Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shapes, Crows and Bird Books

Focusing on shapes and silhouettes and birds...

Crow Series
This group of paintings was started in February. It began with the small painting at the top right. It actually was a crane and I disliked it a lot, proportions were off, colors were too much, it was sitting on my table in the studio, waiting. So, one day, I picked it up and started carving out a new shape with gesso and so on. I really liked the results, so I painted two more small similar paintings. Then came the bottom two which are about 12x12. I have since painted several more crows (inbetween doing some abstracts/collage), so I am continuing on in this series, exploring different ways to depict my subjects. I'm finding working on a series helps me really know the subject better.

This whole direction is probably a result of participating in my women's painting critique group monthly. One of my friends there always focuses on shapes in her wonderful oil paintings, and I guess the idea of focusing on the shapes themselves appealed, and made me look at subjects differently. Belonging to a small friendly and supportive group of fellow artists is something I highly recommend. The diversity of outlooks and styles (loose or realistic), and even media, as among us, we work in watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, collage and 3d paintings, is truly inspiring. I'm always looking forward to see what we will each bring to the next meeting - it keeps me painting.

Bird Books
To complement my continuing bird interest, I'm in the midst of reading "Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, a local Seattle author. This is a wonderful read about our urban crow friends with some lovely woodcut illustrations by the author.

And I've added to my Audubon identifying book on birds with two more great selections listed below. They are great inspiration for a fiber book on Texas birds that I am finally completing. It was a project started last year in April when I visited family there.

The National Wildlife Federation "Field Guide to Birds of North America" by Edward S. Brinkley - a terrific guide with lots of stunning photographs to help identify birds in our country.

"BIRDS of the Puget Sound Region" by Bob Morse, Tom Aversa, and Hal Opperman - I like this one as it's specific to my area. I've already used it to determine we've got "spotted towhees" hanging around our yard - gorgeous 8" birds with a dark black hood and tail, sprinkled with white spots on the black wing, and robin red sides and a white belly, red eyes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Photoshop Art, Flight Museum and Collage

Sifting through photo's, mixing colors, shapes... mixing it up...
PhotoShop Art
Above is a Photoshop composite of 3 photo's taken at a recent visit to the Seattle Flight Museum. I used layers, inversion, several other adjustments and filters to combine the 3 photo's: looking into a jet engine, the bottom of a hot air balloon, and butterflies.

The Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is a fascinating place. I'm not so much into technology and machines, however, the concept of flight, the history, the airiness of the high glass ceiling lead me into the land of imagination. A fun afternoon spent with visiting family, including the open eyes of a six year old, cannot fail to inspire. I especially liked the room devoted to lunar exploration and pictures of nebula's. Isn't this spiral shape stunning?
More Photoshop Art
Another altered photo follows, I used inversion and color adjustments. It is a rhododendrun blossom at Snowqualmie Falls. I'm drawn to the shocking green. It's fun to color outside the norm, play with my choices...
A friend and I had a great afternoon about a month ago making 5x7 "soul collage" cards. I've made many collages, however this is my first soul collage card. There is a book prescribing the techniques in using them for those who want to follow a system. I believe any art we make is a picture of who we are at the time, an expression of inner goings-on that we may or may not be aware of. It's good to pay attention to what shows up in our artwork, to ask ourselves about it, to notice and listen, this is what I learned when I trained to become an expressive art therapist a few years back. Noticing, listening lead us up the path of self-awareness.