Linda Halcomb's Blog

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April 15, 2017 April 17, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 5:38 am
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I just spent a week in Atlanta. It was a wonderful week. I didn’t even get frustrated with the traffic and crowds both of which were HEAVY!!!!! One of the highlights was my visit to Zoo Atlanta and their amazing giant pandas. They have two adults and their funny, furry, fascinating 11 week old cubs. The Mom and cubs are together and Dad is in a separate enclosure (he was pacing and tumbling and rolling). I did a quick sketch of Mom munching away on bamboo. I used my watercolor crayons and a small brush. It was very quick and spontaneous. FUN!

 

Panda Mom Zoo Atlanta 20170410

 

April 9, 2017 April 13, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 6:37 am
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On Sunday I had a fabulous day. I visited the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY and loved it. We had beautiful weather and I was able to wander the grounds to see all of the magnificent horses at my leisure. I saw the Parade of Champions (included Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Standardbreds). All had won many races, were housed in lush quarters and were made available to see and touch. I also saw the Breed’s Show and was amazed by some of what I saw. The show included 3 breeds I have never encountered. One was America’s one and only draft horse. They are called the American Cream Draft and are a beautiful rich creamy color. There are only about three hundred in the world. Once again we were able to get up close and personal with the horses. It was wonderful to see how gentle the horses were with very small children.

I also took an hour long trail ride that allowed me to go back into the farm, riding around the large paddocks and fields and seeing the horses that were not on display. I had my sketchbook with me and was able to start a sketch that I finished later. I had my Caran d’Ache watercolor crayons with me and used them to fill in the color in my sketch. Much less messy than my watercolor paints. Hope you enjoy!

 

Mare and Foal KHP 20170409

 

 

 

April 8, 2017 April 12, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:41 am
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What a wonderful Closer Look session on Saturday! Fifteen curious, interested, questioning art lovers in attendance. I used Ruben’s oil sketch of Constantine’s Triumphal Entry into Rome.

 

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), about 1621, oil on panel,

Collection Indianapolis Museum of Art

Rubens used oil sketches of this type to gain final approval before doing large commissioned pieces. This sketch was made for a series of tapestries covering the career of the Emperor Constantine and sponsored by the French king Louis XIII who presented the first seven tapestries (including this one) to Cardinal Barberini. A sketch like this is very special because it is entirely by the master’s hand unlike most of his finished paintings that were prepared from sketches by artists in his workshop. Rubens was a fair man and kept meticulous records charging based on his own contribution to a work of art.

An interesting question came up during the session.  One of the attendees asked why Rubens gave Constantine red hair. I thought that was a very interesting question and did
some research.

Apparently a large portion of the Hellenic and Roman nobility originated from
Northern Europe. The most beautiful women and bravest men were frequently
depicted as having fair skin and blond or reddish-brown hair. Cicero the great
Roman orator is said to have had grayish-green eyes and red hair. The term “blue
bloods” comes from the bluish veins showing through fair skin and started during
the ancient era. Homer sings praises to the light-haired Achaean nobility:
Achilles, their greatest warrior, has “red-gold hair,” Odysseus, their greatest
strategist, has “chestnut hair,” his wife Penelope has “white cheeks the color
of pure snow,” Agamede, a healer and expert on medicinal plants, is “blonde,”
and King Menelaus of Sparta, the husband of Helen, has “red hair.”

Interestingly this is supported by paint samples removed from ancient sculpture
and by the facial features seen in ancient statues of many great beauties and
important men. It seems reasonable that Constantine might actually have had
reddish hair or that Rubens, with his classical knowledge and collection of
ancient busts and statutes, may have colored Constantine’s hair reddish-brown to
link him to other conquering heroes and famous warriors.

Late in his live Constantine lived a life more indulgent and had wigs in several
colors that he wore with richly colored silk robes.

 

March 7, 2017 April 7, 2017

Filed under: Daily Post — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:04 am
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Second tour for the week is today. I am a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the museum includes, as its largest work of art, the Lilly House. The Oldfields estate, which includes the house is part of the Country House type and was donated by the children of J K Lilly Jr (Lilly Pharmaceuticals family) to the Art Association of Indianapolis in the late 1960’s. The Association had outgrown its museum and needed a space to build a new museum. The bequest included 52 acres and an intact house with many rooms still furnished as they had been when the family lived in the house. What a gift!

Today the Lilly House is a National Historic Landmark and a group of dedicated docents do tours at the house. My tour today is for a group of high school students that are home schooled. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to share information about the architecture, furnishings, families (2) that built and lived in the home, and the history of the period and of Indianapolis. The photo below shows the front of the home and some of the surrounding landscape. Today Spring in Bloom is underway and the grounds are graced with over 250,000 blooming bulbs.

 

 

 

April 6, 2017 April 6, 2017

My week has been busy preparing for tours at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where I am a docent.

I will be doing three different tours this week and they are back to back on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My Saturday tour is a Closer Look experience. I facilitate an hour long discussion using only one painting. It is not a lecture. I facilitate and keep the discussion moving forward by asking questions.  It is like driving somewhere without a map or information about rest stops and food and gas stops. Only the person sitting beside you knows where you will be heading. As you can guess this requires ALOT of preparation but I love it. Today I am doing “Impressionism and Beyond”. Love that tour too! Here is one of the paintings I will be using. It is in the permanent collection of the IMA.

 

                   The Channel at Gravelines, Petit Port Philippe, George Seurat, 1890; France,
                   oil on canvas, collection: Indianapolis Museum of Art

 

Needless to say I haven’t done any drawing or painting yet this week…next week will be better!

 

 

 

March 30, 2017 April 1, 2017

I always have fun painting my abstracts using watercolor. I use a very wet, spontaneous process and drop paint, spritz paint, tilt my paper and generally just “go with the flow” literally. My new painting is titled Celebration 1. With Easter approaching I have been thinking about all that holiday entails, including Mardi Gras. And that is one of the most exciting celebrations in the world! Full of color, movement and life. That was my inspiration and I hope that you are able to see that I have attempted to simulate confetti falling through my painting.

Celebration 1 03302017

Celebration 1 – 12″ X 16″, 140 # CP Arches, watercolor

 

I am very careful to let my layers dry completely between painting sessions. When I do this you can often see the layers and feel depth. This painting has seven layers of paint. It is painted on Arches cold press 140 pound paper and for this painting I used primarily Dr Martin’s Liquid Watercolors. They come in a dropper bottle and retain their vibrant color as they dry. I gave it a splash or two of white gouache and then grated some watercolor crayon to create the confetti and spritzed with water to adhere the crayon. Now its done…lets celebrate!

 

March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017

As I walk at Ft Benjamin Harrison State Park I see the first signs of spring. The grays and browns are now accented by a froth of light green rolling over the landscape. The bushes are leafing out and lighting up the undergrowth with a gentle color and a clean fragrance. The skies are bluer and the breezes invigorate. As you may remember I tried a small color field painting using the winter colors I saw on my walks (here). I painted with my new acrylics and didn’t like the look of the canvas underneath. That painting was very small and I learned a lot about acrylics as I worked on it. I decided to create a new Ft Ben color field painting using burnt sienna to represent the leaf covered earth, a mix of light greens to represent the budding bushes, winter white to represent the sky and burnt umber to represent the trees. I started out by thinking about three blocks of color and a blue background. Then I decided to split the large upper block into three with white spaces between to represent the large, white sycamore trees that grow throughout the park. That was my starting point as  I worked on this painting.

The most important decision I made was to choose Strathmore Aquarius II paper as my surface. I soaked the paper until it was wet all the way through and then painted with my acrylics on very wet paper. I wanted blurry edges (the acrylics did run a little) and a soft look to the surface. My painting is 11 inches by 15 inches and, as you can see I further developed the idea of trees as I saw the painting develop.  I’m finding ways to love the Indiana winter!

 

Ft Ben Color Field 2 03262017