Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I'd invented it, because it is very true." ~Audrey Hepburn

Friday, December 23, 2011

Greetings of the Holiday

©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

Could it be that the shopping is finished and the cooking will begin? Beep! Time's up!

I want to thank each and every reader who has scanned my pages of thoughts through the year and I wish all of you peace, health, and happiness with family and friends during the coming holidays and the new year ahead. May it be a sweet time for all of us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thought for Thursday

Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that. Charlie Brown: What is it you want? Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" 1965 Charles Schultz

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Found: Some Time to Paint

Winter Nest ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
10x14 Watercolor on Arches paper
With not much time to give to painting, I stole about 45 minutes from a busy day to paint this still life again. It's already out and available so it was a no brainer to just go to it. Yes, this one took a little longer to complete.

The method of painting quickly that I've managed to work out is keeping me in the game. The least amount of water possible doesn't saturate the paper allowing me to move on to another area of the work while the just painted area dries. Once dried I go back and add details. The pace moves fairly quickly.

Christmas is fast approaching and there are things that must get done. Painting is one of the things that just may not happen again for a little while. So the fact that I was able to squeeze it in is a big deal.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Photo for Friday - Time for a Small Watercolor Painting

Winter Cardinal ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
8x10 Watercolor on Arches paper
No time to yap, I have shopping to do! No time to paint either, but I did find twenty minutes to paint this holiday type of still life. I was determined to get something, anything on paper this week. Next week is another story.

Do you see my little friends in this painting? I'm talking about my friends the apple and the beach shell. Just had to pop them in someplace here.

Happy shopping time now!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don't know how paralyzing that is, that stare of the blank canvas, which says to the painter You can't do a thing. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of "you can't" once and for all." ~ Vincent van Gogh

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Surprise Package of Christmas Pudding

Last week I had a delightful surprise I wanted to share, but with the latest watercolor painting just finished I thought to wait until now. And anyway, I needed to actually have possession of the surprise so I could take photos and really share!

Today I received a package in the mail. Around this time of year lots of packages start arriving. Some are from online shopping I do, some are my kids' shopping. Usually I am not surprised by the mail. This time I was looking at an unexpected delivery. When I looked closer I noticed a stamp that read Royal Mail. It was then that I remembered!

A blogging/artist buddy from the United Kingdom, Pat Elliott Paintings, had a give-away on her blog recently. It was a small watercolor painting of Christmas pudding. Readers were encouraged to comment and one of them would be chosen to receive the pretty painting.

Her cute dog, Missy, chose my name as the winner by eating her dog treat, where underneath was a number corresponding to a name. Imagine my surprise when I learned I was the lucky winner! I never win anything. Isn't it cute that Pat's return address label has Missy's picture on it? It's adorable.

(You must visit Pat's blog to see her post with the photograph of Missy waiting for the go-ahead to eat a treat, and especially to view her paintings. Pat does wonderful work.)

Enclosed with the painting was a Christmas card. I think it's such a nice thing to receive mail. Mail that you must open and read is just a wonderful thing, warm and cozy, as long as it's happy mail. Email is not the same, but the times are what they are.

And so here is my prize. Until I get myself out there to get a frame my Christmas pudding painting will stand on my fireplace mantel with my holiday collection of St. Nicholas' and Santa's in it's place of honor.

Thank you Pat, for this bright spot in my day. I will now brag to everyone how I have a friend across the Pond who sent me holiday wishes with her lovely work. I am humbled by Christmas pudding.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunflower Painting is Finished, and What I Learned

It's Friday and time to show you photos of the latest finished watercolor painting. I had some other fun news to share, but you will have to wait. Painting is happening and the sooner I get this one out of here the easier it will be to get the next one working and I will tell you what was so much fun.

First twenty minutes

There were a few things I learned while painting this work. Firstly, the height of my art table is too high. The dining room table is lower when I painted there, waist level while standing. This was not comfortable and I felt as if I couldn't get away from it by standing or sitting on a stool. It will need to be lowered if I'm going to paint there.

Secondly, the desk lamp is not natural even though I have a daylight bulb and an incandescent one. It's just way to bright and also too close to the work to gauge paint colors the way I wanted. I persevered.

Second twenty minutes

The third thing I learned is about the paper. After using Lanaquarelle, then Arches, I can tell the difference in quality. I bought this Canson tablet on sale, it was larger than I was using, and figured it'd come in handy when I was ready to work larger. 

Also it's a pad, not a block, and if not affixed to a surface it curls and rolls when wet. The painting surface is not that great either, leaving weird brush strokes. Well, I guess it's okay if you want those brush strokes to show. 

I'm using two different paint companies, MaimeriBlue and Windsor&Newton. When I painted a layer over an area previously painted, the layer beaded up. Was it the paint? Was it the paper? Or does that happen? I thought it was strange.

Blue Vase With Sunflowers ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
15x20 Watercolor on Canson paper
After I finished I took photographs while the work was still attached to the table. My problems were the same I had while painting: unnatural and too bright light, too close to get a good shot. I took the painting off the table, went to the dining room table and the nice northern exposure picture window to take a photo. See the difference? Washed out color in artificial light, more true to the paints in natural light.

The fourth thing I learned is that I'm getting comfortable using my photos to paint from. I don't want to get too cozy because then it'll take time to get back to painting from life.

I'll figure it out one of these days. In the meanwhile I'm still in the game. 

Thoughts for Thursday

“If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.” ~Win Borden

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back to Painting the Sunflowers

First twenty to thirty minute session
So yesterday's painting sale was fun. Now back to business. Back to the drawing table. The sunflowers await. Twenty to thirty minutes of painting time is all I allowed myself on the weekend. It was just enough to get something on the paper. Something is better than nothing. Yesterday was a bust.

On my Sunday session, while the painting dried, I played with my beads. That's always fun too. I had to get away or I would over do the work. Even if I use a timer, my brain just ignores it and I keep on going. Bad idea most times.

But then I can become distracted by so many other things that I never go back to the painting. I'm on a schedule here. I have 100 paintings to get done!

Today's twenty minute session
Today I was determined to get to it. Maybe someone can explain it to me, but while I am painting I really don't like what I see. Yeah, it's the process I keep telling myself, but shouldn't the end result be somewhat pleasing after all that? I'm not just mindlessly drawing in a coloring book, there should be real art at the end, right?

After I photograph the work for all of you to see, I am surprised by it. I don't dislike it. There are areas I need to push, but overall it looks better than I thought.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Painting a Garden Gate

 Garden Gate 7x10 Watercolor on Canson paper
©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis
The post I planned for today was thrown out of the water when I awoke to find out a watercolor landscape painting in my Etsy shop sold over the weekend. Allow me to bask in my glory for a moment.

Honestly, I wasn't sure I would even get to paint on the latest work during the last few days. There was so much going on besides the usual running around.  I've decided to change the color of the foyer of my house, and when is that going to happen? Why do I do these last minute things?

Anyway, I'll tell you what I did to the latest painting tomorrow. Right now I have a SALE! Yay for me!

In the beginning of my watercolor journey, after the horrible intro to watercolor class a while back, I was determined to push myself to learn. The paints I was using were student grade, and the paper wasn't much better. Besides, it was all new to me. What did I learn at that class? Nothing. Imagine my guts, taking myself to paint in watercolors en plein air? What was I thinking?

Well, I did ok. Watercolor painting is difficult enough and I had to be outside with it.

Near the end of that summer, I took my kids to Old Westbury Gardens and Mansion near my area. It's a beautiful Gold Coast of Long Island, NY mansion and formal gardens. The gardens alone are breath taking in size and variety of flowers. The house is so large I could put my house inside the living room.

The weather that day was beautiful and we really enjoyed roaming around. While my guys looked around the garden I sat in a spot by this garden wall with it's intricate wrought iron gate and tried to sketch the scene. I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked the outcome of this. At the time I really wanted to push myself to paint more, what did I know about process?

A few paintings are in the Etsy shop I have, along with the bead jewelry I make and some small knitted items. Etsy may not be the right venue for fine artwork, but until I get myself together with my own website, some items have a home there. Imagine my surprise when I saw a notice that I had a sale.

It's a small work, but it will make another someone happy. I'm already thrilled, once more.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Resistance to Painting is Ridiculous

New painting
After a morning of errands, and plenty of procrastination, I kicked myself into gear after lunch to start working on a watercolor painting of the last of the sunflower photographs. I remembered I had a 15x20 pad of Canson watercolor paper and decided I didn't need to shop for paper after all. Not today.

The only thing about this paper is that it's loose sheets, not a block like I've been using. To work with sheets of watercolor paper I needed to tape it to a surface so that when it dries it lays flat.

There was no board this size to use as a surface so I taped it to my art table. You know what that means? It means I painted in my little studio. Can you tell I had the desk lamp on? It's not the best light, but it will have to do.

Today I had a plan. After a brief pencil sketch just to place the flower heads on the paper, I wanted to use only the brush strokes for the petals and leaves. I tried to use just enough water to put the paint where I wanted it to go, using color for the lights and shadows, without drawing them in pencil.

Other times when I pencil in my composition I indicate where the shadows should go. Not this time. The brush stroke was dominant and the color choices developed the shadows. Watercolor is a tricky medium. But I guess every medium has it's tricks. It's up to the artist to discover how to use them.

Twenty minutes was the allotted time, but I may have painted past that. I didn't use a timer today. When I felt I was too on top of this work, I stepped away to look over my table with jewelry supplies to distract myself. That was fun. More colors to look at, rather than ruin this painting with overwork.

When I said I kicked myself into gear, it was an understatement. There's no reason for me to put up road blocks. It's not laziness. It's not boredom. It is resistance. I dragged myself to paint, with the little inner-child-artist having a tantrum and holding her breath until she's blue.

It's so ridiculous.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To Beat Resistance: The Timer Is My Friend

©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

Here is the last of the sunflower photographs I took during the vegetable share season. It's kind of Vincent van Gogh-ish. When I get a chance to buy larger watercolor paper I will be painting from this photo. Did you see I said "when." And "when" will that be?

I could see these sunflowers in oils, too. The oil paints have sat for so long I can't even think about getting them out and painting with them. Yeah, I know, I need a bit of time to look them over, set them up around the palette, but then there's the medium to deal with, a large enough canvas to work on. These are the distractions that stop me in my tracks.

Maybe I will do a small and quick twenty minute watercolor? Well, let's see where it goes.

These are the things I grapple with during my day. The road blocks are my own. Mr. Resistance can wreak havoc on plans.

Watercolor paints are so easy to get out, paint, clean up, and put away. The oils are out, the painting sits wet for days, the air needs to be well ventilated because of the chemicals in the paints and the medium. Unless I sketch quick with plenty of turpentine so the paints dry faster, this could take time.

Do people still use turpentine any more? That's how long I haven't painted in oils, don't tell on me.

Am I making excuses not to paint at all? Gee, let's see: no watercolor paper large enough, the oils are a pain, I might not have enough time to paint. Sound familiar? Resistance is stepping out into view here.

Now we are on the verge of December, and all that comes with the holidays. How can painting be a priority if there are so many other things to get done?

The thought running through my head right now is this: The timer is my friend. The timer is my friend.

Monday, November 28, 2011

No Thanksgiving Hype, Great

Thanksgiving is one holiday that really doesn't get much hype. Unless, of course, you fall into that set of people who must shop. I am definitely NOT one of those people. The powers that be can't sell anything big for this particular holiday except the food items that are needed.

The focus is on Christmas, Hanukkah, maybe New Year's Eve. However, many stores opened at 9PM on Thanksgiving day this year. In the past, this was unheard of. I think it's ridiculous. Can't people go one day without shopping? It's bad enough the stores open their doors at 5AM.

What? Do people have to throw out their company because they are going shopping at 9PM? Do they say "Sorry, hurry and finish that piece of pie because I am out of here in an hour"?

I like a leisurely holiday. I enjoy the preparations, the dinner, whether in my own house or at family. Here in NY, the Macy's Parade is televised so if you're not there you can still see it.

My habit is to catch glimpses of the parade while preparing things for the dinner. It's Christmas theme makes it the precursor to the big holiday to come. If you think about it, Thanksgiving is not the focus at all. Too bad.

The end of the parade signals the big curtain call, Santa Claus on his sleigh with all the reindeer and elves. It's really a sight, and he's usually great. It's as if he's a real person, very natural.

I get misty eyed seeing the Santa at the end. Something about him catches me by surprise. Good thing I don't have a TV in my kitchen since I had it done over, or I'd be all choked up watching him.

I'm sure holidays are heavy for most people. The present is heavy, as well as the past. Is it the traditions, the anticipation, the expectations, conscious and subconscious? The things we used to do, things we still do, things that are new to do, things we must do, the people we did those things with, the stories we remember, and the people we're doing them with today.


There are things we do and remember a time doing these same things, but the clothes, the era, were different, are different. I'm not that nostalgic, nor do I want to go back in time. I am just aware that things are different and changing.

Am I different? I supposed I am, but in many ways, no, I am not. I am still who I always was. Santa at the end of the parade made me misty eyed as a little kid, too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Photos for Friday

Here is a small sample of items handmade by me! Visit my Etsy shop and my Facebook page for more items and contact information if you are interested in purchasing anything you fancy.

Hand Knit Baby Bonnet in Red from 6 months and up

Hand Knit Baby Bonnet in Soft Yellow from 6 months and up

Unisex Knotted Bracelet with various Greek Mykonos beads

Women's Strung Bead Bracelet with Turquoise and Glass beads

Latest bracelets for Men and Women

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Shell Has Company!

Shell Has Company 7x10 Watercolor on Arches paper
©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
Isn't it nice that my beach shell has found itself in another painting with company? I don't know what it is about that shell that I seem to paint it so often.

Maybe it reminds me of the day at the beach when I found it? Maybe it's because of the little bit of seaweed that clings to the underside? Is it because it's cracked?

Then there's the apple. I'm intrigued by the different colors I find in every apple I paint. The veggie share gave me this pumpkin-type thing. I like the color of it.

Whatever pulls me, I must oblige.

I had planned to paint this still life set up larger, but guess what? No paper! The small Arches block I was saving to take with me on painting excursions was ready and waiting, so that's what I used instead. A trip to the art supply store will have to happen sooner rather than later.

Twenty minutes of painting this and I was finished. Damp brush, not a lot of water, and sketching is possible. I used two brushes, a medium large round and a small outline type brush, to paint with. We all have many different brushes, but lately it's been these two. Funny how we can pare down to get the most out of a minimum of items to work with.

It's like having a closet full of clothes, and I only wear the same ten or so items all the time.

The same thing with painting. All the colors on the palette and I keep using the same five colors, and these two brushes.

Anyway, I painted. It's a reason to cheer! Except I won't because I never know when Mr. Resistance will turn the corner. Shhhhhh.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Photo for Friday

Well, at least there were some things I liked about the vegetable share I did this year. Apples being one of the good things..

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thought for Thursday

‎"Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50.” ~Edgar Degas, artist

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Art is Loved

When I signed onto the vegetable CSA for the season I planned to receive flowers and eggs as well as the fruits and vegetables they offered. It's been interesting to see the different produce I brought home. Some things I never saw before and never want to see again, to be really honest. Let's say it's been an experience.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the flowers. Those sunflowers had an effect on me from the start. I liked the jaunty way they sat in my vase and I just had to photograph them. The life of fresh flowers is fleeting, so to preserve their beauty I had to take photos. Did I think I would paint them? Yeah, the idea came across. Did I think I would be enamored of sunflowers? Nope.

SOLD Sunflowers Outside ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

This painting was the first of the bunch and it was memorable because I painted it in great weather in my backyard garden. It just happened to be a beautiful day with painting happening.

At the end of the summer I added it to my portfolio of work that I brought to the workshop I attended. Did I think it would be purchased during that weekend? Not at all, but that's exactly what happened, as I said in the post about the workshop. Crazy.

Me, my painting, and happy new owner Grace!

Grace, my table-mate fell in love with my painting and had to have it (her words)! Of course I sold it to her, and we took photographs of the moment. It was a lot of fun. (By the way, Grace makes beautiful pottery and owns her own pottery studio The Potter's Wheel. Visit her site and Etsy shop when you can.)

Sunflowers Outside hanging in Grace's home

Just this week Grace posted to Facebook a photograph of the newly matted, framed and hung painting in it's place of honor in her home. It was a wonderful feeling to know that painting is loved by someone other than me, it's maker. Doesn't it look happy? I think it does. And so am I.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Process Leads to Finished

Four Sunflowers 14x20 Watercolor on Lanaquarelle paper
©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
You see, the process, when implemented by the twenty minute time slots, leads to finished product. It's a coincidence that I just read something to the effect that artists with a day job should fit creativity time in their day just like this. They should set a timer for twenty minutes and push headlong into painting, or whatever.


I finished this today. Believe me, if I don't put it away right now I will find some other spot to play with on this work. After I took this photograph I made a small area of the background darker to pop the yellow flower petals a little bit more.

That is my downfall. I tell myself I'm finished and then after I clean the brushes and my palette I spy an area I think needs a flick of the brush. Many a work has been ruined by such impulsiveness.

Forget it, I've already uploaded this photo and that's it. The little brush stuff I just did will have to be discovered by someone else, hopefully a happy art collector.

Just putting it out there into the Universe, hoping the Universe hears that little plea for a buyer to show up and give a nice painting a new home. That's all.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Process Works, Baby

As it turns out, I was extremely out of the loop for a few days. The good part of it was that I found twenty minutes to paint on this latest work each day. Imagine that? I know, I know, you're probably saying to yourself "this girl doesn't knock it off with the twenty minutes thing." 

Really, if I hadn't discovered I could paint and keep the process going in short amounts of time I'd be under the table by now, completely out of the scene. But here I am. Everyday I'm shuffling, chugging away, Process, baby!

Every day I dipped the brush in the paints and scribbled a little here, threw some paint over there. I am so thankful to the inner-artist in me who decided to take a lot of photos of these sunflowers when they came with my vegetable share. To tell the truth-this was the best part of the CSA share. The veggies? Eh.

When the baby slept I painted. When I came in from errands, I painted. While I cooked dinner, I painted. Before I ran out of the house in the morning, I painted. Twenty minutes, ten minutes, whatever little iota of time I could afford, I worked on my process. 

I might have to buy myself some sunflowers after these photos are all used for paintings. Either that or I may paint them all over again, but using oil paints, and painting really big. It's an idea.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thought for Thursday

“Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite -- getting something down.” – Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back to Twyla

Solitude ©2009 Dora Sislian Themelis

There hasn't been much time for reading lately. Painting during the day when I can, and knitting at night takes up my time. I really enjoy reading a good book, too. (And a "real" book at that!)

The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp is a quick read though, and I'd prefer to take my time with it to savor her thoughts of making one's art a habit. I have read ahead almost to the end, but I haven't taken notes. When I read The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, I took plenty of notes, did the exercises and tried to be a good student. This time around I'm not being quite as good. I'm just reading.

However, I am taking away some very helpful points and ideas. There are things I already know about myself that Tharp discusses in her book, one idea is to build up a tolerance for solitude. Well, I've got that one down well. I know I need it and can do it very well, thanks.

I can imagine that there are some people to whom quietness and solitude could not be a good thing. Not for a long stretch anyway.

Tharp says: "Some people are autophobic. They're afraid to be alone. The thought of going into a room to work all by themselves pains them in a way that is, at first, paralyzing within the room, and then keeps them from entering the room altogether. It's not the solitude that slays a creative person. It's all that solitude without a purpose. You're alone, you're suffering, and you don't have a good reason for putting yourself through that need a goal."

It's impossible to me to be miserable in a room all by myself. No suffering here. I'm a person who enjoys my own company. I have many things around me that keep me busy and give me inspiration. My goal is the solitude itself within which I can then create.

Some people, for the life of them, cannot be alone for any stretch of time. There is no goal. They are lonely and sick without interaction with other individuals.

"Alone is a fact, a condition where no one else is around. Lonely is how you feel about that."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Now I am Famous, Sort of

A funny thing happened on my way to my painting spot. I got side tracked by iPad. It's been happening lately. That pesky iPad makes me take detours and it's not pretty. The convenience of having computer accessibility anywhere in my house could be a good thing, but it's both good and bad.

I don't need more distractions than I already can handle.

So I found myself in a trance in front of the iPad screen looking at everything this week! Emails, facebook, twitter, the blogs I write for, just everything. Up pops a new email from someone I do not know. Should I open it? Is it spam?

To make a long story kinda short, it was from someone involved in a website called and they read my blog and wanted to feature it on their site in a monthly e-magazine section called Pocketchange "Best of the Web" with a few other neat blogs. How cool is that?

When I made sure it was legit, hey you never know, I responded with Yes! I sent them a blurb about my blog and a photo, the one posted here today.

It feels nice to be recognized for my writing and painting skills! Gee, this must be my next fifteen minutes of fame right here. Wow, I don't want to get a swelled head or anything like that. Ha ha! Right.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Painting Photo for Friday

Cooper's Farm ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
14x20 Watercolor
Finished another watercolor painting! I am on a roll. Actually, I just wanted this one done with. When I am ready for something else I get antsy to finish and continue. Not like other times when I don't even touch the paints. No, I am trying to behave and keep working.

For each painting session I was still using twenty minute segments, letting the work dry in between. And here I am painting from photographs, too. There was a time I just couldn't do that. The subject had to be live. But the blue tractor was adorable, and I liked the scenery. So there you go.

Now I'm over it. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"It took me forty years to find out that painting is not sculpture." ~ Paul Cezanne, artist

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Painting is Electric Energy

Another day, another painting start
What is it about painting that gets the electricity going? If I could feel like I did after starting this latest watercolor, I would bottle it and drink it every day to keep that momentum going. It is so weird.

After pulling the peach at the beach painting off the watercolor block, I hunted around for the next subject. It could take forever if I didn't start something new immediately, and then I'd be arguing with Mr. Resistance again. You know he'd win, too, right?

Remembering the vacation we took a couple of summers ago out on the east end of Long Island, and some of the great photos I took there, I hunted them up yesterday. Of course, I had a different computer then, which crashed. The photos are in it. No worries, I looked for them here on the blog and started in.

It's a nice, calm scene at Cooper's Farm. I like the tractor. Okay. Something about painting just gave me a jolt that lasted into the evening. I kept thinking about it, and planning my next session wishing I could paint again at around 11PM last night. I mean, I could, but people are around and the painting is sitting in the dining room, not the studio.

Whatever. The feeling is still with me now as I write this. Today is an outside, running around day, so painting will have to wait until I return.

Funny how I decided I needed to try to work from photos rather than life, and now that's all I'm doing. Is it like I'm on a kick or what? Also funny that I have a couple of different gourds from the vegetable share and I completely forgot about painting them. Totally out of my head.

Maybe I will have to also break with my tradition of working on one painting at a time to go ahead and paint those gourds on another block of paper? Ya think? Gee, what a concept!

Sometimes I knock myself out. Whack.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't Prolong the Process

Peach at the Beach with Two Shells, 14x20 Watercolor
©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
If I continue painting on this work I am going to trash it! I am done, done, done! Finished! Telios! C'est Finis! This was the end of the road for the peach at the beach.

I worked on this for the allotted twenty minutes today, let it dry, then started to dig in with some details. What a mistake that was. There is just so much I could do to show these items were sitting on the sand. How do you really make sand look like sand? It isn't easy, and things could get dicey. Again.

I am done with this! Yeah!
Using a really small brush, I began to paint in some dark shadows in the sand and that's where the trouble started. I had to stop myself before ruining this painting.

Overall, the result of the process came off as I wanted it to. The peach pops, as well as the shells. Eh, the sand shadows are passable. It just had to be over. I didn't want to prolong the torture any longer.

As soon as this is completely dry I am going to free it from the watercolor block and put it away. #37 in the 100 paintings challenge is finished.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"I've been doing alot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas. I just think about it." ~ Stephen Wright

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Getting Over the Hump

New work begins
Wednesday is hump day. As in the day in the week that gets us over the hump and into the weekend stretch. Not my favorite day. It only means the quiet will be ending and the hubbub, noisy weekend stuff begins.

My favorite day, as I've said many times already you're probably bored of it, is Monday. Sweet Monday. The day everyone returns to normal.

Anyway, don't pay any attention to me. I am just trying to distract myself from the to-do's and painting with idle chatter from my brain. It's noisy up in there.

After finishing the last painting, I had to find a subject for the next one. The 100 Paintings Challenge is waiting. There were a few more photos of my peach at the beach and I decided to just plow in with one of them. And yeah, it's Wednesday. I lost a few days fooling around with a stomach bug and I need to make up time.

And right now I don't have a lot of that. Painting #37 is waiting.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Photo for Friday and More

Afternoon Sunflowers, 14x20 Watercolor
©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
The latest watercolor painting is finished. Twenty minutes of painting time has it's merits, and it's detractions.

On the one hand, painting for twenty minutes keeps me in line. I can't get too busy in the details to end up trashing my work. It helps that I must step away from the painting to see it better and decide where to work next. And then there's the drying time. All good things so far.

On the other hand I could walk away after twenty minutes of painting and quite possibly never go back. That could last a couple days and I'll never finish the work so I could start another. I'm not the type of person to have a couple of paintings working at the same time, so that's not helpful. I turn to jewelry or knitting if I'm not painting the latest piece. Kind of not good.

All in all the time limit thing has been positive. Ok so, I'm not cranking out painting after painting on a regular basis, or enough to paint the 100 paintings in the year. I'm working toward that goal, but anything could derail that plan.

I made a commitment, and I'd like to see it through, but the larger I paint the less work that gets done. Rather than paint little paintings, which are fine, I want to open up and work larger. Packing a lot of painting on a small surface sometimes doesn't do justice to the work. Little by little I'm working it up in size.

Can twenty minutes translate on a larger surface? With the right brushes, subject, and mindset, maybe it's a Yes. Could I push myself to work every day for the twenty minutes? Or, work all day on one work twenty minutes at a time? I just don't know about that, Artist A.D.D. and all.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires." ~Hedy Lamar, actress

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Every Day I'm Shuffling

Day #2
There's a wild song on the radio that I get a kick out of every time I hear it and one of the lines is the title of this post. I don't listen to the radio in the car, or in the house, all day either. I need my quiet. I do enjoy some Frank Sinatra and I have favorite classical pieces, but mostly my brain is too noisy for it.

Now and then I listen to the music the kids like, and some of it is hot. Some people like to listen to the old stuff they liked as a teen. I can't. Some of that was great, some horrible, but I just can't go back there. Did it, done with it. Give me the new stuff.

So I've been "shuffling" until I got it going with this new piece. Another twenty minutes of working around the composition and it's starting to feel good. When one area is wet I work on a dry area, keeping the whole painting in motion. Trying to see the piece develop as a whole and not surprise myself by not-so-happy accidents.

From what I can tell by this photo the piece is moving where I want it to go. Brush strokes, paint placement, dark and light, with details to come at the end of it. Maybe I will take one more day and finish up. So far, so good.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Twenty Minutes or What?

Twenty minutes to start something new
As I was saying..yes, twenty minutes to something new on the table, easel, whatever. It's been a quiet Sunday and I had time to paint, having danced around the paints all week.

I played with beads twice, coming up with two different bracelet designs, and successfully by-passed painting. What's with that?

Today there was that split second decision to put water in the plastic bucket and just do it.

Isn't it funny, though, that I can go to my studio where the beading stuff is, sit there to come up with jewelry designs and finished products, but I ignore the watercolor paints sitting on the dining room table? I think it's funny. It's really not funny, it's annoying behavior, and it has to stop.

To be totally honest, I don't even think I worked on this new piece for twenty minutes. Maybe it was more like ten minutes. Just enough time to sketch the composition and throw down some color, that's all. You can see the paper is still rolling with water and hasn't dried when I took the photograph. Quick and done.

Tomorrow I can move this along and get a feel for where I want to go with it.

Just to let you in on a little secret, I am planning to paint bigger. Don't tell Mr. Resistance. He might throw a roadblock in my way. Just saying.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't Steal my Dessert Please

Turquoise and Howlite bracelet
Design by Dora Sislian Themelis
The weather has changed in New York. Cloudy and rainy days are here after the great summery warmth of a few days ago. There's nothing anyone can do about it, but put on a sweater and go with the flow. Ok, so I don't go with the flow so easily. I could almost be wearing my winter coat now.

Winter weather makes me want to stay indoors. That said, I could be doing plenty, but am I? No. Visiting with Mr. Resistance again and it ain't fun I'll tell you that. Distractions abound. Luckily Gorgeous told us they were going to be at the last Greek festival of the season and if we felt like it we could meet up. We did.

It just happened that Sunday turned out to be a beautiful warm day and the evening was just as comfortable. The festival was busy with people, food, music and vendor shopping. Gorgeous showed me a bracelet she liked which I had similar beads at home. The next day I whipped it up for her, as you can see in the top photo. 

Towards the end of the evening we decided to treat ourselves to some Greek pastries and frappes. Small balls of dough drenched in a honey syrup called "loukoumades" is a treat because most people don't make these at home. We found a spot to park our dessert and we all enjoyed our treat and each other's company.

Gorgeous turned to spear a honey puff and remarked that they were almost gone. Did we really eat all of those puffs so quickly? Do you see that little lady sitting across from our tray of loukoumades? She had a fork in her hand and so did her friend. Did she sneak in on our pastry and steal a couple or what? 

None of us caught her in the act, but doesn't she look guilty? I mean, really? Well, we all started laughing. I remembered my camera and took a snap. I just had to do it which made us laugh more. Nothing like a good laugh on a summery night to hold off the winter blues.

New Work

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