Friday, June 29, 2012

Finished on Friday Doubled

Finished two paintings for today. Don't get too excited, things could turn around again any minute.

Today I found the time to finish the painting of the little Greek church and when I was done I quickly turned my attention to my old photos from last summer.

There is something very appealing about the Greek countryside and the sea that I cannot resist. But I find I don't feel too free when painting from photos I've taken there. I never seem to be happy about the compositions. Maybe I just really need to be there in person. This work feels stiff to me.

Inlet Church ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor Arches cold press paper

Then there are the photos I took last spring and summer of the vegetables, sunflowers and my garden then make me feel very comfortable when painting from them. I am not so sure why.

This second work was pushed out soon as I finished the Greece landscape. Feeling the need to paint something different right away, I grabbed this photo, cropped the area I wanted to work with, and headed straight to paint. No pencil drawing, just paint sketching. Maybe a little longer than twenty minutes?

Garden ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press paper
I worked until I felt that I should stop. Much of this work was wet, but I pushed on, only waiting until it dried just enough to continue. Again, I tried to keep the water to a minimum.

Leaving out extra stuff, ignoring other things, just adding detail where I wanted to point out some things and that was it.

This work doesn't feel as stiff as the previous painting. Maybe it's me, but it feels so much better.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Mantra: It's the Process

So here we are, back at the easel, er desk. Yes, I'm painting flat, on my table with the watercolors. Some people use an easel, but not me. I can't risk applying paints to have them run down the work. I have enough stress.

Landscapes are not usually my "thing." Working on this latest landscape might give me more reason to ditch the idea. Don't worry. I will wait until I'm finished with this.

New landscape of Greece

Since I took this photograph, I went back and removed some color from the water area. It's a nice, little scene. Okay, my mantra is this: Process, process. Try to remember that it's the process that counts.

Twenty minutes working on this and I have to run away from it.

The good thing? I cleared up enough of my morning to work in the studio before I do the errands for the day. This is a major accomplishment. As it is, I wake early and get moving, so it is possible to work first, run later.

The bad thing? I tire early and lose the afternoon/evening hours.

Remember: Process!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Daydreaming Again

Deciding on the next painting, I settled on daydreaming about traveling. Greece this year is not a possibility, nor is anything else for that matter. But daydream? That I can do.

Some of my paintings of Greek themes had a very good response at that art event I participated in so I thought I would revisit my photos of our trips. I tested out a small sized watercolor block just to see how I felt about the colors I would be using.


I dropped in color after flooding the paper with water, outlining the major areas that need work. After it dries I'll go back in and add more color and detail.

Good thing this was too wet to work at because I am notorious for pushing it too far when I shouldn't, then tossing it as a goner. Not even twenty minutes in and I had to stop.

Will it make the thumbs up pile? We will see.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Finished on Friday

Yeah, finished! The latest watercolor painting of sunflowers is done. This is the last of the photographs from last year's vegetable share. And, I'll have you note, this is the largest size watercolor painting I've done so far. Big for a watercolor work. 

June Sunflower ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
18x24 Watercolor Arches 140lb cold press paper
The Arches paper block was on sale. How could I resist? I've painted big works in oils, but watercolors big? It was intimidating. I applied the same lessons I used in oils though. Big canvas, bigger brushes. Bigger movements, big brush strokes. It's all the same.

Also, I a photo of this work with flash by mistake. Then I tried it again without flash, as is my habit. This image is without flash. The image with flash was brighter, but it left out some detail. I will stick to natural light.

Now, on to the next work.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"I like summer. I like warmer weather and long days. I'm one of those silly people who still enjoy lying in the sun - my children are horrified!"~Danielle Steele, author Yeah to that..

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Where to Spend the Heat and Humidity

It's Wednesday and the temperatures are expected to be in the nineties, hot, humid, sunny. Perfect!

There's a decision to make now. Should I stay home in the garden, go to the town pool, or visit the beach? Today is the last day of school so the wild munchkins will be at the pool, and some will be at the beach. None of them will be at my house. 

I am thinking of painting, somewhere. So there's the studio, the garden, or the beach. Definitely not going to the town pool for that. 

It's early. There's still plenty of time to decide. 

Fluttering in the garden..

Monday, June 18, 2012

Morning Painting Session

Pushing resistance out the door, ironing out the kinks, keeping my fingers crossed that I can work on this latest watercolor painting with strong momentum behind me.

I can dream, can't I?

Another session on this latest work
Funny thing is, I usually don't paint early in the day when I know I have other things to get done. Today I had plenty of morning time with not much to do.

Granted, I've been awake since 5:30 AM. Wide awake at that.

Dressed, did the breakfast thing, read my news, checked email and all cyber stuff, kicked the family out the door, wrote the Morning Pages, straightened out the house, all before 9:00. Now what?

I painted. It might be a good thing, too.

The question is: will I come back this afternoon to finish?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Technology vs Brains, Winner-Loser

Some days technology is wonderful, once you know how to use it. It's gloriously fast, efficient, and effective. Other days it can make me want to poke my own eyes out.

Tell me how many mistakes can pencil and paper make? Huh? Yeah, I thought so.

Okay, so the pencil can break, you have to keep sharpening it, a pen can run out of ink, the paper could tear, smudge, become illegible, or lost.

Computers and their ilk, however, are quite another expensive, annoying, make me feel stupid, story.

What's my problem, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Most of these items need electricity to run, and when not plugged into an outlet periodically, run out of juice. Most of the time an items has run out at the moment I need to use it.

Technology is overrated.

Now, take art, for example. Real, honest, brush/paint/paper/canvas art. Plug it in the electric socket for it to do something? Nope. Plug me and my brain in to do something? Yes. Got it?

Herein lies the rub.

For the art to "work" my brain needs to function properly, which, on certain days, may not happen. But on those days that it works to it's optimum potential we are golden. Cameras, however, need charged batteries to photograph such moments. Charged fully one day, depleted the next.

And there you have it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"I've caught this magical landscape and it's the enchantment of it that I'm so keen to render. Of course, lots of people will protest that it's quite unreal, but that's just too bad." ~ Claude Monet

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Resistance Mode was Back

So, let's just say I let Mr. Resistance stay a couple of days longer than I would like. Let's just say, he made himself kinda comfortable here and decided he might help a little around here. Let's also just say, I needed someone to kick me.

Resistance mode is not pretty, but this new work might be
It's a nice thing to volunteer for the church, work hard, have a nice time with friends and fellow volunteers. It's quite another to lose all momentum on the creative front just because I wasn't painting for a week.

Being an artist is not easy at all.

Coming out of resistance mode is like climbing out of a deep crevasse, I just don't want to have to cut my arm off to come free. 

In the depth of my blah-dom, my don't-feel-like-painting mood, while the new work sat waiting on my easel/desk, I wasted more time by surfing the internet. Bad.

Yeah, I get on, promote my stuff, spill some thoughts, share others. Blah blah blah. Knowing I'd get a little help from artist friends online I shared that the weather is rainy, there's no motivation, maybe I should read a book, and would someone just kick me. Wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what one artist did. He commented: Here's your kick. I love it!

Funny thing though, it worked. 

Thankfully, the new work was ready to go or it would not be pretty.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Photos for Friday in the Garden

My inspiration today is Monet's amazing garden. Mine isn't close to his, but I'm working on it.

The New York Botanical Garden is holding a wonderful exhibition of Monet's paintings with a replica of his house and garden in Giverny, France, and I must go see it. It's the closest I will get any time soon of being in his actual garden. And, from what I've learned, the garden will change with the seasons. Amazing!

Claude MonetReflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond, c. 1920, 200 × 1,276 cm (78.74 × 502.36 in), oil on canvasMuseum of Modern ArtNew York City
(Creative Commons License Wikipedia)

Hit the link for more information, directions, and tickets. Yes, you have to purchase a ticket! For a specific day and time! Now I find that annoying. I like to just decide one day and go. But, no, now I have to buy a ticket.

I need more color in my own garden. More flowers, more colors, different heights, maybe more rocks, or statues. Some flowers need moving around for better sun exposure. The peonies are leaning toward the sun.

Looks like I have work to do. Yeah, more to-do's on the list.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thought for Thursday

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Almost Back to Normal

We pushed, pulled, tugged, packed, unpacked, yelled, laughed, ate the wrong things, sometimes didn't eat, couldn't fall asleep, woke way too early, and did it all over again the next day for four days. No, scratch that, five days including the Monday clean up.

Wait, scratch that again-every day since Memorial Day! Whew!

That flea market job at our church's Greek festival is grueling work, but fun at the same time. All weekend we marveled at the crazy people and the general craziness of the whole thing. A couple of new volunteers said they had the best time with us and will be helping again next year.

I don't even want to think about next year right now! My body aches all over.

Most of my Greek dance students
Want to see some happy faces? Just look at these kids! These are most of my Greek dance students at their final performance on Sunday afternoon. I can't be sure if they are smiling because they're happy or that it's finally over, but they certainly are adorable. They performed so well, too.

Now that the festival is over I can get some sleep, get back to the easel and some normalcy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photos for Friday of Craziness

When I recovered my brain last night, I remembered to take a couple of photos of the insanity in the Greek festival flea market just after we opened the doors.

I know it doesn't look so busy from these pictures, but I can assure you it was madness. At 6:01 PM we opened up after hearing the clamor of the long line of people just outside. So okay, we were one minute late opening up! Keep your shirt on!

As I welcomed the shoppers, who were giddy with delight, they rushed in like the tide on the beach-whooshhh.

The craziness has hit it's stride.

New Work

New Greek island harbor watercolor painting All the trouble started when I decided to switch blogging platforms from Blogger to Wordpre...