Sunday, March 22, 2009

21st Century Skills

My profession requires me to be involved with a school wide assessment report - other wise known as accreditation. Although I have been through this process many times, this is the FIRST time that we have been expected to give up weekend time. The amount of time I already spend on my "job" outside of regularly scheduled work time is already much more time consuming than the contractual work week. Personal time used for our 2008 art exhibition last year = 40 hours above and beyond. The idea of using personal off time for work related duties is a sign of the times.

How to make the best of this?

I am reading two books right now. "If You Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland and "Presentation Zen" by Gar Reynolds. Funny thing is, the Reynolds book sites several other books, TED talks and, resources that I have already read. The connecting concept is the idea that the creative process / approach / mind / thinker.... is not only a necessary component of our intelligence but a crucial 21st century skill that requires nurturing if we want to engage in successful progress.

People need time off to rejuvenate, invigorate and refresh. That is what creates a sharp and ready mind for all other work ahead.

Next week? Art Exhibition prep......a minimum of 40 extra work hours along with my regular duties.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just finished a great book - "Art and Fear" - Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. One of the best books I have ever read about the process of making art! Good thing it helped me feel so positive about my work because I just found out that I did not get one of the fellowships that I applied for this spring.

Se La vie - try, try again! Perhaps I will go Monhegan anyway!

Two week session at Haystack is out though. Have to save my pennies for that one - whoa!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The living room is about 80 degrees right now - time to move my painting in there! Awesome day ahead. Visit with sister was great. I love you Dawna. I hope to post my final water garden series on my blog today.
Hows this for company!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Seeds are in at the hardware store - THATS a good sign. The poor robins have disappeared though.
Work was brutal today - but class last night was awesome! Tomorrows Friday!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day and Daniel H. Pink

No school today. Gee, that's too bad. Getting deep into the web since I got up.

Nothing goes with a great cup of coffee like Washington Journal, MPR and, the web!

I run into Daniel Pink stuff! Time to follow him on Twitter! WOW - WOW! If you have not read his book "A Whole New Mind - Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future" - go and get it now! Very quick and hopeful read.

Beautiful outside today! Always did love white - the presence of the FULL spectrum.

Gesso and Titanium White on the Iris Panel today. Keep track of news, Etsy community, and other web site stuff. Considering breaking down my class community and starting a different blog for that - why? Because the interface is really difficult to use for the community space and this is a cinch!

"And this too shall pass away." - Abe Lincoln

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What's On the Easel: Black Iris - Acrylic Painting Progress

This was my very first step towards my next painting "Black Iris"...although, my mother told me recently that this particular Iris has a really beautiful name. I plan on changing the title or adding to it.

Anyway - I see the final as being very high contrast and the flower being very dark - blue violet black, against the yellow oranges of the bali batik fabric. This drawing was done to explore the shape and not the value - will do that in other materials.

This is how I transfer an image to larger or smaller formats without a total restart. It saves time and I can adjust parts that don't work well faster.

I use this to create a series of smaller mixed media practice samples as well as create a full size, 18 x 24 paper drawing that I can transfer on to the final panel. That drawing is then cut up into graphing sections so that I can work with one section at a time. Sounds complex but it lets me create the actual image that I want.

This is the 18 x 24 inch birch panel. It's off to the races! I did not have a blog when I wrapped this panel in fabric so I do not have documentation of the process. Next time I start one of these I will document and post the process!

Time to paint!

What's On the Easel: Black Iris

Study for "Black Iris" Acrylic Painting. This is my newest painting. The image here is a 7.5"x10.5" pastel study on Kitty Wallis pastel paper. The colors are mostly Winsor and Newton watercolors and a combination of pastels. My favorites are harder Prisma Color to start the piece and Rembrant, Sennelier, Unison and, Rowney to finish it off in softs.

I like Wallis paper the best because I usually do a watercolor underpainting first and the fine textured surface does not dissolve. This allows me to start with rich transparent water color and then add as much or little of the soft pastel as I want. In some places, this painting is 90% watercolor, where in others it is 100% pastel.

This is a careful study of the color and value structure of my next painting, an acrylic on an 18 x 24 birch panel. I will post the steps as I develop this piece.

New In The Quote Series

My long term paintings take a long time, practice, planning and exploration. I am working towards saying something I have planned out in my mind.

The quote series lets me relax more and just let the process take me for a ride. I use them as a place to meditate and solve problems in my other works. They sort of flow out from the quote I select and the photograph I decide to include.

I think about what the quote says to me and how it relates to issues in my life or the way I feel about life. Colors, mediums, textures and, materials all reveal what I need to do as I move along in the process. The more of these I do, the less time I spend on the "what now" part and the more time I spend in that beautiful place of being lost in the act of creation.

I love the actual feel of these pieces - I know, I know - "Don't touch the art work." The final works beg to be touched and when I exhibit them, I give people permission to do just that.

To see more of these check out my Flickr photo stream.