Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gouache en plein air

I signed up to take a plein air class with Bernie Dellario to learn about techniques of painting plein air in gouache.  I think it will be a little more freer in execution than watercolor, but with the same efficiency of supplies...just a palette that can be transported dry, a few brushes and a surface.  We had our first session last Saturday at a park near my townhouse, Folger Park.  I should look it up, but the same Folgers who supported the Shakespeare Library and Theater may have funded  this park.  It is a quiet place in the neighborhood.  Bernie told us about the materials and methods he uses and then we went to work.  I decided to paint what may be boring to some, but the composition was challenging.  There is a huge cement marker (I don't  know what else to call it) set off with benches on either side.  What I like is the texture of the trees behind, contrasted with the wall of the marker.  I also noticed some interesting angles in the sidewalks and grass.  I wanted to give it a try.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of wind and I was seized with a huge allergy attack.  I simply could not finish my painting and had to give up.  I saved my start and will go at it again next week. I am not showing it here because it was a simple start.  

These are my painting companions, David and Bernie.  I think they made it through.  The good thing is that the wind made the atmosphere so clear.  I loved Bernie's approach and look forward to learning from him.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Museum Day with Suzanne

Suzanne and I met Thursday to go to museums.  It is always great fun to catch up on each other's news and to enjoy some art at the same time.  We first looked at the National Gallery of Art, focusing on works recently acquired from the Smithsonian.  We also saw a show of works by Piero di Cosimo.  They are very religious and very Italian.  We went to the gift shop and made a few purchases before walking over to the American Portrait Gallery where we had a little snack before taking in the art.  

Lunch is bought in a nice little coffee shop, where the one person on duty made me a grilled cheese sandwich to go with my tomato-basil soup....while he was tending to barista duties and manning the cash register.  A very nice guy.  The really great thing, though, is eating in the Kogod Courtyard, which is completely covered with undulating glass panels.  It is so light and airy, and I often see someone I know.  I did that day, when I saw Tim Krepp.

The museum itself is designed so that one side is the American Art Gallery and the other side is the Portrait Gallery. We were interested in the Portrait Gallery that day.  The most memorable art was that of Elaine de Kooning.  There is a video where she does a demo painting from life of the painter Aristodimos Kaldis.  It was just amazing.  It looks like she is just throwing paint on a huge canvas, but it comes to life when she gets to the facial features.  This picture, of course, doesn't do it justice.

She painted Kaldis once a year for several years.  I can see why he was fun to paint.  I have a much greater appreciation of her having seen that video and the exhibit.  I learned that she usually paints a subject several times.  I think she did something like 30 paintings of John F. Kennedy and about 50 sketches.  Here's a picture of her in her studio...pulled from the internet, but it is part of the exhibit, too.

We also saw some interesting art from Time magazine covers in the 60s.  It was surprizingly diverse.  We then went to the gift shop and met Walter for dinner at Ella's.  Fun day.  I'm glad we have kept the friendship, Suzanne!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fisher Girl

Yesterday I went to the Luce Foundation for American Art to a weekly sketching group.  I have gone before, but it is at the same time that I usually pick up my granddaughter from school, and so I haven't been for a long time. It is on Tuesdays and now I won't be picking her up on Tuesday, so I hope to make this a regular thing.

It is a lot of fun.  One of the staff organizes a weekly challenge.  They provide all the materials--even stools.  The challenge yesterday was to sketch one of the sculptures.  I chose to do "Fisher Girl"--a life-size sculpture done in about 1858 by William Randolph Barbee.  It is marble, so she was very still.  I used pencils, charcoal and eraser and worked for about an hour.  I had a little trouble getting into it, as it has been awhile, but I had fun.  After about an hour, everyone reconvenes and shares their work.  Yesterday, there were people who had never done sketching and also at least one professional artist.

We started with a blind contour, but I am not posting that.  It was pathetic.

I don't know why this nude woman is making a fishing net.  She has a lovely garland of shells in her hair, which is lovely.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


One of my Christmas gifts---yes, I am still working on my thank yous---was going to an Emmy Lou Harris concert with Louisa and Chantel.  We had amazing seats and it was a great concert.  I have great memories from it.  The gift was from Louisa.  We had a really special girl's night out, and saw some great artists in tribute to Emmy Lou as well as Emmy Lou herself.   I heard it will be a DVD and that will be great, but it isn't out yet.   There may be a PBS special, too.

One of the highlights for me was seeing Kris Kristofferson.  The last time I went to one of concerts was in the 70s when they had to stop it early because he was too drunk to give much of a show.  His voice has softened, but he is more of a steady performer now.

Sheryl Crowe was another highlight and Vince Gill provided back-up for almost eveeryone.  He really enjoyed himself.

Alison Krause, Mavis Staples, some new young bands.....and I could go on and on.  It was great!

The show was over 3 hours and we got our money's worth...or Louisa's.  Lots

Friday, March 6, 2015

Icicles from Ken

My friend Ken was here at Christmas and brought a very unusual present--hand make icicles.  I hung them over my kitchen window and, as of March 7, they are still there....and it is still icy outside.  I will take them down when the temperature reaches 50 degrees.

Ken also brought a very nice Oregon Pinot Noir, which I am saving for a special occasion.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TY Jeff--a diamond necklace!

My brother Jeff came for Christmas and we had a great visit.  It is always fun to have him as a guest.  He gave me a diamond necklace.  It's a diamond mounted in a snowflake and is so sparkly and pretty.  Love it, and love Jeff.

The nice thing is I can wear it after Christmas, too.  In fact, I am wearing it we expect a big cold snap this weekend.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Sweet Little Bird!

Jenifer gave me this sweet little bird which is perched in the hall upstairs, where I go by it several times a day.  It is ceramic and is always very cheerful.  Jen also gave me a watercolor a day calendar.  It gives a painting tip a day, and is fun.  So far, I have kept up with it...pretty much.

It was also fun to have Jen here for Christmas.  We had lots of good fun, and went to Lincoln's Cottage and saw "The Imitation Game."  That's in addition, of course, to good times with the Smith family.  

Fun to have you for Chirstmas, Jen, and thanks for the little bird.