Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Tomorrow night The Boys of Summer: Art Meets Baseball opens at The Tech Garden in Syracuse.
And once again I find myself unable to attend an art reception due to another art commitment. But such is the life of a working artist. No offer to teach, or demonstrate my art form goes ignored if I can help it. Especially when much of my subject matter and sales revolve around summer along the woodlands and waterways of  Northern New York. The summer and tourist season here is roughly 10 weeks and I cram everything I can into that short time.

And when the season is over I'm back to teaching, marketing and preparing for the next summer.

So what does that have to do with "The Painter's Glove"? Well baseball is a big part of summer. But that's not why I chose this subject matter. Two reasons determined this choice: the baseball show (mentioned above) and I needed something different from my usual subject matter to use with my painting students at the Y Arts Studio. I was scheduled to teach an acrylic painting class in Spring 2015. I wanted to paint something from life, something I could set up in the studio at the Y and even drag back and forth to my home studio if I needed to. So the glove was just lying around in the garage and I thought why not give it a moment of glory!

Finding the Color

As a landscape painter I naturally gravitate toward specific subject matter: land, sky, water. But as a teacher I must approach many different types of subject matter and styles of painting and try to merge them with my own particular style.

For me, color, pure joyful color, is paramount. When working with students I try to encourage them to use color in an expressive mode, rather than being bound to reproducing an exact replica of the color of the object in front of them. Light, shadow, form and shape are defined by color values (lights, darks, neutrals) rather than mixing various shades of the local color.

So, with the baseball glove being primarily brown, brown and brown (hmmm sounds like a law firm) the joy in painting is in finding the values within the browns and painting them with colors which have the same value, not necessarily the same color.

Start With An Underpainting

When I work with acrylic paint I always start with an underpainting using complementary colors. Complements are colors which are opposite each other on the color wheel. Complements add a nice sense of depth when used underneath a color. They also lend a bit of dramatic surface tension when bits of the complement are visible under the local color.

It can be tricky trying to determine the complement for brown. I usually think of brown as being a darker version of orange and so go to blue as its opposite.

For the baseball glove underpainting I mixed 3 or 4 shades of blue in values ranging from dark to light. As the paint mixed on the canvas, more colors were created. The glove was painted roughly, with very little detail in the values of blue which corresponded to the light, medium and dark areas of the glove.

I also used a palette knife to add some thick rough textures in the paint to play up the beaten up quality of the glove.

When the local color was added by using various shades of orange, yellow, brown, purple and blue, I let the rough texture pick up bits of the colors as they hit the high spots within the roughness. I also used large brushes to keep me from getting too detailed.

When I was satisfied with the overall look of the glove I added the details of the laces with smaller brushes.

Finding a Title

How did I come up with the title? The glove had been my husband's when he was a kid. Each one of our three kids used the glove for short periods of time until they graduated to a new, better glove.

Since I have a small hand the glove fits me very well. For many years I used the glove when I would throw (badly) the baseball to my kids as they were learning to play America's Greatest Pastime. Evidently it didn't make much of an impression because they moved on to soccer, lacrosse and Irish Dance. The glove still sits in the garage and comes out to play ball (badly) once in a while.


And it's root, root, root for the Home Team

And...back to the baseball show-
I hope this show hits a home run and the opening reception is a success. I wish I could be there along with my painting.

But I'll be demonstrating watercolor in Alexandria Bay (not a bad gig).
Subject matter: Boldt Castle-of course!



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lessons Learned at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park

What's Art Camp?

Every year that I teach YMCA Art Camp at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park I start with the same intention. To fill the half-day camp with art projects, games and a daily hike along the art trails, followed by snack and more art! We walk into the woods, over to the ponds, to the Secret Garden and to the place where it all started, the home of Bob and Dorothy Reister.

Each year I tell the kids the story of Bob and Dorothy and I can't believe how enchanted they are by it. They start taking notice of which sculptures are Dorothy's and ask if Bob was an artist too. And I answer, no he was not an artist but I think he built the house, and the A-frame studio and the barn (which we call the Art Barn).

The Art Barn

Then they start to notice the other names on the sculptures around the Art Park: Rodger Mack, David Harper. And the amazing thing is that they remember them! And tell their parents!

Many times at the Camp Art Show, parents comment on how they had been coming to the park for years with their kids, but didn't know much about the place.  But now after attending art camp the kids seem to feel a sense of ownership. They are the ones giving the tours to their parents and telling them the story of the Art Park. And where to find "Stacks", how to get to the Secret Garden, and the Spaceship in the woods, and which pond has the biggest frogs.

Owls and Snakes

Somehow without really planning it, a sense of stewardship comes into place. The Art Campers care about the art installed in the park and also about the park's natural resources. They become conservationists, explaining the composting toilets to their families and telling their siblings why they shouldn't pick the flowers, or leave the water running in the sink. One day several of the kids tried to work out a plan to send some of our excess rain to California. (By train, in milk tank cars.) I really hope someone can put that plan into action.

More Owls!

So every year, we start with art, but end with so much more. And every year the teacher learns just as much as the students.
Thanks Art Campers!

The Fenner Wind Farm

Watercolor Class at the Thousand Islands Arts Center August 10 and 12

Watercolor: the Basics

The best way to learn the beautiful luminous technique of transparent watercolor is to begin with the basics.

In my upcoming class at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton, you will learn the properties of watercolor, color mixing, wet-on-wet technique, dry brush and creating texture.

After experimenting with each of these techniques you will have the opportunity to create 2 - 3 simple watercolors. All supplies are included in the class fee: $72 for TIAC members and $80 for non-members. The class will be held on August 10 and 12 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.

We still have a few openings left in class, so why not join us? Call the Thousand Islands Arts Center 315 686-4123 to register.

Polymer Clay Jewelry Class at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, August 12

Why Not Try Something New???

I will be teaching at Polymer Clay jewelry class at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton on Thursday August 12, 2:00 - 4:00. 

Polymer Clay is easy, colorful and the possibilities are endless. Pendants, earrings, pins and more can be created in just a few minutes, baked in the Polymer Clay oven and be ready to wear when you leave. Or maybe later for a casual dockside dinner ;)

All supplies are included in the fee: $36 for TIAC members and $40 for non-members. You can call the TI Arts Center to register. 315 686-4123.

I hope to see you there!