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Monday, January 30, 2012

My first Blurb Book is ready!

I'm very excited to tell you that I have created my first Blurb Book*. Blurb.com is an online book publishing company where you can create your own book and they publish it and have it available online for purchase. (*NOTE: this is just a preview. The actual book is 24 pages. You will only see 9 in this preview.)

It's a great way to do this, since I don't have to purchase a large quantity of books without knowing if anyone would even care to see it! So, with a little drum roll I'd like to announce that it is now ready and available. It's a small book, so it seems that the hardcover versions might be cost prohibitive but that's not up to me to tell you!

It reproduces entries from my first watercolor journal of Italy. Places like Lucca, Pitigliano, Florence, Rome, Perugia...little details and panoramic vistas of all the places we visited during that stay along with excerpts from my writings.

(Italy, urban sketches)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 12

Here's today's offering. Based on a watercolor I did in Italy, and just taking a small portion of the painting to focus on. This is very rough and very loose - no pen and ink drawing underneath, just loose pencil and then layers of color. I wanted to keep it simple with interesting angles and directions.  Going to Happy Hour in our neighborhood clubhouse tonight and only have a few minutes to wrap up my posting, so I'm going to make it brief. But I wanted add to my discussion of some of the elements of Color Theory.
Just a few terms:
Analagous Colors: The colors that sit next to each other on the Color Wheel and are harmonious, like Orange, Red Orange, and Red or Blue, Blue Green, and Green.

Hue: The colors as they appear on the Color Wheel: Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Purple, etc. For example, you might observe that the ball has a red hue

Complementary Colors:  The colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. (Yellow/Purple; Red/Green, Blue/Orange)
That's it for today. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 11

Yesterday I decided to try Acrylics again. I just had to paint this vibrant red flower that was in my head. I didn't have any reference to look at, which made it kind of fun, reacting to the paint, the composition and the colors and not trying to match something.

I have looked at so many flowers throughout the years and studied them closely in my Botanicals that I felt comfortable doing that. Sort of like cooking, when you make a favorite dish without having to look at a recipe.

I think it could use a little work in the center, but overall I felt pretty good about it, and about the intensity of color I was able to achieve, again just using red, blue and yellow. Acrylic dries quickly but not so quickly that I couldn't blend and finesse as I wanted to. I am definitely having fun with this medium.

I talked about Complementary colors in my last post so I thought I'd back up a bit and talk about the Color Wheel.

This is Goethe's Color Wheel. The poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's work "Theory of Colours" was published in 1810 - the earliest published descriptions on color theory. He was mainly interested in painting and how color is perceived as opposed to scientific, analytic measurements such as Isaac Newton observed. Who knew!

Here is some simple color theory: Red, Blue and Yellow are the three primary colors. You can't make them by mixing any other colors.

Secondary Colors: Orange, Green and Violet are made by mixing two primary colors together - Red and Yellow to get Green; Blue and Red to get Purple; Blue and Yellow to get Green. You probably learned that in Kindergarten.

Tertiary (ter'-shee-airy) Colors are the ones in between! Yellow Orange, Orange Red, Blue Violet, Red Violet, Yellow Green and Blue Green.

Returning to Complementary colors for a moment, notice how the red pops against the green - try the staring thing from yesterday's posting and see what happens! Look around you today and see if you can find examples - send them to me! Together we can learn more about Color Theory!

"What you don't feel, you will not grasp by art, 
Unless it wells out of your soul 
And with sheer pleasure takes control, 
Compelling every listener's heart. 
But sit - and sit, and patch and knead, 
Cook a ragout, reheat your hashes, 
Blow at the sparks and try to breed 
A fire out of piles of ashes! 
Children and apes may think it great, 
If that should titillate your gum, 
But from heart to heart you will never create. 
If from your heart it does not come." 


More next time!

A Painting a Day - Day 10

This was my painting from Wednesday. Sorry I didn't get to post it that day. It's been a bit of a crazy week around here. I was playing with Complementary colors - purples/yellows, blues/oranges. Thinking about Wolf Kahn again and his beautiful colors. 

For those of you who don't know this, Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel. If you mix them together you will get a grey. When they sit next to each other in a painting, they have the effect of making each other seem more vibrant.

Here's something fun to try: stare at my painting for about thirty seconds, then look away at a white wall or piece of paper (or just try closing your eyes for a few seconds). If you've never done this, it's fun because what's called an "afterimage" will appear but the colors will be switched around - what was purple will be yellow and vice versa. It has to do with visual perception and something called "fatigue of the visual system," but I think it's just kind of cool!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"From Italy with Love" in today's Dover Post!

The Dover Post ran the interview they did with me last week in today's paper. So exciting! You can read it by clicking here

If you are in the area, I hope you can make it to the Opening Reception. All the info is on the flyer above.

A presto! (see you soon, in Italian!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 9

Playing with shapes, relationships, composition and color. I'm not sure the yellow house on the left works as well as I'd like - it seems to call too much attention to itself somehow. I was experimenting at warm/cool colors - warm coming forward and cool receding. I do like the composition but not the red-violet colored house. I may try another variation tomorrow.

Quiet day today at the Studios Upstairs. No one came up to see us! Of course it could be that the temperatures hovered around 32 degrees. Anne Jenkins, another local artist, and I have taken to walking a few days a week at the end of our studio time. We usually walk for about a half hour at a good brisk pace. Today it was so cold, we fairly sprinted around the downtown, stopping to warm up in the library where Anne picked up a book and then back to the Art League where we had met earlier and bid each other adieu! Tomorrow is promising rain but not as cold. But Saturday is not our walking day anyway, so it will be alright.

A Painting a Day - Day 8

Sorry I didn't post this yesterday. There was a event at Mispillion Art League so I didn't get home until late, too tired to go to the computer. The actor Joe Plummer gave his impression of Howard Pyle, well researched with historical facts and information, rounding out the personality of the man who taught N.C. Wyeth among other famous illustrators. It is the 100th anniversary of his death and the founding of the Delaware Art Museum this year so lots of festivities and arts events are planned for all around the state.

Can't seem to be able to get these little houses off my mind! Trying different colors and variations on the composition. Back to watercolor today after yesterday's fun with acrylics. Loving the discipline of painting one painting a day. No real plan, I just go in to the studio and make sure I complete at least one painting in this 8x8 format, regardless of what else I might be working on.

As in other parts of my life, putting one foot in front of the other and seeing what happens.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 7

I did this painting on the same 8x8 inch 140lb cold pressed watercolor block I've been working on, except that this was painted using acrylic paints and only one yellow, one blue and one red. It felt so free!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Grandfather came from Polizzi Generosa

the town of Polizzi Generosa in the Madonie Mountains

When we lived in Sicily, Italy, in the month of January, we went to the town of Polizzi Generosa, near Palermo, in the Madonie Mountains, to search for the birth records of my maternal grandfather, who was born there.

We learned that Martin Scorsese, the American film director, can trace his origins to this city. As can Vincent Schiavelli, the actor, author and cook who died recently at the age of 57, and who wrote one of my favorite "memory" cookbooks, "Bruculinu, America"... a collection of personal stories and recipes handed down to him from his grandfather, Papa Andrea, who was born in Polizzi Generosa. Anyway, my family isn't famous like these guys, but they are from Polizzi Generosa! 

Polizzi Generosa, on the western slopes of the Madonie Mountains  attracts hikers, cyclists and skiers to the nature reserve, the Parco Regionale delle Madonie, with its footpaths and biking trails in the summer and ski runs during the winter. There was ice on the roads as we reached the city, in its high position there in the mountains. The highest of these peaks reaches about 6000 feet and there was snow visible at the higher elevations. The four seasons were represented in the terrain around us. There was the snow, some trees just turning fall colors of orange and golden, with wildflowers and green fields below! 

Landscape of the area near Polizzi Generosa
They have an archeological museum that houses the treasures from a Hellenistic necropolis unearthed when they were building a school there in the year 2000! It's a wonderful collection of pottery and household objects that date from the 4th century BC. Like Palermo, the town traces its history through Byzantine, Arab and Norman influences. In fact, in 1082, Roger I gave the Polizzi territory to his niece Adelasia, who greatly influenced the development of the town. It is said that the people of Polizzi were always welcoming and kind to all the noble and royal families who passed through and was nicknamed "Generosa" (kindness) by King Frederick II of Swabia in 1232. It was also quite progressive, as in 1901 it was the first Sicilian town to have electric lighting! I was able to search back as far as the records go - to the 1700s - but still have this sense of wonder about how far back my family's roots go in this beautiful, ancient village.

Me, happily finding my grandfather's name!
The name "Gandolfo" (my maternal grandfather's first name) is well known in this town and many of the man have the same name. St. Gandolfo is the patron saint of the village, which may explain this fact. 

I was just reminiscing about this today, since it is about the same time of year as when we were there and thought I would share this with you. Our upcoming exhibit at the Dover Art League will include some of Bob's images from Sicily.
The books they searched in

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Watercolor Journaling Workshop at Dolce Balery

photos by Gwen Guerke

I had a full house at Dolce Bakery and Cafe on N. Walnut Street in historic downtown Milford, Delaware on Sunday, January 8, 2012 when nine adventurous spirits gathered on this cold, winter morning for my Watercolor Journaling Workshop. Chuck had a big pot of coffee and hot water for tea and a tray of goodies all ready for them and the tables were set up in clusters to allow for two people to share each cozy space. All but two were new to watercolor journaling but eager to  learn and after a drawing lesson and some color theory I did a demonstration and they were ready to try it on their own. A great group - some came from as far away as Bethany Beach in the south and Newark in the north and several are signed up for my February workshop as well! Gwen Guerke was there and took the photos I used for this little slide show.

February's workshop is "Watercolor Journaling and Handbuilding with Clay" with my friend Maria Sadler sharing her knowledge and her pottery studio.
Sunday, February 5, from 10am-3pm
$65 includes lunch.

I only have a couple of spots available, so if you think you'd like to treat yourself to a relaxing day, immersed in creative pursuits, don't wait!

March's workshop will be another 3-hour session on March 18 from 10am-1pm - $30.
Location to be announced.

How to Post A Comment

Friends have said they have difficulty posting a comment because they don't have a blog. You don't have to have one! I wrote this post in our Italy blog and thought I'd just give you a link to it if you need some help. Click here for the article. Thanks for reading and posting your comments!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 6

This is based on yesterday's painting. When I cropped it for a little "tease" on my facebook page I decided I liked the way it looked cropped tighter, so that's what I went for today. Trying to simplify, working with shapes, colors, relationships, composition. I wondered if it needs some sort of a door/window shape on the barn wall on the right side. Looking at Wolf Kahn's work - amazing! 

Trying to be patient, waiting for the watercolor paint layers to dry on the painting at the top, I started another. This one is based on a very small thumbnail of a painting I did at a workshop with Marcia Reed last year at Mispillion Art League. Interesting how the tiny ones seem to work so well! When I go larger - and these are only 8x8, it seems a different ballgame. Hmmmm.

Waiting for your comments! I'll be back in the studio on Wednesday to paint some more!

An Invitation to our Exhibition in Dover

Always dreamed of going to Italy? Can't quite make it work this year? Come to our exhibition at the Dover Art League. We'll be showing over 40 watercolors created by me during the two years we lived in Italy and in the studio since returning, and original photographs captured there by Bob. We're also going to give a talk and digital slide presentation at 6pm at the Opening Reception on Friday, February 3, 2012, 5-7pm.

Our work will be on exhibit and for sale from February 3 - 29, 20112. Dover Art League, 21 Lockerman St., Dover. So come and surround yourself with our views of Italy - and think about taking one home and enjoy a piece of Italy every day!

Hope to see you there! Bring a friend!


Friday, January 13, 2012

A Painting a Day - Day 5

There were no paintings Wednesday or Thursday because we had to go out of town for a family funeral. Back in the studio today for painting #5, still deciding what I think about this one, I'm open for your comments. I know what I think, but wondering what your reaction is.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Sweet Pea Collection is on Flicker!

Thought I'd try uploading the images of my Sweet Pea Collection to flicker. I created a "set" of all 5 of the sweeties - 2 boys and 2 girls and one set of twins. I created the first of these as a commission from a friend - a baby gift for a friend of hers. After that I just kept going, creating the first boy (the light skinned one), then a darker skinned girl and boy and of course a set of twins! It's taken me quite a while to figure out how to upload these to flicker. Why is it that technology sometimes seems so counter-intuitive! I struggle to understand and try to make it do what I want it to do and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't!

I've had a pretty good reaction to these Sweet Peas, so I thought I'd see if anybody finds them on flicker!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Painting a Day: Day 4 - Wilkins Road Farm

I feel so bad to say this - and it's the absolute truth, I swear! I cannot show you my Painting #4 because I left my painting in my studio! I promise to post it this weekend though. So all I can do is describe what I did. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. I am still in love with that scene and trying out different colors and seasons and today I decided to create a snowy day. (it is the 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats "The Snowy Day" that I managed to score on ebay for $.99!) Wintery sky, snow on the roofs and on the barns, all blues, whites and purples with the brick red barns standing out. I used Ultramarine blue for the sky and tissue blotting for the streaky and puffy snow clouds in the sky and after I roughed in the winter trees I decided to use white gouache to enhance the snowy feeling in the trees and even did some splatter painting. I did very little in the foreground, just some smudgy bluey-pinky marks in the snow. Can you picture it? Tomorrow I'll post it and you can see if the reality matches your imagination!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

A painting a day: Day 2 - Wilkins Rd Farm 2

First Watercolor Painting of 2012

This painting was completed today in my studio. It is 8" x 8" and is painted on cold press watercolor paper in a block. My goal for the new year is to complete one painting this size every day that I am in the studio, that is 4 times a week. I would very much appreciate your support and encouragement and ask that you add your comments to the post and also to share it with your friends. If I can complete one small painting this same size every day that I am in the studio I will have completed 208 paintings in the year to come. How awesome would that be! Wow!