Sunday, December 5, 2010

Model Session Complete

Whew.... after approximately 20 hours, my modeling session for Lansing Artist Tim Widener is now complete.  Here is the resulting painting...

The paint was still wet, so the photography certainly does not do it justice, however you can still see the craftsmanship in this piece.  It was exciting to see the painting develop.  Tim is a master in his craft.  This painting is destined for an opening show and I was asked to be present at the opening reception.  How exciting! 

I can appreciate the need to view original paintings.  Photography just does not capture the subtle shifts in color and tone.

I will also be posting information at my Facebook Earthy Visions Studio page.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Modeling is hard work!

I discovered modeling is very hard!  Try staying completely still with an interactive pose for 3 hours!  At my age, everything starts to solidify :-)  I only took a couple of squirms and one full stretch in between to maximize the painting time.  

I have been modeling for Tim Widener in Lansing for his upcoming painting called "Flora".  I love gardening and floral arranging and have the "country look" for his painting that will have me sitting by flowers.  The remaining details of the theme will be under wraps until the piece is completed.  It is coming along beautifully.  I'm honored to be in the painting - it is going to be an awesome painting and will be targeted for shows.  I hope to give you a link to it when it is complete.  My 4th sitting is later this week and should complete my part in the process.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

North Carolina - Exploring and Painting Asheville - Black Mountain

My vacation to North Carolina was like riding a wave, on top of the crest, right up until the slow fall out of the wave.  This trip had perfect weather, perfect timing and excellent painting opportunities.  I arrived home just ahead of the threatening tornado weather in North Carolina and a week before the devastating floods in Tennessee.  Whew!  the difference a day makes....

A couple of weeks before the trip, I was wondering if I would actually be able to pull this one off.  My traveling friend announced she was slated for jury duty but was able to move it to another time.  Then, a week later, I received a jury duty notice.  I too was able to move it to another date.  And finally my daughter had to have gall bladder surgery to remove huge gall stones just days before my departure.  Had her surgery not gone well, I would have cancelled my trip.

Finally, the day arrived, I was on my way.  It was a beautiful Saturday morning and a 13 hour drive with stops.  As I left the cold morning in Michigan and approached the warmer hilly states, I was awestruck by the beauty of Kentucky and Tennessee, only to be taken aback by the breathtaking beauty of North Carolina. 

The vacation was planned around a workshop with Impressionist painter Lois Griffel and was to be held in Black Mountain, a quaint little town 15 minutes East of Asheville.  The Comfort Inn in Black Mountain was a pleasant surprise and was very clean, comfortable and affordable.  This was comforting as I would be staying there for a week and only had reviews to go by from the internet.

The drive down from Michigan was longer due to a huge rock slide on I 40, which is the most direct way in.  Instead of taking the commercial 53 mile detour, I chose to take a more scenic route that took me over two mountains, down into Asheville, then reconnecting to I 40.  It was less time and much more scenic going through the small town of Hot Springs.  My GPS was invaluable during this trip!  I relied on it heavily, however, in an emergency I had maps for backup (which may have been challenging to use in the mountain roads).

I had Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to explore before the workshop on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  I ventured out early on Sunday to travel south about an hour to Whitewater Falls in Transylvania County near the South Carolina border.  This is the largest waterfall East of the Mississippi River and is in the Nantahala National Forrest.  As I approached the waterfall area I could hear the roar of the water.  Then my mouth just dropped down to the ground as I gazed in awe - the amazing power of all that water rushing over the cliff.  The camera does not even come close to giving one a feel for being there, however many pictures were snapped to try to capture on canvas at a later date.  From there, I followed the winding road through the Pisgah national forest, which I found out later was originally owned by the Vanderbilts and was part of the 125,000 acres of the Biltmore House in the early 1900's.

Looking Glass Falls was on the way and another beautiful spot to stop and photograph.  Sliding Rock is a naturally occurring 60 foot water slide that dumps into a 7 foot pool.  One brave soul slid down the rocks while I captured the moment on video.  I mailed the video clips to Chris and his son Max.  After viewing his father strategically navigating the slide, Max opted out and went back to the side.  The water must have been very cold!  There were only a handful of people everywhere I stopped so the opportunity for picture taking and ease of travel was exceptional.  The trees were just starting to leaf out, leaving beautiful spots of gray relief for awesome pictures. 

Moore's Cove was a nice hike about one mile in to a light waterfall falling down over a cove area where you could walk behind the falls area.  Was very surreal and beautiful.  The hike in followed the river through the forrest to this gorgeous place.

One small deviation in my plan was after traveling through the Pisgah Forest, I would connect at about 5,500 feet up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to travel on it to Asheville.  When getting to the connector, it was confusing which way to turn.  Even more disturbing was the area looked like a bomb went off up there.  Tons of trees, shredded at the tops and the lack of growth made me curious.  Fortunately, locals were stopping behind me.  I got out of the car, appologized for my intrusion and asked which way to Asheville.  (I did not want to take a wrong turn and be in the mountains after dark!) They advised me that the parkway was closed a few miles up due to the severe ice storms and heavy snow that they experienced this past winter.  Rock and tree debris were blocking travel.  I later learned that other sections of the parkway from Asheville north were also closed.  I could see many places I already passed that had been recently cleared.

So, back down the way I came and on to get a bite to eat before tucking in at the hotel.  It took longer than I thought to drive through the snaky mountain roads.  Everything was so beautiful, I stopped many times at turn offs to observe the breathtaking vistas.  You could see for must be a hundred miles on the tops of the mountains.  The aerial perspective was very prominent.

Dinner the first night was at an awesome freshly made, authentic Mexican place in Black Mountain called Ole's Guacamole.  A small place with a huge presence!  What a pleasant surprise.  The food was so good I went for dinner 3 times during my stay! 

To be continued..... there's just too much to say in one installment.  In part two... The Biltmore House, a forrest fire and Mount Mitchell.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Whew, I've been (mostly) away from the computer to tackle the revamping of my two small studios.  They were so out of control that I was finding myself procrastinating on my artwork due to the fact that by the time I even found what I needed, my time to spend there was ultimately interrupted by something else.  The rooms were so out of control:  things piled everywhere, pencils, inks, paint HERE THERE and EVERYWHERE.  I couldn't even do a good cleaning due to the clutter.

So..... I started with one room, pulled EVERYTHING out and then purchased some organizational pieces and proceeded to scrutenize everything that went back in.  Some things I knew that I would never use or get to or in some cases even want because I outgrew them.  I couldn't believe the things I had from 15 years ago that finally seen the light of day.  It was like an archeological adventure, unearthing the treasures of the past.

One group that will be happy is the Fowlerville Senior Center.  I have a huge box of books, painting projects, wood pieces to paint, acrylic and fabric paint etc that will keep them busy for awhile.   The last time I made a donation, they sent me a thank you card for the 250 bottles of decorative acrylic paint.

Now, in one studio I can draw and do watercolor.  Everything that pertains to that is nicely organized by paint, pencils, ink in easy to access drawers.  The other studio is organized for my oil painting and still life setups.

It is amazing the effect the rooms have on my creativity.  I have composed a black and white drawing on an idea I have for a painting started and have eyed an oil painting (that was buried) from last year and targeted it for completion. 

Nothing left to stop me now!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Visit at the Flint Institute of Arts

The Flint Institute of Arts has an ongoing exhibit until April 18, 2010 entitled "Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism, Paintings from the Brooklyn Museum of Art."

I had the opportunity to visit the exhibit and was amazed at the difference between viewing the original paintings in person and viewing photographs that I have seen of them.  Viewing the brushstrokes and subtle color nuances seen from 2 inches to 30 feet away, gave me a new understanding of the artists execution of a painting.

Monet was particularly entertaining.  Up close the paint appears to be congested and spotty.  As I backed away, the painting came alive with a feeling of atmosphere. Color is important in my current studies and the viewing of these paintings was like attending a workshop as I studied them.

Artists' paintings in the special exhibit include:  Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Frederick Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent to name a few. 

The Institute also has a number of paintings in the permanent collection, including European and American Impressionist works by Alfred Sisley, Charles Daubigny, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Pierre Renior among others.

If you live in driving distance, this exhibit should be on your to do list.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Art Calendar Business Magazine for Visual Artists

In addition to carrying a list of artist opportunities, this magazine has indepth articles for artists.  Currently, on their website, they have a summary of the new tax credits, deductions and exemptions for 2009

Art Calendar provides much information online for the artist looking to promote their artwork - communities, webinars, videos.  Checking out their printed magazine, I was pleasantly surprised on the informative nature of all of their articles. 

I will be subscribing to Art Calendar Magazine to maximize my information flow to give me more time to paint! 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Facebook and Promoting Your Art Web Presence

On the surface Facebook and Facebook fan pages appear to be easy to get up and going and they are if you only want a standard showing.
I took Dee Overly's workshop on "Build a Fan Page on Facebook" on Saturday and was amazed at all of the extras that I did not know of.... AND was not readily listed anywhere to be found. I had my fan page up and running, however Dee provided a plethora of information on how to use the Fan Page as a tool to expand your Art Web Presence. She focused on links and add ins, allowing the artist to get maximum exposure. The best part is her step by step manual guides you through the process without the frustration and extensive time involved if one was to try to search it out for themselves.
If you are not in the Mid Michigan area, check out her Art Web Presence website for printed materials to purchase. Her step by step manuals are easy to follow and provide fast results for the artist who mainly wants to create but recognizes the benefits of marketing and name recognition. Let's face it, we love what we do and want others to see and appreciate our work.
I have been taking workshops with Dee Overly for a couple of years now and my web presence is really starting to take off. I will be implementing these changes soon and I hope to launch my new website, designed by me, coached by Dee soon. Until then you can see my work on my Facebook Fan Page and on the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters site in my gallery.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Inspiring day at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Last Load, Mathias Alten 1935

It was a cold winter day with the sun shining on one of the few days that we see it in the winter here in Michigan. It was my day off work. Laundry needed to be done along with house cleaning. A wondrous thought came to mind…. I really want to see the special exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum entitled: American Impressionism – Paintings from the Phillips Collection. Impressionist use of color is my current area of study and I felt this exhibit would further my studies faster than pounding the books.

As an added bonus: James McNeill Whistler and the Romance of Great Cities Exhibition of Drawings and if that wasn’t enough: Tissot’s London 1871-1882 Art and Culture of City Life Exhibition were also on display!

I was in heaven. I spent the morning really studying and breaking down Tissot’s compositions. It intrigued me to see how the subjects in the paintings were carefully orchestrated to follow axis lines, usually to a common point. In the impressionist exhibit of 54 paintings from collector Duncan Phillips, I was mainly studying the interplay of color. Magazines, photographs, and Internet surfing cannot prepare you for the wondrous interplay of color that these artists used.

Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, John Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, William Glackens, Maurice Prendergast paintings were on display for me to view with my nose practically in the paint. The guards were keeping a close eye on me to make sure my nose did not go into the paint! Some of these artists I have not explored before. One particular painting that caught my eye is in the permanent collection of the Grand Rapids Art Museum: William Ritschel – Moonlight on Monterey was a beach scene, which he was noted for, with a rocky foreground with a tree. It was all done in greens, mainly cool viridian greens. I have never seen such a dramatic versatile play of greens to create depth form and interest. This play of mainly tone to create form may not be fully realized in a photograph. I later tried to search out this painting on the internet for further study to no avail. Thankfully, it is in their permanent collection and I can go back to view it at a later date. The trip for me is about a 2-hour ride one way.

Lunch at the museum was a real treat. The view of the children ice skating outside along with the warm greeting from the centerpiece at my table was a perfect backdrop for my very tasty lunch. My right brain was like a computer, processing a plethora of painting possibilities. Some may be coming soon!