Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This post is a little late although it is still Christmas, today. Yesterday I spent all day in the kitchen preparing for our Christmas Eve dinner, that is celebrated in Mexico. This was the first time our three sons and their families were together with us on Christmas Eve, since they married. They usually take turns, one year with us and one the parents of their wives. The mother of my DIL Paola, very generously changed their celebration at noon so they could be with us at night. It will be my turn to do the same, next year.

Our menu was turkey with bread stuffing the way my mom used to make it, cranberry sauce which I can't be without at Christmas, and our Mexican Christmas Eve menu of Bacalao (cod fish) a la Viscaina, white rice and Christmas apple salad. As dessert we had natilla de almendra, turron from Spain, fruit cake and of course all of the nuts and dried fruits.

Our son Luis and his family came over from Aguascalientes where they live, so they were staying with us here at the house, but our son Juan Carlos and wife decided it would be a fun idea for them to spend the night also so that all the small grandkids could rush to our Christmas tree to see if Santa had brought them those long awaited gifts. To watch the excitement was a gift in itself for me.

I wish all of you and your families the best of the Holidays, whatever it be that you celebrate, and my best wishes for this coming year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cactus fencing

I was hoping to have a session with Michael before posting any of the recent work I have done, but it hasn't been possible, so I'll take the risk of posting something that might need a lot of correcting.

Robin Neudorfer mentioned in her very interesting and descriptive posts in her blog about the Plein Air workshop in Mexico, the fact that many of the village people in rural Mexico, use cacti to fence in, their houses. It is very true and unfortuantely a custom that is being lost. This type of cacti is so hardy and grows so easily from a prune that they won't be easily extinct. They are a Stenocereus cacti and have branches that come straight up from the stem and can be as tall as a medium size tree. If the branches are cut at the stem this serves as a prune that helps the plant, then branches are lined up on the ground to cut them the same size. After two weeks of laying in the sun to hea the cut part, they are then planted in the ground to use as fencing. If they are close enough together they eventually close the gaps between them and not only protect from intruders, but also make a nice wind barrier.

At the ranch we have a stucco wall surrounding most of the area but we only had a barbed wire fence that did not look very nice, surrounding part of the front and one side so we decided to wall in that area with cactus fencing. We have just recently done this, so I decided I would give it a try to paint the inside of the fencing on one side in my most recent Plein Air painting.

This fencing was possible with the generosity of the people living in the village who contributed with the pruning of their fences and with expertise of one of our faithful workers, Mayo and his father.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tangerine Season

We have excellent sweet juicy tangerines in San Luis Potosi and I try to keep plenty around while the season lasts. It is one of my favorite fruits and I was lucky enough to rescue one from my husband, to try out another painting, from life. I almost finished it in one session but I was using natural light on it and partially shaded the left side but it began to get dark so I decided to try to finish it today. I'm sure this needs tweaking but after I get a few more paintings done I will send them to Michael Newberry for our next session.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A few wet on wet studies

It has been such a long time since I last posted work. Life gets in the way sometimes but the desire to produce some art, is always there. I have had to find an easier way to produce my art until I decide if I'm going to have back surgery or not.

One of the things I left on my waiting list was trying some Plein Air and putting into practice what I learned from Michael Newberry during the workshop. There is one Plein Air of these three small paintings (12x9.5in.), and two attemps of wet on wet. The interior was really just a study of the white wall to learn how to mix in some colors into the white. I enjoyed doing that very much but didn't plan my composition right and the painting only includes a fourth of the wall, so I'm afraid it doesn't read very well. The onions still life started as an alla prima, but I got interrupted so many times that I was only able to work on it for a while during three days, so by then most of the paint was dry.

This has gotten me back in the swing of painting so I hope I will be posting much more often.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New Grandson

It has been a long time since I last posted in my blog but life has been busy and a little hectic sometimes. Although one very happy incident in my life, was the birth of our new grandson Juan Carlos, born September 18. He is very good little baby so far, and sleeps almost all of the time as most babies do. His sister Sofìa is a sweet little protective sister but was not all that happy today when I got to carry him. She wanted my attention quickly, which is something that flattered me very much since it is usually me who can't get enough of her attention and she had been more of a granpa girl until today. :)

Artwise I have had to slow down due to a herniated disk in my spine but I am excited because Michael Newberry has suggested I use his Plein Air technique using small panels on still life set ups from life. This will be much easier because, in spite of the fact that I will do them in one session I won't be fighting with the light changes until I get enough practice to try them outside or indoors on natural lit subjects. I hope to post these soon!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Close to the final update and workshop

Michael Newberry

Kristin Daly painting on the ranch grounds

Plein Air group watching Michael's 2nd demo

Plein Air group at Mineral de Pozos
Left to right: Sandra Rice, Elizabeth Wepsic, Michael Newberry, Robin Neudorfer, Kristin Daly

In the meantime I also had the pleasure to host Michael Newberry's Plein Air workshop at our ranch in San Luis Potosi. It was an unforgettable experience for me and one that I will cherish dearly. We took two excursions. One to Mineral de Pozos and one to San Miguel Allende. The group painted on the way there and the rest of the time at the ranch. I learned very much from just listening and watching Michael. Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish my pieces because I was a little more worried about the hosting and also found that painting wet on wet is not as easy as Michael makes the technique look. Now I will apply what I learned watching and listening as soon as I get the feel of the wet on wet technique, without making mud.

I have really been slow at updatng my blog but life has gotten so busy for me lately. The last time Michael and I discussed my painting there was some minor tweaking needed and I hope to work on that this coming week. This is my last updated picture and I hope that when I post the last update I will finally have an appropriate title for it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Now for the last stretch.

I haven't been posting frequently on my blog lately but I have had quite a few things that need my attention and my painting has been coming along a little faster I feel, but maybe not as fast as I would like it to. I am sure I will still need to tweak the parts I have worked on, but at least I can post the painting with the color on the peaches now, and I am ready to start what I think will be the hardest part. The tissue paper! I have no idea how I will get it to look translucent but fortunately I have an incredible mentor that shows me how to solve these problems, like magic.

I have also been quite busy getting the ranch house ready for the Michael Newberry Workshop on the 5th of August. This will be another incredible experience for me and a great pleasure to have Michael in our home, and those taking the Plein Air workshop.

A pleasant surprise came this week in an email with a link to Michael Newberry's blog. It will be fun checking frequently for his new work that always shows a variety of Oil Masterpieces, Pastels, Charcoals and Plein Air.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update on Peaches

I haven't updated my peaches painting on my blog, purposely because I feel that the fact that part of it is in grey scale and part is colored, can confuse the viewer a bit.

This has been a most interesting, intense task. It has been painting literally, inch by inch as Michael Newberry has taught me in the Mentor Program. Doing big studies of difficult areas in pastel or graphite, following my pastel color studies and also doing thumbnail sketches from the set up from different angles. I have to be honest and say I didn't see the sense in doing so much, but I did it and have found that these are tools a realist artist should not work without.

At the moment the Peaches and tissue paper are still in grisaille and the casted shadows on the platter might not make much sense, but once the peaches and tissue paper are colored and the light put in its place I think everything will fall into place. I plan to go a little faster now but still can't possibly know when I will finish it. I imagine there will be a tweaking stage at the end, but what is ahead of me will be done with great pleasure.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Xavier de Richemont in our city

Our city of San Luis Potosi has been one of the chosen cities where Xavier de Richemont has mounted one of his brillaint night light installations on the Cathedral of the city and the Church of El Carmen, both 18th century buildings. The light installation is accompanied by gorgeous classical music and all of the lights of the Historical Center are turned off except those street lamps that so beautifully illuminate our very Mexican Barroque and Neo-Classical architecture.

The light installation last 15 minutes and has constant design changes on the light stone facade of both churches. His play with color is spectacular, making the churches look like they are painted of Gold, Indian Red, and other folkloric colors of Mexico. Starting with climbing designs of plants, that look like shadows from the bottom right corner, creeping along until the whole building is decorated. On the Carmen Church, he displayes Mexican religious paintings of the 17th and 18th century, while changing the colors in all of the stone carved barroque decorations of the church. One of the most emotive moments for natives of this country, is the moment in which the image of our Lady of Guadalupe Mexico's patron, appears and the music is suddenly turned to Mariachi music.

Unfortuanetly I did not have a video camera or my camera with me but these marvelous photographs have been taken by, Jadmarin and gdiazdeleon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I just had to show this one off!

This is my 16 month old grandaughter, Sofia. She has quite a personality and at her young age has her preferences so very well established. Sofia is very feminine, dainty, delicate but at the same time has a tremendous love for nature and animals. She prefers a stuffed animal to a doll any day, and although when in a store she goes to the perfume counter to stare and examine so carefully and with much interest, all of the perfume bottles. She adores this cowgirl hat my husband bought for her almost as much as she love her baby blanket. Now it is the glasses, so this is the official costume in her house all day long, for now!

I have finished my platter on my peaches painting I think, but I would like to post a picture of the painting when it is complete. I am thoroughly enjoying the part I am working on now and next are the peaches so the color will be more intense and last will be the tissue paper. That part will probably be the toughest of the whole painting for me. I hope to post an update very soon

Friday, March 21, 2008

Plein Air Workshop in Mexico

I was hoping to have an update on my peaches painting to be able to post on my blog . I am working on the platter and have almost finished that part except for some details but it needs supervision from Michael Newberry before I feel that, that part is finished. I hope to post something by the end of next week. This is a slow process but a very pleasureable one.

Michael Newberry will be giving a Plein Air Workshop on our ranch here in San Luis Potosì in August. I am so excited about this an looking forward to it immensly. Plein Air is a technique I have never tried so I am hoping that after that workshop I will have work to post very often. There are six people signed up and of those I have met four, so it will be so very exciting to see them again, and meet the other artists that have signed up. San Luis is a perfect place to do Plein Air and the climate is gorgeous at that time of the year.

I have no pictures of art to post so I will post a little of what goes on in our city on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter. I found a video on You Tube of our Silent Procession that is very blurry, but the essence of this procession is clearly felt in this video together with some of our beautiful architecture and colors. Although, I know it can be a little impressive to those that don't quite understand that the religious celebrations of Mexico´s indigenous communities, incorporate the European heritage and give it a special syncretism thus, making it a unique and picturesque interpretation of the Holy Week traditions.

Mexico is nearly 90 percent Catholic, so this religious holiday takes on a special meaning that the entire community shares and participates in. All of Mexico celebrates Semana Santa, but certain cities and villages are better known for celebrating the holiday. In San Luis Potosí, residents stage a silent procession on Good Friday in which local brotherhoods march, carrying giant images of Christ's last moments.

Procesion del Silencio

Friday, February 29, 2008

Rubber Tree Leaf

I love the colors and shapes different plants and leaves take on when they dry. In spite of this meaning the end of their life some continue being beautiful, always. It is the case of the huge Rubber Tree leaves that when still hanging from the tree have such an exuberant green to them and their shape is completely smooth, with very little curvature to them at all. A friend of mine puts them in vases and makes lovely arrangements. She shared some of them with me and I was dying to do a pastel of one, but in my desire to use my new amber bottle I had bought for a Still Life, I picked the wrong color of paper and ended up having to put in the bright red surface so that both would show up. We never cease to learn from our mistakes, do we.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Pastel Poms

I can't believe it has taken me so long to post something on my blog. I did this one almost about a month ago but I have been working on my painting and other things that I haven't had a chance to post. My life seems to be go,go, go lately with the construction of our much smaller house than the one we sold on our ranch two years ago. It is coming along and I will post some pictures as soon as it is finished.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Peaches WIP

A very happy New Year to everyone and I am sorry for taking forever to post something on my blog. I hope this year is treating you all well an that many blessing and good things will come your way.

I have very slowly been applying the color to my grisaille and I must say this is a most fascinating process. In the last update that I sent to Michael Newberry, he asked me to do a little assignment for him before we had our next session. This assignment was to go to each side of my set up and draw the still life from that angle, one on the right of it an one on the left of it. It took my brain a while to assimilate why it was he wanted me to do this but when it was explained to me, I found that it is an incredible tool. The cloth on the left side of my painting is too close to us so the assignment was for me to be able to estimate the distance from my point of view when painting that part of the piece and this is done by making a quick sketch in perspective, viewing it from each side. My next step is to correct the cloth in the painting by pushing it back.