A row of ribbons

Art award ribbons

Nice little array.

I had entered eight paintings in the Imperial County Fair this year and seven of them won ribbons!  Four of them – the first and second place winners will be on display in Pioneer’s Museum in Imperial until the 27th.

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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.

A regular class

Trilogy in La Quinta is a gated community with an active creative club.  A couple months ago I got the opportunity to become one of the watercolor class instructors there, and teach about twice a month on a Monday afternoon.  It’s a guided-tuition class, a little like the paint-n-wine format in that all students complete the same painting, but with much more of a learning opportunity focus.

I get so wrapped up in demoing and guiding, that I usually forget to take photos of the class in action.  But this time, I persuaded the ladies to let me take a pic of their completed exercises to put on the blog.

Watercolor class students

Yes – they all look great!

They sure do make me work too!  Not only do I need to prepare the exercises, but I get requests of trying subjects that I don’t usually do, so my skills get stretched as a result.  Seems like we’re all having fun, though!

Sonnet Challenge #14

This is the last one in the series suggested by Eric in Ventura.  His phrase was:This is the last one in the series suggested by Eric in Ventura.  His phrase was:”The attic, grandma’s art hidden behind the attic crawl space”
Having gotten close to the end of the list of suggestions, I’ve been working off on my own for a while.  I completed six sonnets on the weekend during quiet moments at the art fair and I’m now over the 100 mark!
Grandma’s attic
It’s an expected death, but still, she’s gone –

in heaven with Grandpa – her life love – again

and now it’s up to us to clear the home.

Sixty years of chatchkis, what a pain!

The auctioneer comes first and takes the best.

Next the ebay guy, then Goodwill runs,

and lastly to the dump with all the rest

but family albums.  Oh!  The attic’s full

of paintings!  Whose are these?  My God, they’re hers!

We’d no idea she was so good at art.

And dates! She’d painted in her youth for years,

but none since when our Grandpa stole her heart.

So sad, on these walls only now we see t

he artist her life wouldn’t let her be.

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.

 

Newer work #74

Thought I was going to sell this one over the weekend at Flagstaff, but it didn’t happen.  Anyway, happy 4th of July everyone, even if you’re not somewhere that’s celebrating Independence Day.  When I started creating this painting it wasn’t especially intended to be a 4th-of-July painting, but after I got the stars down, it spoke to me that this is what it wanted to be.  And like the fact that the shape resembles the triangularly folded flag.  The poem on it is:

The fourth of July
stars bursting against the night
and raining color.

Mixed Media Painting

#1270 “4th”. Mixed Media Painting on solid pine panel, 15×15″. $150.

Newer work #73

Mixed media painting

Nebula I. Mixed media painting on panel. Refractured watercolor, acrylic. 11×14″. $180.

This one is a sibling of Night Storm II – same refractured watercolor, I probably painted it with some of the same acrylics on the palette, but an utterly different shape and feel.  I’ve named it Nebula I because I like it so much I’m sure there will be a Nebula II at some point.  This one could truly be hung any way up, as long as you don’t mind the direction of the signature.