Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10-22-13 Weekly Watercolor

At Rogers Point, watercolor, 14 x 17"
This week's offering is from the "archives." Recently, I went through my mother's belongings in Maine. She died nine years ago, but my stepfather was reluctant to let go of her things, so when we were up in Maine for Richard's memorial picnic, we had a chance to collect some items. This is a painting I made for my mother twenty years ago. At the time, I was painting mostly in watercolor because it seemed the simplest with young children about (not sure why I thought that!) I must have worked on this while the kids were away a couple of hours at preschool. Working with watercolor is very meditative (though painting with kids running around would not be.)
      I shipped back several paintings and it is nice to have old visions hanging around once again. Here, I especially remember the refreshing visit to Maine in the midst of a hot, humid Kentucky summer. And what joy to see my children experience the wonders of the natural world. The coast of Maine is an excellent spot for that!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

10-17-13 Weekly Watercolor

This week's watercolor is a commissioned piece, so I haven't given it a title or put the date on it. Painting the mountains was particularly fun. The shadows have different qualities: true shadow and shadow with reflected light. Rendering the shadows were critical for giving dimension to the slopes. The time of day was before dusk. The mountain tops are still in full light, yet the same mountains make for an early evening light for the town below. A beautiful setting!
    I'll write more after this painting has been received by the recipient...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

10-8-13 Weekly Watercolor

Along the Bluestone, 9 x 4.5", watercolor
I'm thinking ahead to my next show, which will feature people and creatures. The working title is: Earthlings. At the same time, a new style has been percolating. After a couple of visits to the Musee D'Orsay, I've become smitten with some decorative panels by Pierre Bonnard. In these works, Bonnard flattens the natural backdrop and people are decked out in flat patterns that somehow also effectively define the figures.
     So for my Weekly Watercolor, I decided to make a study for a possible work for the next show. At a wedding over the weekend, I spoke with a cousin about my plans for my new work and I also saw a young cousin, and was once again struck by her spunky personality and I thought of how well this scene would fit my new way of working. I made a pencil sketch to work out the composition and traced that off on the watercolor paper (Arches, Cold Press, 300 lb.) This study has already given me ideas for tweaking the composition and is directing me on an approach. Students in my watercolor/pastel classes might recognize this image, as I've used it for a demo-painting.
    The scene here is at Pipestem State Park near Athens, West Virginia, my mother's hometown. The Bluestone River flows through a gorge and you have to take a tram down to the lodge below. We have had a lot of fun family reunions at Pipestem. It is a very special place!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10-2-13 Weekly Watercolor

Morning Work, 7 x 5",  watercolor
I'm home after a trip to visit my daughter in France. It is appropriate to feature a horse for my weekly watercolor. My sister, Jennie Rees, covers horse racing for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Sometimes I accompany her to the track or training center as she goes on her rounds. The easy demeanor of the riders always impresses me. They are coaxing these large animals to be calm, focused and energized all at once.
Gray/roan horses are my favorites.