Category Archives: Ramblings

Kitty in da house

I have a new orange kitty named Matisse. As a result I’m extremely sleep deprived. He loves to attack my feet at night and go bonkers right when I’m trying to sleep. He also wakes me up at 5:30 AM sharp, meowing, “it’s time to feed me!” Any advice for the weary?

I haven’t made any new paintings this week because this cat is driving me nuts. I did get some extremely adorable pictures of him, photobombing my floral still lives.

Kitty flower

Kitty flower

Here’s the last painting I did, a mixed media study of bougainvillea that I saw back when I was visiting the Bay Area. I wish I could grow bougainvillea in Portland.

Bougainvillea

 

Inspiration from Old Snapshots

Back when I had a flip phone, I used a fuji finepix digital point and shoot to capture snapshots. It was definitely a much clunkier process than the brilliant iphone. Buried on my desktop were pictures from maybe eight years ago. It’s interesting to see what random things I took pictures of, and what I found inspiring and still do: flowers, textures, patterns, shadows.

A pigeon in Italy. One of my few travels abroad. I dearly wish I could do more traveling.

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The patina on this diner/storefront somewhere in DC. I don’t even remember where this is or if I have even been inside.

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Brick pattern in Italy:

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Wall texture and water stains in Italy:

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Martin Puryear’s spackle? and nail holes texture on plywood:

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from one of the best arts exhibits I’ve ever seen. His sculptures at the National Gallery of Art. I wish Portland had a museum of the same caliber.

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I’m sure I thought I was being so surreptitious in taking this picture from some exhibit, possibly the National Gallery of Art. Does anyone know who did this watercolor?

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Ink stains. Maybe a Rauschenberg? I really have no idea.

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Bright colors in what to me looks like part of Matisse?

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I used to use my point and shoot to take visual notes even from books and magazines. This was before Pinterest. Look at this divine Giacometti drawing.

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Pavement crack patterns near Van Ness in DC:
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The most bizarre marbled pattern on this fabric chair. And what is that plant in the sea of green it’s sitting in?

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I love watercolor washes. Probably since I used to make my ballpoint pen ink bleed.

answersheet

 

 

 

Big Magic

I made this in first grade

Flower still life tempera painting from first grade

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert review

I loved this book. Please don’t dismiss it because the author wrote the Julia Roberts chick flick that you may or may not like.

The gist: art and creativity is very important but don’t kill yourself over it.  Forgive yourself, even if your art isn’t what you expect. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in the book, take art seriously, but not seriously.

Some paintings go through their teenage stage, an awkward, unfinished stage where you’re working stuff out, and you’re too embarrassed to show them in public and all pictures from that time must be deleted.

But if you get too down on yourself or give up too quickly, by taking yourself too seriously or art too seriously, you’ll miss out on some that have real potential to be great .  Now that I look back on some of my rejection piles, I see some that could have been improved if I kept going.

An oil painting still life’s (slow) progress

I was told that my painting looked finished even in its previous stage, but I wanted to further develop the peach colored poppy and the pink ranunculus in the foreground. I really liked what was going on with the background area near the camellia stem and blossoms.

I love watercolors and thinking about how that translates to the transparency in oil paints.  Oil paints excel at providing really great dark tones for luminous, transparent shadows. Certain colors are particularly transparent: alizarin crimson, ultramarine, and sap green. Sap green is the best green ever, it’s so balanced it’s like a neutral color that you could add anywhere. Some greens are too blue or saturated that they look fake when you use too much of them, but sap green is just so agreeable and you can use it even straight out of the tube. I’ve learned one way to make a great grey: mix sap green + alizarin crimson + naples yellow.

At this point in the painting, I’m feel really impatient to be DONE ALREADY.  I keep needing to be reminded not to rush ahead, and to keep knocking back the the shadows, using the darks and midtones. With the peach poppy, I ended up mixing more murky greys and browns and then blending them, than using this awesome salmon color I mixed from yellow ochre + montserrat orange + cadmium red.

To create the yellow stamen and pistil center of the poppy, I used cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, and naples yellow.  (Side note, mixing yellow ochre is good way to add the yellow hue without going too light in value.) 4 tones are needed to create 3 dimensional form, so I attempted to mix 4 ish yellowish tones. Again, I was feeling frustrated because I see this part being so clear and bright, but the first layer  feels very vague and fuzzy.

For the ranunculus, I’m using magentas for the first time in the painting.

 

The things in my Oil Painting Part 1

So I’ll be working on this still life oil painting study and looking at the subject for a long time

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One thing I learned from slowing down and taking my time with film photography  is to also take a lot more care in what is inside the frame- meaning no photoshop is not going to fix it. It’s far, far easier to move the random thing out from the background, then to photoshop it out. Ansel Adams would supposedly wait hours to make his exposures, waiting for things like a cloud to come or the right lighting to emerge. From all of the design blogs I read and follow on Instagram, I have learned the importance of styling. What  gets me when I am scrolling through Pinterest and I see these technically outstanding works but they are just terrible compositions- the artist must have spent hours looking at these ugly items in order to paint them and I’m like why.

Here’s the fabulous green vase that I found at a vintage store in Portland:

@okoportland do you still have this vase for sale?

A photo posted by Betsyness (@betsyness) on

The store’s proprietor said it is a 19th century German drinking jug- cool!

I found OKO Gallery when it was based in NW Portland. They’re now on Burnside near some other really awesome shops but it’s pretty inconvenient to find parking around there. If you do happen to be in the area check out Redux (I want to buy everything in that store and it’s a great place for gift shopping) and get some yummy chicken from Nong’s Khao  Man Gai.

OKO hired this amazing sign artist to paint their door – I love gold leaf!

The sun is shining! Come say hello!

A post shared by OKO (@okoportland) on

After I had bought the green jug I took lots of pictures of flowers in it.

And I came across this Cezanne painting on Pinterest. Great minds think alike!

Cezanne

 

PNW Spring foliage and flowers

Sometimes it’s really tough to get back into painting, even if it’s something I love doing.
In the mean time I’m enjoying the beautiful Pac NW spring.

Here’s trillium from the rain garden:
  Does anyone know what this glorious plant is and how I can get it in my garden? 

Love the bronze foliage and pink flowers. I’m thinking of getting a ninebark, which has similar foliage and has the added benefit of being drought tolerant.

Here’s another flower that I really want in my garden:

Renown unique tulips-they look like peonies!