Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Orange + Yellow + Blue = A Golf Course

Squeeze out a limited palette and things really do get less complicated!  I know it sounds counter-intuitive but less is always more.  So with a glob of Yellow, Orange and Blue I tackled a golf scene.

I made a watercolor sketch from a photo I took last summer (forgot to get a photo of the sketch) and then decided to use a square format for the painting.  On canvas I made a charcoal sketch and smeared matt medium over that for a permanent two value drawing.



16 x 16 stretched canvas

With a palette knife I began laying in color and texture.  One of the challenges is mixing the range of colors/tones needed utilizing only three ingredients.  But once I start it really gets fun.  Painting with a knife is like icing a cake: be very mindful of layering.  Can't put the fancy lettering on top til the surface is completely covered!


This is as far as I go before stepping aside to let the surface "tacky up" a bit.  When the paint is too thick or gooey it just won't accept any more layers.  An overnight rest will firm it up some providing a skin on top.  This "step back" time is also important for resting the eyes and seeing what needs to be done next.


And here is another pass.  You can see the trees shaping up some and a little more contour in the fairway and the green.  What you don't see yet is the flag pole marking the hole...it has to be last, kind of a reward for finishing.  It also would get in the way of making other corrections and why paint it more than once?

I'm not certain what I will add (or subtract) for the final version...I like to let pieces marinate before I call them done.  But I do love the harmony that is a natural result from letting all the colors come from the same dish....too many tubes of paint on the canvas is like too many desserts...your eye gets distracted and overwhelmed by the choices.  So it will sit and I will contemplate.

And that is how you make a golf course with three colors!

ColorFULLY Yours,
Cindy


Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year New Colors

When I feel the need to change things up a bit my default move is to alter the color that surrounds me.  You know, like deciding I am no longer a "pink" lipstick kinda gal but a "red" one.  I may decide that purple workout clothes are a mood lifter or I will try painting with an entirely foreign (to me) palette.  Color does interesting things for me.

If you read this blog from your email box you never really see the colors involved on the webpage layout.  But if you click on the blog title or go here you will see what I mean.  For many years I have embraced a non-offensive range of beige for the design.  But feeling the need for change recently I hit a few buttons and voila! bright new colors for the new year.  Check it out.  I also updated the art on the page and have every intention of doing the same to my website (will alert you).

But we got into a deep color commitment recently when we decided to totally change up the concept of our home.  (It's a long story but downsizing plans didn't work out so we designed a cottage en situ!)


Isn't this gorgeous?  (artist signature illegible or I would give credit) We've loved this bowl for several years and it struck us that it would make the perfect (happy) color palette for a totally new look.  We stripped our walls of art and furniture and set about using the turquoises, oranges and yellows for a change.  And here is something important I want to share:

I was convinced that we would have to part with many old favorite paintings and quite a bit of furniture to make the look work.  But the interesting thing is that we found that when one tends to enjoy certain colors, they have a way of appearing and reappearing in many things that you own.  Perhaps not in the same saturation but definitely in the hue.

Total new look of the dining room based on the bowl colors....but look, see that painting in the background?  A beautiful landscape by Barbara Millford.  Doesn't it look as if we planned the room around it?  Nope, Luck.  We had the table in another room and a little yellow paint made a huge difference.


Now check out a corner of the kitchen...I had bought that wonderful painting several years ago because I loved it (not because I had a place to put it!)  Fritz van Eeden always makes me smile and even without framing it I couldn't wait to introduce it to the room.  Again, we did not plan the kitchen around the piece, it was a happy coincidence.


Finally I will share our little corner for "Hour of Charm."  We fell in love with the smaller chair one rainy day in Boston and made a crazy rash decision to purchase and ship.  Who knew it was destined to fit right in?  See the big blank wall behind the chair?  We still have not finished curating our currently owned art so who knows what will get this place of honor?  And you note the bowl on the floor...not where it belongs but where it ended up in the Christmas-pack-up process when I took the photo.  

My point is: Don't be afraid of color.  Our rooms will not qualify for Architectural Digest but they make us happy.  AND, the good news is that we did not have to divest ourselves of any well-loved pieces in our collection.  Against new walls the art sings a new tune; many have asked if the pieces are recently acquired and the answer is no, but they look beautifully different.

We're still painting...our bedroom, his office and my studio are works-in-progress but you can bet that the color change up will be continued.  Do you have a favorite object that may provide inspiration for your next re-decoration project?  Do you see a color trend among the objects you have collected over the years?  If you were to cull your "things" what would the connecting thread be between the items you keep?

Let me know.

Color FULLY yours,
Cindy

Friday, January 9, 2015

Naked Beauty

There is something so very appealing to me about trees in the wintertime. Stripped of all the accouterments of color, leaf and blossom, they stand naked to the world showing an elegance of line and shape that can only be appreciated when they are bare.  It is as if they dare to exhibit their bones during this season and without any clothing as a distraction they bravely reveal their age, their shape and their past.  I never tire of studying them.

Of course there are evergreens and hardy pines.  This is the season in which they take the center stage and use the spotlight for all it is worth.  They are lovely, they receive the snow graciously and they become the darling of the Christmas card industry.  But I prefer the maples and oaks and all of those brave enough to winter over without flash or fanfare.

So a peek into my sketchbook this week shares some of the notes I made as I observed the naked beauty.


pencil notes made here reference how a cluster of trees seem to make their their lace-like branch tips into perfect shapes...




 I  played with ways of illustrating the shape and movement of the limbs, not trying to capture the realism but getting the feeling of movement they had, the ballet...



fascination by the shapes of the trees individually as well as en mass made me wonder if they sent out a memo as to the exact length to grow so that an elegant shape could be maintained without any pruning or cutting...




... finding symmetry as .....well as asymmetry within a single tree shape...


Finally, a rough attempt to lay out the gorgeous interplay of three branches outside my bedroom window.  I would wake to their dark shapes back lit by a pink rising sun...moving my head just the tiniest bit would change the entire pattern.  I made many pencil sketches of the limbs, this one is rather same ole same ole....but I am betting there will be a painting or two based on a final, more interesting layout.

Another view on winter trees is expressed by poet Jeffry McDaniel, "I realize there's something incredibly honest about trees in winter; they're experts at letting things go."

GraceFULLY yours,
Cindy

Friday, January 2, 2015

Let It Snow!!

I am hoping your holidays were lovely!  I always think of the week between December 25 and New Year's as a bonus week; not quite the old year (everything completed for 2014) and a hiatus before starting a new one.  I like to review, re-live, evaluate and imagine new projects or adventures.  It's a quiet time for cocooning,  nesting, or whatever you like to do when your engines are idle and you want to recuperate, refuel and recharge.

So let it snow! ...figuratively or literally. We are hunkered down before a fire reading and sipping and making notes while listening to music.  My husband thinks he loves snow but as his blood gets thinner what he really loves is the idea of snow.  It forces him to slow down, move with care, play a little and enjoy a hot drink.

Along those lines, look what I came across while re-organizing:


I painted this landscape in 1964....exactly 50 years ago.  I believe it is painted in what they called casein paint which predates acrylic.  It was probably from a postcard my art teacher, Barbara Bassett, had as reference.  I was 11 years old and while I may have seen a mountain on vacation once or twice, I know for a fact that I had never seen, touched, tasted or walked in snow.  I wonder why either of us would suggest I paint such a thing?  These days I believe that the more engaged one is with the subject at hand the more authentic the rendering will be.  JMO (just my opinion as they say.)


Fast forward to another snow painting, this time rendered in pastel and now from the vantage of having experienced snow many times.  I loved this afternoon, we went out driving to see how the country side looked in its chilly, white coat and I wandered across this bridge with the sun at my back.  I took many photos of the light sparkling on the river filled with chunks of ice and it wasn't until I downloaded the pics that I noticed my shadow in the water.  This was equally fun to paint but I definitely had a sense of what I was trying to capture.

There was a huge gap in my childhood painting and when I resumed the craft many years later.  But there are  lessons from those early years that come back to me even now.  I was fortunate to have had those classes for they taught me to see.  Maybe painting snow made me want to see it, to travel, to experience things I saw on postcards?  Who knows?  But those lessons did introduce me to a lifetime of pleasurable pursuit.

Thanks Mom and Dad, and thank you Barbara Bassett!

Happy New Adventures,
Cindy



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bonus blog: a fresh canvas

I have two favorite holidays and the "new year" has always been número uno.  (Those who know me well can guess the other.) Ever since I could grasp the concept of a fresh start or a new page or a second ( third and forth) do-over, I have been making lists and performing rituals to say good bye to an old year and welcome a new one.  So if you are looking for art-related inspiration in today's blog, hit delete NOW.


I am not talking about big noisy parties where you yawn waiting for the ball to drop and then have to hug people you don't even know.  Nope, I much prefer those little home made ceremonies that you create with whatever inspires you at the time, that you perform only with like-minded individuals who fully respect what you are doing and engage with the reasonings.  Many of these transitions involve fire of some sort (as in burning past mistakes, snuffing out old flames, lighting a path in the dark.....); most involve some writing and all require the setting of one or more intentions.

         
When I was young and idealistic I would spend days working on a list of New Years resolutions.  I found one of those lists about 10 years ago stuck in an old book and funny, it looked like a list I should STILL be working on!  Some things don't change....

When we were young newly weds we would make out three lists: mine, his and ours.  And we would save them from one year to the next to discuss and laugh over.  

Then we decided to eliminate lists but select an "adventure" for the year, something we very much wanted to do, out of the ordinary, that we resolved to put our energies, time and money toward making happen.

Sometimes we were successful, often times we learned to compromise with fate, other times we learned that disappointment is a fact of life.  Still, we made up ceremonies to jointly bury the past year and welcome a new one.

Silly?  Oh, I know folks who recoil from this sort of thing and are offended when I ask what they plan on doing with their brand new, fresh canvas of a year.  So passé, they give me a look.  But really, how to you get anywhere if you don't have an inkling of where you want to head?  How can you live higher up that mountain if you don't look back and evaluate the valleys?  I'm not one who waits patiently (sorry) for my ship or even my dinghy, to come in....nope, I'm swimming out to get it....or at least I'm clinging to a floater kicking hard and enjoying the attempt to get there.

        
Soooooooo, our ritual this year will involve some fabulous food paired with appropriate wine (chef selected) while we discuss 2014: the highlights, the lowlights, the successes, the little moments of pride we share with no one else, and of course the moments we wish we could do over.  Sigh.  
Then we will come home to a bottle of bubbly and "make public" our new word of the year.  We are too old to make long lists, so we stole an idea from dear Cheri, the Patron Saint of Faeries.  When this little bundle of red headed energy flew into our lives several years back she loaned us the custom of choosing ONE WORD as an intention for the year.  Who can't remember ONE WORD? Which then informs everything we do.  So simple, yet so difficult.

Of course we will make new lists...but these are of adventures we are planning, experiences we shall try and books we shall read.

We will light candles, we will build a bonfire to dispose of old artwork, old grudges, unneeded records and whatever else should not be present in 2015.  We might wave around some white sage to clear the air of bad spirits and we may chant a few blessings into our hearts, say a prayer for loved ones.


When all is said and done and the coals are cold, we will embrace whatever 2015 brings with enthusiasm and energy.  More than any other holiday gift (and I really am not a fan of christmas giving) the unwrapping of a NEW year has always felt special and reverent to me.  Possibilities.  Opportunities.  Challenges.  

So if you are still reading, you know it is with sincerity that I wish you a joy-filled RITUAL of leaving one year and mindfully walking, dancing or skipping into the next.  Do it with mac and cheese and a bottle of cranberry juice, do it with filet and Cabernet......just do it.  

And I promise to blog about art here forth.  Happy 2015.

JoyFULLY yours,
Cindy



Friday, December 26, 2014

With the Very Best Wishes




Wishing you the Merriest Christmas
Season and a New Year
Filled With






Here's to an ART-Filled 2015!

It's been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you during the past year, please feel free, at any time,
to contact me with yours.
art@cindymichaud.com

Cheers!