Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to Monday and Painting

Monday could not come soon enough this week. What a busy, hectic few days I've had. The traditional Greek dance competition this weekend made my head spin with everything going on. Plus which the kids I teach had to perform, so making sure they knew their stuff was on my mind. They were great, though. I really didn't need to worry. As they say, practice makes perfect! 

And that leads us back to painting! Practice, process, same thing.

The next painting was started last week, when I had a life. Okay, I'm being dramatic, but really, painting is the thing that ends up being pushed aside. Now, I don't want to get into the "if I had to go to a real job" thing. However, the reality is that painting isn't the priority, nor am I the person bringing home the bacon with my artwork. Maybe some day, but not now, so it has to wait.

It's first on the to-do list and it will happen. Just not exactly when I want it to happen. It's fine.

Another work begins
Here's the next work on deck. Another still life watercolor painting of veggies. Shapes and colors if I squint at the small section of reference photo. 

Darks and lights. Small size, short and sweet. Works for me.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Finished by Friday

After I read The Artist's Way a while back I knew I was on to something when the author, Julia Cameron, wrote that artists need quiet. Now maybe that statement isn't as true for some as it is for others. I am one of the others. I need my quiet. Sorry, I don't even want to hear the radio. My brain has enough noise.

Right now is the calm before the action begins. I'll take it. I like calm, quiet, nothingness. That's probably not even a word, but it feels good to say it. 

During one of the latest online classes I just took, it was suggested we ditch the paper to-do list for an electronic one. I've been using the Notes feature on my iPod Touch thingy and it's been fun. 

"Paint today" is #1 on my every day list, every day, and paint today I did. Process is key.

I found myself thinking about finishing the last work before falling asleep. It is so weird, but it's been happening more often lately. It's finished, and it's a good thing.

Carrot ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press 140lb
Stopping before trashing it was also key. What's with that? At a certain point I had to stop working on this. I guess when I feel the frustration coming, my insides get crazy and I know I'm done. It worked itself out, is all I have to say.

Yes, there are areas I could have worked differently. I don't care, it's over. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We Will Not Forget

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 is remembered every year on April 24. Over one million men, women and children were killed in horrible ways by the Turks. No one could make up the many stories survivors have told of the atrocities they witnessed and lived through. Why would they?

When people speak about the Holocaust, Dar fur, Rwanda, and other such killings perpetrated on innocent people, they never mention the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenians. Why?

Think of what you have read or heard about these other people and how they were slaughtered. It happened to the Armenians first since 1896, but culminated in the largest numbers in 1915.

Fathers and sons were rounded up, separated from mothers, wives, children, and tortured, then murdered. Women and girls were raped, taken hostage, forced into harems, tattooed not to escape. Whole villages were marched into the desert with what they could carry and died of hunger, thirst, or killed. People were forced to renounce Christianity and become Muslim. Any of this sound familiar?

All to create a Turkey for the Turks. It's a sad story to live with.

And yet, today, this act has not been recognized by most countries, least of all Turkey. News reports documented the atrocities. The Ambassador at the time, Henry Mortganthau, wrote about what was happening to the people.

We will not forget.

(Check last year's post for more info.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Too Busy to Breathe

The next time something comes up I just have to say no. Enough with the word yes. How is it that I get myself involved in things where I find myself so busy? Busy is not even the word for it. One thing after another, and there's no breathing room.

But how can I say no? It's too late, I've already said yes. Just go with it. It will pass and there will be time for me soon enough.

This weekend is a Greek dance event I agreed to help with, so now I'm busy with that. Maybe once it's over I can relax, until our annual festival comes up. Another thing I say yes to.

Can't I just paint in my little art studio? Can't I just sit and knit in my cozy corner? Or read my book? Or daydream?

Well, I did find an hour or so to paint. I'm so dizzy with to-do's I couldn't decide what to paint. Whatever comes from the process of painting will have to do until I can think clearly and focus.


I played with those veggie photos again and came up with this small section to paint. Interesting colors and shapes in a weird composition, but let's see where it leads. I'm too busy to paint larger than this and it's fine. Then again, if I did start a large piece I could work on it a little at a time.

No, too much pressure. We will keep it simple for now.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finished on Friday

Finished! Done! Next! 

This watercolor painting had me going, I almost trashed it, then I decided to just stop working it. There comes a time when you have to stop yourself from going over the cliff when I can't help myself. I am notorious at painting way too long on a work. 

Bouquet ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper


It's finished.

What's next? I have no idea right now. I'm just so glad this one is done, I can't even discuss this any further. Blah.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."~Michelangelo

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sort of Wordless on Wednesday

Take a look at an amazing bird's eye view of Long Island, NY's Jones Beach. If you look closely you can see the turnaround at the water tower. Just before taking this photo I was able to see my favorite beach, Pt. Lookout and the Loop Parkway leading to it.

Jones Beach from the air
©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis

Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Armenian Cheese Boerek

Monday is a great day. The weekend is over and we are back to business here. Easter was lovely and tiring all at once. Between attending church and the preparations, I am spent, but we pulled it off.

So, how about a little distraction before the week of painting gets under way? 

Part of my contribution to Easter dinner was baking a favorite Armenian cheese pie we call boerek, with homemade phyllo dough. It's not exactly as thin as regular phyllo, a little thicker and, in my opinion, tastier. My grandmother was an expert, but I try my best.




The trick is to roll it out so that you can see through the dough. That's when I know it's thin enough. I use a dowel I fashioned from a broken broom stick and sanded off the paint. I roll it and flip it to stretch the dough.



When the dough is ready I lightly butter the surface and fold, butter and fold, until I have a neat square. I pop it in the refrigerator to rest, work the next ball of dough, roll out the first to the size of my pan, and fill with muenster and mozzarella cheeses, and a sprinkle of feta. It bakes until brown and melty. 









Sorry, there are no photos of the finished cheese boerek. And there is none left!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Finished Friday

There is so much going on here I don't know how I find time to post. In a nutshell: prepare to go on a vacation, go to the destination, return and unpack, dive right in to Holy Week preparations, attend church services, bake the required Easter things, keep up with the painting schedule, keep up with the Get Organized class, run the regular errands, and all that.

I am tired.

But here is a finished item for Friday, before I collapse!

Tomatoes ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper 140lb



Just thought I'd throw in the photos of the work in progress so you don't have to jump around here to see it. And that brush I didn't like working with over there in the center photo, you remember? A commenter had such good thoughts about using tools you love, and how this particular brush is supposed to be used. 

Now I just have to finish up this week and a brand new Monday will be waiting for me. Ahhh..

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it."~Bruce Lee

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing - then a work of art may happen." ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, April 2, 2012

Keeping the Momentum Going

Moving along on this watercolor painting of the vegetable share photos and enjoying the work. And yes, it is work. It's been work just to get to the studio, in my house! Good thing I don't have far to go, or maybe I'd never get there.

Next phase..
I decided to ditch the pricey brush in favor of others I was already using. Still, I'd like to have a nice sized brush to work with. I need to investigate other brushes. And I still need to write a letter to that brush company to complain. Not yet, no time for that. Lucky I'm even preparing this post!

Let's see how far I get on this work. Finished product, or not?

Annoyed With Brushes I Don't Want to Use

It's Monday again. Another start to a very busy week ahead. Every single day of the coming week has things going on. I can't get into it. It's all just too much stuff. 

With all the things I have to do, guess what I DID do? Yes, I painted. It's just this short of amazing. Where did I find the time? How did I get myself to the studio to do anything? Maybe since I rearranged things, and made the space comfortable, colorful and cozy it draws me there. Has to be it.

The photos of last year's CSA shares of produce and flowers is dwindling. I've used almost all of them. Thankfully, I find great compositions in the detail areas that make for good work. This time I chose these color packed tomatoes for this painting.


Now take a look at one of the newest brushes I bought. It's a pricey Isabey watercolor brush in a size I didn't have. Everyone raves about these brushes. I really don't know why. I'm not that happy using it. 

When wet it holds plenty of water. I usually use more color and less water, so I remove water by turning it against a sponge, then I go for color and paint. That's the part I don't like. The brush gets mushy. There is no spring. It becomes a flat, wet mess and goes no where. I should've taken a photo of that. I paid all that money for a stupid, horrible, flat mess of a brush. 

I might write the company a letter of complaint, I am that annoyed.


Okay, Windsor&Newton sable brushes are untouchable these days, so I guess it's not that bad. But really, it is bad because I spent money on a tool that I hate to use. W&N brushes I already own are wonderful.

Any Isabey brush users out there want to chime in with your thoughts? Come by and leave some in the comments. I can't wait to hear what you think about this brush.