Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Long Time Comin'

16" x 20" Acrylic on board [Click to enlarge]

Well..I tried a practice portrait before this.  It went through the mannequin stage, the zombie stage and finally, the space alien stage, before I chucked it in the corner.

So much for that.

But the idea of a portrait nagged at me.  My sister-in-law had been bugging me about doing a portrait of her literally for decades.  And finally I felt capable of painting it.

Did it look like her?  It did to me.  I did the small child test. Casually, showing little interest and yawning slightly, I pointed to the picture and asked a small child, "Who's that?"

I am pleased to say I passed the test.

My sister-in-law's reaction?  "Now you paint me - when I'm not young anymore?!"

Aw well.  She took it home anyway.


A book in my library that I've spent hours perusing over the years is "A Painterly Approach" by Mary Beth McKenzie.  I just love the way she paints.  But all that time reading her advice and viewing her wonderful paintings showed me nothing at all compared to a demonstration by the artist I found online at the Youtube channel of the Art Students League of New York.  There is just something about watching an artist work.  At the same channel, I found a demonstration by Sharon Sprung that was just as informative and inspiring.  I hope you find them as rewarding:

Mary Beth McKenzie:

 Sharon Sprung:

Thank you Art Students League, for providing this resource to we country folks (because everywhere outside of NYC is the country, right?)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Special Mother's Day

Watercolor on 8" x 10" Daler-Rowney Langton Prestige NOT paper
Beneath the Bamboo with Dragonflies (Click to Enlarge)

Motherhood.  The word often brings to mind the comfort, joy and security of our own mothers.  And this is wonderful.  But it is more than that.

There are mothers that must face the loss of a child.  This is a loss that does not end.  There are mothers that must cope on a daily basis with extraordinary physical, mental, or behavioral needs of their child.

In both instances, there is a loss of expectations, of hopes and of dreams, but still these moms persevere and provide as they can.

This post is for them, and for my wife, among them, on Mother's Day.

So for you special mothers, for all of you, is a poem. And I hope you'll forgive me, but it was written by a man.  It is not peaceful, not even optimistic really, but defiant.  Because you must think of yourself too.

And whether or not you are a mother, or a parent, you must cope with life's challenges, and this poem can be for you too.

the laughing heart
by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life.
don't let it be clubbed into dank
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you
know them, take them.
you can't beat death but
you can beat death
in life,
and the more often you
learn to do it,
the more light there will
your life is your life.
know it while you have
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight

[Note:  I painted this watercolor at Fairchild Tropical Gardens, as a gift for my wife on Mother's Day.  She loves bamboo and dragonflies, as well she should.   Happy Mother's Day!]