Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Radio Flyer" Oil Painting

"Radio Flyer"
8x10 Oil

My landlord has reassured me that new windows are on order to fix the incorrectly tinted glass on the one side of my studio, but I will be lucky if I am back in business by the end of the month.
So, I decided to paint under the fluorescent light on the "good" side of my studio and see what happened.

"Radio Flyer " is a quick and loose painting which I sketched on Tuesday afternoon and completed on Wednesday.

I have been feeling nostalgic lately.  I used a photo I took at the 1000 Islands where my husband's family has a cottage.  There are signs of play all over the front yards there.  Usually left like this when they've gone inside to take a break.

It felt good to have something new to put in the window.  (When the painting dries, I will frame it. )


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Studio Disruption

Last Friday at 5 a.m.

No, a car didn't crash through my window.  No, I wasn't broken into.  No it wasn't vandalism.  But yes it is a problem.

What should have been a non-event for my studio became a fiasco last Friday.
There was quite a commotion going on outside until about 2 p.m.  

My landlord ordered new, improved glass for my windows.  The idea was that it would be safer --- because it would be safety glass if it ever did break --- and it would be more efficient ---because it would be thicker and double-paned --- and it would be UV blocking---which would protect the shop displays from fading as well as be energy efficient.  All good things! 
You can no longer see in my studio on the side where I paint
(Until it gets fixed) 

Unfortunately, unknown to me, the project specified a bronzed tint for the glass.  So, it changes the light inside, as if you are wearing sunglasses, and I need natural light to paint.  

And from the outside you can't see what I am doing, nor what is in the windows. Essentially, it is privacy glass.  The opposite of what is needed on a storefront.  The sunnier it is, the more reflective the glass becomes.  Hard to show artwork in those conditions, much less paint.
I still have one good display window (on the left) while I wait for new glass, but half is in the dark (on the right).

With the help of many advocates of the merchants on the street, the project got stopped.  So, at least only half of my windows are "in the dark."

Yesterday, I was reassured that everything than can be done will be done to see that clear glass is put in my windows as soon as possible.

So, if you were wondering what was happening, that is the scoop.  


Friday, July 17, 2015

Accidental Prints of My Oil Paintings

4x6 Inkjet Print 
of Heather Basket

So, this week I thought I'd share something which has gotten me excited even though I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet.

These are four examples of what happens when I print images of my oil paintings on the wrong side of the photo paper.  It happened when I was teaching myself how to photograph and print reference copies of my paintings.
This is what I got the first time I put in the paper in upside down by mistake.  (Kodak 4x6 Paper)

The ink sits on the surface in puddles because it doesn't have an emulsion to sink into, and so it creates an almost batik-like design.
I liked it so much that I tried a different landscape, and watched excitedly as it came out of the printer, just like I used to do when watching a Polaroid print emerge.

And the exciting part is I don't know how it is going to turn out.
"Heather Basket"
The photo of a painting goes from this to this.
It takes DAYS for the ink to dry, and they must be kept flat.

The prints drying on top of my printer under a warm lamp (top view)

I scanned them into my computer today to load them up into this post, and learned that they look better as prints than as scans.  Something gets lost in translation, but I still think they have potential.
Here's one of the painting called Boots.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Big Canvas Progression

4 feet wide and 3 feet tall

One of my goals has been to try painting big.  I don't have an easel big enough to hold a canvas that large, so, I decided to hang it on the wall in the front window and paint it there.
Because I wanted to paint clouds, I chose this image which I took last summer with my cell phone and turned it to black and white.  I like to paint from B&W and make up the colors.  I want this to be a big colorful painting.
And so it began.  From the top down.  Probably unorthodox but that's what I decided to do.
The photo reference was taped to the wall so I could paint from it and compare. I realized I probably should have sketched the whole thing before applying color --- but live and learn.
It was very challenging to scale up the drawing, so I eventually drew a grid on the photo and on the canvas and painted each rectangle.
Here's where I stopped.
Until this week, when I pushed myself to paint the land.  Day one results.  Road, barn and right fields/distant hills.
Day 2 morning. Created the farm house on the other side of the road and the big trees to make the barn look far away.
Day 2 lunchtime.  Just a little more to go, to get all of the canvas covered. It was fun but hard to fill the gap in the middle ground.
End of the day 2.  Finally covered it all.  Now it is time to let it dry and assess and decide if I want to keep it as loose as it is or go back over the whole thing and soften all of the transitions.

Day 3.  (Yesterday).  I moved it from the front window to center of the studio so I could have a better look at it.
Day 4 (Today).  Not sure if I am finished with it.  But I am very pleased that I completed the entire surface and I learned as much as I did from painting big.  

It takes a lot of paint to cover such a big surface.  And it takes more arm movement and strength to paint so big.   


Friday, July 3, 2015

"Barn Fans" Oil Painting

"Barn Fans"
12 x16 Oil

This is the last of my backlog of paintings.  Feels good to be caught up  ---with the exception of the big landscape -- it's 48x36" --- that is in progress on the wall of my studio.
I hope to finish it next week, and then move on to some new projects.


Friday, June 26, 2015

"No Vacancy" Oil Painting

"No Vacancy"
Little World No. 3 Oil Painting

Little Worlds are very small round oil paintings placed in the center of a collage of origami paper and discontinued currency from past international travels.

This is my third one ---entitled "No Vacancy."  Today, after framing it, I put it in the studio window and I am posting it here to see if people "get it."


Friday, June 19, 2015

"Return of the Rudeboy" Exhibit

This exhibit made a big impression on me.  I keep thinking about it, even now, a year later.  And I have been pondering why it had such a lasting impression. 

It was called "Return of the Rudeboy."

One reason it made such an impression was the unexpected surprise of it all.  We didn't even know about it until we ran across it.  

We were at the Somerset House in London and had planned to visit one of our favorite small museums, The Cortauld Gallery, which is part of the complex, but decided against going in as it was late in the day.

So we checked out the other venues in the complex --- and there were three other exhibits ---all of which were free, which made it easy to take a look.  We started with the Rudeboy exhibit.

I didn't know what the title meant.  What is a rudeboy?  Perhaps it was about musicians?

We learned that Rudeboys express themselves through their dress.  Every detail is planned.

"...Somerset House is proud to present Return of the Rudeboy, an original exhibition created and curated by prolific photographer and filmmaker for music’s most wanted Dean Chalkley and fashion-industry favourite creative director Harris Elliott, which showcases a sartorial subculture through a series of portraits, installations and set pieces.  Over the course of the past year the duo has photographed over 60 sharply dressed individuals from across the UK, all of whom embody the essence of what it is to be a Rudeboy (or Rudie) in the 21st century, to document the life, style and attitude of this growing urban group.  The curated collection of images shows the subjects presenting their pure and singular sartorial swagger in locations linked to the Rudeboy lifestyle, whether it be on the streets of Shoreditch or Savile Row."  (Somerset House webpage)

Rudeboys originated in Kingston, Jamaica as a street movement back in the 50's closely linked to the music of that period, then it migrated to London.  This show showcased modern day rudeboys.

This show was very well curated.  It was a wonderful mix of 3D, 2D and sound experiences --- all enhanced by the juxtaposition of the old space, which previously housed the mini- Hermitage museum, and this trendy, fashion-oriented show.
The rudeboy outfits were placed in the center of the main room on pedestals and the images of the rude boys wearing the outfits on the street were hung on the walls.
Every detail is beautifully presented and well-lit.
Rudeboys spend a lot of time creating their looks. Lots of attitude.
A barber shop was re-created in among the photos and clothing, to represent the importance of its place in the movement, both in crafting their images, as well as a social gathering place.  This is a corner of the space where they had a barber chair and floors, etc.

In one part of the space, they played music from the street along with the images.  It was multi-sensory.
Remnants of the Hermitage period were still evident.  Look at the ceilings.
These contrasts---the old with the new, edgy vibe of the exhibit---were very enjoyable to me.

In doing research for this post, I have learned that there has been a book created from the exhibit. It just came out a few weeks ago in the U.K.

Here some links to learn more about the show and its creators, if you have further interest.

Somerset House show:  Rudeboy exhibit, Rudeboy Storify twitter, Rudeboy Facebook
Creators:  Dean Chalkley, and Harris Elliott,
Reviews of the show: Marco, Large Up, The British Blacklist
Book:  Return of the Rudeboy


Friday, June 12, 2015

"Golden Mist" Landscape

"Golden Mist"
12 x 16 Oil

Lin and I have resumed painting together on Monday afternoons at her place, and this is one I did there.  It's a painting of the fog lifting off of Lamoka lake with hay bales in the foreground.  I experimented with an over-the-top color palette.  In my head while I am painting, I am thinking about trying to create the layers of atmospheric conditions without losing control of the color story. It was a wild ride.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

"First Cut" Oil Painting

"First Cut"
12 x 16 Oil

The working title of this painting was "Mama and her Three Bears" but over time it became "First Cut."  We have lots of haying in our area.  The hay is cut about 3-4 times a year, but the first of the season is the best.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Glassfest Debrief

The new addition for Glassfest

Glassfest was a big success last weekend, on many levels.  The weather was picture perfect and the crowds were large and enthusiastic.

Thank you to everyone who stopped in to say hello and to see what was going on in my studio.

I especially appreciated the comments from people who have been looking at the work in the windows when they walk by, running errands, or going to dinner or the movies nearby.  

I didn't realize that so many people were looking at the work in the windows when I am not here.

And good news, my back wall of paintings is filling up.  What a good feeling after it being so spotty all winter long.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Red Figure on Beach" Oil Painting

" Red Figure on Beach"
14 x 18 Oil

Framed another painting this week.   It is a 14 x 18 oil of a subject I had been wanting to revisit, and finally got around to doing over the winter.

The original version of this painting was 16 x 20 and painted back in late 90's when I was first taking painting classes with Marty Poole at 171 Cedar Arts Center.

I remember how excited I was to have created a painting which had a mood.  Up until then, most of our paintings had been subjects he had chosen, but this particular session we brought in our own subject matter.  In my case, I brought in a photo of a women in red I had passed on a beach in Maine.

It makes a difference.  I learned that the more you can relate to the subject, the more you will enjoy the painting experience.

Back then, I put it in the student show under the title, "Solitude", which I have since learned is one of the most overused, most generic titles for a painting.
The original is on the left and the new one is on the right

So, the new one's title---until I come up with something better--- is "Red Figure on Beach."

The new one is brighter and has a cloud formation in the distance. The figure is moving into the light. Overall less stormy.  Probably says something about my outlook these days.  


Monday, May 18, 2015

"Out to Dry"

"Out to Dry"
8 x 10 Oil

Re-framed this older painting entitled "Out to Dry."  This year I am trying out new looks for my work.

It is interesting to see how different frames bring out different aspects of the work.  In this case, the black frame brings out the rhythm of the laundry hung out to dry on the porch.
Here is how it was framed before.  And it picks up more of the farmhouse.

I am learning that everyone has different decorating tastes, and that sometimes they like a painting, but not the frame.    So, I will be offering collectors a choice of frame as much as I can.


Friday, May 15, 2015

"Cindy's View" Landscape

"Cindy's View"
12 x 16 Oil
On Hold

This week I received a delivery of frames as part of getting ready for Glassfest which is a 4 day festival taking place here in Corning over the Memorial Day weekend, May 21 - 25, 2015.  

I consulted my frame advisor (thank you, Ellen!) and selected a warm silver one for this 12 x 16 oil landscape.  It is a view of Keuka lake which I painted at the end of last summer.  That's when the grapes will be harvested, golden rod is in bloom, and there are hay bales in the fields.  And it is still humid.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Pink Fog" Landscape Painting

"Pink Fog"
6 x 10 Oil

This is a small painting --- 6 inches tall by 10 inches wide.  Last fall, I was ready to toss it, but this spring I decided to try again, after getting input from the Whine & Critique group and others.

After many iterations, I decided to make the red barn the focal point, even though the pink morning fog was what originally attracted me to the subject.

In our area, we often have morning fog over the lakes and the rivers but then it burns off as the sun rises and the day gets warmer.