Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keeping it loose

Newest small good things:

Please click to see larger

I am really enjoying playing it loose with the watercolor and colored pencil. These feel very fresh and are satisfying to bang out. It's nice to paint with no pressure! And honestly, I have almost a year until the show and can afford to be a little more experimental.

The woman in the sketchbook is my dear friend Emily whom I made pose in the snow this February as I pranced about with my camera. Thanks again Emily!

On Sunday my boyfriend Ron and I stopped in to the Cleveland Museum of Art for a quick visit. If you haven't been, the museum is internationally recognized and is absolutely free. A true local gem! Its almost criminal not to visit on a regular basis. Even though the collection is somewhat limited as the museum is undergoing renovations, there is still plenty to see and what is displayed is magnificent ... though I pretty much stick to the same few rooms .... the ones with the 19th century European paintings....  Here are a few of my favorites (while keeping Small Good Things in mind):

Never really noticed this one before, but with Small Good Things it takes on a whole new meaning.

Anyway, be sure to check out the museum website, as images of much of the collection is archived there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cups! Saucers! Snake Plate!

Have I ever mentioned that I love making cups?

I love saucers too. They're like little stages for my cups.

Dinner plate! Snakes show up in the most surprising places. In "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," Annie Dillard has this to say about a copperhead: "I noticed its tail. It tapered to nothingness. I started back at the head and slid my eye down its body slowly: taper, taper, taper, scales, tiny scales, air."

Here's my model with some of his buddies... Coming soon: Crayfish butter dish.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Foxes and Ducks are Small Good Things

I think that I have been a little too obsessed in painting a masterpiece and have been sacrificing some of the magic that comes spontaneity. So, I've been trying to paint looser and more care-free lately. Its funny, often the things that make a painting special happen when you aren't looking for them.

So, I started freehand with blobs of watercolor on scrap paper.  These are the foxes I loved so much from the Nature Center:

paper scraps + no expectations = low-pressure painting!

I chose the watercolor blob that I thought displayed the best, To quote a favorite professor, "Essence of Fox-ness" and developed it further in colored pencil.

Here is the finished, mounted piece:
I actually really like that little black blob on the right.

I painted this mallard mixed media work as well. The duck is done in watercolor and colored pencil, The little squares are tissue paper, and the gray-green in the background is pickle paint (aka tinted gesso).

Make way for Ducklings!

Here are the two finished pieces. They make me very happy :)

I feel really good about this painting experience. It definitely helps to loosen up! Watercolor is so quick and easy and intuitive and I forgot how much I like colored pencil.  It was fun to just play around and not worry about turning it into anything profound.

I think I am going to paint some butterflies next in the same style. How lovely would it be to hang them from string around the gallery?

Small Nude Sketch

Small sketch I did while subbing for a painting class Wednesday night.

Oil on Canvas - 45(?) Minutes

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More turtles (on plates this time)

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about how I glaze plates... I made 4 small salad/pasta plates (about 9 inches in diameter).

Preliminary painting... I don't like to draw on the piece first. Pencil lines will burn out and disappear during the glaze firing, but I find them distracting. Instead, I lightly paint the most important parts of the design.

...And here's the finished painting.

Next, I poured clear glaze in the center of the plate. I planned to dip the plate in another color for its rim and back, so I carefully painted wax on top of the clear glaze. This will act as a mask and cause the second glaze color to not adhere to the plate's center.

Here's the plate after being dipped in the second glaze color (Coyote Light Green Shino).

All done!

A detail...

The finished group: turtles and toads

Sadly, one toad plate cracked during the glaze firing. The crack is on the lower left, running from the plate's rim to its center. What caused it? I accidentally "klonked" this one on the table when I was painting. It seemed to be okay at the time, but I guess it wasn't. Oopsydoodle. I'll make more.

Turtle Teapot #2: All Done!

Remember Turtle Teapot #2? Where I was concerned about twisted spouts? Here it is again, all painted...

And glazed...

...And all done! The spout twisted just enough to turn out straight. Mission accomplished.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finished teapots

Look! Crocuses!

Okay, maybe I was a little heavy-handed with the iron oxide on these teapots. I'm still getting used to how they turned out, but I think I kind of like them. I'd like to try the same ideas again, but with glazes that contrast better against the dark brown. Are the spouts twisted? Only a little.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In Progress

Had a great time today at this month's 5 hour pose figure painting session!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Laura Unfinished

On Thursday I had the opportunity to substitute teach for Jeff Yost's wonderful figure painting class at BayArts. I painted this small nude of model Laura along with the students. It was a great experience! Everyone approached the composition very differently, and it was fascinating to watch. I did my best to offer advice when they needed it and hopefully they got as much out of it as I did!

I am also subbing tomorrow and Wednesday, so hopefully I'll have some more to post then.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Turtle Teapot: second attempt!

My second attempt is ready to go!

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the twisted spouts. The teapot on the left is my failed first attempt. The spout had been cut straight, but then twisted clockwise. I cut the second teapot's spout slightly crooked. The idea is that it will twist clockwise and come out straight. Pottery is hard, man!

These bowls turned out well: I'm liking the brown dotted ware. The snake and fish teapots are in the kiln right now... Stay tuned!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Still glazing...

I'm still glazing in my kitchen... I'm excited about these new teapots. They combine my two favorite motifs: dots and scaly animals. The glaze colors are identical to the mugs in my last post (dark brown background with turquoise, white, and greenish brown). These teapots still need to be fired... I hope they turn out well!

I don't actually like snakes very much... They kind of creep me out.

"Sweet is the swamp with its secrets,
Until we meet a snake.
'Tis then we sigh for houses,
And our departure take
At that enthralling gallop
That only childhood knows.
A snake is summer's treason,
And guile is where it goes."

–Emily Dickinson

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Phipps Conservatory

Today while visiting my brother in Pittsburgh where he goes to school, I had the chance to experience something special - the Phipps Conservatory. This immense Victorian-era greenhouse is home to hundreds of species of plants from all over the world and is literally next to the Pitt and Carnegie-Melon campuses . Touring it is truly a magical experience. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day:

Lovely statues everywhere
There were several Dale Chihuly sculptures hidden among the plants, as well a s huge chandelier in the foyer
In the Bonsai Room
This is a Cocoa Plant! Really cool.
The Orchid room was one of my favorites. I took a ton of photos!
Orchid room
Orchid room
Orchid room
There were this thin ghost-like glass sculptures all over the orchid room. You don't notice them at first, which really adds to the experience I think.
Orchid room (again)
Orchid room (again)
This is called a stag horn fern. It was so neat looking!
Puff balls....
...From the powder puff tree!
Another Dale Chihuly
Gorgeous orchid installation and cherub sculptures
I really liked the Victorian-ness of this vase
Another cherub sculpture
Love this
Wish we could have walked through this room, but it was closed off. If you look closely (or click) you can see the goddess sculptures on the other end of the room.
I loved the people watching too! It was neat to see them experience it with me
The cactus room - very neat!
Cactus room again.
This is called a "swiss cheese" plant!

My mom and brother were getting a little annoyed at all my picture taking!!

I am so glad to visit the Phipps Conservatory and am looking forward to doing some drawings and paintings based off the photos I took. If you're ever in Pittsburgh, be sure to stop by and "Encounter something of the secret life of plants".