Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
During lunch I was bemoaning my tendency to overwork my washes as I fussed and fussed to keep 'perfecting' what I had done. So one of the artists challenged me to an hour of work -- I took her up on it.
I sat beneath the the tree and gazed at this beautiful barn. I could see other artists around the barn also trying to capture it on paper. I was using 140# coldpress watercolor paper (Canson I believe) in a spiral field book with hard covers, which worked very well for me.
I put my feet up on my alternative chair and relaxed under the tree's shade. I lost myself in lines and did my best to use my eyes as I remembered the principles of perspective I was struggling with all week. After about 50 minuites when I thought my sketch was about done, I realized that the top of my roof should be a bit lower on the left corner -- I tried to amend, but sticking to my hour, I didn't adjust it enough. But I did realize my mistake .. yeah -- progress in wee steps! LOL
After an hour, Nancy and Harley came by reminding me of my time limit -- and we both laughed! She 'gave' me another bit of time to finish the sketch ... and this time, I did!
The barn was painted a most unusual color yellow -- not bright, not dull -- add to that that the barn was in shadow -- and I had a whale of a time trying to get my color close to the original. I wound up using New Gamboge, glazed with Winsor Violet and then glazed with Ind. Blue ... it's mighty close.
I stopped painting and fussing after about 40 minutes, and made minor adjustments at home -- like the edge of the roof (not adjusted enough) on the side by the trees that I covered with leaves ...and left the rest as learning lessons.
In all, I was quite pleased at not overworking the drawing, learning again about perspective, and learning too how important drawing is to a project. I was mighty glad I practiced barns before I tried this plein air! LOL
BTW, I was asked about the horses. There really weren't that many to be seen. The stables and pastures were off-limits, and most of the horses were not in view most of the day. A few riders went by, but for the most part, we all focused on the scenery sans horses.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable event ---!!!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Saturday began with overcast skies and, for me, chilly weather. I was well prepared with my gear (thank you, my dear art friend!) --- a comfortable chair, lap table, and a marvelous alternative chair that held camera, paint, paper, tissues, water, water bottle and more that acted as a mini table for either my legs! LOL or palette (thank you, Lorraine!!).
I met the group of plein air artists from all around the region, some traveling two hours or more to get to our site. Most of the artists in the group are oil or pastel painters, and my friend Kathleen (http://www.geocities.com/gwinnettart/) who does fabulous watercolors was unable to make the event.
This fairly new plein air group (I undertand there are about 50-60 folks on the mailing list) was begun by Nancy and Harley Brookshire (http://www.outdoorpainter.org/). These eager and incredibly generous folks organize the ventures, choose the site, bring lunch, drinks, snacks, and offer enthusiasm and excitement for plein air. They typically hold an event each month.
We met at Quail Roost Farm in Durham -- a huge (over 800 acres) farm that was once a dairy farm and now a horse farm with riding schools, equestrian events and more. GORGEOUS barns, ponds, fields, trails, horses were there for us to paint.
The morning began with overcast skies, warming up slowly with the sun playing peek-a-boo with us all day long. After beginning a sketch or painting in cloudy gloom and then having the sun come out and brighten the scene changing EVERYTHING, I can only admire Karen Winters (www.karensblog.com) even MORE for all the glorious work she does in plein air. Talk about a challenge!
Nonetheless, I found a landscape I thought my novice abilities might be able to handle and parked my car and gear alongside. There was a wonderful clump of chickory (cornflower) against the pond and I spent the morning painting the scene. The birds, bees, one or two horse riders kept me company, and various artists would leave their spots and drop by for a chat and a bit of encouragement. Harley was a saint and would come by offering water and snacks as we painted. Were we spoiled!
We took a break at lunch and met at the sign-in table for more chat and site and work discussions. A truly wonderful group of artists.
After lunch, most folks selected another area to paint. More about that tomorrow.
What I learned -- plein air is plane challenging! But being outdoors all day was wonderful! We were graced with a warm day (low 80sF!) and though the sunlight was inconsistent, it was so balmy and so peaceful --- that if I did nothing yesterday but sit and watch everyone, it would have been worth the serenity and companionship!
I don't know how other plein air groups conduct their events, but having someone take care of site arrangements, lunch, drinks and details was a gift beyond measure -- giving us all time to focus entirely on our passion.
I also have to admit to a tad nervousness (LOL!!) about joining a group of artists who know one another and who have been at their art far longer than I! And to face barns (dang perspective!!! LOL) and horses (very new to me!) also contributed to a bit of fear. However, I am thrilled to say that the group's friendless, gernerosity , and encouragement helped to assuage my fears -- and I had a blast! I will definitely do more of these ... and again, thank YOU for your encouragement and Kat for introducing me to this group of wonderful artists!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I argued with myself whether I should post these or not -- and decided to share my disappointments as well as those sketches I really like -- so that others too can take heart that the road to 'success' isn't always smooth or easier for anyone else!! LOL
I have 2 more days to get 'closer' to perspective and horses. By now, my stubborn streak is glowing red and I WILL GET THIS RIGHT!! (fingers crossed!) LOL
I found out how 'challenging' perspective can be ... SEEING which ends go up which go down, evening out roof edges, shadows, etc., etc. So my week of practice has been frustrating to say the least.
This is the first barn I did -- and rather quickly -- I like the washy look but the perspective is way off.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Not my best work ... I find it difficult to do really fine work when I'm so tired .. but the practice and discipline of sketching something daily remains .... hopefully today I'll have more time and more energy!
Monday, June 18, 2007
This horse is from a photo I shot at the Lavender Farm two weeks ago.
I leave my dd this morning to head back to a busy work week. Can't wait to catch up on all my favorite blogs!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Tools have become a tradition in our home and family. But when I think of "Tools", their meaning extends even further than simply something that can be used to 'repair.'
I think of tools also as guidelines, instrutions, examples that are set by those whom we learn from, emulate or follow. Tools for living, doing art, working with others, getting something done, getting from place to place, etc.
So today, for all those father's -- the dads, the husbands, the sons, the brothers, uncles, sons-in-law, godfathers, instructors, repair folks, leaders -- May this be a most happy and restful day! And THANK YOU for providing the 'tools' that help make life worth living!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I'm thinking also of other bells: church bells ringing out festivals, hours, ceremonies, mass, life events; door bells, jingle bells, the bells on the ice cream truck; the hand bells making music for the chorus, and the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
I do love bells -- especiall Tinker Bell!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I will be with my daughter this weekend and playing nonna to a one-year old who's just discovered the freedom of walking! So if I'm scarce, please know that I'm fully immersed in "Nonna-hood!" ... but I'll be sketching every chance I have!
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I’ll be away this weekend, and so before I leave to spend some time with my daughter, I wanted to get this written and posted.
This Sunday, June 17, will make two years since I made the very deliberate decision to learn to draw. I seem to have been writing since I could speak, but visual art was something completely out of my experience, and something folks discouraged me (like my singing!!) to do. And so for over half a century, I remained a verbal artist…until two years ago.
I love the natural world .. it’s where I find my peace, inspiration, joy. And for as many years as I’ve had the privilege to live, I’ve loved those visual or illustrated journals that COMBINED words with illustration and watercolor. I can’t tell you how many ‘how to’ books sit on my shelves and HAVE sat on my shelves for years – me thinking that by reading or proximity their contents would magically transmit to my eye and hand the ability to render anything similar to what I was drooling over! HA!
I wish I could remember how I ran across the Everyday Matters site .. perhaps it was admiring someone’s work and following links back to the site … I don’t quite know (I do know that Danny’s books came AFTER I joined EDM) … but whatever led me on that path has my sincere gratitude. I began lurking on the site, turning green with envy for the talent and work I saw there. Folks talked about their own visual art journeys and I returned again to my own bookshelves for instruction… and decided, once and for all before I die, that I would really give drawing a go.
I started with my 1970s copy of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.” And I didn’t read it – I WORKED it – practicing and practicing –and truly laughing at my pitiful efforts … until I did that ‘upside down drawing.’ That one exercise absolutely liberated me, and gave me the hope I so desperately needed that perhaps, I too, could learn to draw. What I drew LOOKED that the figure in the chair – not perfect – heck, after two years, I’m still struggling with figures!! LOL – but it was recognizable!!! And thus, the spark of ‘maybe’ was lit. …and once lit, my determination took over.. and I’ve been sketching every day since then.
I took Kate’s fabulous classes in sketching and watercolor (http://www.cathyjohnson.info/) and I read everything I could afford to buy or borrow. I joined the EDM site and Karen Winters so graciously helped me set up a blog.
And you, dearest of friends, encouraged me every step of the way.
Through your comments, encouragement, suggestions, my artwork has gradually improved. Your support and generosity keeps me sketching ..and the more I “Practice” .. the more my work will grow and improve. And I cannot thank you sufficiently or deeply enough!
Today I have been graced beyond measure by a dear friend who regularly encourages me through suggestions, ideas, recommendations, guidance and discussions of art that I never had in school – perspective, negative painting, color theory, books, videos to try – as well as inspires me through their own work. When I think of the invaluable learning of such a gift and such a friend, I get weepy with gratitude …and overwhelmed with the inability to express the depth of my appreciation.
And so, I apologize for the length of this … but more than anything, I wanted to write a letter today, my almost anniversary of penciling, a letter of thanksgiving, a letter of gratitude, a letter of love to YOU …. The instructors, the friends, the encouragers, the suggesters, the helpers, the supporters – you, my dearest of friends .. for the immeasurable support you’ve give me to keep picking up the pencil, the brush .. and keep at it. Words fail me (yes, I know after this length of letter!! LOL) – to convey the depth of gratitude and thanksgiving I wish to give each of you – and to, in turn, ‘pass it forward’ and return it to YOU, as you’ve given your ‘Atta girls’ to me …..
Thank you dear ones … MILLE MILLE GRAZIE! Keep practicing!
Here are some comparisons ….
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
What is it about some images that just give you one whale of a difficult time! These lavender shrubs - holy moly! I think I went through at least TEN sheets of journal paper before I could render the lavender as I liked it!!! MERCY! First ones, too wet, second too dry, third too stiff, fourth too icky, fifth a blurry mess ... and on and on! Of course, yes, I'm stubborn, so I kept at it, each 'session' (okay, gnarling of teeth -- and no I didn't throw anything though I was mighty tempted!!), I tried to figure out what I did that I liked, what looked 'right' to me, and then redo it .... (you got that didn't you -- TRIED!!!! LOL) Anyway, I"m quite pleased with this final version .. and you can bet your boots, I'm going to do another one just to prove to myself that it shouldn't take nine forevers to do so! lol
By the way, we also enjoyed vanilla and chocolate lavender ice cream, lavender lemonade, lavender shortbread, and the relaxing scent of sachets, lip balm, and more!
To see some photos, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The meeting lasted most of the day, so I had to resort to photos to use when I returned home. I penciled the outline of the vase, but decided to try to NOT outline the flowers -- and to just 'go for it' with paint. This is much harder for me .. I tend to rely -- probably too much -- on my 'lines' ...I like that this sketch is a bit looser ... but the jury is still out about how much I like it! LOL I'll have to try repeating this technique many more times to overcome my own reluctance and to improve this approach.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Though I am a long way from retiring, I know how important it will be for me to return to growing our own food once I am home more consistently. I do miss our large garden, the fresh food (substituted now with farmer's market varieties), and that important connection I feel to our own land.
I still maintain a few raised beds with lettuce, red mustard, tons of herbs, squash and a few small tomatoes and flowers -- and for the days I am home that is about all I can manage to water, weed, harvest .... and so that satisfies a bit, especially in the cool of the morning, with the dew still on the leaves, the birds awakening, the beginning hum of insects and hummingbirds, the scent of the day as it widens into its typical heat.
Ah, summer ....and gardens ...!
Friday, June 08, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
I painted this with the Quiller palette using complementaries of various greys and mixing the greens from various blues and Cad yellow. (Stephen Quiller - Color Choices)
We finally had some rain yesterday! I don't think I remember enjoying the sound, smell and FEEL of rain so much ..... it had been weeks since we had a good rainfall. The plants were joyous!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Here are US coins alongside a few Euros that are left from our trip to Sicily -- memories I can hold in my pocket ...
Sue and I sketched the pergola while beyond it a wedding ceremony was being conducted.
The day was glorious -- warm, a bit humid, but the sun stayed mostly behind the clouds rendering the temperatures comfortable. Sue also brought some fantastic custard tarts we also enjoyed while we painted ... How I long for more splendid days like this!
See more fantastic images from Sue:
and more photos of the Gardens: