Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Madness Project, "Nebraska: a view from a plane" & Raindrops Sneak Peek

Nebraska 2011
 I spent a lot of time on the road and in the air in March 2011, speaking 9 times at 8 law schools in 6 states on two topics. I took paint and paper on every trip, but I admit that there were days when all I could do was turn on the tv, open a book, and fall asleep. I did post a March Madness basketball to Facebook every day, and, now that I'm home, I have a stack of paintings to finish. 

The nanoscapes calendar is odd -- I began the Nebraska painting after my trip to Creighton and U of Nebraska in October 2010. I finished it today -- the last day of March. This is the first of the landscapes-from-the-planes paintings. I researched contour plowing, and solved some mysteries that curved-furrows had always presented to a suburban native.

30 Raindrops for April
The March Madness Basketball Project was a February painting project. I finished "30 Raindrops for April" today -- the last day of March -- and I will begin posting them to Facebook tomorrow.

Sneak peek here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Illinois Fields No. 1 -- From the window seat

Illinois Fields #1 - Watercolor on 140# Arches Paper, 12x16"
Unlike the bright and pure colors that I love in geometric abstract nanoscapes, Illinois Fields #1 opened the door for me to begin to learn traditional wet-in-wet watercolor techniques.

Wet-in-wet is the ultimate watercolor technique for grown-ups who've never quite gotten over playing with their food and who wish that they could forever use finger paint. In its most simple form, the painter wets the paper and puts colors into the wet surface. The painter can then tip the wet paper to make the colors run together, run off the paper, and, sadly for parents, onto the floor. In its more controlled and elegant uses, painters wet individual large, small, or tiny spaces and mix multiple colors, creating amazing and beautiful shapes, textures, landscapes and detailed work.

Wet-in-wet is new for me, by I knew right away that the Fields of Illinois would be the right venue for exploring it. Flying from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, I saw mile after mile of  fields which had no snow, only stubble. Whether it was the particular old crop, the condition of the soil, or the vagaries of light, each patch looked different from the one next to it.

I sketched and noted "wet-in-wet," and shades of brown, tan, green, and gold. Sadly, I didn't note with precision how to suggest the water. I first painted it very dark and then carefully knocked it back with clear water and a clean brush. I followed up with Daniel Smith Duochrome Cabo Blue, which shines like a river.

Although I won't abandon the intensity of the geometric abstract nanoscapes, I am glad to have discovered a new world of gentle geographical abstraction to explore.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Illinois Fields No. 1 -- nanoscapes roadtrip

Illinois Fields No. 1
In addition to painting nanoscapes, when I wear my Pass the Baton llc hat, I travel the country lecturing to law students, lawyers, and legal career professionals. My lectures are on "Alternative Careers," "Professionalism Has Attached," and "Second Career Law Students."

My motto: have paints, will travel. Even with limited carry-on space, I always have 100+ watercolors (little dried blobs), a 6H pencil, and Daniel Smith Kolinsky Sable Travel Brushes.

I saw "Illinois Fields No. 1" from the air on my way to the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign-Urbana, where I spoke on "Alternative Careers" and "Professionalism." In late February without snow, the fields had stubble and furrows, with squares and rectangles in shades of gray, gold, and brown. I pulled out a sketch pad, made some quick sketches and took notes.
Peter Pangolin

I used a traditional watercolor technique -- wet-in-wet -- which is unusual for a nanoscape. With the exception of Peter Pangolin (right), the hallmark of nanoscapes is "lots of pigment and not a lot of water" which create strong, bright, and intense colors. This was fun, and I want to do more of these.

The lesson: try something new.