Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Fisherman that Got Away

Fisherman Unknown, inktense pencils & pen on hot press w/c paper, 10 x 14

I live on 50,000-acre Buggs Island Lake here in Southern Virginia (called Kerr Lake in NC).  Fishing and fishing tournaments are popular.  Five years ago I saw two photos on a local site, printed them out, and naively thought I'd run into this fisherman and ask permission to do a painting of the other photo--one of him and his friend in a boat near a tree-lined shore--holding a 50/60-pound catfish.  No such luck so no such painting.  Most of the photos on the site are of gigantic fish (I think this one was posted as a joke).

Who's the Fairest?, pencil & ink on hot press w/c paper,  12 x 10
I wonder which came first in Holland--windmills or tulips?  I find aging tulips more interesting than those in their prime (this photo was taken by my son).  Age has been on my mind this week.  I was at President Kennedy's inaugural parade fifty years ago; I was eighteen and remember being on Pennsylvania Avenue climbing on piles of snow--wearing high heels, no hat, and no gloves.  As a Southerner I was not prepared for DC's sometimes harsh winters--I learned.

I recently finished reading Egon Schiele, a book discussed on RHCarpenter's blog.  I'm still looking at his drawings, watercolors, and oils; I especially liked his line drawings.  However, I still draw the same way I've been drawing since elementary school--use whatever's handy and add a black outline if I'm so inclined.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tall & Thin in Just Three Days

Painter's Salute or Oh Crap, What have I Done?  acrylic, 36 x 24
After weeks of cleaning I needed to try my new easel.  I looked through my list of paintings to be done; I looked for inspiration and found none.  Finally I headed to the workshop just to splash some paint onto the easel.  I found a 10-year-old canvas--it was the only painting support I could easily reach--and propped it up.  That's when I spotted my image in a small mirror about 10 feet away.  I had hung it when I was clearing the workshop--a 70s Danish Modern rosewood piece, 7 inches wide and 20 inches tall.  With that piece I feng sui'd the workshop--the mirror faces the lake.

I couldn't see all of me at one time so I ended up tall and thin and looking like Miss Hathaway from the Beverley Hillbillies.  I recognize some parts--the oversized Abercrombie & Fitch corduroy shirt that reaches to my knees (found at a community yard sale for $1), my magnified bad eye (my left but reversed in the painting), and my long black underwear (good for cold weather).  It's impossible to look at my hand when I'm using it to paint!  This painting was fun and is not quite finished.
I never got the counter cleared.  The empty easel box served as the perfect surface for holding my paints and palette.  One more day to finish the painting; then it's back to clearing clutter (including the box).  Mirror is upper right, next to ladder.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Loose Screws

Untitled, terra cotta, 1992
 I suspect I have a few loose screws.  While most people partied for the Holidays, I cleaned out my studio/workshop to make room for a new easel.  Seven days of manual labor--this was not the brightest idea.
 My Richeson easel arrived Monday afternoon. 
I decided I could handle and assemble a 98-pound easel.

 Lots of pieces--and a winch and pulley!  
Winch Warning:  Not for Humans.

 I had my Leatherman tool.

I couldn't resist the comfy box and the easel was perfect for rigging up the camera.  Getting into the box before the self-timer blinked wasn't easy--getting out of this box and up off the floor was even harder.  My right shoulder was aching! 
All set; everything works.  I have to clean off the counter and find my paints. Tomorrow, a trip to the dumpster.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

May you soar in 2011


For the past month, I've been drawing these birds again.  These are old sketches found while trying to clear out my workshop.  Maybe someone should write a song called "Yellow Bird." 
I've been cleaning my workshop (another attempt) for four days--so far, I have one clean spot.  Instead of a resolution for the New Year, I opted for an incentive.  I ordered a Santa Fe II easel last week (on sale and a rebate) which will be delivered Monday afternoon--it will require space.  I have looked at oak easels for several years and worried about the wood warping in the workshop because it's a separate building, and no heat or air conditioning unless I'm out there.  Recently I thought, What the Hell--I'll warp before the easel warps; order the thing.  As I cleaned I inventoried supplies, moved boxes of photographs into the guest house, and stacked things on the porch (to be moved to the storage shed or Good Will).

Here are some of the interesting things I found--charcoal drawings of my two kids from the 60s.

Items from my brother's run for the Virginia Senate (bags and a tire cover for my Jeep); also, a 20-foot banner from my husband's run for town council.

This photo of "my relatives" will continue to hang on the bathroom wall.
Photographer unknown.

I'm off to check my lottery tickets; I might have won $200+ million!   If so, I'll skip the cleaning and build another workshop just for the easel.