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Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Artistic Journey Continued

Started this oil painting on Friday and finished on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. Taking a workshop "Oil Painting in an Impressionistic Style" with Linda Steere at Mispillion Art League, which suggests doing an underpainting in complementary colors that remain visible and enhance the final painting. Learning about fat over lean and trying to also incorporate some of the techniques I've been using with acrylics such as "scumbling" - which is kind of the way it sounds -

scum·ble  (skŭm′bəl)
tr.v. scum·bledscum·blingscum·bles
1. To soften the colors or outlines of (a painting or drawing) by covering with a film of opaque or semiopaque color or by rubbing.
2. To blur the outlines of: a writer who scumbled the line that divides history and fiction.
1. The effect produced by or as if by scumbling.
2. Material used for scumbling.

(I don't really understand using the same word in the definition of the word do you?)

The underpainting (sort of the first layer of the painting) is done in complementary colors which are the colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. The will make either "Pop!" when placed next to each other, or, mixed together will dull down the other. So in a painting where there is green grass for instance, you will do the underpainting in that area in red. It kinds of makes your eyes cross trying to decide what colors to make your underpainting, thinking in opposites! But it's fun!

I had to figure this out and here is my underpainting (forgive me, but I forgot to take a photo of the underpainting and started adding the blue of the sky - it was orange before I added the blues but you can still see this in the Underpainting below:

I let the painting sit overnight to dry a bit and then came in the next day to begin to paint over the underpainting. Using short, "Impressionistic" strokes, I began adding colors, below:

It's amazing how quickly it all seemed to take shape once I had those underpainting colors there. I just kept working at it building up layers, making sure I added a little bit of every color everywhere on the painting and worked until I felt it was "done", below:

This painting "Tuscany, Above Cortona" is 16" x 12" painting in oils on canvas. I hope to keep working in oils for the time being and see how my own "Signature" style develops. I'll be taking Linda Steere's February workshop along with a few of the other folks who took the January one - JoAnne Freed, Paul Hayes and Harry Humes along with others I suppose. It was a great experience and just what I was looking for in terms of learning about the basics of using this medium - for more experienced painters who have not worked in oils. - or for those who have and want a refresher/different way of working. 

I especially appreciated Linda saying it was not her goal to have us paint the way she does, but to find our own way. She never painted on my canvas which I appreciate and made informed, creative criticism in the classroom. Here's the painting I did in January during class time:

"Marsh" from a photograph by photographer April Allyson Abel, with her permission.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Watercolor Journaling Workshop at Delaware Art Museum

My traditional "End of Workshop" Group Photo - they're holding up their favorite pages.

Last Saturday, January 18, 2014 I taught another workshop at Delaware Art Museum. We had a full roster of 12 people signed up with only one "no-show". It was a perfect number for me to be able to go around and help everyone individually and the timing of the lessons generally works out well. The weather was sunny, but windy and quite cold so we did not go outside - except to scurry with coats on to the Museum building to sketch. But not to worry, there were plenty of things to observe and capture in their journals and everyone had a good time and I hope, learned that they can do it and want to continue!

So here is my "photo essay" of the day:

One of the first lessons is to sketch and paint their watercolor kits -
it gives them a chance to put into practice the drawing lessons and to
carefully observe and draw a simple object. They learn that it doesn't
have to be perfect and that they can do it. It is also meant to help them
learn the names of the colors and gives them a chance to play with the
watercolor before we get into any color theory.

This page makes me so happy - happy to see what she wrote!

Some of my favorite books about Watercolor Journaling

Working hard on drawing lessons
Students worked two at a table and it worked out well

On the Chihuly Bridge, blown glass "Persian Window" by Dale Chihuly

Back in the classroom painting their sketches. Photos as reference are OK! 
Adding written observations - just as important as the sketching and watercolor!

Using the Niji Waterbrush - found to be better than other brands that some purchased.
Pottery in the hallway made a good subject for journaling

Observing and capturing the pretty pottery shapes

Inside and out there was no shortage of things to sketch
Journal pages and spreads from the "Inside/Out" Journaling experience. Great job all! 

I'll be teaching again at Delaware Art Museum in April. Check their website for information and to register. Click here for the Studio Classes.

Next up on my agenda is a Watercolor Journaling Workshop on Sunday, February 16, 2014, 10am-4pm. Contact me at 302-359-5534 or email at rosemary@livecheapmakeart.com for further information or to register. Fees are $90 per person. Find materials list on our website http://www.livecheapmakeart.com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mispillion River Brewing Opens!

Eric Williams was all smiles greeting patrons at the Grand Opening November 15, 2013

I'm a bit late writing about this event but happy to report to those who may not know that Milford, Delaware now has its very own Micro Brewery - Mispillion River Brewing! After two years of planning and searching for the right location, partners Eric and Megan Williams, Don and Marti Brooks and Scott and Tammy Perlot, with brewmaster Jared Barnes, and assistant brewmaster Ryan Maloney recently realized their dream and welcomed the public to its 5,000-square-foot facility equipped with a full-service brewery and tasting room on Nov. 15, 2013. The air was filled with excitement and the tasting room was filled with beer lovers from near and far to Congratulate Eric and company as they unveiled their carefully crafted beers and took visitors on tours of the Brewery.

I admit that I am not knowledgeable about the beer brewing process but if you visit their website you'll learn everything you need to know. And better yet, visit the Tasting Room, open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4-11pm. They are located at 255 Mullet Run Street in Milford, off of Airport Road. Click here for a map of their location. Call for more information 302-491-6623 or like/follow them on Facebook and Twitter. 

For more information click here.

I'm not going to attempt to tell you what all of these pieces of equipment are - but I will tell you that Eric's wife Megan led tours of the Brewery - and she really knows her hops! It was really very nice to see Mark Carter (of Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton) and his wife Nicole at the Opening, turning out to support this new brewery. Very Nice. Something you don't often see, an established business encouraging a competitor to do well. Dogfish also has a great reputation of being community minded and this was proof of it. Well done.

Mispillion River Brewery offers a tasty variety of beers, with year-round (i.e. Greenway IPA, Chipped Tooth, Schooner, Naughty B and Doublin Chin) seasonal offerings (i.e. Praetor Imperial Porter, Beach Bum Joe and Citron) and "tasting room exclusives" with names like Aussie Summer, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie (my favorite) and Das Popo. And that's just the beginning. 

Bob and I stopped by last week to listen to live music and I tried their samplers. I must admit too that I am more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker but these brews are just so much fun to try. They also had arranged for a BBQ truck outside where patrons could get some pulled pork or ribs while enjoying the atmosphere of this terrific addition to the city of Milford! So Check it out - and drink local!!
The logo is cool and the t-shirts well designed. The sweetest spot in the back of house is a small square of concrete with the little handprints of the Williams' children pressed into it. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Early Morning Musings

I used to write in my journal every day. Especially when I was going though some of the most difficult times in my life. A Writing workshop I took suggested going to the computer and "fishing" - just start writing and see what comes out of it. So that's what I'm doing this morning. Fishing for thoughts. It's raining outside. Not a torrential downpour, but a steady rain that shows no stopping any time soon.  Not like in Phoenix where the skies would shake with thunder and lightening and produce 5 minutes worth of rain. Hardly worth all the trouble. Not here. Rain can last all day, or several days. And then the sun is so welcome. I know this sounds crazy but in Phoenix I craved the rain. Sometimes I'd get up in the morning and pull back the curtain and say "darn, sunshine again."

Where is all this leading? I don't know. As I've done so many times before I am putting one foot in front of the other and walking down this path that is my life. And a good life it is and has been. I have to say that I am happy with the life we've made for ourselves, my husband and I. It's had its rough spots like most people but we've traveled it together side by side, supporting each other, loving each other. Exploring, navigating, learning. Now we are in the process of planning our 3 month Irish Adventure. And it is so exciting. What will it bring? How will it change us? I asked myself that question before we went to live in Italy for two years in 2005. That was 9 years ago! Unbelievable that so much time has passed since we made that journey and lived and explored all those places. It took me a while to realize how it had changed me, what I had taken from that time. Confidence. In myself. In what I could do and be. In how I looked at the world with a fresh perspective. So what happens next? Where will my art go? What turns will it take, exposed to a new landscape, new cities, countryside, people?

I wrote a great deal in Italy. Will I do the same in Ireland? Perhaps. But this time I know it will be just for me. Not in hopes that my friends and family back home will follow along. Not many did then. Too busy with their own lives and work. But just to record it. So that, as I do now with my Italy blog, I look back, read about what we did, remember the places, the experiences, recorded for posterity. Because I know I would have forgotten so much. So I suppose I will blog about it. Maybe someone will read it, maybe not. But it doesn't matter. Because it is mine. For me and for Bob. And the words will pour out of me and I will take the rain and the sunshine as it comes and open myself up to new experiences, new possibilities.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Year. New Post. Continuing my Artistic Journey.

With the Plein Air Painters of the Mid-Atlantic at the Beach, Sept. 2013

Spent yesterday in the studio just writing, reading and thinking about what I accomplished in the past year. Seems to be a pattern for me.

I have kind of neglected our blog this year. Devoting more time to facebook I guess. I suddenly felt the urge to write more, to come to this diary of mine and think more about what I have done in this past year and what the new year will bring. By my count I made around 20 new paintings this year. Experimented with acrylics in new ways and worked larger and larger. Even dabbled in oils, which I mean to do more of this year - currently taking a weekly class to learn more about the material and how it behaves. Way different from watercolors and acrylics.

With watercolors, it's so easy and light - just a watercolor palette or travel kit, a brush, pen/pencil and paper and you're good to go. Clean up with water and you're done. Acrylics have been fun - I've enjoyed the layering of color, the scumbling with a coarse brush and being able to add lights/whites on top. They dry fast which is good and bad. But all the tubes and water and stuff I've had to carry around seem a bit cumbersome, especially for plein air work.

But oils. They are so creamy and buttery. What the "Masters" used. You can squeeze them out and keep them on a palette so you don't have to carry around the tubes of paint. That's what my Open Box M easel box is intended for. To leave the paints right in the box. Tempting. I did a few paintings in December and January that I liked. Hoping this class will answer a lot of the questions I have about dealing with the fact that it dries slowly.

All part of what I've been calling my "Artistic Journey." Took two workshops with Marcia Reed and really loved how it expanded my thinking and informed my work. Loved the process of meeting every two weeks to critique and discuss art in general and artists she would recommend based on what we were doing. And then working independently, not sharing or talking about what we were doing. It felt like a complete self-guided journey, OK, maybe a guide at the outset, setting a tone, making suggestions, but doing the work alone, from my own head, hand and heart.

I guess that's what I want to do. To explore. EXPLORE. That is my word for 2014.

We're going to Ireland for 3 months this summer. That will be a different kind of exploration, but one that will also include painting, journaling, exploring a different landscape, different colors, light. On my own with no guide.

Possibly other changes happening in the future too, but not ready to talk about.

"Leap and the net will appear" - a friend reminded me of this Zen saying recently. I've said this before - to myself and others. What will it mean? Where will I leap to?