Wednesday, February 8, 2012

...Just WHAT has she been up to all year?!, has she been doing anything this year at all?? good question!! fortunately, a few things have been finished, lots more have not. but here's a little roughly chronological taste of my 2011 artistic discoveries...

Towards the end of January, when i finally stopped cringing at the sight of a paintbrush and had woken up from about a month long nap, (that was one intense last semester!! phew!!) i felt inclined to do a little portrait of lovely miss callie peterson. i've been playing a lot with transparency and layering lately; and have pretty much narrowed down my palette to all transparent colors; even ones that are more opaque (like cad red light) i 'water down' with enough linseed oil to create a wash. lead white is the white of choice; it can go very transparent and isn't overpowering; however, trying to cover up underneath mistakes is hard with it; i've been using a lot of sandpaper to 'erase' instead...

Then in the delightful beginnings of spring (which arrives before june in california,) i was absolutely living for the glorious flowers' enchanting appearances. after aquiring a few gorgeous ranunculus for arrangements at a relief society birthday dinner, i just had to take a day to paint them!! (can you blame me?!) :)

...yes, i may have discovered a new favorite breed of blossom in the little ranunculuus... of course, every time a new round of flowers appears, i have to revise that statement. i hosted quite the photoshoot of the little beauties before the dinner, and was struck with inspiration for a little expirimental piece whilst running (the source of discovery for my floral fettishes!!). i got home and pieced together this little friend through a variety of sources. first time i've done a whole composed 'picture' in a long time; or an animal!! i had a lot of fun on the whole thing, and particularly remember the shamrocks and playing with transparency and overlapping, etc. i'm okay with how it turned out; of course, nothing is ever as good as it is in one's head (#everpresentfrustrationofeveryartisteverywhereangst!!#), but i learned a ton and love lots of the individual parts. i dubbed it 'welcome spring' !! :)

Next up i felt very inclined to have at a real, full on portrait again. And what better subject than our dear, beloved hero of heroes, president Gordon B.! :) i wanted to try 'pushing' it farther than i have before, in hopes of someday getting to the point of being able to paint commissions of executives, founders, and other (ahem,) silver haired and distinguished vip's. Clyde Romney Clayson was a big inspiration, and i also pulled up little way zoomed in images of eyes by rembrandt and others to emulate techniques, etc. while painting. (why haven't i done this before?!?) SO helpful. still not completely satisfied with the 'dark' side of the face; didn't know where to go from here. i'm struggling to find some microscopically fine line of keeping the darks transparent and getting enough opacity to ~ well, i don't know; look like all those famous founders' portraits i see. still hate backgrounds (that aren't really flowers masquerading as backgrounds,) overall though, i'm really happy with the light side especially, and it's always so nice to see the face of a good friend!! :)

...speaking of good friends, that's really how i feel while i paint; like i'm having a conversation with my subject, be it from life or no; it's easiest to either know the subject really well or not at all; in the later case, you can create a very detailed personality in your head that gets 'painted' into the face. only sorta knowing someone is hard, because you can't make up a personality, but you don't necessarily know them enough to catch them with the paint. kids are so earnest of expression, however, i never seem to have trouble painting them. then again, kids are just my favorite thing to paint, so all i've said is probably crazyness run amok. boy, i need to spend less quality one on one time with just an easel...

Fortunately my next major project fell under the first category; the Walton family of sunny East Bay California (and also my good good friends!) commissioned me to paint a 6 person family portrait complete with fountain (and pets!!) I will tell you right now, it was an absolute pleasure... it was also the biggest thing i've ever painted, number of subject as well as sheer enormitywise, and therefore quite a staggering feat for this little perfectly~happy~to~8by10~it~for~her~entire~career painter. (this piece required the incredibly charitable sacrifice by my mom of the dining room for several months, as the approximately 5'by4' board was not about to fit on my little tabletop easel; some days i could tell which face i'd been working on earlier by the location of the pain in my back...) BUT, by the beginning of turkey season, 'The Walton Family' was ready for a frame (and i was ready for a few good deep breaths!!) They are happy, which was my main concern the entire project. They are happy, so i am happy... and for some reason, i really love that fountain!!

In june i had the INCREDIBLY UNBELIEVABLE opportunity for a two day charcoal portraiture workshop with the MASTER zhaoming wu!! it was an amazing and incredible experience. i'd forgotten how much i love drawing from life, and was taken back to those good ol' days of high school art experience at AAU in san francisco... i got charcoal all over my face then, too...

Well, there's been a plethora of other work, drawings, started paintings, etc., but i will post them at a later date (this has been a rather long post for all of us!) and as completed. yay for art, it warms my heart!! :) and happy 2012!!


  1. Love it all! And I love reading what you have to say. You are so eloquent.

  2. Maid! Your work is amazing! I'll see your work in a museum or Deseret book one day!

  3. Madi! So glad you're posting again so I can see your beautiful work! I love love the bunny. So adorable. And you really captured President Hinckley! And your charcoal portraits are exquisite! And that portrait is ginormous!

    and and and... it's all beautiful. :) Great job!!