This is B & E, a brother and sister. About 4 years ago, their mom had me draw them sitting in their yard. Now she wants a piece to go with the previous one, so we walked all around the yard, and the same setting was still the best. We changed the background this time, and of course B & E look different! The verdict isn’t in quite yet; there may be a few more little changes, but this is the portrait at this time. A funny thing happened 4 years ago. While drawing B, I made his jaw a little too square and his neck a little too wide, and instead of a 14 year old, there was a very handsome 18 year old! Of course I made the adjustments, but here we are 4 years later, and this time my accidental prediction is true. With E, she was beautiful then, and she is even more so now.
Remember this? You only saw the sycamore, and it has been awhile. (July 30 blog entry) The house isn’t finished, because I can’t see what I need to see in the photos and will have to go take some of my own. The river scene on the bottom isn’t finished either, because it is time for me to start fixing dinner. It would be very easy for me to be a workaholic, but I try to keep this tendency in check. So, with that having been said publicly, I will end this ramble and get into the kitchen! See you tomorrow at Mooney Grove for the Tulare County Historical Society BBQ!
Another portrait may be finished. The mom has to see and approve. She knows the “children” (they are teenagers) and I merely know what they look like in the photos. There are such subtle differences in faces, and the tiniest difference, the mere point of a pencil width off, one edge of one smile line just a smidge too hard, one miniature spot of shadow just a tad too dark, and I have drawn the guy’s cousin! Here is how I draw faces: 1. photograph the subject one to three dozen times 2. choose a small handful of possible pictures 3. let the customer decide 4. get prints made of the ones that will be used (sometimes it takes many photos) 5. pray like crazy 6. start drawing 7. pray some more 8. turn it all upside down and compare every 1/8 inch of photos to drawing 9. pray again 10. compare the photos to the drawings 1/2 at a time vertically 11. compare again horizontally 12. make microscopic changes 13. pray some more 14. show the customer and wait to hear if it is finished. This is the short version of what is involved in a portrait. I cannot bear to put in writing what the long version is – I might need to go lie down for awhile with my thumb in my mouth if I write it! Since the Mom hasn’t seen the portrait yet, have a look at this nice man I drew 2 years ago: (okay, I never actually met him, but he looks nice!)
This is a photo taken with my new camera, even before I wrote the check! This was an important test of my new Canon Powershot ( with a whole series of letters and numbers which I have not yet learned). The ability to photograph art is as important as the ability to photograph scenes from which to make art. I learned a new word in techno-speak while buying the camera – it is not an “eye-hole” – it is a “view-finder”. Good to know (i guess). Anyway, the camera has been bought, and I can now get on with the business of art without that annoying twitch under my eye.
And speaking of making art, this is a commissioned pencil portrait. She was a pleasure to draw, and now I get to draw someone else in her office! (I think this is the sort of face that is referred to as a “natural beauty”.)
My friend, whom I shall refer to as (the other) JB (she says that brings to mind images of someone chewing on a cigar!), expressed a desire to hike to a lake out of Mineral King. Because we would be driving up from the flatlands and hiking on the same day, I chose Monarch Lake for its well graded trail. That is a lake I rarely visit. It has no trees, and in my memory it isn’t as attractive as other lakes up there. So, it seemed like a good time to compare my mind’s image to reality. Wow! If this is ugly, a pretty lake would strike me blind! So here we were in this beautiful place with its fall colors coming on and I HAD NO CAMERA! Fortunately, JB had her point and shoot (forgot to ask how many megapixels!) and she was more than willing to share. I’m sure her generosity was not affected in the slightest by the slightly wild look in my eye and bulging vein in my forehead. I confess: I filled her memory card and drained her battery. She continued to be gracious about it all, because that is the kind of person JB is. It was a wonderful time together, and an altogether terrific hike!
When I bought my digital camera, I successfully avoided several things: research, decisions, reading the owner’s manual. A friend of a friend was selling hers, and without asking too many questions (megapixels? what means that??), I paid her and then spent a day on the trail with her teaching me how to use it. The party is over. I am reading stuff in magazines, catalogs and online. It is all just words on paper, because until I see what is available at Mike’s Quality Cameras in Visalia, there is no point in choosing a camera. Turns out 3.2 megapixels is a joke in Camera-land. Guess it is time to get a Big Girl camera. Here’s what I don’t get: if our stuff is outdated about every 2-3 years, is it expected that we will buy new phones, cameras, computers, refrigerators, water heaters, printers, ipods, et cetera every 2-3 years?? Who has that kind of money? Who has that kind of time to read and understand all those owner’s manuals? Who wants to figure out to do with all the old stuff that is still good?? Not this little gray duck. Here, look at this nice photo that I took before my camera broke: See? there is nothing wrong with 3.2 megapixels!! (so there)
In case you might have forgotten, the show is Celebrate Agriculture With The Arts. It is the Madera County Arts Council annual juried and judged event, at their Circle Gallery. The opening reception and awards presentation is Thursday, September 18, and the show will hang from then until November 7. The pieces that placed will then travel to other locations, including the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California (nee “The Farm Show”).
Of course there are other winners, but unless we attend the show, we won’t know who received awards for which pieces! It is a wonderful show, one I learn from each year that I participate and visit.
I thought about calling this entry “Water is Everything” because this a.m. we didn’t have any water. (I knew I should have washed the dishes last night!) My lovely neighbors (who have their own well) let me use their shower. When you don’t have water, everything looks either hot, dirty or dry. Have you noticed this?
So, here I am sharing the final details of this painting with you because it is WATER, lovely, precious life-giving water! Notice how it is blurry? After I discovered the rattle snake, my hands were trembling and I dropped my camera. I think this blurriness is a result of that blunder. The more stuff I own, the more stuff breaks. Anyone have any wisdom on a good camera to buy next? sigh.
In case you were wondering, oil painting happens for me from top to bottom and left to right on the canvas, while at the same time trying to paint from the furthest away to the closest. Sometimes this doesn’t coincide with color usage, but I continue to learn as I paint. These 2 paintings need to dry so I can put the final touches on them without wrecking the parts in back. The first is the bottom part of the trail leading to Eagle and Mosquito Lakes in Mineral King. The second is a super secret swimming hole on the Kaweah River.
Today I planned to paint all day, and was moving right along at a nice clip. Then, lunchtime came and I headed back to the house, and there was a rattle snake on my front porch. It is a long and boring story that eventually ended poorly for the snake but well for me. I am a pathetic excuse for an outdoor woman, and once again had to call the Very Capable S to rescue me. She can do almost anything! The long and short of it is this: my painting got the short end of the stick today, and the length of the snake was 4′ with 10-1/2 buttons on its rattle. Hard to paint when my hand is trembling. I have to go lie down now. No photos – it was too gross for this little sissy. (Dad’s word was “panty-waist”) On days like that, chocolate helps.
Sweet Treat, 5″x7″, unframed, oil, $35