Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah

While it rarely happens that these two holidays occur together, I am happy to celebrate them with family. The Jewish (Hebrew) calendar is a lunar one, 29 days to a month. An extra month is added periodically to keep the calendar in sync with the seasons.  This spring will be a Jewish leap year with that extra month (Adar II).

I am feeling very thankful this year for all the small miracles in my life. Chanukah is about a big miracle as well as religious freedom, but I see the expression of the divine miracles in small things and in people.  There was the person (an angel in disguise, I think) who came to my help when I was in a bad car accident many years ago. He was an EMT and knew exactly what to do.

Every day when I see the sunrise (when it's not hidden behind the clouds) and sunset from my home, I'm grateful for another day. Another day to be creative, to use my brains and skills to (hopefully) make a difference. When I take a walk, I marvel at all the divine design in the natural things I see around me, whether it's tree bark, flowers or patterns from rain and snow.  I haven't been writing as much poetry as I did in the past, but I'm hoping to start up again in 2014 and put together some e-books as my other books are out of print now.

For a happy Chanukah song, listen to Ocho Kandelikas, a Ladino song about the 8 candles for Chanukah:

Thank you to my readers and I hope you will be blessed with family & friends and a happy day today too.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sketching and WIP

I realized that I haven't posted anything this week, but I don't have any finished work. My husband and I enjoyed a free lunchtime concert downtown (classical music). I sketched while listening and I know I need a lot more practice drawing people. Of course, it didn't help that they kept moving. :)

Delicate Arch, Utah (Arches National Park). This small oil painting, 8 X 10, is getting close to finished. I'm letting it dry for a while and then I'll decide if I want to put any people in to show scale.  I'm still not as comfortable working with the water mixable oil paints (Winsor Artisan) as I am with acrylics, but I'll keep trying. I like challenges.

This was a fall sunset as seen from my window.  I'll probably work on this one a little more too.  I only have one painting class left and I hope to finish my larger acrylic 16 X 20 painting from Arches National Park during that one.  I think I can finish these two smaller oil ones on my own. I don't plan on taking painting classes during the winter, but I'll probably keep painting.

My winter project is to learn how to make e-books so I can put my poetry online.  All my printed copies have been sold and I don't want to make any more. Since I taught myself how to do this blog as well as many other computer subjects, I expect I will be able to learn to convert my files to e-book format without too much difficulty. Anyway, I'll stay optimistic even if I get frustrated at it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work in Progress

I did not get much accomplished this last week in painting. We had a new furnace installed (natural gas) and the oil tank removed.  The contractors were very nice, but I didn't feel comfortable painting with all the work going on.  I also had a craft fair on Saturday and did well with my cards, even sold one print. Still have lots of leaves to rake (fall here).

The canvas above is based on my photo at Arches National Park taken a few weeks ago.  I loved the colors of the cottonwoods and the massive rock formations.  I am trying to get a sense of the majesty of the place. This canvas  is 16" X 20" and  painted with acrylics on stretched wrap canvas.  I hope to have more time to work on it during the next few weeks. I only have two more painting classes this fall. I don't expect to take any painting classes during the winter, but I have lots of projects and ideas to keep me busy.

This painting is a small one, 8" X 10" on canvas board.  I am still learning to use oils and have a long way to go.  I worked on getting some of the dark rock formation backgrounds painted yesterday in my class.  This is the famous "Delicate Arch" at Arches National Park.  I will put some people in the painting at the end so that viewers can get an idea of scale.  It was a long hike up to the arch for my senior legs, but I was glad my daughter pushed me to go.  Links to my Utah photos are in an earlier post.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oil paintings

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am learning to use water mixable oil paints (Winsor Newton Artisan brand).  I am using small canvases (8" X 10") to practice on.  This painting, of an Israeli goat, was from a photo I took at the Petach Tikvah (Israel) zoo in 2012. I was impressed with his topknot (hair) and loud voice. I thought his horns were interesting too.  I had never noticed that goats have horizontal rectangles for pupils.  Next time I see another goat, I will check if that is true for all goats, or only certain ones.

Anyway, I think the goat is done now and he has to stay dry for about 6-8 months before I can put on a coat of varnish.  That is one of the disadvantages of working with oils.

Las Bailarinas de Costa Rica (the dancers in Costa Rica) is from a photo I took of the folkloric student dancers when I was in C.R. last February. I loved the swirling costumes, but I didn't care for the background of the restaurant we were in, so I just made some pretty colors in the background.  You can click on the paintings to see them larger.

I have a few more weeks of painting classes and I have two more oil paintings in process, but today I'm going to work on an acrylic one I'm doing from photos I took at Arches National Park (Utah).  I am having some difficulty with the color of the cliffs, but I looked in a book that I borrowed from the library ("Painters of Utah Canyons and Deserts" by Donna L. Poulton and Vern G. Swanson) and I guess I can make my art any color I feel like making it.  That is the advantage of being an artist. I will try to make the painting somewhat realistic, but you'll have to wait to see it until I am closer to finished with it.

I posted both of the new paintings on my website in case anyone wants a card. (Goat, Dancers)  I also noticed that I had not put any Chanukah cards on there, so I added a few today.  Chanukah starts at sunset on Wednesday, November 27th.