Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board

These days I seem to be in a scramble of chalk pastels, family, watercolors, clorox cleaner,  driving, laundry detergent, and violin music.  Odd combo, I know...

I used to think that once my kids were grown I would be able to just sail, but I have determined that the juggling act between family, work, and personal health/growth is like a video game. Just when you feel like you're all that, you are in the next skill level and the bullets are coming a LOT faster and your life is on the line. I have yet to figure out how to stay healthy and get it all done. Missed two art shows this past weekend to ward off illness, but I'm glad I did, as I recovered quickly. (Thanks to my Walgreens pharmacist suggesting megadoses of zinc, only a lingering cough instead of the usual bronchitis.) Hopefully another chance will come at the right time. All I can say is that I hope I'm staying at this skill level for quite awhile and get a lot of practice. Geesh.

The works I have now on my drawing board (other than commissions which I can't share yet) are chalk pastel. I thought I'd talk a bit about the range of process again with this medium, as it really does depend on the subject. This first piece was created from a photo my dad took up in Maine somewhere. I think I might title it "Coming Home", not because it's my home, but because I have been so nostalgic about my hometown in Massachusetts, and really reconnecting these days with family. I want more than anything to visit them. I guess you might say I'm "dreaming of a white Christmas", which was the genesis for this piece.

A new snow fall is so incredibly gorgeous. You can see that in a photo. But unless you have actually experienced it, the divine beauty of how everything turns white, twinkles in the sun, and becomes SO SILENT, except for the squeaking as you walk, you really don't know what I mean. Agreed, I am an idealist and I only lived there as a kid, but I would never turn down winter if it was given to me.

Some of the technique involved in this kind of piece is very similar to oil painting.... Basic, overall shapes and tones were laid down on a paper background that was already a color that would be a good undertone for the colors in the palette. (cool grey) The landscape was laid in with the background colors getting more muted and grey as they got further away.


Then, I used a 'workable fixative' layer to partly fix that bottom layer in, kind of like letting a layer of oil dry, and finally went over it with details and more contrast from the snow, trees, and shadows, especially in the foreground.



The next piece I'm working on is a different animal entirely. In this case, I am working with a very detailed, precise subject. The photo I am working from was one I took in the workshop of Saul Cornell, a wonderful luthier and very precious man who has been a friend and taken care of my instrument and those of my kids and students for years.  For those of you who have never been in a luthier's shop, this video of Saul at work may be delightful to you. I could spend hours in there; it is such a peaceful place of order and passionate focus. I truly admire his patience, grace and care. You will see the small room within his shop where I took the photo below in the video- look for the red walls...

https://growingbolder.com/media/entertainment/music/no-strings-attached-call-saul-630302.html


So, here is the photo I took that I mentioned which I fell in love with, and decided to draw...I think it may be like the time I lost my mind and decided to learn how to play the violin. Because it is going to be a bear...



As you can see, there is a LOT of detail, and really no way around it. But, I'm in the mood to hunker down and get myself into some detail these days, so I've at least got a start. In this case, for the pastel work, I used charcoal pencils to lay out the work rather than going straight to the less-detail-oriented pastels, which I did in the previous piece. Instead of laying in large, toned shapes, this piece needs to be treated more as a drawing would be...I worked with the white charcoal first, loosely and lightly, trying to get the basic proportions down, which wasn't the easiest thing I ever did, both with the fact that I'm working with a violin, and also all of those blasted tools in the background! Then, to further define my lines I went over them with a sepia charcoal pencil. Proportion was important here, and I worked by eye, though as I was doing it I was thinking that using a grid may have actually helped. Suffice it to say I did a lot of closing one eye and extending the arm with the pencil and the thumb...and of course there is a lot more of that to go as I go along.



My next step will be to go ahead and lay in the larger areas of tone, like the red wall, the wood table, and the vice and violin. I will need to go back as I do this and double-check the proportions again with everything. Each of those little tools will get defined little by little, first with a base tone and then highlights and shadows. Finally will come the details.

I am thinking of titling this one "Nel Cuore del Maestro", or "Within the Master's Heart" in Italian. Italian, because everything on violin music is in that language, and the meaning is many-fold, which stems from the literal meaning of the instrument being both within the luthier's 'inner sanctum' or shop, and within his heart , (especially fun with the red walls)...Also metaphorically as the violin as having a spirit, or soul. This is also a reference to "The Red Violin"movie, as I mentioned before in my "Transfiguration" post, and that piece. It also has a meaning to me as the violin relating to a person, and the 'master' relating to the divine master, or God, as he works on us in his shop.

So, wish me luck!

News of note- I am still taking commissions for Christmas presents (paintings, packs of cards, etc.)
Pet portraits are a fun gift! Please email me at Lisa-i@cfl.rr.com or call 407-620-1618 to set something up!



Friday, October 11, 2013

Making the Mati

And, the mati saga continues...

I decided not to think too hard about those glasses I mentioned on the last post- my dad taught me it was always best to just squint your eyes and get the big picture, and get on with things. So I'm not sweating the details. The technique of painting on synthetic surface, as I mentioned earlier,  not only allows being loose, but actually encourages it. Now I'm not saying that my way is the only way, but it works for me to be loose and get out the 'spirit' of what I'm doing first, and then going back in for whatever detail I want. And this particular medium is just allowing me to do that, no questions asked. It is just so sweet...

So on I went. Decided to go with an 11x14 biggish size, and used tube watercolors this time to allow some deeper, thicker paint and layering. I don't have fancy stuff, just the Van Gogh brand and on my palette I put white, cobalt ultramarine blue, ultramarine deep, black, and added viridian to mix in a bit with the cobalt and white to get that super - pure sky aqua color in the 'iris' of the eyes.




 So a bit on the differences and similarities as I see them between painting with watercolors on paper and on synthetic surface:

The similarities:
1. you can get all kinds of awesome effects using water and manipulating the thickness of the paint vs. the water.
2. best to work light to dark
3. If you mix one color on top of another they will run together if wet.
4. um...

The differences:
1. You can pull up any and all 'mistakes' or things you don't like later, so there is no need for masking, or being freakishly OCD about things.
2. It's particularly slippery, and the drying time / blotting up time is quite a bit longer, which can be good or bad. On the one hand, the effects can be pretty cool, and you can manipulate for a lot longer. On the other hand, it may take a while to let one layer dry before you can put another layer on top.
3. Regarding 2 above, it is pretty cool to be able to literally lay a layer on top, like acrylic.

So  what I did here for this doodle painting was to start lightly with the outlines of my eyes. I used a seriously watered-down cobalt blue.  Next I went in with the light blue "irises" - they had to dry completely before I could put those little dark dots in the middle without running. Next step was to darken the outside of the eyes with the deep ultramarine color.


You'll notice I was not worried about perfection. The above painting took about 10 minutes. As I said, I knew I could always rework it later, and it's best to be free.

Later I went in with some of the deep ultramarine (which is the color that surrounds the eyes) mixed with black to show shadows, and I pulled up the dark blue by simply using a damp clean brush to get the highlights, thus achieving the 'glassy' quality -  You can see how much fun it is in this video- :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYrjUsWtUJ4

I did rework it later, and in doing so just literally let some 'eyes' run together and create a background so I could get the shape of the cluster of eyes the way I wanted it. The goopy mess was worked beyond what you see here, but I did let it dry on its own a lot to allow the look of running water. I wanted it to look like the eyes were crying in the rain. Then I started splattering a bit of water on the eyes themselves to get some runny qualities around the edges.


It got a bit too messy even for me, so I went back and pulled up some of the runs in the center of the eyes.
All you have to do is wet it down with a brush or a paper towel and simply blot it up. You can see the eye on the lower left - that used to have an 'iris' and 'pupil' per se and I just blotted it to pure white.

Now I'm in the process of working on going in to the piece with a bit more detail in the center areas to give the illusion of a glassy reality in the center part. Thickening the dark areas, pulling up paint to show the translucence of the glass... I plan to let it just kind of 'blur out' as it gets toward the outside.


Oh and by the way- remember how I was talking about weird coincidences last time? Well I was dumping out a basket so I could use it to prop up a lamp and work on this. It was full of everything from hair-styling paraphenalia I never use anymore to photos I had turned over and memories I couldn't bear to give up. Waaaaay at the bottom I found this:


 Some charm that fell off of something I don't even remember....God is either a comedian, or just really really good. Because he gave me the spirit to paint that day.

UPCOMING SHOW

Come out and see me THIS SUNDAY, October 13th at the "Fashion Square Art Fair" , 11 am to 6 pm. at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall. - I have been so blessed to be invited by Boone Fowler and Brian Barnett to participate in this exciting event. See the link below for more details on the event and I hope to see some of you there!

http://www.galleryfreshart.com/fashion-square-art-fair.html

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do you see what I see?

A new work has been mulling over in my mind for a while, and I think it came from the new watercolor technique I love on synthetic surface. It's kind of funny- I cannot remember another time when it seemed the feeling of the medium itself gave me the idea of the subject matter, rather than me choosing the medium based on the subject matter. It's all topsy-turvy. But nevertheless, this idea is not going away.

My concept is to create a watercolor painting on synthetic surface of a glassy object, since the medium itself looks glassy.

I had done this previous piece of gladiolas, and coincidentally, though it was in process, I went to the Morse Museum and was so inspired by the Tiffany Glass. When the painting was finished it was an unexpected miracle that the flowers, and I think especially the leaves, took on the look of some of the backlit glass that I had seen. I think this must be where the idea of doing a painting of glass itself in that medium originated.




Specifically, what came into my mind for this new piece was the glass talismans that Americans call "evil eyes", in Greece they are "Mati", and they are used in many cultures. For me, the symbol is near and dear because I am Greek. The actual superstition and rites associated with it were never really a part of my family or upbringing, but now they are around whenever I am in a Greek store or restaurant, and of course, they have always been strongly associated with Greece.  Most people don't know that the talismans are meant to be defenses against the "evil eye" coming through other people, intentionally or not, not an evil eye itself.  Other reasons were just that I love the aesthetic of the eye when it is made into a glass piece, and the smooth, gorgeous blues against the white. And also, the idea of "vision" vs. "seeing", is just a timely subject of thought for me personally.



To me, I'm not that superstitious, but weird things happen to me all the time, and I can't really put them off as coincidence, so I try to believe in only the good superstitions. Like eyelash wishes. And ladybugs and things like that..Sometimes I think too much when things happen to me, but I always try to give coincidences a little thought, and consider if the universe is telling me a message. My sons sometimes, and my husband pretty much all the time, make fun of me for making too much of everything. My daughter completely gets it, but she's an artist...I like to think that it's what makes the two of us, and all of us artists, a little unique.

Today at lunch, I decided to sketch out the concept I had for my piece on my napkin, just to get it out, and to get the process started.






I took a picture of the sketch, and thought I would maybe share it in a blog about the process once I had finished the painting....

I was really inspired, completely saw the piece in my head, and was ready to start. I even was really in the mood to stay up really late and paint it. So I got my art table all cleaned off, started gathering my brushes, looked up my reference photos, put down the sketch and my glasses next to my computer, and got ready to start. When I looked over to pick up my glasses, this is what I saw.....










Some things are too good to be true.

I felt compelled to stop where I was and take stock. Do I draw this instead? Will anyone else get the depth of the irony?

I don't know, but I thought what the hell, maybe what it means that instead of waiting to blog about this piece until it's all done and fabulous, I just need to share the journey with you. Maybe the universe is telling me I need the collective conscious of all of you reading this to help me. Because I just don't have the heart to move those glasses to my exceptionally large Greek nose. I think it's time to sleep on it.


 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Where in the World is Lisa Ikegami??

Answer: probably, Kissimmee.

I have been driving my son down to Kissimmee for school every day, 45 minutes to and from where I live. I know, crazy. But it was a sacrifice I decided to make for a lot of reasons, primarily so he could follow his passion, which is performing- he's a vocalist, and that is completely where his heart is. So naturally, as his mom, my heart goes with him every day. I'm not able these days to afford driving home during the day, so I've gotten to know the folks at the local McDonald's quite well, (my office and studio), and my second home is the Y down there. So, it's all good! Plus, he'll be driving himself down there soon, and then I won't have any excuse not to be working full time!



But also, I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to read this and earlier posts. I am not on facebook anymore permanently (or at least as far as I can see right now), and I appreciate you caring enough to visit me here. I wish I could keep in touch with everyone I was able to on the social media scene but it's too complicated! My brain is just not wired to process it! So I'm depending on the old fashioned way- like email and texts. LOL!

In the meantime, I just keep swimming!

Here's lookin' at you kids! Please keep in touch! :)



 "Octopus", watercolor, 5" x 7"



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

For the Knitting Friends...

Around this time of year (actually, usually exactly at this time, every year) I get an itch to sew, and/or knit. I think the sewing part comes from the ritualistic sewing of Halloween costumes for my three kids, and the terrific memories that come not only from that holiday, but all the others that are coming up. It's funny, but as a Floridian anything can make it feel like fall is coming- something as simple as a slightly lower slant of light in the afternoon or one percent drop in humidity can get me all giddy with excitement for the coming season, my favorite. I know, pitiful...I was born in New England, and clearly am clinging to any season I can get, however small it may be. It goes from 95 with 85% humidity to 90 with 80% humidity and I run to the fabric store to buy yarn....

Anyhow, that's how it is. Well, and also when a baby is coming. That seems to get to me too. I've made so many smocked baby dresses and baby bubbles and all kinds of baby blankets, for my kids and for friends'. When my third child was about to be born, I had bought all this baby blue yarn thinking I'd knit him booties while I was in labor.... True story... After 2 kids already you would have thought that I'd have learned not to read the "What To Expect When You're Expecting" book  and truly expect that I'd be able to do that. As soon as the IV went in my hand, that plan was down the toilet. And honestly, even without the IV, after about an hour I was in no mood to knit. ...And thinking I'd finish them when he was already born with two other little ones, well, that was just a fantasy. My husband still won't let me live that one down to this day.

So this year, it happened again-kind of suddenly actually, I was watching a show on tv and there was a gorgeous knit blanket with giant wide red and white stripes. I could immediately see something like that here at home. I looked online to see some of the basic guidelines- I had made a blanket before but without a pattern, and it was a smaller, baby blanket. What I couldn't figure out were the colors. Should I do the red and white? Blue and white? Everything seemed like it was turning into sports team colors, and I couldn't choose.

I found an amazing pattern! Not only did it have the big, wide stripes that I wanted, but it had them in all different colors, and the palette was amazing! I thought that would be great- to mix up the blanket colors from cools to warms with a neutral in between. Here is the project for anyone who'd like to do it too:

http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2013/1/6/whits-knits-super-easy-lap-blanket.html

I went to the store to find yarn for the project, hoping to find something similar. Decided not to make it out of wool, for a few reasons- mainly because of the washability and expense. I would have had to order the skeins online, and they are much more expensive at $15 each (plus shipping) vs. $3 at my local Joann Fabrics with a 50% off coupon for the yarn I chose. Granted, you only need one skein of each color, and therefore could work one at a time, but I thought acrylic might just be more usable. I chose to buy the Lion Brand "Heartland" yarn since it had the same gauge that the wool yarn in the pattern called for, was a similar weight, and was more than enough yardage in each skein so I could still just use one for each color. We'll see how it holds up-

Speaking of Joann Fabrics, if you have an iphone, there's an app for Joann Fabrics which gives you coupons- and also get on their mailing list to get more! - I started just buying my first two colors and went back and got all the rest within another day with all the coupons I had!

However I will say that the yarns at the Purl Bee (see link) are truly exquisite in color and quality that I can see. Apparently their colors they showed are not always in stock. In my case, the yarn that I chose to use did not come in all of the colors they had shown, so I had to take that into consideration. I was disappointed that there was no "Stratus" which was a sky blue that had 'clouds' on it (But that was also probably a leftover from the baby blanket that this was modeled after, so I let that one go.) also, no hot pink. That was a disappointment. But they had a delicious medium pink that was even better than the Purl Bee's two pinks combined, and I stuck in a red. The lineup I had turned out like this: From left to right I chose "Black Canyon", "Olympic", "Gs Mountains", "Acadia", "Denali", "Redwood" and "Sequoia".
Oh yeah, it's gonna be cool. It probably won't be done for another 10 years, but it will be gorgeous! 

So, I started. My biggest issue was working with circular needles. I've never had to do that before.I think if I were knitting in the round, I would have been ok. I watched all of these videos on how to work flat on circular needles, and it seemed SO EASY. In the videos, they would cast on 10 or so stitches, then knit to the end of the row, and say, "So now, simply turn your work." and they'd switch needles- like you would with straight needles. Well, let me just tell anyone who is doing this for the first time, what they should have said instead was, "So now, YOU BETTER TURN YOUR WORK OR YOU ARE GOING TO SERIOUSLY SCREW UP!!!!"It gets quite confusing when the circular needles are full of yarn and you don't remember - it's pretty tempting to just keep on knitting and you end up knitting in the round. I did that for 2 rows. and then realized what I had done and had to pull the whole thing out. 142 stitches....

Here are some photos of what to do NOT to screw up, just in case it helps anyone out there. I realize this may look obvious, but if I messed up I'm thinking someone else can learn from my mistake.


 So when you reach the end of the row, (above), even though the needles are CONNECTED by the wire, switch the needle that was in your right hand to your left hand (below).


 I know, it looks ridiculously obvious. Trust me, it's easy to mess up! The photo below shows the beginning of the next row, which the pattern calls for a 'slip stitch edge'. So, begin the row as if you are going to knit, but simply slip the first stitch from left needle to right, and continue knitting.


Good news is that I took another look at the finished size after I ripped out those first two rows, and realized I didn't want a "lap blanket", I wanted more of a throw blanket... So the second time I cast on an extra 48 stitches, for an extra foot of width. However, The Purl Bee pattern just calls to use each skein up for a 6" band of color. There is quite a bit more yardage on mine, but I am kind of just hoping that it works out because I haven't actually done the math as to whether the extra yardage on my skeins will be enough to get the 6" bands of color. So, kind of winging it, but I figure if my bands are thinner and I need the blanket longer I'll tack on another color at the end. (Either that, or hope there's still enough yarn in the same dye lot left at the store when I discover where I am after the first color! ) 

So what about all of the other projects I'm doing? Like the ABC children's book, and the pastel work, and the watercolor work, and the oodles of terrific kids I'm teaching? Well, it's fall, and sometimes, you gotta knit when you gotta knit. It'll all get done eventually. Granted, I never finished the booties, but that was 16 years and a lot of learning ago. I think, after almost 25 years of marriage, even my husband is starting to figure out that I do finish what I start, most of the time, even if there's a lot of projects happening at the same time--he even came with me to get all of the yarn at the second trip, which was not a comfortable environment for him (he came out saying he felt like he needed to go to the auto parts store).

Well, I don't know when I'll finish the blanket, but it sure is fun to knit again. And I'm happy to have his vote of confidence. Maybe it's because I've gotten 2 out of our three kids raised and out of the house- 2 points for mom!  Even though he DID just remind me that we still have that baby blue bootie yarn in a bag somewhere!! But who SAYS they're undone!? I'm planning for grandkids! LOL!













Saturday, August 31, 2013

Girl Overboard

“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” ~ Yann Martel, "Life of Pi"

At its basic, this post is about delving into watercolor painting....Now, this is going to sound extremely dramatic for something so mundane as trying a new art medium...this was more than that.
 
I spent a very long time, most of my life, really, sort of playing it safe in terms of my art. I was classically trained, had worked for years at being a master of realism, and the thought of just finishing a piece when it looked "not done", or "out there", was a bit foreign to me. Which is exactly why I forced myself to jump into a sea of complete unconscious experimentation.

It's hard to describe the joy of the freedom of this letting go. It all became a bit heady. But here's the gist of how it went down:

My ship was sinking. Creatively and emotionally, there was a storm brewing and I knew without a doubt that things were going to change. So I had to do something drastic.  I had absolutely nothing left to lose....Since the storm was coming anyway, I decided to jump in.  If I could swim, my life could change forever. If I couldn't, well, at least I died trying. The days following in the lifeboat were some of the strangest and hardest I've endured since my youth, but I didn't have much of a choice. I was still alive, seasick, and it seemed lost in how exactly to proceed to survive.

(Forgive me for all of the 'Life of Pi' references, but this is about watercolors. and animals. so, I am giving myself license. Maybe I'll spare you in the future. Maybe.)

It all started when I happened to see the background picture of a friend's cell phone: she had a photo of her pet cockatiel, "Sunny"  on there, and it seriously brought a smile to my face. I immediately saw it painted in watercolor. Specifically in a kind of water-based paint that would slip and slide on a glossy surface. Almost at the same time I imagined a painting of my rabbit the same way. Something was telling me to go directly to the art store and find this mystery medium that I was inventing in my head!

So off I went. And all I could think of was 'hot press' (smooth) watercolor paper. I couldn't find such a thing. But what I DID find was a pad of "YUPO" paper that was a synthetic surface and seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.

So for the next couple of days, I experimented and it was CRAZY scary but oh, so fun, and I totally enjoyed this new medium. The paint slid and slipped and did absolutely nothing like I expected it to. But I said, well, here goes....

 I originally started some pieces, included the one of Sunny and of the Bunny with a pencil sketch, but after a few paintings realized that was completely unnecessary. The medium is so forgiving and you can completely paint over it, or simply wet down a mark you don't like and pull it up with a napkin. It's hard to describe just how different and FREE the technique is. I felt like a child again.

 

 The scary part was that I had to allow myself to just be loose, not to worry about making anything look realistic. It was about trying to capture the essence of the subject- of course, that's always what it's about, but in this case it just feels so effortless and easy that it feels like you're doing something wrong. Once I got over that and trusted it, trusted my hand and the water and the paint and the fluidity, and then looked at a painting that was simply FUN and said, "It's done"., my life was just different.

So I dug in deep and found what I wanted to say. It started with the bird, and then I realized that I am really just a kid at heart, and always have been sort of a "Dr. Doolittle" person, ever since I could remember. I got so addicted to creating these little animals. The best part was the smiles on the faces of kids (and adults!)  who resonated with them.

 It was so much fun to just try to ALLOW myself to BE that kid again, and not be afraid of being perfect. It really came to light to me with this elephant, when I just let a really drippy pool of greyish pink paint dry the way it wanted to for his ears, and only very loosely used a slightly dry brush on his wet belly...and voila! elephant wrinkles! Made me feel like it was OK to be imperfect, the elepahant was made with all those crazy wrinkles, he was different from every other elephant, and God himself was probably just making us all with crazy pools of paint and quick brushstrokes anyways, so why stress about perfection?!?!

My daughter, also an artist, told me she had seen a children's book with paintings which were sort of in this style. The thought hung around in my head a long time, and I've recently decided try and take on that project, so I can share my love of the natural world with more little ones. I can think of no greater accomplishment if I am able to achieve it in my lifetime.

So here I go, traveling on in the path that the paint, and the brush, and the water take me in this glorious world. Thanks be to God for the chance!


You can find more pics of my YUPO animals on my art website at http://www.ikegamiart.com/#!watercolor-zoo/c1p5n

"You may not believe in life, but I don't believe in death. ... The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity--it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.”
~ Yann Martel, "Life of Pi"


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Full Circle with the Chalk.

Just quick note to restart this blog, and to bring readers up-to-date on where my journey has taken me...This is going to have to be a 'two- step' post.

First, a glimpse at the first piece that poured from my heart and really started my journey in fine art after I had left the 'real world' working as an architect and project designer. The piece is titled "Celli in Waiting", and was drawn from a photo that I took at a dear friend and very talented luthier's shop- Jan Van Rooyen. He lives with his wife in a beautiful home attached to his shop, in a very gorgeous part of Florida not too far from Gainesville, where I went to architecture school. He has titled his property, "The Magic Forest", and I believe aptly so, because every time I am there I feel as if I am entering a time and place that is somehow a magical haven from the noise and darkness of the world. I explained in an earlier post how I came to love the violin, and of course that translates to all stringed instruments, especially the cello, as my son has played from age 4 to now, at age 19, and his playing always turns my heart inside out.

So, for your reference, my first cherished pastel piece. It is interesting that after all this time I have another piece in my mind that is similar in subject to that first one in the same medium.

 "Celli in Waiting"
Chalk Pastel (2008)


And then a recent piece, along with a video, showing how I work with chalk pastel. It seems that I resonate well with this medium, and I cannot truly explain it away. I certainly don't have the most experience using that over other media, although it comes a close second to pencil, and it is used quite a bit like it. And I really and truly love to paint. There just seems to be a beauty about applying the color first, and THEN mixing. It all happens so magically, and the simplicity and immediacy of it allows me so much freedom of QUICK expression. And yes, it's messy, but so is cleaning oil paint off brushes! This piece happened because of my love for theater. Believe it or not, this image comes from a photograph of a stage set, looking up at the wiring and lighting. It has been a dream of mine to combine what I love about architecture, visual art, and performing art, and work with a team to create stage sets. I did get a small taste of this a long time ago, and someday may pursue it again if the opportunity arises. I saw a photo taken by a friend, Aradhana Tiwari, a very talented director and writer in Central Florida, who graciously allowed me to use her photo for inspiration. The drama of the light and the glittering glass was perfect for the medium, and it was a lot of fun to do.

Untitled ~ Chalk Pastel
2013

Click on this link attached to see some of my work on the above piece; in the video I had begun by laying in some of the mid-range hues, and then went over it with highlights first and then shadows. 
 


 However, interestingly, despite the fact that I was very pleased with the outcome of this latest piece, I have recently sort of jumped overboard and am HAPPILY swimming in a sea of watercolors right now....... Curiouser and curiouser......Stay tuned to find out how, why and WHAT happened when I jumped!