Day 100: Friday, June 24 - Drawing class

For the first time in ages I went to my portrait drawing class. It has met on Thursdays for years now under a wonderful teacher, April Foster.  We always have a live model for 3 hours, solely for portrait/figure work.  This week I had hired the model, Chad, a friend's brother. He did a fantastic job of sitting still with his extremely angular face.  I thought I did a great job of capturing him.

And then there's my friend in the class, Isao, a fantastic drawer of portraits with his sanguine pencil and his grey paper.  I persuaded Isao to give Chad this particular incredible treat to own one of Isao's drawings.

I don't know if you can see in the background the "conditions" of the classroom this time.  Someone had borrowed all of the conference tables from the room (we're in a senior center with a pre-school class of 3-4 year olds singing and chanting on one side of us and extremely senior folk eating lunch on the other side of us) and we've gotten tv tray tables, chair seats....anything with a level surface to draw on and created our space for the day.  Over the years we've hired some of the seniors with their interesting faces to model for us.  Seymour, for example, was one of our finer models:

And then we ran an ad in Craig's List for portrait models and Roman showed up. Another great face.

Day 99: Thursday, June 16 - Ted Nuttall

I'm sorry to say that somehow, all of my photos of the wonderful painters in Ted's class were deleted from my new Iphone.  By my own hand. Which is worse!   I transferred everything to the computer, told the computer to delete the photos from the source.............and nothing.  I had such wonderful photos of the works in progress and the smiling, satisfied painters........Drat, rats and phooey as my family says.

Due to a combination of circumstances at the painting studios, problems with a/c, heat wave in Los Angeles, heater turned on in the studios instead of the a/c......I didn't pick up a paintbrush until Thursday.  Painted away, happily, finally but didn't even come close to a finished product.

Was trying to paint a companion piece to the portrait I painted last year with Ted of my cousin Phillip.  A piece which I adore.  The companion piece was to be Phillip's partner of many years, Russ.  Here's as far as I got:

You're looking at it through the plate glass window of the studio where I had set it preparatory to closing up shop on Friday afternoon.  Reminded me that it needs an ultramarine glaze as one of its finishing steps.

And once again, the painting of Phillip:

Day 98: Wednesday, June 15: Ted Nuttall cont'd

Some wonderful work gets done in these workshops. I continue to be amazed at how many talented painters are out there, in their homes, in their studios, painting away with such gusto!  Here are some photos of the workshop attendees and their paintings:
Linda Moore with her granddaughter's portrait

Liliane Joris

Regine Legler with 2 grandbabies

Ted working with Gail Green and her photo of her father

Peggy Reid, noted watercolor instructor, talking to
another student, Marilyn Pepper

Marie Burdick

And I save my favorite for last.  Rody Halili came for his
second year to paint portraits of his wife -gorgeous portraits of his wife!!
And always his happy smile, all day, every day!
We were lucky to use the Glendale Brand Library Studios for this workshop though it's likely the last time these studios will be available for several years as they're going to undergo an earthquake retrofit starting next January.  I think I've lined up another wonderful possibility though nothing compares to the airiness, the light, the great working conditions for painters as the Brand Studios offer.

Day 97: Tuesday, June 14 - Ted Nuttall Workshop

Off to a great start yesterday with a demo of the first
transparent watercolor washes, "a la Ted".

Ted teaches portraiture from photographs.

Marie Burdick, intently paying attention, did some wonderful work
in this her second workshop with Ted

Gail Green, as intent on taking notes as Marie was,
did some fabulous work in her third? workshop with Ted.
She used photos of grandparents and her father as a small boy as her references.

Day 96: Monday, June 13 - Ted Nuttall Workshop

For the past three years I've hired Ted Nuttall to come to Pasadena, California and present a watercolor portrait workshop. This week, June 13-17, the workshop's taking place. I'm looking forward to a working group of 15 students (including myself), about half of whom are returning after last year's workshop. One woman is coming in from Massachusetts (visiting her sister as an excuse), one woman is driving in from the Los Angeles airport area.....Should be a great class!

Ted as we start the class
I'm going to be bringing Ted back again in 2012, probably May or early June so mark your calendars.  Look at Ted's website for actual scheduling info.

Day 95: Sunday, June 12 - The Sketchbook

I've mentioned the Sketchbook Project before and I think I mentioned that I've paired up with a creative painter in New Jersey whom I've only met through the internet.  We both "Sketchbooked" last year and met when she commented on my blog.  She's Nancie Johnson of "Art Is Not A Thing".

We have painted our intial pages of the Sketchbook and swapped them via the mail.  Her wonderful artwork arrived yesterday. She sent two paintings for me to peruse and figure out what the next page of the book should say.  This is going to be one of those "Conversations" where Nan paints a page, sends me the page, I choose one of the edges of the painting and using all the lines and colors along that edge of the painting, make a whole new page.  See some of my earlier posts as to how this looks as it progresses.  Our painting class did this this Spring semester.

Here are her two paintings.  And then for the heck of it I flipped the helix onto all of its sides.  I have to attach my painting to the right hand edge.

This is what I sent her to start from: 4 different ideas.

Day 94: Saturday, June 11

I painted a new version of the landscape for Lee Brown's Challenge "A Day Not Wasted" and asked him if he'd remove my earlier submission. I've been painting under a fluorescent bulb and I hadn't realized how off all the colors are.  I liike this little one that I did much better than the one I submitted earlier and he was nice enough to say he'd accommodate me.

And now I'd better get to drawing faces on 300# watercolor paper. I've hired Ted Nuttall for a workshop which starts Monday.

Day 93: Friday, June 10 - Peonies!!

We have a local store, not really a grocery store, but one that I think all of you know well? Trader Joe's.  T.J.'s, as we refer to it, has incredibly low priced fabulous flowers and orchids. The other day, finally, the peonies arrived. A feeding frenzy ensued.  You buy peonies as hard little balls, about the size of a golf ball, cut the ends, smash the stems so they'll be able to suck up water and put 'em in a vase.  Wish I'd taken opening photos but this is unbelievable. These first photos are probably on day 6? day 7?

on the upper right, you can still see a hard ball of a blossom
that hasn't started to open up yet

the smaller one in the center?
this is the flower where i'm holding a ballpoint pen
in front of it in ensuing photos

note the flower is only as wide as the white part of the pen

and they're beginning to turn from deep red to rose pink (they fade)

gorgeous side view for you floral painters

probably day 9 - look at the color change!!

and the one that was slow in starting to open up is still dark rose in color
while the rest are pale, pale pink

look at the final color!

and the one that was slow? still darker in color and spectacular
makes me wish I could paint flowers and have them
actually look like flowers!

and here's the one with the pen.
the flower is almost as large as the total pen,
not just the white part of the pen
Absolutely amazing flowers!!!

Day 92: Thursday, June 9

I just added someone to the blogs I follow list....I should mention here when I do this so that you too can enjoy some gorgeous painting!!  And try as I might I can't add her to my list of blogs today, but I'll get it done in the next few days. In the meantime? Enjoy.     Ruth Harris

And then, because of the gorgeous weather we're having here in Southern California, I decided to put up this photo of California Poppies which is always on the bulletin board in front of me:

Day 91: Wednesday, June 8 - Red Red Robins

Years ago when I first discovered the internet and the fact that people blogged and had interesting things to say and show, I discovered Suzanne McDermott. Her initial blog, or when I first found her, featured a nest of Red Red Robins on her front porch. She took pictures, posted their progress........I just loved watching the nest progress.  I asked her the other day whatever happened to the robins and she said they had gone. Then later she said it was a very bad cat "what done them in".  Wah!  And then out of the clear blue sky comes this video.  Watch it to the very last frame and see if your reaction is the same as mine was......  A mysterious close to a paragraph if there ever was one.

Day 90: Tuesday, June 7 - Lee Brown

Lee Brown, having survived his son's wedding this last weekend......or so we're hoping......

Lee Brown, a fabulous photographer, posts a photo once a month and invites everyone to paint from it, email him a jpeg of the painting, and then he posts the paintings, does a random "judging" and awards a black painter's apron with his logo on it.  Lot of work for such a nice guy and we really appreciate it.

This month's photo was spectacular

taken somewhere in Colorado.  His photo has really subtle greens and purples and once again, I had a vision in my mind that was fantastic. How is it that I can never translate the mental to the physical.  Here are my two submissions to Lee..........check out those purples!!

These photographs show up as really bad pinks/reds/purples.....some of the bad colors are due to the camera but not all.  Oh well, I tried!

Day 89: Monday, June 6 - Sketchbook Project

Painted all weekend on the starting page for the Sketchbook Project that I'm going to be working on with Nancie Johnson of New Jersey. (Love that the initials match her state)....and then there's Polsby of Pasadena? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it. 

I painted four possible starting pages for our "conversation" which is going to take place across the United States over the next several months.  Nancie's going to have to choose one or two to work from and she's doing the same thing on her end (painting a couple of choices for me).  We agreed to get our paperwork into the mail no later than Saturday night at midnight, picturing ourselves driving frantically to the post office in our jammies and slippers.....She got it done, I was calling post offices to see if anyone was still open (fedex? ups?) at 6:30 p.m.............Obviously I fell through on my end of the deal but the package will go out on Monday morning.  Sorry Nancy.

The final project has to be postmarked January 31, 2012 so we've agreed to try to swap paintings every two weeks which should be enough time to create about a 10-page conversation two times over.

Here are my four opening choices for her:

I've persuaded my friend Elle Gould of Arizona/Colorado to enter the Sketchbook Project as well.  It takes $25 and your application and by return mail you receive a special Moleskine Sketchbook to be filled using a generalized theme that you choose from the Sketchbook's long list of themes.

Nancie chose the theme "Time Traveler" since that's what our pages will be doing as they travel across the United States.  I met Nancie via the original Sketchbook Project. I had commented on this blog about my project and she commented on my work. She also submitted a Sketchbook in 2010. We started internet conversing and decided to do a joint project having never met! I just think life is fantastically wonderful sometimes because of the really special things that happen.

Day 88: Friday, June 3

Arches has a new product. A block of 140 watercolor paper in a 4" x 10" size. Fun to paint quick landscapes. Fun to paint tall grandfather clocks. Just a fun size.  But why I'm writing about this paper here is that right now, the paper is packaged with two squirrel paintbrushes from Arches - a size 5 and a size 1. The kit looks like this in the Dick Blick store:

Watercolor Block Set
The brushes are so much fun to use that I actually went back to the Dick Blick store here in Pasadena and bought another kit - equally for the paper and equally for the brushes.  Right now the kit is 19.99 on DickBlick.Com.

Just thought I'd tell you about a wonderful find.

Day 87: Thursday, June 2 - challenge painting

I finally, after spending almost 2 hours with the Google Map of the world, found something to paint in/of/about New Zealand for the Virtual Paintout monthly challenge. Took a long time. Looked for gardens, looked for golf courses, looked for interesting tourist sites - I've never had any luck before,  but today I came across a "possible" right away. I copied down the link.  Good thing because I never found anything else paintable!  So here's the link:

and here's the painting of that link:

You submit the link and the painting to the nice man, Bill Guffey, who runs the website challenge. And as I said yesterday: If you paint for the challenge send me your link and your painting and I'll post them here as well.

And then at the Daily Paintworks Challenge they had a challenge of "paint what's outside your window".  Since I paint in my son's bedroom and since the view I have is of the canyon across the street and since I'm usually painting away late afternoon/sunset............this was my submission.

It actually looks more like the San Gabriels than the canyon, but artists have "artistic license" - or that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Tonight, Thursday, I heard from Bill Guffey that the http://www.thingie/ that I copied was only for the map of New Zealand, not for the specific site that I had found. I told him "drats, rats and phooey" as we say around this household and asked him to delete my submission until next month when I would try again. And hopefully? By next month? I will have figured out how to copy the exact location of my Google Virtual Paintout Challenge Site. Drats, Rats and Phooey.

Day 86: Wednesday, June 1

Looking through all the possible Challenge Painting Sites - it was interesting to see how many of them haven't yet posted for June on June First. So I'll revisit them tomorrow and the next day.  For those of you who love challenge painting? Here are the sites who had posted as of today:

Possible Challenge Number One:  Lee Brown of "A Day Not Wasted" has just mounted his June Challenge. It's a fantastically gorgeous photo. If you're reading this blog, and if you paint for Lee, send me a copy of your painting just like you do to Lee. I'll post them here as well. I really love seeing what other people do with the exact same source matter.

Possible Challenge Number Two:  The "Virtual Paintout" has chosen New Zealand for its "somewhere in the world" monthly challenge. I've never had any luck with this challenge as I spend hours and hours cruising the country/location chosen and never finding anything that I think I can paint! And then you look at the wonderful things other people found to paint and in my case? You start whining that if you'd only had 16 more hours to waste, you too could have found something to paint.  So, as with the Lee Brown challenge above - if you paint anything and if you follow my blog, let me know and I'll try to post your submissions.  The one rule that the Virtual Paintout would like to have honored is that of only painting from the photos that Google itself posts on that site. The Virtual World is being inundated with photos taken by travellers and posted to the Google site and some of the painters are using these tourist photos not the Google photos to paint from. All painting was supposed to be done from the Google postings.

Other Challenges will be posted here as the challenge sites get their acts together and post their ideas.