Friday, February 5, 2016

Tahmoor's Table: the Inspiration, the Process and the Changed Face

Tahmoor's Table
mixed media on cradled panel
16 x 20 inch

Last month I did a series of very small paintings inspired by Picasso.  I decided to do a larger painting of the one I called "Amy" because I loved the posture or pose of her which was quite exaggerated in comparison to Picasso's "The Ascetic", where the whole concept came from.

After beginning my larger painting, the blank space behind her seemed too big and too plain.  I considered many options like a window or just a simple pattern, and when I saw Carolyn Plochmann's lace cover in her painting "Something Finely Made" I knew a lace curtain was what I wanted to do.  It offered the challenge of trying something new (painting lace) and also provided the background I was looking for.

I used molding paste to create the larger flowers you see in the lace and when they were just too bumpy, I sanded them down quite a bit.  I used acrylic paint and colored pencils and ink washes to achieve the look and was pretty happy with the result.

detail
 On the table I used some loosely-done fracturing marks I learned from Julie Ford Oliver's online tutorial and workshop.  I loved how it created movement all over the tabletop.

The bird was more hallow and ghostly-looking at first.  I had planned to leave it that way, but once I started to think of a name for the piece I stumbled onto some interesting knowledge.  I was searching for names that begin with "T" since "T...'s Table" seemed an appropriate name for the piece.  When reading about the name "Tahmoor" I read that its origin came from the Bronzewing Pigeon which are a group of pigeons native to Australia.  So I added some color to the wing and changed the beak to make it look more like a Bronzewing, and now the name Tahmoor was perfect!   How's that for a complicated, round about way of naming a painting?  Whoever said being an artist was simple?  :)

detail

The flowers were a happy turnout as well.  I think painting flowers can be difficult and I am ever-searching for new ways to paint them.  These were at first big blue blobs and they looked like Dr. Seuss' Truffula Trees.  But after playing around with some chunky brushstrokes, the result was exactly the happy flower I had in mind.  I mixed a lot of gel medium into the paint to give it a nice, buttery texture.


detail
The trickiest part was her face.  I am trying to get away from hard lines and my figures tend to have them, especially around the nose, eyes and brow.  There isn't anything wrong with hard lines really, I just want to learn and explore more with with how I paint faces on my characters. After conversing with Julie about my dilemma, she suggested I look at photos converted to black and white in order to discover value changes.  I looked at a lot of art online this way and then put my own painted face in black and white to see the "trouble areas", then went from there.  I used a lot of light skin tones to sort of smoosh out the hard lines and that did it.  It transformed her face by flattening the bridge of her nose and making the eyes quite smaller, but that was okay with me.  


Here's the original face in color...

close up of previous face with harder lines

And here they are side by side in black and white.  You can see a lot more light and dark contrasts in the original face vs the final outcome, especially if you squint.  A brilliant suggestion on Julie's part.  I had heard this suggestion before, but never took the time to do it.  

in black and white
Left:  before  Right:  after

I began painting faces in my sketchbook this week  and also started a new 16 x 20 inch painting.   I can tell you quite honestly, that painting and drawing faces with hard lines is deeply ingrained in me.  It just comes so naturally to do them that way, so I don't know if I will ever be able to change it without A LOT of practice and effort on my part.  Plus, I am not 100% sure I want to change when I look at the before and after side by side.   The "before" face feels a little more like "home" to me.  More comfortable.  More familiar.  That feels silly to say, but do you know what I mean?  I have been thinking a lot about this lately, on whether or not to tweak my style a bit or to just not worry about it and paint away.  To me, tweaking means growing as an artist and I definitely want to grow.  What do you think?

I am babbling now, so off I go to paint more faces.  Who knows what will come next?

Thank you SO much for all your wonderful comments in the last post about my show at City Arts.  It's still up and running until February 20 and I've had a lot of great feedback on the show.  If you live in Wichita or close, I hope you will get by to see it!

Happy Weekend everyone!

♥ Lisa

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Various Narratives Show at City Arts



Last Fall my painting They Call it Connection Cafe was accepted into the Arts Council Annual Juried Art Show at City Arts here in Wichita.  Shortly after the opening night I received an invitation to show in the Main Hall Gallery for the Final Friday art crawl in January which opened last night.  The new and beautifully renovated space, gorgeous weather, and four diverse art shows brought a huge crowd with a lot of fun energy.

Various Narratives from left to right:  Releve',
The Backyard Bench, Reading Space,
On the Way to Afternoon Tea
These are a few of my ten paintings on display, all various in sizes and mediums.  On the Way to Afternoon Tea has a new home and all the praise and kind words were enough to keep me painting for quite a while.

I want to thank those that came out last night, it was so fun visiting with you!  And a HUGE thank you to the staff at City Arts for all the hard work. You all make such a great team. The show was beautifully displayed!

And blog friends...see you in a week or so...I am painting like a maniac these days and I will have some new work to show you very soon.  Thank you for your wonderful comments and your supportive words as always!

See you soon!

♥ Lisa

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mother Child Paintings

Look at Daddy
acrylic and ink on paper
4 x 6 inch
available here

This week the theme was mother and child and all of these were inspired by a collection of vintage photos that were kindly gifted to me some time ago.  Painting children is a challenge and these small 4 x 6 inch works made it that much harder because the faces are teeny tiny.   I have found that I try to paint with more detail when I am working with photos vs using my imagination, which is a crazy mission for such a small space.  I won't be doing this too often.


Teddy's Picture
acrylic and ink on paper
4 x 6 inch
available here

I used the same colors for all three works.  It always amazes me how many different colors you can come up with.  Lately I've been mixing 2 yellows, 2 reds, 2 blues, with white, paynes gray, brown, and one or two "fun" colors like a magenta or orange of some sort. I also used titan buff in these.  Titan buff and a bright red make the prettiest pinks by the way.

Cradling Chair
acrylic and ink on paper
4 x 6 inch
available here

Thank you for all the feedback on my Picasso studies in the last post.  See you again soon!  


♥ Lisa

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Picasso Inspired Works

Amy
acrylic on paper
4 x 6 inch
NFS

This week besides refinishing kitchen cabinets, I painted these small color studies inspired by the works of Picasso that are found in this book.  I love the book and it is one of my very favorites.
  

Late Supper
acrylic on paper
4 x 6 inch
available here

As I painted with a strong focus on color, I tried to pay attention to values more than I usually do. There is also a common theme:  they are all seated at a table and they all have coffee cups.  I love coffee cups as much as I do chairs.


Harmony Brew
acrylic on paper
 4 x 6 inch
available here

I also thought about hands and how they seem to be important somehow in art.  I realized not too long ago that I am very drawn to figurative art with interesting or strong hands.  So I worked on that a little bit.


Companions
acrylic on paper
4 x 6 inch
available here

Besides working on kitchen cabinets and painting Picasso/color studies, I spent time with various companions this week.  I watched movies with my husband, had a wonderful conversation over the phone with a special friend, and attended my very first Golden Globe/fondue/birthday party.

I plan to further my Picasso/color studies, but the next round will be with an emphasis on mother/child.

Wish me luck.

♥ Lisa

Monday, January 4, 2016

First Post in 2016!

Winter Feed
mixed media on paper
6 x 6 inch
available here

I love a new year.  Don't you?  It's like a breath of refreshing winter air.  A chance to make changes inside the heart and mind and even in the mundane things.  We can do this any time of year, but making desired changes seems more epic if you do it at the turn of a new year.  


Winter Seed
mixed media on paper
6 x 6 inch
available here

I spent the last three mornings rising before the sun and hitting the studio once the coffee was brewed.  It felt great to be painting again after all the holiday festivities.  


Winter Sled
mixed media on paper
6 x 6 inch
available here

All three of these were inspired by a series of photos I took last winter while walking around Riverside after a beautiful snow.  I have found I like to work from photos, but then also add bits and pieces from my imagination to them.  

I hope everyone is off to a great start in 2016!

♥ Lisa

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year: A Video of Art in 2015

Left to right: Poetry Porch, Sir Leighton's Daughter,
Sophie and Samantha's Spherical Play

Yesterday I completed my annual video of paintings completed during the year.  I can't believe 2015 has come and gone already, can you?  It was a productive year in art for sure, so much so I forgot to add in the three paintings you see in the above photo.  I did not feature any of my small works on paper either, it would have made the video much too long.  

Thank you all for following this year and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!  Here's to a joyful 2016!

I hope you enjoy the video.

♥Lisa


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas



Last year, just after our move to our new house and just after Christmas, there was a magical snowfall that shrouded the world in a quiet white.  My husband captured the moment as we walked our street with hearts that oozed amazement and joy.  Something about snow excites and stimulates the soul.

I wish you all peace and love and joy this Christmas!

♥ Lisa

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"Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace..."
  
                           -Placide Cappeau 1843
          from his poem Midnight, Christians
                                      (O Holy Night)