Monday, December 15, 2014

Something sad, something good and a bit fun.

I have not been making any art lately,

other than knitting some dishclothes. Wednesday November my mother had a brain stroke and she didn't understand what had happened to her. She was so looking forward to see my brother and his wife coming to visit her Friday I'm very happy they they were there to look after her, and not least for bringing her back home. I'm glad to report that she is much better now, she can talk, walk and do many different things. The right side of her body is affected, so she has some trouble with balance when walking, and of cause, her strength isn't the same. But, I'm sure she will be able to regain her strength as soon as she starts rehabilitation. I'm working on establishing a good quality rehab for her.

Late yesterday evening, I were out to pick up some more firewood, I heard this terrible noise. It sounded like 50 grizzly bears. It was, to my surprise, an American 911 police car and during it's last turn before parking outside my sons house, the engine delivered an extra sound like a gun shot. Instantly, I were ready to let go of all the firewood, freeze and hands up. My goodness!

Our son has a friend that is over the normal level interested in old and special cars. He buys and sells them all the time, mostly buys them, I think.

Well, handyman and I had a good laugh, and I'm still chuckling. Who could ever imagine to have such a car at ones doorstep.

I'm not sure to be back before Christmas, so I wish you all a good one, right now. I hope to find time to be creative after Christmas.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Edith in progress

It's a long time since I've done any faces.

You know Johannes Vermeers painting, The girl with the pearl earring. That's what I've used as inspiration for my painting. And, when I had done her eyes yesterday, I thought she looked like Edith in the series, Downton Abby. Can you see it?

I'm pleased on how she is turning out, the only thing that might be a problem is her nose. I'll just have to work on it. I'm using watercolor pencils for this one, and I'm very happy for having control of the painting process. Watercolors are much harder to control, and I always feel acrylics won't cooperate as well with me.

I'm not sure I will do more about her, I don't need a copy of Vermeers painting. I might do another one and change her a bit. I'm planning on doing a piece with a girl and some birds.

Coming weekend I'll probably spend time on my computer, trying to figure out how to use photoshop. I've been talking of that programme for so long, that handyman bought it for me yesterday. Now I'll have to do the tedious job of learning how to. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I need your point of view

I've had some busy days doing other stuff than making art.

Hopefully things will settle down so I can play with my colors again. I've looked into the possibillities of making prints of my art, but have a hard time to decide what to do.

What I ask myself is this:

Do I really want to reduce the value of my originals by selling it as prints?
I know I'm not excactly a Picasso, but still.

Should prints be made by professionals or would it be good enough to make them at home?
This is a question of quality and price. I would love to let a future customer know he/she has bought quality above low price only. I appreciate quality in all aspects of life, and I'm sure there is a
REASON we have professionals.

How many prints from one original?
If I end up making prints, I'm sure I'll set some limitations. Would 10 pieces be fine as a standard?

Should the originals be sold as well?
Yes, I see no point in collecting my own work, except perhaps some rare ones that's hard to live without.

If you read this post, please let me know your thoughts about this issue. How do you do it, and what's your experience? Oh my, there's so many questions to be answered, and I don't have them all.

I've been urged to do commissions and put my art into the world, but I'm not quite sure I have the confidence needed.

Art in thos post made using watercolor pencils, before and after background.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Playing with backgrounds

Backgrounds can be challenging.

So, I've desided to play a little to try different ways of doing them, even try some I've never done before.
A black matte background to a shiny subject is very dramatic, but in some cases it makes the subject really pop out. I'm not sure I will do them often though. It may be a bit too hard,

All of my paintingd here are done using Twinks, and the backgrounds are something else. I've just about started to experiment, and have several more ideas on how to do things. Below I used a script stamp first and then painted on top of it.

I added some yellow to the dark grey color, and am pretty happy with the result.

Another one with script. I did this one slightly different. Added some gold to the matte medium before the stamping. Not sure I like this one too good, the gold turned out yellow and the surface seems a little too busy.

It does have a worn feel to it, and that was what I was trying to achieve.

This next one I tried to make a texture using gesso and then stamping in a pattern of broken egg shells, but it didn't work out. I'll have to figure out a better way of doing it.

All of these experiments are done in my A-5 Fabriano, Venezia book.

This last one were fun doing. I used my pallet knife to add gesso and then paint on top. It looks like a real oil painting.

It's fun to experiment a little from time to time.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tea Party

The final project in class was to make a stack of tea cups.

I saw it as an opportunity to throw an imaginary tea party, and wanted to add some  extra to my piece. A tea party for the entire class, and our teacher as the guest of honor, you know, that's how I like to think and imagine when I'm making a piece of art.

Our teacher, Dion Dior, is Australian and the guest of honor, so I had to come up with something as a tribute to her. In real life, that wouldn't be a problem, but in a "small" painting it wasn't quite so easy.
I came to think of another fantastic Australian woman, designer and artist Loani Prior, who designs the most spectacular tea cosies one can ever imagine.

I contacted Loani Prior and asked permission to use one of her designe in my piece of art, and as the sweet person she is, she immediately said yes to my request.

When I first saw this tea cosy, I was convinced it was inspired by the Sydney Opera House so that's what I've made it look like. Loani, on the other hand, has called this one for Wood Fungus. Loani has written several books which can be bought here. Go have a look.

The Sydney Opera House is situated close to the water, so the body of my tea cosy is meant to represent water, and on top the famous sails. It was, in fact, the Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, that drew this building.

Personally I don't drink much tea, coffee is what I prefer. But I know lots of people have tea as their prefered drink. For some it's even a must like coffee is to me.
That was a sidetrack, my finished painting above, I'm happy with the result, even though I do see things that could be improved. This was a very fun project.

Enjoy your tea/coffee!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

YAY.......playing with my Twinks again.

Class is over and I finally had time to play with my Twinks again.

Oh how I love these little pots with the most beautiful paint in them. Have a look at the photo below, aren't they just beautiful?

In the end of summer I also found a perfect storage for my colors. I like to leave them with the lids off, and to avoid dust and other stuff to mix in them, this was perfect for me.
It's 4 small drawers put together to one, 12 individual drawers and 15 small pots of Twinks in each drawer. They're kind of airy too, so when my pots are wet, I can still leave then in the drawers without any danger of molds etc.

I was so eager to start using my Twinks that I did a very quick sketch, Not especially good composition, but the important thing were to paint. I felt it in my entire body, oh I do not want to do anything but paint.

I carefully suggested to handyman to hire a housekeeper so that I could paint and nothing else. His instant answer is what makes me like him so much. He said, do you want me to call for an ambulance? Meaning, are you crazy. I'm still laughing.

It's a real pleasure to feel that I still know how to use my Twinks, I had some moments where I thought I had forgotten all of it. I used a pen and nib to add som gold ink around my flowers, and the gold really adds to the piece, but not the way I did it. I've made another one later on, and that one is much better, I chose to add the gold lines inside the outer edges, and that is really nice.

It was even more fun to use the Twinks again than I had hoped for, so I'm planning a larger piece. This one is done in a sketchbook sized A-5.

Be creative and have lots of fun!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Are you good at drawing?

Have you ever wished for more realistic drawings?

I have.
Drawing doesen't come easy for me, I always struggle to draw no matter what my subject is. As you probably know, I've just taken a class in how to use watercolor pencils. A fellow student there suggested for me to read a book about drawing, and believe me, it's a miracle.

The book has lots of lessons, and it's not wise to skip any of them because they build upon one another. So after doing some initial lessons, I went for the proof that this book was the same as all the rest. I was wrong, terribly wrong.

What I drew in less than 30 minutes is nothing but a miracle.

This is a famous sketch done by Pablo Picasso, and is presented in the book. My job were to copy it, and I was sure I couldn't do it. My sketch shows very clearly at which point the left side of my brain took the lead. Left side of the sketch, arm on chair and the mans arm are both wrong. These parts were the last ones I did, and the left part of my brain took over.

The next sketch I did, is one I have tried many times to sketch. Just because I think it's funny with caricatures. I have never made it, and this time it's perfect, in less than 5 minutes. If that isn't a miracle, nothing is. Please, don't look at the colors, I was just trying to paint with my spray inks.

And then to the book. It's written by Betty Edwards and is called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

If you want to improve your drawing skills, I highly recommend this book, it's the most amazing thing I've ever seen happen to myself. Library is probably a good place to start.

Now that my class is over, I look forward to go deeper into this book and do all the lessons. My drawings might chang once and for all. I'm so excited.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 24, 2014

How do you approach a new painting?

How much work do you put into the preparations for a painting?

I used to rush on and paint right away, no planning no nothing just do it. That has changed. If I am to paint poppies, as for this case, I like to research the subject using the internet or perhaps books I might have on the topic. Normally I sit down with some sketch paper, trying to fetch the" ultimate" movements or shape of my chosen subject.

It's almost like I try to get the feel of it in my hand. I often paint those sketches just to see how they will work, and very often this play leads to new and exciting ideas.

Yes, it was poppies this time, but a rose found it's way too. I've been working on roses as well lately, so it didn't surprise me. The photos I have shown you above, are just a tiny bit of what I did to find the right feeling of the flower.
I also worked quite alot to find a composition I liked, and then the painting began. The result of my efforts is shown in next photo.

Later on, I have been filling in the white contours around my subjects, it just didn't feel right to leave it as you see it here. I'm very pleased with my results of this one. The darker areas on the right half has an undertone of violet, which dosen't show in this photo. The upper left light area also has a light turquoise shining through.
Painting is becoming more and more fun the deeper one gets into it, I think.
Faber Castell, Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils is used and it's done on a Fabriano cold pressed 140 lbs paper.
Have a nice weekend, and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm trying to expand.

How much do you think of composing your art pieces?

We're probably all aware of The golden ratio, or the rule of thirds. but do we pay attention to it? I have decide to research it and learn more about the use of it. It's quite interesting when one first start to look into the subject.
Resently I came across a theory based on the golden ratio, and I found it so interesting that I tried it on a piece I made. Photo below.

The theory is based upon how we, by nature, look at things. At least for those of us which are reading from left to right.  By composing your art following this theory, you should be able to keep the viewer's interest to stay with your piece.

The blue lines shows the golden ratio, and to achieve a good and balanced piece of art, one do place the main motif at one of the crossing points, A,B,C,D. This is the rule, whether your sheet is small or large.

The upper right square is made into a smaller 9 square piece and then again an even smaller one lower left. The dark red line indicates the viewers way into your piece of art. Starting top left, and it will be up to us as artists to create interest along the line. Your most valued point of nterest, should be within the square in which the dark line ends.

Now, how did I use this in my piece?

From the start I thought of making a curtain from top left, stright down, hanging with folds, but found that it would disturb too much. Instead I made the wall quite dark, and added some darker spots a bit closer to the table, leading the viewer to the walnuts. Even though I planned this for quite some time, I missed out on a couple of things. Learning, always learning.

The walnuts should have been further back on the table, I would love them to break the table line. Now, I put in much effort to make the walnuts as realistic as possible, hoping for the viewer to want to see more. And, lets say the viewer wanted to see more, he sees some pears, but what's catching his eyes is the red rosehips, smooth and shiny. (Contrast to the walnuts) The rosehips are made realistic as well, but it doesn't show well in my photo. After looking at the rosehips and bird, the wiever sees this stright line upwards. The surface of the crown/cage is rust, non reflective, again a contrast to the rosehips. He reaches the top, and find the reflective ball. This is where I missed out again, the crown should have been stretched an inch upwards. Looking at the smooth shiny ball, the viewer notice the leaves, and I had pure luck with my branch. I didn't plan that to happen, but the branch leads down to the walnuts again. I also made quite some work with my branch, to keep the interest up.

If the viewer is still there, he probably steps back to have a look at what this is all about. That's when he notice my main subject, the pears. The soft and silky surface, in contrast to everything else. I deliberately avoided pencil strokes or splatters on my pears, to create a huge contrast. The tablecloth and wall is also made to highlight the softness of my pears.

There is very few strong white highlights in this piece, and that is excactly what I planned. The front rosehip, the bird (eye and beek) and the juvel of the crown, are the only places you'll find the highlights. Why, you may ask. Because I wanted it to have a soft, calm and cosy atmosphere.

Do you think my plan works?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Have you heard of Giovanna Garzoni?

She was an Italian painter who lived from 1600 to 1670.

I'm taking Dion Dior's class  "Watercolor pencils", and let me say that this is a very different way of working. But, as the fabulous teacher Dion is, I actually am learning to use these great tools.

Beside the "homework" I like to practice on my own, and thats where Giovanna enters the scene. She was a female painter which were rare back then, and she's looked upon as a real arrow tip when speaking of still life painting. It was portraits that ruled the ground, and there she was painting still lifes, not for bragging, as for the portraits but for pure decoration. Don't we just love that? Female artist going her very own way.

I have a book in which a photo of her painting Open pomegranate is shown, and I thought. let me have a try. Convinced that I really couldn't do it, but to my surprise I actually did. This study thought me alot of things, and will forever remain in my sketchbook. If the paper quality were better, I would have made the background as well.

If you don't know anything about Giovanna, have a look at this tiny film I found on you-tube, showing alot of her beautiful art.

As you understand, I'm quite busy at the moment, but will be back soon.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hello friends,have you missed me?

Let me start by saying, I'm fine and well. We've had the most beautiful summer I can ever remember, and I have spent my days outside and also spent alot of time with my mom.

In addition to being my mom, she's the most humorous person I know and we've laughed alot together this summer. Now she's returned to Mallorca, Spain, where she lives most parts of the year. The photos below shows what we saw a day out by the sea.

Late summer I start preparing for winter by knitting socks and I have also been making some cute little hats and "shoes" meant for newborns. So, I have been doing something.

That's some of the things I've been doing, and now I'm back in the saddle playing with colors and papers again.

I hope to be back on my blog on a regular basis again, so I'll see you soon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Where I live no.2

The barn.

The barn was a mess when we bought this property. The former owner didn't look after it at all. It was kind of hard for him to take care of everything, because he lives in another part of the country. Each time something needed to be done, he had to hire someone or he asked some neighbours that he knew.

Can you see how it's sunk down on the middle? Handyman had a huge job to jack up the construction and replace the broken parts. But, he did it and it all looked much better. The floors inside had to be replaced as well as the timber cladding outside. Some of the roof tiles had to be fastened, and then it was good as new.

In the abowe photo you can see one window and one that once were a window. He fixed it all and made a new door.

If you have a close look, you can see the timber cladding has been cut at both sides of the showing window. That is because handyman has turned the barn into his garage. When he's entering the path in to our house, he presses the button and parts of the wall lifts up. Seen in the photo below.

We wanted to keep the houses as close to original as possible, but they had to meet our needs. The rest of the barn is used to store different things, such as our firewood. Left hand side room is handymans carpentry room. Besides alot of tools he has a good working space in there. The loft is used to store timber cladding and other stuff that needs quite some space.

West side of the barn shows why it's called a barn instead of an outhouse. A barn needs to have a direct access to the loft from outside, kind of a bridge. If the bridge is there, it's called a barn. Easy as that.

This is how it became after all the repairs. Handyman always wants to cut down the grass on the bridge, but I want it to be there. It shows how it often was and is kind of romantic, I think.

Originally there were hens in the barn, that's all I know for sure. There might have been a horse and even a cow, but I have no one to confirm it.

As a curiosity I can tell you, when handyman teared up the floor in the barn, he found lots and lots of ceramic and porcelain eggs. People used to lay these egge into the hens nests. They were meant to make the hens lay more eggs. I can remember from my childhood some neighbours doing that with their hens.

I have washed all the eggs and use them as decoration on my kitchen counter. I've often thought of painting them, and one day I might do that.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you've enjoyed your stay.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where I live.

The house.

The house we live in were built in 1913. The man who got it built was single and came from the district arouund our capital city, Oslo. He came here to teach in the dairy school ( opened in 1906). He hired a housekeeper and two maids. One maid was the outdoor maid and the other one worked indoors. The outdoor one still lived in our street when we first came here, and she told us a bit from back then.
This house were a large one and had an architecture more used in the cities, not in the countryside as this were in those days. In the year 1916 there were 676 inhabitants here, today we are 12897. Still just a small town, but in 2001 Bryne got the rights to call itself a City.

The house were a beauty in it's original form, but back in 1984 the owner had it fixed,, and during that process most of the beautiful details were removed. Fortunately he had some photos taken, so we can see how it was, and my dream is to bring it back to its original condition

Look at all the beautiful moldings. It's almost impossible to see from this photo, but each of the upper panels ends in an arrow shape and then there is that fat molding across it all.
First floor of the mid section had windows all around it, today right hand side has a solide wall. Not vivible in this photo. Behind the tree branch, you can spot a balcony, second floor, which also were removed because of its condition.

Below is the house as it is today. Can you see how it has lost much of its original soul, even though today, it's very different from how houses are built, and most people think this is very original. This side of the house faces south. We did paint it in 2004, and I chose to use a sand beige color for the house and a white one for the details.

There was a deck stright along the house wall when we first came here in 2000. We chose to open it up in an angle to have a better connection to the garden. Unfortunately we don't use it, it offers no privacy. This photo shows the west side of the house.

Below is how it was originally.

The entrance how it looked from the beginning. A tiny small "house" with a solid concrete stairway. Also notice the window. The condition of the entrance were so bad that we had to fix it. We thought quite much on how to do it. Should it be rebuilt excactly the same? We landed on a better solution, I think. We made a larger one that could meet our needs.

This is what we did. We ordered new windows, similar to the ones that originally were used. The double front door is not how it was originally, but it looks great now. The staircase has a history of its own. I actually sketched how I wanted it to be, and handyman constructed and built it. The two plant "pots" are round like suns, and the steps are like sunbeams from the center of the pots. Left hand steps leads to the garden and right hand side to the backyard. The deck (left side) is what I call the breakfast deck. I can sit out in the sun at 5.30 in the morning midsummer. That early there are no sounds, besides me and the birds awakening. Lovely spot. This side is facing north.

Seen from a distance. Here one can also see the tiny garden house handyman have built. All the windows used were originally meant for the house during winter. One layered windows needed another set of windows to keep the house warm enough during the winter. Now they serve as windows in our tiny and cozy garden house. Notice the stones in the backyard, we spent an entire vacation ( 3 weeks) to put them down and the rain were pouring down the whole periode.

Facing west. Here it's easy to see the stone walls of the basement. Mined stones which keeps the basement temperature fairly cold year around. An important issue back then with no other cooling opportuneties.

More to come.