Artists Statement

I paint as often and as much as I can. I take classes when I can afford it, but the money usually goes to buy more art supplies. This blog is to share the results with you! I am a Work in Progress.

Dianne Lanning Fine

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Work in Progress, early stage

WIP P Massif
A few days ago I mentioned my nephew who climbs rocks. Big ones. He also takes pictures. He has hiked and climbed around the glaciers in Patagonia and I've painted from some of his photos. This is one of the really big rocks there, and I happened to find a picture of it with the sun slanting on it giving it an orange glow.
I've blocked in the peak and some of the surrounding rock. There is more lavender in the sky than shows in the photo, but now I'm working on the foreground. I've blocked in some of it, but it still needs some modeling. I'd also like to hi-light the snow with some of the orange light and shade it with a bit of purple.
There is still a problem with the rock looking "soft." It would be good to look at other painters works to see how they have handled rocky landscapes.
Time to look up some mountain painters!

Here is an earlier painting of one of my nephew's photos:
Paine Massif  peaks

It's framed in bright silver, photographed in warm light.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is it a Miss-adventure when you don't go anywhere?

It's been rainy, finally, here. Just before it was to start I got in the car and ran every errand of which I could think. Then the battery died, fortunately at home. I have been working on a largish canvas that is to the exasperation stage. Nothing is working. Well, somethings sometimes. Today after getting a jump start I found myself in the less-than-inspirational customer waiting area at the garage. I forgot my iPod, and my book, but I had my sketchbook! And a few pens. Hence:
Old Service Desk 6X7
Not colorful, but it was black and dark blue with smoked glass. At this rate I may join the Urban Sketchers. I've always enjoyed their results. There is a lot of it too because they are sketching around the world all the time. Amazing stuff. It's worth check it out. You'll have to Google them, I can't find the URL for a link right now.
Tomorrow I'll take a picture of the canvas on which I'm working in it's present state. Am I nuts? Probably. It's a landscape, and that's where I need the most work. The subject is the Paine Massif in Patagonia. I have a nephew that loves to climb rocks, so he sends pictures. Everything is rock and snow. Yet there is this one shot, AM or PM, but the sun lights it orange. Now if I can just capture the feeling of that! WOW. or not.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When is it finished?

This was started almost a year ago. It's gone through quite a few incarnations. For a long time there was an additional jar (empty), more tomatoes, no onion, no bell pepper, all sorts of decisions and second guesses. The shape of the enamel ware bowl kept changing too. After the still life set up was gone, the angle never looked right. The garlic in the jar was glowingly white, but it always seemed too bright until I dulled it, then it looked wrong that way too. I learned a lot on this one. Mostly patience and practice. Now I have either finished it or given up on it.
 I welcome suggestions or comments, but I might not make any changes in this one. It's been through so much already.  This goes in to the group I call Kitchen Pictures. They are Still Life's, but of a kind that would work well in a kitchen or casual dinning room.
It's time to probably do something more formal again. Right now landscapes are getting most of the painting time.
The weather is not being cooperative, but there are some regularly meeting plein air groups in the area with which it will be great to work with again. I use oils so the paint doesn't dry out while I'm working  outside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Working small

Blue Bowl w/ Tomatoes
Ooops. Putting an acrylic through the scanner gets you an all over shiny sparkle. This is a 6X8 using the Paint and Draw Together current challenge. I loved the colors in it, though I ended up painting it last night under incandescent light. Now that it's scanned I can see the bowl needs more shape. Without thinking about it I put the bowl in the middle, somehow missing that the center of it all in the little "Y" branching of the stem that sits on the bowl's edge. So another little tomato was introduced on the left for some balance. It was fun to paint with the deep, vivid colors. Plus in the challenge description on the blog there was an interesting discussion on lost edges etc, which was very helpful.
AZ winter
Another 6X8 acrylic through the scanner. It looks better in person. Still, the scanner shows me that the shadows on the snow from hidden trees on the left have been lost, they need to be more intense. I chickened out, they have to go back in. It looks like the clouds came out wimpy. In the photo they were just barely swirls of mist, but it doesn't work in this picture. The water is the right colors (excuses) but it doesn't look right. Frankly I was going to "draw" in the larger shapes, then add color. I got carried away and started painting each object immediately. This means cleaning the palette, putting down one color for background and one for drawing shapes, and maybe covering the paint box so I remember to do the whole sketch first. It's to help recognize the major shapes and balance the picture before painting it all in and discovering it's not sitting in the right spot on the canvas.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Back to my roots

Well, some of my roots. I was raised as a rolling stone but an important part of my early life was in the American southwest. Sometimes I still feel like I'm still getting used to low round hills with grass and trees, and all these people out here in California!

Grand Canyon, winter sunset 8X10
There are so many aspects of the Canyon, times of day, seasons of the year, it's never the same. I wanted to paint COLOR. Sorry, didn't mean to shout. Too often I get caught up in accuracy of detail, so this time the rich red of the sandstone in the low angle light kept me on track. There were times I sure wished I'd picked a simpler shape, or at least simplified the shape of the central butte.
Navajo Shepherd family 8X10
This has less color, it's from an old photograph, and it's Monument Valley. My mom was from Arizona, and this is more as she would have remembered it. Her early memories were of a small mining town a long way from anywhere. In fact it took a long time to get nowhere, then you went from there to somewhere. When they moved to Miami, AZ it was like moving to the big city. Yes Virginia, there is  a Miami, AZ.
Back to the picture. Some of the sheep are quite brown, so they show up against the snow. It was a bigger flock, I took out my Artistic License and used it to pick and choose which sheep to include. Snow is an interesting challenge, and I need more practice, I've just never seen much of it. Lucky me?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sweet dreams Jeanette,

Portraiture is something I've been chicken to try. Last week my friend Jeanette slipped away in her sleep and her parents I and a lot of her other many friends have been sharing our happy memories of time with her.
This felt like the right time to relive one of those times by sketching her. I had taken a photo of her that appealed to me to try to sketch. I took it last October when were goofing around in a nearby "Old Town" sort of place, Niles, CA, the true beginning of California's movie industry. We were across the street from the little train station which had recently been moved there to be more convenient, and refurbished to be more like Charlie Chaplin or Tom Mix would remember it. And Cecil B. DeMille! For pass through its portals they did. Most of the businesses are antiques shops, artisans studios and varying places to eat. We were planing on going to Thyme for Tea for a Victorian Tea this month.
Last month we went to the ballet to see "The Nutcracker," and dined out. She especially loved the lighted Christmas Trees they had on the down stage left and right aprons, but really looked forward to the up center tree that grows when the fantasy part of the ballet begins. It was a local production, but they did a spectacular job and we both loved it and talked about it for a long time afterward.
The sketch above comes out rather light in the scanner, but, as Jeanette's friend, I am very pleased with it. There is wonderful character in her face, you can see it in her smile. It really brings back that day and a lot of others.
So many people love you and enjoyed being with you, I know your dreams will be sweet, Jeanette.

Monday, January 9, 2012

We're past epiphany now, on to the year!

In working on the 12 Days of Christmas, there were a few duds. One has already gone under the fawcet, alas there was no hope for it. This:
Was an attempt at Cardinals. Since there are no naturally occurring Cardinals around here, the models were pulled from photos, but no personal experience. Somehow they came out cartoon-y. Since the paper is already been painted, it's one of those to go back to and try different techniques and ideas to either make them look more real or, if worst comes to worst, they will find themselves hiding behind a heavy snow storm to disguise their oddities.
These birds fascinate me, how many bright red birds are there in nature? From what I can find, these are a true American native species. I remember in England the ladies with which I lived found them beautiful and interesting. I couldn't tell them as much as they wanted to know since I'd only seen pictures. I told them they were crested like Blue Jays, (blank stare), then I learned that the Blue Jays in England aren't crested. So much for my being a source of information. I had to tell them that the nearest I'd ever lived to territory with Cardinals was about 1500 miles. Blank Stare, Ok, the distance from London to Moscow. That worked. There is a whole different sense of distance for the English. Like when I asked if a particular city in the country was in the same time zone. It goes both ways.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Tenth Day of Christmas, (I know)

Apparently I can't count. Or I managed to lose a post between writing and saving.
Nutcracker ballet, W/C 5X6
Some dear friends took me to see The Nutcracker before Christmas. Between that and the various productions on Public Television, the images were implanted in my head. These ladies look rather like the ones from the Dance of the Flowers, but they were so tiny it was difficult to give them very many individual traits. Considering how much trouble the larger areas of the walls and windows gave me, it's a wonder they look human. The little touches of green that were washed into the floor under the tree to look like reflections don't read on the scanned version. Too timid there. That will be left alone, but I'm going to tone down the window frames, the white is to vivid for the picture.
This picture is dedicated to my late friend, Jeannette, who went to the ballet with me. You will always be remembered.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Twelth Day of Christmas,

The Christ is Born. 5X7 Watercolor
The Wise Men traditional arrive on January 6th. I remember living on the southern border of the USA as a child and half the kids opened their presents on December 25th and the other half on January 6th. For some the family Christmas Creche was where the presents collected, for others the Tree. All the parents knew better than to let kids open presents on the night of December 24th. How do you ever get kids to go to bed and to sleep when they have just been given new toys to play with? Besides, as a kid my rationale was that if Santa came during the night, how could you possibly open them before he got there? The presents were wrapped and out under the tree during the days before Christmas, and we still spoke and giggled about Santa. For this I am eternally grateful to my loving parents. They never wanted to lie to us, somehow they managed from the first to let us know that Santa wasn't a real man who came down a chimney (we never had one anyway) but a loving and fanciful tradition of "pretend" that was a joyful part of Christmas, which was really about the coming of the Christ to all of us to lead us back to the Truth. The Truth was very important in our family. Not a cold or hurtful truth, if it's like that, you're not looking high enough for the Truth.
As for the picture above, why is it that as soon as I scan them and see them on the blog, I can see what it still needs? This was from my imagination, it came out rather static. I would have done better to re-arrange my creche and paint from it. Next time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Eleventieth Day of Christmas...

StudioAtelier collections 5X7 watercolor
Please excuse the spelling, When starting to type the title I had a flash back to Bilbo Baggins birthday party in The Fellowship of the Ring. But,
It's the Eleventh Day and the Wise Men are almost there, following the star.
The painting is not in tune with the day specifically, but it was what was in front of me. As it appears on the page here, you can tell I'm basically right handed. There is a distinct list to the right because I wasn't paying attention. It shows up most clearly in vertical subjects.
Back to the drawing board. Well, that's what it's for, isn't it? The year is wide open for progress and improvement! And it looks like there's room for it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the Nineth Day of Christmas,

That's really the Nineth day of Christmas! The Rose Bowl Parade!
Roses from my garden 6X6 watercolor
In honour of which is the above little piece. Well, by now I think the game is over, was it Oregon or Wisconsin? I'll have to check to find out, I've been painting. Need all the practice I can get. My apologies, these roses are from a neighbors garden from last summer. Again I was switching inks and pens in the middle of doing this. The Rapidograph still has Toffee Brown ink in it which is for fountain pens and not waterproof. So I tried one of my dip pens with waterproof ink, but today I could not make a fine line if my life depended on it! So, I cheated. After doing the center bloom with the dip pen I pencil sketched the others, painted them and once dry went back with the Rapidograph to get the fine lines I wanted. This becomes apparent in the differences between the the roses. It was too late for that one.
The New Year has begun! Enjoy it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eigth Day of Christmas...

Too much Martinelli's? Either the snowman or I did. One lesson learned is that, once again, I found it to be true that fountain pen ink is NOT waterproof. For Christmas I received some ink. One is Midnight Blues by Private Reserve, the other is Toffee Brown by Mont Blanc. Both are lovely colors, and wanting to try the brown in the Rapidograph, I cleaned it thoroughly and filled it with the brown. Some sketching on cream paper looked so good! Then I did a sad snowman on some watercolor paper and then painted it. Not good. The blue became purpley as it mixed with the brown ink. The brown lines began to travel and bleed. I lost all shadowing, shaping and all but a scant bit of the general outline. Then I tried fixing it. Bad to worse. What you see is what's left after trying to clean it up and get it to look like anything. Well, this is embarrassing. Please have pity and scroll down to the fireplace or the red berry wreath before leaving.
This is sad example of what can happen when one is not thinking, or simply is hopeless at drawing a snowman. I think I did better when I was Eight!