Welcome

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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Watercolor 101

My Watercolor Painting at the End of Class

Yesterday I took my first watercolor class --- and I was lucky to be able to take it at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo (New York).

I received the class as a gift from my family for Christmas, so I was there to cash it in.

I chose Watercolor 101 because I want to do a better job on my make-up paintings and thought that learning how beginners apply watercolor would help me.

WOW!  I was so surprised to learn how watercolors are supposed to be done.  You use LOTS of water and very little paint.  The water is the vehicle for getting the paint to move.  Jeff Watkins, our instructor, says that it is 90% water, 10% paint ---or even less paint.

For example, we drew a pear, then painted the inside of the pear with water only to get it wet, then applied a wash of paint. The paint stayed inside the outline of the pear and did not migrate to where the paper was dry.

We learned how to blend (soft), to draw (smooth), to use the paper for texture(rough) and how to use gravity to help move the paint, and how to remove the color completely by using our brushes as erasers.  We learned to splatter. And how to work the surface when it is still wet and when to let it dry completely before proceeding. And how to make straight lines by dipping the edge of a card in the paint and stamping.

I learned that watercolorists draw their subject first with pencil and then erase their marks if needed.  And that they do lots of planning before they begin, especially planning where the highlights and white areas should be protected, i.e., the paper is left white.
Jeff Watkins led the workshop and this is his painting

Then, we took a break and came back to make a floral painting, following along as he demonstrated.

All in only 4 hours!

I thought it was an excellent class, and the facility is new, very well appointed and the staff was enthusiastic and friendly.  There were 20 in the class and it was fully booked.

I can see why their courses are popular.
A Museum dedicated to the art and artists of Western New York
and specifically, the work of Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967)


Now I want to go back and spend some time in the museum.  They just opened 4 new exhibitions on Feb 14.

B

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Bunny Saga

"Bunny"
5 1/4 x  8 1/4 Oil

This little painting is the outcome of an experiment, a failed one, earlier in the year. 

I was trying to use a technique which Marty Poole talked about during his artist's talk at West End Gallery last summer. 


Somehow he separates the pigment from the emulsifier and then creates spooky surfaces on his paintings. 

I used an old, unfinished painting (from the Jim Mott workshop in Ithaca) to try to do what he did, but I failed miserably. 

So, I got out a palette knife to scrape it off, and was playing with the paint, when I saw a rabbit, of sorts, appear.


Intrigued, I stopped and let it dry.  Another day, I teased out the outline of the body, the cottontail and the feet.

From there, I could see where I wanted to put the face-- but chickened out--- until I found some rabbit photos. It amazes me what you can find online if you are specific about what you are looking for.
 
 

So, then I gingerly placed the face.  And, felt confident enough to order a custom frame for it. But, I was still trying to figure out how to make sense of the body---there were too many "ears"--- so I unified it with a scumble in similar colors and value as the background.

That's how it looked when I was started working on it during Sparkle, our community holiday event.  I received numerous suggestions --- from all ages --- which was lots of fun and part of why I enjoy having a studio on Market Street--- from it looks more like a hedgehog or friendly rodent (?!!) than a bunny --- so I really worked on making the ears pointier, and overall, warmer and fuzzier.

Here is how the bunny looked by the end of the Sparkle event.


Now, the frame has arrived, so I have pushed to finish it. (It needed a custom frame because it is 5 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches, an odd size.)


And that's the saga of the bunny painting.

BHB

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Snowy River" Oil Painting


Propped up to finish drying before hanging

"Snowy River"
16 x 12 Oil on Panel

The frames I ordered finally arrived!  When they do, it pushes me to finish what I have started.  Today I tweaked this one, then signed it.  Now I just need to put the hardware on it, so it can be hung.  Feels good to have one finished. 

BHB

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Water Damage -- Turning a Negative into a Positive

De-humidifier drying out the studio

Last Friday, I discovered that the heating/AC unit had leaked on to the hardwood floors and into my work area, damaging the rug and the canvas panels I had propped up against the wall and creating an awful vomit-like smell upon entering.

Luckily, the water didn't ruin any work that I had completed.  Nonetheless, I felt emotional about losing all of the potential work the panels represented.  And I was complaining about the disruption. And the smell.  It was a mess and I was, too. 

Reality check:  My damage is a thimble-full compared to what the people in Superstorm Sandy experienced a year ago.  Helped me put things in perspective. 

Also, my landlord is also being very responsive and sympathetic, which I greatly appreciate.

I was able to salvage about half my blank panels --- and they are the bigger ones.  I have been wanting to paint bigger --- so this is going to force me to do it! 

I have been procrastinating about ordering storage to get my things up off the floor, and now I will. 

Ditto for creating the inventory records and photos of my work that I should have been keeping all along. 

Plus I had to clear out that side of the studio, which has really forced me to start anew, with a fresh, clean workspace. 

So, there will be many positives in the end --- even though it is a lot of work and is keeping me from painting this week. 

I am trying to make lemonade from lemons --- my dad always used to say something like that.

B



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Little World Oil Painting No. 1 - "Remote Island"


Little World Oil Painting No. 1 - "Remote Island"
 Little Round Oil Painting in an 8 x 10 Frame

Finished the first of my series of oil paintings which I am going to call Little Worlds.  They are small round oil paintings (about 1.5 inches in diameter) which are mounted on a collage of ephemera like origami paper and dead currency from my past travels.  The little worlds are places I have invented for the viewer to take imaginary trips. 

B

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Long Barn" Oil Painting

"Long Barn"
10 x 28" Oil on Panel
Available

Here's how this painting looks in its new frame.  It is a custom size--- 10 inches tall and 28 inches wide --  so I had to special order it. 

B

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Keuka Sunset" Oil Painting

"Keuka Sunset"
9" x 6" Oil

I have been meeting very nice people this week in my studio.  Lots of visitors in town this time of year.  And it reminds me just how beautiful our area is, and how special it is. 

This is a small oil painting which I recently framed.  It is a view of the sunset on Keuka Lake including the bluff.

B

Monday, July 15, 2013

"Barn Window" Oil Painting

"Barn Window"
8 x 10 Oil on Panel

This painting was a little wet when I photographed it so unfortunately there is some glare, but it gives you the general idea.

 It was fun to paint the variety of textures -- the red roughness of the barn against the green mound of morning glories, and the hardness of the glass against the softness of the old curtain inside the window.   And to create the warmth of the sun hitting the top of the plant but indicating coolness in the shadows.

B

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Reaching" Oil Painting




"Reaching"
18" x 12" Oil on Panel
 
This painting is based on a favorite photograph, entitled "Reaching".  Now that I have basic painting laid in, I am debating whether or not to make it tighter or just leave it as it is. 


I am getting more used to showing my work in progress.  I put things in the window to dry. 

And collect comments  --- some of which I listen to, and others that I don't.  But it is helpful to hear what others are seeing and how they are reacting to what I am doing. 

B

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Large Floral Oil Painting

Large Floral As of This Week
24 x 32 oil on panel

I am on the home stretch with this painting.  It's intended to be bright and loose.  Yesterday I put it in its frame and hung it on the wall of the studio to see how it is going to look.  It's quite large -- 24 x 32 inches --- which is big for me. 




And here's how it looked along the way.

B

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crazy Quilt on Display at My Studio

On Display in My Studio at 11 West
 
Since I last posted, I have secured my studio space --- at 11 West Market Street here in Corning  --- for 2 years -- until June 2015. 

I am very happy to know that I can settle in and tackle some of the projects I have put off because I just didn't have enough space at home. 

Enough space to hang the quilt under my name on the back wall

One of these "I need a bigger space" projects is to photograph a crazy quilt that my late mother had stored in her cedar chest. 

The crazy thing is she never told us anything about it, and now that it is up on the wall I don't recognize any of the names.

It has a date on it of 1894.  There is an L in the center and the initials RCL, and about 20 names, including Lizzie, Davy, George, Blanche, mamma, papa, and Anna M.  The maker appears to be M.S.

It is a mystery to solve --- and I will enjoy figuring out who these people are and how they are connected.

Also, I thought it appropriate to post here on the blog because it symbolizes all the energy I have been putting into collecting and distributing information and photographs about family and friends recently. 

Some would say I have been obsessed with genealogy.   But, to me,  it has been a rich and rewarding experience  --- and I know it is going to show up in my art one way or the other ---


B

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend Open Studio

Long Barn Oil Painting In Progress
10 x 28 inches
 
Spent the weekend supporting Glassfest here in Corning.  It was windy and cold, so not as many people as last year --- but I really enjoyed opening my doors to the public. 

I painted while people browsed. 

Here's what I was working on --- an elongated panel--- fairly big --10 x 28 inches --- of a barn with the focal point being the light hitting the silo.  I am using a palette of warm and cool browns, oranges, reds and yellows.  I've started to add color --- the green in the foreground --- but I am moving slowly and using thin layers to see what effects I can create. 

It was fun to meet so many nice new people.  And to chat with friends who stopped by to say "hi."  I appreciated the interest and enthusiasm.

B

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Pansies" Oil Painting

"Pansies"
6x6 Oil on Panel
Available
 
Took a photo before I left my studio today of this painting of pansies I just finished.  It's small  --- 6 x 6 inches --- so I have to pin it to a piece of foam core to be able to fit in on to my easel. 

I was excited to see these pansies survived the winter, so I decided to paint them now, while I am able to take a close look at their colors.

Still wet but done
 
BHB

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Moon" Oil Painting

"Moon"
12 x 9 Oil on Panel
Available

Now that our house projects are mostly over, I am looking forward to painting this summer.  I have been gesso-ing surfaces in anticipation of a prolific period.  We'll see if my optimism pans out!  In total, I have 26 Masonite panels and 6 stretched canvases ready for painting, in a variety of sizes from small (6x6) to quite large (30x40). 

The "Moon" painting is one of the "winter" paintings I finished up last week.  Like the "Apple on the Windowsill," I painted it from a black and white film photograph taken years ago.   It's a view from our front porch through the trees.  The moon was irresistible that night.

I enjoyed making up the colors and figuring out how to use "dashes" as paint strokes to create a sense of broken moonlight.   

B

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Cool over Dark, Warm over LIght" Lesson



After - Warm over Light --the background receded and enhanced the flowers

After re-reading Tom Buechner's book, How I Paint, I decided to repaint the background of this painting to test what he says:

"All colors look cool over dark, even red and yellow:  all colors look warm over light, even blue.  It is the secret of the old masters, maybe the most important thing in this book."


Before - background was cool blues, purples, pinks and somewhat chalky
 
I don't think I did it correctly, but what I did do definitely helped the painting.  I will continue to experiment with this principle until I really understand it well. 
 
 

 
 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Golden Day" Oil Painting


"Golden Day"
16 x 20 Oil on Panel
Donated to the Fund for Women

I am donating this recent painting to the Fund for Women for their fundraiser on May 21.  I enjoyed painting the clouds and experimenting with the bright yellow underpainting to achieve the feeling of a sunny summer day.

B

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Apple on Windowsill" Oil Painting

"Apple on Windowsill"
8x10 Oil on Panel
Available

Haven't posted in a while because we have been consumed with home improvement projects for the last 12 weeks.  Haven't had much time to paint. 

Needed something I could do in a limited amount of time, so I pulled out this painting to finish.  I thought it would be fun to look at it in its various stages. 

I painted it from a black and white film photo I took when we were in Portree, on the Isle of Skye, in Scotland in 2003.  It was Fall and the bed and breakfast where we were staying gave us apples upon arrival.

I remember getting my camera out because I was excited by the patch of light being created on the windowsill.  The light was beautiful there, especially in the late afternoon. 

Monochromatic underpainting
 
Fast forward to 2011 and I am looking for something I want to paint.   Could I capture the feeling of the apple basking in the sun in the patch of light using the black and white photo and memory?  In retrospect, it isn't a great composition.  But I am the kind of person who want to finish what I start, so I kept trying. 

Adding color
I couldn't remember what kind of apple it was, so I bought a few apples and tried creating a Granny Smith.  The painting became too cool.

Then I tried creating a McIntosh with a stem.  And warming it up.  It became discordant.  So, put it away for months.  I painted it blue again, but forgot to take a photo of it. 

Here's what I did last month and popped it into a frame after working on it. Getting closer to what I remember it looking like, including the glow on the windowsill. 

And here's how it looks finished and signed, after warming the curtains and the shelf, and putting a highlight on the stem.  The photo makes it look a little yellower than it looks in person (iPad photos seem to make colors more saturated), but it still represents the piece. 

Now I just need to come up with a title. 

B
 


Friday, March 22, 2013

New Work: Going Bigger & More Colorful

In Progress -- Drying in the Studio Window
24 x 32 Oil on Panel

I've started some new paintings.  This is the first -- which is drying in the window of the studio.  It's bolder. It may be hard to tell at this point, but it is a floral arrangement on a table in front of a window in our kitchen. 

This is the gold frame for it.  And how it looked before I worked on it yesterday.  
 
And it's larger -- 24 x 32  --- when compared to my usual work.   It was one of my goals for this year --- to paint bigger.

I chose the subject because I was interested in the shadow under the flowers and using the square tabletop to create space.  Now I am kind of hooked on making the vibrant colors work.  It it starts to fall apart I can always use it as underpainting.  That's the beauty of oils. 

B

Friday, March 15, 2013

"Three Fruits" Still Life



"Three Fruits"
8 x 10 Oil on Panel
 
This is the last of the still lifes to post.  And it is the most difficult to accurately photograph.  It really depends what light it is in.  This photo makes it look too vibrant even though  it is taken in natural light on a cloudy day.  In person, it looks more like the bottom photograph. 
 
It may have to do with the underpainting which is a very bright rose pink.  You can see it showing through the background on the upper left.  And in areas under the pear. 
 
To me, it is interesting that it is the same color underpainting as "Snapdragons" which I posted yesterday, and they came out so differently. 

At the beginning this is how it looked, if you recall.  I painted if from a black and white photo so I had to make up the colors. 

Here is how it looked for most of the winter.  I put it in this "old master's" type frame and had it hanging in my studio, and would work on the apple from time to time. 

Last week, I tweaked the apple and put it in the simpler black frame  -- the one I used for "The Barletts". 

So, that's it for the still lifes --- I have finished them all and put them in frames.  I am now working on three large panels -- a 24x28, a 30x40 and 32x40. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Snapdragons" Oil Painting



"Snapdragons"
10 x 8 Oil on Panel

Finished this painting on Monday.  It is softer than some of the others --- probably because I let the edges drift away and made up passages instead of trying to be exact.  This is the painting that was supposed to be a throw away --- just play --- the ground I used was slick and wouldn't hold paint at the beginning -- but I am glad I stuck with it.  I've grown attached to it.  Feels like we have been through a lot together. 

B