It’s been a busy month, so I just got to look through my website email to find and print my award certificate for Modern Family in the Seascapes Art Exhibition on lightspacetime.art. Imagine my surprise when I found two certificates, the second one for Aquarium! And Aquarium received a Special Merit Award! This painting was my first effort at jellyfish, the first time I painted on a gessoboard and the subject of the very first post I published on this website on July 13, 2013, called “Inspiration.”
I love to paint hair, strange as that may seem. Straight, wavy, curly, wispy—all are challenging and fun for a portrait artist. My first most successful paintings of my oldest granddaughters were views of the backs of their heads, with them looking at themselves in a playground mirror: Izzy with her straight hair and Maddie with the curls.
It’s no wonder that I was immediately attracted to Whitney Browne’s portrait of a striking African-American woman with a magnificent head of hair. I worked hard to do justice to her spectacular do and, though she may not be one at all, to be able to call her Diva…
Mirror, Mirror | Izzy
Mirror, Mirror | Maddie
I took a chance last month and entered several of my larger jellyfish paintings in a Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery “Seascapes” Art Exhibition, hoping that the judges would have a fairly broad view of what constitutes a seascape. Happily they did, and Modern Family was given Special Recognition in the Painting & Other Media category, along with 59 other entries. It will be on view at lightspacetime.art for the month of October, 2017, and will remain in their archives. Makes me want to paint more jellyfish…
In the end, it’s all in the details: the eyes, her mouth, the teeth (finally!), the hint of a dimple high on her cheek and even the setting are what make the portrait Mila. It’s important to know when you’re finished with a painting…enough to call it done. Believe me, I could obsess over the portrait, but now that I can see MGee, sitting on the window seat in Lasa’s room, with pillows behind her and her face lit up with glee (as usual, I might add—she is a happy girl) on her first birthday, I’m satisfied. Actually, I’m pretty pleased that I’ll be able to look at the painting in Florida this winter, when I’m not a seven minute drive away from seeing my girls, and be reminded of her joy.
Mila’s back—but she’s still not finished! Once the canvas has been covered, it’s time to go back in to recapture the drawing, feature by feature. One of my earliest drawing teachers said that artists are trained to see better than most people. So it is my habit, when painting a portrait from a photograph, to use the photo on my iPad, rather than a print, for my model. It’s an amazing tool that allows me to see better, to focus on each feature individually, as well as how each relates to the others. And the colors! I like to think that my best portraits have personality, just like their subjects. Those teeth are still pretty pesky, but I’ll get to them next time…
One of the reasons I haven’t posted the progress of one of my paintings before is that I very often lose the drawing in the first application of paint. Here I’m just trying to knock the colors in and throw in the background (she’s sitting on a window seat, with cushions behind her)—to cover the canvas in paint. There will be plenty of time for me to get the drawing back; right now I just want to get some flesh going, whiten those pesky teeth and put her clothes on. My husband, who is my biggest fan, will invariably shake his head when he sees this stage of the process, disappointed that I’ve lost the likeness, inevitably causing me to remind him that it’s not finished yet!
How sweet it is to end a long weekend by opening an email that announces two of your paintings have been selected in an art competition! Keeping a promise to myself to put my work out in the world, I’m thrilled to have been included as one of the 40 artists who received Special Recognition (for my paintings, Closeup and Pipe Dreams), chosen from 781 entries in the 2017 7th Annual “Open” Art Competition—Painting & Other Media, at the Light Space & Time Online Gallery.
All winning entries are now featured on lightspacetime.art for the month of September, 2017; thereafter, the artwork will remain online in the Light Space & Time Archives. Since there was no theme for this competition, I was able to enter some figurative paintings as well as a few of my smoke series paintings. Juried shows are so very subjective, that it’s hard to know what might appeal; all you can do is put yourself out there…
Special Recognition Artists