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Archive for June, 2011

The Peacock’s Lair

June 21st, 2011 25 comments

Most of what I paint is based solidly in reality. Something I saw, someone I know; but yesterday I was doing an exercise that two different painters have suggested; to just doodle with colors on paper, try to keep it formless but pleasing to the eye. So I did that, and this peacock popped out.

I have never painted a peacock before but once I started I realized I could paint peacocks forever because they are so beautiful. The peacock was in the middle of a bunch of doodles, so I repainted him on a 6″ x 8″ piece of watercolor paper. He’s sitting on a structure which has either a plate full of cookies or a pile of gold coins in it. (I’m thinking it’s gold coins, how about you?)

To me he represents great beauty, mystery and hope for the future. He’s guarding the treasure in the box below him. So is the peacock the true treasure or is it the coins? Peacocks are not particularly aggressive, but they are very beautiful and alluring. In my youth I chased more than one peacock fruitlessly hoping for a feather. But anyway, I digress. . . Can someone help me with the story? I’m all ears. The winner gets a postcard from me.

This painting is for sale, $75.00

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Take a gander at this!

June 19th, 2011 4 comments

I work at Boeing, a large factory which turned the Duwamish River corridor into a very industrial environment. There is an exception, one of the last buildings to be constructed also included a park-like area. It is very popular with both the employees and wildlife. I felt like I had entered into a magical glade the other day when we turned out of a parking lot into this very scene. I had a pad of paper with me and did a quick sketch of these elegant birds.

None of the other people walking had any interest in disturbing these birds, so while the ever vigilant parents watched, the babies all continued with their naps.

This is a watercolor painted on handmade paper. I bought just one sheet a few years ago, and was afraid to try it at that time because I was afraid I would ruin it. I am happy to say it is not ruined. It is for sale $100.00 buys you a gaggle of geese.

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Poppies in the setting sun

June 17th, 2011 2 comments


The last half hour of sunlight is incredibly magical to me. The whole world looks different as the rays are refracted through the atmosphere and the angles cause deep shadows which set off the sunny spots. In my garden, we have these little orange poppies. I was told they were from Yugoslavia and if you’re not careful, they will take over your yard. We never have a lot of them but they are very eye catching, especially when they catch the sun rays in their ephemeral petals as they blow in the wind.

This painting measures about 9″ x12″ and is on fine watercolor paper. It is for sale, $125.00. The colors were hard to scan, the deep blue places are a little more green, but the poppies look just like they appear on my screen.

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Crow Dance

June 16th, 2011 6 comments

It probably doesn’t seem like it, but artists are always painting. Maybe not always with a brush, but there’s that little place in our brains which resembles a vain woman trying on pairs of shoes, no, not that pair, can I try that in red? As scenes rush by while I ride my bike, I am always looking for the next composition, the next subject.

This is crow season here in Seattle, they are raising their babies. You can even watch a crow cam, sponsored by the Seattle Times. Talkative crows are everywhere, doing the things that crows do. I saw this pair this morning, I will guess it was a parent and a child, but who knows. They walked their wonky walk together in step. I thought it was a wonderful composition.

This is a 6″ x 6″ painting on fine watercolor paper. It is for sale, $100.00 framed

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My sketch book – virtually

June 15th, 2011 3 comments

Enza in the laundry basket

Thousands of sketchbooks (including mine) are being exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country.
After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be cataloged and available for the public to view.

The Art House Coop sent blank sketch books to 28839 artists from 94 countries. Just under 10,000 books were returned — all of which will be on display. The tour started in February, 2011. I decided to participate even though I’ve never been much of a journaller. Sometimes I found it difficult to fill the pages, and in the end, I glued old postcards into it to fill some of the blank spaces surrounding fun little sketches. (Which made it look very nice.)

I decided I’d start by telling a story about scavenging handed down through the generations of my Calabrian family. In Italy, our family nickname Cristadella implies that to survive, scavenging was something my ancestors were very good at. There’s a story about an ancestor climbing a tree to steal eggs out of a bird’s nest. I was able to continue the theme through the book, but just like any good story, there are turns in and out which don’t always help develop the plot. But it was a drawing journal, and that’s how I used it.

Anyway, imagine thousands of these little notebooks all touring the country. They were in Seattle last week, but I was unable to get away to see them; they were here for only 1 day.

You don’t have to chase them down, here is a link to my own journal . As much as I liked the idea, it was so huge that the internet interface was ponderous and slow every step of the way, as thousands of books were handled and scanned. The website has gotten a little faster now, so I am finally looking around at other people’s journals. So far, only one person has seen my journal (besides me that is), so I am not sure that all the work will buy me much fame.

There are lots and lots of other opportunities for people who are artistically inclined, like contests and challenges, juried shows, art fairs. This project wasn’t that expensive, and in the end, being part of a permanent collection in the Brooklyn Art Library is a nice honor!

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Categories: portrait, travel journal Tags: