Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Morning, Sunlight and a Blog Tip

"Morning has broken like the first morning... Mine is the sunlight... " Cat Stevens
Popcorn Sky Morning
The photo in this artwork is one I lucked into quickly one day as we were out and about several months ago. I am always taken in with capturing light and cloud formations whether painting or photographing. This is one of my favorite cloud formations, I call it a popcorn sky or a Georgia O'keeffe kind of sky since she painted them. I played around with words and a favorite song, a meditation of sorts, and various art materials to inspire my creation. It's a page that I'll bind into a book full of altered photographs.

I am taking an online class from LK Ludwig about techniques for using your photos in your artwork... very fun... Perfect timing for me as I have been in a very introspective phase, a time for changes and examining choices, and what better way than to sort through old photos and take new ones too.

Another Blog Tip
Did you ever land on a blog or website that looked interesting, then found yourself waiting while your computer seemed to be in an endless loop of cranking and loading up their site? I have and I can say, I won't wait around too long... I'm not sure what "too long" is, but I do know, it's annoying and the average person just isn't going to linger.

SO, here's a nifty thing I ran across recently... a way to test your blog and see just how fast it loads up. When I tested mine, it was running a good 18-20 seconds to load the page. After looking at the test results data, I made a couple of adjustments: 1) decreased the number of posts showing on a page to 5 instead of 30, and 2) removed a cute little sidebar enviro icon that was chewing up loading time. Results: my blog page now loads up in 5-8 seconds, I try it at different times.

So, here's the link to Pingdom for this free test (and I am totally not affiliated with them). Just enter your URL and click test now. You'll get a report showing how long each item takes and the total.
I'm beginning to feel nerdy.... but I hope this is useful for you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Paintings, Two Art Shows, and Self Portraits

“Your life is an island separated from all other islands and continents...
Delorse Lovelady 2010 Passage Through the Islands 5x7 Acrylic

"...Regardless of how many boats you send to other shores or how many ships arrive upon your shores, you yourself are an island separated by its own pains, secluded in its happiness” Kahlil Gibran

Behind the Painting
Do you ever wonder what might have been in the mind of an artist when looking at a work? Well, I am not so much a literal painter as a metaphorical one. The quote describes a bit of what I was contemplating when I painted the "Passage Through the Islands", a scene from my imagination but not unlike scenery I have viewed in the Northwest... basically that we are all self-contained separate islands floating past each other though still connected in the cosmic soup...

Local Miniature/Small Painting Show
You are invited to the First Annual Miniature/Small Painting Art Show at Gallery North featuring 65 Northwest and other artist's work. I'll have 3 mixed media/acrylic paintings in the show including the one above, "Passage Through the Islands."

Gallery North
508 Main Street
Edmonds, WA 98020
SHOW DATES: March 1 - 30, 2010
HOURS: Mondays-Saturdays 10-6pm
Sundays 11-5pm

Artist's Reception: MARCH 7 from 1-4pm - refreshments served
Edmond's Art Walk: MARCH 18 from 5-8pm

An Artist's Self Portrait
“A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.” John Singer Sargent

I don't ordinarily consider myself a portrait or figure painter... however, recently I took up the challenge of the Art House for artists to do self portraits, and I painted it in my latest experimental medium of acrylics. I used a reference favorite photo of my smiley happy self and painted it in a somewhat realistic style. I look so in-the-pink! But then, I guess sometimes I am...

Delorse Self Portrait 8x10 acrylic

It is definitely challenging to paint portraits, particularly of yourself. You have to really look and take in all the details, the little line here or there, that didn't used to be there. And, after all, we are ever changing, not static beings. There are hundreds of expressions and ways that we all have looked over a lifetime. Which one is the real you? Well, they all are, and we are just perfect in our imperfections at any stage. However, I do like the Sargent quote, because it seems to sum up what most people think when looking at any portrait, that it needs a little something on the mouth, or maybe the nose could be different... So, no that painting is not an exact replica of me, but it wasn't meant to be, and I could never do it anyway. I don't know that anyone could truly capture an exact replica of a person. Painting portraits or self portraits from my view is more about trying to capture just a moment or a sense of that person...

I finished it just barely in time to mail it off to Art House this past Monday on March 1, to be displayed in Brooklyn in April, and be added to a book collection of artist self portraits. If you haven't visited the Art House, it hosts quite an array of artist projects that sound quite fun. You can also post some of your art there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trip to Canada, Experimental Painting and A Blog Tip

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. " John Muir Canada
We took another short British Columbia trip recently as I was recouperating from cold and sinus, it was wonderful soaking in an outdoor hot springs and walking on this peaceful lake. Although friends warned of lengthy border crossings, there were none, we were over the border in 5 minutes. Actually, you can google a webcam of each crossing, which I did before we left.
We took a side trip to the Hemlock Valley and the river area above which is a wildlife refuge, and a particular favorite spot for eagles since the river is filled with salmon spawning at certain times of the year. The beach was littered with bones, I love taking pictures of bones. They are evocative for me. It was a crispy cold beautiful sunny day, creating the darkest shadows, stark contrasts against the lit areas and the hidden areas... and the stillness and peace inbetween... nature is so soothing.
I was fascinated with this particular tree, the undulating shapes, the new twiggy growths sprouting everywhere headed straight up towards the sun. I must have taken at least a dozen pictures to satisfy myself. Of all the shapes, the undulating wavy shapes are my favorite, and then circles too. I can see a wave pattern in the branches along the ground. An art instructor once told me that each artist needed to discover which shape resonated the most for them, that O'Keeffe had done that. Here is a quote I like about shapes from her book "Some Memories of Drawings":

"I realized that I had things in my head not like what I had been taught - not like what I had seen - shapes and ideas so familiar to me that it hadn't occurred to me to put them down. I decided to stop painting, to put away everything I had done, and to start to say the things that were my own."

Experimental Painting
This mixed media acrylic piece I started probably 3 or 4 months ago, and was almost done with it. But it was one of those where I still didn't get that "I'm finished - it's done" feeling. Do you get that? That nagging little voice saying, it wants something else, what is it? I'm new to abstracts and have to listen harder to hear what it wants me to do. After a critique last week, I added a bit more white highlight at the top to what I already had. Then a few very light strokes to unify and now I'm done and I like it's organic feel. It's called "Rising". Notice the undulating shapes and movements, and circles.....
A Blog Tip
For those who use Blogger, they have added two new gadgets you may want to try. One allows you to add a Search Box which I thought might be convenient for me too if I wanted to find something from the past. The second gadget allows you to create separate Pages, almost like a website, with a "Home" Page too, making for easy navigating. Look at the top of my blog, and you'll see what I mean, I've moved something out of my sidebar into a separate page. I have several others in mind, but I have to think about it first. To find these new gadgets, go to your Layout, then look under the Header, where it says "Add gadgets". When you click on that you will find these two new ones at the top of their list.