Tres colores

"Blue", a photo

Day 313: Tres colores, photos

I got up early today (gasp!) and spent half the day on a marketing project like a responsible professional artist. The other half was dedicated to a set of commission pieces, so for today’s artwork I’m posting a photo trio I took a couple of weeks ago and tweaked today for your viewing pleasure. I have a batch of all-organic brown sugar cashew cookies (SO GOOD! Recipe here) waiting to go into the oven, and for some reason that just makes it really hard to focus on crafting today’s blog post.

There’s something about cold weather that just makes me want to bake. I’m sure Betty Crocker will someday sponsor a study to uncover the genetic imperative responsible for this seasonal urge. Until then, do you have a super-special favorite baking recipe? Share it in the comments! (I know I’m not the only closet baker here.)

"Magenta", a photo

"Green", a photo

Smurfing the smurf

Day 250: Urban Textures Continued

I really love my camera, but sometimes I love my photographic images more when I boost the color saturation and contrast a little. It’s also fun to turn them sideways and crop them and see if they remind me of other things.

For example, this one made Rob and I think about a line of people shoving to get into a club (we hear things like this happen amongst the young people in LA and whatnot):

"Hot pink number", a photograph

And this one makes me think of Optimus Prime’s face from cartoons when I was little:

"Blue tooth", a photograph

And this one looks like a xylophone that just got smurfed on:

"Xylophone", a photograph

Why, what do I mean by “smurfed” on, you ask? Clearly you jest. (See the language section of this wiki article for “clarification”.)

Urban textures

"Scallops", a photograph

Day 249: Urban textures

As I am unsure what particular level of traffic hell is awaiting me on my journey to the bay area today, I am planning to leave a little early. Hence, I don’t really have the hours of artmaking time in my schedule that I usually do. So I drove around the industrial parks near my home looking for interesting photos.

I really enjoy urban textures. A stack of forgotten palettes baking in the sun resulted in this first shot…

"Millefeuille", a photograph

…and a pile of plastic pipe accounted for the second (at the top of the post). I may have been able to get more photos to choose from at this particular location until I noticed the ginormous barn spider a few inches from my face. Which, as you may have guessed, caused me to recoil in a screeching backwards leap uncommonly speedy for a person of my size.

“Aww, a barn spider? That sounds quaint. Isn’t that the adorable spider from Charlotte’s Web?”

Well, technically yes, but I assure you that in reality they are not adorable. These things used to show up in the fall on my college campus. They pick large, open areas to make huge webs which they sit right smack in the middle of. The webs are so big that you can easily miss them. That is, until you take a shortcut between some bushes and destroy the day’s work of an angry arachnid large enough to eat your face. *Shudder* I’m pretty sure toddlers are their primary source of nutrition.

Disoriented

Day 224: Disoriented

Today I decided to try to capture the feeling of disorientation with some blurred images from my studio. My table and my easel served nicely, as they’re drenched in layers of paint and give me that tilt-a-whirl-hurl feeling when I look at them in these compositions. It’s been one of those looooong days, so I hope you’ll forgive me for the brief post. Nighty night!

Unexpected adventures

Day 221: The Capitol- A Love Story

As I mentioned yesterday, I snapped some more photos in dear old Sacramento on Sunday. My intent was to get some images of buildings, which I did, but looking over them again today, I see some unexpected bits caught my eye (and my camera lens) as well. I arranged a few of them into today’s art, a photographic journey titled “The Capitol: A Love Story”. Enjoy!

Tucked away inside the heart-shaped tree hole, she found a note...

It read “Meet me where the tallest palm tree points at 9 am.”

Their eyes locked as they saw each other from across the steps. “Oh darling. You know I can’t bear to look away from you.”

“That’s a good thing considering we’re mounted here for all eternity,” she said wryly and grinned. “Apple?”

He smiled and began to play a ballad only she could hear.

Also, voting is now open for only two days on Instructables.com for the Summer Sewing Contest. My “How to make an upcycled art quilt” instructable is in the running and is currently in 19th place. There are prizes including a fancy schmancy Singer machine, and I’d really appreciate your vote if you have a second to spare! Spread the word, it’s a brief voting window! If you don’t have a username for instructables, it’s free and the site is a really wonderful, creative, exciting land of how-to’s from interesting people worth your attention. Check it out!

Stroll through Sac

"Snuggle", a photo from midtown

Day 217: Stroll through Sac

I’ve been meaning to take some painting reference images of buildings in Sacramento since I moved here…. which was two years ago. So… yeah. Time to bust out the camera. At first I was thinking I should have waited until the dusk to get that “golden hour” photo people talk about, but once I began walking around the shady streets in the “city of trees” (that’s what they call it, I’m not just using quotes for fun), I was glad I’d decided to come out. I enjoy the old buildings so much more than the giant skyscrapers, so I took a bunch of photos of random homes. Amongst them, I also happened upon a few amusing vignettes:

"Lashes", a photo from midtown

…a banana seat bike snuggling up to a tree while a hydrant looks on longingly (top of post), the surprisingly Wall-E like eyeballs of the railroad doo-dad (above) and a pole so transformed by layers of posters and staples, I thought I was in Berkeley for a minute:

"Bark", a photo from midtown

I also did some more work on the oil painting, which I am hoping to have finished and finally revealed to you lovely people tomorrow. Fingers crossed. 🙂

Surfaces

"Black lacquer", a photo from SF's mission district

Day 214: Surfaces

Today I spent several hours working on the ever-loving oil portrait (don’t worry, it’s going pretty well despite my general impatience with the process), so I decided to crack open yesterday’s cache of images from San Francisco to see if any of them stand alone as photos. These two (after a little contrast and saturation enhancing on the computer) are working for me better as photos than as future-painting-reference-images.

"Hulk Smash!", another photo from the Mission district in SF

I’m fascinated with surfaces. In my paintings, I tend to stick with creating reasonable 2-D based texture- that is, I embed paper and fabric, but I’ve never stuck a giant broom into a canvas like Jasper Johns– but I very much enjoy the look of things that are crumbly, scraped, rusting, water-stained… I don’t know why. I just do.

Shutterowl

Thanks for the sweet composition, nature!

Day 184: Night Shadows

As I spent the day frolicking with my mom doing lovely girl activities like pedicures, shoe shopping and lunching at a wine bar, I didn’t get around to doing my daily art until oh… 9:30 pm or so. Light was fleeting, but I thought I might be able to get some quick silhouettes of the fabulous mature trees of my hometown drawn in my sketchbook. After about 30 seconds of trying that out, I realized it was futile. So I headed off with my back-up plan (i.e. the camera) and relocated in a parking lot bordering a field of Eucalyptus trees.

Picture #2 I liked

I started off taking blurry photos of the trees, hoping for some magic to happen in the slow shutter closure, but then I noticed some cool shadows on the wall of the home improvement store and I realized I could get a silhouette of some of my beloved trees after all. These are the leaves of a California Pepper Tree (and a shrub in one image).

Frolicking at the River

A drawing of Rob watching the water

Day 164: At the Confluence

With clear skies for an amazing three days in a row, Rob & I decided to hoof it out to Auburn to visit the Confluence, a place where two rivers meet. It’s all rocks, red dirt, trees and river. I brought along my sketchbook and hung out in the shade for some quick drawing. While the scenery itself is really quite stunning, something about having Rob sitting there on the pebble bank gazing out at the wilderness in his sunhat was a striking composition for me. I drew this real quick with a watercolor pencil (he didn’t know I was drawing him and he moved after a few minutes), then used a brush and some river water to flesh it out a little.

Slightly pink and sweaty, Rob helped me back up the makeshift trail hewn into the hillside by other nature lovers and I thanked the inventor of air conditioning as we headed home. Auburn is a really charming town, all old buildings with sharp paint jobs, tons of murals and nice landscaping.. if you’re ever out in the area, give it a visit! Here are a couple of photos we took today at the Confluence:

Photo credit to Rob

I was a little freaked out about how close the camera was to the rushing water, but Rob got some lovely shots of the rocks underwater.

Day 102: Weeds, a linocut

This morning, I decided to take a drive down to a scenic route off of highway 12 called the “Delta Loop”. I’d passed it driving to my aunt’s in Antioch not long ago, and knew that it was in this area I’d get the landscape images I could use for my art for the blind project. Granted, it’s about an hour away, and it was totally raining balls, but hell- I have the time. I even decided to make it an extra adventure by winging it in the non-GPS car (the other one’s ripe for an oil change).

Oddly enough, the Delta Loop wasn’t clearly marked. I ended up going down some other road that landed me on another highway, and it was only through my uncanny sense of direction (clearly I am wired like a pigeon) that I found the way back. It was a good thing that I went the wrong way, though. The rain eventually cleared and I got some good shots.

I’m planning to work with images with a good sense of foreground and background, then use contrasting textures to represent the items in the landscape.

I’m also considering writing some poems focusing on the non-visual sensory perceptions I had while taking these images- the sweet, green smell of wildflowers, the brisk wind whipping my hair in my face, the cold, pelting crazy bullet rain (seriously, you can SEE it in the sheep picture), the tiny trees in the distance like echoes of the larger ones lining the road- to help make the art more successful for the visually impaired community.

And while I COULD have used a photo for today’s artwork, I decided to do another linocut with a weed from my yard anyway. Why? Because I love you guys, that’s why.

I’ll be announcing the winner of the Day 55 Haiku contest, who will be receiving a free print, on April 15th! I figure it’ll make tax day a little sweeter for someone. I’m also still backtracking to make sure I haven’t missed any dibs calls and will be contacting all my “dibbers” with info on their desired pieces soon. Thanks everyone!