Monday, February 27, 2012

What People Think I Do

Blew my weekend. There was no time for me, my paints, my studio, the jewelry,or the latest pair of hand knit socks on the needles. So I got nothing! Pardon my New York English.

Around here we don't do the Superbowl Sunday thing. We do the Daytona 500! Vrrrrooooommmm! And guess who does our catering? Yeah, you guessed it. Me. I've been shopping and cooking, shaking and baking. Well, not really, but I did enough.

(And the dopey race was rained out! We had the party without the race. Oh well, there was still the Oscars.)

Inviting people over means you have to straighten up your place, and have food and drink. At my house The Mr. invites and then calls the caterer, me.

Artwork had to wait while I did my catering gig. I'm calling it a gig because hosting company is a JOB. Not to mention all the others things I do around here.

House stuff is a JOB, full time, full on, all day. Add a gathering and it's all that plus. Exhausting.

But what about my ART job? What do people think I am doing here?

I'll tell you what I'm NOT doing. I'm not sitting on my couch watching television throwing chocolates in my mouth. I'm so busy that if I was working outside the house I'd be doing two jobs. I was home with the kids because my trusted family members were all working. The Mr. has a business and I help out from there and from the home computer. And now the sheer delight of my week, The Princess.

But I work the art business into the day.

On facebook I found this funny meme thing that's been going around..




This guy Garnet Hertz, created this and it cracks me up. This is for and about artists and it's so true what people think we are doing.  I love it.

Someone has to come up with one for women who are at home holding up the household. 




Friday, February 24, 2012

Painting Photos for Friday

Here I am again with photos of paintings for Friday. Somehow my idea of a fun pic for the end of the week ended up being a finished watercolor painting, but, hey, that's okay. I'm enjoying myself in the studio at least. To me it's a fun photo.

Blueberries ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
15x20 Watercolor, Canson cold press paper
The latest work is finished. Done. I am done with IT. That might be the last time I paint a million little blueberries under tiny leaves of lavender. The last time. Remember I said that.


Let's look over the process. First I sketched in the basic shapes. Then I dropped some color in areas.


Next painting session lead to more color and definition of forms. Little by little it started to look like something. 


With more color I started adding shadows to further develop the composition. Having fun here too.

The 100 Paintings Challenge has begun.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thought for Thursday

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” - William D. Tammeus

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Welcome Back to 100 Paintings

#1 What's Left of Fall ©2011 Dora Sislian Themelis

I did it again. I re-upped for the 100 Paintings Challenge. Will I make it? I don't know for sure, but with my new plan and schedule in place I am well armed. So far I am making headway and have plunged in with both feet. I'm using a swimming/diving analogy and I'm not any kind of good swimmer, but it's how I feel.

This week is my first back in the challenge. Laure Ferlita, the facilitator of 100 Paintings Challenge posted a Welcome Back interview we had on the blog.

Something about the challenge appeals to me. The opportunity to build a steady painting schedule and a strong, consistent body of work is something I need. The accountability is there. I know I signed onto something that others are waiting to see.

The classes I've been taking, in person and online, with Alyson B. Stanfield have been a huge factor in my growth as an artist. She suggests we do certain tasks, and I just do it. I feel great about what I have accomplished with her advice and I'm moving forward.

#56 Four Shells with Rock ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis

Monday, February 20, 2012

Planning Works Wonders

Now for more color..

Hip hopping on the process, baby! Just coasting on this latest watercolor and having such a good time I hope I keep going. Better not crash land, or it will be a bad thing.

Friday was a lovely day here in New York, for February. When do you get 52F in February? If the weather stays like this (which it probably won't) I will be happy. Last year this time we were over our heads in snow with no where to put a shovel full.

Plan in hand, I went over my to-do list. At #1 was Painting. I drew a line underneath that and wrote out the rest of my list. As I finished each one I crossed it off. House neat? Done. Read emails all dressed and ready, instead of in pajamas? Done. Online class? Done. Out the door!

Errands checked off as I continued with painting in my head. Made it home before noon. Set up my iPad, got my lunch, read my snail mail and email, then off to the studio.

I will mention one item on my gratitude list for today: I can see the sunny day out my basement studio window. That helps.

With the painting ready and waiting I got to work, adding more color, defining other areas, trying out how to work all those berries. Now I need another tube of paint I ran out of so I marked it on my list.

Honestly, I don't know how long I worked on this. Before I knew it the day was gone and it was late in the afternoon.

Heaven is a quiet day of work. Process!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Photo Friday with Art

Keep going!
My photos for Friday seem to be about paintings lately. It used to be about fun things I'd see during my day. Is it me or is it that "fun" things aren't happening? Could it be that my brain is in the clouds, thinking about painting? Maybe.

Moving along now. I started adding in some shadow on this painting to keep it interesting. Darks against lights make me want to continue. There's something about the contrasts that I like.

Those little blueberries are going to give me trouble if I pay too much attention to them. You know what happens next, right? Too much attention, too much working it, ends up in the trash.

The plan is to take my time, work all around the piece, let things dry and keep going. Work it.

Process, baby! Process.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"People say, 'I love your work, it's so detailed.' But that's like saying, 'I love your sweater, it has lots of stitches.'" Robert Bateman

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Humming Along on the Next Painting, Wow

Next up!
As I await my new invitation to participate in the 100 Paintings Challenge, and the next online course Cultivate Collectors to begin, I started another work. Gee, I am humming along, aren't I?

When I took all those photographs of my veggie haul I wasn't thrilled with most of them. I even had a few I didn't bother printing out. This photo was one of those I had no intention of painting from. Well, lookie here. Guess I was wrong.

Finally using my brain, I sketched this out over the weekend to be prepared for the sessions to begin during the week. Smart cookie.

I was so excited to paint that I thought about it before I fell asleep, each time I woke during the night (which was alot) and it was the first thing when I got up to start my day. It's great to have that motivation going.

The plan of attack was running in my head. Where was I going to start? How would I treat the areas that seemed to flow together? Which colors was I mixing to give the work the feeling I was after?

Plenty of questions, and I hope I have some good answers.

While my granddaughter napped, I ran to the studio and put down some color.  I thought I might try to keep a light hand on this one. I'm not sure where it's going to go, but it's a beginning.

Monday, February 13, 2012

One Down, the Next is Coming up!


Bountiful ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
15x20 Watercolor, Canson 140lb cold press paper
This painting is finished. I may have to take another photograph as I think it could look a little better. The light seems to have washed out some color on the left side. I'll try it again another day. Right now I am thrilled it's done.

Moving along now onto the next work. Something is clicking and keeping me in it. Who knows what tomorrow will be like. For right now I have plans. I have ideas. I have supplies. I have references for work. I think I can feel a series coming on. And it feels really good.

The Blast Off class is over, but the learning continues on. This week I will be working in another class with Alyson B. Stanfield called Cultivate Collectors. I like the word "cultivate." It reminds me of things that are growing.

Things are growing alright.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Photo of Painting for Friday

Moving right along
And we're off! I had the day, the time, the motivation, the set up, and the materials! Yay for me!

You know, sometimes you get those days that just click, things happen, mostly the right things. As the day opened up I decided to pull out my new plan and schedule from the Blast Off class and keep going.

I felt good after hearing that another artist uses their morning for house/errands and the afternoon for painting, the evenings for family/whatever. I liked that. I'm a morning person anyway, but I don't necessarily need to paint at that time. If things need doing I can comply in the A.M. and have the house neat so my brain is clear to paint in the P.M.

Perfect!

I ran my errands, visited the art supply shop and purchased the largest Arches watercolor block made, on sale! I added to my brush collection, also on sale. I picked up a tube of Holbein. You said it, on sale. I asked about oil painting mediums for the future. Then I ran home.

After lunch, on schedule, I went to the studio to keep working on this latest painting. I thought about it all night and painted it in my head. I knew what I wanted to do when I came to the studio.

Things are looking up.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"You should keep on painting no matter how difficult it is.....unless it kills you, and then you know you have gone too far." Alice Neel

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On to the Next Step

The next step
*Note: For some reason this entire post, including my photograph, was deleted! It wasn't me either!

And it was such a good post, too.

I was discussing how I've been fairing with the Blast Off class over, motivation high, resistance low and churning out this latest still life watercolor painting. This one is on larger paper than I was using and is going to take a little more time to finish.

Now I remember, since seeing the comments, that I was thinking about painting in oils again, but not so sure I want to inhale the fumes that turpentine, varnishes, linseed oils emit without going to all the trouble of trying to ventilate a basement studio properly.

Anyway, that's all I remember. Use your imagination.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beginning Another Work


With the Blast Off class over, affirmations in place, and a plan in hand, I began a new painting. The last thing I needed to do was listen to a phone interview by Alyson B. Stanfield with the author Eric Maisel, on his interesting book, Ten Zen Seconds.

I chose one of the last photos I took of the vegetable share haul and spent a good amount of time sketching in the subjects. The paper is one of the large sheets of Canson watercolor paper I bought a while ago. Yes, I know, it's not Arches, but it will have to do for now.

Since I wanted to get the proportions right, I made a grid with pencil lines and lightly drew in the items. I wanted to try out the new Isabey brush I purchased to see how it would work. It's a size 12, large sable hair brush and it holds alot of water, if that's a good thing.

While I painted I listened to the interview and many of the things discussed resonated with me. Maisel talked about his work with artists and the overwhelm they encounter while trying to work, getting the work out there, promoting and talking about their work. It's so interesting in that it's the truth. Where to start? How to do it?

The anxiety of it all causes some of us to freeze. I know that well. Ever hear the phrase "When in doubt, don't"? That's what happens. If we don't know what to do, we do nothing. Well, Maisel said that overwhelm can be helped by saying certain affirmations that he called incantations, together with deep breathing. Zen. He explained that after doing the exercise, artists find they can continue.

It makes plenty of sense. I think I'm need to get his book from the library after listening to this interview.

As I listened I painted. After the 30 minute interview was over, I kept on painting. I must have worked for 2 hours, slowly playing with the new brush and the paints.

Usually I'm done at 20 minutes, but this is large paper. It took some time. And I could wreck my work if I'm not careful. So when I saw the time I stopped and took this photo.

The process is still the focus. Another 100 paintings challenge is on the horizon so I have to make it count and work the time schedule. The Blast Off class and all the resources I have from it will help push my agenda.

Let's see how it goes.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming Down After Blasting Off


The Blast Off class is finished today, but not the work. The work continues. And if there is any success at all it's because I worked the work. Yeah, working the work is where it all works.

There's something to be said for having a coach, discussing the possibilities, and getting guidance. Making my time really count was something I never really thought about. Having a schedule of the day, the week, and the year makes sense.

In the days ahead I want to revisit all the lessons and chose the ones that I need to take more from. I still have work to do.

I was tolerating an uncomfortable studio space and tweaked it until it felt cozier, but I still didn't enjoy painting there. The dining room table was much nicer, until I realized I liked it because it was at a different height than my art table. Bingo! I changed the height and it's nicer. Next up is that stupid overhead light that keeps going out. It must get fixed next week. I get glare from the table lamp on my watercolors when I paint.

Affirmations are up on the wall where I can see them. The vision board isn't ready yet. However, I have a plan. A working plan.

As a result of all this class work, the next painting is taking shape. The daily schedule will work.

It's a must. "If it is to be, it is up to me."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Talent is so loaded a word, so full to the brim with meanings, that an artist might be wise to forget about it altogether and just keep on working.” –- Eric Maisel, creativity coach