In September my son and I took a trip to Turkey, touring Greek and Roman ruins and the spectacular treasures of Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Turkey is a beautiful country with some amazingly well preserved archeological sites. This is a sketch of a scene at Ephesus, one of the most famous cities of ancient history. I love to travel, but it's good to be home, and I'm anxious to get back to painting.
I'm currently working on an oil painting, based on this photo of African buffalos I took in Kenya.
We saw these buffalo everywhere we went in Kenya, contentedly grazing on the long grass and leaves. However, their placid demeanor is misleading. I was surprised to learn that they are considered to be extremely dangerous and ruthless.
I finally finished a new painting! I spotted these brown pelicans on Santa Cruz wharf, sunning themselves and drying their feathers. They are fascinating birds and unfortunately on the endangered species list in California. Every time I see a pelican, I think of this limerick written by Dixon Merritt in 1910;
My pelican painting is progressing very well. It's passed the "awkward stage" which is always a relief to me. All my paintings reach a certain stage where they look hopeless, usually about halfway through the painting process. There is a point where I think I've ruined it, made such a mess of it I might as well throw it away and start over. When I first started painting that's what I did. There was one painting I threw away four times, but each time I thought of some way I might improve it and retrieved it from the recycle bin. Eventually I learned to trust the painting process and myself.
After a trip and updating my website, I can finally get back to painting, thank goodness. I'm starting a painting of brown pelicans.
This painting, "Pelicans and Friend", was painted when I lived in Lakeport, CA. We had a house on the lake, and there was an endless array of waterfowl on the water and in the tule reeds. From my studio I could watch the nesting, hunting and migration of a vast variety of birds. My favorites were the white pelicans. They were as graceful as swans gliding on the water, and magnificent in flight.
Now that we live near the coast, we see a lot of brown pelicans. While they aren't as beautiful as the white pelicans, they have their own charm and I think they'll make an interesting painting.
This painting, Glass and Orchids, was my second attempt to paint glass. I started out with enthusiasm, but by the time the painting was finished I wasn't happy with it. It didn't turn out as I expected, and I felt it was overworked. I wasn't even sure I wanted to frame it. I reluctantly included it in a recent exhibition, and to my surprise, I heard more comments on this painting than on any other.
This unexpected popularity of the painting caused a curious phenomenon; suddenly it started to look better to me. Seeing through someone else's eyes enabled me to see the good points and ignore those parts that I considered flaws (and that probably only I could see).
Rule #2. It took me a while to think of unusual things about myself, since I've always considered myself to be pretty ordinary, but here are a few items I came up with:
1. Danced with a semi-professional dance troupe for 18 years.
2. Rode a camel in Egypt and an elephant in India.
3. Was always a tomboy and have the injuries to prove it.
4. Was charged by an elephant in the Masai Mara in Kenya.
5. Bellydanced in a prison on Angel Island.
6. Translated japanese data sheets at my former job.
7. Coached a Beauty Pageant contestant for her talent portion of the Pageant.
Rule #3. The first artist I'm going to tag is Jelaine Faunce. Jelaine creates exquisite realistic paintings in oils and I'm a great fan of her work. Check out her paintings at her blog, jelainefaunce.blogspot.com, and on her website at www.jpfstudio.com.
Last week I went to Carmel with friends to browse in the galleries. It's one of my favorite things to do - always inspiring. The director of one of the galleries was chatting with us about the work of a world-famous artist they represented, and she mentioned that once in a great while he gives workshops, and that professional artists from all over the world come to study with him, because they want to be able to add his name to their resume.
A light bulb went on in my head; someone might actually care who you took a workshop with? And if it was a well-known artist, they might associate you with that artist, and it would add prestige to your resume? I had no idea. Really. It may seem obvious to some, but I always thought that only artists with whom one had studied with for some length of time really counted and should be added to a resume. This new knowledge instantly improves my resume, because I take a lot of workshops, but have only really studied with one teacher.
I'm getting ready for the Saratoga Rotary Art Show in May, ordering frames and matting prints, and finishing some paintings I've started. I just finished this one, of a cat basking in the sun on terracotta steps. Working on this painting, I was thinking of summer and wanting to do some basking myself.
About two weeks ago I attended a workshop in Ukiah sponsored by Art Center Ukiah. The instructor was Jeannie Vodden, a very talented artist, who uses a technique she calls "rainbow glazing." Her paintings are amazing; colors mix and mingle in a seemingly random way until an image appears, created by the depth and value of multiple glazes. You can see Jeannie's work here. Jeannie is also a wonderful teacher; she did several demonstrations and helped each person with individual paintings.
I'm excited about this new technique, although I'm still clumsy with it. The first photo is my painting in progress from the workshop, and in the second I've started adding background. It's still a work in progress.
This painting, Strawberries in a Glass Bowl, was included in the Statewide Watercolor Exhibit at Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA, December 2008 through February, 2009. This was my first attempt at painting glass, and I'm intrigued with it. I love the reflections, refractions and distortions, and the challenge of painting them.
I'm an artist in Santa Cruz, California.I paint florals, still life and wildlife in watercolors and figures and portraits in oils. Painting is a never ending adventure for me.
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