Well, I’m slow but I’m steady. I walk my dogs every morning at Ft Benjamin Harrison State Park. This is a vey nice, welcoming Indiana State Park on the east side of Indianapolis. Ft Ben holds one of the military’s largest finance centers (payrolls, etc). The Finance Center is still in operation but the other military functions were ended in the 1990’s and the fort is now a state park with two lakes, a stable and miles of trails full of joggers, bikers, skaters, dog walkers and families. I have always been fascinated by the old, weathered trees. I don’t know why, but old trees frequently seem to have a personality – a history that is written on their surface like the lines in a person’s face. I wanted to do a drawing of the tangled, interwoven roots in one section of the park. The soil has been washed away and the grand old trees stand exposed. I completed this drawing yesterday and was pretty happy with it.
May 7, 2013 May 8, 2013
I have been having pain in my right arm and numbness in my right hand since November. Yesterday I had my physical and the doctor thinks I have inflammation of a nerve that runs down my arm and into my hand. Treatment has started and I won’t be able to do much with this hand and arm for a week or two so I thought I would “go back to the beginning”. In 2007 I realized that my love of art extended to the point of creating serious art. I have always been a drawer and a doodler and have taken occasional watercolor classes but my paintings were based on lessons in books or paintings of photographs from calendars. I had never created art from scratch. I also had done NOTHING for 14 years. I dove in head first and have continued to learn and grow over the last six years.
I have always been fascinated by concepts and enchanted by certain words or groups of words. In 2008 I stumbled on the concept of the “Golden Mean” and started trying to think through interesting ways to use this concept. The painting below was my first try and the first painting I sold in a gallery.
I started with the silhouette drawings used to differentiate different categories of trees in one of my landscaping books (for example; pyramidal shaped deciduous tree). Then I used a free form diagram of a landscape plan as the back ground. I have always been fascinated with calligraphy and oriental art so I integrated the word Tree and tried to give it an oriental look (today I could write TREE in actual calligraphy!) I had enormous fun with this and am still pleased to look back at it.
October 2, 2012 October 2, 2012
Two weeks ago I was lucky to be able to attend a five day watercolor workshop conducted by Cheng Khee Chee. It was a remarkable experience and I learned a phenomonal amount. Each day he taught a new process and over the last week I have been working with two of the processes. Before the workshop, he stresses that he wants you to learn the process and not to worry about creating masterpieces. (Believe me, I did not create masterpieces!) Cheng Khee is kind and generous and brings to bear both eastern and western styles and philosophies. I found his basic philosophy about watercolor to be fascinating. That is that you bring the media to its most natural state so you use watercolor best in a wet-on-wet environment. His work is lyrical, fluid, spontaneous and evocative. You can visit his website here.
The first day when we worked wet-on-wet with a realistic subject I made a mistake by working too small. I have been scaling up and painting large abstracts so I used only about 1/8th of a sheet of Arches. The painting of Eileen Donan castle is small, tight and very mediocre.
I followed this up at home with a painting using a quarter sheet and with no preliminary drawing. I had prepped this paper with a green, yellow, gold underpainting with the intention of doing a sepia drawing of a tree. The paper was there calling my name so I painted something I have been thinking about for along time. My house is backed by large, old, sort of raggedy evergreen trees that are very nice for privacy and blocking noise. I watch their tops sway in the wind. Here is my more wet, more spontaneous painting. Much better I think!
June 30, 2012 July 1, 2012
I love to draw and I try to enter drawings in the Indiana State Fair each year. I just completed (at least I think its complete!) a drawing so I thought I would share it. We have a giant oak tree in our neighborhood and it is really magnificent. It has a huge circumference and the branches swoop down and almost touch the ground. They feel like arms trying to embrace me as I walk by with Baxter and Buffy. Here is my drawing and I don’t think I’ve really communicated the LARGENESS of the tree but I know what I’m going to correct in a watercolor I’m going to attempt. Enjoy the shade on this HOT day!
June 21, 2011 June 21, 2011
Now that our End of Spring Challenge has been posted, I thought I would share a couple of paintings that I did three years ago. I was trying to learn about composition and design and was thinking about the golden mean. I divided my space using the golden mean rather than place my center of interest on the golden mean. Since we have been talking about and showing our visions of trees and leaves, I thought these works might be interesting.
With this painting entitled Tree I tried something new. I thought about a landscape plan and the symbols that are used to represent different shapes and types of trees in my books about landscaping. I loved this painting and it was the first one I ever sold at a “real” artist price. (PS…Only my photography is cock-eyed!)
After completing Tree, I was inspired by the red maple leaves carpeting the walking trails at Ft Harrison State Park. I used the same design aesthetic for Leaf. And I know you are thinking “How wildly creative Linda is when she names her paintings!” Right?
Now to close my discussion of trees, I offer one more peom. This one is an excerpt from The Tree by Jones Very.
I love thee when thy swelling bud appears,
And one by one their tender leaves unfold,
As though they know that warmer suns were near,
No longer sought to hide from winter’s cold.
And when with darker ground thy leaves are seen,
To veil from view the early robin’s nest,
I love to lie beneath thy waving screen
With limbs by summer’ heat and toil oppressed.
Remind me again! End of Spring Challenge June 19, 2011
I thought you might like a second reminder and also some inspiration!
Hi all you creative types! Last year we did three virtual paint-outs here on WordPress and boy were they fun. I am issuing the call for our first paint out of 2011. I am a devoted reader of Oprah magazine and this month I was captured, I was enchanted, I was gripped by six words from a poem by e. e. cummings. I am a farm girl who grew up among the green fields and forests of Indiana. The words that captured my imagination are “the leaping greenly spirits of trees”. I would like to offer these words as the inspiration for our first paint out. I hope everyone reading this realizes that the “Paint Out” is open to all artists whether you paint with a brush, a needle, or a word processor.
On the last day of Spring, Monday, June 20th, please post your creation on your blog and leave a comment on my post (the one with my contribution!). If you are not a blogger and would still like to participate, email me your creation and I will do a follow-up post with your work.
Thanks to all who join the community and accept the challenge. As inspiration I offer the following:
The oak is called the king of trees,
The aspen quivers in the breeze,
The poplar grows up straight and tall,
The pear tree spreads along the wall,
The sycamore gives pleasant shade,
The willow droops in watery glade,
The fir tree useful timber gives,
The beech amid the forest lives.
by Sara Coleridge, Trees
Here is a painting I completed late last summer. It is a HUGE old oak tree in our neighborhood. It is so old, so large and so weathered that it has become an icon. The neighborhood newsletter is entitled The Tree. Hope this gives you that last little bit of inspiration that pushes you to completion. (or post something you created before the challenge was issued – just have fun with this!)
December 14, 2010 December 14, 2010
Today is my 19th wedding anniversary and Ken and I are going to plan our day. The weather is frigid and the wind is gusting…hmm dinner by a fire maybe? We’ll see.
Recently Leslie and Stephen have both posted paintings about Sentinels that offer a view of nature’s sentinels. I have always seen trees – usually large, old ones – and associated them with human strength and fortitude, kind of the best of human characteristics. I have done two works over the last few years called The Sentinel so I thought I would share them.
This painting was done in 2007 shortly after I started painting. It is a sycamore that stands at the bottom of the sledding hill at Ft Benjamin Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. It has always struck me as a tree that is watchful and protective. This is my third attempt to paint the tree in order to capture its strength and grandeur. You don’t want to see the others!
Sentinel #2 is a work I started in a workshop given by Peggy Brown in 2008. We soaked Rive Printmaking paper in water and then shaved vine charcoal onto the wet paper. When you let the paper dry, the charcoal acts like watercolor and doesn’t rub off the paper. You then look at your gray design and decide what to do next. I drew what I hoped was a strong, bold tree limb from an ancient tree. I wanted to communicate a feeling of history, strength and watchfulness. After I rapidly drew the limb using charcoal, I used watercolor to add interest and texture.
March 7, 2010 March 8, 2010
Yesterday was a very quiet, sunny, lovely day. We were able to take the dogs for the longest walk yet and they were ecstatic. Ft Ben State Park, where we usually walk, has a number of large trees that always draw my attention. When I see them a name always pops into my mind. One of them is old, broken and weathered. It has a large hole where it has lost a large limb or part of the trunk. This area is decaying and falling away. I call this tree the old warrir because I envision an old, scarred warrior looking out of his cloak. His face is in deep shadow and full of wisdom, pain and knowledge. Last fall I took some digital photos of the tree which is still alive and covered with leaves and sits in the middle of smaller trees which protect it like an army.
I have always wanted to draw or paint this tree. Yesterday I finally did a drawing using my three recently discovered gray markers and a couple of black markers with differing tips. I don’t think I will paint this but I may do another graphite or charcoal drawing. Black and white seem to capture the age and dignity I feel when I look at my friend.
As we watched the pre-Oscar shows last night I was antsy and, while looking through a magazine published by the Indiana Historical Society, saw several reproductions of old sepia photographs. I liked the satisfaction in this woman’s rather unusual face. She was looking down at a violin in the lap of a husband or brother. All-in-all a productive day.
March 3, 2010 March 4, 2010
Earlier this year I remember seeing a post discussing the first painting sold by the artist. I think this type of information is always interesting as we get to know more about each other. Since I spent yesterday working on my To Do List and getting ready to do some drawing today, I thought I might share this information.
I was a hit-or-miss weekend artist for years but I always worked from a book or copyed a photo from a calendar. I painted only a few paintings over many, many years and those paintings found happy homes with my family. In 1994 I started working on my Masters Degree and didn’t paint again for 14 years. In 2007 after retiring and spending two years recovering from double knee replacement and finding volunteer efforts that were fulfilling I final realized that I had an opportunity to pursue my life-long love of art and specifically watercolor painting. I had been hiding from this because I was afraid I would not be successful in terms that had been important during my business career. Believe it or not Oprah and the subjects covered on her show gave me the courage to reevaluate my path. I redefined success as fulfillment and happiness. If I painted a bad painting I saw that it was only paper and I could start again. So to make a long story short I started to paint again in February, 2007. It has been a steady learning process and I know I will be learning for the rest of my life. In 2008 I became fascinated by the concept of the golden mean and started thinking about this concept. As part of this process I painted two paintings that had space divided using the golden mean and that were very “designy”. I still have a third one floating in my head waiting to be painted. In late 2008 one of these was the first painting I ever sold. I still love it and, while the painting could be better, I am still very proud of it.
The background is intended to look like a plan drawn by a landscape architect. You can already see my fascination with oriental calligraphy. I just wanted something simple, straight forward, and focused on “Trees”. The second painting I did in the series is titled “Leaf” and the one that is painted in my head is “House”. As I sit here I can see it.
I hope some of you will share your story…