Here’s a belated Mother’s Day post. I drew this piece from a photo I took of a clay sculpture at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in D.C. It’s in the glass cases that serve as their visible art storage system. Louis Naranjo is the sculptor and he was from Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico. He did a whole series of storyteller bears and this was his first. You can google him and see lots of photos of his wonderful clay bear sculptures. It’s smallish–about six by nine inches as I recall. Very sweet. I used watercolor pencils and am not happy with how the black bear body turned out, flat and streaky. Probably regular watercolors would have worked better for me–which is what I used for the background. Wanted to share it anyway. She looks a little dazed. Kids.
And now for some-thing completely different. I found a three-by- four inch notepad of hand-made paper and wanted to test it out. So I drew quick sketches of some favorites from the large book I have of Mary throughout the ages, as painted by different artists. I used a micron pen and then watercolor pencils for color. Fun little studies. Certainly less somber than the originals. It’s interesting to see how Mary has been depicted through the ages. Sometimes humble and kindly and other times in armor and with a sword. Pretty bad-ass. Well, she had a stressful job.
Sam and I did three of the timed charcoal sketches that I mentioned in the last post. I should have included Sam’s camel in that post but I wasn’t thinking and hadn’t gotten his permission. So now here are our elephants (mine on top and Sam’s below), and his camel (at the bottom). His drawings are charming. Just like him.
One weekend when Sam was here he suggested we draw together, doing timed ten minute sketches. The object was my choice, the medium his–charcoal. It was so much fun. I may have gone a tad over ten minutes but not much. This ceramic camel is about eight inches long and three and a half inches wide and I guess it’s meant to be a tea pot or creamer since his mouth is a spout. It probably at one time had a lid. But matching lids to things are in short supply in thrift stores. He’s charming, though, don’t you think? Definitely fits in with my curios.
I know, I know. Too long away. It’s easy to forget what’s important. But I’m back now. Found this sweet little bird figurine at a thrift store, and drew it using colored pencils on blue pastel paper. I guess I went a little crazy with the colors. It’s really just glossy white ceramic. But this is my interpretation.
We spent a few fun days with Spence and Tuyen for his Masters graduation festivities and I made a card for him the day before we headed there. I was flipping through one of my decor books and saw a picture of an art collector’s apartment with a large Basquiat painting on the wall. Using that as my inspiration, I did my own version of his wild graffiti style using acrylic paint and markers on paper. It was a lot of fun. And then, two days after I made this card, the Wall Street Journal had a photo of the Basquiat painting I was inspired by on the front page of their business/finance section. It’s called “Dustheads” and it just sold for $35 million! Funny coincidence. Here’s Jean Michel Basquiat’s painting below: Such a startling, aggressive and exuberant style. I’m intrigued.
I like colorful paintings of food, flowers, and dishes strewn over a table top. Desserts I mean, not the paintings with whole fish on a plate or freshly hunted animals. I’m talking about like Maira Kalman does, and Wayne Thiebaud’s bakery items. Or this here. Today is Rich’s birthday but he said no cake since he’s trying to cut carbs. His splurge will be Italian bread with dinner since he enjoys that more than cake. I know, so weird. Although lots of people are bread lovers. Wish I didn’t like desserts so much. It’s my favorite food group. Sugar is so badass.
I know. It’s been a long time. It’s been a weird, bleak winter and I guess I’m in a funk. I would probably feel better if I had been making art every day but no. So time to plow through the fog and make a blog post. Let’s think spring with a cute bunny in a meadow. I made this card for my friend Mary Jane who loves bunny rabbits. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Russian icons are fascinating pieces of religious art and I thought it would be fun to paint one. I found a picture of a gorgeous one to try copying (see below.) If you aren’t familiar with these icons, they are painted faces and hands of the Mother and Child but then the surrounding areas are covered with silver or gold leaf or tin in three dimensional low relief. Originally I thought of using the wine cap foil as the surrounding metal, but that didn’t work out so I just used acrylic paints with shiny metallic gold paint for the surround. Painting is hard, sheesh. But I’m happy enough with this little painting and it’s tender message. I feel fortunate to have our family together for the holidays and hope all is well with you and yours. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a new year filled with peace and joy.
Detail from Vladimir Mother of God, 1874 from the book Mary Images Of The Virgin In Art by Marion Wheeler
I was digging through my shoe box of wine caps and messing around with the lead foil. It’s like doing flat sculpture. I manipulate it until it reminds me of something and then go with that idea. I do wash my hands a lot after playing with that stuff. And I had this 5×7 canvas–the perfect size for the silver dress. I am especially pleased with the round cap border wrap. Makes me want to do a whole wardrobe of foil outfits and accessories. With scalloped borders. I loved paper dolls as a kid too.