Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting stranger by the minute

Yesterday was fun.  I just played with the form, adding fish and patterns.  I'm going to leave more of it with color, because, obviously, it's busy enough.  

The colors will fire richer and darker.  I only put on one coat of the black, so, if it works right, you'll only see faint images of the black patterns.  

Below is a view of another side, and then the last is the whole thing covered in three coats of clear glaze.  This is a new brand of glaze for me, so I'm interested to see how it will affect the colors after it's fired.

Taking it to the studio tomorrow, and hope I'll be in time for this next firing.  If not, it may be over a week before we'll see the finished product.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Now don't freak out.

Last time I told you about this form of Ted's I'm going to "embellish".  

Sometimes I like to actually plan things ahead of time before I plunge right in.  So I ended up thinking of a grade school project I really enjoyed.  

Remember when you colored a piece of paper with all different, random colors, then covered it in black, and scratched a picture through it?  I loved that project.  

So here I'm going to do it, only a bit more controlled.  My first step is to cover the piece in underglaze (three coats of each color).  That's what I did yesterday.  Today I'll paint a black pattern over it, letting the color come through in an interesting pattern.

I'm going to call this "Rainbow Roll" when I'm finished.  And I think you'll see why when I'm done.  

Occasionally you should step outside your comfort zone.  It can lead you in new and interesting directions. I'll send another picture tomorrow.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ted, Three Roses and Taxes

One of my fellow ceramic artists, Ted, does this great thing every year where he explores a technique, or shape.  He makes many, many, variations on the same theme.  I'm talking like a hundred here.  Two years ago he explored the female form and created many wonderful vases.  This year he's pushing the boundaries again, in a more random shape pattern.  And I wanna tell you these bisqued forms are everywhere.  Each one is different. 

Sue said she wanted to paint one, and I did too.  This is the one Ted gave me to "embellish".  That's the fancy name for paint it.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  

Below is the first pass on my painting of the three roses. I tried five times to get this to import correctly and I give up.  So tilt your head sideways.  And Taxes?  Guess what I get to do today.  Yuk!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Client, new job

I have a new client who wants a watercolor of the roses in her garden.  So my task is to use these photos to create a pleasing and artistic grouping. The resulting watercolor should not only satisfy the client's wishes, but be able to stand on it's own as an interesting piece to the casual observer.

When working within these parameters I've learned it's vital to ask as many questions as you can of the client.  And this may sound elementary and somewhat obvious, but WRITE IT DOWN.  You will not remember everything that is said.  I've learned that one the hard way!  The conversation not only includes size and spatial orientation of the objects, type and size of the piece itself, but background, shadow treatment, inclusion of other objects, etc.

You also need to be able to give a realistic completion date to the client during your discussion, as well as price.  

I'll keep you posted as the work progresses. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Setting tasks

I started the week in my studio doing a little clean up and found a bunch of long ends from big sheets of watercolor paper.  It gave me an idea:  I cut up the ends into small sheets that would easily fit a pre-made frame size.

One of the ideas tucked in the back of my file-cabinet head is to paint watercolors of single flowers.  I think I've taken a jillion close-up flower pictures in my life.  So now I have the stack of paper to start with.

I'm beginning with these poppy pictures I took last fall in Santa Fe.  I just LOVE poppies.

The task is to complete one picture in no more than three sittings, or basically, less than two hours.  

Sorry for this picture sideways, I just couldn't make it turn around.  I'm not such a great computer person.

So the one below is the first one, and I finished it just a few minutes ago.  I still have the tape on it.  I've learned my lesson with watercolor.  Let it DRY, before you remove the tape, or the thing curls into a tube.  Not fun.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And we're done!

Takashi Nakazoto:  Emerge and Endure
I finished this on Friday, then faced a dilemma.  I want to enter this for a show at the Herberger, but part of the deal is that your subject has to be within the parameters of the theme of the show.

I know in my heart it is, but the title has to reflect that theme, so that the point comes across in a clear manner to the judge, or your work won't be selected.  

The subject relates to the earth changes predicted by some as it relates to the Mayan calendar stopping at 2012.  This is when the big changes are supposed to occur on the planet according to some interpretations.  

Some of my buddies helped me brainstorm the title, plus I wanted to include the subject's name since he's famous in the ceramics world.   I put the title in the caption.  So, what do you think?  Did I hit it? 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Almost there.

This is what I got done the first two days this week:  cleaned up the face a bit, and darkened some areas to give them more depth.  I like my work in pencil to be somewhat 3-dimensional if I can do it.  I also began to define the pot. 

The benefits of taking photos as you go along is becoming more apparent to me.  When I took this one I realized that the tone under the arm was not graduated enough.  I didn't like how the arm shadow was working, nor the armpit, and I realized the cuff was not right.  

In the photo below I think I corrected those.  What do you think?

Also my son came over and did a little mini critique and showed me some ideas for finishing by manipulating a photo on his I-phone.  I'm
going to try it and see how it goes.  I think it will make the drawing more dramatic, which is always my goal.  I like stuff with a punch!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The reason they're called TEST tiles

So the reason they're called "test" tiles is to see if your idea for a glaze will work.

So this one OBVIOUSLY didn't work.  I have light green mud slung over my delicate shapes.  Oh well, back to the drawing board....

I made some more of these tiles on Friday so that I can "test" them again.  A couple of people gave me ideas that I'm going to try, and I'll let you know.  

I did have a few successes, though, and here they are:

My very first foray back into porcelain:  three little pitchers.  They're white on the inside and different colors on the outside.  I'm very happy with them.  

The last is one of my luminarias with a new color combination:  Oribe over California Red.  I really like the way the colors ran together.  I did a berry bowl in that combo as well.  It was great.  Threw five things away:  they were either cracked or just plain ugly.  It happens.  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Working on it.

Well, I think I've gotten the face pretty close to where I want it to be, and frankly I'm tired of messing with it.

So, I've moved on to the body and the clothes.  The hand in the pot is giving me a little trouble, and as you can see, I haven't really laid in the arm as yet, but I'm working on it.  

Today I think there is a kiln opening, so I'm going to the studio.  I'm really excited because there's some new tiles I've been working on that should be in this batch and I want to see how they turned out.  

We may have some more benches to do for the same project, so we're all working on ideas for a presentation.  

I've put in an application for an exhibit to a gallery that's new to me.  I'll find out March 28 if I've been accepted.  It's only one piece, my acrylic of the tomatoes in the sink, but I'm hoping......

Cross your fingers, eyes, and toes that I will be showing up Monday with some pictures of really cool tiles.  Have a good weekend, all.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The eyes have it. Almost...

I've been focusing on the subject's face, specifically the eyes and the beard.  Never done Asian eyes, never done a beard that long.  They're improving, but not quite there yest.  

I like to get the face close to finished first.  Because if the face ain't right, there's just no point in completing the rest.  And the rest is SOOOO much easier to do.  

Signed up for an advanced drawing class at Desert Botanical Gardens that starts in 3 weeks.  Very excited about that.  Hope I can pick up some new techniques to bring to my work.  

And I sold my roses.  Mailed to another state, so I'm waiting to hear their reaction to the work when it's up close and personal.  

Hoping to get this finished within another week, as I have an April application deadline for the Herberger I'd like to meet.

Busy, busy, busy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Slowly, but slowly

I didn't do a lot, artwise, last week.  You know sometimes you are just not in the mood.  I did start my drawing, three times, in fact.  I'm still using the lightest pencils, so it may be a little hard to see the details.

I like to wait to put in the strong darks until I'm happy with the composition.  And right now I'm not happy with it.  

The subject is Asian, and for the life of me I don't know what I'm doing wrong with the eyes.  Because those eyes are definitely not yet Asian.  So until I've figured that out, and made my corrections, this will stay light.  Everything else seems to be going OK except for that.