Sunday, August 29, 2010

Technique to create drama

Occasionally I want to convey a sense of high drama in a painting. 

One of the ways to do that is to backlight the subject.  Indicating a light source with light and shadow shows time of day, of course, and additionally it will also affect the mood of the entire work.

Backlighting can really make an object pop.  These two paintings are in different mediums.  The tulips are done in acrylic, and the amaryllis is a watercolor, but the use of backlighting in each adds to the drama of the overall look. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

The new school year

Hi all.

I keep trying to upload this picture of Steve, my tile buddy, making tile on the tile press, but it won't let me. 

Anywho.  The school year has started.  In class on Saturdays, and lab on Mon, Wed, and Fri.  Mostly glazing now.  Who am I kidding?  All glazing now.  And unloading the kilns, and boxing tile. 

Found yesterday when I laid out the tiles for my turtle table that I am missing 7 tiles.  Of course, with the amount I have been making, I'm surprised that I miscalculated by so little.

So I think I'll make turtle tiles today.

I yearn for the happy days, throwing bowls on the wheel. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Glaze change

In an earlier post, I'd mentioned that I was concerned about the shade of green of the background tiles for one of my benches.  It turned out I needed a blue green, not a gray, sage green. 

Well, campers, I'm happy to report that in the latest glaze firing, my blue green, aka Oribe, turned out perfectly.  Now I only have two hundred more to glaze.  But the test was a success!!! Yay, me! 

Excuse me, Yay, Oribe!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Group

Here's a picture of the (in)famous tile group.  From left to right, there's me, of course, Sue, Al in the center, Ted and Steve.  A friend of mine is a professional photographer, and we've hired him to do some candid photos of the work in progress, so we can have documentation of our monumental feat as we progress.  And believe, me, kids, this is probably the biggest job we've ever done.  We get a little overwhelmed, sometimes, when we think about the scope.  So we try not to do that.  We just go to the studio and work.  We can see the progress, so that is a huge plus to keep us going, and working.  More pictures tomorrow.

Monday, August 23, 2010


We went to the Natural Bridge while we were up at the cabin.  We hadn't been in about 8 years, maybe more.  The forest ranger was kind enough to take a picture of Tom and I with the friends we went with.  It was a steep trail down, and totally not fun on the way back, but the place is still gorgeous to look at.

So I head back to the studio this afternoon to box tile, glaze tile, load tile, refreshed and ready to go to work.  My only problem?  Legs that are still remembering that climb!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A mini vacation

Hey kids. If I glaze another tile (190 today) I will shoot somebody. So I'm taking a couple of days off to sit under the pines in Payson with my hubby and some friends and chill. Bringing cards, books, wine and paper to draw on, of course.

I don't actually do anything with the stuff I draw up there, I just like keep in practice.

Here's a picture of the view from the cabin we stay in. 80 during the day, 60 at night.

I'm missing my first ceramics class on Saturday, but it's OK. I'll be back on Monday for the first lab.

No sweating for 4 whole days. Hooray!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tile Project Update

For those of you who wish we would be done already so the studio can get back to normal: yes, we are making progress. Members of the arts council and downtown redevelopment project visited on Wednesday to see what we have done. They gave very positive remarks about what has been accomplished so far.

We are about 2/3 done as far as tile making goes, I think. Now comes the monumental task of glazing everything. We have done some test glazes for color. Some came out great. Some, not so great.

I found that my horned toads for my bench vignette use a blue green, not a sage green. So when I put my celadon green test background tiles next to the horned toad tiles: bleahhhhh! Now I'm thinking oribe, instead.

Back to work....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pool Baby

Anybody who knows me, knows I am totally nuts about my grandkids. Fortunately the two oldest live about 5 miles from me, so I see them a lot. The newest one lives a hundred miles away and I only see him about every 2 weeks or so - I go there for a day and give his other grandma the day off.

This time I took him a little blow-up swimming pool to play in. He really enjoyed it, but was a little startled when he started waving the hose around and doused his head.

So no artwork yesterday, just fun!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

If you have a photo, it will come

A client had an old photo that was a prized family possession from a long time ago. The object of the painting requested was to give the same feel as the original photo. In that case, extras are truly not wanted, and you need to get as close to the original as you can, both in color family and correct placement of architectural elements.
When that is important, as it was in this case, I relied on gridding to give me an accurate read for placement. As you can see in the representation below, I think I got it right.
The client was pleased, the recipient was pleased, and so was I.
I just love it when a plan comes together, don't you?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A little help from a friend

There's a fellow potter who's work I just love. It's very free form and her colors are beautiful. We agreed to a trade. I would get one of her smaller works, and I would make a large composting jar for her kitchen. That way she could keep more stuff in it before she had to haul it out to her garden.
One problem with that. The largest chunk of clay I can center is under 5 lbs. A big jar is at least 10 lbs. So I tried the method of centering a small piece, adding another, centering both, etc. I did get 10 lbs. - into a short, very heavy jar. Not what I was going for, to say the least.
So, I asked for help. Al, our teacher, agreed to center the clay for me, then did a quickie demo about how to bring the wall up high. I was going to do that part, but, I didn't turn down the additional help. So, this is the shape I got out of it, but the ground work was done by another.
Ain't it purty! Now my goal is to be able to do this myself. Practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Art of Enhancement

Sometimes my clients will want a painting of their homes, or someone else's home to give as a housewarming gift. When I took pictures of this house to make the painting, it was still under construction. There was no: driveway, grass, flowers, fountain, or tree in the back. I worked with the interior designer to put in what the homeowner was going to do after move in, so that the gifter could give a more accurate representation to the giftee.
Sometimes your job includes filling in the blanks!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Changing the Media Changes the Message

I was going for something softer, looser, while keeping the basic shape of the design in the fabric sample for the client.
So I switched to watercolor paper, 300 lb. cold press for texture, used watercolor instead of acrylic paint, rounded some of my lines, and outlined in a soft brown pen instead of the stronger black. If you click on each you can see the differences. The one on the right is softer, more childlike, which is what the client wanted.
I think it was a successful change, don't you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Changing Styles

Here I am trying to get these three pictures to line up across the top, and can I do it? NOOOOOO! Easily frustrated, and computer illiterate. That's me.

Anyway, I'm working on a new design and trying to come up with a better flavor for the design I want it to resemble some work I did about 8 years ago when my grandson was just born. It was the basic design that went with his room that we were working on. So this last one is the style that I'm going for. Hope I get it to show at the bottom of this page. And I'll show a picture of it when it's done. That is if I get it right!