Sunday, July 30, 2006


Painting, Encaustic over Mixed Media

"Compositional "design" can carry a negative connotation within the realm of artistic production. Design carries the sense that something is being "sold." Coincidence with such a suspicion is the notion that design may be too logical. With tasteful design., there is a distinct danger that excessive "understandibily" will limit the espressiveness of the work. Today, designed beauty, unity, and harmony are conservative elements and we tend to cite a type of beauty that flows from nostalgia for "good taste" as being less inventive."

"To circumvent the encessant ordering of the human mind, an aleatoric, or made by chance, appraoch distances control of the painting process. Surrealism highlighted the value of allowing our subconcious decisions to govern design. Art is not pure accident- there is no art without decisions- but we may decide to find no art by making certain accidents visible. Arnold Schoenberg exchanged ideas with Kandinsky on this topic: "I am sure our work has much in common,and indeed in the most important respects: in what you call "unlogical" and I call "elimination of the concious will in art. "Every formal procedure which aspires to traditional effects is not completely free from conscious motivation. But art belongs to the unconscious! One must expess oneself! Express oneself directly! Not one's taste, or one's upbringing, or one's intelligence, knowledge or skill. Not all these acquired characteristics, but that which is inborn, instinctive. Arnold Schoenberg.

From the book Abstract painting by Vicky Perry

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yesterday's achievment

Working with these three pencil is fantastic. The only drawback I find is that you have to use such a light touch in order to get and even tone. The paper is also important. In this case it is Strathmore Drawing pad. I still don't feel I accomplished the eveness in this one which means I will continue parcticing.

"When you follow your bliss... doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else".
Joseph Campbell

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Black is beautiful

I am hosting the weekly drawing thread at Wet Canvas this week and I came across a reference that captured me immediately because of it's striking contrasts. Much easier said than done because it is almost impossible to get those blacks with graphite. Some people can and I didn't have the time to build the darks so I decided to use a charcoal stick, which was a mistake on the type of paper I was using and I already had a layer of graphite down. In spite of this I still like the bold contrast this image has.

Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn't force its sap, and stands confindetly in the storms of spring, not afraid of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come.- Rainer Maria Rilke

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Portrait and three pencils

Yesterday Alfred Jones(better known as alfredart), started his class, Portraits in three-part Harmony in the Drawing and Sketching forum of Wet Canvas. Alfred uses only three pencils to achieve the incredible portraits he draws. He started us off with the use of the pencils with whatever subject we wanted. This was my attempt. I am now working on the first portrait that is the same reference for all of us and next week, we will draw a reference of our preference.

Monday, July 24, 2006


After musing over the idea that I had made a grave mistake in posting the previous post that I now consider very irksome, I remembered I had not posted this painting that is also the beginning of another series that I titled Vestiges. I should and will get myself to these series and try to make something out of them.

Our understandings are always liable to error.-Nature and certainty are very hard to come at, and infallibility is mere vanity and pretence. - Marcus Aurelius

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Happy Accident

Yesterday I was trying to find a different medium for the drawing of the Scavenger Hunt at Wet Canvas and as always happens to me, once I had put down some red gouache I took out my inks, liquid watercolors, water spayer and my mind went off with my frequent desire to paint abstract art and the never ending question of "what if?" This brings me back again to one of Shaun McNiff's quotes in his book Trust the Process.

"Although order, regulation and planning have important roles in the making of art, the total process of creation is permeated by hidden turns, elusive searches and subtle appearances. Messages may be cryptic as well as overt; complex and very simple. The process is a route; sometimes it is tangled and at other times it opens to us with the directness, speed, and pleasure of a water slide"- Shaun Mcniff

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Magic Waters

"Disciplined activity and hieghtened sensativity can reveal a spiritual path for the artist which can lead to a private spring of magic waters".- Richard Newman

I have been working on a Mixed Media still life but made the terrible mistake to glue some patches of burlap. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were an abstract piece but in this case it was to heavy for realism. I pulled it off and now have covered the whole p├Čece with gold leaf to paint the same still life over it. I like the background but the painting does not stand out enough yet, so I will continue to add on colors until it shows, against the gold leaf.

Another two of the scavenger hunt list, my hand and some buttons, so I will post this until I can finish my painting.

Friday, July 21, 2006

May I stay?

We have a place in the country where we raise Swiss Cattle and have the two most incredible dogs to herd these cattle. They are pure bred Australian Heelers and they herd the cattle buy biting at the heels of the cows. Ron, is our male and he is a Blue Heeler and Canela is our female that is Red Heeler. Ron is a grumpy old guy that for some odd reason does not find Canela attractive enough, so he wanders off to the neighbor's ranch to visit their two female Blue Heelers, thus leaving poor Canela with her bewilderment of being frowned upon. Recently some village dog got into our grounds and quickly took advantage of Canela's misfortune. This little fellow was the result of that encounter. I really don't see a strain of his mother's pedgree blood but the little pup's expression said everything to me.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006


"There is a deity within us who breathes that devine fire by which we are animated"
I find that there are so many people that have the gift to write and make it interesting with a simple description. That is why I love to look at other blogs and find these creative ways of expression. There are people like me that are not good with words and would love to convey so many thoughts, experiences and feelings but I guess that comes with the practice of writing everyday.

The first Scavenger Hunt ended so I have two sketches left over that I was going to post as Jeanne posted the 23d sketch that would make her the winner of that Hunt. Now a new one has started so I will post those two sketches here. In the meantime I have a mixed media piece drying and hope to post tomorrow.

The first is an old butter churn I have as a decoration on an old iron stove. The second is a hand painted ceramic pitcher made in Dolore Hidalgo, Guanajuato. These were done in such a hurry that I think I forgot to shde the base and put in a background.
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Continued Search

When you think you have finally found a technique or style to stick to you get one of those undesirable blocks and don't know where to turn. With me it is the struggle between realism and abstract. Yesterday I started playing with acrylics but ended up leaving it until today to see if some image appears that I can work with. I find it so hard to work from nothing. Sometimes I just let the paint flow and take me but when I start thinking about compostion and color theory then the inspiration disappears.

From the book Trust the Process. Shaun McNiff
"When asked to define what is a work of art, Pablo Picasso was reported to have replied, "What is not?"

There is a tradition within the arts that perceives every aspect of experience as an element of the creative process. Although many of history's greatest artists have identified with this vision, it has been opposed by those who advocate "art for art's sake" and others who favor strict or "pure" specialization. While aligning myself with the intergrtion of art and life, I have never seen an opposition between this idea and restricted practice. Art has room for both perspectives and many more."

The drawing posted is another from the list for the Scavenger Hunt and hopefully my muse will come back today so that I can get down to some serious painting.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I easily run out of titles so I will use the Aztec word for chair. This is another one of the list from the Scavenger Hunt, a chair. The word used for this chair in Spanish is equipal and the use of it dates back to the 16th century when Aztec king Moctezuma used one of these. These equipals were only used to seat important dignitaries.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Composition class

I have been so busy trying to to keep up with the composition class and the Scavenger Hunt, that I have not had time to go back to my painting but hope to this Monday. Micahel Newberry's approach on a good compostion is making the four corners interesting. I had never really thought about the four corners and always concentrated my composition in the whole of the painting leaving the corners practically bare. This last exercise I tried, might lead me to an abstract painting if the composition is correct. I will have to wait for Michael's wise critique on this one. Michael has asked us to make quick sketches even if they are not neat since the importance here, is to think of interesting negative shapes or shapes formed by the drawing itself.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


Last fall my son and my daughter in law went to Texas to do some shopping and they came across a pet shop that had pets that had survived Hurricane Katrina, up for adoption. They went in and after seeing the friendliest little three month old kitten they dicided to adopt it and brought it home to Mexico. Today Mango is a gorgeous full grown cat with peculiar habits and a peculiar body but nevertheless a joy to have around.

I have been busy trying to follow the composition class that Michael Newberry is teaching at Wet Canvas. A class I need badly and hope to be able to apply to my work. I am still enjoying the Scavenger Hunt but the last two drawings have not been the best to post so I will start on a new one now and hope to post by tomorrow. At the same time I am anxiously waiting to find time to get back to my painting with new approaches after the composition class.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Hat and Boot

Two more items off the list of the Scavenger Hunt. I still feel I have to loosen up with the pen&ink but I felt better with it, in this drawing. The yellow was a mistake. It was a bottle of a cheep brand of liquid watercolor and once it was on, it was too late to do anything about it. The boot was colored with watercolor pencil and wet brush.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Paint Tube

While my painting muse comes back to me I will continue working on the list of items to be drawn for the Scavenger Hunt at Wet Canvas. My wish is to use different mediums for some of the different subjects. In this case I chose from the list, a tube of paint and decided to try stippling for this. Done on Bristol Smooth with .01 rapidograph pen and ink.

Tonight or tomorrow morning Michael Newberry will post the new class for the Basic 102 class in the Drawing and Sketching forum at Wet Canvas. This class will be composition. It will definitely be a must for me and many of us that wish to improve our art.

"Strong line quality, composition and form are more crucial although even this is loosely done."
Frank Bruno

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

New experience

I am finding the project of the Scavenger Hunt very interesting and useful. I have been using only Mixed Media techniques and also graphite for many years and when painting or drawing realism, it has always been from a reference. I am being pushed out of my comfort zone this time by having to draw from life and I intend to use at least all of the different techniques possible in 23 or more subjects for this project.

"Get a right height chair and sit at your painting table. Take a true Red, Yellow and Blue as you can choose. Mix neighbor with nieghbor until you have three new notes, Orange, green, Purple. Set all six in a line and mix neighbor with neighbor until you have six more.-RO. OY. YG. GB. BP. PR. You have now before you a homonogeneous palette, analogous to the spectrum band. They are PR. R. RO. O. OY. Y YG. G. GB. B. BP. P. Robert Henri from the book The Art Spirit

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Thursday, July 06, 2006


I'm afraid I made a mistake today by doing these slices of watermelon in charcoal bieng that watermelon has such a gorgeous color. I have never tried watercolor and my plan was to do it in watercolor pencil and ink but when, I changed my mind, I really don't know. Well that means that tomorrow's drawing will be done with watercolor pencil. Still working on Fossil III and I hope to try and finish it tomorrow.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I have been going through one of my blocks and can't seem to find my way with Fossil III, so I will let it rest a while. I was browsing around at Wet Canvas and came across the July Scavenger Project in the Art From Life forum. A project of subjects to draw, sketch or paint for a month. I thought this was the perfect project to make me get my inspiration back. The first subject on the list was a piece of fruit so I started drawing some pears, but being the usual distracted me, I blocked from my mind, the fact that it had to be from life. This, I remembered after finishing the drawing, which was good because now I have something to post for today.

"Imperfection is in some sort essential to all that we know of life. Nothing that lives is, or can be rigidly perfect. The fox-glove blossom. a third part bud; a third part past, and a third part in full bloom, is a type of life of this world."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Waiting, waiting.........

"Travelers through the process of creation also realize that the truly essential spirits are experienced "on the way". Once we arrive , the pleasures are usually attached to reflections on how we got there. And it there is a feeling of satisfaction, it is likely to be ephemeral, since the creative spirit longs to get onto the road again, to create anew."

"I hope to convey and unlimited sense of the "ways" of the creative spirit. I practice many different disciplines...painting, writing, movement, drumming, and performance....and each one invariably leads to another. This is a text dedicated to like-minded travelers who admire all of the different spiritual disciplines but can never stay in one place and be one thing alone."

"Although creativity has regimental and formal aspects, its deep and transformative movements are more circuitous. Training in creativity requires the ability to relax in periods of uncertainty and to trust that creative intelligence will find it's way. The education of imagination involves giving up what I call "ego" control. It requires an inclination to step into the unknown as well as the ability to persist when there is no end in sight. The ways of creation are often paradoxical. When you think there is nothing going on, something comes to you, and when you want something desperately, it's never there. Imagination thrive on the turning of tables, and it's most successful products are often contrary to initial intentions."

Shaun McNiff from the book, Trust the Process

The reason I quoted these paragraphs from the Shaun McNiff book is because I have to remind myself of this. I have been working all day on Fossil III and for some reason cannot quite find my way with it. While it dries and I decide if to recycle it or work on it further, I will post the Weekly Drawing Thread drawing at Wet Canvas for this week. It is a copy a of a self portrait by Whistler.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Big Cat

The more I use charcoal the more I love it. There is something about the way the vine scratches the surface of the paper and starts giving life to a drawing. Our Wild Animal in Charcoal class might be extended and that will give me a chance to draw another big cat. I hope the use of this techinique will take me to the use of sanguine that I have always admired but am not to sure of.

"To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows great and earnest effort, is to say that it is incomplete and unfit for view"........

"Art should be independant of claptrap-should stand alone, an appeal to the artistic sense of eye and ear, without confounding this with conditions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pit,love, patriotism, and the like. All these have no kind concern with art"......

"The imitator is a poor kind of creature. If the man who paints only a tree or flower, or other surface he sees before him, were an artist, the king of artists would be a photographer. It is for the artist to do something more than the face the model wears for that one day to paint the man, in short, as well as his features"...James McNeill Whistler......from the book, Conversations in Paint

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Hip Hop

It has been a very busy day today so I didn't get much work done on my art. My two grandaughters had their Hip Hop dance festival this afternoon but unfortunately the pictures I took with my digital are blurred in spite of the high speed function. I didn't want to use a flash and that probably didn't help matters.

While standing in the ticket line I had a good view of some of the beautiful architecture this city has. In the theatre I was able to take a shot of an interesting concept for one of the dances for the older groups and strangely enough this shot is not that bad. After the function I was able to get a shot of my DIL and two grandaughters with my husband in front of our neoclassic 19th century Teatro de la Paz, where the festival was held. San Luis is surrounded by quarries of sand colored stone and the city is noted for having some the most richly decorated buildings and churches in the country.