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Saturday, August 30, 2008

See pages from Confident Color

Someone just emailed me that Amazon has already posted "Search Inside the Book" pages for Confident Color. I haven't quite figured out how it works, but discovered if I click on "Surprise Me" I can see random pages throughout the book. Look it up when you have a few minutes to browse.


What is it about an index?

Is it just me? I never seem to be very happy with the indexes in my books. I guess it's the control freak in me that balks at the requirement that the publisher hire an index specialist. The only book I did the complete index on was the original Exploring Color, before the requirement was put in the boiler-plate contract. Indexing was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I completely redid the next two indexes after publication, they were so unsatisfactory. With the fourth and fifth books I had the opportunity to review the index before the books went to the printer. One of them was dreadful, the other not so bad. This time I didn't review the index, and while it isn't awful, I just don't get what causes indexers to note a word in one place and ignore it in another. I'm honestly trying not to be too picky, because I hate bloated indexes more than over-simplified ones. I do think an index is useful and essential in the kinds of books I write. Proofing an index is almost as hard as making one, I think, but I imagine indexers wouldn't agree with me on that.

The new book is fantastic. I'm astonished at the color. It's hard to match printed color to original art, but when I showed one artist his painting in the book, we compared it to the original and the color was dead-on. That pleased me no end.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Exhibition controversy

There's a controversy concerning the top award winner in a national competition this year. It appears the subject is identical to a photograph posted on a stock-photo site, and the original photographer is hopping mad. There are several issues here. The first is the violation of the photographer's copyright. The photo site terms of service state that the photographers who post their images on the site are the sole owners of the copyright. The second is that the show prospectus bars copies from competition, so even if the photographer gave the artist permission to use the photo, it wouldn't be ethical to send the work to the competition. This is a messy situation, as the artist has won awards with similar works in other shows and was quoted in a published article describing how the photos were taken for the compositions. One artist suggested that the artist may have inkjet-printed the photo onto watercolor paper and painted over it in a pointillist manner. Is that possible? I have no idea. Since the outcry began, her website, video clips and images have vanished from the Web. More recently, (this noted in 10/23/08) the thread where thousands of artists publicly discussed the situation has been removed from WetCanvas. Has censorship of free speech been added to this nasty mix?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Santa Fe, here I come

My favorite place in the U.S.--possibly in the world--is Santa Fe. Don't ask why, I have no idea. I'm not into Santa Fe "style," per se, but I love the curves of adobe buildings and the earthy colors against a clear blue sky. I've taught several workshops in Santa Fe and have visited quite a few times on my way to Durango to visit our son and his wife. I love the whole Albuquerque Olde Towne, Santa Fe, Taos circuit. You could plop me down anywhere and I could just sit there, soaking in the atmosphere, whatever that is. I've signed on to teach a workshop next year, August 3-7, for ArtXcapes of Santa Fe. I can hardly wait to hit the Santa Fe flea market.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Confident Color is here at last

I'm somewhere between over the moon and near collapse from relief. My advance copies of Confident Color arrived this afternoon. The book looks fantastic--gorgeous color, spiral binding in a hard cover. Advance copies are sent express, but I guess the regular shipment takes a slow boat from China or travels by snail on the ground across the U.S. They will be in the warehouse by Sept. 18 or 23, depending on which department you ask. I may be able to send my orders out early, because I live not far from the warehouse and can pick them up myself.

It's so amazing to see the result of more than two years of work in its final form.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watercolor plus pastel

The Hithergreen class tried something new to all of them yesterday. I had them bring old watercolors that they could brighten up by adding pastel colors to change or highlight dull areas. It worked like magic. Because pastels are opaque and made of nearly pure pigment, they can be applied light over dark and really add a lift to a painting that has gone muddy. I bought a set of 24 Prismacolor Nupastels for them to experiment with. These are harder than regular pastels and easier to work with for newbies. My original set of 12 didn't have enough colors to make it worthwhile, so if you're going to try this, go for the 24 or more colors.

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More Confident Color Artists

Judith Irwin, Jonathan Talbot, Pat Rayman, David Daniels, Rosie Huart, Janie Gildow, Leonard Williams, Sharon Stolzenberger and Cheryl McClure have added their images and comments to Art-to-Art Palette Online. I'm deeply indebted to all these artists for their contributions to Confident Color.

Many of the artists will be participating in exhibitions and book-signings with me, starting in October. I'll soon be blogging dates and places. I received an email from my editor this morning: my advance copy is in the mail. Any day now....

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Guess who's a year old today?

The guest of honor had a good time at his party. Big sister helped him open his presents and with all the attention from doting grandparents (4) and parents, he might have been overwhelmed, but he took it all in stride. He's a pretty even-tempered little guy. Last week he took his first steps and for some time now he has been saying a few words. The word of the day was "clap-clap," which he says when he's pleased with something. He definitely applauded the chocolate cake, which he hadn't had before.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Music & Dance Therapy for Parkinson's

Let's call this blog a salute to creativity in the treatment of a debilitating disease that I've been acutely aware of for more than 50 years. My husband's father suffered from Parkinson's for several years until, at the age of 70, he underwent a radical experimental surgery in 1957 that relieved his palsy but didn't help with other symptoms, such as shuffling gait. He didn't die of Parkinson's, but had a heart attack at 81. I've known several people through the years who have endured the agony of this disease.

Now I have two family members who are suffering from Parkinson's. Out of curiosity, I began to search the Web to see what new treatments might be available. Of course, there are many drug therapies, but what captured my attention were several articles on music and dance therapy for people with Parkinson's symptoms. I'm excited about the possibilities of these therapies. Here's a list of links to videos and Web sites that relate to this subject:

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lewis Eugene Thompson, portrait artist

When I first learned to search the Web, I looked up this artist and couldn't find anything on the Internet. A few weeks ago, I found a site that shows his work.

When I was ten years old, I tagged along with my sister to a kids' art class not far from our home in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Thompson had 4 or 5 of us in the group: my older sister, my cousin, her brother and I seem to remember 1 or 2 other kids. It wasn't much of a class, as far as teaching went, but it was fun. We took pictures we wanted to copy (I painted Bambi) and he showed us how to use Prang watercolors and pastels. He was a very kind man and a fine artist. This was the only art class I had prior to taking up watercolor painting 27 years later.

I understood that Thompson's portrait of Winston Churchill hung at 10 Downing Street for awhile and I think his portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt was honored, as well. In addition, during the time we took from him, about a year and a half, he painted portraits of several war aces, such as Major Bong and Captain Don Gentile.

Mr. Thompson played Santa Claus for our family twice, when our youngest sister was still a "believer."

His work is displayed at March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California. His interesting career is detailed on the Web site. To my knowledge, none of his work is exhibited at the Air Force Museum here in Dayton, where he worked for so many years. Several years ago I asked a volunteer at the museum and no one there had heard of Lewis Eugene Thompson.

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Nancy Crow, quilt artist

When I was teaching the color and design workshop in Denver for the Front Range Contemporary Quilters, I was introduced to the work of Nancy Crow. She's a fantastic artist and very versatile. Nancy runs workshops by herself and other artists in quilting, dying, color and design, does art tours, writes books and more. By all means check out her web site and her awesome work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The artists in Confident Color

, a Midwest regional art and educational electronic and print journal, is featuring the comments and artwork of some of the artists whose works have been selected to appear in my new book, Confident Color. This is an ongoing feature and will be updated every few days with more artists. As of today, Karen Benedetti, Willis Bing Davis , Gail Delger, Karen Jacobs, Cathy Jeffers, Trish McKinney, Shirley Nachtrieb, Julie Ford Oliver and Suzanne Zoole have contributed their images and remarks. More on the way. BTW, check out their Web sites.

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Ink and Watercolor

Most of my Hithergreen class continued to work with pen-and-ink plus watercolor this week. They did a good job with it. There were a couple who loved incorporating the drawing into their paintings. Here's a project from my Web site describing how to do this type of spontaneous watercolor enhanced with ink lines.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

McCallister's Art Store

I spent more time and money than I planned at the store this morning. It was sad to see things less than perfectly displayed, but I soon discovered that there are still some fantastic bargains to be had. Everything in the store is 57% off this week. Why 57%? George says that's how old he is, so why not?

I bought a few tubes of W&N watercolors, some Zoltan Zabo watercolor paper and four clever art aprons to sell on my web site. He had 5 copies of The New Creative Artist, which I knew I could sell, so I bought those, too. As I strolled the aisles, I realized how much stuff I have in my studio that I haven't used in ages, so I wasn't as tempted as I might have been. I had to stay away from the paper aisle, though. McCallister's has always had the best paper selection I've seen anywhere, and there is still a lot of gorgeous paper there. This would be the time to stock up, except I already have drawers of it collected from previous trips down that aisle. The Golden acrylics are all gone with the wind. There are still lots of Holbein products at this great price. This would be a great time to buy a nice portfolio carrier for artwork, a really good tote or carrier for supplies.

I said goodbye to everyone, but I'll probably go back the last week and maybe even walk down the paper aisle, if the price is right.

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Stepping off the pincushion

Might as well, since I learned yesterday that the books-in-house date for Confident Color has been moved to September 18, three weeks later than previously announced. Maybe that's a good thing, giving me more time to do some publicity. I've fallen behind on everything because of workshops and family obligations.

The workshop at Peninsula Art School in Door County, Wisconsin, was great. What a fabulous facility and beautiful area. I seldom have an opportunity to see much of an area when I'm teaching, but I did manage to drive up the west coast of the peninsula and see some of the beautiful little towns, beaches and marinas. I've heard there are a lot of lighthouses there, but I never saw one. The art school is worth investigating, as they have a well rounded program, including painting, drawing, metal work, classes, workshops, lectures and much more. My workshop was a three-day crash course in color and design, working with collage and monotype techniques. The students worked hard and it looked like they were enjoying themselves.

My regular baby-sitting duties have ended and my days have already filled with other activities. I will so miss the our baby boy's sloppy hugs, wobbly walking around the furniture and wild rides across the kitchen floor in his walker. He'll be a year old on Saturday and I don't imagine he'll admire his birthday cake with restraint once he has tasted chocolate.

I'm going over to McCallister's Art Store for the last time today before they close. I've been putting it off because it makes me sad. I feel bad for the owners and for the artist patrons who have stuck with them for so many years.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

On pins and needles

That's where I'm sitting, waiting for my advance copy of Confident Color to arrive. It's still a couple of weeks till "book-in-house" date, but in the past I've received an early copy well before that. I may as well relax. I'm beginning to think the pub date may have been changed to a later date. Looks like I'm the last to know. The Artist's Showplace is planning a book and exhibition event October 10 when I'm in Dallas for a Creative Color Workshop October 6-10, so lots to look forward to in the coming weeks. And, I've scheduled a book-signing October 16 at Books & Co. at the Greene in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Today I'm tying loose ends before I leave in the morning for Fish Creek, Wisconsin, and The Peninsula Art School workshop (see below). I'm looking forward to it. The weather report looks good, although I couldn't ask for more than we're getting here right now. It's sunny, cool and dry, not very typical of Ohio in mid-August, and it's wonderful.

My Hithergreen class began a new term on Monday with a full class of 25, all but three returning students. This group has bonded as friends and are so much fun to work with. The topic of the day was combining ink line with watercolor washes and they did some good pieces. They have two weeks to play with it before we revisit the subject when I return from Wisconsin. I'm excited about their response to this technique, which is new to nearly all of them. This little sketch, 4" x 6", began as a color-scheme mingling. With a thin piece of bamboo from a placemat as the drawing tool, I dipped into Bombay Black India Ink and scribbled spontaneous lines over the dry washes to represent flowers and leaves.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

A Butterfly Mandala

Taos artist Jerry Walter has been Photoshopping with The New Creative Artist again: "This morning I was in the garden with the digital camera and this butterfly was working hard in the larkspur and it really wanted to pose for me. So I thought "What a wonderful subject for a torn edge mandala" (Page 70). So about 20 pictures later, here it is."

The color contrast of the blue larkspur and yellow butterfly is really effective. Although we usually think of blue and orange as being the complementary colors, that's in reference to color mixing. Hilary Page lists blue and yellow as "visual complements," which have more impact when juxtaposed. I love it!

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