Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

A person who does art and writes poetry. That's me!

Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 Pages 3 and 4

Here’s another one of my artist sketchbooks for you to see. It was finished in May of 2021 but the artworks were done over the previous year or so, I guess.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is large-artist-sketchbook-2021-front-cover-5-21a.jpg

I’ll be showing you page spreads, one each week, for as long as the book goes on.

As you know, I make these books for my own enjoyment. I work on a page as the inclination strikes me and I never have a plan for the book or for the artwork that goes into it. There is no theme, no meaning, other than what each image shows the viewer and the viewer takes away from the experience.

In this book I did artwork on the front and back of each page. There’s nothing written associated with the images, and the images paired in each page spread do not relate to each other in any way except for being side by side.

I hope you enjoy looking at this book!

Here is the page spread for today:

And here are the individual pages.

Merged Images and Some Paintings: 8

A while back I had an idea (don’t know from where) to choose a couple of photos at random and see if I could combine them into an image. I have been doing these paintings in a large sketchbook (mixed media paper) – it’s 18″ x 24″.

I did this painting in my studio as part of an online class I was taking in late fall, 2021. Here are the photos I used for references. The sofa is like our new one (this is the one in the store); the small tree is in Glenside, PA; the twin house is in Wyncote, PA.

And here is the painting. It is called “Comfortable Neighborhood” and it is 18″ x 24″. Done in November 2021.

Tiny House 4

You may remember back in the fall I took an online class on making Tiny Houses. I wrote about that experience in a series of posts which also showed you the houses I made back then.

And you may also remember the little people figures I made out of eydrops vials.

I have given these figures to people, with a cohort going to some nearby friends. For Christmas, I made a Tiny House for these little figures and gave it as a gift to these friends. Now I will show it to you.

It’s made of two boxes, one stacked on the other. It’s much smaller than the earlier Tiny Houses, only about 6″ tall, so that it could better fit the scale of the little people. Take a look.

Front and back:

I extended and reinforced the lid of the box so that it would be stiff and provide a nice wide base to make the house more stable. I put a garden scene on it because the recipients are avid gardeners.

There are three rooms in the house:

Now I’ll show you random details of the house. As you can see, I really enjoy embellishing all surfaces.

I’m going to say it again. Making a Tiny House is a lot of fun.

Tiny Pictures Inspired by Paint Names

Every so often I do one of these projects – take a paint brochure and make little drawings for each paint selection, inspired by the name of the color of the paint. This grouping is from December, 2021. The space in which to draw is tiny, and with my eyesight issues which made it hard for me to see details I used a new magnifying glass/lamp to help me. It worked out well and I was grateful.

Claudia McGill Speaks! Sunday, January 23, 2022

Guess what! I’ll be a guest speaker at the Plastic Club of Philadelphia on Sunday, January 23. And I’m telling you because…you are invited to attend this online event!

How about some details? I will be interviewed by my longtime friend and art associate, Diane – the topic is Alternative Venues for Artists, A Conversation With Claudia McGill. I’ll be talking about how I got where I am today, art-wise, touching on shows, art-drop-offs, and other topics related to how I do my art things.

If you’d like to attend, click here to register. Any questions, let me know!

Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 Pages 1 and 2

Here’s another one of my artist sketchbooks for you to see. It was finished in May of 2021 but the artworks were done over the previous year or so, I guess.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is large-artist-sketchbook-2021-front-cover-5-21a.jpg

I’ll be showing you page spreads, one each week, for as long as the book goes on.

As you know, I make these books for my own enjoyment. I work on a page as the inclination strikes me and I never have a plan for the book or for the artwork that goes into it. There is no theme, no meaning, other than what each image shows the viewer and the viewer takes away from the experience.

In this book I did artwork on the front and back of each page. There’s nothing written associated with the images, and the images paired in each page spread do not relate to each other in any way except for being side by side.

I hope you enjoy looking at this book!

Here is the first page spread. I did artwork on the inside of the front cover (the left-hand side) and the right side is the first page in the sketchbook.

And here are the individual pages.

Window Views

Yesterday, January 9, I participated in an activity of the Plastic Club, an art organization here in Philadelphia. I’m a new member, though I’ve known of the group for many years – and they have been around for a long time, celebrating their 125th anniversary this year.

What we did on this cold Sunday afternoon was assemble our group over Zoom. The idea was that we would use the site Window Swap (with their permission) and choose window views posted on the site for quick sketches.

Window Swap is a site where people all over the world have submitted a view from a window in a ten-minute video. That’s it. Perfect for what we were doing.

We viewed some windows, picked favorites, and then did a series of 5 minute sketches with a couple of longer sessions of 10 minutes at the end. I used a very fine point black pen and did my drawings small, maybe 4″x4″ more or less. After the session I chose the ones I liked and added a bit of color.

Take a look. I’ve put the location in the upper left corner. The Macao selection was a video taken from a train window, so the scenery moved. I drew the various items I saw as the window moved along. The others were all stationary.

In Which I Try Out Gouache Part 5

Back in October/November I took an online class at a local art center to try out the medium of gouache. In a few posts I’ll show you the work I did and tell you what I learned. I’ve got a selection of paintings to show you and I can’t remember in what order I did them, so I will arrange them by topic or by the information learned. In other words, I’ll be skipping around! Take a look and see what you think.

I’m going to wrap up my gouache experience with little images I made with the extra color in my palette. These two are just swishes of color, vaguely landscapish, with no plan but enjoying the colors.

This little picture is another quick sketch with the extra paint but drawing on my immense imaginary population of odd people doing odd things.

I have to say these are among my favorite images from the class.

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Now I’ll tell you what I came out with from this class. I looked over my list of goals that I set out in the first post and I think they were all met, maybe in ways I did not expect.

As background, during this time I had been strugggling with some vision issues. Several conditions converged to give me trouble and the variety of doctors I had to visit, specialists covering the cornea, eyelid, and interior of my eye, could not pin down what exactly was causing my problem of double vision in my left eye only, after an infection and a cyst removed from my eyelid by surgery. I was fearful, distracted, and…not seeing well. I had not yet begun to accept what had happened to me and that the outcome was unknown.

And, I didn’t feel much of a connection with the teacher and my fellow students. You might say, well, it was an online class, that is why, but I have taken a lot of online classes and found them rewarding in terms of how the students and teacher made a cohesive group. I do feel my vision issues affected my ability and willingness to participate as well, so maybe my attitude was not as open as it could have been. Whatever it was, sometimes you just don’t find the people you are working with to be a good fit. It’s no one’s fault.

So, these feelings affected the class time and my work. I took that into account in evaluating gouache. I like the chalky bright colors you can achieve. I also like that it works so well on paper.

However, I dislike the feel of the paints as they go on – sticky. I paint in layers, and gouache is not as friendly to that technique as are acrylics. I don’t like the re-wettability of the painted surface, because for me that makes it hard to use with other mediums or in collage. I think gouache requires a different thought process in planning out and handling a picture – and I don’t much like planning, I prefer to make it up as I go.

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I might take it up again later, there are a lot of other mediums I like a whole lot more. In the past, I might have said, Oh, I should give it more time, but my vision problems and well, just the way things have been the last couple of years, now I say, Life is too short to be doing things because you think you should…

So I plan to set aside my gouache paints, but I won’t let them go, and if the urge strikes me, I can get them out and get to work. But they won’t be my first choice to work with, most likely.

I’m glad I did the class and found this out for myself.

Thank you for following along with me on this journey!