Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More fun and publicity on Red Bubble

My recent painting Springtime in Venice was chosen as the cover image for the current Works on Paper group challenge on the Red Bubble site. Thank you again, Red Bubble for all the great publicity!
This is a fun-type of challenge where the top winners are chosen by fellow artists. The Prizes? Usually just the fun of participating and the thrill of winning.

I have been looking through my hundreds of Venice pictures and trying to decide on which one to use as my next inspiration. Here is one that has a lot of potential...Nice contrast of light and shadows, nice architectural details. I know that I will paint this one day.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Finding one's own style

Do you have a distinct painting style? Can you describe it without hesitation? Does it reflect your personality and is it really you?

I am still looking for mine. I think that I often confuse personal painting style with favorite painting techniques. I enjoy pouring techniques using some initial masking;I try to let colors blend on the paper as I did in the painting below, Venetian Guardian. Does that describe my style?
Last night, for the third time, I watched Nick Simmons video, Innovative Media, and kept telling myself: that's how I like to paint. But then, I read about Sandy Maudlin's batik techniques, and say: " That's how I would like to paint". I suppose that these are proofs that I am still searching for my own style and am letting others influence me too much.

One of my goals for 2010 is to try to be really "me" in everything I paint.
What are your artistic resolutions for the New Year?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Springtime in Venice" featured on Red Bubble

I was very pleased to find out that my watercolor below,  Springtime in Venice, was featured this week in the "Art at its best" on the Red Bubble site.

For all of you who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a joyful and peaceful Xmas Eve.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Throwing paint around for the first time in a month

I had not painted in over a month, but today I decided to finally get back to my art and throw some paint around. My, it felt so good even though I felt I had forgotten everything I knew about watercolor.
I want to thank all of you, my dear blogging friends,  who sent me such nice messages these last few weeks as I mended my shoulder, cured my cold and tried to repair my computer.
The following, inspired by the Venice picture in the previous post, is a quick painting on a half sheet of Arches 140 lb. cold pressed. "Spring is here!"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pinched nerve and new feature

I have not painted all week because of pain in my shoulder and arm...I am treating it as a pinched nerve, but I suppose that I should let my doctor decide what the cause is:-) I went to work all week and grimaced my way through meetingsa... Nevertheless, I have chosen a few of my next watercolor projetcts.

As a study for a potential larger painting, I want to paint the Venetian windows and shutters from a picture I took last April. The scene will provide me with the opportunity to work with interesting cast shadows again; the plants hanging from the windowsill will be a challenge for me since I usually stay away from foliage of all kinds:-)

On another note, I was quite pleased to see that my "Laundry Day in Venice" continues to attract attention on the Red Bubble site. It was featured yesterday in The Featured Features Group- only the artworks already selected as a feature in another group can qualify for entry or feature selection in this group. The moderator stated:"Many of these images evoked strong emotional responses in me. All very special in their own way." I dont' think that my ":Laundry Day..." would be one of the artworks evoking a strong emotional response"...

I wish you all a great Sunday!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pictures from my vacation

I am back from a wonderful week in Maine, right beside the Atlantic. What a great way to forget about work!
Long walks on the beach, breathing in that pure sea air:

Listening to the deafening sounds of the waves against the rocks: 

There were still some flowers in bloom...I had brought a winter coat:-)

I painted wonderful watercolors in my head ...but none on paper. One rainy afternoon, I pushed paint around for about 30 minutes and tried to get juicy colors through mingling on paper like Anne Abgott in her book "Daring Color". I ended up with whimsical pears a four-year old could be proud of :-)

 Meanwhile, upon checking on my Red Bubble site, I was pleased to see that my  Venetian Guardian had placed in the top ten in one of the recent Art challenges on that site.

I was back at work today with no time for dreaming about painting. However, I have 2-3 projects lined up and hopefully will get them started tomorrow night.

Good night everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time off and update

I am finally getting some belated "summer vacation":-) I will be away from work until next Tuesday. I thought that I would be doing a lot of painting, but so far, have only played a bit with paint. Last night, I tried Yupo for the first time...the results looked like a kindergarden finger painting:-) but it was fun. I will certainly go back to it. I did nost post it:-)

I was pleased to see that my Laundry Day in Venice was featured on the Red Bubble 

I have recently joined the Ottawa Art Association ...a nice step forward for me in acknowledgeing the importance of my art in my life. I intend to be a very active member. I entered my watercolor painting (see above), Serenity,  in their current show in a great venue, the Ottawa Little Theatre.  The quality of  the work by many of the members is simply extraordinary. Next month, the OAA has a Members' Awards Show and , just for the fun of it, I would like to enter one of my Venice paintings. I am hesitating between my Blue Venetian Door Only in Venice and my latest Laundry Day in Venice...any suggestions?

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Laundry Day in Venice" finished

I have finally put my "Laundry Day in Venice" ( tentative title:-) aside for a while. It is probably finished although I have not signed it yet.

I have added some spatter on the lower left wall and also in the water; I added some shadows in the windows and around the door.I followed the suggestion of using an exacto knife to scrape the clothesline; somehow, I could not get it to show up very much and finally did add some white gouache.

I took the next picture inside with a flash, so the colors are not quite right. These days it is dark when I leave in the morning to go to work and it's dark by the time I get home.

I am going through my files and my pictures to find a nice, easy, relaxing painting project.

Thank you all to the encouragement throughout this process.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unexpected Award. Thank you!

Cindi of One Part Water, Three Parts Color
 surprised me this week with a Kreativ Blogger award. What a thrill and a honor! I first met Cindi through Painting Friends and was amazed and completely charmed by her warmth, super sense of humor, the versatility of her talent and her endless energy. That she chose me as one of the Kreative Blogger award recipients means a lot to me.

As per this award tradition, I mus now tell the world 7 things that you may not know about me. Here goes:

1. I used to be a ( part-time) professional handweaver and regularly painted  hundreds, thousands of silk threads before putting them on the floor loom. This makes me either very patient or rather insane:-)
2. I am married and have a grown-up daughter and a son at University.
3. I worked as a high school teacher for many, many, many years.
4. I currently have a full-time government job, but try to paint or do something related to painting every day.
5. I have just recently discovered blogging and love it!
6. My favorite color is purple.
7. I love animals, but have never tried to paint them.

Thanks again Cindi!

I have now passed this award to seven artists I admire. There are so many, that this will be tough...I also don't want to repeat the names chosen by Cindi:-)I understand that some of the seven may not be able to accept this award: space on their blog, time constraints and so on. This is quite ok. Just know that I admire your work.

I would love to be able to give 7 more! There are so many of you out there who encourage me and inspire me every day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Update 4: Almost done

This latest picture was taken with a flash and does not represent the colors 100% accurately.

I have done the ironwork ( tougher than I thought:-), have removed all the masking, added clothespins for a few dots of color. I still have to put in the clothesline - will probably use white acrylic for that - and all the finishing details especially around the whites where the masking was.

From a distance, this painting is quite nice:-) . I am getting tired of looking at it though and I am looking forward to painting something quite simple next.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Humble Venetian Door -Update 3

The "Humble Venetian Door" is humbling me, I fear. :-)
I hope that some of you are still following my slow progress. This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada: I really hope to finish this WIP by tomorrow.

I have greyed down some of the pinks and yellows on the facade, I have done some work on the water, the dark background beyond the ironwork. The cool pink on the left-hand side is still attracting too much attention and I also have to decide how I will tackle the ironwork.

Lessons learned so far: what really attracted me to the reference picture was the shadow of the laundry and the door - I don't think they stand out that much in this painting...perhaps I should have zoomed in a bit more on those two elements; I should have spent more time on the composition and placed the laundry shadow less on the edge of the paper.

This is art and not simple production; with every work, we should move forward in some way or at least express ourselves in a new creative way. Reproducing what we have already mastered is not art....Making mistakes, not achieving perfection, is part of the journey... My, I am good at justifying my errors :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Humble Venetian Door -Update 2

As promised, here are updates to show my progress with this new Venetian Door painting. I have taken all the pictures at night with flash and artificial lights; consequently, the colors are really not accurate.

Stage 2:
More pours of the three primaries. Some work on the weathered door - especially since I felt that would be one of my biggest challenges. I did some practice work first - the practice was much better than this :-( The door is lighter in real life and appears less blotchy.

Stage 3:

Work on the shadows below the laundry : this was what first made me want to paint from this.
Work here and there on the upper part of the wall to show some brickwork

Stage 4: The colors are not quite right on this picture;  they should not be quite this bright.
I started the water at this point because I really wanted to see what the green would add to the entire effect.
Some of the masking has been removed around the door and over the right-hand window ironwork. I am very disappointed at this point with the look of that window: the background is much too dark and my drawing/masking too sloppy.

Overall, I am not displeased with my painting, but I am afraid the final watercolor may be rather boring... After the disaster with the right-hand window, I am somewhat nervous about tackling the other windows and the scroll work over the door.

What do you think? Suggestions? Ideas for a title?

To be continued soon...Thank you so much for looking over my shoulder. Your presence encourages me along.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Work in title yet

In my previous post, I showed the picture below that I am using for a new watercolor in the "Memories of Venice" ( or, if you prefer, " Yes, it's yet another Venetian door!" :-)) series.

This painting will undoubtedly be quite different from my previous ones: I will not focus on a close-up of the door, but will show most of the facade; the colors in the reference are rather drab and subdued ( but I probably won't resist the temptation of adding lots of color.); the humble facade does not speak of past Venetian splendor.  However, the shadows under the hanging laundry are so attractive.
I already feel that this will be a challenge for me...Especially for that reason, to push myself to go ahead with this, I will post my progress...It may be slow because of current pressures in my full-time job ( You see, I am already coming up with excuses :-) . The WIP may bore most of you, but believe me, it's going to take a lot of courage on my part to publicize  my artistic struggle...What if the result is only good for the bin???( nail biting, heart pounding, finger on the delete button etc....!)

Without further ado..and with a deep breath..., here are the first stage of Memories of Venice VI.

Stage1:   The sketch is done on Arches 140lb CP, approximately 16" X 20". I have masked the sections to remain white ( around the door, the laundry) and the ironwork on the windows. I may have made the sketch too dark ...I wanted it to show in the picture.
As usual, I am starting with a pouring technique for the background, using three primary colors. Oops...where has the gray facade gone???? Ah well...

I hope that you will stay tuned for an update later on this week.
Take care.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am not the only one who is crazy about Italian doors...

I joined the Red Bubble Site about a month ago. Last week, for the fun of it, I entered my Venetian Doorway in a group challenge "Doors and Windows". What a relief to see that I am not the only person around with a door fixation :-)...

And what a pleasant surprise to find out two days ago that my favorite door had been voted one of the ten top entries...and the only non-photographic winner.

Here is the picture reference that I will be using for my next Venetian door  watercolor painting- not at all a Palazzo door, that's for sure. In fact, that's one of the most humble-looking doors that I have seen in Venice.
However, the hanging laundry is symbolic of the life on the other side of the door - it leads my imagination beyond the door to an interior and individuals that I will never get to know...On the other hand, those individuals will never know that I was on the outside wondering about them. In fact, don't we go through life building doors to separate us from others, to keep them out or simply unaware that others would like to be invited in.  Viewed this way,  this humble door takes on more meaning for me than the gilded door of an empty palazzo....

Hopefully, I will soon have some pictures to show my progress with this painting.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I know that they are meant to be sold, but....

Yesterday,in her blog, Deb Ward mentioned that she was hanging up a show. Yesterday, I did the opposite:I took down my paintings from a summer-long two-women show at Mariposa Farm, just outside of Ottawa.
It was a successful show since we sold some paintings, had a great opening reception with the delicious Mariposa food, received good feedback and made new friends.
Here is a picture from that show even though the lighting was not conducive to great photography - and the wall not completely straight :-)

However, I was beaming yesterday to see my paintings again and to bring several of them back home :-) I know that a big reason for showing my paintings is to sell them, but I was so happy to get my "little babies" back, to admire them and to find them even better than I remembered them. And I really missed those that I had sold :-)

Paintings are an expression of our feelings, of our vision of the world. In many ways, they are part of us. I suppose that it is only natural that we feel a certain sadness in parting with them and joy at seeing them again. Do you all feel this way?

In the picture above, you can see on the right-hand side two of my Dazzling Pears paintings. Here is a close-up of one of them, Light and Shadows - Part of the light is in fact due to the reflection of the flash on the glass. It is probably not quite as successful as the two previous Dazzling Pears that  I have posted, but it is part of my experiments with the pouring and masking techniques.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Dazzling Series

As I am working on another Venetian door -surprise!- Meanwhile, I will post a painting from another series I keep returning to: The Dazzling Pears series. These are fun paintings where I try to be more spontaneous and slightly more daring. I started with ordinary pouring technique; then I added a bit of masking, then a lot of masking to produce a semi-abstract design. I would now like to push this approach a bit further...maybe removing some of  the masking halfway through the pouring, adding more masking....whatever combination I can think of.

When I work on one of these small watercolors, the world around me completely disappears for a short time, the notion of time is non-existent - I am totally focused on the play of colors, the movement of the paint, the transformation that takes place on the paper.  This has to be good body, soul and mind!

I am so grateful that art can bring me such pleasure.

Here are examples of these dazzling pears:

Dazzling Single
     Original watercolor painting
     Arches 140lb cold-pressed watercolor paper
     Size: 6.25" X 8.5"
     Matted to fit an 11"X14" frame
     Original and note cards available
The Amigos
Arches 140lbCP watercolor paper
Size: approx 7" X 9"
Original in private collection
Note cards available

Friday, September 11, 2009

And what if I became "the Door Lady"?

As I have probably mentioned before, about 18 months ago I fell in love with Venice...and its thousands of canal doorways with their flaking paint and plaster, their centuries-old brickwork, but also with such elegant lines and intricate ironwork. I have enough pictures of these doors for two life-times of paintings. So far, I have painted only 3 Venetian canal doorways and 1 Venetian attic door, but I have at least a dozen in my head. I have a lot of painting joy ahead!

"You don't want to be known as the Door Lady", warns my son, my most regular art critic."Paint something else!" But, Monet did not tire of his waterlilies, Van Gogh painted his bedroom in Arles several times. Do I not learn more about light and texture with each new door? Is versatility a necessity? Isn't the joy I feel when I paint these doors what really counts?

"People commission tasteful nudes of themselves to put in their bathrooms. That's what you should paint!" This suggestion is from my daughter, another of my art critics. Should one strive to be trendy just to sell more? Well, I don't feel like painting for someone's bathroom. I would probably sell more, but my art would not really be "me".

Perhaps everyone will sigh with boredom at the sight of another of my watercolor Venetian doors, but as long as painting them brings me so much joy, I will risk being called "that Door Lady".

Here is the third of my Venice doorways: "Only in Venice".

Arches watercolor paper
140lb cold pressed
professional grade W&N and Da Vinci watercolor paints.
15” X 19” approx. Can be matted to fit a 20" X 24” frame.
Click here to purchase online: 
Original still available from artist.
Note cards printed by artist also available

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The paintings are so much more beautiful in my mind...

If only what I paint in my mind could instantly appear on my watercolor paper! When I wake up in the morning before getting up to go to work, I plan my next painting...or my next 10 painting:-). The colors are vivid, the brush strokes are perfect, the light and shadows offer the perfect contrast and some small detail becomes fascinating.  Then the images fade but I keep a vague memory of this beauty for the rest of the day. For me, a big part of painting, of creative expression, probably lies in these inner visions that give me the nner peace and harmony that carry me through my other activities.

 Today is Saturday of a long weekend. If I can put on paper even 1% of what I imagined in those early dawn mornings this week, then, as an artist, I will be content. The brushstrokes won't be as masterful s they were in my imagination, the light and shadows will be elusive, the details may be too blurred. But, for me,  the journey is to be appreciated as much as the destination or the finished painting.

Below is an original watercolor painting that I saw in my mind many times before it appeared on the  paper.
It is from my “Memories of Venice” series and is the timeless scene that greeted me every morning from my hotel window during my trip to Venice last spring. Venetian sunshine on crumbling roof tiles…an attic door with cracks that let the pigeons in…I simply had to paint it as a reminder of the many different, but all beautiful,  faces of this wonderful city.

Original watercolor painting by Christiane Kingsley.
Arches paper 140 lb;
W&N watercolor paints.
Happy long weekend to all!

Art cards and prints available on my Red Bubble

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

As a part-time artist, my biggest challenge is finding
time for my art. I keep juggling work, family
responsibilities and my watercolor
painting. After a day at work, I often don't have the
energy to do much except read...although often about
painting. Then I feel guilty because I am not painting;
on Saturday or Sunday mornings, if I sit down to paint
for an hour or two, I feel guilty about not taking care
of some of my other responsibilities. What
a vicious circle!

I have promised myself to "make time" for my painting.
It does not have to be several hours at at time.
Every little block of time counts. Creating
a large painting is exactly like eating an elephant
- one bite at a time. I would love to know how others
make time for their art...

The painting below, of a magnolia, is one of the few
that I have painted all at one sitting. This provided such a pleasant,
focused experience - a true feeling of creation

"Southern Belle"
11 X 14 inches
Arches 140 lb CP

In private collection

The reference is from the WC forum.

I started by really messing up the background: I used
Indigo and some Raw Sienna and the result looked heavy
and streaky.  I used salt then added lines of permanent
rose, cobalt and Prussian blue to exaggerate the streaks.
...This was not the way I had planned
the painting at the beginning, but I was very pleased with the results.

And I am off for that next bite of my current "elephant".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Second Post- even more intimidating for me than the first:-)

This will be the second post on my blog. But, I now have a few followers... Panic! this means that real people may read this post! I don't have any masterpieces to show, no new technique to share...but I suppose that's not what it's all about, is it? We all have doubts about the value of what we create. However, as one of you told me so wisely this week, we are all in this for mutual support as we develop in our art.

Without further ado, then, I will post another of my "Memories of Venice" series, a second doorway. It is called "Venetian Guardian" for the carved head that seems to guard the entrance to this Venetian home. … a four-century old guardian. The crumbling brickwork, the intricate ironwork on and above the door, all of this is typical of the fading beauty that is so unique to Venice. It is inspired from my own photo taken on a rather overcast day...I invented the light and the warmth this time:-)
 It is painted on Arches 140 lb CP with mostly W&N and Da Vinci paints and measures about 14" X 19". Until Sept. 20th it is hanging  in a two-women show (the two women being my good friend and very talented oil painter, Carol Penny, and  myself) at Mariposa Farm,  just outside of Ottawa, Canada.
What I like the most about this painting is the top half of the walls where I used the pouring technique: I was happy about the warmth around the carved head and the contrast with the other, cooler parts of the wall. I may redo this painting before long and use a less loose approach for the ornate ironwork on the door and the bricks. 
What do you think?

Venetian Guardian art cards (highest quality)

Smaller note cards printed by artist

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My first posting

This is my first posting on my art blog. What an intimidating and humbling experience...But, here goes...

 I started teaching myself watercolor painting about 2.5 years ago. Watercolor painting has turned into a passion. I love the transparency, the light, the unpredictable color blending that occurs on the watercolor paper. My favorite inspiration is the city of Venice, that jewel of the Adriatic: after three weeks in that city over the last 18 months, I have hundreds of my own photo references just waiting to be painted. I am currently working on a series of Venice paintings called (not too creatively) "Memories of Venice".

Here is my favorite painting of that series:
Venetian Doorway.
Arches watercolor paper 140 lb Cold Press
W&N and Da Vinci professional grade watercolor paints,
Approx. 14” X 19”
Original in private collection.
 The intricate metalwork, the textures of the crumbling brickwork, the unique green of the canal waters under that very special Venice light…all this fading beauty called to be painted.
This painting was done in a modified poured technique which allows colors to mix beautifully.
Venetian Doorway was recently featured in three groups of Red Bubble. Several other Venetian paintings can be seen on my website.