About Me

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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Ignighter the Carousal Dragon"

Yesterday at the Albany Carousal Wood Carving Workshop a half dozen Albany, Oregon artists, who get together to paint once a month, had our most exciting meeting. After a tour of the workshop and Denzel Carousal Museum led by Gwen Marchese, I chose to sketch the dragon now laying on his side in the process of getting his first coat of paint. Here is my beginning on za painting with new dragon energy. This is just what I needed because I was not entirely happy with some of my other dragons. As I work on Ignighter my other dragon paintings are getting a lift.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Granny Riding Sea Dragon

( acrylic on stretched museum wrap canvas 40" x 30") for sale $400

Before granny had a wet suit and she was just misty energy, my husband said the painting was too indefinite and he couldn't tell it was a granny riding a dragon. He had no idea I was painting ocean. So I thought he must be right. And I made the dragon more solid. But granny started talking back looking at me in the eye over her glasses as if she wondered what the heck she was doing on a dragon. I turned her head more in the direction she was going. The reins were loose and held as if she thought the whole pose was silly. Her legs were crossed because she needed to go to a toilet.

So in the wee hours of the morning I was awake wondering about how I could change Granny's attitude. I could appease her so she would look like a thrill seeking granny full of zest for adventure that was a fleeting vision in the misty stage of the painting. I decided to uncross her legs and put her firmly on the serpent's neck. I'll paint over her sagging flesh and give her a becoming wet suit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Our Flight to Save a Blanket of Memories

Acrylic painting on stretched canvas 18" square
"My Dragon Defiance and I" is the second page of my second Granny Diane Book "When I get to be Older". I sat a grandson in my lap as the story developed and my grandchildren take the lead. The first page was published Nov. 5. In the new book I picture myself telling my stories to family and friends gathered around the flickering light of a camp fire.

Our Flight on a Dragon Named Defiance

to Save my Memory Blanket

Lord Loss sends me a mighty challenge.

Lord Loss steals and turns into dust my most precious treasures, treasurers that keep my memories alive - not just any memories. They are secrets of living that my parents taught me.

My father's Siberian horse blanket is one of my treasurers. Father and I sat on the blanket on the bank of a river when I was a baby. When I was eleven my parents and I huddled under it inside our home made camper tent at Yosemite. Mother sewed canvas tarps to drape over our 1934 Chevy Coup to make a tent.

Now that I get to be older, Lord Loss is making father's blanket fall apart. The story of the blanket has never been told and will be lost unless Lord Loss releases the blanket from becoming dust.

I can not defeat Loss alone. I must get the help of my grandchildren. But first I must have a dragon. Lord Loss can only be defeated I believe with a splat of paint from my most mighty paint brush. Plus a grandchild and I must be riding between the humps of a camel dragon. I'll paint a dream of a dragon I'll call Defiance. On his back I'll place my father's Siberian Horse blanket. Holding my biggest brush up high, Defiance, my youngest grandson and I will ride off to the Valley of Never Dry to bring Lord Loss to his knees. Will this plan work?

Lord Loss begged us not to slap him with paint that would never dry. He said, "There is only one way to preserve the blanket. All your grandchildren must draw or paint the blanket and together all of you must solve the riddle. What is the meaning of the four bear claws, one in each corner, and the trees in the center?

Well what do you say? Shall we paint pictures of a horse wearing the blanket? Maybe that will help solve the riddle. If the blanket is then restored we will let Lord Loss go.

( to be continued with the art of my grandchildren and readers if you know anything about Asian weaving and symbolism, please help us out)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Resolving loss from aging

Getting to be older is frightening. It means loss. Loss of personal belongings that remind one of the past. Loss of old mementos is inevitable as I down size my worldly possessions. This week my allergic husband wants me to get rid of my father's Siberian horse blanket. It is of unknown fiber - possibly anything from reindeer, dog, camel, goat, or yak or a combination of all plus a little grass that got spun into the yarn by some herdsman tending his flock. The blanket still smells faintly of the Asian high plateaus. How can I get rid of a precious family heirloom? Even if I manage to keep it, it will not hold together for long. Its warp of rotten cotton is breaking apart. I want to see it every day because it is memories of my father.

The blanket was rugged masculine beauty. Father brought it out of Asia (our families adopted home for generations). When he arrived here to study at the University of California, Berkeley in 1929, father came as a true olden times Asian traveler with this blanket and the clothes he was wearing.

What was once a tragedy is now an opportunity to write a creative story and paint a fantasy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

3rd day #1 Golden Dragon

As soon as I posted yesterday's "Golden Dragon" I decided it was not done. Plus the idea of making multiple paintings of the same image is like painting for a market repeating the same thing until it degenerates into non feeling, unexciting, unmoving trash. I am having second thoughts about this series as new inspiration comes.
I am sure there can be an argument for repetition, and for some subjects it might even bring on creativity. So I ask you my readers if you have good experiences with series painting. Do you do theme based series or repetition of same image series?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

# 1 Golden Dragon

"#1 Golden Dragon", 40" x 30" is a two day painting. I painted outdoors in the drippy stage of applying acrylic mixed with transparent matt medium. On the wet surface modeling paste was spread with comb texture. I was sculpting the paint. Over night the painting dried in the garage and then I brought it in the studio just newly arranged for inspiring me to do dragons. I painted on the floor to help me get distance to spread the paint with gusto like I was a child. Today I feel great working in my new direction.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Battle of the Blue and Yellow Dragons

"The Battle of the Blue and Yellow Dragons" illustrates a myth. When the earth is sleeping and people are weary of the draught, people hope to see a yellow cloud dragon in battle with a blue sky dragon. The fighting dragons make thunder and lightening which brings the rainy season.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Once a Bedroom - then a store room - now a studio

Working on my dragon series, I am bringing into my studio a batik silk gown and Siberian horse blanket - both family heirlooms. I am wearing a silk batik jacket from the Salvation Army as a smock. I do not have an easel as I am tapping into my childhood memories and often do that best by painting on the floor.
I am retreating from the kitchen, living room, dining room into my own space. My husband deserves to have his own space and our common area. I deserve to have my own space to judge my work for myself. I never believed I could view my large paintings in such a small space. Now with the paintings in close proximity of each other I can work towards the flow that interconnects the series of dragons I am doing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

When I get to be older "I'll join with others"

When I get to be older I will tell tall stories around a camp fire. The stories will make us laugh.
The next few paintings will continue my "When I get to Be Older" series, a story started early this year. This painting is acrylic painted on a wood board cradled box 12" square.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What I learned from teaching a workshop

Yesterday I taught a watercolor workshop at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center at Falls Creek located between Waldport and the town of Alsea. I was surprised by what I learned from the students - 25 or more in the morning and 9 in the afternoon. I thought if my students were primarily 12 years through 30 I would present my approach as extreme plein air painting useful for boaters and trekkers. If the class was mostly older I would present my approach as safe, fail proof outdoor painting. And I wouldn't expect my participants to be able to balance their painting on top of their watercolor box while standing and walking about. There were babes in arms on up in age, to my delighted surprise. The class was a family orientated social event. So I shared how I started painting outdoors on Humbug Creek, Oregon and how I remembered it very well when I went back 40 years later. I could find the very spot and remember it as though I was there yesterday. I said there were many reasons for painting - not just for making pictures on the wall. For example painting makes memories more lasting. Painting together in families makes painting a bonding process. Plein air painting can be a way to being more closely bonded to a specail place.
After an hour I did hear a complaint. A lady about my age said she had taken a few other watercolor workshops and she was always given some kind of trick that had instant satisfying results. I didn't offer any tricks. I had only named a few approaches like counting the things you liked in the landscape and then rearranging them on your paper. Or first do outline drawing in ink or charcoal pencil and then coloring it afterwards. Another approach would be to focus on one thing like tree bark or rocks and take notes of colors and textures that you might use later like in decorating a room in your home to bring the outdoors into your life everyday. The lady who wanted a trick didn't want to go outdoors or look out the window. She chose to copy a photograph and she complained that her painting was overworked. She asked me if I overworked my paintings for earlier she praised my shoe box memory accordion folded paintings were so fresh. I assured her that I did overwork my paintings. I had no solution for her.
A man with two teenage sons showed me his efforts. He was somewhat satisfied that he had painted the memory of the morning colors that he saw driving to the workshop but he did not capture the look of the mists. Here was a problem I could give help on. A white charcoal pencil drawn over the paint instantly put a mist over his hillside of fall colors.
In other words I learned I could help students when they had an observation in nature that frustrated their atttempt to picture it on paper. Students need to start by seeing and then I can suggest a technique to make it appear in their painting. If they expect a technique that will make an image of something for them, they will skip the all important step of seeing.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fall Creek Fish Hatchery Watercolor Workshop

The children set the tone of the class and I learned from them.

The adults were delightfully directed towards wonderful intuitive painting by their children while they helped their children with some technical issues of painting.

Sarah Runyan was pleased to learn that folding her watercolor paper she could then paint two or more memory paintings when she is outdoors. She did a tree at Fall creek and also the memories of the colors she saw driving to the fish hatchery.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Workshop Lecture: Outfitting for Extreem Plein Air

Ten Essentials For Extreme Plein Air Painting
1) Drinking water
2) Protection from elements,
Sun block
Extra clothing, rain gear, wool stocking cap, wool gloves
Hat with brim
Sun glasses
3) Compact paints, pencils, pens with protective zip lock bag
4) Paper or canvas in zip lock bag
5)Waste water or solvent container
6)Safty articles
Whistle, walking stick if hiking, life jacket if boating
matches with fire starter, map, first aid
7)knife, pencil sharpener
8) Rags, kleenex
9)Extra Food
10)Light weight pack or fishing vest with a special pocket to keep car keys
fully equiped 10 pounds maximum

Tomorrow I will demonstrate my gear for painting on boats or hiking at the first Salmon Festival at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center at Fall Creek. Click on the photo for a larger view of the extreem plein air essentials.