Monthly Archives: April 2013

My Sketchbook

If I were going to be stranded on a desert island and could only take one item with me, I would leave behind my beloved lip gloss and mascara, and grab my sketchbook. When I have access to my sketchbook, I can create. Whether it’s a doodle, sketch, or gesture, putting pen to paper makes time fly. I keep a sketchbook on the kitchen table, and one in my studio, but my favorite sketchbook is portable, fits in my tote bag, and accompanies me on all of my journeys–including any unplanned future trips to desert islands.

Today, my sketchbook is keeping me company in the airport. Crying babies, restless children, and angry travelers make for an interesting experience at the gate. I’m recording impatient people, uncomfortable chairs, luggage, and my own hand, which is always available for posing. We are facing long delays, but that’s okay. I won’t be bored. I have my sketchbook.

One-minute gestures from my sketchbook–Orlando International Airport

20130428-081512.jpg

20130428-081545.jpg

20130428-081618.jpg

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

A Shot in the Arm

As the spring semester comes to an end, rumors are being whispered around the halls of the art department.  If the rumors are true, then full time art professors will be replaced by part time adjunct faculty, and several art classes will be pulled from the fall roster.  I knew the arts were taking a hit in the public schools, but I didn’t realize that higher education would be affected by this apparently contagious, deadly virus. 

The arts can’t die.  The arts are a lasting expression of our humanity. They make us aware of our humanity.  Music, visual arts, dance, theater—if we kill the arts, who will tell our stories?  Who will record our history?  Where will we turn to find beauty? We have to keep the arts alive, and that means art education desperately needs a transfusion, a round of antibiotics, or at least a shot in the arm—and make that STAT!   Letting art education die—that would be just plum crazy.

“Plum Crazy”–Acrylic on Canvas–part of the ‘Colorblind’ series

Image

Tagged , , , , , ,

Spring has Sprung

Spring is in the air—literally.  The intoxicating fragrance of gardenias and the sweet scent of jasmine hang in the humid air causing me to breathe a little slower—a little deeper.   Any day now the winged elm in my front yard will debut the first of its tender new leaves.  The grand magnolias display their glorious white blooms, fitting of floral royalty. The sun shines brighter and longer to show off this season of rebirth.  Mother Nature has thrown off her winter coat to reveal her colorful spring dress.  The grass is greener, the flowers are brighter, the sky is a more vivid blue—it’s Earth in HD, and I want to record it all.

“Bearded Iris”–Graphite–From my sketchbook

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Half Full

I had what I consider to be an idyllic childhood.  I grew up in Daytona Beach on a quiet little street in the 1960’s.  Every Saturday, my siblings and I would mount our bikes and head out in search of adventure.  My mother’s mantra “Safety First!” was always quoted as we rushed out the door, our dogs at our heels.  We climbed trees and built forts, swam in the ocean and constructed elaborate sandcastles. We would finally come home as the sun was setting, full of dirt and sweat—exhausted, but still smiling.   The world was a gentle place where kids could be kids, or at least that’s how I remember it.  In our house, ‘technology’ was a corded rotary phone, a record player, and a TV that got exactly three channels.  I’m sure bad things happened in the 60’s, but we weren’t bombarded by haunting images through dozens of TV stations, social media sites, and the internet.  We were protected, innocent, happy—or maybe we were just lucky.

Will my daughter remember her childhood as idyllic, or will she be forever scarred by the memories of mass shootings, bombings, and murders?   It is impossible to shield her from the media blitz that surrounds every heartbreaking event.  I would say that I weep for the future, but I don’t. Along with the chilling images our children have seen, they have also witnessed the bravery of first responders, the genuine compassion of strangers, and the inviolable resolve of the human race.  I still have hope.  I still believe in humanity.  And today, even after the terrible tragedy in Boston, my glass is still half full.

“Half Full”–graphite on paper

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Get in Line

As a resident of Orlando, the theme park capital of the world, I spend more than my fair share of time in lines—long lines, short lines, single file lines, ’every man for himself’ lines, lines of traffic, lines that twist and turn, and lines that go on for hours.  Disney refers to their lines as ‘queues’, and while that term might fool the tourists, I know a line when I see one.  You can only hope what you find at the end of the line will make you happy that you endured the wait.

Artists spend a great deal of time dealing with lines, too–thin lines, thick lines, broken lines, continuous contour lines.  I was going through my old portfolios the other day and I came across some line work from my first drawing class at Valencia. One of my favorite exercises was a ‘blind contour’ study. The goal was to complete a drawing looking only at the subject—not at the paper.  Another exercise that was popular in class was the ‘continuous contour’ drawing.  I chose a cluttered space—my kitchen pantry– and drew it without lifting my pen from the paper. Those exercises gave me a new appreciation for the line—a seemingly simplistic device that can make or break a drawing.  And while I did spend hours dealing with those lines, the ride was definitely worth the wait.

Line work from Drawing l at Valencia College:

contour line drawing

Image

 

continuous contour drawing

Image

Putting all that line work to use–pastel on paper

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

What are you looking at?

Yesterday, I was loitering in the lobby of Valencia’s art building.  Armed with my sketchbook and pen, I was prepared to participate in– and record– one of my favorite pastimes—People Watching.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a roomful of unsuspecting subjects to sketch.  The problem arises when one of those subjects realizes he’s being watched.  We do the “Glance Dance”.  He gives the “What are you looking at?” stare, and I respond with the “I’m looking past you—not at you” glance.  His next move is usually the overly-suspicious “Yeah, I knew that” look, followed by my “Time to choose another subject” glimpse as I scan the room for my next victim.  It’s an awkward dance, but it must be performed.  I realize I could ask permission, but then I would end up with a stiff, self-conscious model who will inevitably want to see the finished drawing.  I want to capture the casual, natural model who is at least somewhat oblivious to the fact that he is my subject, and won’t ask to see my quick, gestural sketch.    So the next time you get that creepy “Someone’s watching me” vibe from a girl with a sketchbook, don’t bother with the ‘Glance Dance’—just sit back, relax, and try to act natural.  It’s all in the name of art.

 

“Gossip”–pen–from my sketchbook

Image

“Exhausted”–pen–from my sketchbook

Image

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Abandon Ship!

 Every seasoned sailor knows when it’s time to abandon ship, and every smart artist knows when it’s time to abandon a project.  “Vintage” looked great in my head, and pretty good on paper, but when the paint hit the canvas, I knew my ship was sinking—fast.  I wanted vintage elegance, but I ended up with graphic boldness—right idea, wrong medium.   Watercolor would give me the softness and fine detail I needed for this particular piece.  An expensive gallery wrapped canvas and a background I loved begged me to abandon my idea and start fresh.  I tossed myself a life ring—in the form of a jar of gesso—and headed for shore.  I have a final project to paint, and I can’t waste time bailing water.  This summer, without the pressure of the semester weighing down my ship, there’s a chance I might explore these waters again, but I can guarantee you I’ll be wearing a life jacket—just in case.

I had my doubts about her sea worthiness, but I decided to set sail.

Image

Half way through my color study, I could tell she was taking on water…

Image

I finally sounded the alarm: Abandon Ship!!

Image

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Dress Rehearsal

I love the quote “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal”, but life does call for dress rehearsals—actors rehearse, athletes practice, public speakers address a video camera—anyone who is in the public eye does some sort of rehearsal before show time to catch potential problems and perfect the performance.  An artist’s dress rehearsal can be a color study, a sketch, or a series of photographs.  Sometimes I dive right in and paint, but if I’m doing a really involved piece, you can bet I’m going to have a dress rehearsal first.  I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a while now, but after the dress rehearsal, I’m not sure if I really want to put on the show…

“Vintage”–a ‘dress rehearsal’ from my sketchbook

Image

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Get Real

All too often, when I create, I find myself choosing unusual colors–pink turtles, blue dogs, an orange octopus, or bejeweled fish.  This week, I decided to get real and try a more perceptual piece.  Even though I limited my palette to earth tones, I did manage to sneak in a little metallic gold.  Creating art is all about showing the world how you see things–and I see bright, vivid, sometimes unconventional, and often ‘metallic’ COLOR!

“Old Salt”–Acrylic on Birchwood

Image

Tagged , , , , ,

The Perfect Little Black Hue

As a woman, I am always on the hunt for the perfect  ‘little black dress’—the one that fits like it was made just for me—the one that makes me feel like a million bucks every time I wear it (even if I have to suck in my stomach all night long).

 As an artist, I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect ‘little black hue’ to use in my paintings. While all paint manufacturers produce a black pigment, artists often create their own unique blacks by combining different hues.  I have experimented with a range of colors in multiple mediums in my quest to create a pleasing, interesting black.  For “Light the Way Home” I mixed Golden’s Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, and Napthol Red Medium to create the perfect little black hue.  And for me, it’s just as thrilling as slipping into that perfect little black dress–only I don’t have to suck in my stomach.

“Light the Way Home”–Acrylic on Birchwood

 Image

Tagged , , , , , , ,