Monday, March 30, 2015

Tinker Belle

What is REAL?

                 "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side 
          near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  "Does it mean having 
          things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
               "Read isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens 
          to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with , but 
          REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

     Do you recognize this conversation?  If you haven't read The Velveteen Rabbit in a while, find a copy and read it.

     Before I begin painting, I ask a couple of important questions.   
     1.) What size and shape of canvas would be best? 
     2.) What's important for me to know about the subject?
After we settled on the size and shape of the canvas, this is what I got back in answer to my second question:
               "A very important feature of Tinker that I want to make sure that you 
          keep is the detail on is on her right shoulder.  You will see a definite white-ish 
          line mark.  This is where she had a mass taken out when she was a puppy.  
          We never got it biopsied because we didn't care to know... She was ours.   
          With that, her seizure episode, and a knee replacement during her first 6 
           months of puppyhood, she became our "million dollar dog."
That was it.  I fell in love with this little yella' dog and couldn't wait to start.

      During the time I was working on this project, I kept thinking how scars and flaws and raggedy edges don't keep us from REAL love.  It reminded me of The Velveteen Rabbit.  And it reminded me of the gray lump of ratty stuffed cloth that my sweet little great niece carries everywhere and calls "Sheep."  I'm pretty sure that somewhere back there it was a pretty little stuffed lamb... now... mmm... not so much... But, Sheep is loved.  The Velveteen Rabbit was loved.  And Tinker Belle is loved.
Me and my Olivia (as a baby).
Tinker Belle (as a baby) and her mama.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

:) Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

This is me... inviting you to Northwest Arkansas... (again)

Spend a day at  Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

"Basket of Peaches" 
Joseph Decker 
This is my favorite, favorite, favorite... I just imagine... not long after the Civil War he painted this.  I love it... so simple... so elegant

Like I said in the last post, we spent our spring break enjoying what our own area had to offer.  So, let me give you a personal "tour" or our wonderful art museum.

"Kindred Spirits"
Asher Brown Durand

They say this is the most expensive piece in the whole museum.  Alice Walton purchased it for $35,000,000.00... Wow.

Well, it is quite beautiful.

"Rosie the Riveter"
Norman Rockwell

I pretty much love everything he paints... He paints stories. (Interesting fact: He used only red, white, and blue in this particular one.)

"The Backwoods of America"
Jasper Francis Cropsey

Ron's favorite.

Mary Cassatt

I love the subject matter of her work, mothers and children doing typical things.

Andrew Wyeth

Fabulous perspective... just the whole idea of feathers blowing toward the viewer... Love this one!

Tom Uttech

How about that for a name! There are literally hundreds to birds and insects and animals in this huge painting, and there's one little owl near the bottom left corner looking straight at you.  You must look for him!

You have to eat lunch at ELEVEN, the restaurant there. It's inside that odd shaped section. (Well, honestly, every structure is oddly shaped, but that's just another part of the experience.)

"Atala and Choctus"
Randolph Rogers

This marble sculpture is absolutely memorizing in detail... just... amazing.

"Standing Explosion (Red)"
Roy Lichtenstein

This modern sculpture is... red and pointy...
(...Hey, trying to think of postive adjectives here...)

"Man on a Bench"
Duane Hanson

Ok, if there's such a thing as "too realistic," this is the example.  It's so hard not to reach across the rope and tap it on the shoulder to see if he's alright.

"Night Zag Wall"
Louise Nevelson

The art teacher at my school is doing this with my fourth graders.  They're each bringing in a box lid and some small old toys that they'll glue on.  Then they'll spray paint them and put them together to look something like this one.
I think it's kind of cool.

And a few pieces from a visiting show

"The Old Mill"
Vincent van Gogh


Jackson Pollock

Ok... interesting... colorful...

"Green Patio Door"
Georgia O'Keefe

Really, Georgia?  All those gorgeous flowers you can do, and this is what you bring?

"100 Cans"
Andy Warhol

So, they say art is in the eye of the beholder... so go ahead... behold!

We love our Crystal Bridges.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

:) Buffalo River National Forest

This is me... inviting you to visit Northwest Arkansas.  

It's beautiful here.

We didn't get around to planning a trip this spring break, so we decided to enjoy what our own area has to offer.

Yesterday we hiked the Lost Valley Trail in the Buffalo River National Forest.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pears Reflected

Do you ever think about the power of words?

I love words.
We all use words, but some of us want to "paint" with them... create images of the mind.
I have the best job in the world... reading, writing, listening, talking, and thinking with ten year old kids all day!   We've been immersed in poetry this week, and I am astounded by their use of words. We've started each day with a "Show Not Tell" exercise to get in the right side of the brain.  I'll put a simple "telling" sentence on the board... The girl was sad. Then they have to change it to a "showing" sentence...  Helen wiped her eyes with another tissue before her grandmother's funeral began.  She sat at the kindergarten table with her shoulders slumped and her lip quivering. (Yes, those are samples of sentences my kids came up with!)

I love words.
We all use words, but some of us want to choose the best ones... there are so many available.  I'll share a secret... realizing that it will securely validate any suspicion that I am a nerd. Here's the secret. Every morning at 5:45 I receive an e-mail with a new vocabulary word. I read them all, forget most of them, remember a lot of them, and love a few... like these.
Clerisy - intellectuals who form an artistic or social elite. (Ah! My Tuesday night painting group!)
Megillah - long involved story or account. (What could be better!)
Desultory - marked by lack of definite plan, regularity,or purpose. (Blah... hate it!)
Captious - marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections.  (Ah, so there's a word for her... :)  Maybe now I can tolerate her better. :)

I love words.
I've followed a blog by Suzanne for a long time.  I love her painting, and I love the real-ness of her words as she's shared her journey over time.  And, now she and another artist have begun a painting challenge site called the Naked Artists.  There are lots of painting challenge sites, so why do I love, Love, LOVE this one?  It's not based on an image artists use to create submit a piece in their own style.  It's based on WORDS!  Each month artists will be invited to submit a piece of art inspired by a chosen word.  
Their first word was "solitude."  Sigh... I had an image in mind to paint, but I didn't get it done before the month was up... That silly job (mentioned above) tends to take up a lot of my time, so I missed out on getting to be a part of that one.
This month, the word is "reflection."
I wish Suzanne and Sandra the best of success with their painting and their new adventure. 

Original Oil Painting on 8"x 8" Wrapped Canvas

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Aspens in Autumn II

Who's your biggest fan?  Who's your best critic?

Here's mine.
He's been holding up my projects for me to get a photo for 30 years.  
He just always gets cropped out of the picture.

   ... the painting... not the holder. :)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cardinals at the Bird Feeder

How do you create movement on the canvas?

The girls in my painting group like to work on a common theme or subject.  Recently we've been working on cardinals.  

I chose this one because of the little gal that's still in flight.  I think she's the star of the show here, not the fancy red guy on the bottom rung.

Thanks to my neighbor Mary who takes such good care of her birds.  I snapped these photos in her backyard.

Here are some challenges I faced with this one:
1. Combining two photographs and using the best of each. 
2. Determining how to create the illusion of seeds without painting a thousand seeds.
3. Making it appear that the wings of the one in flight were moving.
4. Showing the glass of the feeder.

Click "Cardinals at the Bird Feeder" if you'd like to purchase this little painting.