Luke’s great, great grandparents owned a carnival that traveled from town to town. Spin the wheel and you might win a bird in a birdcage.

Luke's Great Great Grandparents

Luke’s Great Great Grandparents

Their son, Luke’s grandfather, preferred the high seas and became a merchant mariner, traveling from continent to continent rather than town to town.  Eventually, the carnival was sold to Barnum and Bailey.  Though Luke didn’t inherit the wanderlust, he definitely inherited the love of theatrics and showmanship.  His great, great grandparents would be proud.

Watercolor Painting – The Carnival -commissioned by Luke’s wife, Carrie.  Image 8″ x 12″ framed to 12″ x 16″.  The painting will hang on the wall beside the player piano, across from the stand up Victrola (both in excellent working condition).

Limited palette: Burnt Umber, Raw Umber and a touch of French Ultramarine Blue.

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On Monday morning I had an hour and a half to sketch on West Main Street in Salisbury, MD while Anita did errands.

From the corner of Mill and West Main Street, Salisbury, MD

On Thursday, Dave had errands to do, giving me the opportunity to sketch Main Street looking in the opposite direction.

Not quite finished when I had to catch my ride back to Tyaskin

West Main Street, Salisbury, MD detail of left side

West Main Street, Salisbury, MD detail of right side

Unfortunately, West Main Street, a lovely quaint street, is a bit of a ghost town.  A mother and son, waiting for I know not what, provided the opportunity to breathe a bit of life into the drawing.

Mother and Son …. waiting …. for whom?

Looks like I’ll be teaching a couple of multi-day, color scheme game workshops in Salisbury in 2013, most likely in February and again in April.  I’ll keep you posted.

Sketchbook, en plein air drawing: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black ink… followed by watercolor and gouache.

Last night I met Maria Woodford’s mentor, the amazing blues singer/songwriter, Gaye Adegbalola!  Gaye and Roddy Barnes (stunning piano and vocals) performed last night at Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair, NJ.  Over the top!  I’m still smiling….

Roddy and Gaye setting up

Roddy Barnes on piano

Three Muses, Marci, Gaye and Gloria

Incredible musicians and fabulous performers!  When the evening ended, I wanted it to start all over again.

Sketchbook drawings: drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s Black Ink, followed by Peerless Watercolors applied with waterbrush.

In 1951 my parents hoped they would name their new baby Christopher.  Instead, they named me Christine.  Eight years later, after trying one more time to add a son to their family, David Howard Charles Carter was born.

The Boy, Bisque Kewpie Doll, 1959

To celebrate this momentous event, my mother received not one, but two, bisque Kewpie Dolls!  One sat upon her dresser as long as I can remember.  The other moved about the house back and forth between the fireplace mantel and the knick knack shelf.  Until my brother entered kindergarten we referred to him as “The Boy”.  Sharing a room with my brother until I was sixteen brought us close together.  At one point, I insisted on bamboo curtains to divide our room in half and provide a bit of privacy.  As soon as I could drive I brought him everywhere with me.  As young adults we spent our summers together hiking the Appalachian Trail and rock climbing.  Eventually, after climbing the cliffs across the country, I left him in Boulder, Colorado to begin his freshman year in college.  I headed to Yosemite to climb the north face of Half Dome with the man who became the father of my children.  It all started with a bisque Kewpie Doll.

Sketchbook Drawing: Family Treasures No. 36, The Boy – drawn first with fountain pen filled with Noodler’s black ink, followed by watercolor.

Arranging more than two hundred paintings for the 123rd Annual NA.W.A. Exhibit (National Association of Women Artists, Inc) is a daunting task.

Setting Up at Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Art Gallery

Working with a group of fabulous women artists, the goal of placing paintings and sculptures where they enhance one another was accomplished before the sun went down.  The paintings will be hung today, a few adjustments being made with fresh eyes and clearer minds than ours were when we descended in the elevator last night.  This is my first exhibit as a member of N.A.W.A.

Gwenndalynns, Watercolor

My painting, Gwenndalynns, is hanging in the show.  The 123rd Annual Exhibit runs from September 1 -30th at the Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Art Gallery, 417 Lafayette Street, 4th Floor, New York City.  Opening Reception and award Ceremony is September 21st from 6-8 pm.

Painting: Gwenndalynns, Watercolor, Framed Size: 23″ x 31″

I braved the ticks of New Jersey by laying naked in the grass.

Moonstruck

When I entered my paintings into the 6th Annual Naked in New Hope Exhibit sponsored by Sidetracks Gallery, I didn’t know I would be asked to send them a naked portrait of myself.  Five of my paintings have been accepted!  Fortunately I live in a somewhat secluded. rural area where Tom and I could tackle the challenge of capturing an acceptable photograph of my less than youthful body in the buff.  Tom’s idea was for me to lie in the overgrown grass beneath the dead tree limbs (scheduled to be turned into wood chips later this afternoon).  As other options, he had me pose beneath the pine tree (where I ended up covered with sticky sap) and in the cornfield where the leaves stuck to the sap on my bare body.  The overgrown grass and dead tree branch option is the one I’ve just sent to Sidetracks Gallery.  You’ll have to attend the event to see it.  Though I thought we would stick with just a shoulder shot, Tom did a great job of deception and the final photo is full body.  Oh my…….  what we do for the sake of art……

Painting: “Moonstruck”, 24″ x 39″ Watercolor on Arches Paper

The struggle to describe form on a face continues….  still working from photographs …. ugh!

linking light shapes and dark shapes

Everything I’m working on right now relates not only to human figures, but to masses of trees and landscapes, too.  Returning to plein air painting made me realize I need to sharpen my eye and brain to organize the shapes of reality into strong patterns of abstraction.  I thought, after so many years of painting movement and abstraction that I would have broken my habit of duplicating reality when it is sitting still in front of me.  I was wrong!

Slowly, very slowly, I’m making progress.  Every ten minutes I want to stop this discipline and toss or platter a bit of paint, swirl a bit of ink and simply play with color and shapes.  I can feel myself tighten when I reach the limit of my ability in realistic drawing and painting.  I want to return to something I am comfortable with.  I want to do an ink drawing of the hollyhocks in bloom and color it in with gorgeous pinks and greens.  I want to dash off to a music festival with my dip pen and watercolor box.

My mother before I was born, great hat!

It’s hard to believe, but I worked on this little 5″ x 7″ sketch for four hours!  It looked fresh and alive after about half an hour, but the forms on the face were wrong.  I went back and forth with watercolor, then gouache, to bring back lights, to correct values of shadows, to simplify, to capture light falling on the different planes of the face.  It ended up an overworked mess, but I am satisfied with the head looking like a solid form that might actually have a skull inside of it.  In spite of knowing my anatomy, there is a glitch in my hand/brain/brush when I attempt to paint realistically.

V. D. King at the Grisly Pear

This is how I love to paint.  Why do I bother struggling with painting from photos, stiff and boring?  Because I want to bring the skill and knowledge I gain from that discipline into my plein air and moving figure paintings.  They will become more consistently stronger.  And ….. I want to keep breaking through my limitations.  Until I can paint from a photograph successfully with the result being as lovely, loose and descriptive as the portrait of V.D. King, I will not be satisfied.

Grumpy Chris as a toddler

I am as grumpy this morning as I was when the photo I worked from was taken.  What is it that makes a face look old?  look young? look middle-aged? When does the balance of hard edges and soft edges work in the composition of facial planes?

Top image: ink brush or ink brush and copic markers

Middle image: watercolor and gouache

Bottom image: watercolor