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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thought for Thursday

"An empty canvas, apparently really empty, that says nothing and is without significance. Almost dull, in fact. In reality, however, [it's] crammed with thousands of undertone tensions and [is] full of expectancy. Slightly apprehensive lest it should be outraged ... It can contain anything but cannot sustain everything ... An empty canvas is a living wonder -- far lovelier than certain pictures."~Vassily Kandinsky, artist

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two More Sunflowers

Two Sunflowers (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis
14x20 Watercolor on Lanaquarelle paperr
Motivation comes in strange ways. I need to have my painting implements staring me in the face to be able to feel like working on the art. After reading everything I have, and taken the great workshop last weekend, what is it with the resistance?

I must admit making painting a daily habit is working more than not working. At least I know in the back of my mind I have painting to do. At some point in my day it will happen. There is no such thing as painting all day long. No such thing. You just have to try to go to the studio, or the dining room table, and get to work.

There are a few more sunflower photographs I have at the ready. This is another that I started painting. Here is the progression from sketch to dropping in color. I allowed myself those precious twenty minutes of time and stopped.

Twenty minutes of painting time is the best thing I ever started doing. I get to paint every day, sort of, and stop myself before I make a mess of things. Rather than get bogged down in detail, which was my hallmark, I know I don't have too much time so I am use brush strokes and color to say what I need to say.

I could have stopped at this session, but I felt that the work needed just one more go to make me feel as if the painting was finished. Each time after the paint dried I felt different about my work. Something about how the paper flattened back down, how the colors looked, gave me confidence I was on the right track.

If I had kept on going past the twenty minutes I might have had to throw it out, as I have done before. I am master of my domain! Yeah, right.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thought for Thursday

 “Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”~ Steve Jobs, Apple Inc.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Painting, Technology, and All That

A new work on the table, finally!

Technology is annoying. It's supposed to be a time saver, but guess what? It's not. Have you found that out yet. Yes, it does things we never thought we could do, or should do. Let me just say when it doesn't feel like working no amount of prodding will help it do anything. Nope.

I started a new painting today. Yesterday I was busy with The Mr. doing some things that had to be done. Afterwards he was home all day hanging around. No painting for me. I did the house stuff and found some time to finish another knotted bracelet, and begin and finish another. Kind of productive, but not painting.

Today was semi-free. Wrapped up the morning and decided to post my goings on, but my camera would not cooperate. No, the battery was dying and no matter what I did it would not just spit out my photos so I could get on with it!

While I wait for the battery to charge I will tell you about my latest painting. Trying to decide if this one should be a larger size the other day, I promptly forgot all about that and penciled in my subject. Ok, so that was dumb. Then I forgot all about measuring out a border because these watercolor blocks are weird sizes. Marking out a border helps me keep the work in line so a matte doesn't cover the edges too much.

Ok, forget it. I took photos of my start. I took photos of yesterday's bracelets. I sat down to write my post, download the photos and move ahead. Ah, not so fast! Battery is dead. Then the computer tells me I am not connected to the internet. What? I say it is!

Here we go. Battery half way charged and the photos are uploaded! Happy day at last.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion, Sunflowers and a Sale

Sunflowers Outside (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

The workshop weekend went great. Alyson B. Stanfield conducted a two day workshop called Shameless Self-Promotion which was hosted in Bohemia, NY, on Long Island, by a group of artists called Women Sharing Art. I was on the fence about attending, but how could I miss an opportunity like this, practically in my own backyard? 

Everyone was lovely, friendly, and accommodating. The information Alyson gave us was invaluable. Being part of a group of artists, each one with their own talents and experience, made me feel like I had a community, rather than me and my lonely self in my studio. After signing on, I received email from Alyson on what to bring, and expect, to the workshop which was business cards, a portfolio of work, an open mind and a willingness to work, and I did.

A few years ago I read Alyson's book I'd Rather Be In The Studio and it was a big push for me to get myself and my work "out there." There's no magic bullet. You have to work at it, and put the work into it. As Alyson says, the paintings do not speak for themselves, but the artist can and must. It was wonderful to meet the author in person! Alyson looks great, my hair is doing something funny. 

All of us were pretty excited to meet our icon! I chose a chair up front, as is my habit. When I sit in the back of a room I tend to become distracted. Another artist came to sit at my table and asked if there was room. Of course, I said. When I looked at her name tag I recognized it as a casual Facebook "friend" and said "Mary? I'm Dora!" We started screaming and hugging!

About a month ago, Mary wrote on Facebook that she had decided to attend this workshop and said "Who's with me?" I answered her with "I'm just thinking about it.." Imagine our surprise when we realized who each of us was, sitting at the same table! This social media thing is amazing, as Alyson explained.

Some artists brought their postcards, others their laptop/iPad/iPhone for their portfolio. I went "old school" with my old presentation case holding some of my work from this past year. Everyone was excited to see each other's art. A table-mate looked through my watercolors and fell for one of my sunflower paintings, and I was happy to sell it to her. I hope it makes Grace happy when she looks at it! 

What a wonderful experience this was. We had the chance to meet other artists, learn networking and art business skills, build relationships, move out of our comfort zone to try something new, and hopefully, cultivate collectors of our art.

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