Big Red

Heading back to Tucson from Colorado is a trek. Parts of the drive are gorgeous, other parts are a struggle to stay awake…so, entertainment and some imagination are necessary.  I like to stay on the relative backroads.

We gas up in a place called Waterflow in between Farmington and Shiprock, New Mexico. The 7 to 11 there is like a little museum of edibles and etiquette I remember from the way past traveling with the family back and forth across the Southwest.

Being visually inclined I am particularly inspired by “eye candy” literally. I don’t eat the stuff, just like to look at it, although I do love a sip of the Big Red, it tastes like fizzy strawberries and bubble gum…uh, yum.

So, here begins another project! You never know when these projects are going to sneak up on you. This one is taking more than the week to fulfill so I’ll give you the process and some “in progress” pictures and some unrelated stuff too.

Here we go:

IMG_4956

Now there’s something entertaining to look at.

Until the forest fires…5 on this trip.

IMG_4968

Ajck, that’s Jack and Pepe. Total opposites when it comes to the car. Entertainment, none the less.

 

 

Nice City Park in Snowflake, AZ.

IMG_4960

After driving for 10 hours, a plan has hatched for a new Grid Painting.

Now, to accumulate some related momento mori…to make 9 squares.

  1. Pocket Knife
  2. Falcon Feather
  3. Fake Hummel Figurine
  4. Antique Jump rope
  5. Tic-Tacs (inedible except for the orange ones)
  6. Big Red Soda (which I find in northern Arizona near or on a Reservation)
  7. Candle (to relax the eyes, focus and for remembering)
  8. Antique Spurs (kid-sized)
  9. Porcelain Horse (made in china, from Chinatown SF)
  10. Saddle Blanket (backdrop)

IMG_5141

I like the natural light from the window so I will paint the piece in this light, which limits working time to 1-4 in the afternoon on sunny days, which proves to be a bit difficult since we are having such wonderful thunderstorms in the afternoons here in Tucson. This is why it is ideal to have a couple of projects going at the same time which have different parameters, think trash collages or glass cubes etc.

IMG_5039 2

Halfway through, I assemble the squares to see if a change in scale or composition is needed to create balance. There are always changes so, the sooner, the better.

IMG_5137

Further work and another configuration:

IMG_5139

The grid paintings come about because they don’t take up a lot of space to make. Great practice for figuring out color and light. Small bites, not overwhelming. Easy to fit into a busy schedule. Thought provoking. Fun.

——————————————————————————

Or try a short series exploring subject, concept, color harmonies, composition, like this next image. These works have a different impetus. Not meant to be a grid. I show them to you now because I’m working on them at the same time as the big grid but, at night, under controlled  lighting and off of a computer screen. Will give you the rundown later.

IMG_5138

Next week, we’ll see how it went with one or both of these projects…or maybe something completely different.

Practice, practice, practice!

Mountain Light

This light is awesome!  Strong, cool and crisp, you can’t find it in the desert. I travel for the light…not complaining, there is nothing like working from natural light. You have to get it while you can!

On this early summer, mostly-plein-air trip to southern Colorado, I squeeze in a still-life at the art-shack (studio).

Last year we introduced Duckie (and friends):

This year, Duckie makes another appearance.

DSC_0968DSC_0971DSC_0976

” The Fisherman’s Catch”

IMG_4954

 

Lucky Purple Piglet

Continuing with the discovery of underused colors in the paint-box I find: Manganese-Violet-Reddish, Old Holland Blue, Hansa Yellow Light, and Brilliant Pink.

I know I can’t do all 4 this week so I choose the colors without white added and just one pigment because they tend to mix cleaner: Hansa Yellow and Manganese Violet.

Here is a model of the chemical compound 11-cis-Retinol and/or All-trans-Retinal, a form of Vitamin A, which makes vision possible (complicated). It is a challenge to draw-could be disastrous-but you have to try!

DSC_0820

DSC_0822

I really don’t know which color to pick. I want to use purple but am hesitant. So I give it a rest and focus on something else.

———————————————–

Even though it is Hotter than Hades here in Tucson, we still must walk the dogs. This enables the collection of smashed ground trash, an ongoing project correlated with dog walking.

I am currently going for smashed glass, it is so sparkly in the early morning light…Here see one mornings worth of glass, plus nifty glass photo cube as container.

DSC_0824

…and subsequent exhausted Jack on his floral matt.

DSC_0829

Smashed glass pick up requires some speed so Mr. Pepe stays home while Jack and I explore nether alley-hoods for most-best glass.

IMG_4026

Day two of glass collection-This is going to take longer than expected.

————————————————-

At least now I know what color to use for the Molecule! Hansa Yellow Light; lemony and bright.

Now, for the little lucky pig.

Here is the drawing board so far. When I look at this, I get inspired to keep going. Making drawings is relaxing for me because color can be so risky…drawing feels safe compared to color. So, draw first to figure out what you are doing or where you are going and the more difficult stuff will fall into place, or do it the other way around-paint first and draw after!

DSC_0851

I am doing these paintings on SourceTek oil primed linen birch boards (drawings on Strathmore 200). 10×10 size is about $10. It is a good way to get used to painting on a really nice surface without a huge expenditure. All surfaces take paint differently and you should practice on what you want to know best.

DSC_0853

The Manganese is very dark. I can barely see the drawing through the tone, so I wipe it off a little, it stains nicely.

My set up under halogen lights. I am working mostly at night on these studies, so I don’t always get the values right, but at least I know that, now…

DSC_0860

Here is everybody so far, they are all 10×10. Interesting how the colors look together.

So, how about we put it all together and see what happens; all the main pigments and all the objects and a bigger canvas?

DSC_0863DSC_0864

See you in a week!

Food for thought. Find collections of things that have some similarity and paint them…it makes a series that you don’t need to think too much about and it can reveal memories tied to the objects…

Hint: You can also create similarity with a patterned fabric or hue or concept, like abstracting things a certain way or zooming in on something…as long as there is a relationship/continuation/building on it through each piece, it’s a series!

DSC_0867

Drawing and Painting classes start soon!

This Summer,  I offer several classes in drawing and painting:

MAY

May 1-22: Oil Painting Basics: Self Directed Projects ( 4 classes), 1-4 PM, Sundays, $125 all four/drop in one-at-a-time for $35. Intermediate to Advanced

May 8-29: Drawing with Color: Part One (4 classes), 9-12, Sundays, $125 all four/drop in one-at-a-time for $35. Beginning to Intermediate

Where? Tucson Pastel Society Building, 2447 N Los Altos Ave. (Northwest corner of First and Grant)

For more information and to sign up, email meredithmilstead@yahoo.com.

Sign up today!

Slideshow below shows examples of drawing lessons covered in the first four sessions of Drawing with Color: Still Life Set Up, Blind Contour, Observed Contour, Measured Line, Angles, Calligraphic Line, Two Temperature Tone Line, Two Color Fill in, Mr. Pepe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.