This weekend I experimented with making my own 'watercolour' paint using nothing but flower petals/leaves which I found around my yard... and water. My daughter and I collected various flowers/leaves - such as dandelions, pansies, geraniums. We ripped them up with our fingers, and then them them steep in some hot tap water all morning under the sun. After a few hours, the water had mostly evaporated leaving behind a lovely natural tinted sort of paint. I had fun later painting with this all organic natural paint. It certainly behaves differently than the typical store-bought paint.
My daughters and I had fun last week creating images using only leaves, flower petals, sticks etc. The first two images are my own. The third image is Danae's (she cheated by using two pieces of dog food, haha), and the last image is Ava's.
I always look forward to lessons with Megan. Besides being so sweet and sincere, Megan is serious about art. In an earlier blog I mentioned the black and white self-portraits that some of my students have been working on (using the "grisaille" method). Megan began her grisaille self-portrait painting back in winter sometime, and finished glazing the colour on it in the middle of the summer. It was a long process, and a challenge... for both of us! I have to admit (as I did to Megan) I was nervous about using her as my 'guinea pig' for this classical approach to portraiture.
However, it turned out beautifully:
This past summer I began art lessons with Zack - who is 12 years old. I immediately recognized the natural talent in him. He is very perceptive.
Within just a few lessons, Zack decided he wanted me to teach him how to draw faces - realistic faces. So, after some basic teaching on the face (proportions and so on), Zack worked on his first official self-portrait drawing. In just two lessons he created a beautiful drawing; I'm so proud of him!
I'm excited to see what else he will create in this next year.
For the last month or so I have been working simultaneously on a portrait and a landscape (amongst other projects here and there). This has really made me curious as to whether or not there is a connection between a portrait and a landscape painting! I have always enjoyed painting portraits. However, ever since painting the large landscape paintings for Acqua, I have had landscapes on my mind. More specifically, large landscape scenes (painted on large canvases) with no real focal point- just wide open spaces.
I have also wanted to work on my portrait drawing skills. So, I had my niece Kara come and sit for me in my studio at the end of summer. Painting/drawing in real life vs. from a photo is a very different experience! It was certainly a challenge. After two hours I set Kara free, and depended on good photographs that I took to finish it off.
My plan now is to work on another 'live sitting' portrait... and start on another large landscape painting. And I will keep wondering about a possible connection between the two different subjects.
This past weekend was spent up North for the annual Goossen Cottage weekend. I took advantage of my family laying still on the dock, and practiced some drawing skills with some 5-10 min portrait sketches (and I loved it that my Mom and Dad were also sketching on the dock with me!).
Along with many others, I have found portrait drawing very intimidating... but have found it very helpful to focus on negative shapes and line relationships. It's also very important to keep in mind that the goal of drawing and sketching shouldn't be to produce a photo on paper... you are creating a personal impression.
All summer long I have been deeply enjoying my new studio. My daughters have been enjoying it along with me - colouring, drawing, creating... it's great to be working side by side with my girls, each doing our own thing. I've been working on some new paintings - a landscape and portrait, as well as some commissioned portraits (I will post more on my new work soon).
Now that my youngest daughter is in school part-time, I'll be able to spend more time in my studio.
For Vacation Bible School at my Church this summer I was asked to paint a 5x5 ft round globe for the kids. It was built by the very talented Larry Wiebe. I enlisted the help of my two little girls (who were actually very helpful painting the first coat of gesso!), and my art student Rachel (to help paint the water). It was a fun project.
I was thinking during those days of painting about how some art lasts forever (i.e. Rembrandt or Monet), and some art is just temporary (sand castles, ice sculptures...). This globe is certainly temporary - unless someone finds it a home after next week. However, knowing that didn't discourage me from enjoying the process of painting it, or from wanting to put a little extra time into it.
For two years now I have been teaching art lessons privately and in small groups - my youngest student is in Grade 5, and my oldest student is in her 40's.
I find it exciting to watch children, teenagers, and adults alike learn to draw, paint, create etc. in a way that expresses their thoughts. It's interesting seeing each student's personal unique style develop over time. We learn a lot together while having fun!
I live in Southern Ontario on a farm with my husband, Dennis, and our two daughters. Painting out of my studio on our farm allows me to stay close to my family and to be surrounded by the natural landscape that continues to influence my work.