Category Archives: Paintings

Another Painting Class, Session 3: Painting 1

In April/May 2021 I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and most of the same group of students, plus some new faces.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

Our assignment was to choose a piece of art in any medium, examine why we were attracted to it or what appealed to us about it, and to create a painting based on that analysis. After some thought, I chose the work of the Gee’s Bend quilters as my artwork inspiration.

Why? I have loved these works since I first saw them. As you may know, I have a sewing and quilting background and fabric work will always interest me. The quilters have a compelling story behind their work. But in the end, I love the vibrant, emotional, and free qualities of these quilts. They are the essence of improvisation but are never random. Each artist listened to their inner voice to make these works.

I feel a kinship with this way of working.

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All right. I did not want to paint a quilt. Fabric does not behave like paint. I thought of images that make me feel the way these quilts do, of something that I could depict.

I settled on these houses in Allentown, PA. You know of my love for houses and this style of building is exuberant, lively, and alive – like the quilt images are for me.

I got to work. First I painted a pink/red/orange etc. background all over the paper, in a nod to the construction of the quilts. Then I took India ink, acrylic markers, and acrylic paint, and I added the houses on top. I amended the sky a bit and I had my painting.

The painting is called “Houses Sewn Together” and it is 18″ x 24″, acrylics on paper.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 8

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

As I said in the previous post in this series, the class assignment was to use a color we did not ordinarily feature in our paintings as the main hue. I interpreted that to mean not only did I not feature it but I did not really like it as well as others, either, and maybe for reasons that had nothing to do with the color, but maybe it was the paint tube mechanics or that I hate squeezing out paint from nearly empty tubes. (I know. Crazy.)

Here is the second painting I made for this assignment. It was based on this photo I took a couple of years ago at Lake Galena, near Chalfont, PA:

I chose the colors red and gray for this picture. I first drew in the plants with red paint, then filled in around it. Gradually I added more and more colors and refined the shapes.

I am not sure why I don’t like red much; I do know I’ve felt this way all my life about it. I remember my parents choosing red carpet for my childhood room and I was not happy about it, so the feeling goes back some years, you may say.

Gray, I find to be a very useful color and I use it often, but it is not major player in a composition for me. It has fallen into the reliable workhorse category.

I do think I will lean on gray more in the future. Let it have more of a voice.

I will also have a better attitude about red, as I think it looks good in combination with the other colors in this piece, but it is still lower down on my list of colors that make me feel good to work with. Maybe we just need to get better acquainted and let old disputes fall away?

I like how things ended up. I have got a stalky space plant from another planet garden going here, I think.

The painting is called “At Lake Galena” and it is 20″ x 16″, acrylics on canvas.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 7

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

The class assignment was to use a color we did not ordinarily feature in our paintings as the main hue. In my mind, this idea morphed with the idea of using colors I don’t like as much as others.

To clarify, there are no colors I dislike or would refuse to work with. Some colors just don’t come to my mind as much as others. Or, I have built up a habit of using certain colors and avoiding others.

Here is a confession: I do find that if the paint tube has a difficult to use cap…or…if there is just a little paint left in the tube and it is hard to squeeze it out…I avoid these too. Yes, it is stupid, but I have realized I do it. Now that I have thought about it, I will try to overcome this idea, because it is just dumb to be doing things this way.

OK. I made a couple of paintings featuring colors I don’t usually present as the main ones because I don’t like them as much for whatever reason.

Whew! Now that you know that, here is one of the paintings I made. It was based on this recent photo:

I chose the colors gray and some olive brown greens as my main colors. I have always liked these colors fine, but I tend to the more showy.

I am pleased with the results of this experiment, though, and I feel I’ll be more likely to use these colors in bigger proportions in the future. Because I gave them a chance to be the star and they came up with a great performance!

The painting is called “Power Lines” and is 20″ x 16″, acrylics on canvas.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 6

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

The class assignment was to examine what paths we might like to take our art along in the future.

I did a post on this topic at the end of the first class with some detail: look here if you want to see it.

As you may imagine I have a lot of ideas. But one thing I would like to do is to paint more pictures of people – either portraits or peopled scenes. This idea is something new to me and I will have to give it more thought.

In the meantime, I decided to represent myself as a portrait. I took a photo with my phone and got to work. Here is the result.

“Self-Portrait”, 3/21, acrylics on masonite, 24″ x 18″

Viral Imaginations in Pennsylvania

You may remember that last year I submitted a painting to the virtual exhibit sponsored by Penn State, called Viral Imaginations: Covid 19. This exhibit was put together by a collaborating group at the university, involving medical, liberal arts, and ethics departments, and administrators, educators, and students.

The purpose of the exhibit was to

  • give Pennsylvanians a place to speak about the pandemic and its effects on them personally
  • create an archive of the times
  • provide materials for others to use in various ways for now and into the future, such as lessons and research
  • to create a place for people to go and feel the companionship of others as we all work our way through the pandemic

Last night my husband and I attended the Zoom reception for artists.

I didn’t know what to expect, having never attended a Zoom artist reception. After a little bit of coaxing the Zoom entry process to let us in, we arrived and listened to an overview of the project. I had not comprehended the scope of the effort or how much the archive/exhibit is already in use by teachers and researchers, for instance.

We (virtually) met the persons responsible for putting the site together. Then we listened to poetry from the site read to us as we looked at images from the visual art. Interspersed among the readings were short sessions devoted to the themes the curators found that repeated in the exhibit. Leter we saw a review of all the visual art on the site.

It was very moving. The poems brought back memories from the early days of the pandemic, often upsetting ones. I was reminded how terrified I was about grocery shopping, for instance, while listening to a poem on that subject.

My painting was called “I Hope”. Here it is:

I was surprised and thrilled to learn that it was included as part of a school lesson plan based on a pandemic theme, Cartography. I had no idea this had happened until my painting and name appeared on the screen! Look here to see the lesson plan – it relates to the home and its place in the world during the pandemic and is aimed at grades K-6.

I am honored and humbled that my artwork could maybe be of some benefit, especially to kids. And this morning I am still feeling a sense of – calmness and gratitude, maybe? – that this event unexpectedly brought to me.

There is much focus, rightly so, on all the losses and griefs of this time, and the exhibit does not shy away from them – instead it faces them.

But the fact there is this exhibit, that there will be an archive and our thoughts and feelings remembered, that it is important to try to make sense of what has happened, and that people are creating art and writing even in these times – all of this made me feel hope.

Even though the pandemic is not over, as was mentioned several times in the presentations, I came away feeling hope. A year later I still hope.

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Thank you to Penn State and all who have worked on this archive.

Here is the link to my painting on its page at the site.

Here is a link to my post on the exhibit submission from 2020.

If you live or work in Pennsylvania, you can still submit your art or writings related to the pandemic to Viral Imaginations. They will be accepting submissions at least until the end of the year.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 5

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

After completing the original class assignment of painting an emotion, which I amended to just…painting something abstract, I found I enjoyed the process, so I did more. Here is one. It is called “Fly” and it is 24″ x 18″ on masonite.

Someone asked me in the class why I named it as I did. I was not really sure how to answer. It looked sort of insect-like to me, yes. And it seemed to have a lot of flying off pieces to it. And…I don’t know, that is the word that came to mind.

I am surprised that I liked doing these abstracts – I have never found a way into the abstract with no representational elements world before that didn’t make me feel stressed and anxious. The key seems to be, forget what you are doing and just do. So…it becomes just pleasure to be painting.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 4

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

This painting is the third one I did as a group to meet our class assignment, which was to choose an emotion and depict it in a totally abstract way. I made some attempts in my sketchbook – and I wasn’t satisfied with them. To me, emotions are not paintable. Things, people, events, that evoke emotions, they are visible and can be depicted. That’s how I see things.

So I decided I would just paint in an abstract manner. My goal was to make nothing recognizable in the picture, just paint.

As I also said earlier, I worked on more than one painting at a time. I like having a lot of choices in front of me and it keeps things fresh and moving along to skip from one painting to another. I liked that feeling!

Here is the third in this series. It is called “Loops” and is acrylics on masonite, 18″ x 24″.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 3

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

As I said in the previous post, our class assignment was to choose an emotion and depict it in a totally abstract way. I made some attempts in my sketchbook – and I wasn’t satisfied with them. To me, emotions are not paintable. Things, people, events, that evoke emotions, they are visible and can be depicted. That’s how I see things.

So I decided I would just paint in an abstract manner. My goal was to make nothing recognizable in the picture, just paint. This painting was done at the same time as the one in the previous post. Working on more than one picture at a time helps me keep from overworking/overthinking. Just paint!

Here is the second in this series. It is called “Heavy Circle” and is 11″ x 14″ on masonite.

Another Painting Class, Session 2: Painting 2

In February/March I took an online painting class at Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The class was called BLENDING ABSTRACTION AND REPRESENTATION, and over 5 sessions our class explored the continuum between these two endpoints of a line. This set of classes is a continuation of the previous group with the same teacher and the same group of students.

The class was structured so that we worked on our individual artworks in our home studios while participating in discussions and vewing demonstrations by the teacher. I did quite a bit of work and I’ll be showing them to you over a few posts.

Thanks to my instructor, Lesa Chittenden Lim, and my classmates, for a good experience.

Our class assignment was to choose an emotion and depict it in a totally abstract way. I made some attempts in my sketchbook – and I wasn’t satisfied with them. To me, emotions are not paintable. Things, people, events, that evoke emotions, they are visible and can be depicted. That’s how I see things.

So I decided I would just paint in an abstract manner. My goal was to make nothing recognizable in the picture, just paint. Here is the first in this series.

I found something very satisfying about just letting the painting develop, put colors next to colors, and move to another area of the painting. No planning, just let the story tell itself. It was relaxing when I stopped trying to control things. I liked that.