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.

Friday, May 28, 2010

White Irises Studies

White Irises

I played around with my camera today before we left for the lake.  I really want to get started on my next photography series, but I am out of practice.  So, I thought I'd do some studies of the white irises from our backyard.  They have been stunning this year.  This is the image I liked best of the bunch.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First Crocus, Iris and Robin

First Crocus, Iris and Robin, 5 x 7

Painted this little still life from a photo  I took for my food blog.  The vase is actually very small--  about 2.5 inches tall.  Flowers are very challenging.  I overworked this painting too, trying to understand how to paint flowers.  But I enjoyed painting it nonetheless. 

So that's it for my backlog of paintings to post today.  We are now off for a week of vacation.  I am looking forward to starting my new projects when I return. 

I signed up for a Marty Poole weekend workshop in June, so I have that to look forward to, too.

Oil Cans

Oil Cans - 11x14 Oil on Masonite

This painting was problematic from the very beginning.  I started with a very poor reference and learned that I will never use such a poor reference again! 

While vacationing over the 4th of July last year, I was attracted to these old oil cans from Tom's parents cottage at the Thousand Islands, so hastily pulled them out and photographed them before we left. 

Note to self:  Don't rush to set up a still life.  Take your time and make it right from the get go!

Over the last year, I have reworked these oil cans what seems like a gazillion times.  Eventually, I created a table for them to sit on, as if they are in a workshop, and put a sign on the wall to balance the composition.  And, created a passageway for the eye to come between the two middle cans. 

I also lightened and darkened the background numerous times to see how it would change the dynamics of the painting.  I even sanded it off one time to get rid of the layers of paint that had accumulated from the
effort to salvage the painting.

But most of the time, I had drawing problems, because the reference was different than the new environment for them.   Most of them I resolved, but that left me with other problems.

When you rework a painting as many times as I did this one, you lose a lot.  It becomes a train wreck.  I am calling it quits on this painting.  Time to move on.

my reference

More Practice: Tulip in a Wine Bottle, and a Pear

8 x 10 Tulip in a Wine Bottle, and a Pear

Reworked this painting from about 10 years ago that was on my shelf. It is a still life from a 171 Cedar Arts class.  Don't have a photo reference,  so it was fun to imagine how the light might fall in the space, and to create a tulip form.  I can see more that I could do, but for now I am satisfied with the practice.

When I first painted it the flower was ill-defined, and the draperies in the background were distracting. The shadows weren't correct, so the pear looked like it was floating. 


Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Project in the Works for the Summer

This project was started over a year ago, maybe two, and now I feel like working on it over the summer. 

It's a mixed media project.  I started with small canvas boards that I toned; then, I cut up defunct international currency from our trips around the world and origami paper; and, applied them, varying each time.  In the center. I created a round "window" of gold, cotton rag paper.  On top of that. I was going to add another round canvas, on which I would paint, in oils, miniature scene of worlds that I would make up, like a desert road going into infinity.   I placed the canvas under glass over a richly colored background, matted it in white mat with a 4 x6 opening in black frame.  These are frames and mats I already have on hand.

The original idea was to create a peep hole kind of feeling.  Something you could view from faraway and find it interesting and then have to come up close to see what is going on through the center circle.

One of the things that stopped me working on it was the title I had given it.  The working title was Portals.  Now I know that a portal is a very common computer term.  So, I need a new title.  Suggestions are welcome.  :)  I want something that is about being transported to another place, something almost surreal, something time traveler-ish.  fyi - The currency element is for travel in another life, another plane, forward or backward.  Something Being John Malkovich-ish.

A second thing that stopped me were the decoupage comments I got when I first showed them, unframed.  I do not want this project to be perceived as a craft project.

The third blocker, at the time, was my lack of confidence in painting something so small.  It is no longer an issue, now that I have resumed painting, and have a year of painting fairly regularly again behind me.  I am actually looking forward to painting them now. 

But I am concerned about how to make the painting look integrated with rest of the materials, so I need to make an experiment, soon.  If a painting doesn't work, then perhaps a photograph will.   Or a photo collage.

I have 10 currency canvases available to paint.  I am working on my list of ideas for the little worlds, and I hope to start drawing them soon, and get them done before I go to see Anne JP, my art buddy, later this summer, then come back and finish the actual paintings.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Studies for the The Wedding Dress Project

One of the projects on the agenda for the summer is to complete my piece for The Wedding Dress Project, the brainchild of my art buddy, Anne Jennings Paris.  Fifteen women interpret, reinvent an icon.

The Wedding Dress Project:
A Collaborative Art Show
Using thrift store wedding dresses as inspiration, 15 women artists working in all media explore our cultural ideas about love, romance, marriage, and what it means to be a woman in modern America.

She has sent each of us a thrift store wedding dress and a totem -- mine was a hand puppet of a bird's nest with three little brown birds in it .   We are to use the wedding dress to create a piece for a show that will travel to at least three different locations, probably one in the Portland area, one in New York state (Corning, or Woodstock, or somewhere convenient for both of us) and another TBD.  

You can do whatever you want.  One woman is writing an epic poem, directly on the dress.  Another is doing video histories.  Another is doing a large scale graphic novel type storyboard. 

My goal is to complete my concept work by the middle of July.  Then, get input from Anne JP.  She is good at editing and motivating me. I am helping her find the venues and submit the applications. 

My ideas for the project range from doing something in my comfort zone, i.e., black and white photography, to creating a 3D installation-- which would be a new challenge for me --- including a Girl Scout-style sash of marriage badges.  

So far, I have a list of  about 10 ideas developed, and two for which I have done studies.

The first is studies of the actual wedding dress, shown here, handing on the door in my studio.

Which led to abstractions that could have meanings.  I picked out a few to post.

Study No. 7
Study No. 18

Study No. 32
And for the second, I enlisted my niece's help to work on creating dream images.  Fuzzy, on purpose.

So --------I will be posting my work-in-progress on The Wedding Dress Project going forward.  This is just a start. 

If anyone has any suggestions for venues, let me know.  There are 15 women, from teenage to 80's, and the show will include a variety of media.  Anne JP is looking for something a little edgy, not mainstream.  This show is supposed to be thought provoking.  It is not a Project Runway fashion design show. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning, Now Back To Work

8x10 Flowers on the Fence Study
I have been doing Spring cleaning for the last couple of weeks.   I have written about learning the importance of giving yourself time to clean-up before (Allowing Time for Clean-Up).  So, I have been restocking my art supplies, cleaning up my workspace and taking the time to evaluate what I have in-progress.

I made a game plan for what I want to complete for the summer, for photography and painting. 

As far as painting goes, I have realized that I am content with working on painting landscapes this summer.  Never thought I'd say that.  But I am actually quite motivated to figure out what kind of landscapes appeal to me.  I am very early on in the learning curve, so I consider most of what I have done to date practice. 

Anyway, I didn't stop working completely.  I completed a few studies.  Flowers on the Fence (above) and Cows under the Trees (below).

 8x10 Cows under Tree Study

I put them in the grid at the lake and will refine them once I get a chance.

The Grid
Seven of the 15 openings now have studies in them.