Sunday, September 27, 2009

Going Back in Time....

Yesterday I went back in time to a period where life was simpler in some ways yet exhausting in others. The Woldumar Nature Center hosted an American Heritage Festival that was both enlightning and entertaining. People in the history of early America worked hard and depended on mother nature to provide favorable weather for the crops that fueled their very existence. It was a time where one had to work together with others and lend help to survive the trials of the times. For relaxation, the people practiced thier artistry, making elaborate designs from everything - wheat, hair, metal, wood, cloth. The designs and imagination of the time excited the artist in me!

The river boat ride on the Grand River was so relaxing and peaceful. The day was cloudy and misty at times, but the the colors on the river were just starting to show their grandeur. It was an hour long ride that included passing by the old Oldsmobile Estate. The gray herons, ducks and swans were leisurely paddling along, feasting along the way.

I made my first wheat arrangement with the help of demonstrator JoAnne Arasin, Director at the Michigan Historical Museum. The museum is also the place where I won 2nd place at an art show with my piece, Twilight Gathering.
I also just had to post this adorable bunny what was as soft as cashmere. I couldn’t believe the softness of the fur. I found him and his handler on the trails on break. He was so excited with the woods.

I wanted to mention some of the demonstrators that I enjoyed viewing: Karla – Antique Hair Brading, Kathy – Basket Making and Dried Flowers, Paul – Blacksmithing, Anson – Cast Iron Cooking, JoAnne – Wheat Weaving, Kelvin – Raven Farm Portable Saw Mill, Greater Lansing Wood Carvers, Lansing Model Railroad Club and the list goes on.

A wonderful relaxing time and many resource photos to keep me warmed up in my painting projects for the winter!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Victorian Elegance

Saturday I went to the Northville's 20th Annual Victorian Art Festival. Some of my artist friends were there painting a model in Victorian dress at the Art House - Robert Perrish, Mary Step, Barbara Eko Murphy, Daria among others. After taking pictures of the model and chatting with everyone, I headed for town. Artists were painting there too, where many men and women were walking the town in period dress. Model A's and Model T's were on display. And a favorite of mine was a man on an old tyme bicycle that had a huge wheel in the front.

I took a ton of pictures, had a nice salad at Poole's and then headed off to the Lake Erie Metropark to take pictures of the birds of prey at the Hawk Festival.
And, as if that wasn't enough, I was only a stone's throw from Crafts 2000 in Monroe, my favorite deep discount store to purchase name brand artist grade paints and brushes.
It was a gorgeous fall day, sunny in the 70's. I covered alot of territory and enjoyed immensely! I hope to get some of my ideas from my photos onto canvas this winter.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Plein Air Paintout with a twist

Yesterday, I was at a Plein Air Paint Out with the Ann Arbor Women Artists at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The day was pleasantly warm with sun and clouds and the gardens were in full swing. I spied some black eyed susans in an area with a variety of greens. I wanted to paint the black eyed susans in the sea of greens with only 3 colors plus white. I have heard that a more harmonious painting comes about with this method so I decided to give it a go. I used Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Medium and Ultramarine blue.

Needless to say, the painting was not up to my expectations. More exploration with the colors and prior strategy needs to be played out. I found it to be a good way to think outside the box as you really need to brainstorm where you want to go with limited options.

I think I will do a color wheel with the colors and also do a complimentary chart to see how the grays play out. This will help me to see the range that I have ahead of time, thus eliminating the floundering effect.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens has beautiful gardens with a wide variety of flowers, a sitting arbor and several trails into the wooded area with marsh ponds. My favorite spot to draw or do a watercolor in the winter on a sunny day is the conservatory (greenhouse). It is huge and is filled with plants starting with tropical and ending with arid cactus. It is warm, lush and inviting on a cold winter day.