Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Vaulted Sky and Movies.....

Vaulted Sky 20x20 oil
As I promised here is the latest landscape started barely before Christmas....now finished. I put the last of it on yesterday afternoon. Took the photo this morning....downloaded it into the computer...started writing this post and uploading the photo.....only to realize I haven't signed it. I will then repost the image later. Most of what was done yesterday was the foreground but I also glazed the lower part of the clouds with a very thin wash of Permanent Rose. I noticed they were not really a color.....I believe any gray should have a name....blue gray, yellow gray....rosy gray. So rosy gray it was. I also began the portrait for Karin Jurick's Different Strokes. I believe I will have that one done today.....but one never knows!
We went to the movies Christmas Day....in the evening. We had been talking about seeing a few different movies...something we wanted to see on the big screen....here is my "A" list of what is currenntly out there:
1. Doubt
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Revolutionary Road
4. The Reader
5. Frost/Nixon
6. Milk
7. The Wrestler
Strangely enough they all made the Golden Globes.....which frankly has very little to do with my choices....but it was an odd coincidence. As we thought about it we decided that Benjamin Button would be the choice to spend $40 on for the four of us to see on the big screen. Mind you I am not a Brad Pitt fan....I like good film....really good film...great story lines and believable acting. The only thing I can say is INCREDIBLE!!!!!! This is a real saga....beautifully written and adapted for the screen (thank F. Scott Fitzgerald for the seed of the story), luxuriant settings, fascinating characters, gorgeous photography and incredible acting! I could watch it again...and yet again! It is the kind of movie that had us all crying including 17 year-old Wyatt who sobbed uncontrolllably with great passion. It is the kind of movie that makes you come away wanting to write....write anything..as long as it is perfection. It is the kind of movie that makes you come away feeling highly creative and feeling diminished in talent all at once. It makes you appreciate all the richness and diversion of life. You will be reminded to appreciate death also and the people you meet before passing. You must go see it if you have not yet.....and savor the magnitude of emotion that it encompasses.
The others on my list will be seen eventually.....I love movies! We may wait to rent them or possibly go see one or two....but it will most likely be just the two of us.
That's it for today....except...here below...is a photo of Max and I at a birthday party for his nephew. It was taken this fall and we just got it at Christmas.
By for now, Theresa

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just a little....

Christmas is over and there is a little bit of sadness in my heart. It is a sweet kind of sadness though....that nostalgic feeling you get when you think of an old love or a part of your life that is only a memory now. It has been joyous, glorious, rich and emotional....filled to the brim with love and kindness, warmth and sentiment. There have been crystal mornings of frost and snow with sun so bright it almost hurt ones eyes. There have been deep midnight skies with Bethlehem stars and full moons of cheese to hang a wish on. There has been young-love-hand-holding and old love kisses under the mistletoe. Christmas decorations from a another time period....forty or better years ago....that leave a little lump in your throat when you remember making them with your children. Twinkly light displays in the Vietnamese Park and Nativity scenes at the churches. Packages and mail with photos and wishes from grandchildren and great-grandchildren and friends all over the states. Garlands, wreathes and boughs laden with red berries and pine cones....the perfumed needles taking me back to childhood. Cookies and candies from chefs young and old.....dinners with family and drinks with old friends and new. It is a beautiful season in a million different ways.....bringing out the best in people and the finest of thoughts.
The house seems a little dreary now with all the decorations put up and only the odd box of chocolate and the wreath on the door left to remind us of the Christmas season. The thing is though.....these are just a few of the standout moments of thousands of little things that happen everyday.....Summer...Fall...Winter....and Spring. I revel in these moments and savor them like those chocolates on the table or the wine in the cabinet.
Next stop New Years!!!!!
Much Love, Theresa
Below is the light display put on by the Vietnamese Monastery...Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix: the Way of Salvation...they also host the Marian Days Festival in August.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Crisis Is Less Likely To Revise Ones Nature Than To Reveal It...

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Well, friends, the holidays are in full swing and I am caught up in a round of visiting baking, cooking, painting and just plain enjoying the season! As I reflected on seasons past I thought of all the Christmases I have had so far. Some were extremely good and others not so good. It is my sincerest wish that you are all happy healthy and have all you that you need...that your friends and family surround you and have what they need too. These are tough times for many and I feel for those less fortunate. It is my prayer and wish that the coming times are bearable and do not get any worse for those less fortunate.
For myself....I cannot believe my good fortune. There have been many times in my life when I lived on as little as $400 dollars a month. This is not meant to make anyone feel sorry for me or anything as dramatic as that...far from it. What was so important about those times was I learned how to live with less, learned how to make and fix many things that perhaps I normally would not have learned.... many Christmases were spent making homemade gifts or having none at all...but the most important thing was the connection of friends and family. Two times in particular I remember two separate families in Utah, aware of my and my children's circumstances... giving us Christmas....including a tree, gifts and dinner. The lessons learned left me with much to be thankful for. My children are grown now and very successful....and yes they remember those times clearly. I am a strong believer that it is what is in ones heart and not their wallet that makes all the difference in the world. Yes it would be a dream come true to be a highly successful artist....but I would rather be a highly successful human being and that somehow, someway my life has made a difference and an impact in a positive way on someone elses.
Here are a few photos of my old house in Kansas and my old, old new house in Carthage. From me to you have a Christmas and New Year filled with peace, love, happiness and creativity...lots of hugs from children and grandchildren and greats if you are there yet...warm smiles and greetings from friends and distant relatives and a twinkle in the eye of a stranger...that you may have just put there yourself.
Much Love,

Friday, December 19, 2008

In The Begining....

I started this one day before yesterday..a landscape. It is a 20x20...sometimes I like to paint on a square format. I begin pretty much the same as always. I like a warm ground ..this is transparent oxide red with just a touch of ultramarine blue in the mix. It is mixed with a small amount of thinner and then let dry before applying the next round of thinned paint. I have a quick sketch underneath using a charcoal pencil. I then spray the sketch with hairspray so the charcoal does not smear. I like this composition because of the perspective of the hay bales and rows and the impending sky.....not to mention the colors.In the second stage I apply the darks that will be allowed to show through the later layers of paint. I begin to add many of the colors that are seen in the land in the sky...the difference is that they are muted and paled. I see the colors of the landscape reflected in the clouds. The distant hills had a peculiar blue-green color and the hay field had an almost orange cast.I start to apply more color and thicker paint delineating the different planes of the landscape. I start to model the sky and give the clouds form. Painting...for me...is largely a series of adjustments in value, color, shape and form.Here you can see some of the adjustments that have been made...it is still largely unfinished...especially the foreground and the right middleground. I have begun to work on the haybales and the rows of stubble...leaving the dark underpainting showing through for the shadow areas. Approximate time so far about 10 hours.

I will have to stop on this piece for the next day or two. I have cookies to bake...and a large dinner to prepare and a house to clean! I made a huge pot of spaghetti with meatballs and Italian sausage the other day and we have been eating that for awhile. I make everything from scratch....just a habit from how my family cooked. Max's son is coming up from Houston, Texas for the holidays...Christmas dinner will be at relatives house and I have been assigned to bake an apple pie....just as spectacular as my cheesecake if I do say so myself. Ha! The dinner will be our Christmas dinner for when Wyatt arrives.

I will try to get this one done before Christmas and then start another one sometime soon after Christmas day. I will also try to keep posting in between.
See you soon,

Monday, December 15, 2008

Success....The Beginning and the End....or Vice Versa..

Gospel Singer 11x14 oil
This painting was done on the 13th....the day I threw out the failed landscape. I really needed to prove to myself that I could still paint. It took about 3 1/2 hours to complete and my feet did not touch the ground the whole time I painted it! What I mean by that...is...I was in the zone. You know...that feeling when your left brain stays out of the way and you seem to be on automatic and the decision making process is a snap. You know exactly what the next stroke is you know exactly how to simplify when it is needed...all the color choices and values move in the right direction.....and.....you know exactly when to stop...without someone standing right next to you trying to break your arm so you don't mess it up! Now before you start thinking I know everything...I don't! I am sur there are some things that may need to be fine tuned.....but for myself and my eye....this is what I want! This is how I intended this painting to look. No tight detail in the cloth, or much of anyplace else for that matter. I believe I have gotten the strong values and confident brushwork that I so love. The color is a tad on the warm side but that seems to happen when transferring a painting to the computer...and of course there is always a certain depth that escapes ones viewing a painting on a screen in the digital world. The darks are thin and not clumsy and dead and the lights are thick and applied with a knife and then manipulated with the brush in some areas. I have tried to loose a lot of edges where I find it important and keep the stronger ones where they also need to be. So yes...I am pretty damn happy with this one. The practice is paying off and I will soon begin some larger ones for my upcoming solo show.

Here is the loose start so you can see some of how I begin. There is a quick sketch to make sure proportions are accurate and then drawn with paint using lines rather than curves. Below the painting you will see my color charts that I made some years ago.....I still use them but find that I intuitively know the colors I need more often than not...but keep them handy to check back to. The charts are from Richard Schmids book "Alla Prima; Everything I Know About Painting". By the way I am anxiously awaiting his new book, out in 2009 "The Landscape Book". His first book was somewhat expensive....but so worth it...and I expect the second one will be equally as good. There is...in my mind...no greater all around modern master than Schmid! He can paint anything!
I always start at the center of interest and move out from there...painting little pieces of color and value and making sure the shapes and temperatures are right. I paint in the background on portraits very soon in the beginning to correct any shapes in the features that might be off. The small bottle of liquid is a glazing medium and works very well for keeping the darks from being obnoxiously thick. It also keeps the paint from drying flat and dead and keeps the paint open for a longer amount of time as I try to paint Alla Prima (all in one sitting) mostly. The small box with the oriental design is a magnifying glass to look at reference material when I need a closer look.
So there you have it...let me hear what you think..!
Loving the continuing challenge,

Friday, December 12, 2008

Can you say "Paint By Number"?....

Hmmm....it took only three days to find out that I was correct..... off to a very good start only to find out that this painting began to disintegrate before my eyes the more I painted on it. Lesson learned? Do not use a canvas that has all the life sucked out of it from repeated layers of gesso....do not use reference material that does not have enough information in it...paint from life more often and most of all have a good clear picture in ones head before beginning a painting! Now remember I did mention these things in an earlier post. I just thought I could work around them! You'd think I would know these simple things by now (most times I do).....but alas...old age has set in...I have become forgetful...along with over confidant!
I include the shameful progressions here for everyone to see. On coming close to the final product....it has the peculiar resemblance of a paint by number. Thus the name of this blog. LOL!
Actually there are a few things I do like in this painting...a very few....which parts do you like if any? For me it is the transparent red oxide sketch (earlier post)....some of the shapes in the trees, some of the color and the way one tower is executed. But...wait!!! After this failure....which I chose not to hide or wipe off...I will simply take the canvas off the stretcher bars and place the old canvas in the waste bin or the burn pile....where naughty paintings and old lovers go(not Max...never Max!). Recycle the stretcher bars with a brand new canvas and begin something else that will either fail or succeed. Yesterday was a VERY successful painting to my eyes but for now you will have to wait till tomorrow to see it! One last note here.....every failed painting, every misstep with the brush, every decision in simplification or overworking, every choice of color and painterly execution or lack thereof....every mistake...is an opportunity to learn....if one chooses to see it. And as we all know...that not only applies to painting....but, indeed to the rest of life!

Loving the process......still!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Starting Again...

Here is the beginning of a new painting...well it is actually just a color study. I rarely do them...studies, that is.... but this one has some very tricky lighting aspects and color so I am inclined to do a study before hand. There is a problem....this is an old canvas and it has been gessoed twice....not a very good idea....as it is sucking up the paint like a dry sponge. Not only that but it has a lot of texture on it from gessoing it more than once. I guess I just like a challenge!!! I like the texture...most times. Well, we will see what happens as I plod along. I am painting from a photo and it is not terribly clear...but it's not horrible. The photo is of a church in Santa Fe, N.M., at sunset.

I have done a quick loose sketch with paint as my start and put in some values that I want to remember.
As far as the rest of my life we had a nice dinner/get together at a friends house Sunday evening. Steak and potato and shrimp....yum!
Our friend Jack the electrician will be here once again tomorrow to continue on rewiring this old house. Speaking of which...Everything is unpacked for the living room and there are very few boxes left in the rest of the house. What remains needs some shelving in the kitchen.....a future job.
If anyone has not seen what the room looked like before go to a back post and you will see that room was stacked high with furniture and boxes....not just in front of the door but the entire room was stacked in the same manner....daunting to say the least!! And that was the second time it was like that!! The first time was distributing Max's Ebay and personnel possessions through out the house or selling off unwanted, unneeded stuff!
Well, back to painting and have an inspired day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Desert Moon....

Desert Moon 11x14 oil
Here is another quick study from the other day. I have admired night paintings or nocturnes from several artists here in the blogoshere and elsewhere . What I didn't know was hard the color of night is. So, as I remembered an exhibit I went to a few years back an image began to form. It was on Frederic Remington another painter from the past that I admire. I remembered the impact his work had on me when I saw it. The entire collection was nocturnes and they literally glowed when you saw them. I had to have that catalog!! Fortunatly I bought it after seeing the show before leaving the museum. I searched for it the other day, found it and pulled it out to study it. Wow....is all I can say.
So here is my first attempt at a nocturne...I did use a photograph for the design but the color is from running outside and looking at the yucca plant in the front yard and reviewing Remington's work.
Oh and I have added a new artist to my websites list that I have been watching for a couple of years...Kevin Beilfuss. Check it out!!!
See you tomorrow,

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Music! 8x10 oil
I have been away from the computer by design lately. There are several reasons and I will touch on a few here.
I have been studying first of all. Not painting for almost 2 months has made me a bit rusty. So in order to "get my hand back" I have been reading, looking and doing small paintings the last few days. They are OK...not fantastic....but OK. I can't express the importance of painting everyday.....to keep that flow.
So here is the first one done the day before yesterday. It took about 2 hours.
I also quit smoking....for the 5th time! I have been a nonsmoker before....for as long as ten years. I also never smoked while I was pregnant (five children) do the math. I was a nonsmoker when I met Max and a nonsmoker another time for 4 years and once for two...and then started again....fortunately Max has been wanting to quit also. Well, it's been three weeks....I'm Ok with it...but I don't spend a lot of time by the computer until I am past that part of it. It seems to be a trigger along with the phone and alcohol!
I hope everyone had a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving..I did! We had a lot of company and I also cooked a lot. Now we are gearing up for Christmas and a possible open house here since everything is finally put away! My folks always had an open house at Christmas...there were always lots of people of all walks of life coming and going, lots of food and drink and many of the guests were musically inclined. It was a lot of fun listening, visiting and watching... even as a kid.
I have just finished reading a book about Antonio Mancini. I sooo want to paint like that! I had a magnifying glass in hand while reading to study the paintings! I highly recommend taking a look at his work via the link on the list to the right.
I will be back but it will be limited for the time being until I am more comfortable painting and writing again.
All the best, Theresa