Balanced Living for Creatives

Balanced Living for Creatives
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December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Sometimes in winter the cold is so biting that one says, It is too cold; what do I care if a summer will follow, the evil far surpasses the good. But with or without our permission, an end to the bitter frost comes at last, and on a certain morning the wind has turned and we have a thaw.
Comparing the state of the weather to our state of mind and circumstances -- subject to changes and variety like the weather -- I still have some hope of a change for the better. . . . 
---Vincent

A warm, happy, fulfilling, and bountiful New Year to all my friends and family.

December 30, 2009

This morning

Today's winter colors are muted, softened. Clouds are violet in the distance, yet they hang not there but in my head. And for the rest of the day I'm so very cold.

December 29, 2009

Yes, It's Winter


Looking out over the mountains this morning, the distant sky was darkly violet.  Warm gray clouds covered me with stillness. Animals moved slowly, contemplating their feeble lives or wondering "What's for breakfast?" Winter scenes will be my subject this day. Is my palette up to the subtle colors needed for the subdued muted grays of winter?

December 7, 2009

San Miguel de Allende sketches





Just got back from Mexico. I traveled to San Miguel de Allende and taught a drawing class at El Charco del Ingenio, the botanical gardens. San Miguel is a beautiful town of colorful colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets. Everything is beautifully and lovingly preserved by the local people. I spent my free time between classes sketching throughout the town. Here are some of the watercolor sketches.

November 26, 2009

Meet the Natives Exhibition


Here is the Botanical painting I just completed for an upcoming exhibition. It is a Cucurbita foetidissima, or buffalo gourd. This is a watercolor painting, done in a typical modified wash and dry brush details method.

October 9, 2009

Civic Center Park Fountain

Here is a portion of the fountain located in Civic Center Park, Denver, CO. This used to be one of the worst areas of the park, but lately it has been well-cared for and the fountain is clean and cheerful. This was a quick watercolor sketch, and I didn't stay in the area for long. Shade is at a premium in this sunny hot corner of the park.

October 5, 2009

City Park Entrance Fountain


This grand fountain is placed at the entrance to City Park off of 17th Avenue. It is a popular, lovely sight all summer long. A real beauty! This watercolor sketch was one of the first fountains I worked on this summer past.

October 1, 2009

Denver Plein Air Arts Festival





It was great fun to paint downtown at the week-long Denver Plein Air Arts Festival. About 150 artists participated. This is my third year painting in the festival. Although I painted in oils the previous years, I decided to paint in the watercolors this year since I've been painting out in WC all summer long.

August 31, 2009

Sculpture Garden, DBG


Here's a finished painting done this summer as a demo for the class I taught at DBG. The class was about structures and landscapes in the Denver Botanic Gardens. In addition to basic landscape skills we studied linear perspective, the history of the architecture, and the landscape designers of DBG. It was a fun summer class!

August 15, 2009

Garden scenes in watercolor

I'm getting ready to paint numerous garden scenes, such as this one, for an illustration job. Watercolors lend themselves to painting details. Unfortunately, I still haven't mastered the knack for painting very quickly. I've been training myself to do quick, ten-minute sketches this summer, but it has not yet translated to my studio work. Got to speed it up!

July 16, 2009

Summer sketches





Here are some quick summertime sketches done in the Denver Botanic Gardens. They are done in watercolor and ink pen on some. I ride my bike to Gardens on summer mornings, hang out for a while painting and enjoying the plants. Everything is VERY lush and green this year due to the frequent rains we have been experiencing.

July 7, 2009

Fresh Palette


I just loaded up a new palette with watercolors. This palette will be used for field sketches, mostly landscapes. It is a thin lightweight palette good for packing for travel sketching, as well. The top row is the double primaries: Hansa yellow, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, quinacridone red, ultramarine, and cerulean.
The bottom row, left, is mixed greens:  bright middle green is hansa and ultramarine, dark blue greenis  hansa and ultramarine, a "grayed-up" green is cad yellow and ultramarine. a "browned-up" green (red-green) is yellow ocher and ultramarine.  Right, is yellow ocher, raw sienna and burnt sienna.
Below is permanent handy mixes: my favorite brown is cad yellow, quinacridone red, ultramarine; and my favorite gray is burnt sienna and ultramarine.
Notice that ultramarine travels through all these pre-mixed colors, creating a nice color harmony.

June 30, 2009

Farmer's Market


This is a watercolor sketch I did at the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market. It was done quickly, with a simple pen sketch and watercolor washes. While I was working a woman with two Siberian dogs sat down next to me. One of the dogs immediately sprawled across my feet. Good thing I like dogs, because it was hot already and to have a thick-furred Siberian covering my feet just raised the temperature even more!

June 17, 2009

Eggplant Studies




Here are three versions of eggplant drawings. The first is graphite on Strathmore 500 plate. The second is carbon dust on bristol vellum. The third is carbon dust on Clayboard. This series was really about trying out carbon dust techniques and comparing it to the graphite drawing. I really enjoy working in carbon dust and I have many more drawings planned and started.

May 15, 2009

Tibetan Refugee, Dharamsala


Here is the finished work, in oil on canvas. Actually, I may touch up a bit after I've had time to look at it for a while. There are a few areas that I'm not satisfied with, such as the upper part where the building edges overlap and the street recedes behind. Also, the bushes, but that is a minor annoyance. The title of this painting is now Tibetan Refugee, Dharamsala.

April 15, 2009

Dharmsala Shepherd


Here is the underpainting for this oil portrait. Next is to glaze in colors and then highlights. This painting, so far, is painted with two colors: a transparent Earth red mixed with ultramarine.

February 1, 2009

Why Nothing Gets Done





Here are four main projects that I'm working on simultaneously, as well as many associated smaller projects. No wonder nothing seems to get done. I feel compelled to work in many different mediums doing all different kinds of work. Considering art as a career, I suppose this has been the bane of my success. But considering my evolution as an artist, I suppose it is a necessary path, as I am constantly impelled to search new areas of interest. When all these projects are eventually completed there will be some nice work. But it takes a long time. If only I could just focus on the artwork and not on making money to support myself . . . . That is the struggle of artists everywhere. The images are: Passionflower in watercolor; wooden carved sculpture; Oil painting goat; Folded paper sculpture using bits of NYTimes.

January 5, 2009

What is it?


What the heck is this? It's the center of a passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). I'm working on several paintings of the passiflora. One will be of the garden hybrid P. x belotii and several will be of the native flower P. incarnata, commonly called the 'Maypop'. The larger version of this will include the passionflower fruits, which are small green orbs about the size of hen eggs. More to come on this project.