This ongoing body of work, “Portraits of Portales” created entirely in sketchbooks and en-plein-air (outdoors) since early 2014 is finally coming together online. Visit my website dodington.us to see some of the sketches as this series builds. As I’ve mentioned before, the final goal is to publish them in a book. Or publish anything like them in a book. Hire me now.
While making a concerted effort last week to work more in my sketchbooks – they are invaluable tools for artists: they help one learn to see, think, play, practice and hone… I could go on but it could turn into an inarticulate ramble so I will move on to my point.
I discovered that I have been really wanting to make a “Portrait of Portales”. A collection of drawings or paintings that describe the personality and character of my town.
This is a project I sort-of began over a year ago with small, “en plein air” oil paintings done from my car, of scenes around town. Let me jog your memory with a photo-collage:
Grated, the above could really be paintings of anywhere in New Mexico, so common are the scenes of yellowed grasses, cows and crumbling adobe structures. Many of my new works will be specifically Portales, its stores, real estate, lawns, animals, abandoned buildings and neglected alleys. And as the title of this post suggests, they are being worked in my sketchbooks.
So now I’m back to venturing around town in my little mazda, and at the risk of looking like a creep-o or a cop on a stake-out, parking and sketching from the car. It really does make me feel like a cop… or okay, more like Stephanie Plum…
It is SO MUCH FUN and really IS showing me more about where I live. Nothing makes me appreciate a place more than painting it. Here are some examples of my work so far. I will share more detailed/close-up pictures of them in the future. For now you just get a taste:
I have wonderful company in my studio every day. Her name is Dragon and she can often be found looking like this… either on my drawing desk or, if I’m using it, on the sunny window ledge.
Here’s what I’m working on today:
Today’s art attack was inspired by reading the beginning chapter of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell – author of Swamplandia.
Here is an excerpt:
“…with mosquito-blackened sills; a tin roof that hums with the memory of rain. I love it here. Whenever the wind gusts in off the river, the sky rains leaves and feathers. During mating season, the bedroom window rattles with the ardor of birds.
Now the thunder makes the window glass ripple like wax paper. Summer rain is still the most comforting sound that I know… In the distance, an alligator bellows…”
Here is a postcard I made recently to accompany a residency application to Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC. Check it out, it looks like a fabulous place. Oh, and wish me luck!
Here is the front of my postcard:
And here is the back:
How would you like an escape from Wednesday to a balcony in Bakewell, UK? I’ll be having a cream tea…
While in Cambridge, UK this summer my husband punted my new in-laws and I down the river Cam on a sunny day. A sunny day in England… imagine that! Well, we were strangely lucky and had plenty of sun when we were there and I took many photographs. It is quite likely that these pictures will end up in painted form one day or another and here is the first example: a playful painting of a café near where we docked our boat.
I haven’t posted in a while but there are plenty of new works (and some old ones too) posted on my website! Go check it out. I’ve added some new galleries as well as some new works to some of the existing galleries.
Below is a snapshot of my new “Commissions” gallery on my website.
I do many pet portraits, house and property portraits and any other sentimental still life or landscapes you can think of. The majority of the commissions I do are for friends or family of the purchaser. They make great thoughtful gifts.
This is my second foray into the world of pastels. The result is much more abstract than what I create in other mediums but this makes the practice even more valuable to me. It is my hope that sketching in pastel will provide some great inspiration and source material for paintings in the future.
(Side note: it did not rain today… this is from a downpour just over a week ago. Maybe this post will work some magic and bring on another downpour soon? Here’s to hoping…)