This evening, to beat the back-to-school blues I prioritized painting. This is NOT to say I am not enjoying the chaos and excitement of being back in my library with all the new students and returning students… just that I need this part of my day to keep me sane and to recharge.
Dragon was enjoying her favorite window ledge snoozing spot and I enjoyed listening to the rain coming down as I painted. My best friend from high school entrusted me with her precious yellow tea cup years ago and it is my watercolor painting vessel.
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:
In the past three days I’ve driven over 12 hours in the desert. I went west to Albuquerque over the weekend and to Lubbock, Texas and back today. Some say the drive is dull, “in the middle of nowhere…” but I have to remind myself I’m driving, to look straight ahead now and then, and not let my eyes wander so long in my surroundings. It is exhaustingly full to me, so much sunlight where nothing can hide behind anything. I love it here.
It is fitting that I painted a landscape this afternoon. The snowy desert. It was inspired by my adventures this week, driving through snowstorms, only to be in a t-shirt two days later… It is a sibling painting to an oil I made last year (on left) and I thought you might like to see them together.
I promised you a picture of my completed landscape painting today but I cannot follow through since it is not yet complete! I hope this picture of my work in progress suffices to give you an idea of the colour scheme, scenery and size. I will post another picture of the finished painting just as soon as I can.
There has been a painting germinating in my mind for a few weeks now that I finally began to tackle. Here are some examples of my thought process as I try to solidify my idea and my composition. If I’m lucky I can finish the painting tomorrow and post it. The canvas is 24 x 48 inches and will be the largest work in my upcoming October show. (For more details about that stay tuned!)
Here is a smudgy, fun, mess of a sketch from my sketchbook. It was drawn with a quill pen so you can see spots where I was scratching away to shade an area, or where the ink pooled suddenly. There are lots of surprises when working with a dip pen and ink so I have a lot to learn and play with!