January 18, 2018

The Card Game in progress - Big changes!

I broke away from the color of the slide that I'm using as the reference for this painting.  I was feeling like the warm colors weren't working and that maybe the color was an artifact of old light bulbs or old film.  Here's the new look!  I'm feeling like it's much closer to what I want in the painting, so I'll give it the weekend to see what to look at next.

I've moved on from studies of my grandma's card game, where I was working to find the right way to paint the expression on the faces of the players.  I'm now into a large painting that's coming along, slowly.  I'm still working out composition issues that didn't seem so important in the small studies -- whether or to to paint the Hummel figures on the inset shelf behind the card players, for one -- as well as trying to figure out whether the warm colors of the old Kodachrome slide should be retained or changed to a more balanced warm/cool look.

Here's where it is as of now.

November 28, 2017

Back to the Card Game - updated

Here's the latest update 
I've returned to the old image of my grandmother and friends playing cards.  The earlier sketch I'd done has attracted a lot of comment and interest, especially when people look at the woman on the left.

As with all of these  old images, I'm finding that as I sketch them, they go from being intriguing at this stage (a a lot of white, unresolved space) to a stage that I find less satisfying.

detail from the earlier sketch
I think, in part, it's a function of photos (whether old or not) that lack my eye in defining a focal point.  Of course the other part of that is that I need to adhere less to the strict depiction of the image and more to my vision of what I want to see in the work.  I find the initial sketch brings out large shapes, relationships between objects (or people) and allows me to tell a story.

I'm going to keep playing with painting these old slides and see how I can find the interpretation that works for me.  And for now, I'm going to leave this "unfinished" and think about whether or what comes next.

November 16, 2017

San Francisco Ferry Building

I did a little 8 x 8 painting of the San Francisco Ferry Building today in the studio.  I had the great pleasure of going there earlier this week while visiting a friend in California!

November 9, 2017

Edgemoor Lane Fall -- in progress/updated!

This is after the 2nd day of work on the painting

first day's work

Walking down this sidewalk toward my studio has been a real joy as the leaves have been turning.   I realized today that since I've been thinking about this landscape so much -- how the light hits the maple leaves, how the Japanese maple and holly hedge on the right cast shadows -- that it was time to paint it.

I need to knock back the intensity of the shaded plants on the right -- they jump forward of the maple a fair bit, when they should sit more quietly in deep shade.

Right now there's large blocks of color everywhere, and I had thought before painting that I'd need to break up the leaves on the ground a bit more.  I may study that on my walk to the studio tomorrow and see where it leads me.

November 3, 2017

Birthday Party 1962-3?

I'm still not sure where this project is going, but I'm continuing to explore painting from the slides of my family from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

A lot of the slides are cut off in strange ways -- faces cut in half, feet missing and the like -- that is making me wonder if I should fill in some of the details (in this one, I used feet from another slide to rough in the black mary-jane shoes on my sister) or if the strange cropping should be part of the look back into the past?

I love the homemade paper hats we are wearing in this image.  The framed print on the wall is Picasso's The Lovers, which hung in our house when I was growing up, so I guess my grandparents were visiting for our house in upstate NY for a birthday for one of my sisters or me.

October 26, 2017

In the Old Wooden Boat -- in progress

I started this last week -- it's from a slide that must be from 1960 or 61 in the Adirondacks.  That's my grandmother, mother, sisters and I'm the baby in the front seat with the white knit hat on.  Much more work to do on this, particularly on the faces of my sisters.  There's not much detail in them and there won't be, but the shapes of light and shadow aren't right yet.

October 20, 2017

Grandma's Card Game -- updated

here's an update, may still do more work on this but I love the way it feels now...

quick sketch from an old slide
I started a sketch today from a photo of my grandmother and friends playing cards.

Just having fun with these old images!

October 5, 2017

Old Family Photos -- Paintings? Updated!

continuing to refine this.... still not done...

Yesterday I had the amazing experience of seeing, for the first time, family photos from the late 1950s and 1960s that my sister found as slides and had converted to digital images.  There are pictures from the NY World's Fair, from my dad's time as a doctor on a Navy icebreaker, from summers in the Adirondacks and so much more.  The photos of my grandparents are particularly spectacular for their unreserved joy (photos then, as Facebook now, highlight the good times) and the eyeglasses, dresses, furniture and style that fixes them firmly in time.

Winter in my studio is often a time when I pull out old sketches, old paintings and photo references to consider work that was unfinished, unsatisfying or never undertaken.  I'm intrigued by the idea of taking some of these images and making paintings from them.

Not done yet... but getting there
I started one yesterday, from a photo of my grandmother as she is getting ready to board a cruise ship.  The old slide color is both heavily saturated and at the same time strangely cast from what I assume is the degrading of the chemicals that made the image.  The vivid color of her dress is something I'm going to stick with -- not sure that I'll keep what the slide shows as the violet color of the sea.

this is the start of the painting

September 8, 2017

Franciscan Monastery

In NE Washington, there's a Franciscan Monastery with a beautiful garden.  The inspiration for the building and garden struck over 100 years ago and the site now has a beautiful cathedral and replicas of holy sites from Jerusalem and around the world.  I'm not Catholic, so a friend who is guided me around the site with stories about why different memorials and grottos were there.

In preparation for the upcoming 202 Arts & Music Festival, I painted there this week and refined the  painting a bit in my studio today.

September 7, 2017

Studio work on a Montana Poppy Painting

I am back in the studio today after painting outside all week for the 202: Create Arts & Music Festival.  After painting at Tudor House this morning, which was beautiful!, it was almost a relief to be out of the sun and breeze.

I'd started this painting of poppies and field in Montana in June.  I shipped the unfinished painting back to my studio and today I got to work on it again.

I was painting in a sad state of disbelief that a friend who'd been ill for as long as I'd known her passed away this morning.  My friend had, during many days she'd spent in bed (when she wasn't running marathons or dancing in spike heels!), looked up at a painting I'd done of sunflowers that she'd hung in her bedroom.  She used to tell me that it always gave her something joyful to look at when she wasn't feeling well.  It takes my breath away to think about that.  So I focused on reliving what it felt to stand in a field with poppies this summer. looking off to mountains in the distance.