Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Green Gate-a fantasy painting in process

There is something mysterious about this gate. It intrigues me. I took its photo on the way to a Sufi gathering last month, and it still calls to me. Inspires me.

Today I began figuring out how I might paint it.

Just a quick watercolor, I thought, just to put some color on paper.

But then I began analyzing it. What is it that calls to me so? How do the composition and values work to draw the eye  back to that bright spot? How might I change the composition to make it more effective?

Now I've really opened the gate to inspirations!

What if I make the gate a different style? The style would reflect the world behind the gate, the world the gate leads to. What world do I want it to lead to? What styles of gate are possible?

So I spent some time on the computer getting ideas. Wow!
I know what I don't want. I don't want a modern looking gate, or a polished wood gate, or a gate you can see clearly through. I don't want a wrought iron gate.

Definitely a wooden gate. Maybe you can just see little peeks of garden between the boards. Do I want a window in the gate? Should the gate be freshly painted? Or weathered?

And what style of hinge might my gate have? The hinge can be anything! It can be a plain wrought iron rectangle, black or rusted. It can be a dragon! It can even be invisible, on the other side.

And what about the latch?

Should the gate have an ornament on it, a little plaque perhaps?

Well, of course the answers depend on what the world behind the gate will look like, the story the gate is in.

Again, more ideas of what I want and what I don't want.

Not a romance with roses, not a garden where lovers roam. Maybe in another painting.

Not a haunted house, or a brick cottage garden. Not, I think, an English country garden. Nothing formal.

A Fairyland?
A castle garden?
A place of mystery, definitely! With a figure in red at the top of the stairs, just going out of sight to the right.

I could use one palate of colors on this side of the gate, and another set on the other side; for example, I might have predominately reds and golds on one side, and blues and greens on the other side. Or one side could be monochromatic. Or the whole painting could be monochromatic with just little bits of a contrasting color to attract the eye.

Color will be very important to convey mood.

Looking at the photo again, maybe I don't want to make big changes. Not for the first go, anyway.

This could be the beginning of a series of gate paintings, each leading to a different world or a different mood. Or the lead in to a fantasy world where my stories take place.

Or it could express the Sufi world I entered into that day....

But I do want a woman in a long red dress at the top of the stairs, just disappearing off to the right.

What do you think?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Opening Reception for the Art Show--Worth It?

I had a great time at the opening reception for my show at Vashon Tea Shop Friday night! Thanks to all who came!

Before the reception,  I worried that the music from the Vashon Book Shop next door would drown out Kat Egglestons's wonderful guitar playing at the opening reception. I worried that no one would come. I worried that my work would not show well. I worried that no one would like my work.

 I worried, I was suddenly exhausted from the work of putting up the show, I had that sinking feeling one gets after spending a lot of energy on something and fearing it won't work out.

I do not plan to sell any of the art. I am showing illustrations from past and current work, both studies and published. Nothing I am ready to let go of. I do hope to encourage people to buy the published books, Peacock Princess and Atom's Monster, either directly from me on my web site, or from Vashon Book Shop. And I want to kind of "prime the pump", to begin to get people interested in my current project, "Troll Story".

My accountant would say this was a disaster. I spent weeks preparing the show, and during the reception I sold only two books, Atom's Monster for $5 ea--and that thanks to my husband! He is the one who kept showing my books to people! I was too shy....

 No one showed up for the first 1/2 hour or 45 minutes. I did not communicate well with the book shop to make sure they had copies. My publicist was tearing her hair out!


I had a wonderful time and so did everyone who came!

Was it worth doing? Absolutely!
Well.....It's difficult to put into words. The value can't be measured in dollars.  It isn't about "networking".

For me the interactions with friends I had not seen for awhile, with people friends brought in to see the show, with people I was meeting for the first time--these interactions nourish me. Maybe it's about being recognized as the artist, the creator of something worth coming to see, being focus of attention.

Maybe it's about the exchange of ideas. Or the music. Or the general joyful feeling that filled the space.

I feel like it is community building. Creating a common happy experience for people.  Sharing my joy. And that is important to me.

Sharing my joy.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fall watercolor painting; next step

To review: we started with a light pencil sketch and a couple of ink lines,  then painted in the lightest colors:
We used some "negative painting" to define the shape of the orange tree by painting around it with a medium value green.

Now come the dark colors. Add the darks last. You can always make things darker, but in watercolor, you can't make things lighter. Well, unless you use gouche paints, but that's another story. Notice how the dark green makes the orange and the yellow green trees more vibrant.
The very darkest colors give the whole painting a vibrancy and guide your eye around the painting, while a few ink lines define a bit of detail. I used a white jelly pen to add highlights and to give your eye a nice paved pathway, so to say .

Mondays I plan to introduce some common watercolor techniques, so stay tuned!