Thursday, December 31, 2009

fun day in the studio

I worked on refining this piece today, making the transitions smoother, the darks darker, the shadows better.  I think it ended up at an inbetween stage that doesn't look as good as it did before I started, but it's on its way where it needs to be.

Now off to fix dinner for Chris and me - grilled marinated salmon, spoon bread, brussel sprouts - then we'll have a lovely evening talking about our intentions for the coming year and enjoying each others' company.  We're not the wild and crazy party animal types!  We'll probably be asleep before midnight!

Happy New Year to you all!  May you be blessed with creativity and joy and harmony and peace.

way too thin

 I found it when surfing the web.  It is painful to look at - a woman who is thinner than thin.  I hurt for her.

Car for Sale! 1996 Honda Odyssey Minivan

We're selling our wonderful trusty Honda Odyssey Minivan because after 10 years of owning it, we finally decided it was time to get a newer car.  It's been the most wonderful car - reliable, sporty, fabulous for hauling kids and artwork.  I'll be sorry to see it go, but I just don't think we need 3 cars!

So here are the details:
1996 Honda Odyssey Minivan
177,600 miles
sunroof, power seat, cruise control, cassette player, AM/FM radio, seats 6, Michelin tires, ABS, air bags
has been maintained well with regular oil changes, new brakes
good condition
some paint damage on front bumper

If you're interested, email me with your phone number and we can set up an appointment.

New Piece!

I had a lot of fun yesterday starting a new canvas!  I was planning to do a different pose for this model, but Chris hasn't had time to make a canvas for me with all the hurry and flurry of Christmas, so I decided to paint a pose I could put on a ready made canvas I already had.  I'm glad it worked out that way.  I'm really enjoying doing this piece.

I gridded it in the morning then mixed my paints then decided to put the first layer on with my hands.  I'll do that sometimes when I'm wanting to be loose and free with the paint application.  Sometimes I continue using my hands throughout, but this time after a while I used a brush so I could get some of the areas more accurate.  The first photo is of the canvas after I'd only used my hands.  The second is after about an hour or so with a brush.  I'm itching to get back out to the studio right this minute so I'm not going to write much more!

I do want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  May this be a wonderfully creative, satisfying, joyful year full of cherished times with loved ones.  May all your creative dreams come true!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The progression of Presence from start to finish

So here's your chance to play "What's different in each picture?"!  Over the course of the last month, I've been documenting the progress of this painting each time I've worked on it, sometimes as much as once an hour.  I thought it might be interesting to see the steps all in one place now that the piece is finished.  The changes in the last few steps are quite subtle and might not be easily discernible unless you look at the larger versions (or unless you're me and know what you changed!).  Towards the end, the background color seems to change several times.  In fact, I only changed it once.  The other shifts were due only to the changing light - most of the pictures were taken using daylight only.  The one that stands out as different was taken under artificial light - and I really dislike what happened under that light!

This piece was different than most of the paintings I do in that I began it with the yellow/orange underpainting.  I don't think I'll do it again.  It was too glaring a contrast to the color I was aiming for in the end and made it difficult to settle in on the right hue (color).  I think it was more distracting than not.  I don't know if it ultimately made a difference in the final picture or not.  Probably it caused me to apply more layers which led to greater subtleties and finesse - that would be a good thing in that case!  If you're my student and are looking at these images, please notice how huge a difference putting in the background color made!  For me, it suddenly set everything right and made all my other choices make sense.  It definitely shifted everything!  (I often bug my students to remember to put in their background early on in the process because everything might change once they do.  This is a good example of how that happens!)

Thank you for joining me on this journey.  It's good to have you here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally finished!

It feels like this piece has taken a very long time to paint!  I just looked back on my blog and see that I began it on November 29, exactly a month ago.  That is a long time for a painting, but considering that I was tutoring for exams and doing Christmas in the meantime, I guess it makes sense.  And really, it doesn't matter how long something takes to paint - it just matters how it looks when it is finished!

As far as that goes, I'm very pleased with how it looks.  I love the how the color of the flesh contrasts with the color of the background.  In daylight, it looks exactly how I want it do.  The flesh glows thanks to the complementary contrast.  I'm also liking the glow on the skin under the knee that's sticking out.  And I think the hands and feet turned out well.  Most of all, though, I like her presence.  Because of that, I've decided to name the piece Presence.  She has such a sturdy presence, such a clarity and sense of stability.  I love that!

The rest of the day once I finished this piece, I was very busy.  I wrote lots of emails and made phone calls working to further my art business.  I began drawing my next picture on the canvas.  And a very special thing - I photographed a new model.  It's always such an honor to photograph someone.  This woman had seen my work at Crossroads and had told me she wanted to model for me then.  It was lovely working with her as she overcame the discomfort of standing naked in front of someone she didn't know and trying to look anything but uncomfortable.  We got some wonderful photographs which I hope show how completely beautiful she is!  It's an interesting progression as the models get more comfortable in front of the camera and in front of me as they move into their own essence.  We both can feel when it happens.  It's an exciting moment!

For the model in the picture I just finished today, it was when she began sitting in the brown chair there.  Before that, the images had been interesting, but not quite right.  As soon as she pulled the chair over, bang!, the images were suddenly dynamite!  It was exhilarating!  We were in the groove!

Can't wait to get started on my new canvas!  Always an exciting adventure!

Saturday's a rugby day

My daughter gave me the most wonderful - and appropriate - Christmas present!  Knowing about my blog and the work I'm doing to empower women to love themselves and their bodies unconditionally, she knew she had the perfect present for me when she found the Oberlin Rhinos Rugby Calendar!  Laura goes to Oberlin so found out about the calendar through some friends.  Apparently the women on the rugby team have been making a calendar of themselves topless for the last several years. 

Each month has a picture of the team members topless (but with breasts discretely covered), mostly on the field with black shorts or underpants on.  I don't know anything about rugby, so I don't understand a lot of the captions, but I definitely get the images!  And I absolutely love their statement on the back of the calendar!  Here are a few excerpts from it:

"Saturday's a Rugby Day" is a glimpse into women's rugby, as played by the Oberlin Rhinos, a self-coached collegiate club team that has grown in size and skill over the years...  [In the calendar] we parody traditional beauty stereotypes by posing topless, juxtaposing the concept of the seductive and submissive pinup with images of powerful, strong female athletes, challenging mainstream depictions of gender and sexuality....

"With this calendar, we're celebrating the beauty of women's rugby, not only of our individual bodies, but also the coming together of these bodies to form a fierce, cohesive team....  The game is a testament to our relationships with each other and to the collective strength of our team, as well as our challenge to a patriarchal society that views women as weak and passive.

"The images in this calendar emphasize our players' strength, celebrating athletic bodies and defining those bodies as sexy.  Many people on our team have expressed that ruby has empowered them by shifting the ways they conceptualize beauty and understand themselves within that context.  It's not uncommon to hear your teammates shouting 'You're so hot!' from the sidelines while you're crashing down the pitch towards the try line.  It is the self-confidence and strength that we gain through the game that makes us sexy, regardess of size or shape, and allows us to reject the doninant notion that women should be fragile and diembodied.  We embrace our bruises because they are tangible signs of the things our body has done and can do.

"We recognize differing perceptions of this work and invite you, the viewer, to think critically about the images and goals we are presenting.  We hope to provoke dialogue about feminism, gender expectations, and sexuality in the Oberlin community and beyond, by challenging stereotypical depictions of women in massmedia."

You gotta love it!

Here's the link to the site if you want to buy your own calendar or read a bit more about it:  And here's a link to an article that was in the Oberlin Review in 2006 if you want to learn even more.
I think these women are really onto something.  I love it that they are so self-aware and proud of their dynamite selves!!  May we all love our sexy bods so much!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A wonderful Christmas present a little bit early - a taste of Murano

Yesterday my husband gave me a wonderful Christmas present which he wanted me to participate in.  After the Memorial Service for my friend, he directed me where to drive - to JoMoCo Studio, a stained glass store where a woman named Judy Coleman works.  We had seen her work at Gallery at the Unitarian Church in October and had loved it.  Chris was prescient enough to get her card and to remember it come Christmas shopping time!  His gift to me is a commissioned piece of stained glass!

First of all, glass is my all-time favorite medium!  I absolutely love how light shines through it.  When I go to Europe, Venice, specifically the glass blowing island of Murano, is my favorite place to go. These pictures are of a glass tree that was in a square in the town as well as a close up of that tree.  Can you imagine what would happen if a strong wind came along??!

I could watch the glass blowers ply their craft the entire day without ever getting weary!  Here's a picture of one which I got off the web.

The other pictures are from around the town.  I love Venice so much!  I would love to live there and spend all my time going from artisan shop to artisan shop all day long.  I love how the ancient crafts are so respected and are still done.  On a given street, you can find someone making a mask for Carnival, then another person carving a picture frame by hand then applying the gilding.  Another person might be doing lampworking glass or painting a watercolor of the exceedingly beautiful streets.  The people were all very friendly and welcoming!  They were completely willing to talk to us about their crafts in fairly good English (unfortunately I don't know Italian).  I felt so comfortable there.  Each corner we turned, there was another gorgeous view to enrich our day.  The whole place felt like eye candy.

Hmmm...  I was talking about my Christmas present!

Knowing how much I love glass, Chris found the perfect gift for me!  I got to go to the shop and sift through Judy's stores of glass and images of works she'd previously made and choose goodies to go in a piece to hang in the window of my studio!  She was fine with my designing the piece too, but I love her aesthetic and the pieces she's made that I've seen, so I see no reason to stick my nose into that!  I told her what I love about what she does, told her I want lots of red in it, and asymmetry is fine with me, then asked her to let her intuition do the rest.  I'm excited to see what she comes up with!  That'll be a real treat for the new year!  I'll be sure to post a picture of it when it's done and hanging in my studio!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finally painting again!

It felt so good to stand in front of the canvas and apply paint to it again today!  The last week I'd been tutoring in the studio, so I had my canvases put away so as not to distract my teenage students!  As soon as the final student left, I pulled out my current piece and put it up on the easel where it rested patiently until I finally came back to her today.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I was planning to paint right away this morning but ended up having to take my son to work because his car couldn't make it through the icy snow up to the top of our hill.  Then, while I was out, it seemed like a good idea to go Christmas shopping and see if I could finish getting everything I needed for that.  By the time I got home, I was definitely what could be qualified as pissy.  Thankfully my son called to say he didn't need me to pick him up until a little bit later, so I came out here to paint until I had to go pick him up.  I made great inroads in 2 hours.  After dinner I returned to paint somemore.  Three hours later, I'm feeling like I can't do much more today.  I'll wait until tomorrow to mix up some paint for the background and re-paint it.  That will give me a chance to refine and correct the outlines where they're off. 

Today I worked on her face a lot.  The hardest part was giving the illusion of shadows of hairs over her face.  I also worked on the elbow again.   Elbows and knees are remarkably complex!  I'm finding that bellies and breasts are the easiest to paint.  But it's all interesting and challenging and fun.  When I get a certain part just right, I can feel it in my gut:  I'll be ready to apply paint to a certain area, I'll look at it, then at the photo, then I'll just know it doesn't need any more paint - it's exactly right.  It's a very good feeling! 

I'll see how it looks tomorrow when I can see it in daylight and after a night's rest - I can often see things that need fixing when I've been away from them for the night.

Tomorrow is the memorial service for the woman who died last week.  I look forward to honoring her soul.  Such a wonderful woman!

Tomorrow is also when my daughter gets home from college for a couple of weeks.  Very wonderful!  I love hanging out with her and getting a real sense of how she's doing.  Phone calls just aren't the same!  Especially on cell phones that cut off too often!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On being different

Many years ago when I was in therapy, my therapist said something to me that really took me aback.  She said, "Well, you know, you're certainly not what most people consider normal!"  Those weren't her exact words, but it was something to that effect.  I asked her what she meant because I had always considered myself normal.  She pointed out my some of my choices - nursing my kids til they were done, attachment parenting, considering homeschooling, living overseas, travelling and speaking several languages, artistic bent, ecologically minded (in the days before green became an advertising slogan), free-spirited. I'd never before considered that I thought or acted differently than the majority of other people in society.  It was so startling to me I didn't know what to do with the information.  I have tucked it away and occasionally bring it out, look at it, ponder it, polish it, wonder at its veracity, recognize the truth of it, shake my head, tuck it away again for next time.  Am I really so odd?

My children think I am - though in a nice way, I think.  They don't know any other kids who've had to grow up with paintings of naked men and pregnant women all over their houses.  They don't have friends whose mothers go away for retreats where they dance all weekend with a bunch of crazy hippie types (it's a wonderful type of dance called Contact Improvisation - I met many of my dearest friends there, including my husband!  The picture is of me (in purple) and a friend dancing - now does that really look crazy??!  I just think it's FUN!).  Most of their friends' parents have "normal" jobs and take normal vacations and have regular art in their houses - framed prints of VanGogh or Wyeth.

It's a little bit uncomfortable sometimes that people perceive me as "different", but mostly I don't mind it.  I have a student whom I tutor who has gotten to know me more personally than most of the kids do.  She'll find out a tidbit about me and shake her head and say, "Ms. Singer, you're the most interesting person I've ever met!"  I'm glad I can broaden her horizons!  I guess I am a bit outside of the bell curve of normal, but I don't think I can do anything about it.  It's who I am.  I would suffocate if I had to try to fit into a mold of societal expectations.  I grew up trying to be "nice" and "perfect".  I performed well and did what was expected of me, but once I got out of the house, I started shifting and grew in new directions that felt better to me.  My plan for the rest of my life is to continue to follow the still small voice within, trying to discern what my inner spirit would have me do in order to express myself most authentically.  Life is too short to try to do anything else!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting out there...

One week, three rejections!

As I've mentioned before, I've been sending out many, many, many applications for shows, contests, galleries, etc.  After the first round, I received 3 immediate acceptances and was thrilled!  They were for radius 250 at Artspace here in Richmond and 2 national shows in Fredericksburg, VA.  I won 2nd prize at one of the F'burg shows.  Those were thrilling!

I got more ambitious and sent work in to Artist's Magazine and Utrecht's, both of which have national competitions for all the readers of their magazines/customers of their art supplies.  No word back = no thanks.  Darn!

I also applied to a couple of shows nationally, one in Charleston, REDUX.  They got 364 applications for 2 shows.  I wasn't one of the ones they chose.  The other was Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville.  They also had a huge number of applications for very few shows.  I put myself out there.  It'll pay off - I won't get any shows if I don't try - but it is a bit discouraging to get these letters!

I have applied to several galleries here in town lately as well.  One gallery owner liked my work a lot but said she doesn't show nudes.  She likes them a lot but feels that they are somewhat invasive so doesn't show them in her gallery, though she owns some herself.  Another owner liked my work very much, loved my energy, loves my message but doesn't want to show my work at his gallery.  He said the work is a bit too challenging.  I asked what he meant by that - it's so helpful for me to hear what gallery owners think.  He wrote back: "The challenge to your work is that it commands the viewer to get past their first impression and art buyers seldom do that. Art connoisseurs will get it and love what you do but there's a smaller segment of our market buyers that we feel will get it. Does that make sense?"  

I'm intrigued by the distinction between art buyers and art connoisseurs.  I've been thinking about it a lot since I got his note.  I can see that Richmond might be a challenging market for my work since the buyers here generally go for landscapes or mild abstracts or still lifes - pieces that match the decor and are lovely to look at.  I get that my work is harder to be with, more "invasive".  I find it beautiful, but then I'm the one making it!

On the positive side, I've gotten several emails out of the blue lately from people who stumbled upon either my blog or website.  They felt moved enough by my work to email me to tell me how much they liked it.  One woman was kind enough to write, "I just got so excited when I saw your work this morning I couldn't help myself. Your colors! the light, the bodies, the beaches ... it's all so ... well, I just connected with it. Somehow, I was just supposed to see it this morning ~ and it made my day."   Thanks, new friend!  You made my day!

Last night I sent out an application for the Extraordinary Women's Luncheon here in Richmond.  4 times/year they choose a woman from the community to honor.  At the luncheon to honor the woman, they give away a poster which has art by a local artist on it.  The artist has the opportunity to talk about her work at the luncheon.  The art is supposed to honor women in some way.  Well, heck!  My work definitely does that!  I sent two pictures for them to consider: The Dancer at 89 and Bling Lady.  I don't know if they want naked women on their poster, but I hope they will!  I think it would be VERY cool!

I'm going to take the next couple of weeks to journal and meditate and try to discern the next steps I should be taking.  I am unclear as to the next right step.  I have asked for guidance and figure it'll be forthcoming since it always is when I ask!  I'll keep you informed when the good news starts flowing in!

This and that, and that and this... Google Analytics

There's a VERY cool program available to people with a Google blog (like this one) - it's called Google Analytics.  It makes available all sorts of fascinating information about how many people visit the site, where they're from, which browser they use, how often they've visited, how recently they last visited, etc., etc.  It's full of graphs and maps and charts and can be manipulated endlessly to provide all kinds of interesting tidbits!

For example:

Since the first of September when I began the blog, there have been 1094 visits to the website from 523 different people.

I have had visitors from 39 countries to the website!  They speak 16 different languages!  These countries include Bahrain, Mauritius, Norway, Serbia, Croatia, Kuwait, Germany, Austria and, of course, the US.

The most have come from the US (875) then Austria (113) then Germany (24).

The US visitors have come from 39 different states.

4 people have been to the website more than 100 times!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to you 4 very, very loyal readers!  I bow to you in all humility for your interest in my work.  I am touched.

117 people have been to the blog 26-50 times, and another 117 have been 51-100 times.  To you, I also want to express my very deep gratitude and thanks.  It's wonderful knowing you are that interested in what I'm doing. Thank you.

53% of the people are returning visitors.  47% come, look, and don't return.

Most of the visitors to the website are from Virginia (619), and most of those are from the Richmond area.  I get a clear feeling about that when I'm at a social function and someone comes up to me and refers to something I've written about on the blog.  It is always a bit startling to have them mention it - how'd you know that?! - then I remember I wrote about it.  Duh!  I love knowing people are seeing my work evolve.

So... given all those stats - I have a game I want to play!  There are only 11 states in the US that visitors haven't come from - Nevada, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, and New Mexico.  If you know anyone from there, would you send them a link to this blog?  I want to see if I can get all 50 states accounted for before the end of the year!

Likewise, if you know people from other countries, will you pass it to them?  37 countries so far...  how many can it be by Dec 31?!

Just a silly notion, but it might be fun!  I'll keep you informed!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The love in the Universe

It feels like I haven't done any art in a while!  I've been doing my biannual tutoring jag where I tutor 7-10 days in a row, 5-10 hours/day, in all subjects taught at our high school.  It wears me out to have to switch from explaining a semester's worth of Chemistry to a semester's worth of German I to Calculus then on to Spanish or AP US History!  The students have done a great job this year being prepared, though, so it's been easier than usual.  Nevertheless, it's still a lot of brain work!

In addition to that this week, on Monday I walked with my friend Lynda at 6 in the morning then went to sit with a friend who was in hospice care.  Lynda and I had the most wonderful, special walk!  It was foggy and misty and dark, then in the middle of that, she saw a shooting star!  Then I saw one.  It was part of a meteor shower that had started at midnight. We saw 6 or 7 during the course of the walk.  While we were chatting, we also saw the moon rise in the east over the winter-bare trees - a thin sliver just barely there.  I felt so blessed to be there at that time and see those beautiful natural wonders.

After our walk, I went to my friend's house.  She had gone into a coma overnight after a long illness.  I felt blessed to sit with her and simply be with her, holding the space, making sure she was OK.  A couple of hours after I got there, her breathing slowed, then quickened.  Another woman and I moved her a bit to help her get more comfortable then stayed beside her touching her just to be with her.  Her mouth moved a bit.  Her eyes closed a bit.  Again her mouth.  We told her how loved she was and wished her a good journey.  It became clear she had stopped breathing.  We checked for her heartbeat.  It was no longer there.  Quietly, peacefully, beautifully she left this world, and the body that moments before had been alive and still a home for her spirit was no longer needed.

This woman lived such a powerfully good life, so full of kindness and wisdom and love of others.  Her generous spirit will guide those of us who knew her for many years to come.  I am glad that she is no longer burdened by disease, but I will miss her tremendously.

I feel blessed to have been a witness to her passing.  I have been at many births and at several deaths and have experienced each as utterly sacred.  The veil between the worlds lifts, and the room is filled with Spirit.  I felt it so powerfully when my oldest son was born.  I felt the spirit there when I saw my grandmother's body moments after she died.  I also felt her presence in the room, so loving, so completely loving.  That's the sense I get in those moments - that what is on the other side is pure love.

I will probably feel regret about dying because I'll be leaving my loved ones behind and perhaps there will still be things I want to get done, but I don't feel scared at the prospect.  I feel certain that I will be lovingly received by a multitude of angels when I die, just as I have seen happen to my friends who have passed on.

It's good to know, when life feels hard, that there is such love in the Universe.

May you feel it yourself today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Progress on new piece, Day V (it feels like 25!)

Here are the pictures from 12/11's day in the studio.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this piece is pretty darn challenging!  But that's OK.  At the same time as I'm working on it, I'm reading a book about the time the Mona Lisa was stolen.  In it, the author quotes many people's rapturous opinions about the painting and why it has come to be one of the most famous pieces of art in the Western world.  It took daVinci 4 years to paint it.  The quotes inspire me to keep working to try to make it sublime.  Knowing it took him 4 years helps me have more patience!  I do feel like it's starting to come together.  The colors are more unified and are blending well.  The values are working.  The dimensionality is working.  I can see plenty of room for improvement, but I'm feeling like I might be on the home stretch - I can believe that it may come to look like my vision of it one of these days.

When I begin a piece, I have a vision in my head of how the piece will look when I'm done.  As I work on it, sometimes it has different ideas than I do, so sometimes we have a dialog - or an active discussion - or even an argument!  Sometimes the piece's will is stronger than mine - as it was in Dancing Woman.  Usually though, my vision and the will of the piece are mostly in harmony.  They blend and become one as I work on the piece.  That happened in Flinging the Red Scarf.  It looks a lot like I planned for it to look, but when I really study it, I can see that it grew and developed as I worked on it, and I like it better than my vision of it.  Cool!

With this new piece, which I still haven't named, I had a vision of it as slightly green in hue.  It has shifted throughout from purple to brown to green and all around the three.  It hasn't quite settled in yet.  That feels like my biggest challenge with this piece overall.  It also depends on what time of day I work on it and whether I use artificial lighting or not as to what color it appears to be.  I have to use Photoshop to get the colors accurate before I post them each day because they appear so very different depending on what time of day I take them!  I've been working early in the day lately.  My studio was built with clerestory windows and an overhang so I don't get direct light coming into the studio ever except right around now.  I didn't notice it last year, but now I see it every day.  It lands directly on my canvas at 10 AM and makes it so I can't even paint on it because the light is so strong!  I have to move the canvas and my palette until about 12:30!  It's the strangest thing!  It simply wasn't an issue in the summer/spring.  When Adele and I were painting the other day, the sun was moving across the sky the whole time and completely changing the lighting on the still life constantly.  Tricky!

1. 1:12 PM - At this stage, I had already glazed the hands and arms with a greener hue and worked on getting the arm more refined.  This is certainly still in process!

2. 3:07 PM  I added the hue to the legs to unify them.  The color is looking better to me, but splotchy, not integrated yet.  I'm liking the left food a lot.

3. 4:16 PM - time to stop to go take a walk, but I didn't want to quit!  That's usually how it is by then - I really get on a roll by the time it's time to quit.

I worked on the face more, starting to make it look real.  I also gave the legs more definition.  When I look at them here, the bottom leg looks a little bit strange, like a beautiful piece of ceramics with lovely curves - but not like a let!  I'll have to work on that yet.  Could be I got too carried away with light and dark (which create form).  The face isn't looking like my model yet, but it's a good start.  Trouble with the arm by the elbow.  It looks weird too.  Photographs are a really good tool to help me see where things are still off.  I can look at the canvas for hours without seeing the issues, but seeing it here on the screen, especially a day later, makes the issues crystal clear!  I'm feeling very brave for posting them for all the world to see!  The process isn't necessarily pretty!

I won't be able to paint again until Tuesday morning, I don't think.  A friend of mine is in hospice care so I'll be sitting with her Monday morning, and tomorrow is Meeting then tutoring all day - til 9 PM.  I had a migraine today which hasn't gone away yet - it was hell tutoring Spanish, German, and physical science with my brains screaming at me to let them out of my head all day.  I hope they get what they need tonight and feel much better tomorrow.  This is very painful!

Off to Sleepyland to try to help it!

Disappointing Day, darn it!

Yesterday was disappointing for me.

First of all, the piece I'm working on is TOUGH!  So many hands and feet - but I think I've said that before!  Yesterday I spent the time working on coordinating the color and smoothing the skin and bringing the face up to the same level as the rest of it. I also worked on her hair - my favorite part.  It's so fun to loosely do the strokes that represent hair!  (I'll post pictures later - I'm at a different computer right now and don't have access to the photos.)

In the middle of painting, I went to get the mail and saw I'd received an envelope from a gallery I'd applied to - a LARGE envelope.  Unlike with college applications, LARGE doesn't mean good with galleries - instead it means they're returning your submissions including CD, so it means they're not keeping them, which means they're not keeping YOU!  I felt very disappointed because I'd thought I had a very good chance with that gallery.  I was also turned down by a gallery in town this week.  The owner was very nice about it, said he liked my work, likes my energy, but feels like it might challenge the audience so they don't feel comfortable taking it on right now.

I know rejections are part of the process.  I know I can't get anywhere if I don't put myself out there.  I know I'm trying to get in to harder galleries than I've tried before.  And that doesn't make it any easier to be told no. I'm such a stubborn cuss!  I really don't like to be told no.  I guess the good thing about that is that these rejections will make me work that much harder to find an even better gallery just to prove that I can!

So - if you, dear reader, happen to know of a gallery somewhere in your town or city or any other town or city in the world which you think might want to show an exciting, avant gard, edgy show of beautiful naked women, please send me the name of that gallery, and I'll get in touch! 

I know the right shows are out there.  I just haven't found the right location yet.  I can feel it, almost here, but not quite yet.  So tantalizing!

I'm looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

Thanks a bunch!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Progress on new piece, Day IV

9:08 AM - the state I'd left it in on Friday.

2:36 PM - a hour or so after Adele left.  I first thought about what direction I wanted the color to go in.  Then hands are still purpler than the rest of the body, so I have to bring them closer together.  I did that by beginning to work on the legs, adding some green, some purple, trying to get the form to look realistic.  Also, since the canvas was mostly dry, I could go into the shadows and make them darker.  That was the very first thing I did - work on darkening her breasts and belly as well as the chair parts.  The front left leg of the chair is the wrong size.  I'll have to fix that when I re-do the background.

4:09 PM - LOTS of work on the legs creating volume and warmth and tones and shadows.  I like the shadow her knee is throwing on her right foot.  I'm also liking the legs a lot.  The colors are working better together, though I don't feel close to done yet!

4:41 PM - refining the feet, the toes, the legs, creating highlights on the legs.  It's taking more layers of white than I expected it to to make that happen!

5:01 PM - my friend Lynda called to see about our walk (we go for a walk every Monday if at all possible).  I told her I needed a few minutes to take care of the paint I'd just smeared on the canvas because I couldn't leave it like that!  In a quick 3-4 minutes I smoothed out the shadow on the arm, added paint to the hair, refined her upper left arm and wished I didn't have to go ( and was really glad to get the exercise after holding myself tense to paint all day!)

5:04 PM - the last few strokes added highlights to the legs, smoothed the arms more.  Next time I'll work on her arms in detail then will move on to the face.  The last thing I imagine I'll do is re-paint the background to refine the edges and to get rid of the "halo" around the bottom and foot where I had to correct the shapes a while ago.

As I look at the piece now, it looks so monochromatic!  It looks like I use Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, and white in varying proportions to get my flesh tones, but nothing could be further from the truth!  I do use those, but here's a picture of part of my palette.  There's Cad Yellow Medium, Veridian Green, Dioxinine Purple, Copper, some other green whose name is alluding me, Quinacridone Magenta, Cad Red, and saeveral other colors.  I am trying to have the colors be as complex as they would be in real life and that takes lots of layers and color combinations.  So far I think I have 10 or so layers on the legs, more on the hands and feet.  This is a much more complex piece than I had realized!  But a very good one!  I'm learning a lot from all the challenges.