Thursday, February 25, 2010

Encouragement on a dreary day

April Game of San Diego Fine Art Society posted this on Facebook and when I saw it this morning I knew I  just had to share it with you too!

It is a very gray and dreary morning here in San Diego, although the sun is just now starting to poke out. I don't do well with gray and dreary mornings, mentally or physically. It is much better for me to wake up to sunshine and then have the day become gray and ugly than to wake up without sunshine. I really think I am solar operated, and on gray days my solar powered batteries deplete almost immediately! Or maybe I don't even have batteries at all and am just straight solar powered - no sun - no energy.

Anyway - I don't keep up with my Facebook as regularly as I should - but I am glad I saw this.

or CLICK HERE if it doesn't show up in your email
or cut and paste this:

By the way - I have been working  in my studio. Not painting - but rearranging the whole thing - trying to make it function better, and a more pleasant place to be. I may post some photos later.

Have you visited me here?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What I Learned

What I learned is this: while I believe in resurrection, but some things just ought to die and stay dead. The sunflower painting is one of those things. I started painting on the sunflowers and was just so unhappy with it and I felt so much had to be fixed - why bother? Why am I making myself miserable? For what? I could just start over. Then I thought - hmmmm, let's see what happens if I try to scrape and clean this off. I scraped off all the oil paint I could, nothing interesting or inspiring happened. I tried wiping more off with solvent and paper towels. Still nothing inspiring or anything I wanted to work with. I then decided I would try to scrub the rest off. Why not? Nothing to lose, it is a piece of Masonite and could take a good scrubbing. I put it in the sink and hit it with some Spray n Wash. I could see it starting to cut through the oil film. Then I pulled out the trusty Murphy's Oil Soap - poured some on and started spreading it around with my hands. It just started melting away. As the water got warmer and warmer the acrylic underneath - especially the areas with thicker paint began to peel away and float off. I kept at it, then I realized the gesso primer underneath was starting to soften and come off too. That's when I quit. I left some of the acrylic on for texture and as an experiment - I wanted to see how it would dry, although I had a pretty good idea. I do believe that with a little more elbow grease and determination I could have taken this piece of Masonite back to a pristine bare-naked surface.

What I learned in a nut shell:

1. We can all be glad that I am not God. LOL -He doesn't give up on us when He gets aggravated and maybe thinks there is nothing there to work with - or that we are not worth His effort.

2. While the sunflower image is lost and not resurrected, there is transformation taking place, and the surface has been resurrected in a way. It's like "all it's sin is washed away" - leaving some of the residual consequences. Now there is a clean surface ready for a new start as something more beautiful and purposeful in life. Just like people.

3. I find God-sightings and spiritual metaphors everywhere and in everything. LOL

4. I learned I can remove oil paint completely enough so that I can now use this board for acrylics or anything else, and not worry about the paint not sticking. That decision needs to be made pretty early though - before the oil paint has dried completely, and it gets really hard to remove. There's a metaphor in that too.

5. Spray N Wash, Murphy's Oil Soap and hot water is a great combination.

Tomorrow is another day and a new start, on a surface that was once old and ruined and is now fresh and clean and new again.

Have you visited me here?
N S Davis Art Website
I May Not Be A Genius, But...
Nathalie Davis web site

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Do I Post What I Hate?

I guess the answer to that is "Yes."   Yes, I do post what I hate.

I got an email from my brother. After seeing the red poppies on my blog, he asked if could I paint sunflowers? I am not sure if he was joking or not, but I replied "of course."  Right? Of course I can paint sunflowers.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought -"Fun - that will be fun - I will paint sunflowers." After all. I am in a kind of a flowery mood, spring is arriving, I had a great time with the tulip paintings at Hyatt Moore's workshop, and I had fun with the little red poppy painting- why not? I'll paint sunflowers.

So I found a reference photo and started this in acrylics, trying to stay loose and free. I hated it! I made mud, I made muck, I made mush, I made a mess. The more I tried the worse it got. I made such a mess of it that I decided maybe I could salvage it in oils.  So I began working in oils, trying to stay nice and loose and free, thinking whimsical - make it whimsical.

I finally threw my brushes down and went to bed  hating!  Hating every second of this particular painting session.  Bummed becasue I wanted to start posting to my blog every day again and now I was going to miss a day before I had barely even started.

I didn't even want to go in and look at this today. It is still on the easel and still in progress. I don't hate it quite so much today, I think it is salvageable. But it raises questions for me...

I have spent my life striving to paint like people I admire and respect and not painting like me - what ever that is. I want to know what that is. How does one unlearn a lifetime of learning? How do you overwrite all of that programing? And with what? I get tight and realistic when I want to be free and loose and more absract, I hear lots of artists say that, so it is a bit of a universal problem I think. I set out to do a certain thing like to do whimsical, I really want to, but then I don't seem to be able to - is that becasue it's not me? Is it old scripts, old programs running? an old habit? I am not sure. Maybe it's just a bad day? A bad painting session? Maybe I didn't prepare properly? I don't know.

For now I see myself finishing this painting in a more representational style - and then maybe I will tackle it again and see what happens.

One thing I have realized. that in spite of my best efforts to make a comfortable studio space - it is not. not by any means at all. It's nearly unworkable. And that may be a contributing factor, adding to my discomfort, frustration and aggravation. Today I think I will try to do something about my space...again. How I wish I could afford a real studio space, but I am blessed to have what I have - I just need to find a way to make it work better.

Have you visited me here?
N S Davis Art Website
I May Not Be A Genius, But...
Nathalie Davis web site

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Painting of a painting

6" x 12"
Acrylic on board

I saw this little painting flipping through an old book on acrylic painting techniques. It was in the introduction section.  I liked it because it breaks all the rules: one item centered on the canvas, the horizon line is at the halfway mark and top edge of the vase aligns right with that horizon line. Ha! Take that "Rules" !
I just thought it was a cute and happy little painting and I enjoyed painting it, just for fun.

Have you visited me here?

I May Not Be A Genius, But...
Nathalie Davis web site
Nathalie S Davis Blog

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paintings from the Hyatt Moore Workshop

So here are the two paintings from the Hyatt Moore workshop I took over the past weekend in San Clemente, held at the San Clemente Art Supply Store a little less than an hour from my home. A charming and very complete supply store. I enjoyed this little workshop very much. Hyatt is an excellent communicator as well as painter and a fun guy to be around. The "Loosen Up" workshop had actual content, planning and preparation, unlike some of the others I have taken where it is just not much more than to go paint with people and maybe have a critique. This one was useful and fun.

Above is what I would consider a quick sketch. It is acrylic on paper and not intended as a finished painting although it certainly could be. I do like it, there are some things I wish I had done differently - but then that is true of every painting I do. The image size is about 12" x 14.5"

This is a completed painting I guess. Again there are some areas that I am not satisfied with, but I guess not disturbed enough to repaint it. In my quest to stop being a crazy perfectionist - which ALWAYS ruins my painting - I am working at stopping at "good enough". At least that way I don't over paint and over work the image until it is absolutely dead. This way it may have "personality quirks" but at least it still has some life to it too. Or that is what I tell myself these days. It is 22" x 28" and is acrylic and charcoal on canvas.

Have you visited me here?
N S Davis Art
I May Not Be A Genius, But...
Nathalie Davis web site

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hyatt Moore demo painting


This is interesting. I am blogging from my phone - but the text isn't posting. Wonder why? This is a sample of the class paintings in the workshop today. Mine is 4th from left. I will post more tomorrow. Feels really, really good to be painting again!