I love the shapes of animals.
Those angles and bends, the curves and shifts from ear to head to shoulder. And the way light hits and reflects and shows near and far...
And the color!
This is a tiny island just past Grand Marais on a little road, Croftville Road, maybe- I think it was Elsie's cabins... and there's a little cabin just in front of this place. It is seriously a giant rock with a rickety wood bridge from just behind the cabin, and I felt like I was in a magical place when I stood there in the rain. Grey days can do that.
And the colors of fall always look more intense against the grey. That is part of why I love painting on black, because it just sets the colors off more. There's more power in the color because of having to contend against the dark.
I've been teaching in my alley driveway for this fall's session of Paint Love, and I am so glad I decided to give it a go. I need to have these mature, creative, fun-loving, kind and generous adults to hang out with and talk art with at least once a week. And all the struggles to figure out technology to include my Zoom people is hard and brain-busting, but their patience and their paintings are so rewarding. I look forward to our classes all week!
Today we painted tomatoes because there were some lovely ripe ones in the garden, and we talked about and practiced the concept of One-Color-Per-Stroke, which is a way to make sure you are looking closely at what you are doing, paying attention to every stroke and how you are placing it onto the panel.
This was NOT my demo, because I don't like that one. I did this one later as everyone else was working and I like it!
This is another photo from Gina Easley in Oregon (https://www.instagram.com/ginaeasleyphoto/?hl=en) who has an incredible eye and has kindly given me permission to paint her deer! This young buck has velvet on his new antlers, and I hoped to paint them so they look velvety and soft...
Somehow, Gina's photos look magical and like a fairy-land, though the smoke from the wildfires caused a lot of darkness. I do wonder how the animals make it through such an experience...
I just needed a little deer today~
I couldn't get to Moir Park tonight, and it was a brain busting kind of day (having a lot of those lately) and I needed to sit by some water so I ran to Minnehaha Creek and sat painting for about an hour.
I'm much better now.
Whew. Thank goodness for painting!
Those eyes- I was on Facebook and looking at a friend of a friend's photos from up north and spotted this one and immediately wanted to paint it! I'm sure you can see why...
This one is 9x12- I want to do another on a 6x12- that leaning posture, those knobby knees! SO much to love!
Thought I'd toss another bear into the mix... I love figuring out the black and light color contrast to get the bear to read true. And I love bear's faces. Look at that lip! This is from the Minnesota zoo over Labor Day weekend~ critters are fun to paint, and it helps to understand the way their forms work too.
Here's another one from yesterday- the mosquitos were getting pretty bad... Duane had suggested I not wear shorts and so I was thankful for my jeans, but nevertheless, this was a quicker painting than I'd anticipated!
I got to paint outside again this evening! Aside from the mosquitos, it was a perfect 40 minute experience. I highly recommend it! And I'll very likely be back there again next Monday as well- Moir Park and Nine Mile Creek! let me know if you want to join me and I'll let you know where I'll be!
In this one, I was intrigued by the reflections of this weed in the moving water below~ I'm not sure if it even reads that way to anyone else, but I'm pretty happy with the movement of the water, and the many colors I see in there.
This is the big one I painted last Monday at Nine Mile Creek, in the rain. I just had to touch it up and fix some spots that got a bit blurry from precipitation... I'm pretty pleased! It is a trick to stop your brain from saying "water is blue" and to see those beautiful grays and browns, pinks and mauves in there...
It was fun trying to get that color of the water, the feel of the depth of it, the movement and sound~
I was truly amazed at how calming it was, just to be by a moving body of water. I've included a video for you too!
Max and I went to the MN Zoo last Sunday, really quickly, at the end of the day from 3-4, which is when the zoo closes anyway. They had it roped into sections for you to walk in certain directions, with lots of social distancing notes and hand sanitizer all over. It was actually pretty great to get out and go somewhere, and I was happy to see that there were plenty of visitors but it didn't feel crowded. I didn't feel too tight anywhere.
We went through the Minnesota Wing, of course, looking for the otters, but they were sleeping. I was happy to see one of the black bears wandering around, sniffing the air and waving her lip around.
I love bears.
I haven't painted one in a while!
Here's the second painting I did in the rain on Monday afternoon~ I was a little concerned about not having enough light reflecting on the water because of the overcast day, but I was also amazed at the amount of color I could see through the water. There were deep parts, shallow parts, sandy bits and rapids. It was mediative to concentrate on seeing those colors and shapes and lines without thinking about it being actually water.
Pretty crazy! And so fun!
Max had Adventures in Cardboard at Moir park yesterday, from 3 to 6 (there's still openings if you have a kid who likes to run outside with cardboard weapons and play Capture the Flag with other kids!) and it is such a beautiful park and even tho it was raining, it is the only Monday that I can go because I have school the rest of the Mondays so we all went and Duane helped me set up my easel at the little peninsula and I painted in the rain for two hours, getting thoroughly wet and enjoying the sounds of the creek as it wound around me...
I painted three paintings, and this is the last one~
I'm needing to paint some animals lately. Landscapes are a different mental problem entirely, in terms of finding a focal point, allowing areas to recede and bringing others to the front, and mixing the colors I see there. Animals are more about negative space and posture and expression. I haven't really thought about it that much before, but there are specific issues with both subjects.... Hmmm....
I'm looking forward to thinking and talking more about art starting next Saturday with my Fall Paint Love students! And I do have one or two spaces left, if you are interested~ more info here!
I'm a bit busy with other things, so here is a commission from earlier this year~ and if you are interested in joining my Fall Paint Love 10 week workshop, there is more info available here!
It is a fortunate fact of my life that I am an optimist, and tend to try to see the joy in this world. Thanks for being a part of that community!
There are so many colors in water- this is another shot from Nine Mile Creek. That is a seriously magical place... right in the middle of a city. I love that there are so many magical natural spots that feel secret and yet people do know they are there!
I love the middle of this one...
I got home today, a little early, and had to take a nap.
Being with kids in a regular time (not that there's any such thing, but pre-Covid anyway) is usually pretty tiring, but the mental strain combines with that physical thing and wow. I'm still pooped.
Every fall when I go back into my classroom, I deal with a week or so of a dry cough and a tickle in my throat because of suddenly talking all day when I haven't been doing that all summer. Giving directions and bantering and lecturing about art all day can suck your glands dry, I'm telling ya! So then, combine that with having to talk even louder through three layers of a mask, plus breathing back through that same mask again, and it dries you out even more. I've had at least a quart of water since I got home.
And I touched up this one a bit more... I'm happier with the water now and the greens in the distance feel properly distancy.... it's from last Friday at Max's last day at Adventures in Cardboard for the week!