Tag Archives: paintings

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 9

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Here is another week of art.

Saturday, February 3 – I decided to get to work on the large painting whose board I prepared last week. I have no idea what I want to be painting but I’ll get started anyway.

My first step is always to cover up the white gessoed surface with color. Any kind of color. Just get rid of the white.

Since this board was so large I got out my baby roller and put some paint on. The tool is cheap and I don’t worry about cleaning it much when I am done. Eventually I just throw it away. I don’t use it a lot but today it seemed right. I amused myself by rolling paint this way and that.

I got down to using some brushes and by the end of the afternoon I had some kind of coverage. That was good and enough for today. What I am doing I still don’t know.

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I also got out the bubble wrap to start pricing and wrapping tiles. I will do this while watching TV over the next few days. it’s a boring job but necessary.

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Sunday, February 4 – More painting today. I seem to have some kind of ideas. I am not sure what it all means. Anyway, things progress and that is how I do things – kind of feel my way along.

Monday, February 5 – I worked on the large painting in two shortish sessions, one in the morning and then in the afternoon – I had to split my time because I had several things I had to do out in the world. I prefer to work in one session a day, but…Things continue to move along. The painting clearly has a theme now. I am at the stage where I think I need to let it sit for a few days.

At the end of the morning:

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and at the end of the day:

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A couple of detail areas:

and a view of some very tired-out tubes of paint. You can’t see the brushes but they are dearly wanting a bath.

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Tuesday, February 6 – More work on the large painting. The progress of this image is going along in the way most of my paintings do – there is a lot of taking a stab at something and seeing if it works out. And once one thing is changed, it upsets the balance of the rest of the painting, and so other changes must be made. Something this large and with such an undefined finish (because I am painting something imaginary and not looking at a reference photo or drawing)could go on forever and if I don’t get hold of myself, it will. I think I’m getting close, though (or I am getting tired of it, which is also one way I decide when a painting is done!).

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It is inevitable that parts of the painting I like have to be crossed out for the good of the whole. There is certainly struggle going on here, and an awful lot of paint. I wonder how many layers, and then I decide to think about something else.

Wednesday, February 7 – I’m tired out on the painting. Here is is as it is today, with a little more work. I’m going to let it rest for a while now. It’s time to see how it holds up with some distance.

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I got the tiles priced and wrapped and ready to be stored until May, when I take them to the Moravian Tile Festival. I did this task with the help of my cat Martok and Ben Matlock of the Matlock TV show.

Friday, February 9 – I’ve spent most of the week on the big painting. I had time to do some paper dolls while watching TV, though. Here they are.

And lastly, I’d like to thank Alanna Pass for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I don’t do awards, but I appreciate being complimented in this way and I wanted to say thank you and mention the blog.

More art next week!


Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 26

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

A new week of art.

On Saturday, January 20, I participated in a program at the Glenside Library.

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It was a new idea that Erika, one of the librarians, had come up with, and she ran the meeting. We had an assorted group – a couple of teenagers, Nina and Alyssa, Erika, Won, a friend of Erika’s, Erika’s father, me, Alyssa’s dad Fred, and Frank, whose wife Bev used to work at the library. We introduced ourselves, talked over plans for meeting again, what we might like to be doing with this group, and then we sketched. I used pen and ink and worked on a rendition from a reference photo of a restaurant where I’d eaten this past summer – my idea was to draw quickly and freely, not worrying much about the results, just enjoying drawing.

I then did some drawings of the people around the table – you know,the kind of work where you look at the subject, not the paper, and draw. Here is Frank.

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I hope to make sketching a bigger part of my art activities this year and this event got me thinking about drawing again. It may be time to get some momentum going on this topic very soon, crossed fingers.

On Sunday, January 21 – I didn’t have a lot of time. I did a little work on the paintings I have in progress.

Monday the 22nd, I spent a lot of time on art. First, I worked on a set of tiles. My theme today was exercise: kickboxing, running, lifting weights, and jumping jacks, representing various activities I favor. I had put Velvet Jet Black underglaze on the tiles already. I scrawled rough outlines of figures on the tiles in pencil. The lines will burn out in the kiln so this is a great way to do a little guide for myself. If I make a mistake I can also rub out the lines pretty easily and try again.

Tiles in progress. That jumping jack girl in particular looks a little flat-footed, but I’ve felt that way myself sometimes, so once again I inadvertently express truth in my work. Right? Oh yes!

Then I cleaned up the table and got a new set of tiles ready for the next session. Isn’t this nice-looking? It won’t stay this way for long.

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Then I zipped up the stairs to my studio (I live in a four level house – clay in the basement, studio on the first level, the other two levels the living area, in case you are wondering) and worked on selected odd-person portraits (I had set aside the ones I felt were finished already) and the larger painting. I am working in acrylics, as usual.

I feel I’ve gotten all of these paintings to a good place, pretty much done – so I took them upstairs and set them all out in the living room where I can study them over a few days and see if I want to do more to any of them.

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On January 23, four more tiles. Once again, you can see the drier areas as being paler and more chalky than the still wet sections. I like to let a tile dry overnight to make sure it’s really – dry.

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Three more to do, and then I have met my goal of making 40 of these. The remaining blank tiles will sit in their box until later in the year when I’ll do some more. I am ready to move on to some other clay project right now, though I’m not sure quite what, yet.

January 24, Wednesday, and I was determined to get a lot done today; I had the whole day to work with. Art-wise, I finished up the last three tiles in my self-imposed goal. The theme was electronics around my house. I snapped these quick photos:

I penciled in quick sketches on the tiles:

And I finished them up. Next comes a firing. Then I’ll need to sign and wrap the tiles (not just these but all the ones I have done in the past month or so – it’s added up to be a pretty good number, I realize), but the creative work is done, and I’m ready to take a break from tiles. I think I’ve said that…

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Next, I went upstairs and worked on a collage project. I won’t mention details as it is a secret, to be revealed some time later; but I will show you the battlefield that is my work table when I’m doing collage. Oh dear, what a mess.

Last, I worked on three odd-people portraits. I had thought they were finished, but after some time looking at them up in my living room, I picked out a few details I felt had to be fixed. Next thing you know I had made some significant changes. Well, that’s the idea of giving them some time to “rest”.

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Now we come to Friday, January 26. I got myself organized, loaded the kiln, and fired it. This load is tiny – I used 2 shelves vs. five and the tiles are basking in the roominess.

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In the past I would have waited to make more work; I never fired a less-than-crammed-full kiln load. Nowadays I am not worrying about it. I’ve learned a kiln does not use much electricity, I don’t fire that often, and I want to have all my tiles done so that I may sign them, price them, and pack them away in one big effort.

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I plan to do more clay work, but I’m going to switch directions, and I don’t like to mix bisque and glaze work if I can help it. That’s why I am glad to have these tiles all done, all at once.

Stay tuned.

I finished up the last odd-people portrait (I hope) and painted the larger painting’s edges black. I paint on cradled wood or masonite and by painting the edge, there is no need for framing.

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I worked on some more collage. Once again, the table looked shell-shocked. And it started out so clean and neat. I also used markers in some of my work today. I’ve got an assortment and I use them now and then – they are new to me and I am still feeling them out.

Last, my current artist’s sketchbook is still open to this page. I think I will add some black ink and call it done. That sounds like a nice activity while I am watching TV this evening.

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OK, that’s it for this week. It has been a busy one that saw the completion of a lot of projects. Now on to next week and we’ll see what I decide to do. Thank you for your time and attention!

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 19

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Another week and here we go!

On January 14, I worked on tiles. I am currently focusing on 4″ x 4″ tiles, terracotta, commercially made. This tile size sells very well for me and so I need a good quantity – and because they sell well I have a low inventory right now. I bought a case of 80 and my plan is to work through about 40 before I take a break from them.  I had prepared four tiles with Velvet underglaze Jet Black and I brought out some plain ones to cover with the same, as they could dry while I worked on the first four.

I like to work in groups when I’m making tiles. My technique requires that the color dry some but not all the way, so that I can scratch into it effectively. If I made one tile at a time, I’d be sitting around waiting – a lot.

I spent the afternoon working and got eight tiles ready for drying and then later on to be fired. The colors look very vibrant because they are still wet – they become chalky as they dry.

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If you were tiny and walked around my work table, by the end of a session this is what you’d see. What a mess! I clean up the table after each session so that when I next want to work, I don’t think – oh, I can’t do anything, it’s not cleaned up.

Earlier in the day my husband and I went for a walk in the Plymouth Meeting (PA) mall before it opened. It was too cold to be outside. I took a couple of pictures with the mall in the background looking through the glass covering the entrance into the Boscov’s department store. I like reflections.

On January 15 I was busy all day but at night I worked on a page in my next Large Artist Sketchbook. This book usually stays in my studio next to whatever I’m working on and gets its leftovers and offcuts, from which I create pages in this book. It’s just for fun. Anyway, I had paint on a page and decided to collage on top of it while I wateched TV in my PJ’s. I have a plastic box for portable collage making; and in one picture you can see my blanket, the cat, and warm sock feet as we all relax on the sofa at night.

On January 16, I loaded the kiln and ran it. I am showing you a small part of the electrical grid running around the kiln, the firebrick of which the kiln is composed, and a sensor that determines how the load fires and when it is done.

I also did some painting. I worked on a new larger painting, 18″ x 18″. It was inspired by my living room (you might be able to see my reference photo at upper right) and includes a chair I saw in an old issue of Architectural Digest.

I also worked on the latest group of small people portraits.

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The artist sketchbook made its way back to the studio and you can see a page in process. There is no telling where things will end up with this page.

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Now we come to January 17. It snowed and I spent the day indoors.

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In honor of the snow I made tiles with a snow theme.

I also opened the kiln but did not unload it as the tiles were still too hot. Maybe the top layer can be handled but as I go further into the kiln they are blistering hot.

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On Friday, January 19, I worked on more tiles, the 4″ x 4″ kind. I am making good progress and I think within a couple of weeks I will have made the goal number I have in mind for tiles. The show I am working toward is not until May, so I am in good shape. I will see how my paintings are progressing and consider what clay projects I might like take on – some more sculptural work, I think. But that’s inthe future. Here is today’s work.

This first photo shows tiles in an early stage. You see pencils and a tool in the middle of the picture. I use the pencils to make a rough sketch on the tile before I start to color – the pencil burns out in the kiln.

The tool  has a ball-tipped projection at each end and is intended for making lines in wet clay. I use it to scratch through the color down to the black. I have worn away the ball on one end and almost finished off the other – when that happens I will need a new version…

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Tiles are adding up on the transit table. You may recognize the bird tile from the kiln pictures seen earlier. I was not satisfied with some details so I did more underglazing and will send it through the kiln again.

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The work table is a mess at the finish of a session. As I said before, I clean it all up when I’m done as I hate to start a new work session by clearing away the old.

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I’d like to mention my portable heater. I take it from place to place inside the house. The basement, where I am working today, is chilly – nice in summer but in winter it’s hard to take. When I first came in it was 60 degrees F – I feel comfortable when I have this friend sitting close to me, even if the rest of the room does not warm up.  The basement environment is a good one for clay work, though – the coolness means all clay work dries slowly and evenly.

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I also had some time over several days to do a little more work on the people portraits. I hope to get to them and complete them next week.

Now for the unsung administrative tasks: I did not take photos of these activities, but I also spent time entering a show for next August(!); painting black edges around completed paintings; writing up a class description on making ATC’s; and taking and processing photos of the clay work and paintings recently fired/completed. It’s easy to overlook this kind of work as being art-related and yet if I do not do it, my work is not totally finished.

OK, that’s it until next week. See you then!

Musical Chairs

This painting came straight out of my imagination. At the time, I was thinking about the baby grand piano my grandmother had in her living room when I was a young girl. I loved to “play” the piano and I also liked to sit under it. Once in a while my grandmother, who was very busy, would take time to sit down and play what I thought of as elaborate and old-fashioned music, full of flourishes, popular music of her younger years. I thoroughly enjoyed these performances.

“Musical Chairs”, 18″ x 18″, acrylics on wood board, October, 2017.

Trees to the Right

I continue to plant my own forest. Here are three trees, each one over to the right side of the picture. Acrylics on wood board, 4″ x 4″, October, 2017.