Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cover to my New Traveling Moleskine

Self Portrait with Biker Buddy
"tentative final"
click this and all images to view larger
Yesterday, my new Round 4 Moleskine arrived in the mail!  YAY!  I'm so excited.  Biker Buddy and I went out and took a self portrait photograph from which I painted the cover of my new Moleskine. Acrylics on gessoed Moleskine cover.  OH--I took pix of the stages again.  I will post them below.

These sketchbooks travel around the country, and sometimes around the wold, to other artists, collect art and return to me.  FUN!

I need to get back to work on my Fellowship application.  No more art until I hear that this round has officially started.

gesso and pencil sketch


underpainting and first coat

adding highlights and first details

Friday, January 25, 2013

Self-portrait Today

I wanted to complete my Moleskines BEFORE I took a video of the finished Moleskine.  I'd intended all along to make a painting on the back of my Round 2 Moleskine, so I did that tonight and the book is now, finally complete.  I will attempt to make a video of it at my earliest convenience, BUT I am still working on the Fellowship application.

This is a self portrait.  I painted it from a photo my husband took of me at a restaurant in Slovenia.

I took some pictures of the steps, but I will post the scan first.  Acrylic on Gessoed Moleskine cover.

Click images to view larger.

"final" (maybe--I always like to fiddle)

(Step 2) Blocking in with pig markers
I forgot to photograph the pencil sketch

(Step 3) Underpainting
(first coat)

adding detail

The Traveling Minstrel--in progress

I decided to try an experiment.  I am painting an oil pointing with water soluble oils for the first Round 4 pocket that I get.  The time for someone to prepare and mail their moleskine and then for me to have time as well should allow the painting to dry.

While experimenting, I decided to use only a palette (painting) knife.  So there are several factors that are fairly new for me--including the water soluble oils and the palette knife.  The painting is done on watercolor paper treated with two layers of gesso.

Click on images to view larger.  I'm including my process, not that I know what I'm doing.

added darks in india ink
Blocking in some of the color with pig markers

adding the water soluble oils part 1
adding the water soluble oils part 2

This is not finished yet, but it needs to dry a little before I attempt to add more detail.  I have a glassine to put it in to protect it in the pocket and to protect other things from it.
adding some details
Still not done--one thing I added was eyelashes, hard to do (for me) with a palette knife I mean painting knife.   Still needs more work.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Garrett's Broken Arm

Garrett's Broken Arm
acrylic on water color paper
in Round 3 Moleskine
click image to view larger.

This is my latest painting in my round 3 returned Moleskine.  It is an illustration from a serial novel in progress, Discovery at Little Hog Island.  It's an adult novel, in spite of the fact that these are children, but I may also use the illustration if I ever finish it, for a children's novel. I know it's imperfect, and I may work on it more later, but I have to quit for now.

I'm hoping to post the novel here, serially, but haven't had time.  If I actually DO IT, you may see this image, or an updated one again at some point in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Long Time Ago

me, at age 18
click image to view larger

It was a long time ago.
I was 18.
I had my first real job as a lab assistant in a medical research lab at the VA hospital.
It was lunch break.

The photograph was taken by my boyfriend, Hal Phillips, who is now a pediatrician.

My mother made the dress I was wearing. She made most of my clothes. When I was a teenager, I was ashamed of my homemade clothes. I never had the fashions other girls had. Later, I came to deeply appreciate it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Folk Art: The Dinghy

Click to view larger
This is my second ever oil pastel, which I did my Round 3 returned Moleskine sketchbook.  I concentrated on practicing technique.  I drew the image freehand, but copied the boat from an online image and the background from a different online image (both photos).  I had already started it when Ballookey told me that the oils could damage the paper over time.  It is on the page facing the pink elephant (below).  I photographed it rather than scanning it--I didn't want to damage the scanner.

I am still trying to learn to be an artist.  While this isn't great art, it is a huge step forward for me from my early attempts.

If an artist is someone who makes art, a writer is someone who writes and a poet is someone who writes poetry, why am I uncertain about calling myself those things?  I don't claim to be a professional artist, who I see as someone who earns money from art. I must be a folk artist--someone who does art for the joy of it.  But I am often hesitant to even say that for fear that people's expectations will be higher than what I can produce.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Pigephant (Evolution of the Grub)

Someone left me a perfectly nice outline of an elephant in my Round 3 Moleskine, I assume as a collaboration, but I messed it up BIG TIME.  I'd never used oil pastels to speak of, so this was my first attempt, and I didn't really know what I was doing.

First try:

Pigephant (the grub)
My husband said it looked like a grub.  I was calling it a pigephant.  I decided the back legs were too far back.  I kept fiddling with it and finally had this:

King Tut-tut
I decided his trunk was too short.  (?)  I made it longer.  I moved the tusks (but couldn't quite hide where the old one was.  I also moved the eye.

King Pink
So here is the maybe final version, in my round 3 book, a collaboration.  It may still need more work.  Can anyone tell me how to preserve it when I finish?  Can I spray it with fixative?  Will fixative stick?  Do oil pastels ruin the paper?  I didn't put it on the scanner for fear the messy stuff would ruin the scanner.

I am sorry to say I haven't had a chance, with the wedding et al, to post about my returned round 3 Moley. Sometime relatively soon, I hope.

Soon Enough

Death as Dire Wolf
Click to view much larger

Soon Enough

You and your pack of dire wolves circle,
reminding me, Oh Death, how much
I love you.  You drive me toward cliffs
that fall away hundreds of feet to jagged rocks.
I love the terror that torments me,
the joy of a quickened heartbeat. 

I feel so fully present
in this moment.

Among your dire-wolf companions, you
stand out, Death.  A ragged lion-like mane
bristles at your shoulders.  Your snout
stretches lean and pointy,
your teeth, attenuated and sharp,
drip blood, spittle and foam.

Yes, dear Death, how alive
I feel in your presence.

I try to laugh.  You’re kind of silly,
really, so dramatic and clich├ęd.
I try to laugh, but choke
on fear and bile.  When you rear up
and lick my face, I forget to breathe.
Then you drop to your haunches

and grin at me.  Not yet,
you say, but soon.  Soon enough.

We stand at the edge of the precipice,
look down together. You love to teach;
I love to learn your lifelong lessons.
I rest my arm on your shoulders,
snake my fingers into your coarse fur,
and pull you close.

Mary Stebbins Taitt

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Goddess of Medium Things

The Goddess of Medium Things
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
while riding in car
click on image to view it MUCH larger
Friday January 4:  

Keith and I have arrived in Syracuse for Erin's wedding.  108 and 8 miles out, my son Graham's car broke down; he was traveling separately because he had to be back at college..  He got towed all the way from Batavia to Syracuse.  Tomorrow morning, my husband will examine the car to see if it can be saved, if he can repair it.

My daughter's wedding is tomorrow.

Today, Tuesday January 8:

We arrived safely home last night.  The wedding was wonderful, and I may post about it later.  We towed the Jetta, Graham’s car, to a friend’s house and rented a car.  Graham drove Keith’s car and we drove the rental.

We will be returning to Syracuse to repair the car.

The plain facts do not illustrate the difficulties involved, but I’m still too tired to review them.  (And no one probably wants to hear the unpleasant details.)  We are all OK and that’s what’s important. 

I thank the Goddess of Medium Things for keeping us all safe for the duration.