Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cal Tech

Cal Tech 9"x12" oil on panel

Ginny was able to get the approval for us to paint on the Cal Tech campus, and there were so many opportunities, one had to make a decision and fly with it. Otherwise the morning would have been wasted wandering. I was captivated by this rather homely building, which someone, somehow, one day thought was a good idea. It is centered in the middle of traditional buildings, and attempts to be contemporary, but falling short.

One student walked by me, thought I couldn't hear due to the fact that I had my ipod ears in. He was commenting to his friend about why anyone would want to paint that, because it has to be one of the ugliest buildings in SoCA. I have seen worse. Though walking through the traditional entry archways, one sees this structure and thinks that it just does not fit in the surroundings. No one every said that Cal Tech had the top designers on campus. Now... if Art Center did that, there would be an uproar.

I was taken by the graphic views in the water. I wish I had brought a larger panel to get more reflection in my composition, but I did have fun with what I could see, which included the brilliance of the building. It was from first glance a black and white view. However, once again as I looked longer, I saw quite an array of colors. It makes one think how much more we can really see as we slow down.

We are experiencing rain here in SoCA so the plein air outings are on hold this week.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Green Bottle

Green Bottle 12"x16" oil on linen panel.
Alla Prima 2.5 hrs

Last week in my Direct Painting Class, we had the challenge of painting this set up. She showed us some work by Morandi
I chose not to paint in his style, as I find the lack of light, lack of shadows occasionally, and lack of form, bothersome. That is not how I want my painting to be seen. However, I do like the fact that he can take a few items and paint them many times in many different view. He creates a tension within his work that would be hard for me to want to create. Yet, when I view his composition, I am interested as to why he chose to crunch the vases together, or why he didn't flip his canvas to give more breathing room. When I consider the objects more as architecture, I loose the tension and see the gracefulness of each form, and the subtle variations of the edges.

What I had fun with was the reflections. At first you might not notice them. The tables are made of a dark gray surface. When this is lit with the spot, they are a very light warm gray. The more I looked the more I saw the subtleties of the reflections. Someone in class thought I made them up. I typically do not make things up. I do find however, that the more I look, the more color I see in my surroundings. Am I pushing this? Or am I just able to see clearer now that this has become a priority to me? I have learned that the brain is a fascinating muscle. It is extremely plastic, and can be retrained. So I would bet that my daily observations are creating a clearer picture where color is concerned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Flaming Aloe 2

We are experiencing 80 degree weather and I know if I had waited much longer, all of the petals would have fallen. I am glad that I made time to go back to the arboretum today. Folks passing by were very friendly today. Maybe Tuesdays are just that way.


Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flaming Aloe

Flaming Aloe 18"x26" pastel on canson paper

I began this last week, but lost the light quickly. I think it holds promise so I hope to get back to the Arboreteum before the flower wilts. This will happen quickly since we are experiencing 70ยบ days this weekend.

I did not accomplish what I wanted to in my workshop this week. I think I was distracted by the start of a headache. I will study what I did and learn from it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Work Table

Work Table 12"x16" oil on linen panel

I almost titled this, Clutter, yet that has such a negative tone to it. A work table is far more engaging, because they are all the beloved tools that are used during the day. These unfortunately are not symbolic in any way to my life. They were set out for my direct painting workshop that I am taking. It does prove though, that you don't need expensive items, or unique subjects to paint. Objects that are around you every day will suffice for an interesting subject.

I found this almost too much information to be digested in one sitting, though I attempted to paint what I saw. I cleaned it up once I brought it home, and in fact changed the background. I originally put in tones of what was behind in the classroom with a counter edge and its shadow, etc. It was far too busy, so I grayed it all down. I might sit on this view for a while. The instructor did take a few photos that night. I might view them and see if I can adjust a few areas.

I had fun approaching this with color. The challenge for me was to create depth in two feet of space. After it was set up, I decided that I was going to use a limited palette, however as I moved deeper into the space, I saw color that I could not ignore. The palette needed to be rearranged to accept a full range. Also, in a class such as this, there is just so much room for easels. You don't always have the luxury to pick the view that you saw first. You jockey for position, and "get" the view that you "get". It forces you to see compositions in a new way. There is no time to rearrange the objects, and if you could, others would be shaking their fist. You look for flow, and interesting corners.

I hope this inspires some of you to look around and paint your everyday "Clutter".