This is the beautiful card my sister in Israel sent me for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It arrived by e-mail so I don't have it in my physical possession but I wanted to share it with everyone. Harriet is the one who got me back to painting. She is also the reason I am working in watercolor. We took a workshop together in Cape Cod and I bought all these tubes of watercolor. The rest is history. We have shared a love of art our entire lives. Here is a photo of us painting inside the entrance to our apartment in this little town Porceno in Umbria, Italy. We have painted together in Israel and France as well as Ashland, Oregon; Taos, New Mexico and of course, Province town, Massachusetts. Next spring we are planning a trip to Spain. Since we live a half a world away, it is a wonderful way to spend time together when we get the chance. Now with our Skype connection we can talk to each other for free through our computers and actually see each other. It's the next best thing to being in the same room.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Posted by Myrna Wacknov at 10:51 PM
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Today I was able to go the the quarterly drawing marathon in Palo Alto and stayed for both sessions. It took a little trial and error but I finally figured out a combination of inks and pens, brush strokes and marks that gave me results I liked. I am posting my two favorite drawings from today and the rest that I liked are in the slide show. I was using India Ink with a brush, walnut ink with a brush and the Elegant Writer black pen and then a permanent fine point uniball pen. I took the phone book, my new pad of YUPO and a Watercolor travel book that I wasn't too fond of the paper quality. It was perfect for the materials I worked with today. The morning session had my two favorite models. In the afternoon, I switched to the long pose but didn't have an interesting vantage point so I started drawing the other artists around the model a la Charles Reid. That was fun. I was so happy life didn't interfere with art today.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Here is a message that the Senate has passed the Orphan Works Bill. I followed the easy steps listed below to send a message to my congress person. You don't even need to know who that is. You put in your address and the proper person is sent the letter. Just click on the title of this blog and it will take you to the link. We artists have to band together. This bill is a very bad piece of legislation for us.
FROM THE ILLUSTRATORS' PARTNERSHIP
Orphan Works: Risking Our Nation's Copyright Wealth
The Senate has just passed their version of the Orphan Works Bill
Now we must try to stop the House Judiciary Committee from folding their bill and adopting the Senate version.
We've supplied a special letter for this purpose.
PLEASE EMAIL CONGRESS TONIGHT.
USE THIS LINK
-Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership
For ongoing developments, go to the Illustrators' Partnership Orphan Works blog: http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/
Over 70 organizations are united in opposing this bill in its current form. Illustrators, photographers, fine artists, songwriters, musicians, and countless licensing firms all believe this bill will harm their small businesses.
The Capwiz site is open to professional creators and any member of the image-making public. Sample letters have been provided. International artists will find a special link, with a sample letter and instructions as to whom to write.
If you received our mail as a forwarded message, and wish to be added to our mailing list, email us at: email@example.com Place "Add Name" in the subject line, and provide your name and the email address you want used in the message area.
Please post or forward this message in its entirety to any interested party.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Yesterday the weather was gorgeous and my two friends and I had a date to go see the Frida Kahlo exhibit in San Francisco. We drove to the subway station and took BART into the City, had lunch at the Nordstrom complex (can't remember what they call the new expanded shopping center, I just know how to get there!) and then we walked a few blocks to The Museum of Modern Art...and read the sign that said "Closed on Wednesday" AAAARGH! You would have thought at least one of us would have checked this little detail. The Museum Store was open and doing a brisk business with all of the other clueless folks who came to see the show. Naturally, we did a little shopping. I controlled myself and only bought one big book and one little one. With no car, I had to carry everything for a few hours. By the time I got home, the day was gone and no painting.
Today, I had critique group in the morning, then a trip to the art supply store and then a hair cut and then to the shoe store to check out the tread on the exercise shoes. I found some fun stuff at the art supply store, one being a flexible masking tape about 1/8" thin that can create curves. I'm going to try that on my next painting. I also bought a small pad of YUPO to try things out on before I work on the large sheets. Again, not enough time to paint but I did do a little experimenting after dinner.
I got this idea in my head that all the exercise shoes have different patterns of tread on the bottom and that some of them would make good stamps. I have these neat little magic blue foam rectangles called PenScore Magic Stamp Moldable Foam. (That is what you Google to find a supplier). You heat the surface with a hair dryer or, better yet, a heat gun (for stripping paint) and then press it into any surface that will give an impression. If you want to "erase" your impression, just reheat it and start over.
Here are my little experiments I did this evening with a photo of one of the foam blocks with the impression. I used my new YUPO pad. I know they work with stamp ink, so tonight I tried brushing some watercolor over the block and stamping it. Them I wanted to see if Caran d'ache watercolor crayon would work. The turquoise and yellow green are from the crayon. It worked better than I thought. I am very excited about the patterns. I have a few blocks left, so I will return the 3 pairs of shoes and get a few more to work with. It doesn't harm the shoe in the least. The bigger the shoe, the more area to print.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
This one was a lot of fun to create. I used my drawing from the "wire sculpture" challenge. I created a few value studies since I just completed a workshop where that was the emphasis. I really didn't know how to approach all the color so I just started making colored lines. I knew I wanted the background dark and a contrast in value with the outside edge. I used Caran d'ache for the colored lines and then used the Hydrus Liquid watercolors. This one is on Tyvek. The paint did a surprising thing. It appears it slipped under the resist crayon line and seeped into the next area in a very interesting way. The paint went through the paper on this sheet. It normally doesn't. I like the effect but I'm not sure I could recreate it again.
This marks the FIRST ANNIVERSARY of my blog! I can't believe it has been a whole year. I want to thank all of you who have followed along and helped to make it a big success.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The American Watercolor Society has posted a statement on their website. There is a very thoughtful commentary on the statement and the situation by Katherine Tyrrell on her blog. By clicking on the title of this post, you will reach her blog. If you follow some of the threads, there is mentioned a place to learn about the legal ins and outs of using other material, etc. I think we all need to learn this information, especially myself. I think I am skating on thin ice photographing strangers. I need to check it out.
I'm sure you all understand that the excercises you are doing from the Frenchman photo are ineligible for competitions because it is my original photo. I am sharing it only for the purposes of learning.
While going through a few of her postings I found a very interesting artist who has been creating large portraits of controversial political and financial figures with a 'LINE AS TEXTURE" look (squiggly paint lines and drips) and then takes these paintings to a public place and has people write comments on the subject in the negative space around the head. Considering the dramatic events on Wall Street this week, this is a timely marriage of art and history in the making. He has auctioned these paintings off for major dollars. The blog address is below. Be sure and click on the individual images to read what people have written. What an interesting and creative concept. Wish I had thought of it! Darn, another great idea already taken by someone else.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The challenge for the coming week is to create a painting of THE FRENCHMAN using LINE AS A DOMINANT ELEMENT WITH THE EMPHASIS ON A COLORFUL LINE. This version of Vern has colorful line work done with torn paper. It's one of my favorites but, unfortunately, I didn't realize the paper (cheap colored tissue) will fade! Now I paint my own colored papers with light fast acrylic paint. I guess I should have a giclee made of this painting to preserve the image. Live and learn.
I am providing some additional examples of other artists who have done some fabulous work with colored line. These examples are to stimulate your thinking and come up with your own ideas. Wayne Thiebaud is the first artist that comes to mind with a shimmering color halo around his objects. Van Gogh's work can be considered texture and colored line.
I'm itching to get started!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Here are some truly creative solutions to the weekly challenge using LINE AS TEXTURE! Tomorrow I will reveal the next week's LINE CHALLENGE for our Frenchman. I hope everyone is having fun with him.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Well, I guess the country was going to the dogs this week, but I was having a great time in Donna Zagotta's workshop sponsored by the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society (SCVWS) Above are the 3 paintings I completed this week. The focus was on designing the rectangle with simplified shapes and creating value patterns. Each one of these is a different value pattern. This is her fourth workshop for SCVWS as everyone gets so much out of it and wants more, more, more! She designed this workshop to be more advanced and included an evaluation sheet for how to determine your direction and how to create a focused approach to moving to the next level, plus individual consultations. It was intense.
We also had a lot of fun and Thursday night went to Stanford University to see a Diebenkorn exhibit. They also had a traveling exhibit "Saved from the Storm" from the New Orleans museum collection. I have created a small slide show of some of the week's activities. Notice the Duane Hansen sculpture of a workman leaning against the wall. It is rather unnerving, to say the least, but we had a lot of fun checking him out. There was another Duane Hansen sculpture in Kansas City dressed as a Museum Guard. What I am noticing about both of these scupltures is how dusty they are getting. It must be difficult to keep them pristine.
Tomorrow I will post the slide show for FRENCHMAN: LINE AS TEXTURE.
Here is the slide show from my photos. I didn't take that many. If you attended the workshop and have additional photos you would like to add to the slide show, you can do so from your computer! I will get a message letting me know and to give my approval.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I am taking the most fabulous workshop this week with Donna Zagotta! She is all about design and composition and finding your true style. Good luck with me, as I change styles every painting! It is intense and I am very tired right now. I want to post more about the workshop, so will do so a little later in the week. We are going as a group tomorrow night after the workshop, to the Kanter Museum on the Stanford University campus to see the Diebenkorn exhibit and then have dinner together. That should be a great outing but gets me back too late to post, so looks like Friday I will give a synopsis of the week. I will also put together another slide show as many of you are sending me images of your Frenchman paintings, and they are terrific.
In the meantime, check out the Wet Canvas link by clicking on the title of this blog posting for a stunning controversy regarding the hyper realistic "painting" which was awarded the Gold Medal from the American Watercolor Society this year. Almost all of her images are now gone from the web but the AWS sight still has it, so you can refresh your memory, if necessary. I was nose to plexi with this painting to see how it was possible to paint every little wiry hair in his beard and head. Turns out, perhaps it isn't possible. I sure didn't see a single sign of paint or mark of brush. Be sure and follow the links that are provided in some of the comments on this Wet Canvas discussion for more complete details. Especially the link to the photography discussion board.
I look forward to your comments.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I'm not sure this really qualifies as "line" but it certainly is TEXTURE! The stamp I used was web-like lines, so I started out to do physical texture using line. I took an unsuccessful painting I started in a workshop (140lb watercolor paper) and covered it with my new Utrech Gesso. It was like icing a cake! The consistency is like buttercream frosting. It can be thinned down to whatever consistency you want, so it is very economical. I stamped into the wet gesso and then let it dry. Actually, that is as far as I got yesterday. Today I took my time and drew the image with my #4 Lizard's Lick Cheap Joe brush using diluted Cobalt Blue Hydrus liquid watercolor. I kept the board upright so I wouldn't get a distortion. The gesso surface makes lifting and correcting very easy. I then used Hansa Yellow Deep (yellow orange), Permanent Red and the Cobalt. Mixing Cobalt with the Red creates a very dark color close to black! I also drew into the image with my oiler boilers using diluted Magenta and Thalo Blue.
This feel more like me. I like the looseness and texture, lots of color but less abstract.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I spent a few hours today finishing up the painting. My biggest problem was getting the support board to be perfectly level. I am painting on a French easel in my "Library" space. It has 3 adjustable legs. I have a large art glass marble that I placed on the board. Which ever way it rolled I knew to raise that side. It took awhile, but I finally got the perfect adjustment. I usually work on a table when I am painting on Yupo or Tyvek so it is automatically level.
The ink from the stamped images resisted the paint, creating some interesting effects. I will need to spray this painting with acrylic spray after I am sure I don't want to make any changes. I do this because the heaviest paint will remain tacky indefinitely. The spray seals it and gives an even sheen to the surface.
This painting is pretty wild. I limited my colors to Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow Deep and Diluted Thalo Blue. This painting reminds me of a quilted image. It has future possibilities. I do think I need to tone things down next time. Hopefully, I will get my thick gesso tomorrow and can do a texture painting with it.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I absolutely love Ann Bagby's paintings. She makes her own stamps. I have purchased the necessary materials to do so, but haven't taken that step yet. I have made some stamps with this very cool stuff that you heat with a stripper gun and then press into a textured surface to create a stamp. You can reheat this foam block with the gun and the image disappears and is ready to accept a new impression. I used one of those stamps in this painting. It is the area around the eye in the detail image. The rest of the stamps are purchased. Click on each image to bring it up in a separate screen, enlarged.
I drew my image on Yupo with a permanent finepoint pen. Then I created a stencil from tracing paper for each shape so I could stamp just the shape I wanted without slopping over into the adjacent area. I thought about keeping the stamped tracing paper to use as collage but decided it wasn't usable. I think next time I will use tissue paper for the stencil so I will have good collage material left over. After I finished the stamping using regular archival stamp pad ink, I redrew the lines with a heavier line. I'm not sure I like it better with a heavier line, but everything is an experiment and gaining knowledge for next time around.
This process is really forcing me to slow down! I need to embrace the process. I completed this step last night and started painting it today. Very slow going but it is looking interesting. This looks nothing like anything I have every done. It does have a graphic quality that I am seeing in lots of contemporary work these days.
I hope everyone is having fun trying new things. Can't wait to see what you come up with. I have added a number of new paintings to the slide show, so check it out again.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Staying with LINE as the dominant element, use it as texture! Keep colors to maximum 5 tubes, your choice. Texture can be either visual or tactile. In some cases, both. Think of Van Gogh who used repeated lines to create visual texture but his paint was thick so it was also tactile.
Visual texture can be linear patterns that read as texture. Check out Ann Bagby ( I have posted one of her paintings but her website is full of incredible examples) She uses stamps to create the patterns. Here's my interpretation of pattern as texture:
I have posted some of my paintings and few from my "clip files" of other artists to give you some ideas.
The Vern painting was done with different striated combs into wet thick gesso. The Bone painting was aluminum foil collaged onto the watercolor paper after I created linear patterns with a stylus.
Notice with all these examples how the LINE grabs your attention and dominates.
I hope these examples gets your creative juices flowing!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I finally finished #1 and #3. I think I may have overworked #3 but discovered some interesting techniques. I used the side of
a oil pastel to create a wider line on a sheet of Tyvek. In retrospect, I think I want to use a darker color next time. The Sienna color doesn't show that much. It scumbled across the page in a lacy pattern. When I brushed color over it the color filled in the little spaces. I also tried doing a rubbing with a crayola and a oil pastel. The crayola didn't do much but the oil pastel left an interesting pattern on his shirt. I also experimented with injecting color in spots using the oiler boilers from Cheap Joe's. I really liked this idea and intend to explore it more. The combination of oil pastel and watercolor left the Tyvek with a very irregular surface. I am going to try and flatten the sheet out but don't know if it will work. I will wet the back side and then press it between to boards and weight it down. I think I will try the oil pastel with watercolor on Yupo next and see what happens.
Tomorrow I will post a variation on line as the dominant element for the coming week. Stay tuned!
Here are the submissions so far. Still working on yours? Send me an e-mail when it is done and I will add it to the slide show.
I was working on a new painting today. I need to finish it up tomorrow and then I will post. I made some new discoveries so I am excited. The house stayed cool enough so I could work. The heat wave continues.
Monday I will modify the challenge for week 2!
Friday, September 5, 2008
We're not used to the heat here in Foster City. The past few days have been HOT and we have no air conditioning. All my energy has melted right out of me. I need to finish this painting but thought I would post it at this stage and then lift out some lights and make further adjustments tomorrow and post the final version.
The October issue of American Artist is in the bookstores now with the Self Portrait competition winners. I guess it is official that I was awarded second place but I have not heard anything from the magazine. I find that so strange.
I am gearing up for the workshop in October in Ocean Shores, Washington. It looks like a fabulous location for a fun and relaxing week. There are a few spots still available if anyone wants a great art working vacation. Check my website for details.
If you have a finished "Frenchman with Line" painting, send it in. I will put up a slide show tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Today I worked on the first painting for a while. It needs a few finishing touches so I will post the results tomorrow. In the meantime, I was scheduled to do a demonstration for the Burlingame Art Society to night so I thought I would continue with our Frenchman and keep line as the dominant element. Here is the result. This is more high key than I usually paint but I like the effect. I used the oiler boiler with diluted thalo blue to draw with and then to draw into wet paint. I think I kept to the five pigment limit: Yellow Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue and Cad Red Light. I guess the Thalo makes 6. OOPS! I broke my own rule. I should have lowered the image. It is going to be difficult to get this under a mat without cutting too much off the top. I did have fun doing this painting and it was a great bunch of people.
Today I received my first contribution for the challenge. I am hoping to see more work so I can create a nice slide show for Friday's blog. Keep those paint brushes wet!
Monday, September 1, 2008
It was a great holiday weekend. The weather here in the SF Bay Area was totally glorious. Saturday I went with my husband to the King's Mountain Art Festival which is held on the crest of the mountain in a Redwood Forest. We splurged on an anniversary gift for ourselves and purchased a beautiful hand made display table that has different inlaid woods and some crushed turquoise stones imbedded in the knot holes. Sunday I went with a friend to the famous Sausalito Art Festival. By the time we paid the parking, entrance fee, lunch, gas and bridge toll, we had spent a pretty penny but didn't purchase any art work.
Today I was anxious to get started painting again, being so inspired by all the incredible art work the previous two days. I did three preliminary drawings playing around with different line widths. I started the painting on Yupo in a vertical position on the easel and using a 1" cheap bristle brush from the paint store painted the basic lines with diluted violet Hydrus liquid watercolor. The stiff bristles don't hold lots of paint so I had almost no runs. In fact, I wanted some runs in the background and had a difficult time getting this to happen. The first image (very poor. Sorry!) shows the results. Next I used a 1/2" cheap bristle brush with stronger pigment and went back over the lines. Lastly I used my favorite Lizard's Lick #4 Cheap Joe's brush with Cobalt and drew the fine lines. I forgot to photograph the second step until half way through the third step.
Now I am contemplating where to go from here. I have thought of 3 or 4 options. If I want the line to dominate, I have to consider how the next step will impact the whole. I shall sleep on it.