Visiting Vietnam

Visiting Vietnam

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The past two weeks I have been watching Ken Burns documentary “Vietnam” with my husband and my adult son. Tonight is the last of 10 episodes for a total of 18 hours of superb historical storytelling.

I was a young girl when the war broke out and grew to a young adolescent at its end. I don’t recall knowing about the war during my childhood. I don’t think my parents were dialed in on the daily news. My two older sisters were teenagers in high school and the war lasted into their young adult lives. It didn’t touch my life personally back then.

These past two weeks were difficult to absorb. Difficult to watch so much destruction to life. All kinds of life…. human life, plant life, animals…

War is hell. There is no reason for it in my small opinion. It is simply sad…dark, colorless, gray…
I came upon a reference photo from a website I use that allows artists to use copyright free photo references for artistic creation. The website is called PaintMyPhoto pmp-art.com. I appreciate the generosity of these photographers to allow artists to create from their composition and perspective. The photo I used for this piece today is posted below.

I am reminded today to be grateful for life, for living in a peaceful community, for all the abundance around me. I do not take these gifts for granted. How ’bout you? What are you grateful for?

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A Favorite Subject for me!

A Favorite Subject for me!

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I am a lover of felines. I have four cats of my own along with one lovebird! This wonderful feline is not my cat but one I see often. When he can, he sneaks into the piano room of my teacher’s house and promptly takes a seat at the bench ready for attention. Cairo is such a character. An Abyssinian, he is vocal and quite affectionate. His emerald green eyes and too large for his adorable face ears, enchant me each time I am graced with a visit.

My goal today was to capture his eyes and leave the rest loose and expressive. I have included my reference photo below. For the hour I painted this piece, I felt like I was having a conversation with this photogenic feline!

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A Cloudy Obession

A Cloudy Obession

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I remember this day driving north to San Francisco with my daughter to take in our last ballet of the season. The hillsides of highway 280 were very green as we had just ended a very wonderfully wet winter season here on the central coast of California.

I drove and she took photos. The clouds were plentiful and fluffy and the sky a deep cerulean blue. We were in the midst of spring.

Clouds continue to fascinate me and challenge me at the easel. Seems I’ve done hundreds of cloud studies. I don’t think I’ll ever be done gazing up at these mysterious figures in the sky. Hopefully, I will keep my eye on the road as well….

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Clouds and Drama

Clouds and Drama

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Today I am visiting my daughter at her college campus. She attends UC Berkeley, the seat of the free speech movement. With the country’s political climate in a series of constant storms, I thought it fitting to share this cloud study I did from a lesson I followed along with master pastelist Marla Bagetta marlabaggetta.com I have learned most of what I put into my art practice from generous artists like Marla Baggetta, Karen Margulis, Bethany Fields, Susan Jenkins, to name a few. They share their knowledge and techniques online via YouTube It is a time-honored tradition to pass on what you know in the art world and for artists to practice what they see.

There is a planned march on campus tomorrow. These demonstrations lately bring to the news the widening rift between political ideologies. Sometimes rhetoric leads to violence…it has me worrying sometimes for my daughter’s safety… whatever side of the coin one may land, it would sit better with us mothers if the kids could just get along on the playground and avoid a storm…..

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Resurrecting an old painting

Resurrecting an old painting

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Today was my “domestic chores” day. A run to the pet store, the grocery store, the water store….My goal was to be finished by 12:30. Accomplished! After lunch it was time to give myself some studio time. While I was out doing my chores, I made a little detour to a local art store. I can’t seem to get out of any art store with out a minimum of a $50 tab. Fifty four dollars was today’s total which bought me four 18 x24 sheets of Mi Tientes Touch sanded pastel paper. They come in a variety of colors. I chose a light sky blue, a rich beige, warm brown, and black. I didn’t use any of those sheets of paper today. Instead I rummaged through some rejects and decided to try again with this autumn tree.

One of my goals as a pastel artist is to be loose with my marks. Try not to stay attached to the
reference image, and make decisions about use of color…move away from using local color. Habits die hard. I don’t feel I accomplished those goals today, but I did improve upon an old reject. For me, success means enjoying the process. After my “chores” today, I really enjoyed myself!

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