Linda Halcomb's Blog

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February 27, 2012 February 28, 2012

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Sumi-e,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:20 am
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Well, my friends, I am still struggling with my sumi-e and have messed up several paintings. I have found that newsprint works really well as practice paper and have decided that I need to work smaller right now. So I took a detour while I regrouped.

Last Friday, I did a Painting and Poetry tour for a middle school class. It was an incredible tour. They were studying poetry so all of them had read poetry, over half of the kids write poetry and when I asked for volunteers to read poetry I had more volunteers than poems to read. Unheard of! One of the poems inspired me to pull out a sheet of watercolor board and to start painting again. The poem is Sunflakes by Frank Asch and here are the first few lines:

If sunlight fell like snowflakes

gleaming yellow and so bright,

We could build a sunman

We could have a sunball fight

As I painted I began to think about sunlight flowing like water and, because I was starting with my “Krasner colors” of magenta and sap green, about Hawaii and the beautiful waterfalls we saw while in Hawaii. This led to light falling like a waterfall. Anyway – enough – here is Sunfall.

Sunfall - Watercolor on Full Sheet of Arches Watercolor Board



February 16, 2012 February 16, 2012

Filed under: Daily Post,Sumi-e — lindahalcombfineart @ 8:32 am
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Well I am still fighting frustration and my low skill level as I struggle to produce a decent bamboo painting. So I decided to critique my most recent attempt. I always learn from my mistakes so I hope you will also find this helpful. To start here is the painting:

Bamboo 2

Idea: I wanted to paint a simple composition with a large, old stalk of bamboo and young shots growing up around it. I like the way the new leaves point upwards.

Issue 1 – When I paint I am working on a double size practice paper but I practice on a single size practice paper so I may use larger brushes when I start to paint. I had not practiced with the larger brush that I used for the largest stalk of bamboo. The larger brush holds more fluid so it diluted my ink and I didn’t get the deep color to the side of the stalk. So no depth or modeling.

Issue 2: The composition was too simple for such a large sheet of paper so I let the painting dry over night and added two more small stalks of bamboo – they are not well painted because I had trouble seeing as I did overpainting.

Issue 3: Still having real trouble with ink color and brush loading. Never get it dark enough so go back and overpaint – real no-no.

Issue 4: I forget that if ink has not dried it will bleed into the lower layer producing blurry, smudgy looking areas. I always think its dry but its not.

Issue 5: Haven’t found the right brush or technique yet to paint the tiny twigs – get thick and thin spots and blurring.

Chop - Name

Chop Set

Someone asked about the chop I used on the last painting. For Christmas 2010 I asked for a chop as my gift. My husband found that you can get custom, personalized chops through the National Geographic catalog. They work with a Chinese expert to match your name as closely as possible. The chop itself is beautiful, made from jade and is about 1″ square and 3″ long. I love it and have thought about also using it as part of my signature on my watercolors!




February 12, 2012 February 13, 2012

Filed under: Daily Post,Sumi-e — lindahalcombfineart @ 7:25 am
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I have been struggling a bit with motivation lately. A fellow docent gave me a small book, Painting Chinese, and it came to me at the right time. It was written by a college professor living in San Francisco who had just lost funding for his program. He was 70, saw death approaching, and needed to find a way forward. He frequently walked through China Town and on a whim enrolled in a painting class at a Chinese art school. He started as the only adult in a class of beginners (5-8 year olds!). The book talks about how the practice and mediative nature of Chinese painting provided the solace, comfort and mental release necessary to help him find a new life and face death (he was not sick, just slowly decaying like all of us!) This book and a small volume I found at the library titled Art & Fear have been nudging me forward.

Last week I began practicing my Sumi-e brush strokes and working on mixing the different colors of ink. I seem to have forgotten everything I ever knew and have struggled, struggled, struggled. I worked on strokes for four days before I even tried a painting and then my paintings were over crowded and full of smudges. I also couldn’t seem to get the ink colors right in order to show depth.  I am still struggling but did finish one piece – not perfect but an improvement. I have to remember that less is more when it comes to composition!

Bamboo 1 (2012)



February 4, 2012 February 4, 2012

Filed under: Abstract,Daily Post,Watercolors — lindahalcombfineart @ 3:01 pm
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My good blogging friends, I have been away for awhile. Ken’s Celebration of Life was held last Sunday at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. My family and friends worked very hard to make sure that every element spoke of Ken and it was a success with traditional and non-traditional elements. The day was full of laughter and stories about my remarkable man. And there were a few tears too – but only a few – as we realized how much he will be missed.

The week after Ken passed away I received an offer that seemed so directly tied to our recent experience that I could not refuse. The scientific research journal Cell Stem Cell found my paintings through my blog (wonderful things happen to those who blog!). They asked if I would allow one of my paintings to be used in their journal.  Their February issue was just published with my painting on the front cover. As you may remember Ken had his stem cells harvested last Spring in order to make a vaccine to fight his cancer. Here’s my cover painting and the caption that explains it:

February Cover of Cell Stem Cell

On the cover: This issue features a special review focus on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The cover image is a watercolor painting by Linda Halcomb, Indianapolis, IN (USA) entitled “Blood Flow 2,” which is designed to depict blood and blood vessels. Linda completed this painting while her husband Ken was having hematopoietic cells harvested as part of his cancer treatment. Ken sadly lost his battle with cancer late last year, and the use of this image for our cover honors his life and his commitment to fighting his disease.