Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Desert is My Muse

Desert Muse #1
The desert has captured me and there is no turning back. For this painting I covered the panel with torn pieces of rice paper first and then laid in a watercolor wash over that. Then I began honing in on the plants and the snake.

If I cannot be in the desert physically,  I can keep painting my memories of it and keep myself going that way.

I am following the blog  of Sirena Dufault  who is hiking the Arizona trail alone and it is captivating me like nothing else. I even have a map on my wall of her locations along the trail. Call me obsessed. It is OK. I am.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Abstraction Class

Untitled Abstraction
I am currently taking an online class with Karine Swenson called "Introduction to Abstract Painting". It is an interesting class for me to take since my love of nature is always quite evident in my work. I have a hard time making "nothing" look like "something". I always want to add a flower or a tree or something from the natural world. Even in this abstract piece I feel that the natural world is coming through loud and clear.

I think that I  told you I recently found some interesting books and videos by Nancy Reyner that have helped me learn some new techniques and in learning them I am finding them to be very helpful in painting abstractly.

In this piece I used high solid gel colored with fluid paint. While it was still wet, I incised lines into it and I then used some interference gold paint to enhance the lines.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

More Flicker problems....

Mountain by Roberta Warshaw
Mountain, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
This from Flickr today: "We are deprecating the support for sharing to Blogger on 3/25."

What on earth? First of all, I ask you, who wrote that? Who uses the word "deprecate like that? Call me the word police but deprecate? Really?

Wouldn't it have been simpler to say "we no longer support" or we are eliminating such and such? Grrrr.......

But that is beside the point. I am starting to dislike all the changes made by Flickr more and more. I use that feature all the time. I go to my Flickr site, find my photo and blog from there. I like doing it that way because then if people click on the photo they can go to my Flickr site where they can see more of my work.

And why are they still supporting Pinterest then? Let's face it, of all the sharing sites Pinterest is really the one that is the most controversial. I don't really like the idea of someone sharing my work without my permission, do you? If they were going to eliminate a feature, why not Pinterest instead.

Anyway, off my soapbox. I'll live.

Still feeling the love from the desert as far as my painting is going. I did find a couple of wonderful videos by Nancy Reyner that explains what all the gels, pastes and mediums do. You can find them here if you are confused as I was.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Cairn of Sorts

cairn by Roberta Warshaw
cairn, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
One of the things I really enjoyed about hiking in the mountains were all the rock cairns along the trail. They are usually put there for a reason. If the trail gets confusing and you are not certain which way to go they are there as a directional sign for you to follow.

I found them both helpful and mysterious at the same time. I would always wonder who took the time to put them there. They are always built so carefully and well balanced.

Of course mine is not so well balanced but I take some artistic license here. Off balance is my thing after all.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Catalinas

catalinas by Roberta Warshaw
Ventana Canyon
catalinas, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.
The mountains surrounding Tucson are truly spectacular. There are the Santa Catalinas to the north, where we were staying. To the west are the Tucson Mountains, in the east are the Rincons and to the south are the Santa Ritas.

Each mountain range is very unique looking. On this trip I could actually tell the difference between the Catalinas and the Rincons!

As I have mentioned, I did a lot of hiking in the mountains as well as the desert this time. So I had a good chance to really get a sense of place. This makes all the difference to me in painting something. I need to surround myself with it and feel it deeply.

I hope I am able to keep the inspiration going for a while. In this piece, which is not quite finished yet, I tried something new. I am not sure if you remember my fiasco with encaustics a few years ago. I had purchased all the necessary supplies and then couldn't work with them due to allergies. Well, here I am using something called high solid gel in the acrylic family. By adding a light touch of yellow to it, you can get a faux encaustic look. I have added many layers and even inscribed my lines and back filled them with more darkly colored high solid gel.

Of course it will never be encaustic but then again, you can leave it in the trunk of a car and it won't melt! LOL!

On my wish list when I am in Tucson for longer than two weeks I would like very much to visit Tumamoc Hill and join the plein air sketching group found here.

Hoping for some warmer weather soon.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back to the Cold

IMG_1424 by Roberta Warshaw
IMG_1424, a photo by Roberta Warshaw on Flickr.

I am back from my wonderful time away in Arizona. The weather was warm and sunny the entire time. We had one rainy day which was fine since we are aware that every drop of water in the desert is so precious. In fact the day after it rained we went hiking and almost had to turn back due to some raging rivers that were not there the day before!

I discovered some new things about myself this time. I discovered that I love to hike in the wilderness. Some of the hikes I took surprised even me! I never expected I could do them but with my trusty walking stick I was invigorated and confident.

Each time I come back it gets more difficult to leave but this time was the hardest it has ever been. I think because we were really living there in a condo, cooking meals and feeling really at home as opposed to staying in a hotel where you always feel you are just visiting.

My husband and I both want to retire out there when he is no longer working. We will either be snow birds or we will move out there. We haven't decided yet. We are on the fence.

There were many things I thought long and hard about out there. I am not getting any younger. Sixty four this year. I felt so free out there. And I can see my artwork really changing out there. The light is everything. I am so inspired there.

It was nice being stress free for two entire weeks. But now I am here and will have to manage it somehow.