Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adolescent Pears

Adolescent Pears, pencil on cover stock, 7x7

I bought some Luminance 6901 pencils--they are wonderful on hot-press water color paper.  Of course, I drew this on computer cover stock.  Why?  I was just sketching a scene that's been in my brain for several years,   I imagine fruits and vegetables play around when everyone's in bed.  I worked on this for several nights before falling asleep--and who needs a model for pears or cups?  Obviously, I do.  I thought I had cups that looked like these--I don't.  And try fitting a pear into a cup in this manner.   I got the countertop correct but these subway tiles are waaay too wide.  What the heck; I like it and had fun--I might just paint it.

I was drawing at night because I've been cleaning my house--anticipating the cleaning ladies who are scheduled to show up tomorrow.  First, I found my ironing board--buried under art supplies--and read directions for the steam iron (I skipped HomeEc).  I have washed and ironed seven ivory Pottery Barn linen drape/shades (I would have ordered new ones but they're no longer a Pottery Barn item); the window sills are clean; the top of my stove is clean; the dining room table is almost cleared of catalogs; the outside of the microwave is clean; most of the kitchen backsplash tile is clean; and I washed and ironed six hand-painted pillow covers.  Why do I like off-white and ivory?  Tonight I will tackle the inside of the microwave and clean the hard-to-reach corners of the backsplash.  Thank goodness the cleaning ladies aren't going upstairs--I'd be exhausted.  (The art supplies from atop the ironing board are piled on the floor.)

I'm beginning to think senescence is a lot like adolescence--tomorrow night I go back to playing for two weeks.  Maybe I can play neatly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Copper Bowl and The Three Pears

Copper Bowl and The Three Pears, acrylic on 24x24 cradled panel
Several bloggers mentioned and recommended the book, Alla Prima, by Richard Schmid.  I bought it and read it--actually studied it.  Sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous; sometimes ignorance is bliss.  I thought I'd whip out a painting from a pear photograph I had taken in my kitchen--I estimated it would be done in a couple of days.  I used open acrylics and set up a palette, forgoing my usual ketchup cup/paper plate method.  I was actually concerned that the painting might be so easy I'd lose interest.  Ha!

That was ten days ago.  I spent half a day looking for my copper bowl (it was hiding among other copper bowls) and I've eaten about twelve pears--I needed the real things.  I tried palette-knifing the dish towel.  It was interesting but did not look like my work; I spent half a day sanding those palette-knife marks.  Then there was a cricket-rescue from the utility sink in my studio--a major delay in cleaning brushes.  I wouldn't classify this painting as alla prima--more alla Hallie, although I resisted the urge to add a couple of bare feet in the background.  I think it's finished.

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Garden Grew--and Grew

Homage to the South
This photograph (one succulent planted in an outgrown dog toy) represents 100 percent of my gardening during the past three years.  It sits on the front porch railing and is a nod to my roots, where petunias are sometimes planted in old tires.

We have very good grass cutters and leaf picker-uppers but it was time for more than maintenance.  Shrubs were overgrown, ivy was reaching under the back porch of my workshop, and rose bushes were buried under hollies and camellias.  I found master gardener Kathy McNulty and asked her to stop by.  After walking around my yard, she told my neighbors (who were visiting on the porch) that she might be finished in 2012.  Kathy is quite the comedienne.  She showed up Tuesday at 10 a.m.--as promised--and set to work.
Kathy McNulty
She pruned the prickly hollies, shaped the camellia without disturbing the mockingbird's nest, unearthed the roses (which I replanted), shaped the unidentified huge shrub outside the kitchen window and left some shoots for the birds--they like to bounce after their baths and I enjoy watching.  We transplanted irises; she trimmed along the driveway and pointed out which trees and shrubs are beyond help and need to be removed.  She pulled everything to the curb--the town picks up.  While Kathy was doing the heavy work, I pulled up gobs of ivy that I had planted--underneath, I found two antique Bayonne NJ fire buckets, my practice golf balls, two croquet balls, and a bird bath. 
The Garden Ho
I moved my Bob Currier sculpture to the front yard.  Why was I working six straight hours a day alongside Kathy?  I'm uncomfortable letting someone else do my work.
November on Commerce Street
I don't rake, though.  After all the leaves fall, we'll have them picked up.  I'm off to the workshop and back to painting as soon as I can move without pain.  Kathy will be back in the Spring!

My small southern town--Clarksville VA--did a great job of picking up the debris.