Monday, August 31, 2009

Composing a New Work

For the last few days I have been in my studio drawing. Working on both new compositions and improving the compositions of drawings I have done previously. Per Wiki: The term composition means 'putting together,' and can apply to any work of art, from music to writing, that is arranged or put together using conscious thought. In the visual arts, composition is often used interchangeably with various terms such as design, form, visual ordering, or formal structure, depending on the context.

I like the term flow. The painting should take the eye of the viewer through the images on the canvas or paper. A good composition flows and draws the eye into a journey. A bad composition is static. It can be the reason you sometimes look at a painting and feel stuck or irritated. But you don't want to make your composition so rude that the viewer feels manipulated either.

Jan Vermeer was one of the masters of subtle composition. Line and light were his tools to draw the eye to the focus of the painting which was never in the center of the work. There is the rule of thirds and the rule of odds, perspective and view point to consider as well as source of light. And when translated from drawing to paper - color.

Some of this is almost second nature once you have learned it. And learning can be quite complex. There is unconscious learning from just having viewed a vast number of works of art and analysized why some pleases you and why some does not. And then there are fine art classes. And books. We must not forget books.

But you can also learn a lot from your own drawings. I never throw a sketch or drawing away. Or for that matter a tracing of the drawing for transfer to the canvas. I find that in working from the sketch to the canvas my mind will make subtle changes often that alter the finished work for the better.

The sketch in conte on the right is a new one from a photograph. It is the second sketch of the same subject. The photograph as it appeared in the magazine was rectangular on the horizontal. I thought it was flat. Editors in magazines love to crop and not always for the bettering of the image but to allow space for copy. I wanted it square and drew it first to be in a 12 x 12 canvas but it felt cramped. So I drew it again. Now I was far enough from the original image it began to have a flow of its own.

The drawing on the left is a subject I have done twice before. I like the theme but don't think I totally have what I want from it yet. This time it will go on a longer canvas - 28 x 18. I think that will allow more room for a more complex flow of the eye. The same sketch cannot just be applied to a taller canvas. Elements must be moved - rearranged.

Sometimes you get lucky and the very first composition is the right one. But often you have to tweak and tweak again until you have reached sympatico. That is what erasers and tracing paper are all about.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetic Journey - Wednesday

I have been so busy painting I have not had time to sit and ponder words in poetic form of late. Thankfully there is poem hunter sending me daily poems and other blog friends on the poetic journey.


Nicholas V on Intelliblog

If you have a poem to share please leave a comment here or Facebook or Profiles with your url.

Cats by T.S. Eliot

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw -
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
He's broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!
You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air -
But I tell you once and once again, Macavity's not there!

Mcavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
For he's a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.
You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in the square -
But when a crime's discovered, then Macavity's not there!

He's outwardly respectable. (They say he cheats at cards.)
And his footprints are not found in any file of Scotland Yard's.
And when the larder's looted, or the jewel-case is rifled,
Or when the milk is missing, or another Peke's been stifled,
Or the greenhouse glass is broken, and the trellis past repair -
Ay, there's the wonder of the thing! Macavity's not there!

And when the Foreign Office find a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scrap of paper in the hall or on the stair -
But it's useless to investigate - Mcavity's not there!
And when the loss has been disclosed, the Secret Service say:
`It must have been Macavity!' - but he's a mile away.
You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long-division sums.

Macavity, Macavity, there's no one like Macavity,
There never was a Cat of such deceitfulness and suavity.
He always has an alibi, and one or two to spaer:
At whatever time the deed took place - MACAVITY WASN'T THERE!
And they say that all the Cats whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Mungojerrie, I might mention Griddlebone)
Are nothing more than agents for the Cat who all the time
Just controls their operations: the Napoleon of Crime!

Thomas Stearns Eliot

More poems from Thomas Stearns Eliot

Hope you all are having a poetic week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Two New Diagional Misson Paintings.

Posting two of my newest little mission paintings. They are 12 x 12 and sell rapidly because of the diagonal layout.

Sun-drenched Mission

Under Rosy Sky

I have this superstition about painting crosses in my paintings. There are never two in a mission picture. This can be difficult if I try to stay with a faithful rendition of the church. Fortunately independent crosses in front of the church are a long standing tradition allowing three crosses in each of these paintings.

But I developed the shadow of the cross on the wall of each mission to be a fourth cross. I see this as moving beyond the crucifixion. I am not very religious but I am very superstitious as were many of the early attendees of these missions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Evening Song

Evening Song
20 x 24 Mixed Media on Canvas

This is the painting I finished today. It is of the Manzano Mission I have painted before but in a much smaller format. I once painted all my canyons large and all my churches small. But on a lark I painted a small canyon picture and a large church picture and both of them have sold.

I am working on five new paintings and this was the first completed. I hope to have at least two more done tomorrow. And the last two on Friday. Then I have to dedicate the next three days to making frames for four of them and two other paintings that need framed. This is all for the Music From Angel Fire Reception at Artspace Gallery on Thursday.

I have ideas for another two paintings but they will have to wait until after the reception on the 27th. Besides which I need more stretcher bars for the two new ones.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Poetic Journey for Wednesday

Due to schedules and economics I have not done much roaming from home base of late. Sometimes we just wander in our minds. Mine has been roving about quite a bit so when I found this poem it called to me. I love the line " A wind's in the heart of me."

A Wanderer's Song

A WIND'S in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels,
I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon-wheels;
I hunger for the sea's edge, the limit of the land,
Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.

Oh I'll be going, leaving the noises of the street,
To where a lifting foresail-foot is yanking at the sheet;
To a windy, tossing anchorage where yawls and ketches ride,
Oh I'l be going, going, until I meet the tide.

And first I'll hear the sea-wind, the mewing of the gulls,
The clucking, sucking of the sea about the rusty hulls,
The songs at the capstan at the hooker warping out,
And then the heart of me'll know I'm there or thereabout.

Oh I am sick of brick and stone, the heart of me is sick,
For windy green, unquiet sea, the realm of Moby Dick;
And I'll be going, going, from the roaring of the wheels,
For a wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels.

John Masefield

There is noting concrete about Wednesday. Sometimes the poetic journey through blogland begins on Tuesday. I have added contributors through Friday. Nothing Holy about Friday but after that it seems to belong to the next week. Just leave a comment here or post your url on Profiles or Facebook for me. Sorry I do not Multiply but I will link in for a poem posted there.

Kwika on Under the Cabbages

Bekkieann on My So Called Life

NicholasV on Intelliblog

Aussie Lynn Downunder

Heather on Never on Sunday

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In Search of Inspiration

My friend Bee blogged about finally finding her muse again. Yes, mine has been missing too. What muse does not go on vacation in August? I have worked hard at painting in spurts for three shows; two fairs and an exhibition. Have recently been informed that all three paintings submitted to the exhibition have been accepted. So maybe I am resting on my laurels.

Or just vacationing with my sister who has visited with her jeep and camera and taken me out of my studio. To continue to produce one does have to refresh the spirit. And there is evidence in the studio that the spirit has been renewed. Yesterday, while cleaning it up and rearranging (always a prelude to serious work), I began thinking of new subjects to paint and old subjects to revisit. There is a growing stack of sketches, photographs and tracings on the work table for consideration.

I began toying with the idea of painting flowers. Yes, I know, not my stock in trade. But I recently got some stretcher bars for doing little studies. When you are stretching your own canvas it makes sense to have available all sizes to use those small pieces of canvas you are left with. I figured the 8x8's and 10x10's would make nice little Christmas sales. And why not paint flowers on them. It would at least be a fun exercise. Stepping out of my box as it were.

I have painted flowers in the past. I have two on watercolor paper matted and framed an hanging on my wall by the computer: Dogwoods and Hibiscus. I love them. And I do flowers quite well really. It is just that they are the "venue" as it were of other artists in the area. But then they do from time to time do canyons and churches. So why cannot I do a flower or two or three? Besides I am sort of wanting to see if I can bring something new to flowers.

I believe for an artist to remain creative they must play from time to time. Not always in the studio, but yes, sometimes even there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poetic Wednesday Again Already?

My sister has been here and we have been busy playing with her jeep and our cameras. I have noticed I am even behind on blogging. So I am letting my friend Heatherbelle lead off this week's Poetic Journey.

Never on Sunday

The Adventures of Dangerous Meredith


For my contribution to this poetic Wednesday I give you a familiar poem by Poe.

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Foto and Story

This photo was taken just over 2 years ago and just after I had kicked off the contractor and begun to do my own work on my studio. It is in that category of you have come a long way baby! And this has been one of those weeks where I have been reminded of that again and again.

Have not heard from lawyers or the contractor from hell and so that is still an open issue but I am of the no news is good news take on this. But I have at last completed my almost four years of US debtor's prison with a completion of my Chapter 13 three months early. Supposedly this will repair my credit rating. I don't know that I will ever do credit cards again though I tell myself the only reason they were a problem was because of the ski accident and the 2 1/2 years of medical treatments and not being able to work even with my own mask business.

Now the studio is complete, my debts are settled, the van is fixed and the art studio trail is open. So I think it will be happier days in the very near future.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Poetic Wednesday

Opening the Poetry lounge early because my New Zealand friend has her post ready.


My So-Called Life

Never on Sunday


Shouting at Street Lights

My hope is before Wednesday I have a poem of my own to post here to. In the mean time if you have a post on some blog platform leave me a comment here or on Profiles or in Facebook and I will link it in. This week we will let the links go first.

I have had less than a poetic day with my van breaking down and it requires a new fuel pump which is no cheap fix even if it is a relatively regular maintenance item on older cars. I think with some distance I will see at least the humor if not the poetry in the day. And today I jotted down the following humorous look at the van and the mechanic.

Tell me how

I had this discussion months ago
With the Blizzard Lizard about breaking down --
The Blizzard Lizard?
That's my van
It's green and 4-wheel drive
There is this gecko on television.

Surely you name your cars?
My first was Slew Foot Sue
But I digress
I said to the Blizzard Lizard in November
No major breakdowns till I have money.

No worries all through winter
The trusty vehicle took me to all my fairs come summer
Monday it broke
Monday I had money
But the question is
How did it know?

I certainly never mentioned it in the car
Nor did I have a detailed discussion with my mechanic
About just what I could afford
So how come his and my figures match?
How did the Blizzard Lizard know
It was safe to break down?

I thought I was saving that money for winter
But quite obviously not.
The Blizzard Lizard had its own plans
Thursday it will be back all repaired
For another winter with no worries.

Time for another talk with my van
Keep it together, ole sport
Until I can gather more funds
But please for now
Just tell me how
You knew I could afford to repair you?

(c) Jacqui Binford-Bell