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Monday, March 31, 2008

Painting on Yupo

Over the weekend I viewed a CD by George James on painting watercolors on a unique surface: "Mastering Yupo: Techniques for Synthetic Paper" (Creative Catalyst Productions). Many of the paintings I've seen since Yupo first came in use rely on the erratic flow of watercolor on the slippery surface. Most of the artists who use it praise the capability of wiping back to the white surface, something difficult to do with watercolor on paper. James takes the technique to a new level by using thick layers of paint and blotting with facial tissue or smoothing with a sponge roller. He demonstrates a great variety of textures and techniques and explains them clearly in a laid-back manner. At one point he mentions that he uses cheap paint so he can lay down a heavy wash, but he doesn't name brands. His method retains the brilliance of the pure colors, since he doesn't use much water in the process. The end result of his abstract demo was a good representation of his many techniques. A gallery of his works shown after the demo reveal James to be an accomplished designer, especially with figures. His work is solid and not speckely like Yupo paintings become when artists struggle to get color down without lifting the washes beneath.

I recommend this video for anyone interested in experimenting with Yupo.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Inner Journey Workshops

My artist friends Rosemary Huart and Trish McKinney are presenting two opportunities for artists interested in spiritual growth, a Retreat Workshop in May and a travel/art workshop in Tuscany in the fall. Both workshops promise to be worthwhile and fun, as well.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring is elusive this year

I can't honestly remember any year that we didn't have daffodils blooming before the end of March. Unless we have a few warmer days soon, that will be the case this year. The birds are singing their Spring songs, but it's still very cold in the mornings and windy afternoons don't seem as warm as the 50s on the thermometer. Last week's floodwaters have subsided somewhat. We're high enough not to be affected, but had to "drive-arounds" to avoid high water on some roads we normally travel. Easter Sunday was bright and beautiful and we enjoyed having our Little Bits over for the afternoon.

The Monday artists at Hithergreen are selecting their artwork for the exhibition. The last series of lessons on contrasts is showing in their newer work. I can't wait to see it hanging at the center.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New exhibition coming up

My Hithergreen class is getting ready for a new show. The previous one was a year ago last October and very successful, so we're all excited about it. They're coming up with some interesting pieces. Next week we're going to talk about framing and matting watercolors and some will begin bringing in their art. The reception is April 21, but we'll start hanging the first week in April. The thing I most enjoy about their work is how different the artists are in style and subject. I'll post images of the show when it's ready. Their previous show is listed at the right in the links section.

Daniel is playing in his saucer seat next to me, crowing gagagagaga and dadadadadad and bouncing mightily. Time to crawl on the carpet awhile.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Little Artist strikes again

Jenna slept over a couple of weeks ago and I'm just getting around to posting the tempera painting she did while she was here. I thrills me to watch her paint. She doesn't hesitate--just gets right to it. She began with the yellow circle near the top and surrounded it with red dots to make a flower. A long purple stem came next, with the green leaves, which she mixed by putting the yellow down and stirring blue into it. Next, she painted the rainbow around the flower. She realized it was getting a little muddy, so she moved to the lower part and put in some colorful shapes. I showed her how to make marks with a tongue depressor and she enjoyed playing with that to decorate the shapes. It doesn't take her very long and she is definite about when the painting is finished. What's more, when she comes to visit, she seems surprised to see her paintings and likes what she has done. So do I!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The gift of old age

Yesterday afternoon I attended the 90th birthday party of my son-in-law's grandmother, Great-grandma to Jenna and Daniel. The party was held in a church social room and attended by more than fifty family members of all ages. A huge spread of delicious food was carried in by the guests, a great family tradition, the potluck. Several of the guests had been married or confirmed at the church in years past.

Lola, the guest of honor, sat at the head of the tables, which were arranged in a U-shape. She was stunning in her royal blue satin party dress and wore an equally stunning smile throughout the day. Before the cutting of the cake, Lola was assisted in walking from her seat to the other end of the room. She has had several health problems since I last saw her, and I was pleased to notice how strong she appeared in rising to the occasion.

Lola spoke in a strong voice with an obviously clear mind. The essence of her words: The most important thing in life is family. She thanked those who had made the wonderful party, her daughters and sons, and those who came to celebrate with them. She was grateful for her long life and her wonderful family.

I first met Lola (when she was in her late 60s) at our daughter's wedding, where she taught my son to boot-scoot and spent most of the evening on the dance floor. She went out dancing several nights a week for Western line-dancing and enjoyed many other activities, as well. I remember thinking of the words of George Bernard Shaw:
We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. Play on, Lola.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

I can see clearly now

The rain is gone and this morning was replaced by a thick blanket of fog. I say I can see clearly now because I am reminded of why I am happy living in Ohio. I love fog and rain and snow and sunshine, the changing seasons and weather. I'm blessed to be able to travel here and there throughout the country and enjoy different climates, but I never regret having to come home, regardless of what weather conditions await me. It was lovely being in Florida three weeks ago when the temperature was in the teens in Ohio and, even more so, escaping the blizzard to New Orleans. But now that I'm back, it pleases me to look out at the fog and rain in the woods. Recently I completed a fog painting for the new book and I recalled how much I used to enjoy painting what many think of as dismal weather conditions. I guess we have the gray days so we can fully appreciate the sunny ones.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Never mind blizzards, Spring is coming

I checked the woods yesterday after I got back from Louisiana and found snowdrops and winter aconite beginning to bloom. Yay! I hope I can do some work in the woods over the next couple of weeks, before I go to Calgary to teach. There are a lot of fallen branches and I need to realign the ones I use to mark my path through the woods. The daffodils are beginning to push up, around four inches now, so we'll see some blooms soon. Today's rain washed away a lot of the thinner patches of snow. A woman said to me that she didn't like the rain, and I couldn't resist asking if she would rather it were snow. Oops. She didn't like that. I'm always glad when it rains--we need the water.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

First news on my new book

Check out this link to Art-to-Art Palette for the first news release on Confident Color. Be sure to scroll down for the list of artists in the book. And while you're there, browse the publication for art news throughout the mid-section of the U.S. and beyond.

It wasn't easy getting to the Big Easy

When the Ohio blizzard started in Dayton last Friday, I canceled two appointments and stayed home, letting my husband use my SUV for his errands. I had plenty to do to get ready for my 6 a.m. Saturday flight to New Orleans to teach a Louisiana Artist Association workshop. As the storm raged, it began to look like I wouldn't make that flight, but I pretended I would, just in case. Then Delta called and told me that all Saturday flights were canceled out of Dayton and they had booked me on a flight Sunday afternoon.

This wasn't acceptable--I was expected to judge a show and give a lecture on Sunday in N.O. I called the airlines and waited for two hours to speak to an agent, who said the 6 a.m. flight had been restored and she was able to get me on it. But when we got up at 4 a.m. Sat. morning, the blizzard hadn't abated. I kept checking the flight and it said the flight was on time, but we couldn't get to the airport--there was a truck jack-knifed on the highway between our house and the airport. Besides that, I wasn't thrilled to get on board a little commuter plane in the high winds.

I waited another two hours on the phone to speak to a Delta agent, who said she could get me on a Cincinnati flight to Atlanta around 2:40 if we were willing to drive to Cincinnati. I booked the flight and we set out on the long drive to the airport in northern Kentucky. Normally an hour and fifteen minutes, the drive took us about two-and-a-half hours (and nearly four for my husband to get back home.) Top speed, 30-40 mph on I-75.

I stood in line for more than an hour to learn that the 2:40 flight was canceled. The agent and I got creative and booked me into Dallas, then to N.O. on American Airlines. I checked both bags, not wanting to schlep my carry-on around the airport for the long spell I would be there. Big mistake. My flights were changed three more times before I finally got off the ground. When I got to my destination, twelve hours after the ETA of my first booked flight, my bags didn't make it.

My luggage appeared the next afternoon (Sunday) after I had spent a bunch of money on cosmetics and essential clothing--and after I had already given my program attired in my travel outfit. It was a relief to have my own things; I was able to return some of the unused items before I returned home. I'll never again check my carry-on.

Before it was over, the blizzard dumped 13" of snow in Dayton, close to the record of the blizzard of 1978. Once I got to New Orleans, it was really pleasant to have 60 degree weather and sunshine for the length of my stay.

Loved the workshop. There were 15 in the class and we had a good time together, ranging from color to collage and creativity for three days. I had judged their show on Sunday and found some wonderful artists exhibiting there. They had asked me to critique the winners at their opening event in the afternoon and to give a demo, and I opted to give a lecture on talent and creativity. It's a good thing, because I had my lecture notes, but my watercolors, paper and brushes were in my lost luggage.

There were a few more adverse adventures, but nothing impacting the workshop. On the last day the workshop coordinator took me on a mini-tour of the area, which was delightful--two plantations, the bridge over the Mississippi, and sites between. She mentioned that one street of nice houses and landscaping had been underwater after Katrina--impossible to imagine.

I had to get up at 4:00 a.m. for the flight home, which was uneventful, probably because I slept through both legs of the journey and got home yesterday around noon. I still feel like someone has been beating me with 2-by-4s after wrestling my luggage around the airport and through security.

I was a bit nettled that Delta twice changed my reservation without consulting me, and both times it wasn't doable for me. However, the circumstances were so extreme and I realized that they were making a valiant effort to get as many people accommodated as possible. Every agent I talked to was patient and helpful--and willing to work with me until we worked it out. I'm grateful for that and hats off to them.

Now I have to get down to work and catch up on email, laundry and such. I don't think I've quite recovered from the stress of the blizzard-y trip, so will have to have a nap soon.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Art, Where Art Thou?

There just isn't any art going on here this week, at least not from my point of view. Lots of baby-love, computer geeking and workshop preparation. I managed to get my supplies shipped to New Orleans and to plan the new workshop. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be judging their show for awards on Sunday and giving a gallery talk before the three-day workshop. All I have to worry about at this point is whether I'll even be able to get there in time. We have another winter advisory for tomorrow and Saturday. If they can just get that plane out of Dayton, I'll be okay.