A belated yet well-deserved Sketchbook Sunday post

Hiya!

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:

8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings
8 x 10 oil on canvas paintings

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:

sketchbook pic A
sketchbook pic A
sketchbook pic B
sketchbook pic B
sketchbook pic C
sketchbook pic C

Flat Rock Falls

My Dad and Grandma spent the past week at the family cottage on Go Home Lake. Thinking of them there made me crave the landscape (more than I already am) and so another lake painting was born.

These falls are accessible by boat and I remember special picnics there with our yellow lab Spencer. Maybe I’ll add him in this painting… I haven’t decided yet.

Happy Monday folks.

IMG_0141

 

 

Cat on a Quilt on a Wall

Hello again! It has been a productive week in the studio, what with finishing Quilted Lake and now getting to complete a second painting.

This one was started  a while back  and wasn’t working for me so it was set aside and stared at it with a gloomy expression for a few months. In that time ideas popped up and swam around with all the other detritus in my brain until finally something more solid was able to form…

I knew I had a few pictures somewhere of an outdoor cat named “Butters” sitting on our neighbor’s roof. I had taken them over two years ago when we lived in a different neighborhood and Butters and I spent a lot of time together. (Some of you already know of Butters. I’ve posted some photos of him on this blog before. I pretended he was mine, but he was owned/fed by some people a few houses down. I’m not sure how much affection they gave him though because he would come running down the road when he heard my car or bike and demand pats.)

I dug around a bit on my computer and found the photos I remembered. Then I did more digging around and found about five or six other photographs to use as resources to invent this landscape as it had formed in my mind.

Here are some process pictures from yesterday and today:

Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress
The canvas before becoming “Cat on a Quilt on a Wall”
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress 2
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, in progress 
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, oil/canvas, 16 x 20"
Cat on a Quilt on a Wall, oil/canvas, 16 x 20″

Quilted Lake… finally.

I am happy to say today is the last day of work on Quilted Lake. I’m pleased with the outcome and eager to move onto creating the paintings that have been accumulating inside me. If it weren’t for my tennis club meeting in an hour I’d start another painting right now!  I’ve got some serves and volleys inside me too though, and they need to come out just as badly as the paintings.

I hope everyone enjoyed their labor day weekend and that you all have a great short week!

Quilted Lake, oil/canvas, 24 x 48"
Quilted Lake, oil/canvas, 24 x 48″

Fabric Landscape Study 4

Today’s painting was really fun to make.

In case you’re wondering why I’m calling these still-lives landscapes, I just think it doesn’t hurt to look at things in different ways. Yes, I am painting little piles of fabric in my studio, but I’m shading slopes and folds and peaks in the same way I would paint hills and valleys and sunlight…

I haven’t painted as much still-lives as I have landscapes, portraits and nature scenes…  but looking at these little piles of things in my studio as if they were enormous worlds in themselves is providing endless inspiration for me.  For instance, this little stack reminded me of a mini-version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I wanted to name it “Leaning Tower of Fabric” but am saving that name for a higher, more “leany” tower which I may paint tomorrow…

 
Fabric Landscape Study 4, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Fabric Landscape Study 4, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

Blanket Landscape Study 3

Today’s painting took me a bit longer than I’d hoped but it was still lots of fun. I’m new to quilting and it’s neat that without even having “quilted” this funky quilt top I made, I can immortalize it in paint.

This photo gives you an idea of how I set up my still-lives. It also gives you a better idea of the scale difference between my daily “studies” and my bigger piece, “Quilted Lake”.

Still-life painting in the studio
Still-life painting in the studio
Blanket Landscape Study 3, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape Study 3, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

Quilted Lake Day 5… and a study

The simple fabric still-life study got me in the studio and working, and after an hour or so I spent the remainder of the day working on my bigger piece, Quilted Lake.

Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42"
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42″