Friday, February 17, 2017

Art Class Paintings

Yesterday, I went through some of my art books looking for a project to paint with my Ladies - something that would work for watercolor or oil or acrylic. I did a drawing of the painting on watercolor paper, but then thought that I would do a quick pastel in order to put down color and show how the painting could look in the real. After doing a review of color theory with my students,  I handed out prints of the painting/print I had chosen. Most decided to do an acrylic while a couple of us chose watercolor. My pastel painting was much brighter than the print - probably due to my printer, but maybe because the artist chose duller colors.  What I saw in the painting/print was the really great light, which works well in watercolor or really in any painting. I wanted the students to see the value differences and the warm vs. cool in the painting.  The students were a bit whiny - they struggled with the color - choosing dark dull colors like the print. It took some time to get them to lighten up - literally.  But when it was all said and done, I thought they had a good start on a nice painting.

My pastel was sitting out on the art table when Toby got home. He really liked it and said so. He said it reminded him of Ecuador. Funny what people like! That was the good news - it did turn out better than my recent pastels. The bad news - it is a copy of someone else's work and not really sell-able. Here is the pastel I did.
Here is another pastel I worked on this week. Critiques are welcome.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Art Sergeant

My ladies art class has been a little off lately. With lots of sickness going around, we all take turns being gone from class. Last week I had two people for Ladies Art and the week before that was about the same. Yesterday was a better. I started off with four ladies. Robin Egg was back and she brings joy and light with her - I love you RE! Also, one of my old art students is back in town and coming to art. Ashley was one of my all-time favorite young girls to teach. She is a ray of sunshine always, in fact she is often called Sunshine. She loves oil paints and is one of those people who just dives into her work and enjoys herself. Who could not love that!? I have another young lady who used to be in my young girls class and is back wanting to draw more. In the young girls class she painted much like Grandma Moses - very folk-like art - very cautious painter. That was okay, but now she is learning to draw better, which should help her art work overall. And Grandma Moses has been bringing her grandmother, a woman about ten years older than me (not so very old) who has also recently moved to the Duncan area. I'll call her Great Grandma Moses.

GGM has been coming to Ladies Art about three or four times now. She painted a nice oil still life when she first came - saying that is what she was used to doing. She has painted before and apparently liked art. Last time she was here I encouraged her to bring pictures of what she likes to paint. Much like her grand-daughter, GGM is a beautiful woman, a bit reserved, and very cautious in her art. I think the reason her grand-daughter and Robin Egg have encouraged her to come to classes is to help her make friends in this new place and have fun and of course, paint.

As I prepared for class yesterday, I set out some art books for GGM to browse and I printed off two pictures for painting references. Because the Ladies have such different styles and different wants, I don't always "teach". Sometimes the Ladies are all working on something of their own. Sometimes I have things to encourage them; sometimes not. Sometimes my encouragement references fall flat. But we are all big girls. If you don't like what I have to paint, by golly, find something you do like. I cannot force anyone to do something they don't want to do. Well, sometimes I can (evil grin). 

I don't give such freedom to my younger girls artclass. They will paint or draw what I tell them to do. I do give them room to make it their own or sometimes give them a variety to choose from, but we all do the same lesson.

So yesterday, GGM looked at what I had for art, and pretty much said that she didn't know how to draw, she didn't know much about art, and that the only reason she came was because her grand-daughter wanted (forced her?) to come. She also said that she wanted her art to look just right (perfectionist?) and if she could not do that, she...didn't like it/didn't want to do it (?). You know me, I have a hard time not letting my thoughts show on my face. But I worked really hard to try and understand what she was saying. And you know that I am not much of a hand-holder/babier. (Toby says that I am the least sympathetic person in the world). But I did not ask, "Why are you here?" Instead, I tried to encourage her to make art her own - for the enjoyment of it. And if it was not perfect, she could throw it away or whatever she wanted to do. Or maybe she could like it.

Even after giving my encouraging speech, GGM looked at me and repeated that she didn't know how to draw/paint/etc - as if she truly did not want to be at art. At this point, I saw Ashley turn and hide into her art. She probably thought I was going to let GGM have it - possibly violence. If GGM had been one of my young girls, I would have said, "Get over it! Get after it!" But this woman is older than me. Although, she is a friend, she is not someone I know well or who knows me well. So, tried to simplify and meet her needs.  I had her paint from one of the reference pictures. And she did fine.

In GGM defense, she wants lessons, which I do. But sometimes everyone does their own thing and I just help and direct - kind of teach on the go. Even people who don't have much art background and have been thrown into the Ladies class had to sink or swim. Most people are willing to try. I have had lots of young girls who balked at art, wanted me to guide their hands, and general whined thru class. Most of the whiners were at art because of the social aspect or because their mothers made them come. But with a grown woman, I was at a loss.

As I have written this out, I have just realized that GGM was not at art of her own accord. She was here for the social aspect and because her grand-daughter insisted. Hmm,

I have to say that Robin Egg was a great encouragement to me and to GGM yesterday. RE knocked out two very nice watercolors. One watercolor was a "stretch"for her and she did it anyway. Then Gayla showed up and knocked out a watercolor. Robin teased Gayla on her painting and made us all laugh. That is the way I like class. Ladies loving each other and feeling comfortable enough to tease and laugh. Robin is able to take what I dish out and give it back full measure. And Gayla, one of the most reserved ladies I know, did the same. So much more peaceful and fun.

But know this, I will not give up on GGM. I will continue to poke, prod, and possibly drag her into loving art with the ladies. It is just who I am. Years ago, I told my family that I thought it would be fun to be an event director on a cruise ship. My snarky son replied, "More like a cruise sergeant! You WILL play this game! And you WILL like it!..."

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Winter Scenes

For whatever reason, Toby decided to do away with all football games this season. He went cold turkey. Except for being in a restaurant or something where a game might be on, he did not watch any football. We did not even watch the Super Bowl. I'm not sure of his real reason, but when asked, he says something about not watching wife beaters. I doubt that was all there was to it, but it was enough.

I did some art this last week. This first painting was from a photo taken by the Red River Miner. I asked if I could use it for reference. They are always very nice to let me paint their photos. I may crop the bottom of the painting - it is large and the bottom is not so interesting.
This second painting was from a Tom Christopher workshop several years ago. I had started it in the workshop, but never finished it. I don't have the reference photo anymore, so I had to wing it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lipton Tea

Toby and I start each morning with a cup of coffee. After he leaves for work, there is usually one more cup of coffee for me. I'm sure he gets another cup of coffee at work, so I don't feel bad about getting the last cup here at the house.  The ladies that I exercise with tease me because I whine about going to exercise and say that I would much rather be home curled up with my coffee. Later in the day, I switch from coffee to hot tea. My favorite is just regular old Lipton tea with a bit of sweetener, which leads to my story:

When we were still in NM, Toby tried several times to get a regular elk hunt license. He had had a black powder hunt, which is a bit earlier than the rifle hunt. Hunting with the black powder gun was more difficult, since you only get one shot and then have to reload. Carrying that heavy son-of-a-gun, black powder rifel (pun intended) was difficult too. I may have mentioned that Toby took me on one of these hunts.

We got up before the sun and hiked up the mountain road to Fourth of July Canyon. We sat on the side of the mountain overlooking the valley as the sun came up and waited for elk. Toby had had me wash his clothes in baking soda to remove any strange smells that the elk might notice. While we were sitting there waiting on elk, I told him that I had not washed his underwear with baking soda. He replied,"Lou, if I get close enough to an elk that he can smell my underwear, I better be able to shoot him."  I found sitting on the side of the mountain in total silence extremely boring. After a while Toby announced we might as well leave since I had "coughed, sneezed, blown my nose, farted, and scared off any elk in the area." Indignantly, I said, "I did not fart."

Back to the story of Lipton tea. One year NM was suppose to offer more rifle elk hunts. To assure that we got one, Bo, Toby, and I all applied for a hunt - hoping that at least one of us would draw out. Instead all three of us got a hunting license. My previous story should tell you how well I hunt for elk. And my hunt went very similar as before. It was snowing when Toby took me up the mountain for my hunt. I hiked and climbed and rolled down about half the mountain (carrying my gun) before Toby gave up on me and took me home to warm up. In the meantime, Bo was up another mountain with a friend of ours who happened to be a serious trapper/hunter. About 5PM, we got a call that they had gotten an elk and needed help getting it down the mountain.

We drove back to RR to the upper valley where we had to hike up Goose Creek Trail. Susie and her boys (the trapper's wife and kids - search my blog for more stories of her) met us there. It was several miles up the trail before we got t ao Bo and Darwin. Darwin had already started butchering the elk. He had built a fire, skinned the elk, and was cutting it into pieces to fit in backpacks for the trip down. Of course it was dark and cold before we got everything ready for the hike down the mountain. Everyone did their part carrying the elk  and guns.  Toby had a backpack full of elk, while I carried a gun. Bo and Darwin also toted elk. One of Susie's boys carried the rack of antlers, which was huge. The good news was there was a moon and it lit up the trail and the snow well enough that we could see our way down the mountain. Not that it was still not difficult, but the moon and snow actually made it easier. It was a long ways - especially after Toby and I had already hiked all over a mountain on my elk hunt. We got down to our vehicles about 10 PM.  When I helped Toby take off his backpack with elk meat, he almost went to his knees. That backpack had been heavy! We were all tired, cold, and hungry. Susie went to her truck and brought out a thermos. She offered each of us a hot drink. It was the best hot drink ever. It was simply hot Lipton tea with a bit of sugar.

It has been 20 years since I have seen my friend, Susie. Now when I drink my hot Lipton tea, I think of her and her boys and her fantastic way of life and I wonder how she is doing.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Internet Woes and Parnoia

I don't want to be done with my blogging. I still love it, but I have been a bit paranoid about using up data on our phones, which we use as hotspots for our internet. Sigh. Such is life in the country.

As last month drew to an end, it. was apparent that we needed more data. It seemed odd, because we had not downstreamed movies or done any other data-sucking activities. Our main use of the internet is to read news and browse Pinterest and keep up with Facebook and I play games with  a few friends. Amazingly enough that put us close to using up our data.  So, we got more data. I'm still paranoid about going over our data usage. And blogging takes up time on the computer.

My plan for blogging has been to turn on the hotspot, pull up the blog, turn off the hotspot, write out the blog, turn on the hotspot, and post my writing. What a pain! And so, I have just not done much of anything with my computer. When I do turn on the hotspot and the computer it is to browse my two favorite blogs and maybe comment on them. I hate commenting from my phone or reading blogs from my phone for that matter. It all comes down to living in the country where internet companies are few and far between and those that are here, are pitiful. Maybe Donald Trump will make everything better :)  Or maybe I will just have to do better with my internet time.

Here are a few paintings I have been working on. All are oils. None are finished. In fact, taking pictures of them made me see several things that need work. I'm posting them so that you can see that I have been doing something. Also know that the light was not great. After spending about an hour looking for my camera rather than using my phone for pictures, I didn't care so much about getting the light right. This first painting is one I am doing with my ladies. It is a 9x12.  This second one is a small 8x10 done to use up some of the paint left over from the ladies. I was just having fun.  
The third painting is much larger - like a 24x humongous. I had painted in very dark, definite shadows, but I took them out. I had painted the trees too warm, but I cooled them a bit. They still need to be dulled down. Anyway, They all need more work. 

Monday, January 02, 2017

New Year 2017

Toby and I spent a quiet New Year Eve doing the same old thang we always do - checking on the mom's. Toby's mom was actually in the hospital in Electra, so we drove there first. That mom was doing well. It seems her arthritis had kicked in and caused her not to be able to get out of bed or walk. The ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. The good news is that steroids and pain medicine was all that it took to set her to rights. The bad news, well, anytime an ambulance and hospital are involved things are not good. Anyway, we spent the day with her and the Sisters (Toby's). It was a nice visit.

When we left there, we headed to WF to check on my mom. She had other plans for the day - like going to a MSU basketball game and then going home to watch basketball (or was it football) on TV.  Thanks to her boyfriend who takes her dancing, out to eat, and to different sports events, she stays pretty busy.  I do love the man for his help with Mom.

Last summer, I canceled Mom's Direct TV sports package, because she does not watch any TV these days, and her bill is quite expensive. At that time she had broken up with her boyfriend and there was no reason to have the sports package or all the movie stuff on her Direct TV. She didn't notice the change in plan. Now, since she is back with the boyfriend, he wants to watch sports at her house. Great. She called the other day to say she had turned her sports package back on and not to mess with her TV again. She told me that she likes to watch football! Sure thang, Mom. Whatever. Why are you just now noticing this change? And who turned it back on for you? The boyfriend, God bless him.

Since Mom was busy, we came on home and got a few things done around here. By 7:00 PM, we were in our recliners reading. I was playing Words with Friends with one of my local buddies. She sent me a message that several couples were playing games at a mutual friends house and why was I not there. Good question.  The decision to go was based on New Year resolutions to be more sociable.  So we went.  It was fun. I played some game called Train, where you build trains across a map of the USA. It was a game of strategy. I won, but I don't think it is my game.

New Year Day, we cooked and ate our black-eyed peas and hung out here at the house. We hiked through the woods planning the new fence. We took a nap. We discussed our resolutions. Mine are the usual - more art, less weight, more friend-time, less procrastination. Although I did not do great on my weight last year, I did do more art. Now I need to market it better and put myself out there more. I do love beginnings - new starts. I always have hope that things will improve. Maybe it doesn't really matter. I do love life no matter what. I just wish I was loving life thinner :)