up the last three paintings for my roadtrip that starts on Wednesday.  I’m going over to my other half’s place in Brea to pick him up for a trip up north.  We’ve driven this road, together and alone, several times and are both looking forward to it.  As I was looking around the mess coming together in the studio and contemplating other things that should get added to the list, this sprung to mind for Thursday morning.

Good morning and welcome to flight 395 from Brea to Ridgecrest.  I’ll be your pilot for the journey in this Silverado roadcraft.  Today we have a cargo of 56 refractured watercolors and watercolor collages, a half-dozen ‘Thought inside the box’ trinket boxes and a box of “Skies of Peace and Passion” books.  There is plenty of room in the cargo bay for personal items as there is no booth to take with us this time because our destination is the Maturango Museum to deliver the work for a two month solo show by “world-famous artist Jeni Bate” (I have to keep saying that otherwise it won’t stick) in the Sylvia Winslow Art Gallery. The flight will take approximately four hours, with a scheduled potty stop in Kramer Junction (or Adelante if the coffee runs through quicker).

Coffee and breakfast bars will be served on this trip because with the 7am start, we won’t have time to eat before we leave. Highlights of your 3-day/2-night vacation will include helping the artist schlep the artwork into the museum and unbox it (box cutter and dolly will be provided), stuffing the resulting cardboard containers back into the truck, helping me find the hotel without a map and getting me back to the gallery, listening again to that rehearsed speech about the work that will be given on Friday evening at the opening reception, and talking to gallery goers.  (Please pack your own sales skills.) If you’re really lucky, there may be an opportunity to go fishing on Friday, but it would be wise to pack a couple books in case we end up just hanging out in the hotel.  The return trip will be more leisurely on Saturday morning.  Let me know if you want to drive!

Brown Stormy day, part 2.

Removing and marking

Removing and marking

I’ve been blogging about other things for awhile, so the painting that started out as the Brown Stormy Day has been completed and already been to its first show – and had a lot of admiration.  Not quite enough that I didn’t bring it home again with me though, but that can happen.  🙂

Working with the edges

Working with the edges

The deep panel wasn’t really easy to work with as I wasn’t able to decide which pieces to put on the sides while I still had the front set out, so there was quite a bit of back and forth with finding what would work on the edges.  The top and bottom edges were fortunately fairly uniformly burnt umber, so they required less matching work.  The sides required more.  Such is art.

Gluing in two dimensions

Gluing in two dimensions

 

One thing that I realized is that most of my online pics don’t let the viewer see the texture.  So there’s a really good texture shot later on.

 

Gluing in two dimension is one of those interesting four-handed moments.

 

Adding bare branches

Onto the easel to add foreground. Adding bare branches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filled in the leaves

Filled in the leaves. I usually paint foreground when the painting is lying on the work surface, but this larger painting needed to be vertical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you can see the texture

Back on the work surface for layers of glaze. Now you can see the texture

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creosote and Sand

“Creosote and Sand” – over the sofa. 30x40x3″ $2100.

 

Brown stormy day.

Dusty Sunset

Dusty Sunset

Perhaps the wind started to remind me what caused the amazing brown and gold sunset I photographed many years ago, and finally got to painting.  You can tell by the scratches it’s an old film photo. The creosote bush in the foreground on the photo is no longer there.  I was certainly in the right place at the right time though, to get this momentary shot.

Paintings

10 paintings to start.

I actually started over a week ago and have been plucking away at it in stages.  This is the progress so far.  I thought also that I would use this as a quick visual ‘how it’s done’.

 

 

Circles on paper

Circles – I used the bottom of a jar that was the right size.

Cut circles

Cut circles. My hand is sore.

A few key pieces

A few key pieces

Starting to take shape

Starting to take shape

All the front is arranged.

All the front is arranged.

A work in progress.

Pieces cut and and a few ideas mapped out.

Pieces cut and and a few ideas mapped out.

I’ve been plucking away at this larger refractured watercolor for so long that I decided to start taking pix.  I should really have started with the watercolors that comprised it, but at the time I didn’t know that I was going to think about recording the development of the creature that has taken over the studio for so long.  If you’ve never been in or seen the studio before – this is it for the work table – so you can see it’s pretty impossible to start working on something else once one of these has been started.

Almost all arranged.

Almost all arranged.

It’s been in the works for over a week.  So much else going on and not been A1 physically in the last week.   I painted this dawn five times in order to get enough ‘work’ to work with.  It’s an odd sized board – upcycled from a sturdy panel that had a poster map stuck on it. I usually find a treasure or two when I go to Goodwill.

Picking up and marking the squares.

Picking up and marking the squares.

I recently discovered that the drafting table not only raises at the back, but also at the front, so I now have a much higher surface to work on.  That really makes a difference to my back and has already paid for itself in avoiding trips to the chiropractor.

End of the day....

End of the day….

This panel is a little different in that it has a slight bevel on the edge, which actually works very well with the way the watercolor paper bends – or doesn’t want to bend.  There were a total of 184 pieces – I think that’s the most pieces I’ve had in one refractured watercolor.  I’ve created larger artworks, but they had larger pieces.  I don’t really keep track too much though. OK, this is a far as I got yesterday.  Should finish it and be able to show you early next week.

The new litter.

Latest Litter of Itty Bitties.

Latest Litter of Itty Bitties.

Here’s the latest litter of ‘Itty Bitties’.  I expect some will go to Incredible Artist Gallery in Cathedral City in the next week or so, and some will be available at my first show of 2014 – Art Under the Umbrellas, in La Quinta on Jan 11th.

Venus Studios Art Supply.

Venus Studios Art Bazaar FlyerVenus is one of those places that I shouldn’t be allowed in while carrying plastic.  It’s easy to get carried away with interesting new paints I’d like to try and ooh, I wonder how that brush would work…what else do I need….I wonder what that does…

This weekend I’m not going to be at the Bazaar – it’s one of my rare weekends ‘off’ from shows, catching up with some much overdue house maintenance.  But, if you’re in the area, you might not only enjoy the other artists at the bazaar, but if you thought you might like to pick up a copy of ‘The Skies of Peace and Passion’, my friend Christina Lange will have a few on her stall.  It will be one of the many gift items available, created by local artists.

And if you wander inside the store at their new larger location, you will surely find a wonderment of things to get your own – or someone else’s – creative juices flowing.

Following up from Fontana

Just getting started.  It looks like I'm holding the brush that way because the stack of balloons is holding my arm up!

Just getting started. It looks like I’m holding the brush that way because the stack of balloons is holding my arm up!

In case you missed it – I demonstrated an acrylic cloud painting during a show in Fontana last month.  It was a bit of a challenge – and the back drop of drums on the nearby stage led me to name it thunder.  I am happy that it quickly sold to an existing collector, and now my good friend Gemma has sent me a couple of photos that she took that evening when I was painting up a storm – literally.

Ok, I'm making some good progress now that I have the balloons tucked behind me! :-)

Ok, I’m making some good progress now that I have the balloons tucked behind me! 🙂

Another aspect of painting in a hurry is that the sun was going down – just like in the painting – but that meant I was running out of light.  I finished in time though.