Monday, May 31, 2010

The weird guy in the faux painted wall

11 years ago my sister faux painted my bathroom and right in front of the "you know what" I have seen this little toreador guy.  He just about speaks to me-he's so real.  I don't mean realistic real but it's like it's a creature that is begging to be released from the wall.  I have said over and over to myself, "I've got to draw that little guy sometime".  Well, I finally did. This is what he looks like.  He's a strange little fellow that evolves right in front of your eyes.  You can see more than one set of eyes and things appear where they aren't supposed to be.  I can now see how Picasso could have been inspired.  I have to admit to the world that this art history major and artist has never liked his work.  I don't care if you pick the later works or the earlier.  I just don't care for it.  Now that I can understand how he could have been inspired to do Cubism I have a little more appreciation for it BUT I still wouldn't put his art at the top of the list of what our world should be known for.  Just not my fav.

Now here's another inspiration for you.  Last night I tried to talk to my son, Kip, on Skype.  His webcam is really doing awful things, picture clarity wise, but cool in the impressionistic painting department.  So, I took a picture of how bad it was to send to him.  I could make a very fun painting out of this.  Don't you think?  It's kind of like Kip looking through a rainy window.  It's got such a pointillist/Seurat kind of feel to it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

whew! not much time to blog this week. we lost our Grandpa J.

 I've started a new job and the training is so time consuming and exhausting that I haven't done a bit of blogging at all this week!  I love blogging and feel bad about it.  The training is going to be for 3 more weeks.  So, I know my posts will be short and not too interesting but I'll try to put a few things together.  Hopefully I'll have time for a little bit of art.
 Grandpa and his tie collection that he kept in an old trunk

Tonight I'm going to watch an old movie with my family called "Good Neighbor Sam" with Jack Lemon.  I just love him.  He was such a great actor and certainly deserved more than one Academy Award.  Anyway, we all need to relax around here as it's been a bad week in more ways than one.  My father-in-law, Tom, passed away on Tuesday in the middle of the night.  He was 92 and so miserable.  It really was a good thing and we're glad that he's now with Marge, my mother-in-law and Judy, their daughter.  We will miss him and hate to think of all the changes.  No more Grandma and Grandpa's house to go to any more.  WE are the grandparents now and that's just plain old strange.  Our kids move up a step also.  We all advance forward to a new stage.  Life's like that.

Tom was a child during the depression.  His dad came from Denmark and had a large family to support.  As I remember Tom's dad was a brick mason and worked on the Manti LDS Temple.  Tom grew up in Salt Lake City on the other side of the railroad tracks.  They were dirt poor.  When he was 8 years old he took the trolley into downtown SLC to sell newspaper until it was dark at night.  He was so afraid he would get lost during the day that he didn't go outside of about a 2 block area.  At night, in the dark, he rode the street car home all by himself.  He served in the CCC's and in the army in WWII.  As a child he had a struggle growing up with a step mother that was very cruel.  Some people would treat their family the same.  Not Tom.  You couldn't find a better father and tender hearted husband.  He loved Marge until the day he died and it was vice versa.  She loved Tom.  They would do anything for any one and could be seen delivering veggies from their large garden to all the neighbors.  When our children were too little and we couldn't get to our own garden to till it we woke up one morning to the sound of the tiller.  Tom was out in our backyard tilling the garden for us.
 Tom and his little boy, Chris-my husband!
I could always rely on him to help me out if my car broke down during the day.  He loved everyone in the family and our children adored him.  He was a great man and will be terribly missed by all of us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My 5th Grade eyes but not MY eyes and a 12th grade issue

Yesterday I came down with a cold and I've been feeling quite yucky today.  I really wanted to just stay home but, as it turned out, I couldn't.  You see my father-in-law is very close to passing over to the other side.  My husband and his siblings decided to give him a priesthood blessing.  So, Charlie and I drove over to the care center to be a part of it.  It was amazing but so so sad.  We lost my mother-in-law in the space of about 10 minutes last year and Tom has hung on all this time.  He is such a wonderful man and we all love him.  So, you must know that that added to my cold made me feel not quite my chipper self.  I just couldn't think of a thing to talk about.

Luckily I took at look at Cro Magnon's blog a little while ago and saw a wonderful early drawing he did of 2 people dancing.  It got me thinking about something that I felt magical about just like he did with his.  My drawing, actually, a water color painting, was one that I did when I was in 5th grade.  As you can see through my 5th grade eyes I was able to see how to paint these Asian ones.  On the bridge of the nose you will notice that I made a mistake and had to glue some paper to it and repaint that part.  But the teachers were amazed by it and I remember feeling like I didn't know how I could paint like that.  I guess that was my first "muse" experience.  Something/someone other worldly helped me with that painting.  I've kept it ever since in an old dilapidated portfolio.  It's a treasure to me.

I have also included one of my failures but, I have to say, that it wasn't my fault.  Actually it was a triumph soured by my 12th grade art teacher.  I won't name names but he has passed away.  It was for a competition for the Utah State Fair.  I remember so well getting out an encyclopedia to see what a real ram looked like.  Then, from that photograph, I distorted the whole image in a completely new way.  It doesn't look like a photo, does it?  When I turned it into my art teacher-as he was supposed to enter them for us-he told me that I had cheated and copied the drawing.  I insisted that it was completely my original idea.   Being a jerk-he did not enter it and I, of course, didn't win.  I also had a very fun painting that I did in his class and it was missing. He said he didn't know what had become of it.  Some students and I searched his room when he wasn't there and guess where we found it?  In his personal portfolio in a closet.  He done me wrong.   Oh well.  It all came out okay.  His unkind behavior did not hold me back from going on to love and live my art.  So, take that Mr. _________!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pushing the limits and Big Daddy Roth

I came across this delightful characterization of Cliff last night and couldn't resist posting it on my blog.  I had so much fun turning his head into a triangle.  Now I think I could push it further and just might do it.  It's fun to exaggerate a drawing as much as possible.
Art History Moment:  Don't you just love how unorthodox I am about this?  It's not what you think?  Right?  Anyway, I got to thinking of a cartoonist that I loved when I was in the 6th grade-Big Daddy Roth.  His cartoons were everywhere in the mid '60's and you could get these really cool models of his creations.  My favorite was "Rat Fink".  This was definitely not a girl thing to do back then but I was a little kookie for a typical girl.  I loved putting these together.  Dang it but I don't have a single one now.  Big Daddy's work really appealed to the surfers and tied in with hot rod cars. You know-everything that went along with the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.  Unfortunately he passed away but it's possible to see his images if you Google them.  Another cool thing is that his wife runs a museum of his work that is right smack dab in my state of Utah!  Actually in Manti, Utah.  I didn't know that and now I'm going to have to go check that out.  Incidentally Manti is home to one of the most beautiful LDS temples.  Just a gorgeous setting and old time architecture on a hill.  

I know.  I know.   He's not Rembrandt but he was an American original and back then there was nothing like this.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ocean scenes are not my thing

Funny thing about us artists-maybe not everyone.  Many of us are always afraid that someone will find out that we are IMPOSTORS!  Even the most accomplished ones.  We are deathly afraid that we will be found out.  My biggest fear was the dreaded OCEAN SCENE.  I had never done one before.  I mean, formally.  One day I was teaching an adult and she said that that was what she wanted to work on next.  Uh oh.  My time had come.  Now my secret would be revealed.  She would find out that I'm not the teacher that I wanted everyone to think I was.  It was towards the end of the class and I told her that we didn't have time to start but would begin the next week.  Soooooo, for the next week I was like a fiend.  I went to the art store and bought one of those cheesy Walter Foster How to Paint books on the ocean.  I did practice paintings after paintings.  Lots of drawings also.  Until I felt I had a handle on it.  Then the following week when my student was all set up I said calmly, "Okay.  Let's begin".  Inside I thought, "Whew!  That was a closey".  Above is one of my practice drawings.

I think it's okay to admit that we can't do it all.  I don't know very many artists that actually can whip out a drawing of everything perfectly.  That's why we have the artists' "morgue"-a file of reference photos just for our information.  I love the internet and being able to Google any image I want.  It sure beats the old World Book Set that I sold for $50.  It became woefully inadequate.  Actually it always was but I didn't know the difference.

It seems like I have written about this experience before but I couldn't find where I had.  If you've heard it before-please forgive me.  I can't remember everything-just like I can't draw everything, you guys!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Permission granted - Heeeerrreeee's Kyra!

These photos are not great.  I need to do some work but at least I can show the world our new grand daughter-of course the cutest in the universe!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A beautiful baby girl named Kyra born in Baltimore

Cliff!  Playing the piano that Charlie bought for baby Kyra.  Showing his piano playing skills (he should have after 5 years of lessons!).

I'm back, you guys!  Cliff and Lorien have the most beautiful little baby girl-it was a thrilling in home natural child birth.  I would post pics but I'm not sure how they feel about that.   Must get permission first.  Anyway, I was a little anxious about how it would all work out.  I shouldn't have worried because the midwife and her team were fabulous.

Baltimore is such a gorgeous city.  I went for a walk yesterday when I wasn't needed in the house.  I just can't get over how lush it is.  The neighborhoods are so interesting to me.  I would have walked on forever but I was afraid I would get lost.  Really they weren't consistently the same like in other towns.  Where my son lives, at least, most of the houses are on very large lots and a lot of gigantic old trees.  I just walked around with my eyes and mouth wide open-oohing and ahing.  I'm sure I really looked like a nitwit.   It seemed like there were wooded areas slicing in and out of the residential areas in a very random manner.  It's like a jungle to me and looked so fun for kids to play in.  Cliff said they did look fun except for the poison ivy that's very prevalent all over Baltimore-leaves of 3, let them be (Cub Scout leader for many years).

So, I'm back to the real world for me and I have to say I'm sad to leave their happy little family.  But I'm thrilled for their happiness

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Char our star and a break for a week

"I've Been a Good Toy, Santa" by Julie Jacobsen

Hi!  I'm going to go visit my son and his wife on Saturday.   She was due to have their baby girl last Sunday.  I'm hoping that little twinkle toes will come while I'm there.  We sat and sat waiting for our other grandchildren-then had to go home with the baby still not born.  I hope that doesn't happen this time.

So, I won't be able to post for a little over a week.  Coming back refreshed is always a positive, though.  I hope I'll be refreshed.  At least I can get away from the dull weather here where I live in Utah.

The painting above is of our son, Charlie.  When he was about five I found a huge reindeer that had been on display at a store and was for sale.  The price was so low I didn't think twice about buying it.  Well Reindeer became Charlie's buddy.  He'd get mad at us and throw himself on Reindeer for comfort and, as you can see, he napped on Reindeer.  He was a "good toy"-worthy of Santa's attention.  It brings tears to my eyes to think that Char is now all grown up-graduating from college with 2 degrees in finance and math, with a minor in philosophy.  This is it!  This week he is out of school and out in the job market.  Who ever hires Char will be a lucky employer, indeed.  All our kids, except one, worked at the neighborhood Baskin Robbins.  When Charlie would have a day off other employees would call him for help and he'd go over there.  They would call because they couldn't get the safe open.  Charlie would go over and patiently do it for them even though he was working at another job.  He still would help them out! See what I mean?  Dang good employee.

See you in a week!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

M. C. Escher Drawing Exercise

Who is the most worn out overexposed design oriented artist? M. C. ESCHER.  As you know, Escher was a fabulous artist that combined mathematical type drawings with exploding whimsy.  He was my favorite artist IN THE 70'S but he's just about been ruined for me now as, well, he's like someone else we all know but I'm too polite to say his name.  Anyway, one of my favorite images of his is of this rolly polly lizard rolling around.  I didn't find that in my search but here's one that I really like also.

The drawing exercise today is to take something and turn it into another thing but GRADUALLY.  I got this exercise from my college art major days (I did learn something there).  I turned a cat into a pencil.  It was so cool and I would still have it to show if I hadn't had a big flood in my basement when the washing machine hose burst during the night. That's another story.

Here's one I did using the "One 2, buckle my shoe" nursery rhyme.  My drawing is so rudimentary, it's embarrassing, but I came across this in an old sketch book that I used when I was teaching my art class.  I worked on what they were doing so I could show them what I meant.

HAVE FUN!  I would love to see what you do if you can show it to me.  Please! Comments, as usual, are very welcome.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thoughts on Education
Yesterday I finally got myself to get out all of my old "stuff".  You know the stuff I'm talking about that us girls like to keep-cards, pictures, articles, event tickets.  Well, it wasn't all my stuff because a lot of the stuff is everywhere around the house in little nooks and boxes.  But I felt I could handle taking care of this.  That means sorting and organizing.  A long with that I wanted to weed out 95% of it to make it less stuff.  Well, you know what happened.  I just couldn't quite do it.  I got rid of probably 25% but these people that wrote these notes, etc. were talking about MY life!   And from their treasured viewpoints.  Well, I just organized it all into envelopes and stuffed all of them back into the filing cabinet from whence they came.  But I did get rid of a little.  It always takes sooooo long to do this because you have to stop and reread almost everything.  That's why I dread it but, as usual, I came across treasured items.

I want to share one of these with you.  It was just a little piece of paper that I had cut out from who knows where:

"Herein lies the real value of education.  Advanced education may or may not make men and women more efficient; but it enriches personalty, increases the wealth of the mind, and hence brings happiness.  It is the finest insurance against old age, against the growth of physical disability and against the lack and loss of animal delights.  No matter how many there may be in our family, no matter how many friends we may have, we are in a certain sense forced to lead a lonely life, because we have all the days of our existence to live with ourselves.  How essential it is, then, in youth to acquire some intellectual or artistic tastes, in order to furnish the mind, to be able too live inside a mind with attractive and interesting pictures on the walls.  Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity and a provision in old age."  -Aristotle

I've had people that have asked me why after so many years I would want to torture myself with going back to school.  I look at them wondering why they would be so silly.  Yes, it is hard.  And, yes, the first time I had a test I said to myself, "WHY AM I DOING THIS?!?  I FORGOT HOW HARD IT IS!"  But once I kicked myself a few times I settled down to doing something I've always enjoyed-learning.  I love to learn.  I love to read.  I've always loved it.   I've always loved the things that go along with it like office supplies-new notebooks, pencils, erasers.  I can't imagine falling in love with a Kindle, or something like that, like I would a brand new ever so fragrant book.

I don't care what happens to me (well, yes, I do-I'm just getting carried away here) if I can still read and learn I will be quite satisfied.  I have a vivid picture in my mind of my stepfather in the care center.  He had macular degeneration so bad that he had to use a magnifying glass to read.  But that man, until the day before he died, still was as sharp as a tack.

Now, if you are reading this now you are one lucky person!  I can't remember the percentage of illiterate people there are in the world but there are millions.  We have been blessed to have this skill.  Why are we so lucky?  I don't know.  Maybe it transfers to the other side someday.  That's what we believe in our church.  The learning we do now is more than important.

So, I plan to keep learning.

Art History Moment: 

Of course it's about the painting at the top of this blog.  "Aristotle with a Bust of Homer" by Rembrandt.  Rembrandt is such a master at creating mood with lighting.  His images are so 3 dimensional and you get the feeling that they have always existed on the painting support.  In this painting there aren't many colors but it's not needed to convey the feeling of intelligence and humility. Two extremely brilliant philosophers.  In order to be teachable you have to be humble.  Aristotle and Homer must have been humble men as they absorbed so much knowledge and wisdom in their lives.  It's hard to believe that the quote above was written so many centuries ago because it's as modern as today.  Don't you agree?  Wow!  Just had to add this after I looked at the painting again.  It's the perfect triangular composition!  Notice how the eye is constantly led around the painting never stopping at one point.  Cool.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Fix Pastel Mistakes

I want to talk about giving your eye a rest.  I may have brought this up before but I'll touch on it again because I think it's very important.  If you don't have a peaceful area in your work then it's going to seem frantic.  In this drawing that I did of my daughter and her grandma's dog you can see a barren part where the sidewalk is.  It adds to the calmness of the image.  Part of the moment in time-casually walking the dog on a toasty summer day with nothing to rush you.  That's part of the beauty of grandparents' homes.  They're refuges against the storm of everyday life.  I hope that's conveyed in this drawing of Gracie and Sophie.  So remember to put a little "peace" into your art work.

The other photo has to do with a little tip I got off of another blog.  I can't remember which (sorry and drat) but it has to do with pastels.  I was reminded of it because whenever I look at this drawing I think of it's sister drawing-the one that is/WAS in pastels.  I say "was" because I happily ripped it up and put it in the trash.  I'm not an accomplished pastel artist, at all.  So, of course, the most important part of the whole drawing was my daughter's face and I smudged it.  Blaaaa.  It sat in a drawer in my studio for quite a while just waiting for me to discover how to fix it.  Here's the tip:

The packing tape that ate Chicago (bought by my husband at his favorite close out warehouse.  My son, Charlie, said it will probably last us the rest of our lives and I think he's right.  Notice the paper clip?  It's there for a reason-other wise you will NEVER find the end again.  Never means never.

  1.  Take a piece of clear packing tape and place it on the drawing where you want to remove the pastel.  CAREFULLY let it stick a little-a little is key here- and pull it off.  You might have to do it multiple times but don't be a dumb bell like me and scrape it on to make sure the tape is sticking because it will pull up the pastel paper also and then it's ruined.  Be patient and do it in stages.

  2.  Then spray the area with a spray fixative for pastels.  Be sure to buy the workable kind.  Then you can just rework the pastel on top of it.  Now I would test it out before you try it on your very nice drawing that needs fixing. You might hastily do what I did and that way you can spank your hands and start over.

I like the pastel pencils because they seem to have more control to them and, if you remember from my post about mosaics, I'm not into messy art as much as possible.  These keep your hands relatively clean.