Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
(If you wonder what is in the newsletter that doesn't appear here, well there is some personal chat and this week I answer a question about my 2015 teaching schedule plus I also posted about my poppy project. I don't want to overwhelm blog readers with a lot of text so I just post the main article. If you would like to recieve the complete newsletter in your in-box each week, visit this link: newsletter)
(Her work is gorgeous; do take the time to check out her website. I especially like her room interiors.)
Heather’s work caught my attention from the moment I saw the magazine. I immediately wanted to know why she chose this subject.
Why did she choose to paint two older fellows, looking out to sea? I doubted she was enraptured by their um, buttocks! J
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I am teaching a two day, Coloured Pencil Basics course, in my studio (Ottawa, Canada) on September 20 and 27th. If you have always wanted to give cps a try (and you live close enough to attend), now is your chance.
The picture above shows the lower half of my studio with some lovely ladies busy working on a project. Connecting with other art loving, cp newbies is all part of the fun we have.
You will get all of the instruction and support you need, everything presented step-by-step, to get the results you are dreaming of! AND there is a super duper BONUS PACKAGE included.
To check out all of the details click here. You can conveniently register on-line as well. I can't wait to meet you! (Only three spots remain available, so don't wait or you might miss out. Space is limited in my studio and I therefore have to limit the number of students.)
If you don't live in the Ottawa area and you would love to take this course, I have great news for you - an on-line version will be offered early in 2015! I am working on it now. :-)
Friday, July 18, 2014
A reader, Karen from Ohio, is also a huge fan of cloud watching. She wrote and asked for some tips on capturing clouds in her art. Here is an excerpt from her email,
The key to a dramatic, powerful sky is to use lots of rich colour. Really look at those clouds and ask yourself what colours you see - what gray greens do you see, what shades of purple? Think way beyond blue sky and white clouds. Exaggerate these colours, the way you would when drawing a white flower or when colouring shadows.
Finally, I suggest viewing the work of artists that do clouds really well. Examine how they approach the subject. What is it about their work that you like? In your opinion, what are they doing well?
Monday, July 14, 2014
My Monday morning started like any other. I grabbed a coffee and headed to my studio to do my scheduling. Every Monday morning I tear off huge sheets of paper and tape them to my studio walls and on these pages I write out all of my to-dos for the week, nice and big, in colourful markers. I function much more effectively with these large in your face lists as opposed to small desk planners.
After I had my mind and activities sorted for the days ahead, I decided to linger over my coffee, before walking the dog. My task would be to proof read my newsletter. I won't be publishing it until Friday but I wrote it yesterday and I wanted to have another look.
The topic of the article in the newsletter is tips on drawing/painting clouds (my response to a question from a newsletter reader). At the end of the article I wanted to share the art of one of my favourite landscape artists - who does clouds and skys that I love.
So la-di-dah, I go googling for a link to her art to place in the newsletter. Louisa has never done social media, no blogs, no website, no Facebook biz page so I knew I had to find something else. The galleries that carry her work always have some sort of press going on about her.
I wasn't prepared for what I discovered. My artist died last year. I stared at the screen in disbelief. It wasn't another woman with the same name, it was her. An obituary and posthumous praise from various galleries, all of it telling the horrible truth - this amazing artist was dead at 60.
I have been a fan of this woman's work for 23 years. I stumbled upon her art back in 1991, when she was a young wife and mother, still in her 30s. She was carving out a live for herself as a landscape painter based in Santa Fe New Mexico. Her work was just as powerful back then and over the years I would see her work in art magazines (the ones in which galleries post big ads featuring some of their best artists). I did try to 'follow her' but one would think she didn't own a computer as she remained silent. She lived the 'artist dream' of painting everyday, living well off the sale of her art and she didn't have to keep up with Facebook changes or html glitches on her website. Okay, maybe that is just my dream... :-)
I don't know how she died, whether it was a sudden, perhaps accidental death or a terminal illness. In the end, it doesn't matter. This incredibly talented person's artistic gifts to the world shall be no more.
I was not only a fan of her work but of her philosophies and her lifestyle. Her marriage ended and her two daughters grew up. Louisa realized her passion for the land not only through her painting but through farming. She raised Dexter cattle, had Norwegian horses, chickens and dogs, gorgeous gardens...simply my kind of peep.
I think we all need to find someone that we can relate to and boy, when I find an artist that also does the 'back to the land' thing, well let's just say I breathe a big sigh of delight and I feel like I am okay, normal, it validates my choices, which I am very well aware are not mainstream choices. Let's face it not everyone chooses to tie themselves down with livestock nor do they choose to muck stalls on a Sunday afternoon. (what I did yesterday :-) )
So what about my slap up the side of the head? (back to the title of the post in case I lost you)...well as I tried to wrap my mind around the reality that this wonderful woman had died so young, at the height of her game, at that moment, it seemed as if the grim reaper strolled through the studio and whispered to me, "So what are you waiting for?"
Okay, I admit, a big melodramatic but that is how I described the moment to my husband. Maybe it was the voice of my higher self, guiding angels, the Universe or my intuition...I don't care what label the Source has, I just got the message.
Now what do I do with it? Well, that is going to take some thinking. I have created a pretty dreamy life for myself and I thought all things were on track but still, this question, "So, what are you waiting for?" gave me chills. What if I were to die at 60? (insert sudden cuff to the side of my head). Is there something I am holding back from doing? Is there some big, grand art I need to get creating?
I did think of a possible fun tribute to Louisa.
I was putting feed in a goat manger later in the morning and I was thinking of all of this and I got the idea to go buy a large canvas, to dig out my ancient tubes of oil paint and some palette knives, load everything in my vehicle and head off to a favourite spot nearby to do a plein air landscape, big sky and all. Louisa style...probably not something the public would ever see but hey... :-)
So why do I write all of this? Well, I believe we all inspire one another and I want to shake you up today. I want to rock your world with this question,
"So what are you waiting for?"
(and we can thank the grim reaper for that one, ha)
Last but definitely not least, here are three links to the incredible Louisa McElwain:
Friday, July 11, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
|Poppy Project Stage 3, copyright Teresa Mallen|
Friday, July 4, 2014
Happy 4th of July to my American readers!!!! Here is an excerpt from my July 4th, Newsletter.
(I send out a newsletter to my newsletter subscribers each week, which they receive in their in-box. If you would like to join the Newsletter Group, click here.)
I invite you to share this fun project with any parent, grandparent, babysitter or care giver that you know. Let’s get everyone colouring this summer!
There are lots of tie-ins here – if you go to the beach you can collect small shells to glue onto your mural or to place on the window ledge. If you are staying at a cottage this summer, you could look up the types of fish that are found in the lake you are on. If you visit an aquarium, you will have lots of ideas for drawings!
Besides mermaids, your fish window/wall can also have other ocean creatures depicted. You can move on to drawing an octopus or rocks for the fish to swim amongst. You could even create a collage by adding cut outs from magazines.
Final tip: you can create cut outs of your images too which helps if you wish to place the fish in certain locations or positions (instead of having to place the whole sheet).
And that is all there is to it, a simple drawing, some simple materials and loads of fun that all ages can enjoy.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
At this point in the drawing, I am simply road mapping with two colours, establishing values and finding my way around the shapes of the petals. I know it looks rather purple at this stage, but eventually it will be an orange poppy or perhaps orangy-red.
This morning the moth was gone, there were no rainbows - just a fox coming across the lawn looking for a meal. The chickens quickly took cover under a tree near the goats. I was actually in the goat yard on the other side of the tree. When I heard the chickens squawking their 'alarm' call I went running. The goats were dashing about (they know what that chicken sound means) and by the time I saw the fox, it had already sized up the situation and turned around. The goats, just by being goats, have scared off more than one fox over the past few years. Still, I went after the fox to deter it from returning. It went running off down the road. Soon crows up in the field were voicing their own alarm.
I shall be keeping watch from my studio windows today...
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
|dahlia work in progress from many years ago, never finished,|
coloured pencil on Stonehenge, copyright Teresa Mallen
In a recent rummage through my own pile of unfinished work, I came across the dahlia shown here. Gosh, this is a very old piece, started when I was very new to working in coloured pencil.
I abandoned it because I became uncertain...I wasn't sure if the look was right - I was applying so much pigment that somehow it was becoming burnished and I hadn't wanted that. Up until then all of my work was more airy. I had always allowed some tooth of the paper to show through. I loved that look (still do) and I wasn't sure I wanted to continue.
I also fretted over my use of dark purple to do the 'lines' in the petals. Things were starting to look kind of stylized. Turns out that was just my future style starting to emerge. :-)
I got frightened and decided to quit before I had spent too many more hours on the piece. In the end, I started fresh and did another one. It made it to the finish! I worked slowly, mindful of burnishing. I learned a lot about technique from these early works and I learned about the artist I was going to be.
I find it amuzing that I was worried about getting too stylized...this from the woman that years later would create this from a leaf of chard...