Author Archives: Claudia McGill

About Claudia McGill

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

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: The Sum of Two Plus Some

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

The Sum of Two Plus Some

The paintbrush
stepping up its speed
down the page
trails a red
that sets the paper on fire
rouses up blue-greens

out of sleep
the alarm bell rings
sending them
dancing on
hot toes slapping their wet arms
all around the scene

extinguish
and accelerate
the contrast
opposites
who attract can always make
on a sketchbook page

4/8/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 16
shadorma chain

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Five

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our fifth session I had a breakthrough – I came to the class with an idea of where and what I wanted to paint. I had been attracted to the rows of young sycamore trees in the parking lot. I liked their neat shapes and how they looked, arrayed in ranks.

Here is the result: Woodmere Landscape Five A, 18 x 24, acrylics on Masonite.

Woodmere Landscape Five A

To make the mottled background areas of the parking lot I used a brayer to roll random colors on the whole surface. What you see is what’s left after I used other colors to depict the various elements of the scene.

I worked pretty quickly and finished this one early. I was tired so I sat down on my little folding stool. My eye was caught by the Victorian tower of the museum, which is housed in a former mansion made of gray stone. I quickly sketch-painted this small view. It’s 14″ x 11″, Woodmere Landscape Five B, acrylics on Masonite.

Woodmere Landscae Five B

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Three and Four

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our third session my location-choosing difficulties continued. I began to realize that I was not much interested in painting trees and plants only. I really like having a building or people in my work and I was struggling to find a scene I felt any attachment to doing.

In the end I painted the garbage dumpsters and their surroundings next to the studio building. A little off the plan, I know. Anyway, the painting was just awful. I took it home and worked on it and finally – I got my husband to sand it down and I gessoed over it (it then formed the basis for Week 5, so it didn’t die in vain…)

That’s why you see no painting for Week 3.

For Week 4, Marta wanted us to try working with the palette knife. We had reviewed some paintings in the museum that made use of this tool Now we tried it for ourselves.

I chose to do the studio building and its surroundings. Yes, I know, a building. Well, that’s how things went.

I did two paintings. One was done 100% with the palette knife. I enjoyed using the knife but I am not so fond of the results. I feel it is a frenetic scene I have created and it makes me anxious to look at it.

Woodmere Landscape Four A

I finished up early (using the knife does make for a fast painting experience) and I started another one of the same scene (finishing at home), this time letting my abstract imagination take over a bit more, and using brushes more extensively. I pared down the “realism” and simplified many of the elements. I felt happier painting this version and I like it better, but…it’s all personal preference. Classmates liked the earlier version better.

Woodmere Landscape Four B

Woodmere Landscape Four A and Woodmere Landscape Four B, both 24 x 18, acrylics on Masonite, 7/21.

Cloth Hanging

In the last month, July 2021, or so I’ve had a lot of ins and outs with family situations and my mind has been scattered. Well, life has its twists and turns. For some reason I found myself in my art work area one afternoon, confronting three bottles of fabric paint and some white cotton yardage.

I had originally bought the white fabric to make mask interiors. I’ve got a big collection now so this fabric is just hanging around. It’s maybe 44″ x 30″? 24″? I didn’t measure it. I just laid it out on the table and started painting. Did I mention that my fabric paints were black and white? Not enough scope of color for me, so I grabbed some of my acrylics paints. And, I have some acrylic paint markers – supposed to work on all surfaces, so things should be fine.

I started working at random, starting in the lower left corner. Now I have this image.

Next, I am going to decide what its next stage should be (I believe it will involve sewing). I showed it to a friend and she has some ideas. I’d welcome anyone’s suggestions here, too.Then one afternoon I will find myself in the basement again…what will happen this time?

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Two

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our second session, held in late June, I arrived a little early in order to choose a location (a practice I would continue for the rest of the sessions). I chose a grouping of trees along the edge of the front lawn – some were healthy and others not so much. I liked the look of the group – it was as if they were people assembled to wait for the bus, let’s say.

It was a very hot, very sunny day. There were harsh shadows and strong light. I tried to portray this feeling in my picture.

After this class I resolved to make sure I painted from a shady location from now on.

Here is the painting I did.

Woodmere Landscape Two, 6/21. 18 x 24, acrylics on Masonite.

Woodmere Landscape Two, 6/21

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Shadorma 277

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Shadorma 277

Lift my voice
above the chatter
of castmates
as we live
a lime green soap opera
swaying in midair

3/13/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 15

Landscape Class at Woodmere – One

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Our class was an eclectic mixture of ages: four teenaagers/early twenties, and two retired ladies, one of them being me. We also had various levels of experience, from never having painted before to years of participation in the art world.

I chose the class mostly because I wanted to have a structured art activity this summer, in person, and close to home. This class fit all three. I didn’t know what to expect – I have done almost no plein air painting and I am not especially interested in landscape paintings. But – I had a great time and I learned a lot. Over the next few weeks or so I will show you the results of the class.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our first session held in mid-June we assembled for a short talk by Marta on the principles of landscape painting. Then, as we did each week, we chose a location on the grounds and got to work.

I was unsure how to decide what to paint. Woodmere’s grounds are pretty much a series of grassy lawns with trees – with a large flat area and a hilly section in the back. I wasted time trying to figure out what scene I wanted and in the end, I painted a view of a large tree across the street with a house behind it.

I did about half of the work in class and then came home and refined it.

Woodmere Landscape One, 24″ x 18″, 6/21, acrylics on masonite.

Black Paper and White Ink

Some time back I bought a pad of black paper. I put it in a cabinet and forgot about it until recently, when I noticed it while looking for something else.

I had recently bought a new white pen. I figured I’d do a little doodling to see how the pen worked, and if I liked using black paper. I drew objects I saw on the TV show we were watching as well as some fanciful embellishments. I don’t know who the woman is that I pictured – just drew a face and there she was.

I’m not that interested in the black paper but I like the white pen a lot. That’s my conclusion from this little foray. But, there are still pages left in the black paper pad. I am sure I will find something to do with them in due time.

I think that this page represents the idea of daydreaming, or ideas that flow through the mind with no order to them except what they make for themselves.

Merged Images and Some Paintings: 7

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″.

Here is the next one. These are the photos I used – a view through the window into an empty storefront, and a pot of flowers in my front yard.

Here is the painting. It is called Storefront and Pot of Flowers. June 2021.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Haiku 817

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

future memory
when summer finally comes
with thunderstorm skies

3/6/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 14