Thursday, May 29, 2014

Out of the Blue

I think I've discovered something...the angle that I'm drawing at, or rather the angle my drawings/paintings turn out like (bad sentence structure, I know) is due to the way I'm drawing at my desk.  I have a huge, oversized easel, but instead I'm drawing in a tiny space, lying my canvas or paper over bottles and tubes, a mini-7UP can, mounting tape, splintered popcicle sticks, whatever! 

Actually, maybe this is just an excuse, and I'm just a lopsided creator! ha!  Anyway, I'll just keep sticking to my own style--these portraits feel more alive to me, somehow, in their "skewness."

Spent lots of time on this one--gouache, ink, acrylic, pastel, oil stick--just kept adding to her.

Look how my different camera-angle taking gave this chiquita a completely different look. 

Different angle:
Here's how this picture started.  I accidentally rolled over a pastel stick and crushed it into my wooden floor.  Rather than waste such a precious material, I smeared it on various pieces of paper.  That's how this painting began.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tommy Kane (No longer available)

This past month I participated in Sketchbook Skool (yes, that's spelled correctly), an online sketchbook class created by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene.  Over 6 weeks, both of those well-known sketchers, along with Prashant Miranda, Jane LaFazio, Roz Stendahl, and Tommy Kane generously shared their tips for sketchbook drawing.  They are all fantastic, of course!  And they all offer different approaches to this art.  I've been following Danny Gregory ever since he published his inspiring book, "Everyday Matters."  I came across Tommy Kane right after Danny and have several of his prints.  I could slobber over all of them, but I'll let you discover them by yourself!  Plus, to be honest, it's 1:41 a.m., and I'm tired.  Here are their websites. or
and finally

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Tommy:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Buddy Guy (SOLD)

I woke up this morning at 6:10 a.m., an unheard of event...well, not unheard of. Wait, let me begin again.  I woke up this morning at 6:10 a.m. feeling refreshed and well-rested.  Yes, that's more like it.

Yesterday, Saturday, I slept 13 hours!   I woke up briefly at 8 a.m. and still felt exhausted, and I crawled back into bed and slept until 2:15 p.m.!  I hadn't felt well at the end of the work week and my hound way lying next to me like an insulator (my husband long ago had went to work), both leading me into a brief coma.

As you can imagine, the day unfolded quite languorously.  Around 5 p.m., I found myself watching Cadillac Records, about the great blues label run by Leonard Chess in Chicago that helped launch Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Willie Dixon and Etta James.  No one represented Buddy in the film, but he's a Chicago Bluesman through and through and was heavily influenced by all these greats.  Anyway, watching it reminded me of Buddy, which led me to rewatch a favorite part of Martin Scorsese's 2005 rockumentary of the Rolling Stones (playing at the Beacon Theatre in New York City), Shine A Light.  The next step of course, was that I needed to paint Buddy Guy as he appeared in that film, during the playing of Muddy Water's hit, "Champagne and Reefer."

Feeeeeeeeeeeeeel the power of his voice and guitar playing.  Oh, so wonderful to behold visceral virtuosity, no?  I've seen Buddy twice in person.  The first time was at Alpine Valley, playing with Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Vaughan, and Robert Cray, the night before SRV's fatal crash.  Ugh, I can barely type it even 14 years later.  The second time was 2007 in Bridgeview, IL at Eric Clapton's "Crossroads" Guitar Festival.  (I was thinking I saw him once more playing at Kingston Mines in Chicago, but perhaps I'm hallucinating.)  Anyway, he is always, always phenomenal.

"Champagne and Reefer" from Shine A Light featuring Buddy Guy:

Here's a little blast from the past.  One of the drawings I did for my 2010 Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook project, "Coffee and Cigarettes," was Keith Richards spitting out his cigarette during that same song.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gossipy Creatures (SOLD)

This piece has been sitting on my desktop for quite awhile.  I coated some cardboard with some modelling paste still on my fingers from another painting I had done and didn't want to scrape it back into the jar.  I worked on it, set it aside, picked it up again when I wanted to paint, but didn't want to launch into anything major.  I've worked and worked on this little piece.

I wasn't sure how it was going to shape up or what it was, but it started to emerge from the background of paint smears I had put on it.

I call it "Gossipy Creatures."  I wanted to make the figure on the left not look so intent, I considered making that mouth upturn a bit, but I liked the worried/distant look in it's eyes, so I left it alone.  Maybe I was influenced by my co-worker, Crystal's, recent reading of Othello for her reading class.  That bird has a little glint of Iago, me thinks...or not. ha!

Just got back from walking the dog before I head off to work.  I was thinking about Othello while I wandered. I remember my high school English teacher, Miss Driscoll, having us read that play and requiring us to memorize long passages of Shakespearean verse, soliloquies filled with elaborate language beyond our capacities, but then upon comprehension, within our means.  God bless those teachers who filled us with terror and demand, who pushed ourselves and our brains.  We are always capable of so much more than we think or are required to do. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

You Can Do It, You Did It! (SOLD)

I have several commissioned pieces I am finishing up this month and next.  The first is from a co-worker, Diane, who volunteers as an adult-learning tutor.  Diane began with one of her students as she helped the girl earn her GED (General Education Development) high school equivalency diploma.  From there, she has encouraged her protégée throughout her college career, and on Saturday, this young woman with earn her Associates Degree in college.  Isn't that an inspiring story?

I tried to do several things here.  I wanted to give the diploma and it's lettering a "parchment" paper/old style look.  Diane used to tell her, "You can do it" and when she reached certain achievements, "You did it."  Diane also had given her a turtle charm bracelet inscribed with the "you can do it" motto on its back so I wanted to include that. 

The graduate also likes fairies.  I thought this was so apropos, because it is a representative of magical possibility.  Can't you imagine yourself clinging to an image like that as you begin a long journey from no high school diploma to graduating from college?  It makes me want to cry for what she's achieved.  Anyway, I thought I would give her a floating turtle to represent both a mythical and an earthbound symbol of determination, hard work, and magical reward.

Diane was also her encourager along the slow, plodding path of class building upon class.  She was her "human" turtle so I gave her shirt the same green color of that sweet creature.  Finally, our college's color is purple so the graduate is clad in it along with some purple thrown into the background.  So there you have it!

Oil Pastel and Ink
9" x 12"

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blueberries with Lemon Cream

Blueberries with Lemon Cream

Here's my illustration of a favorite recipe from Eating Well Magazine.

And here's a little drawing practice.  A very quick black and white sketch of some kitchen utensils.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Drama in 12 Words - Brooklyn Art Library

I've been participating in projects with the Brooklyn Art Library since 2010 when I did my first sketchbook for them called, "Coffee and Cigarettes."  I followed up in 2011 with "Sandwich" and 2012 with "The Last Word Spoken."  I've also participated in a canvas painting exchange which I blogged about during my 365 day project (Day 235 Be Proud of What You've Got), and also several other free projects that they've offered. 

They're a great organization trying to foster creativity not just among American artists, but artists worldwide.

Last week they offered a change to write a drama in 12 words, then asked you to tweet it or instagram it.  Ever the romantic, here's mine:

Train jolts, eyes catch.
Lost love, now found?
"Truly me," said she.

Click here for other submissions to this project:  12 word dramas.  Fun, huh?  Now join in these projects yourself and keep your creativity flowing!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Sometimes I sit down at my computer desk, which also doubles as my painting area, because I have no other room to paint, and I will get this urge.  An urge of unrest, of wanting to--actually needing to, make something.  I stare at my paint.  I can tell that nothing will make me feel better except to paint.  And I go.  I started this at 10 p.m.   I couldn't help myself.

I've been watching the "Eyes of Laura Mars" while I put this baby together.  Well, I've been "listening" to it.  Again, I don't know why I've been needing to see/listen to this 1978 relic (with Faye Dunaway and a young Tommy Lee Jones).  I don't question my weird cravings.  It's just like when my body says, eat some potatoes, and I say o.k., and whirl up some hash browns in a Spanish omelet!  Back to the movie.  I thought I was being directed by the universe to paint Faye Dunaway or something, but the gal that emerged is loosely based on a character in the movie "Amelie."  A woman reminiscing about her husband who left her and ran away with his secretary years ago.

For some reason I like painting older people or forlorn people when I paint portraits.  I'm not sure why.  Well, maybe I do.  There's something very interesting to me about more complex human emotions...those that touch a yearning inside.  They don't make me sad; rather, I see a beauty in their vulnerability.

9" x 12"

Barbara Streisand singing theme ("Prisoner") from "Eyes of Laura Mars"

 A little film clip.

Now it's the wee hours of the morning, and I need to clean my brushes, take a bath, go to bed, and lie in bed and think, why did I stay up so late during the work week?!?!?!  WHAT am I doing?  What can I do? When the muse calls, you must obey.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Emergency Retrieval of a Wayward Contact

Emergency Retrieval of a Wayward Contact
11" x 17"
I used to wear contacts from about 14 until 35 years of age (yes, I'm older than that!), and I can remember many a time having those contacts popping out of my eyes and me having to go on a frantic search for them.  I look a lot better with those ol' gas-permeable lenses, for that's the type I had), but I'm not as vain anymore, and I'm now living my life in the land of ease and funkadelic glasses.  I can even remember getting those contacts stuck inside my eye on top of my eyeballs.  Hmm...THAT is a great idea for another painting. (-;