Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another from the workshop and a work in process

Day 4 portrait

This was my first portrait at the workshop.  I wasn't thrilled with the result but felt satisfied with parts of it.  The gentleman did have those bags under his eyes and before this workshop I probably would not have gone that dark with them.   I like drawing people, I also like sketching people.  The problem has always been painting them, whenever I do everything ends up extremely tight and the life of the piece is lost.  The only time that doesn't happen is when I'm padding a wash to a sketch.  I have a better idea how to go about doing this now that I've watched Charles work and worked on a couple myself; however, I have a long way to go.

Meanwhile a house in pen and ink.  This is something else I enjoy doing and I have an order for this one so better get to finishing it...

peggys house drawing

I have to walk by again to have a closer look at the porch.  I should be able to finish it in a couple days, then the buyer will decide if she wants a color wash on it.  Some houses are easier for me than others, because I love the house... this is one of those.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Charles Reid Workshop

me with Charles 

I had the good fortune to study with Charles Reid all last week.  I've taken a lot of workshops through the years and have to say, this was the best one I've taken.  I actually produced some work that is worth keeping and learned much that I will be incorporating into other work that I do.  Not the style, but simple things like brush work and color.  Interesting to me was that no matter if you were a beginner or very advanced, you could learn from this man and he really wanted you to get it.  The first three days we worked on still life.  My first one was not so hot but there was a part of it that turned out very nicely... I've blown that part up.

first day disaster best part of my first still life

Day two was better, there are parts of it that I don't like but overall it's not too bad.   I especially like the wine bottle and glass.

my second day still life

best part of second day still life

I still have much work to do on brush stroke and  connections but overall am happy with where I am.

Days four and five were spent on people.  I have my own way of drawing people and don't have a problem getting a likeness; however, when it comes to painting that drawing... that's a whole different ball game and I'm rarely happy with the results.  His method of drawing made painting much easier because his drawing is looser... much like my sketches but more controlled.  My first attempt left much to be desired though he was kind and found some things he liked about it.  I can't find it on my computer right now so I must have really hated it.  Anyway by day two I was doing better, slow but better.  She isn't complete but this is our model, Tracy... in real life and in my work in process....  I have her mouth too small but this is what I got done in two hours.

tracy tracy in process

I wish I could have brought him home with me to look over my shoulder while I work.  I'd love to have his wife along too as she is a delightful lady.  If you're a watercolor artist and haven't already taken a workshop from this man.... do if you have a chance. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm off to a workshop

My spouse and I will be passing in the night.  He's returning from a weekend away and I'm leaving for a week away studying with an artist I've admired for a very long time, Charles Reid.  The second book I bought on watercolor painting years ago was Painting What You Want To See by Reid.  I love how loose he works.  I don't want my paintings to look like Charles Reid paintings but I know I'll be able to learn something from him.  I'll post something from the workshop when I get back.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Two In Process

These two have been waiting patiently for me to remove the mask and I finally got to it.  Now I have to look at them for awhile to decide where to go next.  They'll hang in my studio for awhile; I'll look at them as I pass by but won't concentrate on them yet.  Usually something jumps out at me within a couple days but not always.  I'll just have to wait and see.

I've done both of these images before but smaller.  The top one is 22 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches.  The other is 28 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches.  Those grey rectangles at the top are the clips that are holding them up, not part of the painting....

race day in process


watching the c's

In addition to unmasking, I downloaded photos from a weekend in Bloomington, Indiana visiting friends.  I'd never been there before but would very much like to go again.  I loved the countryside, the limestone outcroppings gave it a texture that we don't see in my corner of the world and I love that type of texture.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Monoprint and An Exhibit

Last week was lost.  I was busy framing and delivering paintings along with being nervous as I always am when I'm part of an exhibit.  To top it off this time I had to give a brief talk and that is something I really would rather not do.  But the week went, the opening went well.  I was one of four artists in the exhibit.  Another friend, Jackie Bonomo, was another of the artists.  Jackie and I go back to Junior High School, and this was her first show.  A couple other of our school buddies came over for the opening.  Here we all are, Jackie is in red, I'm in pink.  The next photo is me with the biggest piece I had in the exhibit.

Jackie and Helen's Art Show 003 Helen at opening

A couple weeks back I took a one day workshop in monoprinting.  It was fun and I learned a lot though my print left something to be desired.  Before going to the workshop I biked to the Farmers Market.  There were some wonderfully colorful sweet peppers so I took them along.  Here is the result.

pepper print

This week I'm working on clearing the clutter I left behind last week.   But not before heading in to Grand Rapids to see the 10 finalists in Art Prize.  A friend, Michael Westra, is one of the top 10 and I am so proud of him.  His piece truly is spectacular.  Here's a link, you can see the entry.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A quick sketch

shellys geraniums in journal


This is a quick sketch in my journal this morning.  It's an image posted by Kat Farmer, author of "Snails on my Palette," for the weekend drawing event on  I'm posting it because I haven't posted any images yet and didn't want to get further behind.  I've been working away at finishing and framing  paintings for an exhibit that opens tonight at the Gallery Uptown here in Grand Haven.  Kat has posted a couple other images that I like and I may get to one of those after the opening is out of the way.  For those of you who aren't familiar with's weekend drawing event, every weekend one of the artists hosts by posting 15 images.  The rest of us have 30 minutes to select an image to work on and then we work for two hours.  At the 2 hour mark we post our progress, some are finished, some are not.  That's ok, if it isn't done you post that it's a work in progress and post again when it's done.  It's not only a fun project for the weekend, images are for any of the artists to use.