Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kingman area

We took a sunrise photo jaunt yesterday morning and got the one above with the spooky cloud below the horizon. There was so much moisture remaining in the atmosphere from the rains of Thanksgiving Day that these low clouds were everywhere. We had a very cold and rainy Thanksgiving Day, but a nice potluck feast here at the RV park where we are staying until tomorrow. They baked three luscious turkeys on the huge stone barbeque and everyone brought all the traditional goodies. Other than getting too wet and cold, it was a nice day. Friday, our oldest son and his family came for our second Thanksgiving feast. We smoked a pork loin before we left home and I used Crockpots in the motorhome for the rest of the feast (see the Crockpot blog link on the really works!).

Today we went to the top of Hualapai Mountain to the County Park there. There are good vistas from above, I took series of photos to stitch for panos but will wait until home to upload them to Flickr and direct you there to see them. We drove for HOURS on a one-lane, 4-wheel-drive trail to come down the other side of the mountain and come back to the motorhome. We thought it would be more picturesque than going back by way of the interstate. It was picturesque, but got quite tiresome after a few hours of rocking around up there over that rocky trail. The other photo with this blog entry is from about halfway down the other side, we were up pretty high and saw some great mountains across the valley. Lots of Manzanita bushes and these silvery white bushes (I wish I was so knowledgeable to be able to identify them for you) contrasting with the abundant greens. It was an experience for our memory books for sure.

Home tomorrow, nice sunny and breezy day yesterday and today. Hopefully that will hold until we get home.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Trip to Kingman

We drove to Kingman, AZ yesterday afternoon, most of the way in rain and fog. The reward for this was to arrive to the area around Kingman just in time for sunset and a huge, very vivid rainbow. This rainbow lasted and was very visible for almost 15 minutes and as the sun set through a small opening in the clouds we had the treat of seeing this magical color display. The rainbow stretched from one end of the valley to the other. It is around 48 degrees right now on Thanksgiving morning but not raining presently.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, have a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hooked up and ready to go!

We are hooked up and ready to go this afternoon on our Thanksgiving adventure. I am giving thanks here for the friendship and support I have been given through this blog, it truly is a valuable tool for artists. The human factor cannot be ignored, either.

As you can see the street and sidewalk in front of our house is wet, imagine that, rain here on the desert! We need it so I won't grouse about having to travel in the rain, but I hope it doesn't become too stormy for our three-hour trip this afternoon.

As long as we have good WiFi I will use this blog as a travelogue and post photos of what is going on. Our oldest son and his family will be joining us for our Thanksgiving feast on Friday so that will be fun. We also plan, weather permitting, to scoot around the area for interesting photo ops while there.

I wish all who read this blog the very best of turkey days, good left-overs and great fun with family and friends. God Bless....Susan

Monday, November 24, 2008

Glade Creek Grist Mill WIP 6

I have been working on this painting again, lots! I have just submitted it to the watercolor workshop gang for critique. I don't want to continue fussing with it because I think I could easily over-detail death! I have spent more hours working on this painting than any other I have done. This is because the subject matter makes me reach out of my comfort zone and figure things out I have not tried before. I know this is necessary for growth, but it has really caused me to stretch!

If anyone sees anything they'd like to change speak now or forever hold your peace. I'm leaving it on the Homosote board until after Thanksgiving in case I need to do something else, then it will go into an antique bronze metal frame. The image size is 16x24, watercolor on Arches 140-lb cold press.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surprise Sunrise - 11/23/08

We took another breakfast picnic to the desert here in Surprise to capture more sunrise shots. Yesterday's sunrise was so nice, this morning's was less spectacular due to the lack of cloud bands near where the sun rose. It was a nice thing to do, anyway. It was quite cold this morning, as compared to the last breakfast picnic we had in this spot in September!

The shot with the most blue is the first one I took after the tripod and camera were set up. I love the colors in this. The other shot was of the more distant clouds at that time, they were more of a light coral color. I shot many of the actual sunrise, but due to a remote trigger malfunction (okay, the photographer was not noticing that it wasn't actually taking any photos!) I do not have any of those to share. Drat! One of these days I will have everything ready to go at the right moment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Razor Blade Painting - First Try

At the Arizona Art Guild meeting Tuesday night we watched an excellent demo by John Erwin on painting with razor blades and India ink. This is sort of like using razor blades for palette knives and is a two-step process where you create the architectural elements first with the razor and ink and then do watercolor washes over it. He demonstrated this technique by painting a magnificent Italian village complete with towers, domed buildings, etc. I chose, for my experiment with this concept, a far simpler Taos Pueblo complex. I also have another pueblo scene ready to go that has more to it so I will try that, also.

While I dislike the shade covering I wound up with after playing around with the ink too much, I do think this method is a good way to loosen up and do something different than my usual "style" sometimes. We sure had fun working with these at the art club yesterday afternoon! And, I didn't cut myself one time working with those razor blades...hooray!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sandy's Bridge

I asked Sandy Maudlin for permission to copy her painting in my Beginning Watercolor II class as a way to show the students nice mass foliage techniques and the "value of values". I loved her painting and was grateful for her permission to work with this. It did work out to be a good lesson for us to work on. This is my demo painting. For my students seeing this, after class I darkened some of the values where needed, added some branches to the trees and did some spattering in the foreground.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Wish I Hadna....

I am at the point in this painting where I am soooooo wishing I had not done several things. I think I cleared up (as much as possible) the foreshortening problem with the front right corner of the roof. Now, I am wishing I had not done an underpainting as I am feeling as if I had painted myself into a corner. I have few options for the troublesome rock/stream area since I have painted the darkest values with the blue. I promise to try my next project like this without an underpainting and see if that works better. In the meantime, I am plodding along trying to do this without messing up what I do like about this painting. Stay tuned for how this goes from here on may be cropped down to a landscape orientation with just the mill and middle ground rocks! I know we never learn or advance our skills if we only paint what we know and are comfortable with, but I think I may have pushed myself farther than I want to go at this point! I am stepping away from the painting for a breath of fresh air and, hopefully, a new perspective.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The same as below!

Okay, as below, I took this painting to the Vanguard Artists meeting this afternoon for a critique. They found problems with the foreshortened roofline of the right part of the front-facing, vertically aligned part of this mill. I am unsure of how to deal with this problem, but I will figure something out! If nothing else, I will extend those wonderful Fall foliage limbs over to hide those bothersome details! I saw that on the reference photo but thought they were not significant to the painting....WRONG! We will see how this pans out in future WIPs. Considering, pondering, exercising caution! Susan

Glade Creek Grist Mill - WIP 4

Here is the little apparent progress made after three hours of painting yesterday. I am approaching all of these stages slowly, but I thought after three hours it would have more added than is apparent here. Anyway, I am slowly glazing on colors for the rocks and stonework of the mill, adding more detail to the wood in the building, etc. I love the detail work but it takes time to do it as I want to. I see so many hard edges in the underpainting of the rocks that I may have to switch to doing the water and rocks next just to soften those edges and not have to see them anymore. I still have to define the stonework mortar in the building and waterwheel support wall but might wait on that until after I attack those rocks in the water.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Glade Creek Grist Mill - WIP 3

I am still working on this, slowly but surely. It seems that in November my art world just explodes with activity, most of which takes me away from the creation of the art! So, this will probably be a work in progress for the foreseeable future. I do plan on taking it with me to this afternoon's watercolor group session and seeing what I can get done in three hours there. I love the fellowship of painting with like-minded (watercolorists!) artists and find it both relaxing and stimulating at the same time. The feedback and ideas exchanged are invaluable and I am always surprised that so many artists prefer painting in their own studios, on their own, like they find painting with others too distracting. While I enjoy my painting time in my studio, I always welcome painting in a group as well.

I was reading Rhonda Carpenter's excellent blog and she announced that she was celebrating her second "blogiversary", she has been posting to her art blog for two years now. This made me go back through the archives and realize that my blogiversary should have been celebrated on October 11, as I posted my first fledgling blogerisms on 10/11/06! Wow. A fellow Vanguard member introduced himself to me yesterday and told me how much he enjoyed reading my blog, "from start to finish"! So, even though I don't always have others commenting on my blog, I frequently hear from people about how often they check in with my blog to see what I have been getting up to. I love the journaling aspect of blogging in that it causes me to organize my thoughts a bit about what I am working on and thinking about in my so-called creative process.

Stay tuned for whatever today's efforts bring when I post WIP 4 of this painting tonight (hopefully!). Rhonda commented on the prior WIP of this painting that I should be careful to include more of that red color of the trees on the right in other parts of the painting. I did pay attention (thanks, Rhonda!) and punched up the red on the left, and that waterwheel is a warm red color but that will be done at the very last step for this painting. I was taking enough of a chance in adding the red of the trees since I haven't painted the rocks on the right rock face yet and I hate how any red will bleed badly if not careful. So, no splashing of paint in that area...just go slowly, Susan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More on Artist of the Month for AAG

The Arizona Artists Guild newsletter has been published online and has an article about my being the October 2008 Artist of the Month. If you would like to read this article and see the photo of me with the painting, the link is:
I had this painting on display at this last weekend's ArtChix show and it garnered many comments from visitors, especially those who had been to Alaska. Many have such vivid memories of the beauty of Denali, I am among them!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Desert Sky

One of the monthly projects for the online Watercolor Workshop is to paint this sky from a photo provided by the moderator. We could make it with whatever landscape elements we wanted, but it should be of this desert sky. Since I was at my ArtChix sale table this weekend I thought I would do a "demo" while there and did this project painting. It was fun to work on, stayed fairly loose with it and met the requirements of the project.
The sale was moderately succcessful for me, but the new advertising/sign restrictions placed upon us by the HOA here in the community did not help draw in many people, and then there is the problem of the economy. Sigh. Hopefully our new administration, when begun, will be more successful in averting disaster than the current one has and will have some magical means to right the wrongs with the stock market. Enough politicism, I'll be quiet now.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Glade Creek Grist Mill - WIP 2

I have had two painting sessions working on this 16 x 24-inch painting, but failed to take a WIP photo after the first session. This is the Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock State Park in West Virginia. I have been granted permission to paint from the excellent photos taken by Bob Harris on a recent RV trip to this area. His photos were taken in somewhat failing light, but with that peachy sunlight glow that just begged to be painted. I want to capture the warm glow, in addition to the wonderful blue rocks and water that were in the photo. This one was made for the complements of blue and orange! I have already painted this mill in sepia twice and have fallen in love with the charm of this place. Hopefully, some day we can travel to this wonderful area and see it in real life.

I have the background foliage partially finished and the underpainting mostly done to set the middle ground and foreground values. Since I have been preparing for the first ArtChix sale of the season here I have not been able to paint much, but will keep on working on this one. I like it so far. But, as has been said before, "tis many a slip twixt cup and lip" so I want to post it "just in case".

Speaking of ArtChix, if you are in the area do stop by and see what we have going on this weekend at the Sun City Grand Art Club. We have all been painting this summer in preparation for our ArtChix events!