Thursday, November 18, 2010

Measure of Success

I often wonder what film stars experience when they encounter images of themselves in the movies they have made.  I feel a sort of pity when I see them as they appear today compared to their younger selves, frozen in perpetual beauty or virility.  Some become recluses, refusing to be seen in their decrepitude. Others spend fortunes on plastic surgery, refusing to accept the inevitable.  Their lives are lived in reverse.

You don't have to be a famous beauty to get depressed when you look at old photos of yourself. Anyone can feel a sense of loss for their own youth, well spent or otherwise. I feel a definite sort of pity for my younger sister, nine years my junior.  She has this continual reminder before her (me) of how she will be looking in about a decade!  Poor dear!!!  Those of us with Scotch-Irish complexions that have spent years in the sun do NOT age gracefully!!!

Painters have reminders of their past everywhere in their works hanging on the wall. Are the paintings which I did in my younger years better than what I am doing now?  Certainly if I use the ruler of financial success, I see myself as failing.  I used to sell a lot more than I do now.  If I rate my growth through the mastery of draftsmanship or technical skills, it might be a draw.  But, if I measure my success as an artist by the ability to paint from life, instead of photography, I think I'm miles ahead.  If I count the ability to paint a la prima, directly, without elaborate under painting, I am pleased with that. If I take into consideration my increasing ability to capture life-like skin tones, that is also progress.

I am not certain if I am a better painter but I am pleased with little steps of success.  Being a self-taught artist,  I haven't gone through the exercises that most artists have been schooled in.  So when I diverge from painting people to paint a landscape or a still life, I am thrilled!  Because I learned to paint people first and apples later, that is progress to me.

Now I'm doing "genre" paintings.  My brother has been bugging me for years to combine his expertise in western horsemanship, tack and lifestyle with my love of horses into creating some authentic Western Art. I have painted my first ever cow portrait!  Actually, it's a young bull (see earlier blog.)  I am just thrilled with the way it turned out.  The piece I am working on right now is three riders in an Arizona landscape.  I've done a careful under-painting so that I could get all the legs in perspective, looking believable.  As I model the forms in paint, my knowledge of horses come slowly rising out of the deep recesses of my brain, like a remembered language, long unused.  

Artists have it all out there, exposed and laid bare for people to see, much like movie stars.  How will you judge me?  Do you see me pushing against formula?  Am I gaining or just treading in place?  Can you see my struggles with personal expression and artistic integrity? Is my work relevant or passe'?

I consider this lovely little study (above) a success... Alie posed in costume as the Girl with a Pearl Earring.  I started it in the live session Tuesday night and finished it from a photo in a few hours Wednesday. It's not my "best" but it really works for me.  Hope I'm living my life forward, not in reverse!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cookies and Cream

Momma never has liked vegetables and almost never eats fruit.  Her appetite it tiny and she eats things she likes, mostly ice cream.  I wake her up in the morning so she can have some toast and take her pills.  She usually takes a few naps and then has "lunch" about two: a giant bowl of "cookies and cream."  We almost always eat dinner together around six in the evening and Momma almost always has some of everything, this her only meal of the day.  Before bed she has another bowl of ice cream.  Or two.

There's really nothing wrong with eating the things you like, especially when you are 87 years old.  Goodness knows she has few pleasures in life and this is her comfort food, her SOUL food. I encourage Momma to enjoy them, to relish in them, and not deny herself at this stage of her life.  Of course, I wish that she would accompany those pleasures with the necessary nutrition to sustain life adequately.  But Momma does what she wants pretty much all the time.

I'm guilty of the same sorts of things.  I know what is good spiritual food in my life but I insist on filling up with snacks and sweets.  For some reason, which I haven't been able to satisfactorily explain to myself, I am too easily satisfied with fluff.  I am telling myself that email and facebook and surfing the internet and flipping through the channels on TV are all fine and dandy. As dessert, that is. As food for my soul they are lousy nutrition.  I eat dessert first and wonder why I don't have an appetite for meat!

I'm trying to picture myself coming in from a long day of yard work, thirsty and hungry and tired.  I walk  into the kitchen and grab a glass of luke warm soda and a handful of stale saltines because I'm too lazy to put ice in a glass and run the tap until the water is cool and make myself a nutritious sandwich out of the good leftovers from the night before.  After I've filled my stomach with this non-food, I may not be thirsty or hungry any more, but I'm not satisfied and I'm rather disgusted with myself, as well.

I'm terrified of getting old and crabby, having that old person perpetual frown. I'm getting it NOW, so what is going to make me stop knitting my brow and turning down the corners of my mouth? I'm cross NOW, so what is going to fill me with joy and anticipation?  I am pretty darn sure it isn't a steady diet of A.D.D. food which spoils my appetite for the real thing. Once again I will try to push away from the quick calories of junk food and reach out for the spiritual food and the Living Water that will really satisfy and fill up the deep reservoirs of my being.

Nothing wrong with Cookies and Cream, though.  Just so long as it's for dessert!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Paintings this Week

Stacey 11.2.10 from Session

When it's right, it's right.  Just a quick study and no more was needed. 


~ No Bull ~
(Under painting )

New(d) This Week

The Magnificent Stacey
This is somewhat of an homage to "Madame X" by Sargeant.  I am going to leave it this loose and unfinished.  I want her to startle you by her boldness but not to titilate with too much real fleshiness. I painted this one from a photo.

Kendra Reclining
I had such a blast doing this.  I started it in the live session and finished it from a photo in the studio.  I was going to scumble in the back ground but decided to loosely indicate the interior of the studio.  I like it and love the sense of perspective. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Rose

The trees have turned very little.  The red maple in our front yard is the exception. It has been changing colors slowly over the last few weeks, hanging on tenaciously despite windy fronts and wide swings in temperatures. Today it is melting into deepest ruby red, preparing to finally deliver it's bounty of leaves to the waiting ivy below. Look out over this part of Missouri from any high vantage point you will see greens and grey and browns and even some bare branches.

Some people say it's because of the dry autumn. Lord knows we have had a terribly dry October, but the rest of the summer had plenty of rain. My frustration is this: every year in New England they have marvelous displays of color. Do you mean to tell me that they never have dry years? Years dry enough to cause eighty percent of the foliage to NOT change colors? I don't think so.

Every year it's something. Last year it was too warm. This year it is too dry. I am not going to begin to understand this and folks who know me know that I drive myself to distraction "trying to figure things out."

I planted a flower garden early last summer just below the windows of my parents' apartment. I planted impatiens and roses and zinnias and blue ageratum, hoping my parents would come sit on the little patio and enjoy the flowers of a mild summer evening. To my knowledge, they've never visited the little flower garden, but they do look down upon it and approve. I have regularly brought in cut flowers for Momma to enjoy and this week I brought her the last two roses of the year. The weather man predicts the temperature to plummet into the lower twenties tonight.  That will end the flowers and the russet leaves and the persistently green ones as well.

Tomorrow it will look like winter.  And it will be winter soon enough.  Short gray days with gray skies and gray tree trunks and gray grass.  Windows shuttered tightly against the gray winds.  I begin to think of snowflakes instead of roses.  Winter. A quieter time, smaller, more confining.  Layers of clothing, walls and windows.  Enclosed.  Close.  One petal falls from the November rose, landing in a beam of weak wintery sunlight slanting on the breakfast table.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Redistribution of Wealth

My friend would get terribly excited when the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes information would come in the mail.  She'd lick every sticker and fill out each blank on every page of advertising that was sent and mail it back speedily.  She would then pray to the Lord, asking if he would let her win, she would give this much to one charity and that much to another. I don't fault her for her sentiments, because I've bargained with God before on many occasions.  But what I would ask her, cheekily, at that time was, "How much are you giving to these concerns now?" I was, of course, being a little smug, but my point was that we should be sharing the wealth that we have now rather than waiting for God to make us richer.  

What makes us think that we will feel more charitable when we have more money?  If we aren't faithful with the little we have, how can we be faithful with more (or be trusted with more, as the Bible so aptly reminds us?) We are just fooling ourselves.

We also deceive ourselves when we think that we only want to make the world a more equitable place by taxing the rich and giving it to the poor. What we are saying, despite all of our pious cries for social justice, is this: "you have more than me and that's not fair." The truth is, "taking" (i.e., taxing) something from someone simply because they have more is not fair, whether practiced by highway robbers or the federal government.  If the problem were only the need for social equity!  Some are calling for retributive justice, seeking to punish the crimes of the past by taxing the present. 

My concern is with a government take-over of the justice business.  Laws do a terrible job of policing behavior. Take highway travel speeds, for instance. We know that excessive speed is dangerous. The government regulates the safety of highway travel by enacting speed limits.  Do these laws deter people from speeding? Hmmmm, perhaps somewhat. However, one usually reacts only to the police car on the side of the road or in the rear view mirror.  What we really need is internal conviction that driving too fast is selfish and dangerous and potentially deadly to oneself and others. In the case of social justice, we need the conviction that caring for the poor (feeding, clothing, teaching, and elevating from poverty) is the business of mankind. What we need is a response to the goodness and generosity we've been shown by sharing it with others.  "What do you have that you did not receive?" 

All who read this are incredibly wealthy.  You are, after all, reading this on a computer.  What have you or I to share and how much better are we able to do this than the federal government?  If we are not faithful with the "little" we have, how can we expect ourselves to be faithful with more?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Once upon a time, there was a word for someone who sought and held onto the original teachings of the Bible, as best as could be ascertained.  It stood for someone whose faith wasn't swayed by fashion or folly. Slowly the word "fundamentalist" changed to mean a hard core, literal, intolerant interpretation of the Bible (or other sacred text.)  A couple dozen or so years ago there was small Christian revival in America.  Through the medium of television and radio, the message of Christ went out to millions in our country and around the world.  Unfortunately, the excesses of the televangelists have changed the term "evangelical" into a deprecatory term for someone who pushes their faith on others, money grubbing and intolerant of other faiths.  Recently the word "Christian" has gained the same negative connotation of a hateful, intolerant, bigoted zealot.  

You will see, before the year is out, the word "constitution" come to mean the same thing. Social architects are re-scripting our history and changing the meaning of our words.  For 200 years the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States with the Amendments and the Bill of Rights have been the bedrock of our country and a beacon of light to the world.  These amazing documents have been held in highest esteem and by searching out their original meanings (fundamentally) and teaching them to our children (evangelically) we have preserved a major portion of the freedoms bestowed upon our nation. 

Language limits or enables our ability to think creatively, expressively and accurately.  If the meaning of words changes, people's perspectives change.  The next word to morph will be "freedom." 

Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Diary of a Painting (continued.5)

Today I had the pleasure of working from life!  April came to spend the day at the studio.  She arrived around 11 and we talked a good while, needing to catch up on a lot of recent events.  She was ecstatic about the work done on the painting so far.  She said she felt like she was standing before a classic, not "just a portrait, but a PAINTING."  Eventually we set up the pose,  trying to arrange it as closely as possible to the original sitting.  I asked April to wear the blouse (but not the rest of the outfit) so that I could work on her face in the painting.

This girl has the most amazing skin tones.  There is a coolness at the temple and in her neck.  She is almost "olive" in some lights, in others beige.  Yet, she is as delicate and pale as anybody I know.  I have yet to capture that delicate thin quality. I mixed up some various skin tones and began dabbing little mosaics of color, reinforcing the darkest darks and establishing the lightest lights.  April asked me, "What was it you said about using purple in flesh tones?"  I suddenly remembered the combination that had worked so well on my last painting, the mix that inspired me in a dream and had roused me to wake and write down before I could forget: dioxizine purple, raw sienna and white.  It makes a really amazing cool flesh tone.  And to warm it, I add a dab of English or Grumbacher red.  So I mixed it up and we worked the rest of the afternoon, bringing the face to an acceptable level of  completion.  However, I plan on pushing it to a higher level as I did in my last painting of Eric.  Tell me what you think (pardon the glare from the overhead lighting):
April 8-4-2010
I took a photo of this session and will complete the painting from that photo, rather than relying on the first session.  The painting progresses and so should the photos.  April is heading off to school in two weeks and won't be able to sit for me any more.  I am on my own.  But this special person has been much more than my model.  She has been my muse and my friend who has accompanied me on a fabulous journey.  Our paths are diverging as she goes to follow her dreams and I strive to grow as a painter of extraordinary people.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Diary of a Painting (continued.4)

Dear Diary:  I'm sorry I didn't get to paint much today!  Dad and I went to WalMart this morning. Then we stopped by the "curb market" (fruit stand) and bought fresh blueberries and peaches.  By the time the physical therapist was finished with mom and I had made "'mater sandwiches" for lunch, it was already almost 2 PM!  I made a pot of strong decaf (?) and chatted with Tim for a few minutes.  I was just priming the painting with Liquin when a customer came into the gallery to pick up a custom piece.  He was a nice chatty fellow, happy to talk about pottery, and talk and talk and talk.....  It was 3 PM when I laid out my paints and had just started painting when Mom called and asked where the Benadryl might be.  I told her where I thought it was and she said Dad would look for it.  Three minutes later she called again and said, nope, not there.  Okay.  Be right there.  I walked home in a gentle drizzling rain, found the Benadryl, and walked back again.  It was then 3:20. So, there it is.  I painted until 4 PM and then cleaned up.  As I was waiting for Tim to unlock the truck door for me, he checked the mailbox and found the acceptance letter from the Foundry Art Centre, informing me that two of my paintings have been accepted in the upcoming show:  Painting: The Artful Palette (August 27 - October 8.)

There will be days like this.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Diary of a Painting (continued.3)

I haven't updated this journal since the MACatastrophe last week: my iBook hard drive died.  So I headed to MAC HQ and bought a teeny tiny little iBook to take it's place until I can decide on and save for the next laptop that I wish to purchase.  In the last week I have made some real progress on the underpainting.  READ: UNDERPAINTING.  A couple of people have made comments, not realizing the early early stage the painting is in.

Canvas complete.  Ooops, the perspective on the drawing horse is all wrong.

7-29-2010 detail
I've been thinking I should have posed April in a white blouse to complete the homage to the de la Tour painting. So today I decided to just convert it to white, leaving the lavender in the shadows. I am really pleased with how this is working. I love the highlights on the sleeve. Really convincing, if you ask me. I decided to make the skirt red, too (ala Penitent Magdalena). Notice the only place I have scrumbled the red is in the direct light. I started defining the books, too. I want the spine of the "Art History" book to stand out. It may take several tries to get the right amount of text to make it believable. I really do not like painting text.

I corrected the perspective on the drawing horse and then pushed it back into the shadows. Yesterday I indicated where the cap and gown are, tossed "carelessly" at her feet. Today I defined the mortar board and tassel. Just a few cleverly applied strokes to hint at what it is. 
I apologize that these are not very good photos. My iPhone doesn't have a very good camera feature and can't balance for the high contrast levels. I will, as the painting nears the conclusion, take better quality photos. I'm just anxious to get these posted so that I can talk about it... the longer I wait, the less likely I am to journal. Wiggle around, changing your angle to your monitor, until you can see the mortar board in the lower left hand corner of the painting. Your monitor might be set at a different level than mine. I have to tilt mine to see it. Once again, these are not very representational photos.

Next, I will begin working on the flesh tones of the arms and legs, starting to build up some layers.  I will hold off working on the face until our next session. April is coming in next week to do a session.  I will paint her face during that live session, then take a photo, completing the painting from that photo.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Diary of a Painting (continued.2)

Day Five detail

I'm trying for an Old Masters effect.  This under painting will have almost no texture or evidence of brush strokes. Almost a grissaile (an underpainting completely executed in monochrome, usually grey), I'm using a warm monochrome that ranges from a deep red-black to a light light brick-red.  

I was pretty happy with today's work.  I worked on the profile and some of the shading on the face, blocked in the hair and a lot of the background.  I worked for almost three hours.  This is slow going but really satisfying.  

I'm using raw sienna, english red, van dyke brown and indigo and a lot of Liquin medium. If you  enlarge the photo a left you will see what a great range of value and intensity I'm getting.    

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diary of a Painting (continued)

day four

On day three I had about 20 minutes to doodle on the painting. I actually ran down to the studio to grab something and, without even turning the lights or a/c on, I grabbed a brush and "fixed" the too short legs.

Day four I spent about two hours working on correcting the legs and beginning some shading. I'm using sables and trying to blend all the brushstrokes.  I am using Liquin for my medium.  It makes the paint buttery but dries in a few hours.  It actually gets tacky in minutes and enables me to start building layers almost immediately.  I decide to not do the underpainting in monochrome.  I begin to block in some local color while pushing back the darks.  Man it's a lot of canvas to cover. I'm finally beginning to feel like I have enough established that I can come in for shorter blocks of time and not get frustrated.  I don't HAVE many large blocks of time to work in so it's quite a relief to be at this stage.  I also have to be content that it's going to take me a long time.  This is a big painting.

day four detail

Diary of a Painting

April has been my model for over a year.  She was already my pottery student, working off her lessons by helping around the studio.  One day, while I was observing her natural grace and comfortable physicality, I asked her if she would consider modeling for me.  She was surprised and flattered and very shortly after that we did our first photo session. I was right; she is a natural.  It's not just her basic good looks.  She is beautiful.  But I love her coloring and the way she moves in space and her buoyancy contrasting with her serenity. AND she can find a great pose.  I only give her the merest suggestions and then let her do her own thing.  And then she can get back in her pose and hold it for as long as I need her to.

The Penitent Madgalena ~ George de la Tour
Last year April went with her language club to Spain. While in Madrid she and a few friends toured the Prado Museum.  She brought me a post card of The Penitent Magdalene by George de la Tour which she had studied in her art history class. It's a fabulous painting about redemption and forgiveness, laden with symbols, dark and emotional.

It's now a year later. April is getting ready to go Truman State University to study Art History.  As a final project with her, I asked her if she would collaborate with me to create an homage to this wonderful painting. Of course, instead of being a penitent magdalene, she is an expectant young women, leaving the security of childhood and entering the uncertainty of the future and contemplating her choice of studies.  She agreed to meet the following Wednesday, bringing costumes and objects that are meaningful to her.

We spent most of the morning composing.  She tried on half a dozen different outfits. We felt really clever using a drawing horse instead of a table and chair because it what was conveniently on hand and also more evocative of the art field.  We set up our lighting and arranged her Art History book overshadowing her childhood readers.  And to complete the homage we gave her a candle holder and lit the candle.  I saw an image in the digital camera that was very close to our concept.  I adjusted the lighting and stopped down the lens a few times to approximate the candle light.  Got it.
day two

 Day one was a frustration of trying to lay out a grid and making it fit my canvas.  I'm lousy at math and this just didn't work out so I wiped it off.  Bah!  Day two I merely divided it into thirds across the width and fourths along the height.  It's a huge canvas: 36" X 60"  That's an amazing amount of canvas to cover.  And my easel doesn't crank all the way to the floor so I have two step stool to stand on so I can get eye level with the painting.  I really need to NAIL the perspective right off the bat.  Obviously I haven't quite gotten it yet.  And the legs aren't long enough.  I saw that as soon as I took this snap with my phone. But, it was a beginning.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I've been working on this portrait of Eric for awhile.  I don't have a lot of time at one sitting but I have managed to put in about about 20 hours already.  The thing I loved about this sitting was the warm lighting on his face and the cool tones on his chest.... his skin looked almost translucent.  I wanted to find a way to replicate that.

The live sitting was a nice study (see earlier blog.) But the photo that I took of the session was beautiful and moody and dark and really inspired me to do another painting working from the photo.  I uploaded the images from my camera, tweaked them in PS, and then printed a couple out.  I'm ALWAYS disappointed in the results of the printer.  But I thought that with the original study and the images together I could get close to what I wanted. 

Then I got a brilliant idea.  I got my hands on our old PC and hooked it up on the table beside my easel with the monitor sitting on top of it and began paint off the monitor.  What a delight!  I opened a couple of photos from the session and now I can push and pull the values, zoom in and out as much as I want, and tweak the hue if needed.  Wish I had done this before.  It is fabulous.

Over the last year I have really gotten bold with mixing the skin tones.  Today I woke up from a nap with the idea of mixing raw ochre with dioxyzine purple for the skin tones.  That really started adding some life likeness to the build up. Also I have been using Liquin as a medium and absolutely learning to love it.  It makes the paints really move a lot but dries overnight so I build layers quickly. 

I'm also really happy to be learning how to paint at the drop of a hat.  I really don't have a lot of concentrated time to paint and the most time consuming part of oil painting is laying out the palette and cleaning it up.  And I don't care what system is advertised: they don't keep paints wet for long.  So I've got a nice little cigar box with a tight fit and a brass clasp that I fitted a pane of glass for.  I lay out my paints in there but mix them on a bigger pallette.  But when I'm ready to paint I pop open my homemade pochade and paint as little or as long as I like and then snap it shut when I'm done.  I still have to scrape down my bigger palette but that's not a problem.  Like a plein air painter, ready to go at the moment's notice.  Hope you like it.  More soon.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Momma had a hard time getting out of bed yesterday because her "bones were all stuck together."  That is a tough one to imagine, but the more I try to visualize that, the funnier it gets.  Living with elderly people can be fun and challenging.  You have to have a good sense of humor. I really mean that.  We laugh at ourselves and each other a lot.

The hardest part about their settling into our house, for me, however, is being the activities director. In their minds they want to do things but when it comes down to having the energy to attempt, they decline.  That is very difficult for me to accept on several levels.  They need to be active, right?  They need to keep their minds alert and be stimulated by outside events, correct?  Don't they need to use (or lose) their muscles?   Or should I just let them curl-up, like kittens, and nap off and on all day long?

Every time I pass through the room I'm asked "where ya going?" or "what you doing?"  I feel guilty being busy because they, especially Dad, feel like they ought to be helping or doing something.  There surely is enough work around that I need help with but so much of these tasks they are no longer capable of doing.  And what they can do often needs supervision.  And that's okay.  I need to slow myself down, lower my expectations and be with them. I am the one who needs to get with the program!

I think the saddest thing of all is that Mom thought she would want to do stuff with me when she got here.  As if coming to St. Charles would be the beginning of a new life for her.  It makes my heart hurt to realize that she doesn't want it bad enough to do it.  She sleeps.  And sleeps and sleeps.  And I think she's depressed about it, too.... that her last great hope of renewal was coming to be with me and that being here hasn't changed her life much at all.  Just locations.

How much do I push and how much do I let ride?  How do you help your parents savor every moment of life when they've lost their sense of taste?  These and other questions will be lived out day by day in the ongoing saga of the Sawyer Household.  In the meantime, if I can just help Momma get her bones unstuck.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

But Why Naked?

I am a figure painter and I paint nudes so that I can become a better painter.  I am also a Christian with deeply held convictions on morality and sexuality and decency and the dignity of the human being. Repeat line one:  I paint nudes.

Most of these pictures are simple studies not intended for sale although I have some that are finished and I would like very much to exhibit and make them available for collections.  They are not lewd or lascivious or provocative.  I hope they are evocative, generating emotions in the viewer, stories about what this artist is trying to communicate, not necessarily about the form or the figure. But sometimes it is about the naked form. 

Sometimes people avoid looking at the paintings. I know that it makes them uncomfortable to stare.  I asked my grandson what he thought about one of the "Berts" and he was at a loss for words.  I asked him to tell me what it made him feel and he said, "Creepy."  I asked him why and he responded that the model looked hurt or angry and it made him feel weird.  "Good," I said, "because that is exactly what I was feeling when I set up the pose: hurt and angry."  "Ah," he said, and then looked back without flinching to examine the painting more closely.  I'd given him permission to look.

Have we, as a culture, lost our ability to see or have we not been taught how to "read" works of art? It takes effort and requires some knowledge of drafting and craftsmanship to do this well but it is worth it. If for no other reason than to peer into the past through the rich window pane of art.

America swings back and forth between puritanism and licentiousness.  Somewhere along this winding road the church has given up on art, losing its preservative and purifying influence as well as relegating it to a class of elitists to decipher or interpret it to the rest of our culture.   The art world needs Christians.  Christians need art.  Art needs to be accessible to all and all need to be able to access great art!

I won't even get into the discussion of "what IS art."  That to me is the wrong question and I don't have the time or knowledge to even get into it.  I am too busy making up for lost years, trying to be the best painter I can be in the time I have left.

Oh, and I paint nudes because there is nothing like human flesh draped over bones, wrinkling in crevices, stretching over muscles, reflecting warmly off of itself, planes of light melting into shadows, defining and confining the soul that lives within.

study of Bert painted 5-18-2010 from life

Friday, May 14, 2010

A New Direction

A blog a day, a painting a day, something done intentionally each day to bring myself into correct alignment.  I know it won't happen everyday but if good intentions mean anything....

Six weeks ago we drove to Alabama and loaded up my parents and brought them to live with us here. It has gone well, better than I could have ever expected.  They are healthy and happy and are settling into their new lifestyle in a our home.

It has increased the work load for me but it has also made me more intentional about the time that I have. It's also teaching me flexibility, to switch modes quickly and without frustration (okay, I'm working on that.)

So I have a few minutes each week to paint but a few is better than none.  I vow to make the most of the time, to grab little snatches of time and to rejoice in them!

(This is a study done from live model in one session with a short follow up the next day.)