Day 146: You can tell I've not been painting!

Don't know if you've seen this

Here's the humor I try to provide in each post.

and then the real world:

This weekend was the Art Expo here in Pasadena, California.  I went early Friday morning and took a plein air class from Frank Eber.  He had some gorgeous landscapes/cityscapes on view around the classroom. 

Look at this beauty and look at the atmosphere!!
I have a feeling it might be Frank's favorite as well
as it wasn't for sale.

Some of my friends from Peggy Reid's painting class were also there. Peggy kept saying "tonal paintings, tonal paintings - it all depends on the value of the paint".  I didn't understand and was really in a not too nice mood.  I've been thinking about his process though for the last 48 hours and am feeling much nicer about maybe?? having learned something.  I need some time to paint and just try it out without the stress of having to "produce" in 3 hours!

Bought some Richeson 300# paper just to have some much less expensive paper than Arches to work on.  I know that I paint way too wet for the 140# paper I've been using and it just makes painting so frustrating when the paper buckles and warps. 

Day 146: Far flung friends, Carol Marine's challenge, Annelein Beukenkamp's portraits

In my plea in a former posting, I wanted farflung friends to send handdrawn postcards those lucky people in the Postcard From My Walk blog.  I've heard from 3 people who expressed an interest.  I'll contact you and let's see if we can get something up and running!!  Looking forward to our discussion via the internet.

On another note: Always looking for something to paint and once again, Carol Marine is leading the charge on the website Daily Paintworks.  There is a Challenge mounted every week or so.  This week's challenge as posted by Carol is an easy one.  Take a look and give it a try!!

And then I got today's posting from Annelein Beukenkamp, a fabulous watercolorist who lives in Vermont.  I've followed her blog for several years and so enjoyed her peonies, iceland poppies, flowers in general.  And then she became obsessed with portrait work.  She hired Ted Nuttall to come to Vermont and present one of his fabulous workshops (I've hired him to come once again to Pasadena on May 14-18, 2012 if you have any interest) and since then has been posting some really fabulous works of hers on her blog. Look at her latest:

And I've asked her to come to Pasadena for a workshop in October of 2012! How can we even know if we'll still be painting by then!!

Day 145: Challenges
A fun challenge is posted every 2 weeks with results posted. Recommended by Karin Jurick.
This group is reading a book: The Art Spirit by Robert Henrimonth.  The painting challenge is devoted to him and his later influence on The Ashcan School. The book discussion will go through Challenge 10. They're on Challenge 2 at this point. Lots of interesting paintings.
An interesting challenge spot. A "word" is posted every Friday. You paint what that word means to you and post it. A link is included to your site or your blog (if you have one). This week's word is "propagate". Interesting paintings of clouds, a bed pollinating gorgeous flowers - the artists' interpretation of that word.
An website that schedules sketching one day a year and invites the world to sketch and submit their sketches of the cities they live in. A site with links to flickr, picasa and other photo websites where everyone's sketches are uploaded.
Intriguing website using "Google Street View" as its source material.  Wonderful paintings of various sites around the world.  Each project begins on the first of the month and ends on the last day of the month.

Day 144: I want some farflung friends.....

I've been thinking on this and thinking on this

I want some farflung art friends...
or maybe some nearby friends?.................

Every time I look at the website "A Postcard From My Walk"  I am filled with envy.  A group of 12 people from around the world (I would accept from around the United States) send a postcard once a month to someone on the list - in the course of the year covering all members once. 

Look at their last posting and tell me you're not drooling!!

A Postcard From My Walk

Every month we each create a postcard from a walk
....and send it around the world another member of the group

says the woman who owns the blog......
(potager meaning kitchen garden in French) 

and the postcard then says:
MarĂ­lia Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen has now left Coin Perdu for the winter but took one last chance to sketch the potager in all its glorious chaotic state.
Her description of "all over the place tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, herbs, marigolds, celery and physalis hiding their golden fruits in gentle yet firm lanterns, soon to explode with seductive sweetness" paints such a wonderful word picture. But you can see that from this lovely sketch which captures the scene in the potager at this time of year. I love the way Marilia uses pen and watercolour so spontaneously and lyrically to tell the story of the place.

Then there's the envelope showing the
" white pumpkins stretching their arms in every direction and ruling the garden with dominant huge canopies " beautifully done in mixed media.
I want to be there too - I can almost see the insects scurrying around exploring the new wildness as the garden returns to its untamed state ."""
Does anyone want to be a part of my group? We'll see how we do - you only need to draw one postcard a month to send to one of the 11 other members.....your job is to draw a postcard, your job is to send it randomly to the people on the list....your job is to be one of my farflung friends.

Contact me if you think this might be fun?    polsby  at

I am personally in charge of the selections.  Auditions now being held!!

Day 143: Getting Too Far Away From Painting

Too many things in life are interesting and I find myself reading all kinds of weird and unusual things - all in the interest of not secluding myself in a room and painting....which I did this morning for an hour or so and then I got sidetracked because there's a photo I want a copy of that ran in the Los Angeles Times about a week ago.  Tracked down the right department at the Times, talked to an "intern" who dictated to me the LATimes policy. Do I believe her? Have to as she said she was "the final answer".  She said that the Times does not own the photographs that are in the newspaper and that we, as the public, have to track the person down somewhere in this huge universe and ask them to send us a copy of the photo. Be damned is what I say. Use the photo from the LATimes, paint the portrait and the heck with it. I asked the photographer for permission to use her photo and she gladly and proudly said "Great".  So that's it.

And then of fascinating interest was another story sent to my by my son.
Here's the link. Have a wonderful time reading the article and don't, whatever you do, consider your day a waste!

And no, I'm not even going to give you a hint as to what the content of the above story might be!

Day 142: Feeling a bit sentimental

Sentimental day.  Took the Tiger/Siamese cat back to the Humane Society where I had adopted her 3 years ago.  Her behavior in the house had become extreme and I could just no longer tolerate it but I'm really feeling sad that that was my only way of dealing with it.  After "making" my husband take me out to lunch so that I, at 2:30 p.m. could have a cocktail to drown my sorrows (see recipe for "Penicillin"  ....he had a glass of Aglianico, a yummy Italian wine).......

So still feeling so sorry for myself, I decided to spend time perusing other people's blogs, looking at some gorgeous watercolors/watercolours (yes I got as far as Great Britain......I'll list some names here so that you too can enjoy them in all your spare time.  But while wandering I came across this on and thought I'd like to share it with my readers as well.

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd
is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To live is to risk dying.

Our teacher Peggy Reid put me on to Jean Haines blog this morning because of the woman's way with watercolors.  She lives in England.
She mounts a monthly painting challenge which looks really interesting. Here's October's challenge.

And then I got sidetracked again. People's paintings and blogs are being copied all over the place by people too lazy to use their own sluggard brains!  Jean Haines realized someone was copying her paintings.  If you read her blog as marked above you'll see what she has to say.

And then yesterday I came across this blog:  where she was talking about being copied and sold.

The first time I saw/read about a blog being stolen is because of a crazy, crazy blog I follow that I just love.  I know everyone does not have my same "bent" mind but if you look at you might get a chuckle like I do.  Turned out that someone had stolen her whole blog down to the old fashioned advertising that she starts each blog with.  Elizabeth was googling her name and some of her words for the heck of it and was astounded when her blog kept popping up but under a man's name.  Google shut the bad guy's website down but how frustrating to work hard and have other people profit by it.

So there's my rant for this day.  All over the woodlot as my mom would say.

Day 141: Army of Women - and breast cancer research

Dear Blog Readers:

The Army of Women is conducting studies all over the United States on what causes breast cancer, what cures breast cancer and they need women both negatively and positively diagnosed as to breast cancer to help them with the studies.  I personally am signed up with a study in Milwaukee (I live in California) because they needed healthy volunteers to give a blood sample through a local lab the study is using. My sample will then be mailed by the lab to Milwaukee.  How easy is that!

I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm mentioning it again because I think this is one of the most important causes that we can be a part of. Nothing's involved except you signing up to be a volunteer via the internet and sometimes via in person. 

October 2011
 Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Dear Jill,

Who would have thought that on October 1, 2008, we would launch a breast cancer revolution?

                                But that's exactly what happened when I went on the TODAY Show that morning and, surrounded by women of all ages and ethnicity, with and without breast cancer, who joined me at Rockefeller Plaza, announced that we were going to change the face of breast cancer research forever!

                                We knew that there were women and men throughout the U.S. who wanted to step up to the plate and be part of the research that would help us find the cause of breast cancer and stop it once and for all. 

Read the Full Story from Dr. Susan Love.

And then here is this month's study announcement:

Discovery of Early Markers of Breast Cancer

We need women in the US who had a normal breast biopsy and went on to develop breast cancer. The research team is analyzing normal breast tissue from benign biopsies for evidence of DNA damage in breast cells and then investigating whether the presence of this DNA damage can predict who will develop breast cancer later in life. This study will happen in two phases. Currently, the researchers are looking for women who had a normal breast biopsy and went on to develop breast cancer. In a few months, they will be enrolling women who had a normal breast biopsy but did NOT go on to develop breast cancer. By recruiting both women who did develop breast cancer and women who did not, the research team will be able to look for markers in the breast cells that might be an indicator of breast cancer risk. This Call to Action is for women who had a benign breast biopsy and then developed breast cancer.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation will be hosting coffee and conversation events at local Panera stores in Southern California throughout October. Come in, eat a bagel, drink coffee, learn more about what the Foundation has in store, and sign up for the Army of Women! Already an AOW member? We look forward to meeting you in person! Learn when we'll be at a store near you. 






                                 Army of Women

Love/Avon Army of Women | 2811 Wilshire Blvd. | Suite 500 | Santa Monica | CA | 90403
                    (866) 569-0388 |


Day 140 - Wednesday, October 12 - Just Painting!

Figures-Landscapes-Still lifes. What's the difference? Not much!

So you wonder why a landscape painter spends so much time painting the figure? Well, from my experience this past year, (this is being said by an unknown author - couldn't find the source)  painting from a live model 3x per week, there's not a whole lot of difference painting the landscape. I know this sounds a bit simplistic but for me, the subject is sometimes irrelevant. What's important is what you do with the subject. So, in a sense, painting anything and everything is the same. The process is pretty much identical. There's planning - drawing, composition, value, color, type of light, etc. Then there's the execution - brushwork, edges, major color relationships and subtle color distinctions. Basically the thought process and approach for painting the figure is the same for painting still life or landscape.

I often hear my students say " I just want to be a landscape painter." Well, I hate to say this, but, there's no such thing! Painting is painting... no shortcuts. Study it all. In traditional art schools drawing the figure is essential and part of the curriculum. I did that for several years, but for the past 20+ years I've focused primarily on how color and light create form, atmosphere and distance in still life and landscapes. Last year we began to offer portrait and figure painting at the school so I thought, there's no better opportunity for me to study the figure again. What I didn't realize was how much it would help my still life and landscapes.

In the figure painting you can see that most of the plane changes are color and /or value changes - just enough to turn the form. This is one way to convey volume with an emphasis on color and light. Now look at the still life painting. Even though the subject is completely different the process is identical. Look at the subtle color changes in the egg shells and their cast shadows. They were painted just like I painted the figure - every plane change is a color change. Now the landscape is an overcast California winter scene so the colors are subtler than a bright sunny summer day. But, you can see the color shift in temperature, value, and chroma as the planes recede into the distance. These are the same color shifts that you see when painting the figure. Also take a look at the edges. There are lost edges, soft edges, and hard edges - no difference between the figure, the still life, and the landscape.

So, when studying art you need to study it all.
One subject helps the other...
Painting is painting.

Day 139: Tuesday, October 11 - David Lobenberg's Portraits in Payne's Grey

I've followed David Lobenberg's work for ages. He's an adjunct art professor, (whatever that means), workshop instructor, gallery and commission artist. He has an MA degree from UCLA and he mainly paints in watercolor.

I started watching him because he was "into" portrait work and he mounted a couple of painting challenges.  One of the most fun challenges was a self portrait of yourself in a hat.  I tried and tried to get a photo of myself and finally gave up and submitted..................

Go to the link above and see some of the wonderful submissions.

His blog entry today was that he was going to be demo-ing at the Sacramento Fine Art Center and thought, because he's been messing around with the idea lately, that he'd paint four portraits in his allotted hour using only Payne's Grey.  He got his paper ready with his drawings:

and is thinking that while one wash is drying, he can work on one of the other drawings.  I've always wanted to take a workshop from him and he and I have talked but could never come up with anything conclusive as to dates, times, formats, where to do it.........okay Valley Watercolor Society: go for it, get David to be one of your workshops!!

Here's some of the other black and white work he's been doing lately. Gorgeous as is most of his work.  He comments in today's post about not doing any color portrait work until you've mastered mono paintings. Interesting thought and obviously he's been working on it!!

david's portrait of himself

Day 138: Sunday, October 9 - The Best Deal in Town!!

The very best deal in Los Angeles, unknown to most, enjoyed by the few.

Today Dudamel performed in theaters across the United States as part of the Philharmonic Live in HD Performances.  It was a full Mendelssohn program with a violinist, Janine Jansen, a gorgeous woman from Holland.  It is broadcast from the Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles via cameras mounted throughout the orchestra.  You are upclose and personal, looking at Dudamel's face, looking at the individual concert members.
The best part though is when the actual concergoers have an intermission, we, the theater audience go backstage with Dudamel, Janine, we watch rehearsals of the music, we interview's a fantastic deal!!

The next program is February 2, 2012, broadcast from Caracas, Venezuela - Dudamel's hometown.  He'll be conducting Mahler's 8th with the L.A. Phil, the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, combined with multiple choirs and soloists in Mahler’s “Symphony of a Thousand”.  It should be a fantastic broadcast and a fantastic experience.  Because of the 1000 singers and musicians on the stage at the same time, I think it would be an incredible experience for slightly older children.  Experience music with the ability to fidget a bit?

You can go online to Fathom Events, type in your zip code, choose your event, print out a ticket and go to the theater.  In my local area, Pasadena, CA there are two HD theaters that broadcast these events.  The Alhambra Renaissance Theater on the corner of Garfield and Main in Alhambra and the AMC at the Santa Anita Mall in Arcadia.  There are 29 theaters in Southern California that participate.

In a separate blog entry I'm going to talk about the incredible deal that's available for opera lovers throughout the world.  Me? Any kind of music except for extreme jazz and I'm a happy camper, tapping my feet, sometimes singing along to the annoyance of my seat mates, just plain happy when there's music around.

Day 137: Friday, October 7

Came across some wonderful watercolor work. It was being shown at the Segil Gallery, a fabulous gallery in Monrovia, California. The artist is Julie Hill and she had a one-woman show last summer of her railroad cars. Fabulous. She has an interesting demo of painting the interior of a church.


Day 136: Thursday, October 6

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary"
- Steve Jobs