July 24, 2010

red bucket

8 x 16, oil on canvas
I was inspired by the glow of the sand bucket for this one, and how the sunlight caught her hair.

"The sea, the great unifier, is man's only hope.
Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning:
we are all in the same boat"...
These timely words of wisdom were written years ago by one of my heroes who was was a tireless advocate for the sea. Born 100 years ago, his work and legacy lives on. To learn more, click here: Jacques Cousteau

July 16, 2010

True Blue

10 x 12, oil on canvas
...Continuing to tiptoe out of my comfort zone with masculine skin tones this time around. Thanks for all the kind emails and comments about this challenge, and please know that while I can eventually come up with something that approaches looking "human"--portraits are not my thing and I am happy to leave it to the pros who are in a league unto themselves. But trying something different is the point, and reminds me of something I once heard author Marian Williamson say. She defined a miracle as stepping into a space previously unavailable to you--a brand new place that allows you to distance yourself from what you previously thought were your limits, and one that enables you to view the old (as well as the new) from an entirely unfamiliar and distinctly new perspective. And when I visualize doing that, I always get a mental image of the SkyWalk at the Grand Canyon- I have not gotten to go there yet, but I think it has to deserve miracle status- and a pretty cool visual reminder to be open to possibilities that you could never have imagined previously.

"I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that my doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso"
...Rita Rudner

July 3, 2010

do the thing...

A few years ago, I enrolled in a couple of different portrait workshops taught by master artists Dawn Whitelaw and Michael Shane Neal. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of each, it was clear that portraiture just isn't my thing. Juliet said it best--when Lady Capulet inquired how she felt about her impending marriage to Paris, her reply was "it is an honor that I dream not of." That is exactly how I feel about painting portraits.

But this week I have been pondering THIS powerful quote:

So I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and do just that. In order to cross that invisible barrier, I focused on value relationships and color temperature, elements necessary for ANY subject. This "assignment" based on intention and purpose immediately dissolved any angst I previously felt about tackling such a daunting task. That, along with choosing a reference photo of a most endearing model ensured that my assignment would be anything but laborious....

12 x 16, oil on canvas
And now I am issuing this challenge to all of YOU reading this post. Think about whatever it is that you are currently avoiding, and consider Ms. Roosevelt's timeless advice to step out of YOUR comfort zone and do the thing you think you cannot do. Feel free to share your experiences--I would love to hear how you work through challenges to remove mental roadblocks. We all create our own barriers, and often hang onto them for dear life, but sometimes we just need to let...them...go.
"Well... I guess it SORT OF looks human"...(an unsolicited critique uttered by a very frank fellow student upon glimpsing my first attempt at portrait painting) Ouch... but hey, if we already knew how to paint, we wouldn't need teachers and workshops, right?
Happy 4th...