It's been a busy last month preparing for shows in November: Twin Sisters in San Antonio, Flatbed Press in Austin and this up coming weekend for East Austin Studio Tour. So, if you're in Austin the next couple weekends come by and visit. I'm a guest artist at Jennifer Chenoweth's Fisterra Studio, 1200 E. 2nd Street, November 14-15 and 21-22 from 11:00am-6:00pm.
Until December 19th I have four graphite and watercolor pieces in a group show at Flatbed Press Gallery, 2830 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Austin, TX 78702.
And from November 3rd to November 30th I have a solo show of small paintings at Twin Sisters, 6322 N. New Braunfel Ave. San Antonio, TX 78209.
Some of my first subjects for painting were of the sinks in a house I was renting at the time. From there I went on to paint many different sinks, lots that belonged to my friends and others I found in my travels. Well, here I am again, at my bathroom sink. I'm actually surprised it's the first time I've painted it!
With these I tried something different: I premixed my grays. I made the darkest gray I could with my red, yellow and blue. Then, using white, I mixed five incrementally lighter shades and started painting. I tried to limit myself to my six choices. It's a good exercise in really seeing and comparing values. Since doing these studies, I find myself staring at scenes or objects and imagining how I would paint them in grays.
I'm back to working with house paints---interior latex satin, my favorite. Back when I was doing my pigeon studies in oil I started getting blisters on my hands---an allergic reaction to something in my paints or with the solvent. It has happened before but this time it was pretty bad. The sores have completely healed now but I haven't felt yet like trying to figure out what exactly I'm allergic to nor have I felt like wearing gloves. I do miss working in oil though. So while I get back into the swing of painting and contemplating how to return to oils, I'm practicing all the basics. Coming soon are a series of gray tonal studies with the house paints.
Back from summer break with my family. We just returned from an epic road trip ----a 14 state camping adventure of the middle of the US. There were so many places I wanted to stay to paint. At the top of my list would be Iowa. The rolling hills of corn and sorghum doted with farms with red barns and old silos was breathtaking. So much space, texture and color in the landscape. I didn't expect it and I didn't take any photos. It was all too big for a camera. I'll have to go back some day and stay awhile.
This is Beetle (on the right) and Robert on the railing of our porch right outside from where I paint. I tried to capture them being sweet with each other. This is the same porch that I have the large cage from which I nursed her back to health. I keep the cage door open and put food in there once a day. They both go in to eat and then hang out throughout the day on the railing. I have read that pigeons mate for life but that must only be in the complete wild as I have seen otherwise in our flock.
I'm further enjoying the crayons and house paints. The combo seems perfect for these quick studies. Instead of a pastel sketch then a separate oil painting ---I draw quickly then paint directly over my marks. It's really quite fun. I'm tempted to add some regular acrylic paints for more color variety but I'm challenging myself for now to keep the palette simple with just the three colors and white.
Our pigeons favorite treat is safflower seeds. This is a jar that I keep by the door to the back porch. All I have to do is shake it and they come right away.
I did this with caran d'ache (water soluble crayons) and house paints. Some of my first paintings were done with house paint. I often return to this medium, it's feels refreshingly uncomplicated. I keep the palette simple---red, yellow, blue and white.
For Mother's Day my sons surprised me with their own pigeon art. My youngest made a sculpture with newspaper, masking tape, wire and paint. He signed his name on the tag around his ankle. I love everything about it. Just look at those feet and the little bits of color on his neck.
My oldest, in the thick of a stomach bug, made an origami pigeon and a card inspired by the pigeon that got into my paints. I love the little scratch painting she's doing. We renamed her Picasso (we use to call her 58, her tag number). She still has some paint on her breast feathers.
This is our oldest pigeon, Buster. As he has aged his coloring has gotten much darker and his beak now has a tiny hook at the end. He always looks a little surly to me. The right look is a little odd but I kind of like it. My son said it looked like two pigeons were looking in a window at us.
I read that they have clocked a racing pigeon at 92.5 mph! We don't race our pigeons, we just raise and care for them as pets. I originally wanted to start a carrier pigeon club for kids where participating families would trade pigeons then send them off to fly home with a message. Imagine getting a message from a friend via pigeon! I think it would be amazing but it's a hard sell---it's work and commitment to care for pigeons. I haven't found another family up for the adventure yet. So for now, we're content to have them bobbing about our yard, with watching them take baths and with hearing their coo's throughout the day.
In the previous post, I liked the way I painted the back pigeon more than the front one. So today I really tried to focus on suggestive marks rather than detailed. Before I started painting, I drew several sketches and I think it helped me get the tight rendering need out of my system.
These are my preliminary sketches done in pastel. The bottom left is the last of the four I did and the one I decided to base my painting on.