Tulips, grapes and Pears

Every year (except this one) I have bought tulips and planted them in large pots so I could have painting material in the spring. This past October was so warm  and dry that I knew it would be hard to grow  tulips because they require at least 6 weeks of cold weather to bloom.  So I dug out my trusty artificial tulips and found a few photographs of tulips to paint this picture.

Here’s a technique tip:  You can remove acrylic varnish with alcohol but you can make corrections on top of Liquitex gloss or matt medium varnish.  Remember to reseal the entire painting with varnish when you have finished.

Sunflowers

I love to paint sunflowers.  I have done a number of pictures of sunflowers and never seem to tire of painting them.

I learned a neat thing from Homer Allbritten, an artist friend now deceased, about using a “mother” color.  He said to add a single color in all mixtures throughout the painting and this would easily achieve a unifying effect.  I don’t think I always do this, but I am more pleased with my paintings when I remember to do so!

Tulips, Pears and a Pitcher

More artificial flowers used as models.  The pears are also in my inventory of artificial fruits and flowers.
Richard Schmid, an artist I admire, said that a painter should ask herself several questions:  Which side of the subject is lightest?  Is the color clear and sharp or diffused? Where are the lost edges?  What are the most powerful colors?  Where is the thick paint going?  Where is the thin paint going?

White roses, cups and vase

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This was my first try in painting a decorated vase!  This painting is done in acrylics.  The roses are actually artificial flowers I bought at Michaels.  I have quite a collection of artificial flowers that I use as stand-ins for the real thing.  This enables me to paint flowers in the worst of winter weather.  The artificial flowers made now are stunning!

I painted the Chinese flower vase first with white mixed with raw sienna, and carefully did the shading.  Only after I was satisfied with the form did I paint the Chinese design on top.

Zinnias in a water bowl

I did another study of zinnias from my front yard but this time I tried to show the stems in water.  This was hard to do, and I looked at a number of other artists’ paintings to see how they did it.  I think that one of the tricks I learned was to paint the surface of the water in the bowl first as an ellipse, then to paint the water in the bowl and the glass reflections.  After this, I painted the stems stopping them on the water surface.  Next, under the ellipse I painted the rest of the stems.  The water does distort the placement of the bottom stems some.

Old tree by creek in January snow

This painting was actually started several years ago and I finally got it finished!  Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what I did wrong and make the corrections.

One of the artists I most admire is Richard Schmid.  In his book Alla Prima,  he said that muddy color always turns out to be a color that is an inappropriate temperature– a too cool color within a warm shadow.

I have just published another songbook!

Velvet Nights and Other Songs includes eight original  songs and is now available as a spiral bound print book or as an e-Book.  The cover is my art. Details about the book can be seen here.  A YouTube video for Velvet Nights can be seen here.  The YouTube video for My Red Hair, another song in the songbook, can be seen here.

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Velvet Nights and Other Songs was my first songbook and is being reissued in a revised Second Edition. The songs in this collection are about spiritual transformation.  I am influenced by Brugh Joy’s book, Avalanche, for insight into the Fall from Grace as neither mistake nor sin, but a movement from unity to duality.

The song Velvet Nights portrays a woman’s fall from grace and her resulting psychic move from unity with the loved one to independence as she faces the dawn of her new consciousness.  Just as Velvet Nights refers to Eden (“we enter Paradise”) and the Fall (“dark shadows over our love”) so also does the song A Distant Eden. This song pursues the earlier reference to Genesis with references to the serpent in the garden.  Eden is lost in this song, and death is hollow.

My Red Hair is about my own attempts to deny aging and death by dying my hair as I try to “delay the black night of silent time–the night of profound silence.”

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Click here for a downloadable printable file of the first page of my-red-hair-2.

Another song in the book, The House of Spirits, is truly autobiographical.  While at the University at Fayetteville, Arkansas, I lived in an old Victorian house on Leverett Street.  One night in October I saw the spirit of a woman without a face.

I painted the cover design for this collection to reveal my personality structure—a massive white wall of pragmatism and rationality supported only by a flimsy pole at the base of which coils a serpent, my shadow.  In the distance is the longed-for Church illuminated by white light.  Alas, the distance between the self and salvation is dark with sinister rust-colored bushes encircling the self.