Thursday, January 30, 2014

Taking an Extreme Break!

I have to say that my brain is a little fried from this Extreme Composition class I am taking. Between that and the interminable cold weather, let's just say I needed something mindless to do. So I decided to see how many different grays I could get from just three colors. Black, Cadmium Red and Titanium White.

The class is very difficult and I was getting really stressed about it.  I know that the class will be good for me in the end but right now I feel like I never painted before and that is a bad feeling.  I haven't even started lesson #4 yet. Maybe this weekend I will get to it.

For the color charts below, I wanted to try out all my blacks and see how they blended with Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White. The blacks I used were, Carbon Black, Bone Black and Mars Black. A mindless exercise but necessary to clear my color addled head.

Three Blacks with Yellow Ochre and White

Three Blacks with Cad Red and White.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Frederick Hammersley

I am still busy with my class this week and so I have no new work to show. But this morning while I was reading my blogs, I came across this video of an interview done with the artist Frederick Hammersley.   Some of his work is currently on display at LACMA.

It is quite poignant and makes one quite aware of the limitations of being able to paint in advanced age. Hammersley died in 2009.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Week 3, Lesson 3

This weeks lesson in the Extreme Composition class is all about color. I am not new to color by any means. Having worked in watercolor, gouache and oils for so many years, I have a good feel for color. I spent months at a time sometimes just experimenting with three different primary colors. I made color wheels, temperature wheels and many, many paintings.

Painting with acrylic is very different than any of those. Acrylic dries so fast that, for me, it was very stressful to work in it. There was no time to get it right! But that all changed for me in this lesson. I learned how to layer the colors in order to get depth and texture. I knew that you could layer them but I never really knew how. Now I see that drying fast has its advantages and that, for me, is worth its weight in gold! The assignment here was to make small pieces where color is the only thing. No other decoration. We could do a square within a square or divide the paper into thirds. But nothing else. Just color. I used the same three primaries plus white and black in all of these.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Still on Lesson 2....

For this part of the lesson we were to use two different shapes and add line work to it. It took me quite a while to find my voice but I think I did in the end. I used three colors: black, white and cadmium yellow. I used a brayer rather than a brush which I found more freeing. I used the side of the brayer for the linework and the bottoms of the paint jars for some of the circles as well as my letter "O" stamps for the others.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Great Art Shop Critiques Video!

This is a fantastic video if you are trying to sell your art work online. Rose Schuring is a wonderful artist in her own right. She is so generous with her information about how to sell your work online. In this video she reviews 6 or 7 online shops and her constructive criticism is well worth the half hour it takes to watch it. I highly recommend watching it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Week 2 of Extreme Composition

This weeks lesson in Jane Davies class "Extreme Composition" is all about shapes. Squares, circles, triangles etc. This was a really great exercise for me since I have so much trouble with abstraction. Somehow everything ends up looking like a flower or a landscape. Not this time! This exercise really pushed me to work abstractly. Here are some exercises I did from the first part of the lesson. Remember these are not finished pieces, they are exercises and techniques. I used my gelli plate to create them since I am so comfortable with that tool and it really took the masked shapes and helped me edge them toward abstraction.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pushing Myself to Extremes

I am currently taking an online class called Extreme Composition with Jane Davies.

It is a wonderful class and you couldn't ask for a better teacher in Jane. She even has a blog set up where we post our work and then she (as well as the rest of us) critiques the work. She is kind and yet not afraid to tell you when you are missing the point of the lesson etc. She makes certain that you understand the proper way to speak about the work. For example, she doesn't want you to just say I like this or I don't like this. You need to explain what it is you like and don't like as far as how it relates to the lesson. The lessons come in the form of a downloadable pdf which is well illustrated and well organized. There is also a video where you can watch Jane work on the lesson as well. I love watching Jane work. Her videos are really clear and you can see everything she is doing since they are shot from above. If you are doing videos to teach something this is very important. SHOOT FROM ABOVE! Believe it or not there are some classes out there that are not shot this way!

So anyway, this first lesson is about line. I have always worked with line but not in this way. Here we had to lay the paint in first and then add the line letting the line flow around and among the shapes . I found this to be so freeing! What a concept! Without further ado here are my practice pieces for lesson #1. These are all acrylic on paper with the addition of my newest addicting art supply, the white Signo Gel Pen. How I love this pen!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vase in Landscape

Vase in Landscape by Roberta Warshaw
Vase in Landscape, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
Click here to purchase.

Sometimes I will toil away at a piece and seemingly never get it right. At other times a piece falls in place so quickly that I hardly remember working on it. Like this one. This has everything I want a piece to have in it. Landscape qualities, good values, nice assymetry and a nice juicy grey in the background. I didn't have to paint over anything or cover anything up.

Go figure.

Most times it is not that easy but I 'll take it when I can!

Stay warm everyone!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Vase With 3 Pods- Collage on panel-8 x 8 $100

It has been so cold here and so snowy that I haven't been out of the house in days. This is not like me since I am usually out and about every day running errands, going swimming etc. I am hating this feeling of being housebound but walking around in the snow is too hard around here. I end up in the busy streets and it becomes too dangerous. Hopefully by Monday everyone will have their sidewalks shoveled and I will be mobile again. I haven't been swimming in over two weeks. I don't enjoy going when the schools are on vacation. The pool becomes a yucky mess.

All is not lost however. I have been busy in my studio every day which is a joy in itself. I am still cutting up some of the gelli prints into collage materials. Some of the colors are  really wonderful. So much so in fact that I have begun using the plate just to make colored papers. I don't use any textures other than the one that comes from the brayer. I mix up a nice color and get it as smooth as I can and then print it. By not cleaning the plate I can keep adding color and getting new and exciting mixtures that all relate to one another. I like that there are no brushstrokes either as these can be problematic sometimes when I don't want texture at all.

Array of colored papers
Strips collaged onto one another
In these two photos you can see what I am talking about. The top photo is of the solid colors and the second photo is where I have taken two different but related colors and appliqued them together. I get a lovely organic stripe that way and can choose my colors carefully.

That is it for today. Stay warm everyone and for those of you already in warm places, enjoy your good fortune!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bird With Vase

Bird with Vase-Collage on panel 8" x 8"- $100


My new work is beginning to pile up all over the house and studio. So I thought for the new year I would add a way for someone to buy my art directly from my blog since that seems to be where I get the most visitors. I am still going to blog but with this added touch. If something comes of it fine. If not, well, I will still post it and it will continue to pile up!

Next week I begin my 6 week online class called "Extreme Composition" with Jane Davies. I am really looking forward to this class and it is my hope that I can add a bit more abstraction to my work through this class. I'll keep you posted as to how the class goes.