Saturday, March 31, 2007

Our Free Fresco Demo Adventure!!

Today was such a beautiful day, Marta and I had to decide which to do, go with the Plein Aire group to the desert or go to the free fresco demo we had signed up for. It was at an art store in San Clemente, right next to the beach. We voted for the demo and left this morning at around 9 so we made the 11 oclock class with time to spare. The instructor was Russian and was very accomplished in his trade, was on the board of decorative arts and judged products and shows on faux marbles etc. He worked in NY and now has a studio in LA. His work has been on TV with Diane Sawyer etc. I know this free demo was to drum up students for the school but I couldn't help wanting to get all my questions answered here, for free! He struggled a bit with his english so much of the time he searched for the appropriate word to use. He was a bit on the scattered side, I am sure there is so much information in his head he doesn't know how to compress it for these short demos, so he rambled alot. I struggled to follow his english and his thoughts and it became exhausting by the end of the day. He thought he had all day and they ended up telling him he only had till two thirty at two. He had spent so much time talking he had pushed his actual fresco application and painting till the very end to keep us hooked. All I wanted was for him to hurry up and paint something. We behaved ourselves, but by two we were weak from a lack of food or drink and Marta, who was coming down with a cold, was fading fast. Although I found parts of the demo interesting and just learning about the complexity involved in doing frescos was amazing but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are cured from the need to persue this line of artwork. I can appreciate all the masters did to create them while I use my premixed paints in a tube on store bought paper, canvas,wallboard or any other premade surface. I do love the end result, but I think I would like a way to faux the result instead. We got some lunch at the El Adobe Mexican Resturant down by the Mission and ate outside, it was really a great adventure today.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Life Drawing Class

As I have mentioned before, I wanted to get more involved with our local Art museum so a friend and I have joined the plein aire group and we are taking a watercolor class on Thursdays for a few hours. It has been an interesting experience, some really good, others questionable. But I must say that it has felt so good to get out with other artists and just see what everyone is doing and get inspired and excited about art again. One the third Thursday of the month they have a life drawing class. Marta was going so I invited myself to tag along. Wow, it has been sooooo long since I did any life drawing. It turned out to be a wonderful night, great people, great art, music and the museum is so beautiful itself. It is an old brick building with so much character it just draws you inside. Here are a few of my very quick sketches. The model started out only giving us 2 minutes per pose, then went to 5 and so on, I found my best sketches were the ones that I only had a few minutes to do.
About the Museum: Located in the historic Mission Inn district of downtown Riverside, the Riverside Art Museum is housed in a former YWCA facility designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan. Built in 1929, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. A History Wall located in the Museum's lobby gives visitors a brief overview of Morgan's career and the transition of the YWCA into the exhibiting Museum it now is.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I did another watercolor of another one of my daughters cats. I used only 4 colors on a limited palette. I don't know how that works really, what colors are best together etc. I need alot more practice for that I guess. I am going to try and do a few others, I really don't like the paper I am using but its on a block and its a good size so I will try and use it up. I seems to grap the paint and likes to "ball up" when you apply multiple layers. Its not good.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I'm digging, I only have a week

I actually started this before the alleged watercolor class so I don't know if it counts. I have seen some paintings that I love, other artists work and decided to play a bit, try some new things. I have decided that I love color, I always knew that but I am now saying it out loud! For me personally, much of the story is told with color, its what makes my heart sing. I thought I would paint my daughters cat, I may do her several times, differently, for fun. Here is my first attempt, I actually added some oil pastels, just a bit to see how the watercolor reacted with them. Some of the colors did well while others I didn't care for, its all an experiment anyway. I think it looks a bit like an oil or acrylic painting. I really had fun doing it, and I am pleased with the way it turned out too! It is supposed to be stylized version of her cat, not a illustration, how did I do? What does this painting tell you about me that I haven't told you here? Anything?

Friday, March 09, 2007

People who rub us the wrong way, do they sharpen us?

I was invited to attend an open studio class for watercolor today at the museum. I was very excited since I haven't really been able to do any classes since I took a watercolor class when my kids were in elementary school. The class consisted mainly of older women who were working on varies projects, one in oil, one in acrylic and 3 of them were working in watercolor. My girlfriend Marta told me to bring some work so the teacher could get a feel of where I was artistically. The teacher said she was going to save me for last since it would take longer. When I put up all of my small study pieces, which are posted here usually, she began to say that I had the technique down and what was I hoping to do now. I told her I would like to become looser in my style and not feel like I had to stick every detail into each piece. She said that art has to talk to you, that you have to feel something about the piece. That the viewer should know something about the artist by her paintings in order to want to buy it for their home. I think I agree with that, but what makes you or I feel something will be as different as each of us are. She said that she felt I was a good painter, had the techniques down but didn't show anything of myself in my paintings. She said I was an "illustrator", able to reproduce an image but that my paintings were kind of boring. She went on to make some other comments, all said nicely but the words still hit hard. Here I sat in front of all these women, who were now hugging their own paintings, being called on the carpet. I told her I was ready to make the next step in my art and she said you have to dig inside and figure out who you are and then say it. I think she believes that your subject matter reflects who you are and that each painting we do should have some deep physiological meaning. I tend to believe that if I am a good artist I should be able to make something ordinary and boring beautiful based on colors and shading etc. That everything doesn't have a deep seeded thought process just a good outcome. Anyway, needless to say it was a hard day but it was thought provoking. I have been thinking and thinking, chewing over all the things she said that continue to run through my mind. How do I show myself in my paintings? How do I tell a story with my art? Do I just reproduce images to spare myself rejection. Does every painting have to say something or can I just paint an orange to paint an orange? Is my mural business side reflecting on my personal art side? How do I take my art to that next level, is it going to be a painful, personal, soul searching journey? Interesting concepts, makes me think about how complex we really are. I paid for four classes, I will go and do the assignments and "dig deep" as she said, to find a voice ( I only have a week). I told her maybe I need therapy instead? As I sat that last hour I just had my paint brush out and started to just doodle paint to kill the time. I wasn't following a picture or a model just from my head. She asked what that meant to me and where was I going to take it? That my assignment was to take and paint something that reflects me? I would love to hear comments on this, do your paintings all say something about you? Do they carry deep meaning or do you paint what you see. When you are depressed do your paintings become dark? Do you think that maybe that is what separates the painters from the artists? Why did illustrator sound like a bad word?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Blood Oranges

Well I managed to find a few minutes to paint today! I love when I can steal away and paint. I have several fruits and vegetables that I have been dying to paint but haven't yet. Due to the threat of rot I decided to paint the ones I thought may not survive another few days first, then I will try to get to the rest. I found asparagus and want to paint it too, maybe tomorrow.

These blood oranges were given to me by another artist friend and she has already managed to paint them beautifully, I was so jealous. They are called blood oranges because when you cut them their juice looks red like blood and they stain also. Not as sweet as a regular navel orange but still very good. I love the blushed skin that resembles an orange that is bruised with red. Here is my version, thank you Marta for sharing from your tree.
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