Saturday, January 31, 2009

Before enlightenment, carrying wood and drawing water. After enlightenment, carrying wood and drawing water.

Or 'before the opening, going to the studio and painting; after the opening, going to the studio and painting.'
The Huff Harrington Fine Art opening was exciting. A nice crowd turned out, tons of chatter and hellos and waving going on. My ears were literally ringing when we left. I am not a big party goer, so my memories are a mash up of freeze frame glimpses, like a kaleidescope in a blender.

To reward myself for valor, I started Oilily Meets Vermeer at the Jordaan Market. The thing that caught me was how elements of northern renaissance - a musical instrument, an oriental rug on a table, a bolt of velvet cloth, copper pans, a brass footstool with an embroidered top - are in present in this modern context. They are in celebrated paintings all over Amsterdam, but here on market day they are castoffs. Possibly they're waiting to be rediscovered and restored, or maybe they are headed to the scrap heap. Oilily in the title because their very distinctive look came out of the Netherlands. Mostly it's color but also pattern. Orange, pink, and aqua, floral and stripes mixed. It's bright and busy, but somehow harmonious.The image I am painting strikes me as the same - cluttered but harmonious. Orange and aqua are in the rug, and the bolt of velvet is vivid orchid pink.

I'm almost done with the Library - it needs to sit quiet for a week and dry while I see where I can improve it. Meanwhile I'll be bouncing between the Kunst and this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Kunsthistorische

Some days a change is as good as a rest. I needed some perspective on the library painting, so I switched back to working on the Drawing Rembrandt at Kunsthistorische.
I deepened the cherry and rose velvet colors on the velvet sofa, put the third coat on the sketchbook pages, and worked on the marble behind the sofa and on the bottom of the pillar. Doing marble is very Zen, or maybe a little like doing a topographical map. Then I studied my original drawing of the Rembrandt portrait that will be going on the sketchbook page in the painting.
A good day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Another long painting day, though I did break for a walk.
Did an Indian Yellow glaze on the back wall, did the lettering of the name on the plate, messed around on all the books. After I took this photo, I went in and painted my blue sketchbook in on the bottom right hand shelf.
Titles or author's names on books is next. Fooling around with that will be way too much fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Yesterday I made progress on the top shelf of books and the middle shelf on the right hand side.
Worked on the bust today - pushing the darks and lights. Very satisfying. I'll be making a Indian Yellow glaze and bringing a mango tone to the wall soon. And, every day, more books. Instead of 'bird by bird,' it's book by book.

Monday, January 19, 2009

hanging out in the library

Books cast a spell on me, even though the Kindle-d may inherit the earth.
For a recovering writer, the library is a shrine, a holy and sacred place where you can worship your ancestors and find inspiration for the future. One of the pleasures of working on this painting is spending time paying close attention to books.
Worked on the wall, the bookshelf, the window and the top shelf of books. It might take the rest of the month, but I can smell the oats in the barn.

Friday, January 9, 2009

incremental progress

Today was slow. I kept painting and painting - from 9-5, with a 30 minute break for lunch - and it felt like running faster to stay in one place. But I have faith that progress was made. Worked on a first coat for the rest of the books on the top shelf and a second round on half of the middle shelf. Oh, and just a bit on a gold-beaded border beneath the bust.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Library in the Palais Liechtenstein

I've been working on this new painting for about a week. Today I got started late for various reasons, not until 2pm. But then it just went like a rocket. The walls of the library are faux painted, as are the edges the bookshelves, and I am adding pattern to that as I go. I love the window niche in the upper left that has a flare of aqua light. It's my favorite thing in the painting.
I worked on the bookshelves behind and to the left and the wall behind the bronze bust of the Greek poet Anacreon. Not until I came home and Googled him up did I learn that Anacreon is famous for his erotic poetry and stanzas in praise of wine. The funny thing is he reminds me of my husband.

I kept painting after I lost the light, mostly blurring edges of the mottled wall.
This one really calls to me. I wake up happy because I know it's waiting for me on the easel. At some point I'll hit a wall and get frustrated over something, but not today.