Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Last Matisse!

I'm moving on to Gaudi later today or tomorrow!  It's time to let Matisse go, at least for now, before I get so far behind the other ladies doing this class.  We have a Facebook Page where we share our work and I'm seeing so many fabulous works of Gaudi and now Cezanne that I want to catch up and experience these different artist's styles, too.

I can't believe we have 9 artists we will be studying, see why I don't want to get further behind?  But, on the bright side the class is available for two years, so we can go back to our favorites and practice, practice, practice - I love this entire concept of "Studying Under the Masters" - {becoming an apprentice} - a big thanks to Jeanne Oliver and all of the other eight teachers!

So here is my last Matisse "Apples on a Table, Green Background" 1916.  I chose this because perspective is a tough one for me and I love how this incredibly famous artist apparently didn't give a flip!  He just painted what he liked and perspective be d*****!  And it's in a museum!!! Made me smile and relax in my art as I imagined the apples glued to the table - hahaha  Hope it does you, too!

My first sketch along side his painting.

Finished along side his!  Just couldn't get that green just right - might have to do some more work on this later!

Mine all alone - like it better when I don't have the Matisse to compare it with!  haha
Now on to Gaudi - what fun I will have! (I hope)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Matisse continued . . .

My second Matisse!  For my second try I chose one of his 1906 paintings - Marguerite Reading.  I probably used the the wrong size paper, and so it isn't the shape of his and it threw some things out of whack, but I think I got the idea!  This class is supposed to be about learning our style through study and copying the Masters and our teachers, so I'm ok with the finished picture, but no need to worry about it being mistaken as a Matisse!  haha

Clearly, I have a long way to go in really obtaining his shading and colors, but it's a fun learning process! This class is stretching me in ways I hadn't expected and I recommend it to anyone that has any interest in painting. I have several more of his paintings I want to copy and I'm anxious to move into the next class and the study of Gaudi, but I also need to take a few days and spin some yarn before I forget everything I learned at my spinning class.  So much to do - so little thyme!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Aha Moment - Gotta Love Them

I am amazed at what a class on Matisse could do to my ordinary little paintings.  Those of you who know me have seen or received  my cards with my flowers, cupcakes, pumpkins etc.  Just sitting on the paper!  Often very cute, good colors, good shading - I actually really liked them, but suddenly Friday night when I looked at a pumpkin I thought what a blank canvas!  So I painted a fence and some leaves and what a difference it made!

Note:  this may be the great pumpkin Charlie Brown has been looking for!  Look at the size against that fence!!!!! :)

Fast forward to today and looking at my pattern swatches I suddenly saw a cupcake painting sitting to the side!  It was just a cupcake and I thought - wow, that is so flat!  Just a cupcake.  I've painted tons of these and slapped them onto the front of a card and sent them out!  EEK  To all of you who might have received one, I apologize.  The intent was good, the finished product, not so much.

Look at the difference some little colored circles make on these flat cupcake watercolor pictures!

Tell me this doesn't make a difference!  Even I would like to have one - suddenly they're happy and fun!  Not that every picture I paint needs bubbles, but I have learned that a background can change a picture from a plain jane to something much more fun.

I just love when a lightbulb goes off,  an "aha" moment!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Comfort Zone - Moving on Out!

I signed up for another online art class!  I'm sure I've taken more than anyone I know.  This one came along from the suggestion of Junelle Jacobson, she is one of the teachers and when I read the information about the class I was hooked.

It seems like we should be original in our art.  I think today the emphasis is so much on originality and footnotes that we've forgotten that there really is nothing new under the sun.  Let's remember that we first heard that from Solomon way back in the Old Testament and he was known as the wisest man on earth!

This class is "Studying Under the Masters " {becoming an apprentice} and you can still sign up!  We're just in week two and it will be available for two years, so no excuses that you don't have time!  Nine very talented young artists have chosen a famous "master" and have learned their history, studied their work, and apprenticed and now are allowing us to apprentice both under them and the master artist they chose.  So far we've met Matisse and Gaudi, through Jeanne Oliver and Junelle Jacobson.  Both are artists I knew of, but didn't really know.  Learning their history, their techniques.  It is week two and Gaudi, but I've only briefly looked at the introduction as there's still just too much to learn about Matisse.

We have learned to look at patterns and recreate them on 4x6 pieces of watercolor paper, just to learn to relax and drop perfection and symmetry.  Matisse is known for patterns and they are not perfect!  They are beautiful in their imperfection.  I have spent the afternoon doing these cards and it has been freeing. Learning to look for patterns all around us and then creating a card to reflect on and possibly use in a future work of our own is all new to me, but here are the ones I have completed.

The last couple of days I pulled up the most wonderful site on the web that shows all of Matisse's work and chose a picture to copy.  I chose Blue Eyes from 1934.  This first picture is my copy beside the original on my computer screen.

This second picture is a closeup of my completed work.  Differences abound, but I'm pleased with my first attempt.

What has amazed me most is how much I have enjoyed not only trying to learn to paint like him ( I use this term very loosely), but learning about him.  He had an ongoing friendly competition with Picasso - they were friends but so very competitive.  They copied each other all of the time.  It's really how to learn different techniques and then find your own style within the practice.

A quote about them I found on the internet: Baldassari points out that Picasso once said, “If I were not making the paintings I make, I would paint like Matisse,” and Matisse said much the same about Picasso. One begins to see, when their paintings are set side by side, that their choices depended as much on their personalities, their temperaments and emotions, as on their skills and styles as painters. They were both figurative, and both abstract.

Read more: 

I've sketched out another of his pantings and will start painting soon.  Sure to be one of my next posts!

Week three will go live probably tomorrow, but I'm like a number of the other women taking this class, we're not rushing - I'm gong to hang with Matisse a while longer before I head on to Gaudi and the other remaining seven artists we will study.

For any of you that might think this would be an interesting class and you missed the link above, click on this link: Studying Under the Masters and get started!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Looking forward to Spring

We were at 75 degrees yesterday - short sleeves out in the field with the boys and now it's cooler with a forecast for 30 and freezing rain!  So as I sat this morning drinking my latte I pulled out some paper and  created my first bluebonnets of 2014, in a combination of watercolors and acrylics on watercolor paper!  Love my Atelier Interactive acrylic paints - so versatile!

Not quite finished some work still to be done, but it does make me look forward to Spring and the real thing! And I'm working on a poppy, maybe it will be ready to post tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Christmas Miracle

No pressure!  My sweet husband ask for a scarf for Christmas!  NOT just any scarf, but one that contained the fiber from all three of our boys, spun and knitted by me!  EEK!

I have to admit that I thought about this for a long time before I got started, but that was because I was terrified of the entire process.  Finally I got started cleaning, carding and preparing the fiber of each of the boys to spin.  I did about 3 oz. of each and was thrilled when I had three balls of yarn!

i began to knit and quickly knew I didn't have enough!  Maybe I would have if I had spun thinner yarn, but mine was way more thick than thin and so it wasn't going to go very far.  So, I began again!  This time I just cleaned and carded Pancho's fiber and decided to use the other two yarns for fringe.  I cleaned, carded and spun 12 oz. of fiber.  I had to ply it, wash it and have it ready to knit and I did - on December 23rd.  Finally it was dry by the Monday evening and I began to knit!  It was done by shortly afternoon on Tuesday the 24th!  Even the fringe was on - it was a miracle!!!  Oh and yes, I slept - total knitting was around 5 hours!  Unbelievable! I'm still amazed.  Bill loved it and it was wrapped around his neck this morning as our temps finally dipped to the freezing mark.

Carding the fiber

Removing fiber from the drum carder

Washed and drying

Knitting almost done

Fringe added


Ready to wrap
It was such a thrill to give him the gift he wanted.  This time last year the boys were ours but hadn't moved to our property.  I hadn't even thought of spinning or knitting.  So to be able to gift him with a little part of the boys was not only a gift to him but to me!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Return to the Brush!

It's been a long time since I picked up a paint brush, but Saturday I wanted to make a card for a friend so I painted a small flower and the bug bit me!

So last night I went up and started painting two blocks of wood.  Wood blocks (these are 4x4) are such a fun canvas.  You've got two sides and three edges to paint - so far I've just down the front or maybe it's the back of these two, but I had so much fun!

Tonight I headed up and painted another stepping stone!  I haven't done one in probably a year and I must say my soul sang!  Nothing makes me feel God's presence like painting a flower - even one that people will soon be stepping on.  All paining makes me feel close to Him, but flowers are just so special!  Seeing the girl right above this flower makes me laugh and think of my mom.  She didn't like the girls I drew, but she loved the flowers.  I love them both and miss my mom!  I think she would actually like this one!

This stepping stone will be dropped off at a friends house in a couple of days as a thank you for a delightful Christmas present.  I hope it will grace their garden for years to come.

I know there will be more painted stones soon, as I love this feeling!  I would paint all night, but tomorrow's another day and I have lots to do including a trip to my favorite wool store - preparing for my spinning class Saturday!  

Word Rebel!

WOW it's 2014!  Seems like only yesterday we thought all computers would fail and the world, as we knew it, would end on January 1, 2000!

The world certainly didn't end! But, in many ways life as I knew it did change… but not because of a computer disaster! In 2000 I had never heard of a blog, an iPhone or an iPad, now they are a constant in my life.  I hadn't started making cards, using rubber stamps, painting with acrylics or watercolors.  I didn't know about alpacas and llamas except for my involvement with the Houston Livestock Show. I didn't dream I would ever own any and I certainly didn't think I would ever spin fiber or knit!

So here we are in 2014.  I've been thinking about my word for the year since early in December but it just didn't come to me.  I thought about all of the things I already have on my plate for the new year but after much thought Jan 1 came and went with out my word! Stretch was the only word that kept popping into my head! I went to church on Sunday and knew I had just heard my word(s)!  I heard three and really like them all, so, I'm pretty sure I have to be a "word" rebel and have four. I guess that's a word a quarter!  The three words I heard Sunday were search, recognize and focus and so now my words are "stretch-search-recognize-focus!

I love being a rebel!  hahaha

When I look at my quickly filling plate, I see why these words are so important this year.  I am currently working on my 31 day December journaling class - just a little behind. I have signed up for  three art e-classes - thankfully I have all year to do them. I have a spinning class with Lexie Boeger  (Pluckyfluff) this Saturday and Sunday (stretch)  and one in  March with Jacey Boggs (super stretch) and possibly another alpaca training class in May!  Did I mention that both of my spinning classes are at my very favorite wool store - WC Mercantile in Navasota - autocorrect just tried to make that Nervosa!  haha - funny!  Along with spinning I'm learning to knit, hopefully something besides a bowl or a scarf!  I've also signed up to do the Avon 39 mile (2 day) walk toward the end of April.

As if that's not enough, I have a wish list, too!  I want desperately to take a class with Liz Kettle either in Colorado (her home) or at an Art & Soul retreat!  And I'm sure many other things will creep into my life!

Stretch -  my comfort zone
Search - for what makes my soul sing
Recognize - it and quit searching
Focus - without fear of right or wrong

What this says to me is do these varied things but truly listen for my soul to sing when I'm doing them - if it doesn't drop it or at least place it in the background!  Keep searching, but when I hear the singing - stop trying to find something to make my soul sing louder and just enjoy the music.  Focus on what I'm doing and relax and enjoy it, not worrying about right or wrong, but the joy of the activity. In all of this I must remember that sometimes the most joy comes from outside our comfort zone - I'm looking forward to an exciting 2014!

Hope all of you have one too!

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