Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Painting With Genevieve, 10x12

Years ago ....
...I found myself trudging through six foot snow drifts with several good friends and one of my art inspirations, Genevieve Tuck.  Somewhere in the Cascade mountains outside of Roslyn, WA.  In the middle of winter we had lugged our equipment to the edge of a frozen lake where the most fascinating thing I could see to paint was 93 year old Genevieve having a great time.  She is in the lavender coat and the other person is either Diana Shynne or Catherine Gill, they were both on this trip.

She was an enthusiastic artist and a friend to many.   If you want more of the story you'll have to find the section in my book Sketching With Valued Markers about her.  Suffice to say that GT didn't begin painting until she was 73 to 75....the age varied with the day you asked her....and she kept going with a brush or pencil in her hand until she was just a hair shy of 100.
A year after this painting experience with her, this enthusiastic sprite of a woman called me and said 'I hear you have a cabin in Montana and, you know, I've never painted in Glacier Park'.  More than happy to drive her over and put her up, we tried to work out the details.  My schedule was not a was hers.  She was opening a gallery and going to France and the farm needed some care so she was sorry 'but I can't seem to fit it in'.  If the math eluded you, she was now 94.

I tell this story to any person who says they are too old to learn to paint or draw or do anything in life that excites their passions.  She has certainly long been an inspiration for me.

Paging through a book on watercolor from my library, Painting from Life by Douglas Lew, I was surprised to see this wonderful painting of our heroine.   Since Mr. Lew taught at the University of Minnesota I wondered about the connection.  Perhaps my friend Greg Lipelt might enlighten us.

Thanks for looking!   I'm currently in Montana wishing Genevieve could have made it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shig's Way, 12x16

A few posts ago....
....I shared with you about Shig's Place, home of an old Bainbridge Island family of Japanese origin.  Some asked me to post more paintings from there.  As long as some developer doesn't raze it to the ground I will get back there next month and see what I'll find....but there is this one.

This old stair and porch is hidden behind overgrown shrubbery.  When I saw it and while painting it, all I could think about was all the feet that had used the porch.  Generations of kids chased up and down those treads while adults were having strawberry shortcake, coffee and good times with friends (it was a strawberry farm after all).

The most difficult part of making this painting work were the color choices... (and waving away mosquitos).  The colors seem obvious now that it is finished but at the time not so.  I would have thought that drawing the stair would have been the issue but that just sort of 'happened'.

After almost every painting I find myself wishing that I had done it larger.....'larger' being any board or canvas that is bigger than what I've just done.  If this had been a 30x40 I would have wished for a 36x48.  Perhaps it's about trying to capture the impact and energy of things always bigger than what I can do, no matter the subject.

Maybe I'll go back with a larger canvas anyway.

Thanks for looking.  Back soonish.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pond at Bloedel, 12x16

Time and hard work....
....doesn't always produce a satisfying result, but it seems like inspiration and motivation get me much closer to my goals....and with less consternation.

I met some friends at the Bloedel Reserve, what I refer to as the Downton Abbey of Bainbridge.  Sometimes I expect a 1920 Rolls Royce to pull up beside me and ask if I have the caviar and champagne.  It is a nice place to have fantasies.

The first piece I did took more care and more time and more effort scraping it back to nothing.  It really didn't work, perhaps because the sun kept popping in and out and changing the color/value relationships.  Or perhaps I wasn't clear about what I was trying to paint.

Tossing that first one on the ground I turned around and caught a glimpse of the late afternoon sun coming through the trees and lighting things up.  Knowing it wouldn't last long I grabbed a brush and quickly began blocking in shapes and colors.  No pre-drawing as it would have stifled my positive energy and caused me to think rather than just respond.

It turned into a pleasant day.  I really like the light streaming from behind the trees and lighting up this little corner of the Japanese area of the Reserve.  The first one warmed me up....

Thanks for looking.  Back soon.