Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Road Less Traveled...365 Days of Drawing

When you see 13th Century monasteries with sun falling on them, casually dotted along the roadside as you are driving through, France, you really understand your tiny place on the planet and the many who have gone before. A sense of history and the road travelled by so many.

Unfortunately I sketched this from a photo last night. How I wish I could go back to this heavenly spot near Dinan and see this monastery one more time.

Drawing 4 x 6"
Paper size 8 x 10"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hit n' Miss...365 Days of Drawing

As I shortly enter my FOURTH month of this challenge, a QUARTER of the way through this daily drawing challenge, what are YOUR thoughts. How do YOU think it is going? The hits, the misses. What would you like to see more of? Less of?

I can hardly believe I am still here doing this. No-one is more surprised than me.

Today's entry...French bangs. Oh, how I love them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Love, love me do...365 Days of Drawing

Top 10 Reasons to miss front row seats at a Paul McCartney show to do a public demo...

1. I believe in keeping commitments.

2. Portrait demos are good for me. The skill-set of painting in public and talking about your work while painting requires regular practise.

3. I had a GREAT sitter, Gayle Sherman Hooker, stunt-double extraordinaire, currently on "Desperate Housewives". Thank you marvelous Gayle.

3. You meet some great new art friends. Thanks to The Valley Artists Guild in Encino, CA., hosting me and the friendly warm reception. John Paul Thornton and Scott Kiche, you are such gents!

4. You get a good nights' sleep the night before.

5. You skip the wine on a Saturday night.

6. You skip the garlic.

7. You get 'groomed' and out of your sweats on a Sunday.

8. You practice your drawing of the head ahead of time. I was kinda doing that anyway.

9. You get your 'daily drawing' for the 365 day challenge over and done with DURING the day.

10. After demo, you realize how extraordinarily lucky you are to have been helped so much to get to this point. A few years ago, I NEVER saw myself doing public demos. Thank you Mr. K.

I would not have missed this opportunity to paint for The Valley Artists Guild.

Love, love me know I love you!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Line Master...365 Days of Drawing

Time is short today...a portrait painting demo to get to. Here is today's drawing. Quick sketch with a heavy nod to the real Masters of line John Singer Sargent and Charles Dana Gibson.

Thanks to my dear friend Tere this week. She gave me food for thought around THE LINE. I will tell you all more later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stunt-Worthy...365 Days of Drawing

Public portrait painting demos are rather like stunts! You are doing a performance and can fall at any moment.

Well, I am in exceptionally good hands tomorrow for my portrait demo at the Valley Art Guild , Encino, CA painting none other than gorgeous professional stunt lady Gayle Sherman Hooker "Desperate Housewives" fame. Can you guess which character she stunts for? Last night I did this quick sketch of her in preparation. I believe in doing my homework.

I first met Gayle in Deborah Leshon's Pilates studio (Deborah can kick some butt herself). Gayle is one of those women that you can't take your eyes off. Stunning. I just assumed, wrongly, she was one of those 'ladies who lunched' kinda people. They make me nervous in the first place.

Then she started talking. She was really funny. Then she started talking about her day job in a casual and understated way. Very UnHollwood. She didn't lunch at all. I couldn't believe it. She looks nothing like you would expect a stunt woman to look like. On top of all of that, along with Deborah, she is one of the most caring and wise people I have met in a long time. And also a girl's girl. And did I mention, she is learning how to fly? Puts me to shame.

And did I mention too that Gayle's whole family are in the stunt business, including her teenage sons and husband, Buddy Joe Hooker, an icon in the field.

Should be fun tomorrow. I can't wait. And I know Gayle will catch me if I fall 'cause that's just Gayle. She's good at that!

For details, time and location of demo go here:


Friday, March 26, 2010

Sweat the Small Stuff...365 Days of Drawing...

Still life gives me so much enjoyment. Since the day Chardin painted his first hunks of mouldy cheese and bread, artists have been fascinated by the small stuff. Still life remains a constant source of fascination to artists which is interesting in itself. The genre has stood the test of art time.

Yesterday I did a simple class demo of lemons and red onions which will count for my drawing today. Oops, forgot to take the drawing block in photo again. I draw A LOT when I am teaching, on students' canvases, making adjustments usually in the drawing, as well as on my own.

This demo is small, 5" x 7" and only a section of the set-up. There is beauty in small.

I like what I got. I was interested in getting all the color in I could, warm and cool versions of each. I returned to the studio and did another study from this study to push the color more, although this time in a landscape.

Sweat the small stuff, I say. Especially when it comes to still life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sizzle?..365 Days of Drawing

This is my drawing for the day, demo from my teaching class at California Art Institute. I forgot to take a pic of the actual 'drawing' start as people were watching me, asking questions, and I had only an hour of painting time to get this done. Blogging slipped my mind!

This wasn't as good as last week's demo where I sizzled and nailed it; likeness, attitude, feel and great drawing all in just over an hour but certainly competent enough.

One can't sizzle each time.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Duck's Back?...365 Days of Drawing

One thing I have really learned from this daily drawing challenge (doing it on top of anything that is going on in the studio or my life) is that I have days when I just don't draw as well. When the juices aren't flowing no matter how hard I try. This whole week seems to be one LONG day which is messing with my head.

I am very annoyed by this. I am almost at the end of my third month in this challenge and feel my drawing should be water off a duck's back by now.

It is not. Some of these drawings are taking WAY longer than my 30 minute supposed challenge a day as I battle to get it right.

This was last night's drawing. Supposed to be a lace cover over her head. I suspect it looks more like an egg-white omlette. Duck eggs?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vive La Rose...365 Days of Drawing

I don't know about you but I find roses either go really well or really bad. A bit like painting hands too.

Yesterday I painted one hand on my current portrait so fast and good, a hard pose too, while the other looked like a meat stew dumpling.

Same with this rose. Took me FOREVER last night, and I must confess I had to touch it up this morning. Roses have complex forms. One has to keep it simple.

So what is your bugaboo??? What do you find hard?

Drawing 5' x 6", white chalk and wash on paper

My french photo for the day: a beautiful old french evening purse awaits on outing on an old nightstand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays...365 Days Of Drawing

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. I can just hear Karen Carpenter still singing that line.

This little drawing with wash, "London, Calling", I had fun with. Trying to catch the reflections on the pavement and movement of Dapper Dan chap walking through, no doubt on his way straight to the pub.

I dedicate this post and today's photo of my wedding anniversary roses to my colleague Annie Waterhouse,, an all-around artist of wonderful sensitivity who suddenly passed away last Monday in Malibu at only 55 years old.

Her passing is a reminder to live for the day, especially a Monday, live it graciously, be kind to one's friends, family, animals, strangers, and the planet, and strive for the best in our art. Annie did all of that with a glowing smile and she will be missed.

5 x 7", for sale through blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

KInkade-ish! 365 Days of Drawing...

I fear I am going a bit Kinkade-ish. Watch out. English thatched chocolate box cottages next.

Actually, I think that a very good idea.

Picture: Life on the ocean waves viewing reflections....what I did last night. I did have help with the wine. But not from my old sea dog, Bentley, pictured, enjoying the water view in his life jacket. How cute is that?

5" x 7"
oil, charcoal and watercolor

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Raw Color...365 Days of Drawing

I have been exploring color for quite a while now, aided by my time art residency in Dinan where I really started to UNDERSTAND what excited me and what didn't and HOW to get there.

Greyed color versus raw, that kind of thing. Too much grey is too blah for my eye, too much color is too raw, as jarring as eating undercooked fish.

I have been working with just three colors and black for quite a while now. That was what I took to Dinan. I have stuck with it for about two years, learning the color wheel and how to mix.

Here is a simple tree at sunset playing with these thoughts. The content of the drawing unimportant but the color is. Also, letting the simple mass of dark value aid the composition, around drawing.

Charcoal, oil and wash.

5" x 7"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pass The Envelope Please..365 Days of Drawing...

Posting early...need to arrive at studio, dawn. Deadline. Shipping in timely fashion required , not wet. Swish unveiling to attend East Coast. Early April. Sitter present. My roots need to be done. Need to lose five pounds. PRESSURE.

Teaching at this point is REALLY getting in the way of the above.

That said, I seem to fall hopelessly in love these days with a certain type of face I meet, and a certain type of "energy", so impossibly in love that I can't help myself.

Took a risk today in my PRIVATE teaching class. Invited someone to sit for me , a very modern gal, who was so exciting visually. She is so contemporary, I really didn't know if she would even show up. Her cutting-edge jet-black haircut, and that bold swag of red color within it like an oddly placed postage stamp, said as much.

Professional models do what they do. And I applaud them for that sincerely. Safety and security for all. Teacher and student. All arrive on time for the most part. Paint/sit for the required 15 minute segments. All hold a pose, in ways that are expected of both student and model. Don't bother either parts on their break. Student goes for awful art school treacle coffee, model goes for alfalfa/tuna/bean salad. Hunky Dory. This art dance has been going on for centuries. Rembrandt's students drank the same coffee on breaks I am sure. Not sure the models ate tuna tho'.

However...people from regular life sit for you very differently....VERY.

They don't necessarily understand arriving on time. They sit FAR longer than the standard 15 minute break very happily, excited by the process because unlike professional models , they haven't been painted before. They don't eat on breaks. They are a bit nervous perhaps.

On top of that, the teacher/painter finds herself far more nurturing. This exquisite soul has bared herself to be painted by you. She is not used to this. Not always so comfortable. Just got out of bed, maybe. Teacher shares the coffee from her cup knowing sitter arrived without. Teacher does whatever she can to make this person who has deigned to sit for her and strange class, feel comfortable.

TEACHER REALLY WANTS TO paint this beauty and share that excitement with the students. Students gain from seeing that excitement. Errr...maybe. But that is the hope.

TEACHER RETURNS TO STUDIO exhausted. Too tired to resume painting on aforementioned important commission. She thinks booked "model" eating on each 15 minute break maybe break less tiring.

Seriously tho', this day was worth it.

I pushed my envelope.

Open Your Art Envelop today. Push it in every way.

PS...the DRAWING block-in I photo'd for this demo, got accidently deleted. Sorry. Trust me the drawing was there and I have witnesses.


Reflection...365 Days of Drawing

The good thing about doing something daily is it pushes you and makes you shake things up a bit to keep things fresh. I drew a lot in my teaching class at CAI yesterday but nothing I could post here.

I returned home, after running painting errands, tired knowing I had most certainly met the challenge for the day and could put me feet up.

But I was excited by the boat sketch from the day before, wanting to do some more. I also realized the boats and River Rance reflections I painted in Dinan were really helping me with my local marina in tackling that for the first time.

I learned more in France than I realized. And I am only just really beginning to understand how much.

White chalk, charcoal, and watercolor wash...

8" x 10"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ahoy Matey!...365 Days of Drawing...

I said I would get to boats! I just moved to a new boating neighborhood. The landscape is just fantastic and appealing but where does one start when one has never really painted boats or water before.

With a drawing!

This is charcoal with watercolor wash on toned paper.

More boats to come.

Ahoy there!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Eggscellent! 365 Days of Drawing

Well, it had to be done for all our international friends...the also iconic Cadbury's Cream Egg.

Here it is in all it's humble glory...a delightful chocolate with gooey egg-like super-sweet center that got me through many a childood moment. Only released by Cadbury's around Easter.

Smart idea. What would you release only once a year?

Photo from France for my french readers: Butter cake. It had to be something sweet.

For sale on Etsy. See above link.

12" x 18"

Monday, March 15, 2010

ICONIC KISS...365 Days of Drawing

Those of you following this drawing challenge outside of the US will not know what this small iconic image is. It is a Hershey's KISS. A small chocolate drop wrapped in red foil. Silver foil is also popular.

I find iconic images interesting. How do things become iconic? I hate the taste of Hershey's chocolate, tastes waxy to me, but the little foil-wrapped "Kiss" always brings a smile if someone gives you one. There is no Valentines' Day without them just as there is no Easter in the UK without Cadbury's Cream Eggs, also foil-wrapped.

How do things become iconic? Will the current US fad for The Snuggle (a blanket with holes for the arms) become so? What marketing person came up with the idea for the Hershey's Kiss? Did he get a company award for genius? Or just a carriage clock at retirement?

Iconic in art? Andy Warhol's Campell Soup. The Mona Lisa's Smile. Van Gogh's Irises. Monet' Waterlillies. Picasso's Cubism. Waterhouse's Nymphs.

Will you create something ICONIC this week? I sure hope so. Be the first to tell me, ok? This drawing is dedicated to Verity for giving me my drawing moxy back.

My french photo: icon clogs in Dinan. Who thought to put those there? And you know it was done centuries ago.

10" x 12", for sale on blog

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And the finish...365 Days of Drawing

And the finish today...

French photo is the view of the River Rance from my studio in Dinan. Imagine waking up to that every day.

Other photos are today's Sunday breakfast and the view from my 'garden' this beautiful sunny time-change morning in California. GRATITUDE! I really must get out and paint my new 'hood.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Change Of Heart...365 Days of Drawing..

I spoke to my very wise and beautiful actress niece in England today which is always a treat. I was there the day she was born. We know each other well and I have a very soft mushy spot for her in my heart.

To my surprise, the first thing she mentioned on the long-distance phone call was my drawing challenge and how she had been enjoying following it. Her dad, Silly Uncle Bob, had also been reading it.

When I told her I wasn't going to POST drawings daily anymore, Verity said ;"...but that is the point of it, what makes the challenge interesting"...and "it will keep you honest". Or something like that. She also said she didn't find it intrusive. She could turn me OFF if she wanted to. Many have wanted to do that over the years.

I have had a change of heart. Verity is right. This posting does keep me honest. And I don't have verbal gushings every day if I feel like being quiet.

Today's drawing...a 30 minute block-in to be finished next day.

Today's french photo, an old pine drawer full of old lace.

Thanks Verity. Love you lots and jelly tots! What flight are you on?

Friday, March 12, 2010

68th DAY!!! ...365 Days of Drawing Challenge

I decided to go back to basics last night spending time with the masters really thinking things through. Where I have come from in my drawing past? And where am I going? Especially around this challenge.

As I have said before, it has taken me a long time to work out how I want to draw. Paralysis by analysis. Now I know.

It is only mid-March and I was feeling this week it was a very long road ahead to complete this challenge. Did I even want to? This drawing marks the 68th DAY I HAVE DRAWN no matter what and blogged, Facebooked, and Twittered it. Stomach flu, travel, workload, commitments aside.

Well, yes I do want to continue. I see my skill set improving all around. But I want to make sure I use my time well and come out a better artist at the other end. I also feel the need to not be quite so 'in people's face" on a daily basis. To create my art a little quieter.

I need to turn my computer off for a while so I will NOT be posting my drawings this weekend but I WILL be drawing each day as usual.

I will resume posting my daily drawings three times a week. Some nights I will do single drawings, others I will use my 30 minutes toward a slow drawing I build up over a few nights, photo'ing each step of the daily effort.

This drawing which I am naming "The Thinker" for sale through my blog. It is a study of a master drawing.

10" x 12"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Give Me A Hand...365 Days of Drawing.

This hand is growing on me. The block-in counted for my drawing challenge for yesterday.

Hands are good to study. This was painted from the model in my teaching class yesterday. It is not perfect, the hands moved a bit as models do and the angle was awkward but worth the short exercise.

The class hand-out was of course about hands, how to block them in, and the model 'set-up' designed to showcase hands, one nestling a champagne glass, the other holding pink satin. Just like I usually do in my day to day life.

I love painting hands in portraits. They are not always the easiest. I find an artist's treatment of hands in a painting separate the men from the boys. Hands-down, Sargent is one of the best to study for hands and I have to hand it to my mentor, Everett Raymond Kinstler. N.A., because his painted hands are pretty dandy too. I also like Philip De Laszlo's hands.

George Bridgeman's book "100 Hands" is still my favorite, and one I pull out regularly.

I took 3 books about hands in for my class but few students really looked at them or the my hand demo. I wonder why? I know my hand demo wasn't the best but people seem to want to hand-off the painting of hands in their paintings. Like Gainsborough's painting assistant specializing in just hands will walk into the room

So you can give me a hand for trying this. I was really glad I did it and plan to do more.

My french photo of the day: some genuine french hands eating a baguette. Or should I say holding?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Liptick on a pig? 365 Days of Drawing.

They say you can't put lipstick on a pig and apparently you can't you put lipstick on a bad drawing. I did try though as I had another go-round at this one, started the day before.

Today's drawing of a hand done in my teaching class at CAI was also a doozie which I will post tomorrow if I dare.

I think two weeks in Hawaii sounds nice wearing no lipstick at all.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yes or No? 365 Days of Drawing

I felt weary last night - especially weary of drawing. I watched the clock for every minute of the half hour drawing commitment to see if it was time to stop.

This is what I got. Pulling teeth. I have had root canals I enjoyed more.

Should I finish it? You tell me. I am going to need 25 "yes" votes either here or Facebook.

French photo...cloudy day in Dinan...beautiful majestic building.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Some Like It Hot...365 Days of Drawing

I did this drawing while watching the Oscars last night. The drawing took way too long. I really would rather have been drawing Sandra Bullock's shimmery whisper of a BLING dress.

Apart from that HOT dress, I thought the Oscars were boring. I was glad I had a drawing to show for my evening watching it even tho' my drawing seems hard to read today. You always hope for that one great moment watching the Oscars when convention is left behind and someone does something or says something earth-shatteringly good or poignant.

I am reminded of a quote my husband repeated from Seth Godin this birthday weekend when I expressed disappointed at certain things I had seen in my art life recently around competitions, etc. "Create art so stunning, there hasn't yet been a prize invented for it."

This resonated with me. So that is my plan for the week. What's yours? What' s James Cameron's? Create another Avatar?

My french photo is of a little something that I thought matched the French Maid meets Marilyn Monroe famous subway "air-stream" pose in the movie Some Like It Hot (maybe?), plus some birthday BLING from yesterday's festivities, a Mad Hatter's Tea Party of sorts. I am sure the platter was french! The movie Alice In Wonderland was amazing folks.

Thanks to my family for a lovely weekend, especially Jess for coming all the way home!

This drawing for sale via blog.

11"x 16"