Thursday, December 30, 2010

Philodendron 3: Faster than gardening; slower than fingerpainting

December 27
December 29

Faster than gardening, slower than finger painting, making watercolors with Painstaking Exuberance shows progress: One step at a time, one shape at a time.

I find myself at the "fool my eye" stage of nano creation, where I look at the painting and begin to say "I am almost finished." Not really. I have to work out exactly how to finish the four big blocks, and then go back and outline each individual shape.

100 Buttons
I remember this stage when I worked on "100 Buttons."  When thought that I was nearly done, I counted the buttons and discovered that there were more than 100 of them, and that I wasn't even half finished. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Philodendron 3: a nanoscape jumping off the paintbrush

While immersed in painting a nanoscape  with Painstaking Exuberance, sometimes the slow "painstaking" part is front and center. Yesterday, exuberance took over for seven hours, and I made a lot of progress on Philodendron 3.
Philodendron 3 - Dec. 27
My favorite shape

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Philodendron 3: Painstaking progress on a big nanoscape

December 25
Sometimes I envy my friends who do plein air work, who strive to capture a moment in the outdoors, and complete the work in a short time. When they finish the painting in a day, I think that it must be like the "Whoosh!!!" of riding a roller coaster.

Painstaking Exuberance is the opposite of the Roller-Coaster "Whoosh!" Each piece -- really, each shape -- begins very slowly. Sometimes I fall into a rhythm, and sometimes that rhythm gains some speed. Not roller coaster speed, though. I do smile when I stop and find the first patterns emerging, and later find more intricate patterns and movement in colors and shapes. I am almost always surprised.

December 2
I wish that I could say that there is a plan for every nanoscape. I start with an idea, an inspiration, a jumping off point, or a shape that interests me, but unlike my friends who look at a mountain and paint the mountain, nanoscapes come from somewhere else. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Philodendron 3: A big nanoscape

Philo #3

Up close
Philodendron 3 will be the first big nanoscape of 2011.  I began the drawing a few weeks ago, and got quite serious during the past four days.  Following the rules of Painstaking Exuberance, I finished the pencil drawing, and have been working the Davy's Gray outlines for 17 hours during the past two days. Although I went to sleep with an aching right hand, I also went to sleep with a big smile. I am a day away from begin to add color, and can't wait.

Charles Burchfield: 50 years of watercolor

Midsummer in the Alleghenies
Charles Burchfield painted for more than 50 years. He was primarily a watercolorist, and, knowing that, I wish that I knew that I had 45 more years to paint.

Midsummer in the Alleghenies (1955) is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is one of my favorites because it transports me to a place that isn't quite real. Note that it is not on display at the museum, but through the magic of on-line catalogs we can all see it all the time.

See more of Burchfield's work at the Artcylopedia, which, I promise will take you into the Burchfield rip in the space-time continuum where you will find amazing paintings and erudite commentary on his style and vision.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gloves Gloves and More Gloves

What inspires me?  Even before 17 inches of snow fell on my balcony last weekend, I knew that my next Post Card Project would be The 31 Lost Left Gloves of January. This won't surprise my FB friends on whom I have inflicted the 31 Pumpkins of October, the 30 Leaves of November, the 8 Hanukah Candles, and the 23 Snowflakes for the Rest of December.

Many people have theories about lost gloves, socks (wait for it -- they are coming in February), pen tops, and paper clips, and there is a dissertation on the space-time continuum in there somewhere. My issue with gloves is less about my losing them and more about Phil-the-Cat who controls them under the Well-Established Cat Principle, "What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine."

Phil at rest (not often)
First 12 gloves

Here is a first look at the gloves, which I created with a Photoshop horizontal flip of a free clip art glove.  I will have traced and painted 31 very small left hand gloves, some of which may be inspirations for knitters.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hanukah Candles and Snowflakes

The 8 Candles of Hanukah
Everyone should learn something new every day, and these December projects have kept me on track.

After trying several approaches to the 8 Candles of Hanukah, I decided to paint a menorah and then paint a new candle for each night.  After I published the first one, a friend pointed out that I had started the candles on the left and not on the right. Ooops.

Photoshop to the rescue with "Flip Horizontal." A miracle.

Snowflakes 1 through 6
After the 8 Candles of Hanukah, and before the Minnesota Blizzard, I decided to paint 23 Snowflakes for the rest of December.  Unable to locate my collection of snowflake cookie cutters, I looked carefully at the wonderful Little Book of Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht.  He used a photo-microscope, and you can see every part of these beautiful crystals, including their flaws.  We are deceived by commercial snowflake designs into believing that they are always symmetrical. Not so.

I photocopied some of the flakes into Photoshop, sized and adjusted them, cut them out, and traced the shapes onto watercolor paper.  About half are in the Blue Snowflake Family, which is the traditional way in which people look at snowflakes which aren't shiny white.  The others are true nanoscapes snowflakes and celebrate all color, pattern, and more color.

Upcoming:  The 31 Lost Gloves of January, and a a series of nanoscapes-of-the-states that I have visited with Pass the Baton.  First two up: Nebraska's Farm Fields and Iowa's Silos.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rivers #1 - last day and inspiration

Rivers #1 - December 2, 2010
8:30 a.m.  I have just one more thing to do with this painting -- paint the outside border -- which I will do later today.

After that, I will take it for a professional digital photograph.  My Palm PRE phone's camera has its limitations, and I know them all.

Part of two doors
Painted "tile"
8:40 a.m.  An ah! ha! moment.  This painting has always reminded me of tile work, which I won't consider because it requires safety glasses.  It is, however, closely related to a painting that I made on two 8-foot closet doors ten years ago. After two coats of primer, the first panel took 18 hours (I was on vacation), and the second took about three weeks. I used acrylic paints and a 1/2" nylon brush. Looks like tile to me.