Tuesday, November 29, 2011

inspiration for the day

My dear friend, Ruth Stromswold, shared this lovely prayer with me today. It's from "The Valley Of Vision"... A bit about contentment and plenty, and having a thankful heart for all that is.

Morning Needs
O God, the author of all good, 
prosper me in all lawful undertakings, 
or prepare me for disappointments. 

Give me neither poverty nor riches. 
Feed me with food convenient for me 
lest I be full and deny Thee and say, 
Who is the Lord?
Or be poor, and steal, and take 
Thy name in vain."

©Laura Gable 2012
"An Uplifted Heart" watercolor and china marker on hotpress paper.

2012 Laura Gable Studio Calendars

My 2012 calendars are completed and ready for your desk-top. It's a small case that houses a page a month for the duration of 2012...with little snippets of artwork I've created. The case opens and the lid swirls around to become an easel. Cost is $12 + tax (if you're local that's $13) ... if I'm shipping it, will add $5 for shipping and handling. Let me know if you'd like one.
©Laura Gable 2012
Another view of the calendar, displayed as it looks while sitting on your desktop opened up. The pages are 4x6" in size and printed on a nice satin photo paper.
2012 Calendar   ©Laura Gable 2012

Friday, May 27, 2011

509 Urban Sketchers and Painters

The local group of 509 Urban Sketchers and Painters, meets 2 times a month and they go all over our region sketching and painting what they see. I'm a sporadic member of this loosely knit group. Also, a couple times a year they come together with like-minded souls all over the country to do Worldwide Sketch Crawls. In mid-April, our group participated in this worldwide event...starting out in Howard Amon Park in Richland. We drew a variety of subjects while clustered around a picnic table, sheltering each other from the wind. It was brisk! I chose to draw Jim, the artist sitting across from me. He was a great subject even if he was wearing an OU hat. (His team has had strong rivalries with my home team, Nebraska, for many years.) He is a fine sketch artist and painter, undaunted by working in highly public places. He's had art published in local and regional magazines, and was even on TV last night, supporting an effort to save the old Naval tower. Check out his blog here: http://bmgarnersketches.blogspot.com
The group will have a showing at the Phatty Caddy Coffee Lounge for this upcoming Artwalk June 2nd and throughout the month. Please visit this coffee shop on 4th and Washington St just south of downtown Kennewick.

My sketch of friend Jim B at the sketch crawl,   ©Laura Gable 2012

Two Sided Artwork

I rescued an old watercolor painting of a sunflower the other day. The yellow was heavily saturated, so I lifted a large amount of it and added detail to bring the sunflower trio to life. I was quite happy with the results. I love the movement in the background area.

©Laura Gable 2012

So when I was going about inventorying it yesterday, I flipped it over to write the title on the backside ... and by golly if there wasn't another nearly finished painting on that side. An abstracted leaf montage, which I'm not really sure why I didn't frame. Perhaps it was from that time that I wasn't taking these abstracted works very seriously. They were fun for demo's while teaching, as I could show a variety of paint application techniques. So now I have a conundrum—which side shall I frame, or do I devise a clever way sandwiching them between 2 pieces of glass to create a reversible painting. Which painting is your preference? Comments are welcomed.

©Laura Gable 2012

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Messy Pallette

See even a messy palette that hasn't been cleaned since Carter was President, can have an appealing quality.  Afterall, it's created from the colors that go into all the paintings I make. . . and they are colorful in an appealing way, right? Since all the paint had hardened and cleaning it seemed a lost cause, I bought a new one, and without ceremony dropped this in the trash. Yet several friends saw it's redeeming qualities, after I'd posted it on the studio's Facebook page. I've rescued it from it's demise, and have it displayed in the studio (at least for a while).


I'm feeling the need to explore a bit more and try out new directions with my art and my paintings. This colored pencil on black paper, was born quickly today as I tried to settle into the studio. I've been sketching all manner of 5 pointed things, and this is reminiscent of the starfish pose we do in yoga. At the yoga retreat this weekend, hosted by Melanie Farmer, we did a pranayama breathing series while splayed out on the floor on our backs on a blanket. A sharp intake into the belly region, then relax totally into the floor while arms and legs are splayed about...practically melding with the floor as we totally relaxed into the pose. This pose evolved from there as we went from the starfish position lying prone on the in breath, to a tight ball rolled onto one side on the out breath... and then back to the prone position. So this is my homage to "starfish."

©Laura Gable 2012

Where has the artist run off too.

I hate to admit it, but when I get busy and into the work zone, it seems much easier to post onto Facebook rather than my own blog (I've got an app on my iphone, so I can do that posting while at the studio). But the Art-Biz Coach suggests not doing that...and to instead keep your personal blog updated and constantly evolving. In order to create a personalized artistic identity for oneself, I suspect. Perhaps I will take a few posts here to catch us all up on activity in the studio since February.

Here are the most recent things that I've worked on ... a few figure studies of Kaileigh who was our model from the ballet company. She was at the 509Art Space last Saturday. She was a delight to draw... beautiful face, graceful long limbs, poise, lovely statuesque frame. Hope to get to draw her again soon.
Kayleigh   ©Laura Gable 2012

©Laura Gable 2012

These sketches are done on a slate grey charcoal paper, using blue and white china "marker" (similar to a grease pencil). Comments are welcomed.

Trip to Portland (last Monday, the 16th)

I had the ultimate pleasure of joining several of my book-artist friends for a recent trip on Amtrak to Portland. It's a mere 4.5 hours over and 4.5 hours back. For the interim 6 hours, my book artist friend, Deborah Watkins was a beautiful hostess. She made us a fritatta brunch and then led us around her home block in the Pearl district for a visit to her favorite paper store and tea shop. Yummy! Shortly thereafter we traveled by taxi to 23Sandy Gallery, a gallery devoted to book artists (see the above link). The owner, Laura Russell is a book artist herself, and Deborah works there part time. We were totally enthralled with the artwork available to view, touch, and turn the pages. She also had a few 2d painters displayed, and I fell in love with Shu-Ju Wang's delightful gouache renditions of her life experiences.

So here are a sampling of photos of Portland. I'll post a few more from the train ride in the next post.
a cozy corner in the loft in the Pearl District of Portland...

Bringing the garden to the city, balcony above the city streets.

View from above, looking down from the balcony.

Window display at a nearby gallery - hand dyed linen.

Train ride on Amtrak

Amtrak is a fun ride, even the idea of getting up quite early before climbing aboard the 5:30am train. The train comes in from Chicago, so many travelers are sprawled across the wide seats, wearing pj's under blankets. We chose to sit in the viewing car—the windows extend onto the roof. Traveling along the Washington side of the Columbia river gorge, provided spectacular views. The river meanders towards Portland then to the Pacific ocean. Here are a few shots along the way, of the Oregon side.

Reflections as another train passes so closely.

Reflected majesty near the Multnomah Falls area.

White cumulus reflects in the watery surface.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Art Display at Mercer Estates Winery in Prosser, WA

Three of my sunflower paintings have found their way onto the beautiful clay walls at the Mercer Estates Winery tasting room at 3100 Lee Rd in Prosser, WA 99350 (509-786-2097). The grouping just vibrates on the walls there, in this contemporary styled tasting room. If you are up that way, and if you are wine tasting, please support this friendly family owned operation.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

18 Miniatures hung all in a row ...

I couldn't resist posting this ... the array of 18 miniature paintings that I did this month hung all together on the wall...and ready for the February 3 ArtWalk (come see me! click for the flyer/map). The process of aligning the nails took a while, as did mounting the ones that were painted on flat boards rather than the little cradled canvases. Here is the month's effort towards my personal miniature portrait challenge.

Hey what's that in the bottom right corner. Ha Ha!

I didn't quite get #18 finished, but couldn't leave a blank canvas there. Whatdya think? Shall I leave "Mr Smiley" like this, or do a more serious painting to round out the arrangement? I was actually planning to do 30 miniature portraits ... and although I didn't meet my challenge in a month, I will continue (once the rest of my canvases arrive). It is fun to note that the process of creating art daily is easier this year than it was the past 2 years...each year it gets easier. Say-la-vie! The challenge continues into February. Want to join me??

Miniature #17 (revised)

I admit it, I'm the queen of tweaking. She just didn't look right with her two toned face and five o'clock shadow, so I've evened out her skin tone, adjusted the tip of her nose, brightened up the lips, cooled her chin, and redefined the eye. The eye is now sitting down into the face better than it was before. (original post is here). It's still not the quality of the famous, amazing talent of John Singer Sargent ... but more closely resembles his painting of Ana, a girl from Capri. At least I'm happy with her!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Skywest Magazine

We are so thrilled to have my painting "Through the Vines" selected for the cover art on this month's edition of Skywest Magazine.  Page 10 features an Artwatch article about me. Please check it out if you get the time. And if you are flying on United Express through the end of February, be sure to pick up a copy. The magazine also features a beautifully written 3 page article about the Tri Cities. Go to the publisher's website, click the current issue, to see the entire magazine online.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spiritual Series Triptychs

Triptych of my Spiritual Series
Part of this triptych was started the end of last year, and finished in January (the two on the right). The third one (left) was started and completed this month. They each measure 2ft x 4ft in size. It's a size I'm really enjoying. Unfortunately they are not a gallery wrap canvas, so will need to seek out a form of framing or mounting. They are meant to hang separately, rather than connected together. The landscapes are ethereal and all have a spiritual representation. The rose has an unfinished portion near the bottom, that I've finally grown comfortable with. I struggled to consider the rose part of the trio, but once I've had them arranged together in this way, they seem to complete each other. They are titled, "Beyond the Bounds of Earth" ... "Acceptance" ... "Blessings Float on Love's Wings".
"Beyond the Bonds of Earth", "Acceptance", "Blessings Float on Love's Wings" 3 oil paintings,  24" x 48" on canvas.

Figure Sketches

My contribution to the figure sketching session, featuring Jessica. This is really a white sheet of paper, but when I went to adjust the levels these colors showed up - so we'll go with it. She was an excellent model. Hope to sketch and/or paint her again some day.
(BTW, not much from me recently as I came down with the stomach flu on Thursday. Finally feeling like a human again today.)

mini Portrait #17

I enjoyed this mini portrait. It's based on a John Singer Sargent painting of a young girl from Capri. (sometimes copying a master is easier than painting from a live subject). The image I referenced was black/white so I made up the colors. She has a long nose, but in his profile it was lovely; and I'm not sure if the set of the eyes is quite right. This one was also started on a toned canvas... can you guess the color? You can see peeks of it in the hair - a bright red-orange tone. It almost burned my eyes when I laid the brilliant "bice" blue over top to create the background. I think I now fully understand the tension created when two complimentaries are next to each other. Well I'm nearly out of these mini canvases ... and my order from Cheap Joes hasn't yet arrived. They are on back order. Cross your fingers that they arrive soon!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

mini Portrait #16

Here she is again ... this time with a frontal view, cooler light, glasses, and eyelashes. Also am observing that the whites of the eyes are rarely really white--but we already knew that, right?. And the translucent skin takes on so many different tones.

Had a fun day, and delivered 3 paintings to the Mercer Estates Winery in Prosser. I've not been there before and so it's fun to be part of that. They have this gigantic wall, that is covered with a clay surface treatment. Very beautiful. I have no idea how they manage to hang art on these walls, they are using nails. Will post a picture of the display once it is hung.

P.S. If you are interested in a treat, check out our daily blog of creative pursuits shared by many other local and regional artists. Anyone can participate. I'm just a small part of this challenge to create art daily in January of 2011. It's the 3rd year we've done it and I've been involved all along. http://art-a-day.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 24, 2011

Miniature #15 (process)

This "study" is based on a lovely painting by Jules Elie Delaunay "Portrait of Madame Georges Bizet (1849-1926)" (here's a link). My study was of the head only. Here are a series of images showing my progression to the finished image, and an attempt to make the face look feminine. The original feels so modern in style, though the clothing is definitely vintage. The canvas was toned with cerulean blue (a compliment to the basic skin tone). The skin tone is misleading in these photos, and most closely resembles the pinker tones from in the 3rd image.
Step 1: After the canvas was toned in blue, shapes were blocked in.
Skin tone and background color identified.
Step 2: The nose and lips were defined and shadows are forming.
The chin is looking very masculine -- I'll get right on fixing that.
Step 3: Dark values were filled in and the hair (blue is still leftover
from the toned canvas). Chin size has been adjusted.

Step 4: Eyes defined and skin modeled. The original painting's model has much
deeper set eyes (so more in shadow). The skin tone is less yellow in reality,
and actually more closely resembles the image in Step 3, above.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

When artwork is not accepted (and "Chatting at the Sky")

I've fallen in love with the writings in this online blog (below). She has a fine way of expressing herself. I especially like this quote about the rejection some artist's feel when their work is not accepted into exhibitions and juried show:
"The job of the artist is not to convince people to like what you have created. The job of the artist is to CREATE."

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mini Portrait #14

Highlights were brightened after the paint dried, and a spot of tone added to the eye area.

Same model, with a slightly different angle. Have you noticed that the chin is actually quite cool in tone, and areas where the forehead is visible through the hair is very "hot" that it almost glows. This was an exercise in again seeing the value differences from the dark to the light side of the face (with a strong interior warm side light). Since the eyes are in shadow, they were left a bit undefined.

Friday, January 21, 2011

mini Portrait #13 (revised)

Here is one of my first mini portraits painted from life. I'd like to say I got it in the first sitting, but had to do it in two. It took me a while to see the skin tones which were mostly in shadow, as I had wanted to make them quite dark. I've got ready access to this model, so hope to do a few more as the days go on. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mini Portrait #12

      I haven't done many paintings with "rim-light" . . . so this was a treat. It's that little bit of light that hugs the edge when the object is lighted from the side. Another goal here is to find a true representation of white, which even though in shadow is very dark. Also focusing on glow and reflected light while striving to again capture the effect of "light on the planes." I feel this mini portrait feels more effortless than some of the others.
      A couple years ago, my Dad grew a mustache and goatee. He was asked to portray William Henry Jackson at a centennial celebration of their local Scottsbluff National Monument (click here for more information about the park and that connection.) He had a lot of fun with that, and folks claimed he looked just like the historical photographer. Later that year, he and Mom visited us here and we took them up to Leavenworth. My Dad, also an avid photographer, went crazy capturing a plethroa of picturesque old Bavarian scenery. In one shop, he slithered into a gap between a display wall and an outside window to photograph the streets below. This mini portrait portrays his profile bathed with rim light.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mini Portrait #11

He has a happy crinkle eyed face, but somehow his eyes belie a bit of masked sadness just below the surface. Our faces become the roadmaps of the paths we've traveled in life. Some experiences etch more deeply into the terrain there--coloring and carving into new formations, like the wind and rain are wont to carve the soil beneath our feet.

The treatment in the upper left is a bit abstracted with touches of green and that happy turquoise. I'm finding the representation of "teeth" to be a challenge. A wise artist friend once told me to paint the light and shadow (cool/warm, dark/light), not necessarily the details of the object. Afterall, "it's just paint!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sketch advice

Here is some great advice on "how to sketch" from Katherine Tyrrell

Figure Sketch today

Spending a few hours with other artists drawing the human figure -- priceless!!

I'd like to thank Nancy Thurston and the other folks at the 509Artspace for hosting the figure drawing session today. It was a delightful session, with an opportunity to draw William in many gestural poses and a few longer ones. He is a dynamic model. They are hosting many other exciting art related gatherings, so check out their website/blog for more information... http://509artspace.blogspot.com

And also for the artist's looking for a studio to call their own, several small to midsized spaces are available for rent at a modest fee. Do seek them out if you need a place to spread out (and out of your home kitchen).

Here is the head from one of today's sketches...

Mini Portrait #10

Have you ever done a "clean your palette" painting? The paint that's left over after a painting session soon becomes applied in a varied and psychotic manner to the surface of the canvas. Hah, well that's about what happened here. After the last portrait I thought I would try a simpler angle and so worked from a black and white profile photo I found. Without the printed colors guiding or directing me, I had a bit of fun with it. Perhaps he needs to get together with the green and blue hair girl from a few posts back.

Mini Portrait #9

So the mini portrait quest continues. I love the angular cheek bones and the lips on this subject. The eyes were almost entirely in shadow, but unfortunately my photo isn't the best quality. I love the play of dark and light on this subject, and so am expressing that value contrast here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mini Portrait #8

This year is a story of my 2 current favorite colors - radiant blue and cadmium green light. The faces are proving challenging and I have tweaked it a few times already. The hair was fun and so I'm now wanting hair on myself that looks like that! My attempt here was to use alternative colors in the hair and still let it represent the correct values needed in that area. Here it is in black and white so you can see what I'm talkin about. (Converting it to grayscale is a good way to see the areas that need to go darker or lighter for more drama ... these facial tones could use that treatment).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mini portrait #7

"What those eyes have seen"
Can you imagine these eyes and what they knew of life before we were "plugged in"? Before the invention of television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, xerox, contact lenses, frisbees, ball point pens, laser beams, dishwashers, pantyhose, clothes dryers, computer, cell phones, texting, twitter.... Within a few short years the evolution of the world is so evident. Can you imagine where we will be in just a few more? Living in a world of Star Trek and Dr Who (?)

She's painted in oils on 6x6 canvas board, using 2 new favorite colors: cadmium green light, and radiant turquoise. The deep wisdom and joy of this sweet lady was a bit difficult to portray - and I'm not quite sure I succeeded. She does have a regal, queenly quality though. I love the papery thin appearance of deeply mature skin, which is a challenging quality to translate into a painting. Perhaps I'll keep trying with the next ones.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mini Portrait #6

It feels good to get back into the studio!
Emerging from an extended hiatus (last quarter of 2010), I'm finding new challenges and fresh ways to approach them. I'd let my process get a bit warped while preparing for October's featured artist show, and as a result, the push towards production compromised the purity of creativity and at a deep core level, dishonored my psyche and spirit. Even though I was happy with what I'd created, my spirit felt compromised by the process. I'm not sure if that makes sense to everyone, but it was a necessary experience for me to see it so clearly. I find I need a level of discipline, but if it's too structured I get a bit batty and all the fun drops out. (I hear the taskmaster voice, as it hovers overhead with a ruler snap, snap on the side of the easel...'geterdone girl', 'that's not good enough'!) So there is a fine balance.

I'm sure this sounds very self involved, but perhaps others can gain something too from these experiences.

Here's the next installment in my mini portrait challenge. It's based on my niece and the love she radiates while holding her new kitty.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Art-a-Day daily art creating challenge starts again (mini portrait #5)

Since the first of January I have been participating in a daily art challenge. The idea is to show up, trust the process and create something every day for the month of January. Masterpieces are not required, just enjoy the process. I took on a miniature portrait challenge  for myself, with a goal of creating a 5x5 inch portrait daily. Here is the 5th installment in my process. (To see this blog in it's entirety, click here).

Today: Had a little more fun today with the miniature portrait study. I found it more rewarding than mimicking a master painter's work (Gericault ... see next post). This study was based on a family photo of my Dad (though it's not an exact likeness). He had a mischievous look on his face. A kitten had curled up in the crook of his arm and fallen asleep. Unfortunately with only 25 square inches of real estate here, I didn't have room for the kitty. Perhaps the next painting...

While I was busy with the process, my friend came in and we were sharing family remembrances. She had just lost her father on New Year's day. With her coaxing, I continued to paint and we marveled at the bittersweet coincidence that I was painting my Father, while we talked about hers.