Tuesday, April 19, 2011

sketchbook project 2012

so i've signed up for the sketchbook project 2012

the theme i chose is, 'this is a sketchbook', from a full host of themes.

i'm so excited that this year the tour goes international, and they have added Canadian dates for the first time, in Toronto and Vancouver.  I'll actually be able to go visit my sketchbook when it goes on tour.  Really?  How cool is that?

It's simple.  You sign up.  Choose a theme.  Pay $25.  And they send you a sketchbook to fill up.  You return it to them.  And it goes on tour and eventually housed in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library, and will always be available for viewing.

can't wait to start.

remember my one little word for 2011?  well it was taking 'risks', and doing things out of my comfort zone.  well this is another leap forward into getting involved in the art community. yay me.
so what are you waiting for?  have you signed up yet?


Sunday, April 17, 2011

on being a chemist

'art is the only way to run away without leaving home'
               ---twyla tharp

a neighbour friend sent that quote to me, and i can totally and completely relate.  it made me chuckle.  thanks Marie for sending it to me!

i am seriously thinking one needs to become somewhat of a chemist in order to paint with oils.  it's not as simple as opening up a tube of paint and picking up paint brush.  now i know why a lot of people prefer to work with acrylic.  it's less cumbersome. and less expensive as i'm realizing.  the prep work is tremendous. the clean up afterwards is tremendous.  but despite it all, i still love working with oils.

there are special papers for oils.  if using watercolour paper the oils will eventually eat away at the paper.  or better yet oil primed linen is best, which you could also buy raw (unprimed), and prime it yourself.  i've also just found out it's best to use an oil painting ground or primer which you can tint with your paint of choice.

not to mention all the different mediums you can buy for glazing.

poppy oil:  thinning agent
saffron oil:  to dilute white, rather than linseed oil to prevent yellowing.
walnut oil:  used like linseed oil, but flows more freely, and less tendency to crack or yellow
stand oil:  used for glazing, no yellowing or linseed stand oil, but needs to be used with turp or white mineral spirits


it's mind boggling.

then there are the brushes.  i'd love me some new brushes.  i'm saving my pennies to buy these babies:  raphael red sable brushes like these here; and the filbert isabey mongoose ones here; and the escoda bristles short filberts here.

but, i'm reading and researching and learning.  so it's all good.  learning as i go.  and making all kinds of mistakes.  but oh well.  there is no better teacher than mistakes.

and here are a few of those mistakes.  smile.

for the painting above (work in progress), i used a gel transfer

another work in progress.  using my table top easel for this one.

have a great night,
france (or francesca, or fran, or frances, whatever comes easiest!!!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

on random conversations

yesterday the conversation between xavier and elisa and myself went something like this:

an iphone photo

Xavier:  mom how old are you?
me:  i'm 40, why?
Xavier:  i don't know (while smirking)...  how old do i have to be when i can pick E up from school.
me: hmm, dunno, maybe when you're about 14 or 15. 
Xavier:  oh
me: and when you're 15 E will be 12, so it should be ok since it's a close walk to home
Xavier:  smiles some more
me:  my gosh and  that would make me 48
Xavier: laughs out loud, mom that's old
me:  and when you're 25, E will 22
Xavier:  wow
me:  and oh my gosh that'll make me 58 (eyes glazed over feeling very scared about getting old!!!) and when your 40, E wil lbe 37 and i'll be 73.  OMG (said loudly), i may be dead by then, (tears starting to well up in my eyes thinking i won't be around for my kids)
Elisa: (pipes in) mom, if you die then i won't have a mommy anymore

and well........ that was the clincher.  The tears these old eyes of mine produced!!  then domenic came in rolled his eyes, shook his head and called me crazy!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

on being brave

you know when you've just finished a piece and you're so excited about sharing it but it's late at night and taking pictures of your piece just isn't optimal so you wait for the next day so you can take shots in the mornings natural light...  but then you look at your piece, and you sit and look at it standing still for a few mintues, with your finger on your lips, soaking in the details of your work, and how you think, hmmm, i didn't see that last night, if i just add this, or change that, and then you grab your brushes, and paints and add more layers and wonderfulness, until you put it away again to realize, you'll sleep on it and take another fresh look in the morning, and when you do you say, hmm, good, but not yet done, and again you grab your brushes and paints and intend to add just a few little details and layers, and all of a sudden, inspired by a spark, you change it up again and add new elements to just make it that much better.

(how's that for one long run on sentence!)


that. exactly. what. happened. to. me. with. these. two. pieces.

piece #1

and piece #2

and that's why i love my oils. 

just when i think i'm done, i get the urge to go on. and i can because the oils allow for slow drying time and i can start where i left off.  and i'm in love with that because i love to give my pieces time to rest, and look at them with fresh eyes in the morning.  my mind likes to process ideas so the rest times allow me to dream and germinate new ideas. 

when i close my eyes after painting at night, i still have in my minds eye, brush strokes and a vision of how i want to create or have my finished piece look.  is it unusual that you dream of how you want to paint, and imagine how you want your piece to look?  am i just crazy?  or do most artists do that?  i guess it's bound to happen since i do my best creating at night before i go to bed.

i only wish that i had taken pics of my process.  i hope to remember to do it next time.  a glimpse into how i create, and my thought processes. 

i'm excited to show you these two pieces, because I really love them.  i felt good and confident when creating these and i think that feeling is expressed in the final piece.  being brave and forging ahead.  are they done, you ask?  perhaps.  i'll let you know in the morning!  lol.

yay! saturday, i love you,

happy weekend all,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

slowing down to discover and uncover

when i pick elisa up from play group at the end of the day, after big hugs and getting a run down of how her day went, i scoop her up and try to rush us home.  at this time of the day everything is rush, rush, rush... on fast forward.  you know how it is, you're tired from a long day of work, you're trying to think up what to cook for dinner (since you didn't defrost anything the night before), and helping with homework for the xavier, and baths, and dishes, and taking the dog out.  ouf.  so needless to say, i 'try' to rush us home.. so many things to get done before the end of the day.  with elisa's little legs and her boundless curiosity, there is always something catching her attention and 'slowing' us down.  regardless of my hisses in the background, 'c'mon elisa, chop chop, let's get a move on'.  etc.

but yesterday was different.

yesterday we, I slowed down.  on purpose. 

there was new life bursting everywhere we looked.  the spring season is starting to make itself apparent and there were extra beautiful things that were catching our attention:

mr. sparrow making a new summer nest for mrs. sparrow and babes with fresh weeds and things;

a bird singing this beautiful song, (we think it's a blue jay but we're not sure);

fresh new flowers and buds sprouting through the dead dried leaves and twigs; finally some life and colour back in our yards:

and of course, the usual neighbourhood cat chase of our beloved Bill, Toby, and Charlie:

i was reminded to stop rushing us home; that there is always something to discover and uncover with every step we take.  but most importantly, i was reminded that i just need to take the time to notice.

and with that, this is the before:

here she is after:

'the possibilities are everwhere, facing my fears one step at a time'

enjoy your day, and endeavour to slow down.  you'll be surprised at the things you'll discover.