Sunday, November 28, 2010

Great-grandmother's Monogrammed Haviland China

When we were growing up, this beautiful set of china was in my grandmother's china cabinet in Idaho. To us, it had just always been there. My mother told us about how my great-grandmother had hand painted the monograms, and taken a few pieces at a time to get them fired. My mom doesn't know if she used a stencil or just was very good at painting- it was just one of those things she didn't think much about at the time. She thinks it was painted in the 40's and my grandmother got the set when her mother- in-law died in the 50's. I always assumed (and didn't ask my grandmother) that the gold edge was also done by her. I googled and see that it came that way. This is another one of those things I wish I had asked my grandmother about when I had the chance. I also wonder if it was not that unusual to monogram your china at that time. Maybe her friends did this also. Maybe not a lot going on in post-war Kuna, Idaho at the time.

I have wanted to paint this for a long time, but never got to it. Also, my husband got me an awesome scanner recently and it makes very nice scans. With previous scanners, I always (very often) had trouble getting a nice white background without grey tints. This scanner (Epson Artisan 10000) is worth every penny so far even though I kept telling him I didn't need it. When he's right, he's right.
Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Watercolor- "Dom Perignon Cork"

An earlier cork watercolor- almost true size
9X12" (this time on smoother surface paper- I think I prefer the rough for corks)

If you have visited my blog before, you probably know that I enjoy using wine corks as painting subjects. I love to paint corks because there is an abundance of detail and each one is unique. I like the different logo designs stamped on them, along with all the nooks and crannies that make them one of a kind. Most of the corks I have are wine corks, but there more than a few champagne corks also. Christmas, New Years, anniversaries- they deserve champagne at our house. With the holidays almost upon us, it made me think a champagne cork would be a good watercolor. I have painted many corks in the past, but they have all been close to their true size. I wanted to try out larger than life corks. I have to say, it was lots of fun- more area to work with meant more fun with the details.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Card Watercolors

I have been working on watercolors for Christmas cards. Some I liked and some got tossed. I started with more "beachy" ideas and just decided I wanted a more "Christmassy" feel. Add to that, the fact that I wanted to paint "2010" written in the sand, and it just wasn't working to my satisfaction. SO- these are the 3 paintings I liked the most. I want to see red and green at Christmas, so the beach just got left behind in favor of shiny lights and jingle bells with ribbon! I am definitely into painting shiny lately- metal and glass. I have been working on reflections- I enjoy painting reflective surfaces, but they do have their unique difficulties. As an artist who loves still life, reflections are a major factor- so why not get comfortable with painting them? Now, to Photoshop and Print Shop and all the not so fun computer work that goes into turning a watercolor into a card.
Thanks for looking-

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Watercolor - "Corkscrew"

I posted my drawing of this watercolor the other day and wanted to show the finished watercolor. I had fun with this one- no problems to fix or paint to lift in frustration. Just a nice, enjoyable painting day- hopefully that doesn't mean today won't go well....I am going to sit down and work on some Christmas card ideas. I used to paint my own cards, and it has been a while. I think, mainly, because I wait until almost Thanksgiving to get to it. I should be painting sandy snowmen in July. Hopefully, I will have a few cards started to show tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thank You To Our Veterans... Past and Present

Veterans Day has always been a meaningful day in our house. Our sons grew up with two veterans in their family- grandfather (USMC Korea) and dad (USMC Vietnam) and both grew up to be veterans themselves (USAF Afghanistan and Iraq) . When they were in school, I was always surprised and sad when I realized that not all of their classmates even knew what a veteran was- it just meant a day off from school.

When I was in junior high, many of us had P.O.W. bracelets to honor the many Prisoners of War during the Vietnam years. I do not remember how long we wore them, but I do remember when we got to see many of them getting off the planes in 1973-finally home. For the time I wore the bracelet, I only knew the name of this hero. When the former prisoners returned home, I had a face to match to the name. LCDR Edward Davis was a navy pilot who flew 57 missions before being captured and held for 7 1/2 years. A hero.

I came across my bracelet recently and wanted to do a watercolor and with Veterans Day, this was the perfect time. I would like to thank Capt. Edward Davis USN (1939-2006). I would also like to thank my father-in-law, husband, and two sons for their service. Thank you to all our veterans past and present!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Monday, November 8, 2010

Watercolor- "Hidden Nest"

I was really in a watercolor mood this weekend -finished a few paintings, and started a few more. I guess that's what happens when I can stop being so consumed by baseball. My favorites, NY Yankees and SF Giants BOTH made it to the playoffs and that means a lot of games to watch. I have been a baseball fan for years, even sat through an earthquake at Candlestick Park during the 1989 World Series. Now that the World Series is over (WOO HOO-Giants!) I have more of my painting time back and my priorities are back in order.

I finished the bird nest painting. When I took the photo, I couldn't wait to paint it. I always have more painting ideas than time to paint them all! I enjoyed this watercolor, and liked it more and more as I got the layers of color on and the darker areas defined. I am not sure it has the depth I wanted, to really make the nest look like it is down into the rose bush. Who knows? I may go back to it after looking at it some more and seeing exactly what I need to add. I am kind of stumped as to what to call this watercolor. Any ideas out there? I never really named my paintings before- but since I started listing them on Etsy and learning about tags, I have started to see the importance of painting titles and descriptions. With gazillions of watercolors online, we need some way to get people to look!

I also started a few more wine cork paintings. I have more than a couple wine corks in jars at home, so my supply of corks to paint is kind of unlimited. I find them very interesting due to the detail and uniqueness of each one. Lots of nooks and crannies, grain lines and wine stains for a detail loving artist like myself to get into. Some of the labels on them are quite creative also. I have painted them small and larger, and using many different mediums. With oils on masonite, I can get the finest detail- but I also love the texture of the watercolor paper. This time, I wanted to do some corks larger than actual size. I drew these on 11X15 cold pressed, rough surface watercolor paper.
Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pretty New Palette... and a new watercolor

Got something great in the mail yesterday -whenever I get mail from Cheap Joe's it is great! Woo Hoo - fun, new art supplies! I decided it was definitely time for a new palette since I have made such a mess of my other painting and mixing trays. I ordered a smaller palette with a lid that I can take places, and a big porcelain one for my painting table. The porcelain palette is heavy so it won't move around while I am mixing colors, and I took pictures so I can remember what a nice, organized palette looks like. I even set the paint tubes around it and rearranged them until the colors were in the order I wanted. I usually just squirt paint onto the tray wherever there is an empty (or kind of empty) space. I was afraid to make a mess of my shiny white palette. I also took a tip from Cheap Joe, and labeled my colors.

I also have a start on a watercolor I have been wanting to paint for quite a while. In the Spring, two of the rose bushes in my garden were homes to bird nests. Birds were constantly flying in and out of the roses. I managed to get some photos during one of the moments the birds were away. I have been thinking about painting this for months and now that I am getting to it, I hope I will not be disappointed with the finished product.
Thanks for looking-

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finishing Watercolors

I have been enjoying my "new" studio space this last week and getting lots of painting done. With my painting table in the middle of the room instead of at the window, I actually have more room to put larger watercolor paper on it. Now I don't have a wall in front of me and the paper can go off the edge of the table if I want to turn it side ways or push it away. I haven't been keeping up with posting, so here is some of what I have been working on. I am thinking about adding some gulls in the beach painting for some interest. Sometimes I paint from 2 or 3 photos to get the painting I like, but this photo was pretty much what I wanted. I left out the washed up piles of sea weed since I don't consider them of any interest, and made a few minor changes.

The vineyard, as I have mentioned, was such a problem to me and I just wanted to be done. I did add a farm worker down the row for something else to look at. I tried to keep him vague, and duller color since he is far away- yet still have him there. I went with purple toned shadows which I often like, and added alizarin crimson and french ultra blue to my green vines to put them in shadow with the same cool purple tones as the cast shadows.

The sand pail was pure fun, and I always enjoy painting them, and the beach. I haven't painted a sand pail in a long while and they are among my favorite painting subjects -with the bright colors and details. This is an antique pail I found at an "antique" shop on Long Island and I use the word antique loosely here. Very much a junk store- my favorite kind. You never know what you will come across.
The sand pail is on 18X24 watercolor paper (as is the vineyard watercolor) and looks slightly out of perspective due to the angle I photographed from- will look better once it is scanned- this is just a peek. I will have to scan all of these larger ones in about 4 pieces and then stitch them together to print them.

I am working on the 100 Paintings Challenge (in a year) and need to keep up with at least 2 each week, or have some of those crazy weeks of one or more paintings a day to catch up!
Thanks for looking-