My Watercolor Blog

November 26, 2017

art book I wrote

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:05 pm
I just wrote a book: watercolor painting animals: a mindfulness practice, the paper copy will be available in a few days via amazon. Actually I think it’s really pretty good and even folks who don’t paint will either enjoy it or even be inspired to start doing something creative.

 

Watercolor Painting Animals: A Mindfulness Practice (Drawing, Sketching, Painting) (Volume 1)
by S. Elizabeth Way
Link:
http://a.co/hO4y0DC

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August 30, 2017

a break, a look around

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:55 pm

secretary birdChrome

August 12, 2017

pingo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:02 pm

Realizing exploding pingos could quickly change our warming situation*…I wondered is ignorance bliss? Then I’m realizing as I gain awareness there are moments of astonishment at how beautiful the stunning nature of this blue sky moment is. It becomes more clear – the miracle of this peaceful and exquisite moment right now. Thich Nhat Hanh’s peaceful speaking makes sense. You can listen to him on youtube. Knowing how precious and rare this amazing moment is, it becomes so embraceable. When we pretend that enough water or food or whatever will protect us from our vulnerability we forget our existence. Cultivating compassion and peace seems worthwhile then. We have a civic responcibility to put social values, to put environmental values into the economy; market fundamentalism – just let the free market do it’s thing, will not solve this. That requires government. (Yale, James Gustave Speth, 2004). IMO the physicists will be gaining us some more time on the planet by being the brains behind geoengineering(which we’ll suddenly be allowed to talk about and which will suddenly be receiving tons of research money). It’s not the ideal way but I bet it’s what we’ll have. If you put a ton of sulfur into the air (like a volcano does) you will cool the planet and it can be done cheaply. Also you can biodigest oil and coal instead of burning it to process it.

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Wikipedia: methane clathrate
…Methane hydrates were discovered in Russia in the 1960s, and studies for extracting gas from it emerged at the beginning of the 21st century.[4]…

The sudden release of large amounts of natural gas from methane clathrate deposits has been hypothesized as a cause of past and possibly future climate changes. Events possibly linked in this way are the Permian-Triassic extinction event and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Climate scientists like James E. Hansen predict that methane clathrates in the permafrost regions will be released because of global warming, unleashing powerful feedback forces which may cause runaway climate change that cannot be halted.[citation needed]

Research carried out in 2008 in the Siberian Arctic found millions of tonnes of methane being released[41][42][43][44][45] with concentrations in some regions reaching up to 100 times above normal.[46]

In their Correspondence in the September 2013 Nature Geoscience journal, Vonk and Gustafsson cautioned that the most probable mechanism to strengthen global warming is large-scale thawing of Arctic permafrost which will release methane clathrate into the atmosphere.[47] While performing research in July in plumes in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean, Gustafsson and Vonk were surprised by the high concentration of methane.[48]

In 2014 based on their research on the northern United States Atlantic marine continental margins from Cape Hatteras to Georges Bank, a group of scientists from the US Geological Survey, the Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University and Earth Resources Technology, claimed there was widespread leakage of methane.[49][50]

Scientists from the Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate (CAGE), Environment and Climate at the Arctic University of Norway, published a study in June 2017, describing over a hundred ocean sediment craters, some 3,000 meters wide and up to 300 meters deep, formed due to explosive eruptions, attributed to destabilizing methane hydrates, following ice-sheet retreat during the last glacial period, around 12,000 years ago, a few centuries after the Bølling-Allerød warming. These areas around the Barents Sea, still seep methane today, and still existing bulges with methane reservoirs could eventually have the same fate.[51]

*Wikipedia: Clathrate gun hypothesis
Research carried out in 2008 in the Siberian Arctic has shown millions of tons of methane being released, apparently through perforations in the seabed permafrost,[20] with concentrations in some regions reaching up to 100 times normal levels.[22][23] The excess methane has been detected in localized hotspots in the outfall of the Lena River and the border between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea. Some melting may be the result of geological heating, but more thawing is believed to be due to the greatly increased volumes of meltwater being discharged from the Siberian rivers flowing north.[24] Current methane release has previously been estimated at 0.5 Mt per year.[25] Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that not less than 1,400 Gt of carbon is presently locked up as methane and methane hydrates under the Arctic submarine permafrost, and 5–10% of that area is subject to puncturing by open taliks. They conclude that “release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time”. That would increase the methane content of the planet’s atmosphere by a factor of twelve,[26][27] equivalent in greenhouse effect to a doubling in the current level of CO2.

July 30, 2017

Uncanny

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:26 pm

The book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh inspired this first post in the series to include art.

Amitav brilliantly starts off with getting our minds to come around to seeing the familiar in our situation. That familiarity lays in the nature of our being caught off guard by something unthinkable, implausible for us in our everyday lives. We all know this feeling of being caught this way. This is not new.

Amitav asks why is global warming a subject missing from the arts, movies, music, novels? Why when it is so important? And answers it’s not believable and when it does show up it can even be shuffled into science fiction.

As a painter, I get it, there are certainly photos that are so odd that if I paint this subject, it won’t come off at all, it won’t look real, where in the photo (in non-fiction) we have the proof we need for it to be believable to us. Like a scooter stuck in a tree from a tornado, this subject’s best artistic media is in photography.

He gives examples of things catching us off guard: The flash flooding of a river seems to creep right out of the every day, sweeping everyone off guard. A tornado comes out of nowhere in North Delhi where the news reporters don’t even a have a word for it, the tornado is so unheard of there. And “…the air too can come alive with sudden and deadly violence – as it did in the Congo 1988, when a great cloud of carbon dioxide burst forth from Lake Nyos and rolled into the surrounding villages, killing 1700 people and an untold number of animals.” (p.6)

And then we’re ready for the tigers of the Subdarbans, where, “…in the 19th century tens of thousands were killed by tigers. Suffice it to say that in some villages every household has lost a member to a tiger; everyone has a story to tell…The tiger is watching you; you are aware of its gaze, as you always are, but you do not see it; you do not lock eyes with it until it launches its charge, and at that moment a shock courses through you and you are immobilized, frozen…’that tiger is the demon and I’m to be his feast’…” (p.38-39)

So what occurred to me is the possibility of shifting our gaze to instead of wastefully blaming and attacking humanity (which is only pushing us down into inaction) we face the main issue: the accumulation of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere…there is the tiger! Tiger tiger burning bright in the forest of the night what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmatry? (Blake)

Action item: bring the topic into your creative mediums

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July 19, 2017

Corals research for painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:54 am

Below are all cited quotes (all as viewed this evening on the web) I collected for research for the 1st painting in series 2: Compassionate Awareness of Global warming and animal extinction 

Corals are in fact animals. The branch or mound that we often call “a coral” is actually made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps. A coral polyp is an invertebrate that can be no bigger than a pinhead to up to a foot in diameter. http://floridakeys.noaa.gov/corals/coralanimals.html

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. Because they are so diverse, coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea…Corals have multiple reproductive strategies – they can be male or female or both, and can reproduce either asexually or sexually…individual coral polyps within a reef are typically very small—usually less than half an inch (or ~1.5 cm) in diameter…
the algae found in their tissues need light for photosynthesis and they prefer water temperatures between 70-85°F (22-29°C)…High water temperatures cause corals to lose the microscopic algae [ zooxanthellae ] that produce the food corals need—a condition known as coral bleaching.
http://ocean.si.edu/corals-and-coral-reefs
Orange-spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris). The filefish dwells in coral reef habitats, on which it is totally dependent, and which themselves are declining in part due to climate change. In addition, the orange-spotted filefish is highly sensitive to warm water: The animal went extinct in Japan during an episode of warmer ocean temperatures in 1988.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140331-global-warming-climate-change-ipcc-animals-science-environment/
Orange spotted filefish absorb and use chemicals in the Acropora coral they eat to take on its smell, which cloaks them from natural predators like cod. In addition to this trait, not observed among other vertebrates, they also use visual camouflage.[5] Wikipedia:
Oxymonacanthus longirostris (Harlequin Filefish)
Status: Vulnerable A3c ver 3.1
Pop. trend: decreasing
(The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 July 2017.)
Actions:
A first step towards sponges conservation in the Mediterranean
03 July 2017
More than 300 experts attended the 10th World Sponge Conference held in the National University of Ireland, Galway from June 25th-30th to discuss the main areas in which sponge biology is developing at present, as well as traditional research categories.
http://www.iucnredlist.org/news/a-first-step-towards-sponges-conservation-in-the-mediterranean
Not overfishing and not polluting; go vegan and stop eating fish (and their toxins) for your health and to stop supporting an industry of killing.
“Fish play important roles on coral reefs, particularly the fish that eat seaweeds and keep them from smothering corals, which grow more slowly than the seaweeds. Fish also eat the predators of corals, such as crown of thorns starfish.”http://ocean.si.edu/corals-and-coral-reefs
Educating and documenting is an action that is happening.
Notes from the documentary Chasing Coral: in about 25 years the oceans would be too warm for corals to live. 29% (in one year, 2016) of the Great Barrier reef was bleached (some of that may still come back to life, as I understand it); this reef spans an area that would go all along the entire east coast of the US.
And I read somewhere these started growing 20,000 years ago (Smithsonian, http://ocean.si.edu/corals-and-coral-reefs)

July 17, 2017

Compassionate awareness of global warming and animal extinction series

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 10:13 pm

Cultivating a compassionate awareness is work towards action. We are not to be lulled into inaction by a sense of hopelessness, facing the powerful greed interests. While the republican “leaders” of the US have no honor and no conscience and plenty of greed, it is not healthy for the rest of us. And we must find our way towards taking action. As Noam Chomsky says there is no shortage of actions we can take. My action seems to be attempting to cultivate a healthy way to face this dangerous situation for humanity and our animal friends. Since many people tend to enjoy my paintings, I’m hoping to contribute that skill towards global warming awareness by doing a series of paintings and posts here.

There are many choices of what to paint and I encourage anyone who likes to paint to join in! Turn it into a book. Ideally I’ll be eventually whittling this material to-be into a second art book. The bulk of the first one is complete and it’s on how to paint animals.

So I’ll focus on non-human animals except  to hope for us and always encourage us that we can be moved to action from a place of hope rather than condemning us all as a terrible species – we are a species – and global warming is huge problem to solve, that we did not see coming when we built the first car or ate our first hamburger (you can thrive as a vegan by the way). Also, we are only just now getting a clearer picture of what’s happening.

“The scientific consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is that

“There is medium confidence that approximately 20-30% of species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average warming exceed 1.5-2.5 °C (relative to 1980-1999). As global average temperature increase exceeds about 3.5 °C, model projections suggest significant extinctions (40-70% of species assessed) around the globe.

In one study published in Nature in 2004, between 15 and 37% of 1103 endemic or near-endemic known plant and animal species will be “committed to extinction” by 2050.[1] More properly, changes in habitat by 2050 will put them outside the survival range for the inhabitants, thus committing the species to extinction.” Wikipedia

June 12, 2017

Behind the painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:54 am

It might be interesting to know what goes on behind the painting. For me there were years of drawing, and there are still years of drawing (in fact I continue to read more drawing than painting books; I was a drafter for years in engineering and still love the puzzlework of drawing), also there were years of paint studies: studying the layers (glazing) -how one color layered below another will look (paint one color let it dry paint the next color on top of that color, etc) and see what happens; the molecular structure dictates the results. With practice you learn at least some of the patterns and gain predictability. I’m indebted to many authors on these problems.

Then there’s the practice of coming to know what your favorite live mixes are (which stain, which rush to mix and bleed together, how their color dry will be different than wet, the impact of their transparency vs obliqueness) blending them on the page you know what they will produce you can act with spontaneity in the middle of a piece. I almost never mix on the palette. The nature of pigments’ actions together are invited, they’re welcome because then their innate life/beauty participated.

The more familiarity you have with your brushes you’ll know what strokes you can get out of which brushes and how much water it takes and how much to ring out when, when it will go dry.
For these studies I use cheaper paper and on both canson and moleskin I see chemical treatments of papers varie within a single book from one page to the next – or a splash of treatment can change an area on the page.

This practice is not glamorous and the results of repeated strokes and mixing colors for hours and hours on many many papers do not produce glamorous things; they can produce references that you can use but other than that it’s not spectacular.

June 10, 2017

Brush stroke studies

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:23 pm

June 7, 2017

Palette – example

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 11:46 am

Now after more color studies, a few more colors are removed and I have an even clearer view of what I’m mixing. I want to add, IMO

heavy metal palettes are over rated (they also stain; pthalo’s will stain them):

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June 5, 2017

Palette – example

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:57 pm

Here the same palette from the previous post is changed so the pans point to colors I intend to mix:

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June 4, 2017

Palette

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:40 pm

My main palette had become a total mess and this morning was clean up time (removing spills and some pans). I use double sided tape to gently pin down pans so I can rearrange them quickly.

Shown here, specialized blues: turq.; pthalo blue green; cobalt; purple-blue.

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The greens are all next to the blues: sap, gr. gold, pthalo yellow green, pthalo. gr. yellow.

The yellow-most ones next to the yellow orange group: Quin yellow, new gamboge, scarlet lake, quin gold .

Next are 2 pinks, opera (in a whole pan) and quin. rose and its favorite friend for mixing: ultramarine blue.

Lastly pyrol red, raw umber, naptha. maroon.

Each pan is labeled with permanent pen ideally readable from wherever it’s currently sitting.

 

June 3, 2017

Princeton Snap Brush better than Black Velvet and Neptune quill replaces squirrel brushes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:56 pm

I spent ~4 hours this morning and ~1 hour last evening practicing various brush strokes (filling 16 pages of 9×12), switching methodically between the famed Black Velvet round* and the Princeton Snap*.

15 years ago I started painting with kolinsky’s (as all the books then said to do until the more recent evidence of animal rights abuses has begun to shut down their industry, rightly so) and when they wore out in a few years I got a few more and tried out I tried squirrel, rat tail, and many others, enjoying them all I still kept trying various synthetics hoping something would come along so I could abandon using animal products all together. Well at last my friends I think that day has come.

Not only did the Princeton snap perform each kind of stroke much more quickly, there was a perfect ton of water! Genius. Not sure how Princeton did it, but they did it. Snaps to a brilliant tight elegant eensy point – so meticulously and consistently – I was SO happy! You can hold this point and continue the brush line well after pressing into the page for a thick line and back out to a thin line. It just enables you. And they’re not expensive.

The wood on the Snap is pretty to see exposing the grain as they have on the handles. I like the length of these handles better too. HOWEVER, why guys can we not make a handle like the Arches**?? why? Why are they all so thick and the ferrules so shiny – bling!?? Like a shiny truck. Is it so thick for a man’s hand?? Can’t we do something here?? The wood on the Black velvet is a more solid feel, still it is not the same good feel of the wood of the Arches which truly is magnificent. The black velvet acts a bit like a squirrel hair but you can tell they added synthetics which give a little more spring than a regular all squirrel brush. As with squirrel you can drown the page in a wonderful blurry slop which can be so freeing and fun. The thing is you can do that with the snap also, it just won’t go as limp, so there is a little something there, but not much.

As for the squirrel replacement – I believe Princeton has solved this puzzle as well! Enter the Neptune. You can languish all day in a blend of brilliant color combinations, slushing them together and letting their magic begin. Leave it, let it live there on the page, and then, after it dries, see the results. It is a great way of painting, one I think Jean Haines teaches best. I honestly can not tell this is not squirrel.

Anyway enjoy your brushes!

*Princeton Snap Brushes 12 white talon round and size 10

Silver Brush 3000S-12 Black Velvet Short Handle Blend Squirrel and Risslon Brush, Round, Size 12 and size 8

**Arches Pure Kolinsky Red Sable Brushes – Pointed Round – Size 10

May 28, 2017

A few paintings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:07 am

I had a moment to post a few I painted. Enjoy

May 12, 2017

hi

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:37 am

I discover there is some way in which folks who buy art actually make it – I’ve never been pushed so hard and far as when I’m accepting commissions. Which are the most difficult to do because we can feel a weight. I can’t sit and twiddle my thumbs with this weight!

two commissions just completed – it’s hard work and I look forward to getting back to my other art projects:

 

November 20, 2016

Pig

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 9:37 pm

 

pig

This morning I painted this one thoughtful pig

 

November 12, 2016

Listening

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:45 am

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On Dharmmaseed.org you can listen to Ed Brown’s talk on Self Worth. I must have heard it 20 times so far and think I might sometime really hear what he’s saying there. He seems to say we each have this inner voice vs. an imposed from outside idea of what you should be and what you must think in order to be that. Familiarity with that voice means you can see the boundary between what is really you and what is fictional. Acting from a stripped voice is a bit like reenacting the Sisyphus story. Painting can be putting the voice in its undeniable uniqueness out there so that it can’t be missed or paved over. It’s apparent, then what do you do with that? How do you see it? Equanimit-able (from equanimity) familiarity can grow. Of course meditation is the way to grow this. After 4 and 3/4 degrees including a masters, plus an additional more not-for-credit classes than for-credit classes, mindfulness practice has had the most profound effect on me of anything I’ve ever studied. And here it even seems to have a comment on a way forward to paint. Thinking of its concept of no solid self or no self, a true painting would always rely on listening; it’s not – I paint in bright colors because I always do, it’s listening and proceeding with that. Interesting to think the habit could have an effect on the way we walk thru life, either more authentically or trying to smoosh ourselves into a box.

“If you can set aside being good and set aside being bad, what about being an ordinary person. Just an ordinary human being…just being you, just being an ordinary person…and we’re able to connect because we’re not busy with how I look” Ed Epse Brown, zen master

The fictional idea that we make up about who we ought to be and how we match up to that image can create a lot of needless misery…”so set aside your arrogance and take a look around…the daily sense of damage comes to an end…a million suns come forward when I sit in that light” Kabir

October 26, 2016

Method

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 10:24 pm

baby-pig_10-5x7-25_v2

Thank you Chef Adeline Grattard, your words inspire this post (Chef’s Table series via netflix). “Now I can feel that a cuisine [you make] reflects what you have inside of you. It’s an expression of your inner life…It’s really about giving something from the heart and giving something from your personality…It’s the story of our lives…” She also warns of becoming too dependent on recipes, that this will stifle and not be alive. She seems to listen to herself in that moment to know what it will be right to create, I mean what she has in her to create in that moment. Does that make sense?

If I follow all the rules I’ve read in so many art books (for one thing they conflict so it’s not possible) then the product can be rigid and dead. Of course I listen to all the teaching I can get through the books for technique and ideas but that is where it stops. Sometimes I have to think pretty hard to get a painting where I want it to go and I have to be willing to fail. I discover along the way and so sometimes the direction necessarily changes. When I look into the eyes of the pig I’m trying to paint, I can think out loud humanity’s relationship to that pig. What is that really about and what are all the possibilities? Can we completely change the way it is popular to see a pig? Can the story be rewritten? Of course it can. Anthony Bourdain can become so bored with his cuisine that he can become vegan. He is curious enough I think, it’s possible.

Back to method, sometimes a subject is so daunting I can only do pencil/paint sketches, color studies and thinking for hours and hours over many days before my sureness and confidence comes around that I know which way to try. In the end whether it is liked or not, technically skillful or not, it’s our personality coming out. And we’re all constantly creating – thoughts, conversations, intentions, opinions (tons of those) – we’re all creative all the time.

If we don’t take the time to listen in, the project can get away can’t it? The more listening, the more sureness. Then accepting it’s all you have – you are going to put you out there. There’s a limit about that but also there is a kind of infinity too isn’t there? Because that is living. If we give a formula, it’s dead right? We can’t listen to those because there is nothing being said.

A note on painting the pig:
After a week of color studies for the pig I realized there was something more I was looking to this painting for. The idea of greed and calling an action piggy etc. Was coming up. It was right after Christmas and a three day meditation retreat. I want to free the pig from being villain-ized, to reflect that. I’m also unconvinced that villainizing our greed helps us find ways to free ourselves from it.

October 13, 2016

Silent Auction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 8:30 pm

Artists you can give your work to a cause for money. It may take a while to see the fruition but it can happen. Thank you to Heartland Farm Sanctuary and the great people there. My art will go in to a silent action, the event was put together so skillfully (maybe it’s ad below, can give others ideas on how to do this; also I made cards of my art to get the word out about the farm, 3 sets of these cards auctioned for hundreds at a previous auction – thank you donors! I gave the farm 17 originals and 13 were made into cards).
best wishes to everyone. [follow-up after the event: 5 pieces (of the 17) were set out for this action, the sold for ~$1k. Others will sell at the bigger Galla planned for later.]
here’s the invite:

Get your tickets now for Clucks in the Courtyard – a fabulous time for a great cause that you won’t want to miss!

Enjoy fantastic appetizers from the folks at Black Locust Cafe, Barolo Wine Bar and Julep, and quench your thirst with a fine wine, beer, or “pigtail”!

[image of little lamb] Meet Sherman!

Plus! We’ll have a beautiful art auction, live music, and Heartland’s own Sherman the Sheep, Percy the pig and chickens Calvin and Dot will be there to say hello!

Clucks in the Courtyard is Saturday, October 22nd from 12-3 PM at Robinia Courtyard in Madison, WI.

And Badger fans, don’t fret! We’ll be broadcasting the game in the all-new Black Locust Cafe!

Get your tickets today – $20 for adults, $10 for kids! [via Heartland Farm Sanctuary website]

January 25, 2015

Putting our heads together

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 1:52 pm

At last A breakthrough with the beauty in using squirrel hair brushes. There’s a letting go of the hyper-control available in a kolinsky and a dropping into gentile softness as well. Maybe this is my first done entirely with squirrel. Aside: The farm series is progressing at 17 completed so far. It’s nice working for this; a concern is how will I frame them all. I found a place that will scan nicely for cards, a book, maybe prints, etc. I want to complete 40 before all that.image

December 7, 2014

Birds 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:43 pm

A few birds I painted/drew this year; in 2014 I start to really enjoy the elegance/feminine gentile-seeming nature of birds. Even though I know they can be ferocious, they still physically embody something light and inspiring and beautiful. Balancing and correcting in mid-air, their quickness and color and the feathers – some kind of genius! Wild turkeys are frightful, and even kept chickens can try to kill a miniature dog; I get how they are dinosaurs that would love to eat you if they could. Still they inspire. Now we have the advantage of being able to paint from photos of them in flight. I’ve started painting those, but I don’t see any photos of those paintings on the computer so I must not have taken any yet. Maybe I’ll post those later. It really is a bother to me to be on the computer when I want to be with family instead during this time at home. So I’m off! Enjoy the paintings and take care.

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November 30, 2014

Series attempt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:18 am

People would like to see the attempt so far – ~250 photos taken/filtered/edited/flagged for use in a hopeful series to benefit Heartland Farm Sanctuary. Thanks MaryPat for the spark a couple years ago and all the inspiration from everyone! Each animals story is on their site.

Baby image image image

March 23, 2014

how to post your art – just as I know it – drawing the orchestra

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 6:43 pm

Sitting in a whole foods eatery I opened my sketchbook and getting my pencil out the kind gentleman behind me looked over my shoulder saw the art and asked, who are you? I said well that is a complicated question, people write books about it I think, we smiled. It turned out I was having the honor of meeting Jack Hernon of a drawing circle led by Susette Sides. Being all free to be spontaneous and quick about it since I fly home tomorrow, we all went to Susette’s house where she led a journey through a few random journals (of sketchbooks she’s filled; did they say hundreds of sketchbooks? they were everywhere, it was awesome).

Countless drawings of the orchestra up close in rehearsal; also nudes, portraits, I photoed rather furiously after (somewhat accidentally) disassembling a lamp for good lighting. Her skill is AMAZING. A retired medical illustrator she leads drawing groups in Winston-Salem, NC and it is all about the experience of sketching…I have the feeling I could learn from her for years and only just be beginning.

Alas she is not online at home, although does have an email. I will ask if she’d like me to splash the photos onto a webpage for her and add her email the way Roz does on her super fun and inspiring Rozwoundup blog. Then thought I’d like to tell the simple process that I would pick in case it is useful to anyone. One thing I am is software savy after four degrees (including a masters) and decades of computer work…lalala anywho. Here is what I would do saying keep it simple or it doesn’t happen. If anyone finds my method lacking, I’m a little open to it but mostly exhausted by such a busy life…oh goodness I have to go (I get to draw my mom quilting!) so quickly here it is…

I found scanning is just too exhausting to tackle large volumes of sketches. Photographing is VERY FAST. For example, I recently pushed 100 of photos of my favorite sketches into a large snapfish book. They have a binding that lays flat (option only for their largest sized book) and the quality was really fine. To photo, I binder clipped open some sketchbooks and clamped lamps onto the klopenfenstein easel. Mostly I could just hold them open with one hand and snap the camera (in auto mode) with the other. If it isn’t simple, it doesn’t happen. And now instead of piles of journals I could never find my favorites from, I have a book, always reprintable or editable in snapfish, donesy! Also kudos to wordpress.com which has been my blogging friend for over a decade now. I understand typepad is also a good option. It makes taking those photos and pushing them into a website a complete cinch. Blog=website same thing. It’s free and with “wordpress.com” stuck onto the end of the URL no one tries to steal your website name (wanting the name for their company, that happened to me with one of the over a hundred websites I have made). What I really want is for Gregory Danny to swoop down from the heavens and interview her and publish some of her work in one of his books. Here that Gregory? oh, I may have to email you directly right! Best to all sharing their work and experiences! BEST!

August 25, 2013

A quote from the New York times I wanted to remember

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 2:00 pm

“Drawing may be the most intimate and honest of all art mediums. Its lightweight materials enable artists to work almost anywhere and often give their efforts a truth-telling transparency that exposes the very nerve endings of their talent. Sometimes drawings function almost as a kind of signature, distilling an artist’s sensibility to its essence. Sometimes they express gifts visible in no other medium.” (New York Times, WeekendArtsII, C21, Friday April 19, 2013.

 

When you can show up, arrive in an uncomplicated, unburdened way, as fully present as possible, into a space, you have a chance at drawing an honest, authentic reflection. Your experience in the space can still rise to the top and come out the pencil. You bring so much with you into the space and then drawing brings more into the space. So there’s a lot happening.

 

Cleaning a paintbrush and fiddling with color choices takes you away. It’s distraction as though you put makeup on your drawing, you cover up. When you only show up with a couple pencils and a notebook, it’s just you and the experience, you didn’t add something else to come in between. Now you can be more with what you notice, since there is less to take in. It is like you just can go very deep noticing new things when there is so much to take in.

July 20, 2013

in this moment

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:28 pm

Thank you Danny Gregory for helping me relax into drawing. re: the monkey (critical mind) in his recent post: if you can be friends compassionately approach the monkey with love, it will sit down playing quietly beside you. if you critique the monkey to get away from critque-ing, you further develop the habit of mind of critique-ing.

When drawing matters more than the finished drawing, this experience: is being the moment more than being the result. that is what drawing in the gutter is – it’s: I am not doing this to frame it; I’m not living this for that (there is plenty of time to do that), just for a moment I’m living this for this, as it is, without trying to control it or change it or pretend about it. The experience, just as it is: could I even see all that without the clutter of monkey mind? Draw a thing, and the thing and the draw-er get in a relationship. the experience of separateness drops off.

May 22, 2013

misc recents

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 10:18 pm

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May 4, 2013

Drawing negative space

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 4:10 pm

A couple tree sketches one where I was drawing negative space and one not.

tree sketch using negative space tree sketch not using negative space

This sketch was fun because I could not really see the page or the room or the palette since it was dark outside (I was on the porch). It was fun to see the surprise result afterwards in the light. Doing it was nice because I never painted in the dark before and because I didn’t feel attached to the outcome.

watercolor sketch in the dark

April 20, 2013

me painting a frog at home

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:35 pm

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March 27, 2013

Giraffe watercolor in the largest Moleskine A3 16″ x something or other

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 5:17 pm

Blessed with some time off work, a spring break stay-cation – at last a chance to dig in, here is one of the fun things that came out yesterday, enjoy.

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March 23, 2013

ski

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 12:10 pm

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me skiing (above)

me wishing for hot cocoa w/cayenne with friends all beside a fireplace (below)

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March 21, 2013

Drawing is loving

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elizabeth @ 3:19 pm

Once again I find I can’t stop drawing, it feels like such an odd thing to do for me so it is great to “meet” others with the same affliction via Gregory Danny’s interviews. I feel less strange then. Why can’t I just read a novel? Anyway here I am with all my media out, always simple, these days with a few watercolor and other pencils, pans (thoroughly researched and chosen using Handprint back in ~2001), two bottles of ink (brown and black), only two nibs / dip pens which I am having enormous fun with (one is super fragile and one is a goat- it can digest cans).

Odd to only just begin to realize this: years ago, reading Tolstoy’s What is Art? I recall his saying you know doing art is painful, difficult, you don’t get it right and suffer, etc. I am sure he said more I have forgotten. That part stayed with me realizing how true it is. The point is, IT IS ONLY TRUE IN SOME MOMENTS – that I kind of forgot. When my art professor said he felt I could have an art career I said no thanks, I felt my best art came when I was depressed and why would I want to cultivate that. Those years, I was working difficult concepts into art (death, materialism, hierarchy, etc.). Since then, I realized I can just do art that people simply smile at, and why not? Life has enough difficult stuff in it, I don’t have to add more. Now my work in mindfulness over the past 9 years brings me to working with drawing whatever is in this moment (the vacuum, the chair, people, pets; it doesn’t matter, it is just about the experience of that moment in that moment.)

I had a surprise seven months ago. I was drawing a group of flowers on break at work. Someone just peacefully watched me, not my art, standing in front she was watching my expression. Then, thoughtfully she put, “you look so happy”. I thought: no. wait, really? She was right! I have since noticed a soft smile on my face while drawing. So sometimes (of course likely most times I guess) I must be quite good there. I hadn’t noticed.

We all bring habits into our lives that generate happiness in a simple non-harming way, bring the energy into the spaces and places and people around us. The energy, it mingles.

Our sketching just where ever, however may have the capacity to bring this. The more years you draw, the more confident you get and you just don’t care so much if someone judges your work peering over your shoulder. If the result is a mess well you know its not the final word.

I feel the need to examine something further and I know if I draw it I will see things I never would see otherwise. If knowing is loving, if drawing is knowing…ah yes then drawing is loving! LOL

I am actually going to miss winter since that is the time you stay out of the superficial. The beautiful bright shining reflections and waving shadows of leaves, the heat on your neck and feet, it is all so good, even though somehow it takes you out and fills you with a distracted view of the world. The tree limbs are no longer available for drawing; what will I do to draw all those crazy leaves this year…for fun.

Our happiness with it may be related to our being more fully in the moment in some way. Drawing is not exactly mindfulness meditating, it can be very close. We can bring mindfulness practice there when we focus entirely say on the shape color scale of a vase, rather than our mind resting deep in a day dream fantasy or deep in a worry about the past or a should about the future. We are in the moment of that vase, of our experience of that vase.

Biggest thanks to my mom for always telling me it was a gift I should treasure. I love you mom!

Lastly, Gregory Danny thank you thank you for putting the habit on a nice platform. After reading your work, I set aside my spiral bounds, picked up a bound journal and it felt like a crazy act of a revolutionary to just draw right over the book gutter! I thought lightening might strike – when it didn’t I had so much joy!

One effect of working in hardbound journals: This is where you must play. There is no feeling of a need to work for money here, like oh maybe I will end up selling this final piece better follow some rules. No it is stuck in this book which will get stuck on a shelf, maybe scanned, but seriously just play it doesn’t matter. That can be fun, sometimes a fail, but the more years you play like this the more you can command a result if you really want it and don’t want to play in another new direction.

A quote from Roz Stendahl in Danny Gregory’s new book (he also has a cool interview with her on his blog) “I draw when I travel for the same reason I draw all the other times I can’t stop myself from drawing—because something catches my eye and grabs my interest. I want to remember it; I want to savor it; I want to understand it just a little bit better; I want to acknowledge what I just saw.  At the same time all this is happening, when I’m drawing there is also a physiological change within me when I draw. I am more calm, more alert (hyper alert), and filled with wonder. Drawing activates a direct switch to my sense of wonder. I feel that to draw something or some place is to ask questions about that subject—how is it made, why was it made, what does it stand for, how was it used, or how does it live in these circumstances? (That last is something I ask as I draw pigeons the world over.)..…”

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