Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A full sheet in the works..........

Step #1 Harstine Isl. Bridge - Nancy Van Blaricom Step one.. pencil lines and first washes
This is a full sheet watercolor I started some time ago. Just saying that makes me think I should write the date I start a new piece on the back. Not knowing the exact date, you should just take my word, it has been some time ago. The painting will be of the bridge to Harstine Island on a foggy day. The fog is pretty thick. You can't see much of the bridge or the Island. Only the beginning and some of the boat ramp this side of the bridge. In the first photo you see I have laid down a few very light washes of an indigo mix on top of my pencil drawing. At this stage, seeing the drawing on the paper, I wonder if the composition will work. It looked fine before I got it on the paper. The ususal self doubt is starting to take over.
Step #2, Harstine Isl. Bridge - Nancy Van BlaricomSecond stage - a few washes plus some large shapes.

In this photo you can see numerous light washes have been added since the initial drawing and washes, helping to give a foggy look to the painting so far. I have started giving shape to a few trees and the structure of the bridge. At the boat landing, this side of the bridge, I will need to pay close attention to so that it doesn't take on too much weight.
I'm hoping by posting these photo's and blogging about this painting, I'll start working on it. I have noticed before that after I start a painting those doubts come as to "can I paint this?" etc. I need to learn from this and just let the doubt come and then move forward ... after all it's only paper and watercolor.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tuesday the 9th ...our bad weather Plein Air day

Sketch of Allen by Nancy Van Blaricom
Sketch of Allen
I can never get my pencil sketches to look their best when I scan them .... but, doing the best I can by tweaking them in a photo program, this is what I was able to come up with. It turned out grayer than the paper really was and the small amount of color I used doesn't show, but I was able to keep most of the pencil line. This sketch was from the last Plein Air meeting I went to. When the weather isn't conducive to going out and painting we will spend the time to critique work that each of us bring, offering suggestion's, praise, etc. Some times if there aren't many of us we will paint after our critique ... working on something we may have started at another time. I had nothing that I was working on that I could bring so I chose to use a 9"x 6" sketch book and sketched a fellow artist. Fellow artist, Allen, was finishing up a painting he had propped up on an easel. He thought it was a pretty good likeness, so that was good enough for me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Local Color

I love watching movies about artists!

Recently I saw the trailer of Local Color. Having only seen the trailer I think it looks like a good movie. Although I do not paint many oils I think it has a possibility of inspiring a lot of us artists.
PLOT: A successful artist looks back with loving memories on the summer of his defining year, 1974. A talented, but troubled eighteen year old art student befriends an elderly alcoholic genius painter who has turned his back on not only art, but life. I think it's due out later this month.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One goal that has yet to be accomplished.

As I look back over a few of the goals I made for myself at the beginning of this year I see that the enthusiasm I started out with doesn’t seem to last. One goal is to post more on my blog, keep it fresh and learn more of the tech stuff everyone seems to know but me. This seems to be such a challenge!

When I think of the blogs that I enjoy reading (and there are some great ones out there), I wonder how did they learn about widgets, rss feeds, alt tags, etc? How do they keep their posts full of enthusiasm and keep us coming back for more?

Although I am a watercolor artist, one of my favorite blogs to read is that of ceramic artist Cynthia Guajardo. I find her posts to be both informative about her work and her personal life – just enough, yet not too much – she even shares some of the technology side of blogging! Recently I stepped out of my usual field of watercolor and became a reporter... asking Cynthia numerous question's. Because she is such an inspiration to so many of us “blogging artists”, I’d like to share with you these queston's and answers with you.

Cynthia Guajardo
An interview with Cynthia Guajardo

Nancy: First of all, thank you, Cynthia, for taking the time to answer these questions and allowing me to share them with others. I know you as a ceramic artist. Has your medium of choice changed over the years or have you always known ceramics to be the medium for you?

Cynthia: I always knew that I would love working with clay even before I touched it, however, I am absolutely seduced by other mediums. Every so often, I flirt with painting and I took 2 print making classes in college which I adored. In the end, the mediums converge and I have been exploring image transfer to clay since last summer.Nancy: What is the allure of clay?
It's a plastic material and able to be used to make virtually anything from functional pottery, sculpture and even jewelry.

Nancy: Did you receive formal education in the ceramic field?

Cynthia: Yes, I have a BFA from the University of Southern Maine with a concentration in ceramics. I graduated later than most - I was 38 years old when I finally received my diploma. To tell you the truth, my real education continues today as I work on my own with no benefit of an established, fully equipped studio.

Nancy: What part of the ceramic process do you enjoy the most?

Cynthia: I definitely enjoy the creating and making part of working with clay. Working with clay is physical; yet at the same time when I am in the zone, it's very meditative. I am pushing myself to concentrate on the glazing and decorating aspect of working with clay now that my forms are pretty solid. Glazing is often an after thought for many ceramic artists, but it is what makes the work spectacular in the end.Nancy: Where do your draw your inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from so many places and people. I love architecture, nature, color and art history. I see patterns everywhere and am also inspired by the handmade movement happening right now. It's fantastic to make something knowing that a little piece of my energy is transferred to the recipient. When I see or touch an artist made object or art piece, I wonder about the maker which is a lot more meaningful than a mass production piece out of a factory.

Nancy: Are you inspired by other artists, if so, who?

Cynthia: I'm inspired by so many other artists including a painter that I did my internship with in college, Richard Lethem At 70+ years old, he still paints everyday, teaches at the university and is vigorously pursuing show opportunities. I have also met a lot of really talented artists in cyberspace who I might never have met otherwise, including yourself.

Nancy: I admire how you have kept your blog looking new and fresh. Have you always been a "techy"?

Cynthia: Oh, God no! Just 6 years ago, I had to learn how to use a PC for the art history classes I was taking. I didn't even know how to use Microsoft Word to write a paper. That being said, I'm not afraid of technology and am able to figure programs out. What's the worst that can happen? Major computer Crash - oh wait that happened to me last year and I was so proud of myself bringing the old gal back to life.

Nancy: Can you tell those of us that are "technology challenged" how we might learn to take better care of our blog?

Cynthia: Well, that's the hundred thousand dollar question and I'm still trying to figure that out myself. I try to post at least 3 times a week with fresh material. I also try to keep up with new social networking sites that I think might be beneficial and interesting to me. I read a few other blogs and have learned a lot by looking at how other bloggers make it fresh and exciting for their readers. If they have a new widget, I check out the site to see if it's worth implementing. Most important of all, I respond to all the comments left on my blog and I reciprocate with a visit to the commenter's blog if they have one. My goal is to make it very easy to navigate my blog so that people aren't lost and frustrated.
I might add that I am never at a loss for words and I actually enjoy writing. I have a blog post in draft mode where I write ideas and add links for future posts. I have also added a tracking counter on my blog to see how people end up on my blog. It's important to add relevant tags to your posts so that people can find the information for which they're looking.I might add that many new opportunities have come my way since I started blogging 1.5 years ago that wouldn't have happened otherwise. It's in my interest to keep my blog alive since it receives so many more hits a day than my website does. Blogs are inherently dynamic whereas, websites are more static - both are, however, necessary in my opinion for an artist today.

Nancy: You keep your posts enjoyable and fun to read. How do you decide what to share about your work and life and is there a strategy to this?

Cynthia: I don't have any hard and fast rules about what to share. I am an open book at this point, though I do keep my husband, daughter and other family and friend's identities a secret for safety reasons - unless they have a public Internet presence. I also try to keep my blog PG-13 because my daughter sometimes reads what I'm writing over my shoulder and my mom reads daily. Sometimes, I wish that I did a better job at censoring my posts, because I'll write about almost anything. I will occasionally edit a post that I wrote the night before if it feels offensive. I don't know that there is a strategy per se, but I do think familiarity breeds recognition. And, that goes back to the initial impetus for starting my blog - to market my work to a broader audience.

Nancy: Thank you so much Cynthia, for taking the time to answer these questions. I know you keep a full schedule with your own creative work, family and now returning back into the work field. I know that myself and many others will be better artists because of the insight you have shared.

Cynthia: Thank you, Nancy for the opportunity. I enjoyed "talking" with you and reading your blog the past year.

Please if you haven't been to Cynthia's blog, you can see it here

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Red Fall Leaf

This is just a fast watercolor sketch I did of a pretty red leaf I found while on my daily walk. The leaf on the left is the real one. I enclosed it in some packing tape and then adhered it to my sketch book, placing it next to the one I painted. Soon enough all the fall leaves will be gone ... only a memory, replaced with wind rain and cold weather.

Friday, October 05, 2007

October exhibit at the local hospital

Hospital display - Nancy Van Blaricom

Monday I hung some of my art prints at the hospital.

Our local art association is allowed to hang art in a 4' x 8' section wall in our local hospital and each month a different artist hangs their work for the whole month. Although the art is at one of the entrances, this is not the main entrance so I am not sure about how much exposure the art work receives.

Each time I hang my work, enter a different contest or sell my work somewhere I feel I learn so much. I need to be writing down all the information I gather from each new venue so that I can improve for the next time I try it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Completed - Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves - Nancy Van Blaricom

Autumn Leaves

For once I felt that I knew when to stop. I could have kept working on it by adding more color here or there, but I didn't ... and I'm so glad I stopped when I did. The colors are bright and vibrant just as I had wanted. Then, when I was happy with my colors, I added some water soluble metallic splatters and I think it adds to how I wanted to depict fall.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn leaves

unfinished - Autumn Leaves
I had found some pretty autumn leaves on my daily walk that had fallen from some huge maple trees. They were so pretty I wanted to capture the colors before the leaves dried and the colors faded. In this photograph you can see the leaves are starting to emerge. These are not necessarily the colors I saw on each leaf ... but I thought I'd take come creative license here and just let the bright colors fall. I'll post my finished painting when I finish.
I love the fall gold and orange leaves that Toni Kelly
has one her blog heading. Tony is a wonderful watercolorists and calligrapher. She is such a creative inspiration.