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Posts Tagged ‘Painting’

Nassau Thanksgiving Part 5

I

At breakfast, I overheard a Boston couple talking with a Canadian. One said the Casino is cheaper in the afternoons. Yesterday a man decided to spend only $2.50 each day in the machines. putting a quarter in each one. At one point the machine he had just fed paid off for $50. To someone else. Then someone played roulette and won  $50,000 – but that could just be a rumor.

Since we got a late start and missed the catamaran, we go to a gallery in a clothing store. I wanted to see “Paintings by Mr. Amos Ferguson” (primitives).  Bought gifts for the girls and Lorraine’s baby, Keelan.

Tonight we have early dinner reservations for the Bahamian Club and Le Cabaret on Friday.  John wished for Stevie at the B. Club.

II

Thanksgiving but seems like Thursday

A rental car would not be ready until late afternoon. We were just in time to get a bus to the catamaran! At Prince Georges Wharf, we see the boats that were recently confiscated by the harbor patrol making a marijuana bust. The ride out was by motor and back by sail and motor. The catamaran is not like the one rented on Martha’s Vineyard* but we did see a sea-plane skim the water and go up the ramp runway. (Crane’s Airline is the oldest.)

We go around Paradise Island to Cottage Beach. It is a part of Britannia Beach. The boat is driven right up on the sand. We stay there an hour:  swimming, snorkeling, drinking fresh coconut juice are available.

II

We realize we got a lot of sun and have not bought anything for Al. Shops were closed at noon on Thursdays. At McDonald’s we talked with a woman who looked like Trina and worked in a bank. She was critical of the market people as they are ‘not well educated.’ She said that accounted for their dialect.

 

I told her about the argument we heard and she said “They were expressing themselves well.” There is a song which says Bahamian marriages don’t last long.

We learned about the island of Eleuthra where a house can be rented on the beach. She said it is very beautiful and that the sands are pink in the sunset.  The natives use Sanders and Nassau beaches.

I wanted to go to another art gallery in Lyford Cay. It was written up in the newspaper. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

* Who knew?

Our only trip to Martha’s Vineyard was the week Elvis died and  Kennedy got in all that trouble. One morning I went to the historic gingerbread houses built by the Methodists. John and the children rented a catamaran.

I carried water, an apple and a pilot pen to use on parchment paper. These houses ring a large open area that had a stage in the middle. Chairs had been set up for the concert being held that evening. The grand piano, Steinway surely, was being played by the evening soloist, who went through the program.

No one else was there! I drew these houses in a pointillism method while the soloist played just for me. Unreal.

I was in such euphoria when I arrived back at our place. Only to learn that a plane had swooped down into the water near their catamaran. They had pulled the plane to a dock. And then, they realized that the key ring had fallen into the water. Gone keys to car, house etc.  tt took an hour and help to fish them out of the water and return to a safe shelter. I still can not believe they saved a plane.

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Bettye W. Harwell

Drawing using pencils, metallic silver on toned and printed paper
Cropped image scanned onto white background. My son (though he would deny it.)

Today, I was once again, trying to organize paper, just paper.  I am ready to write. I tell myself over and over, I will write today.

Today as I was sorting to gather all of the last 2 years of research  on my latest women series (more to come), I kept finding jottings and sketches and ephemera. Ephemera includes articles , photos, preliminary and just-because sketches.

This sketch is one of the few efforts to record my boys. Their personalities escape me visually. The girls I know visceral. Been there. Done that.

I thought today, this is not bad in capturing him or someone like him. A subject can see his/her  own image interpreted by the artist, and deny any relationship. Which is OK. Often the person grows into the painting. Sometimes they are so familiar with their faces in the mirror, reversed that they cannot imagine another angle.

I have done self-portraits, precariously clinging on the bathroom face bowl while checking the mirror. Who is that old lady and why is she staring at me? Happy Halloween.

I am researching an artist of mixed race, dating 1800s. One critic of her work describes her as having white features from the eyes up, and signs of her other parentage by her thick lips and coffee-colored skin.  The comments are from another long-gone era but echo today. This gifted lady was reduced by this critic to her ethnicity and not her talent. (Fortunately she received fame and some fortune with her talent.)

Who knew?

With all of the tools we have for organization, it is still difficult to organize paper. What if you throw away something you will need? Once the piles are made, then what? My papers are all sizes, all subjects, all precious. I find at the mid-pont, that I cannot remember which pile is for what. And today, I took this sketch to the computer to share with you as a way of preserving it.

Did you know?

I have been a sometime blogger for a long time. Last year I sold one of the women series  (Rosa Bonheur).  I have been working on these paintings for nearly three years. Selling one put a lot of pressure on me to determine what the exit strategy would be to complete the series.

I decided that for an exhibit, 30 paintings would be the magic number. So I have been for months  selecting the last ones. Every time I counted, the number to-do seemed to expand. Now I am up to choosing the final two. My list of good choices has grown beyond any definite closing number. I am committed to 30 or maybe 31 because of the sale. Pretty sneaky, I say.

Those of you who show and sell your work will understand that just finishing the work is not the end. Documentation, promotion, framing, if paintings, etc. Where was that business plan, carefully written last year?  I know that my iPad chews up the very data I have stored.

Getting organized

1. Put all of the pertinent files in one place.

2. Keep your reference material close at hand. I have accumulated, books, articles and online information.

3. Make a format that will set the style for each painting. Later you can adapt for promotional requirements.

4. Have that place where you can think and write which has lights, water and a way of telling time.

5. Take a break periodically whether you want to stop or not.

6. Do not think and write. Write and then come back to edit. If you know something is not accurate, mark it, write a question, or in some way leave yourself a note.

7. When you are certain, ask someone to read it, read it aloud to yourself or someone else, tape it and play it back. The flow will not show up at first.

Now, if I can just follow my own suggestions…and file those papers off the floor.

 

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by Bettye W/ Harwell

Poet
Women’s Series II

This painting based on Thomas Gainsborough’s Pink Boy is completed. I used the pose to depict a woman poet who was English. She wrote in the early 1900s.

I used acrylic on canvas. In between layers, I added glaze medium. Additional shading was done with a tint of color plus glaze medium.. The gold embellishments were added using a pen. There are many gold pens available and all golds are not the same. I opted not to use any oil-based pens. It was tempting not to use the 18K gold pen!

You will see that my work is similar but not a copy. First, that is because I cannot copy another’s work! The shirt has a bow similar to those worn by the subject in photos. I decided not to overdo the suit with raised patches in order keep the focus on the face. There is a bronze-green color on the shoes but I chose to match them to the suit. Her hair was cut short with a pompador in her teens.

Glazing takes time. You can use a heat gun to help dry each layer. The extra time allows you to observe what needs correcting. Next post, I will use gel medium instead of glazing.

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acrylic on canvas

Charlotte (in progress)

Blog University 16 – Imagination

What do you do if your subject is unattainable? Imagine it.

I am painting a woman who died before I was born. Her story is the subject rather than realism. After reading a great deal about her life and work, I selected two opposing ideas to incorporate:

1. She wore her father’s clothes after his death.
2. “She dressed like a dandy.” This quote was by a contemporary person.

Why not paint her in the style of Thomas Gainsborough? Student artists learn by copying great paintings. The Blue Boy had remained famous during her lifetime.  While researching, I found Pink Boy. It was a better fit for my subject.

By making a sketch, I learned  an amazing structure is under the composition. You can trace a print to find the lines and shapes in the composition. A black/white print may also instruct. Consider making a value study.

My painting is developing slowly ‘in the style of‘ rather than a copy. Each layer corrects the drawing and colors. By glazing and adding texture, the finished work should emerge. I believe attire is like a costume and expresses something about the person. The painting shows something about the artist’s imagination, also.

Image: Charlotte (unfinished) acrylic on canvas

http://wp.me/p1P35l-Sc

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While thinking of the New Year’s possibilities, review your art skills

when the sky is dark and gray,

the landscape frozen white

is there no dark?

is there no light?

Remember the darkest dark forces the brightest light. This area in painting, photography and music brings emphasis and shape to the work. It is the most dramatic and the most emotional connection with the viewer.

How do you do this in a painting?
– do you glob on white next to black? Maybe.
– is the tube of white as bright as a touch of yellow mixed in?
– are you limiting yourself to the direction of light around you? A wonderful teacher in Nashville, the late Hazel King, pointed out many sources of light in her classroom: windows, flourescent fixtures, an open doorway. Her work used light creatively for color and composition. She had a system which a comparison of paintings would appear.
– does your darkest dark shape the light? I looked online at The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur. It was the largest painting by any man or woman. The overall tone of the painting is dark. There is a Steam Engine rear left and a mass of horses moving left to right across the canvas. Almost in the center, a bit forward, a large, black horse rears up. In the version I saw, a light circle curves under its silhouetted hoofs, around under his body swinging back to the right. It extends to become a subtle oval. Encased within the light is a large white horse pulling you into the painting.

You have to believe this was the intent of the artist. You can study other paintings where the artist wishes you to hang around.
– does your painting follow Bonheur’s method?
– do abstract works use the same darkest dark/lightest light technique?
– what do small dots of red or red next to green add by moving the eye of the viewer?

When you are not satisfied with your work, go back to basics. Add a strong dark next to the lightest area. Make it define the shape. Turn your painting in three directions and observe from a distance. Squinting or a card blocking portions of a canvas can make you aware of how to punch your work.

Sign it, save it or sign it, sell it!

UZU app

Dark and Light

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Encaustic wax on Paper

Out of the Dark is Light
by Bettye W. Harwell

In art, as in life, the darkest dark forms the brightest light. A painter sets aside a painting that does not ‘work’. Imperfect  Impulses with Aaron (wordpress.com) is a website demonstrating journaling techniques. A recent post, no video, describes a failed technique. When he attempted something new, it did not get the hoped for results.

I wanted to contact him and say, keep working on it. Put on more layers. In a scrape-off technique, some residue and texture remain. Continue to add, sand, add, scrape to create unexpected glow and depth. Then find the dark that will reveal the light. (A later post uses that page successfully.)

A result will present itself totally unplanned. Then the work will be done. I use a mat to find the best part to save. (Harder to select on canvas. Works on paper can be cut or torn to show the strongest composition.)

If after reworking, you still feel it is hopeless, you have not failed. It was a teachable experience. Start over and apply what was learned. Keep the failure. It may show more promise later.

Why the light in life?
I wondered how long it would take before the reputation of Nelson Mandela, first Black President of South Africa, would be attacked. His services are to cover ten days. World dignitaries and regular people will show their respect for an amazing life. Any death is an opportunity for self-reflection. Are we living our best life?

I wondered if it would take the full ten days before the knives came out. No. Not even two. The words used in the past by people, who themselves were protective of terrible atrocities, dredged up names he was called long ago. Questions have been raised. When did Mandela become a man of peace? When did he stop being a rebel? Was he a communist? And more.

The dark terrible history of the people of South Africa, both Black and white, forced the brightest light. It shaped the man. It shaped a government.

Lessons are learned from both the bad and the good. Some are influenced to emulate the political successes of Mandela, the leader. Others have taken on the resistance skills of the apartheid government. Is America using tactics which limit the apirations of all its citizens? Will we be the model for other governments?

Why compare one leader to anyone but his (or her) own self? Obama/Mandela or Washington/Mandela? Mandela paid his dues after personally enduring his country’s power. Obama has lived a very different life.

Mandela was not chosen to form an army and fight a revolution. He did not form another country, as Washington did. He used freedom and the rights of citizenship for all to make the country of his birth better. Washington and the Founding Fathers used an army and a new government to defeat the British. They accepted a constitution and government calling a large part of the population 2/3 of a man, had no universal right to vote and no recognition of women as full citizens. Mandela used his election to include all citizens fairly.

Who knew?
No man is better or has a higher station than any other.

Newt Gingrich and Senator Cruz are getting a backlash for speaking about the loss of a leader, Nelson Mandela.

Written December 8, 2103

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Extended Sale Days
Cool it with Art
Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday
Open Studios
Hanging Around
1506 8th Avenue S
Nashville 37203

Extended Sale Days
July 1 Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
July 2 Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
July 3 hours: 10 AM to 5 PM

Original artists work from Hanging Around, Bettye Harwell and Toni Hooper (greekgirl777.wordpress.com). Art includes Paintings, Stone Sculptures, Drawings and Photographs. All welcome.

Closed on July 4th.

Online purchases: Ask questions in comment.

 

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