Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Sound of One Hand Slapping my Forehead

I've been busy working on my white still-life. Sunday's breakthrough involved the realization that I had to put some honest-to-goodness color in the highlights. It's tempting to just use pure white and nothing else for those really bright points of light, but sometimes you need an appreciable dose of alizarin or cobalt blue or cadmium orange in there, too. (Any veteran painters reading this are probably thinking, "Duh, Sharon.") Anyway, I hope to finish up within a week, and should be posting an image before too long.

In the meantime, here is a little inspirational reading material, courtesy of NPR and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Edward Gordon / Show News

I just love today's post, "Second Backyard," by Edward Gordon. I spent some time in Berlin, especially the eastern part of the city, during the late 90s. I saw several examples of what he describes in his post. These little places had a sort of "Secret Garden" effect whenever I stumbled on them... some of them are still very clear in my memory. The painting itself is very appealing to me because of the substance or weight of the image despite its small size and relative simplicity. I could learn a few things from this the next time I attempt an interior.

Also, good news, I will be doing a show in Asheville, NC at New Grace Centre Gallery. The show will hang for six weeks or so, starting around March 14. I'll update the "News" page on my website soon with all the details. You heard it here first.
For all of you neighbors, I still hope to do a show in Richmond later this year, if I can produce enough work, and find a place that will have me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back to work

Last night I was busy discovering some more challenges associated with using brightly colored backgrounds. I actually resorted to troweling on the paint with a palette knife... and normally, I'm not that kind of girl. But hey, if we're going to experiment, let's experiment. Anyway, despite my frustration, this technique might produce some interesting results.

I did this shallot with two halves a while back and intended to post it last week, before our little electricity incident. Sorry about the glare.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Long, Dark Night of the Apartment

Well, thank goodness, we got our heat and light back after a very chilly week. Alas, I must get on the road tomorrow, so maybe back at the easel on Sunday night...
In the meantime, here is something to look at. This is a good example of what happens when I don't concentrate enough on my subject. Things turn out looking like a cartoon. The pear was tasty, though.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

In the dark

I have discovered that one of the drawbacks associated with doing an underpainting is the drying time required between layers. It's been so cold lately that my crazy little experiment has just barely dried enough to start working on again.

I was all excited to get back to work last night, and then we lost power in the apartment. We have known for a while that the wiring in our old building needed an update. Guess it can't be put off any longer. We only have two functional outlets and only two rooms are lit... and they do not include my studio or the hall where this still-life is set up. We don't have access to our computer (or the TV or the stereo), so I might not be posting an image this week. Hope this situation gets resolved soon. In the meantime, I guess we'll be spending some time warming the local barstools.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I can't believe it... My office closed for the afternoon due to problems with the water.
Here is a little something I did last week.

On Friday, I was reading my Vermeer book and found some interesting information about his use of layering paint and glazes to achieve different color effects. For example, by putting a transparent ultramarine layer on top of a raw umber layer, he created a nice warm blue for a subject's dress. This got me thinking about how little I have experimented with this technique. Always a glutton for punishment, I decided that I wanted to have a little fun with my imprimatura for a new still-life I started over the weekend. Although the subject matter is mostly shades of white, the underpainting might lead one to believe that I have started hanging around with a bunch of colorblind Fauvists. It looks so strange that I feel compelled to share.

Can't wait to see where this goes.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


I found Jonathan Lethem's article, a different take on the idea of plagarism, very enjoyable. You can find it here:
I especially enjoyed the section called "Surrounded by Signs," in which this sentence appears: "We're surrounded by signs; our imperative is to ignore none of them." (An idea borrowed from from Steve Erickson's novel Our Ecstatic Days.)

This brings to mind Italo Calvino's story "A Sign in Space," in which our narrator describes how he made the first sign ever to exist in space:
"...It's easy for you young ones to talk, but in that period I didn't have any examples to follow, I couldn't say I'll make it the same or I'll make it different, there were no things to copy, nobody knew what a line was, straight or curved, or even a dot, or a protuberance or a cavity. I conceived the idea of making a sign, that's true enough, or rather, I conceived the idea of considering a sign a something that I felt like making, so when, at that point in space and not in another, I made something, meaning to make it a sign, it turned out that I really had made a sign, after all." It soon comes to pass that another space traveller starts following behind, and confounding things by making his own space graffiti, and erasing the inspired handiwork of the narrator.

I think Lethem is correct in observing that many artists - any discipline - fail to acknowledge the degree to which they are influenced by other artists and the culture as a whole, instead attributing their work to some private, inner spring of inspiration. As he points out, many artists are drawn to their pursuits first by falling in love with the art... someone else's creation. I find that comforting. It makes the whole thing seem a little less solitary.