Doing the Happy Artist Dance

Pastel Class was today. My verbal editor was nowhere around and I found myself saying every ornery thought that flitted through my head. But we all painted like crazy and sang Bee Gees songs together as we painted. I love those guys.
Went right from class to the dentist to have a molar extracted (a barbaric, brutal experience, I might say.) I came home to find a postcard from the San Antonio Art League saying my "Morning Flight" pastel painting had been accepted and has gotten an award. Now, knowing what that award may be will have to wait until the reception on April 1st. This will be the first year I've gotten to attend the reception as it's always been on the same date as the one for the Austin Pastel Society's exhibition. My loyalty to APS has taken precedence those other years, so I'm looking forward to being at the SAAL Museum for the festivities! Cheek and jaw throbbing, I'm smiling on the inside.
Tomorrow I find out if either "Evening Comfort" or "Holding On" were accepted into the Salon International. I'm trying not to have my hopes up, but I still have a thread of hope..... and I'm hanging by a thread.
Tomorrow is also my day to paint with Donna and Mary. I may whine and moan all the while about my assaulted mandible, but I'm going to paint, By Golly!
Karen has taken good care of me this evening and filled me full of Vicodin, then Ibuprofen and Pina Coladas. Ice pack on, ice pack off. Ice pack on, ice pack off. My brain-spin got me back up to check email and to post this entry. Now, to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream.

Evening Comfort done!

Dad suggested the title "Unqualified Companions" for this painting. I like it a lot, but thought I'd choose a title for the mood vs the characters creating it, so "Evening Comfort," it is.
This took four days of painting pretty solidly. I'm rushing it (with the flower girl painting) to Adtech for them to make slides. The slides are due on Wednesday! Cross your fingers, folks.
Tomorrow I do the pastel portrait demonstration in Kerrville for the Kerrville Arts Club. Karen moved heaven and earth to find someone to teach her classes tomorrow and will go with me to run the video camera and be support. I'm so glad!
I've been watching Pollyanna and Swiss Family Robinson today on tv while I painted. Loved it. I remember seeing them in Collinsville, Oklahoma at the Crown theater when I was growing up. Movies cost 35 cents, if I recall correctly. Ok, so I'm old.
Off to shower and race the paintings to Adtech.......

Revision of Sadie

My canvas shipment still didn't come in today, so I reworked some of this little portrait for my friend Karen. I moved Sadie's nose and mouth up just a fraction. We'd both looked at the first version and agreed that I'd gone a little long with her button nose. I like this better.
Pastel class was today and we discussed something that had been on my mind over the last several days. Criticism. How we offer it, how we handle it, when it's out of line, when it's useful. Twice over the last couple of weeks I've received detailed unsolicited criticism (once from a complete stranger and once from a local artist acquaintance) which felt impertinent and unwelcome to say the least. I much prefer to invite critique from those whose eye I respect and only when I have a specific problem I'm working to resolve. I realize I will have to handle this issue with rude or thoughtless people over the course of my career as an artist and should be prepared with words to silence them quietly and quickly. It makes me value even more my beloved artist friends who have some social skills as well as their artistic skill. Bless them!
I can't wait to start this next painting. I'm fairly chomping at the bit.

Sadie, Karen Wagoner's granddaughter

I spent part of my day painting this small oil on 11"x 14" gessoed panel of little Sadie. Karen took the photo in December, I think. I'm not sure why my camera is emphasizing the yellows in this painting... at least on my monitor it seems so.
This was a fun project while I wait for the canvas to be delivered for my next painting. Thought it would come in today, but perhaps tomorrow.
Tomorrow (today) is my pastel class, marking one week before I do the portrait demonstration for the Kerrville Arts Club Tuesday the 20th. Jane Goosby has volunteered to be my subject that day. Should be much fun.
Nighty night, All!

Photo session tonight for new painting!

A couple of days ago I was talking with a patient, Tracy, about the new painting I've had in mind and mentioned I needed a model when suddenly she came into focus for me and I couldn't believe she was the ONE! Luckily, she agreed. I'd been speaking to another patient, Linda, earlier about the same painting, saying I was looking for a dog to be in the painting, preferably a greyhound or whippet for the long face and elegant profile I wanted. She said, "I have a greyhound." Omigosh. So tonight I called them both at 5:30 p.m. and they said they'd come at 7:30. Peanut and Linda came a bit early so we had time to acclimate her to her surroundings before Tracy arrived, right on time. The four of us had a ball arranging Tracy and Peanut on the sofa and taking lots of digital photos then running to the computer to see what we'd done. We did that four times and I think we got enough variations that it should be possible to piece together a great composite of face/arm/hand/shawl/dog/lighting. The canvas will arrive from Jerry's Artarama via UPS tomorrow or Tuesday. I may not see the light of day for the next several days while I see if it's possible to get it painted by the 18th or 19th. Then it'll go to the photographer to have slides made and I'll hand-deliver it with the entry fee to the Greenhouse Gallery for the Salon International on the 21st. I don't truly think it's likely to have an entry accepted, but I promised myself last year I'd at least enter something this year. I need to honor that promise. I figure if it's not accepted at least I'll have an interesting painting to my credit. I'm so excited! Thank you Tracy! Thank you, Linda! Thank you, Peanut!

Sketch of Beautiful Sisters

This was a commissioned sketch from many images sent by email and grouped together. The lighting is very different on the sister on the left from the lighting on the other two, but there was nothing to be done about that. It was done with charcoal, black and white, on grey Canson paper. 11" x 14." It took me 9-10 hours of drawing and probably two hours preparation... emails, phone calls, preliminary sketches, etc. I vastly underquoted my price, turns out. But I'm pleased with the results.

Whew! Done with the Flower Girl tonight.

Of course, I may wake up tomorrow and see something to change, but right now, at almost 1 a.m., I think I'm done. This oil painting is 18" x 18" and done on stretched canvas.
Her little face has been such a pleasure to paint. I can't wait to see the painting come alive again under its varnish in a couple of weeks.
I've been kept company tonight by Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley and now America's Ballroom Challenge on PBS. Lee Ann Womack before all that on Soundstage. Wish I could've had a conversation with a real person, but the TV fills in when I paint so late.
Any night owls out there who might want to talk on the phone some night when I paint.... let me know! I'll put my headset on and we'll chat.

New pastel... and still more on the flower girl

Pastel class was today. Did a fun still life of objects I'd brought in and placed on the floor. It was a loose, bright welcome detour from the flower girl. I know I'm spending a lot of time on this one.... just want it to be something good. Still need to work more on the lower hand, but have done quite a bit more on the upper hand and Dad's hand and some on the suit. Also on the shadow side of the dress.
Hang in there. I'll be done soon.
I hope.

Removed window

I deepened the value of the wall behind, refined shadows and removed the stained glass window. (The spots there are part of my easel.) I still need to do much more on her hand and then give more depth and texture to the dad's clothing. But it's coming along. Another day? Two?
Tuesday is the pastel class, so may I may not get back to this painting until nighttime or Wednesday.
Drove to Austin tonight to talk with a gallery owner about a possible portrait commission and to also meet with the Austin Pastel Society board concerning details about our annual exhibition and this year's workshop with Richard McKinley. Easy drive both up and back.

Further yet...

Well, I couldn't quit. It's 12:35 a.m and I'll have to look at this again tomorrow. Still haven't painted her lower hand and it looks as though the wall of the church behind needs to be more in shadow, considering the cast shadow coming up to it. I think I like how the dress looks, but need to deepen the shadow side, especially under her arm.

Thanks, Jo for the sweet comment. You're the best.

Nighty night, All.

Further progress on Flower Girl painting

This is the fourth day on this painting. It's coming along but I'm still puzzling out how to meld the effects of the smoothly, tightly painted face and hand with the palette-knife-applied looser painted background and dress. Her lower hand hasn't been addressed yet and the brick walkway hasn't been painted...just a wash of purple so far.
Just keeping you up on what's happened since late last night.
Beautiful day here in San Antonio. Walked my four miles with friends in a t-shirt and jeans this afternoon. We pay for our winters with wicked summers, but right now it's great.

Flower girl continued....

I got to spend much of today on this painting. Still so much to do, but I'm liking what I managed to improve.
So sleepy.... will work more tomorrow.

Start on an 18" x 18" oil

Ok, so sometimes I just can't resist a pretty face. This little doll was being a flower girl in a family member's wedding at La Villita in October. A woman from Minnesota of whom I did a monochromatic oil portrait sent me this photo she took while in San Antonio, giving me permission to use it as reference for a painting. I'm finally giving it a go. The features are still too sharp and there are whole sections of the painting either just roughed in or missing altogether, but I thought I'd post the beginning anyway.