daily painting | alluris

Alluris was the lovely model for last Tuesday night’s figure drawing group in Oakland. I so enjoy doing a series of paintings and sketches, changing my spot in the room to get different views of the pose. Someone said once, as I did a number of small paintings and then left earlier than other, more serious oil painters, that watercolor artists are like hummingbirds — flitting around, alighting briefly, zooming off. I am gaining more experience with the gorgeous fountain pen I’m using these days, which can create thick or thin lines depending on pressure on the nib. Cool stuff (if you are interested in this process, you can take a class next month from me at Frank Bette Center in Alameda; class info is on their website: www.frankbettecenter.org/fountain-pen-and-watercolor.html).

There’s a freedom I am experiencing, using this pen, and it creates more interest in the drawing/painting. Plus it’s lovely to enjoy artist Peter’s home-made chocolate treats that he brings to the group [there was a funny moment that night — Alluris was taking a brief walk outside to stretch her legs and I was also outside getting fresh air. As she walked up the sidewalk, a man in a car pulled into a driveway near her, asking if she ordered a pizza? No, she said. Then he tried to convince her to buy pizza from him. Did he have a card, she asked? No. Either he was so smitten by her beauty he couldn’t help himself, or he hoped she was a lady of the night — which she did not look like at all, as she was demurely dressed between modeling sessions].

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | light getting in

I have a new favorite spot, the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse on Telegraph Ave in Oakland, near my studio (Temescal neighborhood). I’ve been working on a series of medium-sized canvases that are recycled paintings purchased there — stretched on a frame and ready for a new skin of paint. I specifically created this piece for Open Studios, as I wanted a not-too-big abstract to fit in my allotted space at Gray Loft Gallery (not to mention fit in my car.). I do try to create paintings with more muted colors — but they always end up here. So I’m going with that attraction to the primaries. Open Studios was a lot of fun, as I was with a terrific group of artists. We sweltered through the first weekend and were happy when the fog rolled in. I’m rethinking future plans for E Bay Open Studios (“EBOS”) as I find that at the end of the day of showing my art I feel quite raw and it takes a few days to recover. I often am reassessing my role as an artist — how do I fit in? Is it worth it? Does my work suck? Can a modern Peggy Guggenheim please come discover me? I’ll see how I feel in 6 months. A big thank you to everyone who came to see my work! Your enthusiasm means a lot.

28″ x 22″ acrylic, pencil on stretched canvas = $800

 

 

 

daily painting | alameda stucco

Alameda has some interesting architecture. I have no idea of the local creative folks designing these stucco (I think?) homes, but the interesting shapes and cutouts are lots of fun, and I photograph them while riding my bike to the market to get dinner so I can paint at home. I think this one was on Grand. Not sure of vintage — 1950s maybe? Very distinctive and charming, though my interpretation isn’t exactly to code. Was especially lovely to be biking across town after the marine layer moved in — the current temperate climate is far more comfortable for such outings than temps in the 100s when I melt and look for AC in the movie theater or Safeway. Anything for relief.

6″ x 8″ watercolor, pen on paper = $60

 

 

 

daily painting | artgraf calla

This was a quick sketch done as part of a demo for the recent watercolor class I taught at Frank Bette Center with my favorite flower in a small still life set up for the students (happy-memory-moment — I brought a mug I got in Mexico when I went there to study with my teacher, Leigh Hyams). I wanted to show them this wonderful medium, water-soluble graphite in sepia tone — it comes in a small cake and likes getting wet. It is slightly grainy, and dries in interesting ways. Also, it was a demo of using a fountain pen that, with its flexible nib, can do both thick and thin line weights and adds so much interest to the drawing. Check out the Frank Bette Art Center site for upcoming workshops I will be teaching in July and August: a pen-and-ink and watercolor class, and a class teaching abstract painting.

artgraf graphite, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | heat

OK the digital readout over by Home Depot in Oakland said the temp today was 104 degrees. I cropped a painting just to show red, as this blistering heat wave is quite something and if I’m slightly incoherent it’s from heat stroke! I wanted to post something today, though I will need to wait until a cooler day when the dizziness passes and I can actually tell what I’m doing before I upload any new works; I’m sure the blazing temps on the 3rd floor where I was showing my work for E Bay Open Studios last weekend are contributing to my current old lady sensitivities (I’m guzzling Gatorade, thanks to kind neighbor Beth). Stay cool and safe out there folks and hopefully the marine layer will once again bring relief to the bay. Soon. I also wanted to say how lovely it was to be part of the EBOS show at Gray Loft gallery (one more weekend, hope you can come!). Such a treat, and so much fun. Oakland is the best.

 

 

 

daily painting | avocado

Is it possible to live without avocado? Nope. Did a watercolor sketch of my favorite food (some say I’d even put it on my cereal— what a great idea!). Am in the throes of setting up for E Bay Open Studios which starts Saturday (see “about” button). I suppose showing an image of a sharp knife which opened up this soft-fleshed fruit is appropriate, as displaying my work is a wonderful privilege and honor — I very much enjoy talking to folks who like my art — and at the same time, after a day of open studios, I feel exposed and like I don’t have any skin on. I’ve tried over the years to toughen up my skin — and my heart — but have failed (Brillo pads, sandpaper, steel wool). I believe my tenderness comes from putting deep feelings into my work (abstracts in particular), and I need to be very gentle with myself at the end of the day; sometimes I am fortunate enough to have a little TLC after presenting my paintings and for that I am grateful, as it soothes and comforts.
OK, off to do the next thing on my list! I hope you can come by Gray Loft Gallery for E Bay Open Studios these next two weekends as I am part of a group of lovely artists (bring some bubble wrap for me; it might help). Funny paradox — a great escape when I am needing solace is watching an excellent TV show like Deadwood, even with its violent scenes (I cover my eyes). Enjoying someone else’s authentic creativity, I suppose.

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | lily

I have been experimenting with a new pen, thanks to a good friend who actually trusts me with her art implements (against all good judgment) and has loaned me her fountain pen with permanent ink. It’s so interesting to draw lines that, depending on the pressure of nib, go from thick to thin to thick. I do the drawing first, then add color. Sometimes I go back in with more line work and more color, and often overdo it and the painting/drawing ceases to be fresh and lively and basically dies. Then it’s time to start over with a fresh piece of paper — overworking a piece is a daily hazard for artists. I will be teaching a class using this technique next month at Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda, so if you are interested, the workshop (3 hours on a Saturday) will be fun. Keep an eye on the Frank Bette web page for information.

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | floating on the surface

This might be the most minimalist abstract I’ve ever done, and it was delightful to do in watercolor on paper. Expressing myself freely (my aspiration!) with paint is healing, cathartic, and makes me whole. I started with water soluble pencil lines and then went into it with paint. I went slowly (a challenge) and it told me it was done at this point. We do have conversations, my paintings and I.

30″ x 22″ watercolor, pencil on paper = $795

 

 

 

daily painting | talking head

Appropriate for today’s newsy events — watching pundits pontificate on news channels is great practice for painting people. I don’t even remember who this was, but his face and generous lips and mouth captured my interest. It’s much more satisfying, however, to watch the swarms of cliff swallows out my window build mud nests under the ledges of the cement silos in my parking lot. Really lovely time of year.

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | calla 2.0

I’m afraid I can’t keep my thieving hands off these gorgeous flowers; again raided a neglected calla lily bush tucked in a hidden corner at Ft Cronkhite next to an unused building. And yet! This arrangement on my coffee table was perched next to my favorite new drawing tool, a fountain pen with permanent ink, loaned to me by a friend, and I needed to draw my favorite flower again. It’s lovely experimenting with thick and thin lines and loose scratches and then adding watercolor. A Memorial Weekend creative endeavor, and also a celebration of teaching a watercolor workshop at Frank Bette Center in Alameda. What lovely, open-minded and big-hearted students! More classes will be offered; I’ll keep my website updated with info (keep an eye on the “about” button). I brought this flower arrangement for students to paint and all results were spectacular.

5.5″ x 7.25″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper = $50