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.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Billowing Cloud" (Barnegat Bay) Painting

"Billowing Cloud"
8x8 Oil

Over the winter, I re-worked this painting then put it in the window of my studio.  I sanded off some of the layers to make the transitions softer, and the surface more interesting.  I thought the colors and the reflections were working, so no change to them.

Yesterday, I have to admit, I was debating whether or not to add an element of human interest to provide scale, like a boat, when a client came in and said he wanted it because it reminded him of sailing on Barnegat Bay, NJ in a regatta before a storm.  

He said that the bay is very shallow (only 7 to 12 feet) and the waters can be flat with big clouds in the distance.  When I looked up photos of the bay, I can see why he made the connection.

It was good to learn (once again) that "less is more" and I am very happy that this painting will have a new home.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Ask The Moon" Painting - Updated

"Ask the Moon"
12 x 9 Oil 

I reworked and re-titled this painting to make the moon glow more.  And I think "Ask the Moon"  is a better title than just "Moon."  Like someone is up there...a friend you could talk to.

This painting is almost impossible to photograph well, so please stop by my studio to see it in person. I put it in the window for passersby.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Drawing Tip

Comparing the painting-in-progress to my photo reference

I thought I show again on of my favorite drawing tips.  I photograph the painting-in-progress alongside my painting reference and then turn them both to black and white.

By eliminating color, you can quickly see if you are on the mark, and where to make changes to your drawing.
Color Comparison

In "Country Road" I thought my drawing was a lot worse than it actually was.  When I turned it to black and white, I could see that I should quit fussing with the road and fields, and concentrate more on the sky and the clouds.  

The black and white comparison step helped me push through to the end.  


Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Lamoka Layers" Painting

"Lamoka Layers"
12 x 16 Oil

Lamoka is one of the lakes between here and our cottage on Keuka lake so we pass it frequently under many different lighting conditions.  One of my favorites is when there is still fog and low clouds lifting up off the lake against the sun when I am driving back to Corning in the morning.
I also wanted to experiment with Chromatic Black, a color developed by Gamblin.  It is actually a mix of Phthalo Emerald and Quinacridone Red.  My brother-in-law had it in his studio when we visited last November. I had never seen or used the product before.

Blacks (such as Ivory Black) are often avoided because they can make your paint colors look dirty (ugly).

Gamblin says their product, Chromatic Black, can be used to darken and de-saturate paint colors without dirtying the color.  Normally, I do this by adding its complement, its color wheel opposite, such as a little red mixed into a green.
For "Lamoka Layers", I used a very limited palette of zinc buff, instead of white, the chromatic black, a turquoise I bought over the winter to try also, and a cool red-orange(vermilion) and a warm pale yellow (Naples).

Yesterday, my "framing consultant", Ellen, came to the studio and we settled on silver (versus gold or black) because it brings out the layers.  So, I finished up the foreground, and signed it and hung it on the wall.

It quickly found interest and is now on hold to be picked up.

Today is another day of Glassfest and I am looking forward to spending time with all of the visitors who have come to town for the event.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Country Road" Painting

"Country Road"
12 x 16 Oil Painting

I really enjoyed working on this painting of a back road near our cottage on Keuka lake.  It was fun to develop the deep sense of space through the use of the road.  I used bold warm colors.  And I worked a little larger.  It is 12 x 16.  (My grid landscapes were 8 x 10.)

I had recently signed it but had yet to decide how to frame it or name it.  A very nice visitor, new to Corning, came in yesterday and solved both.   She wanted it without a frame and helped me name it.  It is now on its way to a new home.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Approaching Storm" Painting

"Approaching Storm"
16 x 20 Makeup Painting

"Approaching Storm" was completed a few months ago, but it has been very difficult to photograph so I have postponed posting it until now.  

This week I used the new camera Tom gave me -- a Lumix GF6--  and I think I have found a way to eliminate distracting reflections and get the colors fairly accurate.

I painted it using warm and cool versions of Bobbi Brown eye makeup which I applied with water and brushes.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Summer Trio" Painting

"Summer Trio"
20 x 16 Watercolor

Thought I would show you how the watercolor from the workshop I took over the winter at the Burchfield-Penney Museum in Buffalo looks once it has been matted and framed.

It is now hanging in my studio among the other work.  And it fits right in.  It is my first official watercolor painting.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

The 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Joaquin Sorolla

1893 Guide to the Art Pavilions

Yesterday I found this book, a 110-year old guide to the art pavilions at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, at the used book sale at the fire hall which benefits our local library.

I have recently begun reading Erik Larson's book, The Devil and the White City, about the architects and the serial killer at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

I thought it would be fun to have something from the actual event while reading the book.  I was curious about the notes that the owner of the book, Eva Scramsburg, had written about what she had seen.  She had marked certain paintings that had made an impression on her.

Plus, when I looked for Joaquin Sorolla in the "Spain" section,  he was listed with 5 paintings, and I thought that was pretty cool.  I have Sorolla on my list of artists to learn more about.
 Another Marguerite (Otra Margarita)
When I got home, I was looking up what paintings he had shown, including one called Other Marguerite, discovered that Sorolla had won the equivalent of "Best in Show" at the fair!
Sorolla's Portrait of President Taft
He became very popular afterwards, made many connections, one of which led to a portrait of President Taft.

Two months ago, I didn't even know who Sorolla was, I will admit.  Lea Wight had raved about him at her portrait workshop, and showed us a book of his work.
Hispanic Society of America 
She also talked about going to see his work at the Hispanic Society of America and how fabulous it was.   I put going there on my mental list of "Things to Do" the next time I go to NYC.

So, today I googled him to learn more.  He is known as the painter of sunlight.  A contemporary and friend of John Singer Sargent.  He was wildly popular in America and in Europe during his time.  He died in 1923.

 link to Sotheby's description of Sorolla 
It was exciting to learn that he studied with a photographer and that is one of the reasons that they think he was an extraordinary painter of light.  (Click about to hear a short video about him.)
There is an upcoming show on him at the San Diego Museum of Art, from May 31st - August 26.  (which is on my I'd love to see that show! list)   This video does a good job explaining him, and how he handled paint to capture the effects of sunlight.
(Click on image above)

I look forward to seeing his work in person someday.  And I am glad I bought the art catalogue from the World's Fair.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Annie's Suggestions and "Keuka Sunset" Painting

"Keuka Sunset"
6 x 9 Oil

Our neighbor, Annie, gave me some good advice last week when I was lamenting about my struggles with procrastination.

First, she said to make a list of 5 things to do for the day, and then put two things on it which you have already done!  Now that made me laugh.  A laugh is always good to improve your mood.

But it worked.  I looked for something that was almost done, instead of focusing on what I hadn't done.

 "Keuka Sunset" is a painting I worked on over the winter.  It is very loose.  I played using with lots of color and obvious paint strokes.  I used a photograph I took of the sunset through our willow trees, but I also exaggerated this information with feelings/memories of what the colors might have been.

Annie's other suggestion was to go for a walk.  "It always helps."  I took that advice, too, and it did help.

Thanks, Annie.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Barn" Painting

This Week's Effort:  "Barn" Painting

Procrastination is my nemesis.  It has been a lifelong struggle. 

If too much times passes, I lose my mojo.  It becomes very difficult to get myself started again.

Recently I read that the cause is the overwhelming aspect of the total project and not breaking it down into smaller pieces.

The solution is to do persuade yourself to work on it for just a few minutes.

Then, the Zeigarnik Effect kicks in.   The Ziegarnik Effect says our brains hold on to unfinished tasks.  In other words, we like to finish what we start.   http://sourcesofinsight.com/why-do-we-procrastinate/

So, that's what I did this week.  I convinced myself to try another make-up painting and to do a little on it each day.

It's not perfect but it is progress.