Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Around Here Lately

Hold Onto Him
oil on gesso panel 5 x 7 inch
available here

This week I have been painting like a mad woman...almost literally. I really tried to just let go in this one, but I like the look of loose and free, don't you?  

We adopted a new kitty...this is Mitsou.  My friend lives in the country and called me up to say a mother cat had abandoned her litter of kittens at her door.  After losing our cat Bean last Spring, it was just a matter of time before we caved in and took in another one.  We have always had at least two cats...they keep the mice out of the house.

 Mitsou is named after the childhood cat of the artist Balthus.  Last year at The Met in NYC I saw the exhibit of his 100 drawings done at age 11 depicting the life of his cat Mitsou, who disappeared and never came back.  It was a sweet exhibit and the drawings that touched me most were of him holding a candle, walking the streets and looking for her in the night.  I told myself that would be a great name for our next cat.  Now more that ever, the name Mitsou seems fitting after losing our Bean.  They would have played together well...she is spunky like Bean was.  

This is Peet...our other cat.  He is not a very good mouser.  He's just sweet and shy and that's about it.  However he does play fetch.  Did you know some cats will do that?  He brings us his rubber bracelet (we call it a mouse to encourage his occupation) and we toss it... then he brings it back...over and over and over.  

I've been taking care of Hurley too.  He had a small tumor removed from his back and has needed some TLC.  The result was benign thankfully.  It seems to be all about animals in this post, doesn't it?  But we love our pets!  They add fun and joy to life...and make great art subjects.  :)

I started this 18 x 24 inch oil painting during the weekend.  It was inspired by a scene of a couple reading on their front porch in an area called Riverside where I love to walk.  There is a wonderful mixture of quaint old houses and beautiful nature there.  

I am always doing these little sketches in my Sketchbook Sweetie book.  I try to do one each evening.  As I've stated before, these sketches are a great source of inspiration for my paintings.  

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous giving a great excuse to sketch outside.  

I've been looking at some Egon Schiele work in the book of his drawings and watercolors by Jane Kallir.  I even did this little watercolor rendering (on the left).

Plum Chair
oil on panel 5 x 7 inch

I painted a purple chair.  This one is bigger than my usual chairs and it's on a panel rather than paper.

oil on panel

Lastly, I am still pecking away at this one.  I have not touched it since class last Tuesday, but I can say I feel it's getting close to finished.  As you can see a new figure on the left has found her way into this piece.  I was layering color and there she was.

I hope you have a great rest of your week!  

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Bluebirds of Joy

 The Bluebirds of Joy
oil on paper 16 x 20 inch

This painting came together with ease...the colors, the faces, the design, even the birds...and doesn't this make the artist happy?  Not all of them go so well.




The decision to make the birds blue came after my art instructor Brian Hinkle discussed how different background colors can really change the mood and feel of a painting.  He pointed out a smudge of blue that was in my already dark red background, suggesting that it would make the mood light and happy.  It was an ah-ha moment for me, not for the background...but for making the birds blue.

Did you know that bluebirds are a sign of joy and a good omen?   Thank you for pointing this out Julie!  After Julie told me this, the title came swiftly.



Up close, I always see things I want to change...like uneven eyes or perhaps a crooked nose.  However, there are other things that seem very right to me, so leaving it alone seems to be the lesser of two evils.  Reworking areas often can lead to disaster or lost loves.  I admit I do not paint fearlessly, but I am working on this.


This piece was painted on Daler-Rowney Georgian oil paper.  It stays flat and feels great to paint on.  It will be mounted to a cradled hardboard which makes a very nice and inexpensive presentation and omits the need for a frame.

Have a beautiful rest of the week!

♥ Lisa

Friday, September 19, 2014

Adding Birds and More Pretty Pictures


More progress on this 16 x 20 inch oil painting and this morning the birds have been added.  In Tuesday's class, the art instructor suggested that I could change the background if I wanted to brighten up the mood.   He pointed out a tinge of smokey blue that I had smudged on in various places as a possible alternative, but I love the reds with the yellows here too much to change it.  

However, his suggestion gave me an ah hah!  moment...blue would be the perfect color for the birds that are planned for this piece.  So here you have it...in progress.


Speaking of blue...here are samples of photo edits again.  I found a new photo app called Photoscape for $1 and I love the colors you can add.  The photo above and below are the same picture with different hues.  I almost expect to see elves tip-toeing out from behind the trees in the above and the one below looks more like Fall in real life.  The original is bright and vibrant summer green.


I have been spending time outside in the yard. Weeding flowerbeds is an ongoing job and such a relaxing thing to do.  I try to stretch while I'm working...you could call it Yard Work Yoga.  That keeps me from getting too stiff.   My camera is always near by of course.


These flowers are not from my yard.  They are from the flower shop.  That big sunflower just seemed to be singing out loud. 

Sometimes when I take pictures, they come out pretty just the way they are so I leave them alone.


Especially when it comes to the sky.  Often, it does not need a filter.  It seems to have its own.


Have a beautiful weekend.

♥ Lisa

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chairs, Hands, Dresses and Pretty Pictures

I have been painting more chairs.  Available here.

I have also been drawing a little bit in sketchbooks.  Here you can see the old photo used for a reference.  The small sketchbook you see on the right is my sketchbook sweetie book.

A little bit of painting in sketchbooks too.  There was a photo in a magazine of a pretty vase of flowers sitting on a table at an open window and this sketch was inspired by it.


I have also been working on a 16 x 20 inch oil painting on paper...the one with the women and eventually some birds that I showed in the last post.  I spent two days on their faces and the other day I began details on clothing.  It became suddenly clear that painting hands is much more difficult than painting dresses.


I have over 1,000 photos on my iPhone right now.  I take pictures constantly and love to spend time making beautiful edits on them. This is a place in Rochester, New York taken on our recent travels.


This was taken while driving by a farm in eastern Ohio.  I use the iPhone apps distressedfx and snapseed and also the editing tools in Instagram to get these effects.  I am finding that my own photography, especially when these painterly effects are applied can be a really good source of inspiration for paintings.  Of course I always want to put figures in.

A quiet day on Lake Ontario in New York.  These figures were there naturally.  

Have a beautiful day.

  ♥ Lisa

Friday, September 12, 2014

Painting in Progress and a Surprise Gift from a Blog Friend

detail of WIP
16 x 20 inch oil on paper

On Tuesday I returned to Brian Hinkle's art class at Tessera Fine Art Gallery and jumped right in starting this 16 x 20 inch oil on paper.  Using one of my sketches as inspiration, the figures went down quickly.  There will be birds in this piece once it is all said and done.

beginnings of 16 x 20 inch on paper
at Tessera Fine Art Gallery

Here is a full view of the piece.  You can see another oil painting in the background which I have shown recently.  That one is slow-going because I have been really indecisive about color.


I caught this shot the other night of my dog Hurley.  He has so many facial expressions and this one is precious.  Kind of pitiful, but precious.


Speaking of Hurley, do you remember the above photo?  I posted it a while back.

5 x 7 inch painting of Hurley
by Patty Musgrove
Well a couple of days ago I was surprised and so touched to receive the above painting from Patty Musgrove with Listen to the Road.  Patty paints the most beautiful animal portraits and I could not believe she would give me such a gift.  Tears.  Many of them.  Thank you so much Patty.  Life is sad right now after losing my mom and this gift is so joyful and uplifting.

Please click on the photo to view her beautiful brush strokes.  She captured him perfectly.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2014

More Chairs and Notes on the Technique

Chair Number 11
4 x 6 inch oil on paper
available here

Before traveling, I painted these three chairs and they are now dry and in my shop on Etsy.  

Chair Number 12
oil on 4 x 6 inch paper
available here

I have been inconsistent with signing them on the front.  Sometimes it is too crowded in the area I want to sign in, or too distracting, or simply does not show well enough.  I also stopped gluing these to the mat boards because it did not seem necessary since they are so small.  They don't buckle like larger works on paper and they stay flat in a frame without the boards.

Chair Number 13
oil on 4 x 6 inch paper
available here

 About the Process

To make these I prep the paper with various colors of acrylic paint, then apply the oil paint with a palette knife.  I draw the chair by scratching through or wiping away the oil paint to expose the acrylic color underneath.  The third chair here is the best example of how I do these.  The red part of the chair you see is the acrylic paint beneath including that little splotch of blue on the side.  The background, floor, chair seat, chair back and pillow are in oil.  

These little things can be tricky because the oil painting is wet on wet, and on a very small surface.  This is another reason for the inconsistency of signing them.  It is impossible to sign them with a paint brush because they are so small, so the only way to sign it is to scratch in the signature which may or may not show up well.

Painting these has been a great way for me to explore color and also a good exercise in thinking ahead.  I always have to consider the color of the acrylic that will pop through. It dictates what oil colors are chosen.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Where Have You Been?

I have been away on a road trip.

We headed northeast through the Flint Hills of Kansas, then Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York.

We ate lunch on Lake Erie.

We marveled over early signs of fall near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

We spent most of our time in the western part of New York...about one hour from Niagra Falls...visiting my family.

We watched sunsets on Lake Ontario and walked on the pier under the stars.

We dined near the boat docks.

We visited a sweet carousel of the past.

We walked the trails in Corbett's Glen.

And got excited at the lushness of it...and the smell of it.

We enjoyed walks in quaint neighborhoods.

We felt jealous of George Eastman...the founder of Kodak.  He actually lived in this house.  Does anyone really need all that space?

Really jealous.

We celebrated Labor Day picnicking at Hamlin Beach. We didn't feel jealous anymore.

We watched the skies a lot.

We visited family a lot.

And posed for pictures a lot.

There were some quiet moments...

...during a lovely visit at the DuPont Mansion in Louisville, Kentucky...a detour we took on the way home.

We had the whole mansion to ourselves! It is their slow season. Now George Eastman would be jealous of us. :)

We took in one last sunset...in Louisville over the Ohio River.

We stopped by a very famous place to horse racing enthusiasts (just to say we saw it).

Then we clicked our heals and headed home to Kansas.

It is true, there really is no place like home.

I hope all of you are well.  See you soon!