Second Rediscovered Watercolor

Dolls with Apple and Cherry
Watercolor on Rag Paper, 30×22″


This is the companion piece to the previously posted watercolor.  Dolls in these paintings have all kinds of connotations. They are idealizations of little girls. They are the pretty stereotypes in their frilly clothes. They are the means for socialization of little girls by providing a model of what society wants them to be. But dolls, in general, are also easily manipulated, silent, and compliant.
I have paired my dolls with a male nude. Women are plastered all over the place, either nude or nearly nude, with the implications being they are all sexually available. The pervasiveness of these images have made any image of a female nude erotic in nature. So in the name of equal opportunity nudity, I have included a male nude in my painting.
The juxtaposition make for all kinds of discussion. I want to point out the contradiction between what we say and what we do as a society. We say we want our children to reserve their sexuality until they are ready with a loving partner, but we impose that sexuality upon them too soon through the media. Though boys are not immune, the chief targets have been girls.

(Horror of horror! Teenagers might engage in sexual behavior! We can’t have that! We’d better not give them any ideas! No sex education! Hormones and sexual imagery don’t count.)

Since any nudity in the U.S. is automatically seen as sexual, any images which include nudity are considered shocking even pornographic. I can’t begin to tell you how often my very chaste nude paintings are excluded even before they are submitted to any juried exhibition. (My fat ladies seem to be particularly threatening. Even when they are included, they seem to get hidden away in the darkest, remotest recesses of the exhibition.) And that’s even for watercolor association shows which purport to show the very best work of its members. My best work includes nudity. If I take the nudity out of it the content is not there. If I send a work with no nudity then I am not sending my best. So, I doth protest in my small way.

T F m
June 28, 2012

Drawing of a Cell Phone User

Airport Conversation
Ball Point Pen on Paper, 8.5×5.5″

This was done last spring while waiting in the airport for a flight on the way home from Florida. A lot of times I choose people deep in conversation or texting to draw. They stay still for longer periods of time. I managed to catch her and her surroundings. 
I do some of my best work in such public places when my subjects are completely unaware of my scrutiny. Airports and restaurants are the best. People are too preoccupied to notice my sketching.  
The next post will be a someone too busy texting to know I’ve drawn her.

T F m
June 23, 2012

Rediscovered Watercolors

Dolls and Cherries
Watercolor on Rag Paper, 30×22″


I rediscovered two watercolors that I realized I had never before posted. I went through my Picasa account just to make sure. This, and the one I will post later this week, is part of an exploratory series of a theme that I intend to pursue after I retire from teaching. I like to make watercolors when looking into new ideas. They go much faster and the results can be quite striking.
Watercolor doesn’t get the respect that it deserves. I have had my watercolor paintings called sketches. This is no sketch. This a fully developed painting executed in watercolor on archival, rag paper. There is nothing tentative or wishy-washy about it. It has a full value ranges and the colors are saturated. The space is complete.
Did Winslow Homer make sketches? Are Edward Hopper’s watercolors mere sketches? The answer to both questions is no. So why would anyone call this a sketch?
Now for the next rant.
I have had a concern for the premature sexualization of little girls and the sexualization of women. Both attitudes are quite demeaning to both girls and women as neither attitude takes the personhood of girls or women seriously. If women can be perceived as sexual beings only, then the aspirations of girls, and their competence, as they become women to make decisions about their own lives, comes into question.
Freud could not figure out what women wanted. He assumed that women were envious of men’s penises. He couldn’t imagine why any women wouldn’t want to be, physically, just like men. He could not fathom that women just wanted to be accorded the same power to make their own life decisions. Freud’s blindness to that desire is not surprising in an era in which women could be declared “morally” insane if they disagreed with their fathers and then be committed to mental institutions. The fact that women’s rights to make personal decisions is now, once again, being questioned is very frightening. If not firmly confronted, it portends a dark future for women.


T F m
June 21, 2012

Third of Three Watercolors

Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7×5″


This is the last of the watercolors done from my very last Saturday figure session. Figure drawings and paintings will be rare for as long as it takes to find another venue. Janet is one of my favorite models. She is a joy to work with. She came to model for my figure drawing class and my students exclaimed, “Finally, a beautiful woman to draw!” She is as smart as she is beautiful. She will be coming to model for my figure drawing class for the fall semester too. I made a request that she be scheduled.
I am off on Sunday to paint for a week in Utah. I’m taking a landscape, oil painting workshop en pleine aire. I am very excited about it. It will be a great adventure for a mid-westerner from flat land to see such varied landscape. I’m taking this workshop to become more familiar with painting the landscape in oil.  I have always used my watercolors for outdoor work but never oils. And I have never felt satisfied with my landscape paintings. Once in a while I’d hit my stride but never with any consistency. Like any other skill consistency is the key. Think golf or bowling. (I don’t know why bowling is so ridiculed. It requires the same hand-eye coordination and spatial perception as golf. Is it because golf is a rich person’s sport and bowling is considered blue collar? I have some decidedly naughty words for that attitude!)
I digress. Posts will be spotty as I am having trouble with the blogging app I have on my iPad. I am taking it with me and I had intended to blog from it. I may not be able to get a wireless connection either. Blogging will for sure return a week from Monday.

T F m
June 7, 2012

Drawing Toys: New Accessory

iPad Drawing, Size Variable

I just bought a new stylus for my iPad. It’s a precision stylus that gives the exactness of a real pen. It’s just to difficult to get a mark in exactly the right place with my finger or with a rubber tipped stylus.
I also bought another drawing/painting app. I looked up what app David Hockney uses and it’s Brushes. I like it best so far.
This is my husband working on a crossword puzzle. It’s not a likeness but with new tool I figure I can’t have everything just right the first time it’s used.
I’m also posting this from my iPad for the first time. I’m checking it out for my trip to Utah. I plan on posting daily if I can get a wireless connection. I am also curious as to how how the formatting will work out. I am fussy as to how I want my blog to look. I am not proficient with HTML coding so I have accepted some of the idiosyncrasies. I am at home so I can check this post to see how it looks and alter it if necessary.

T F m
June 6, 2012

Second Watercolor of Three

Janet, Seated
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 7×5″


This is exactly as the blog entry title states. It’s the second installment of the three watercolors from the last figure drawing session of our now disbanded group. This is the beautiful Janet who is one of our favorite models. She is a true collaborator in the making of art. She is an artist herself and intuitively knows what pose to take and offers suggestions like, “Should I stick my tongue out?” That would be for Eleanor who could use such suggestions in her work.

Damn! I’m going to miss that group!

T F m
June 4, 2012

One of Three Watercolors and a Clarification

Janet with Lilies
Watercolor on Masa Paper, 5×7″


I know I said there would be no figure paintings for a while but I mis-spoke, or should I say, mis-wrote. I should have said that it would be the last oil painting of a figure for a while. Our last day was only a single session and, for that reason, I brought watercolors. I had to take all my stuff that had been stored from week to week home and down three flights of stairs. So traveling light with watercolors was the right choice.
I made three watercolors on this size paper and will be posting the other two during the week. Next Sunday, I am going out of town for a pleine aire oil painting workshop in Utah. It’s will be in unfamiliar terrain. As a Chicagoan, I live in flatland. This part of Illinois was glaciated several times and the ice ground it down to a flat, flat landscape. There is one location about an hour south of here where you can get out of the car and have a 360º view of the horizon. To the north in Wisconsin the terrain is green and rolling with the glacial debris in the form of moraines. To the south is the limit of glaciation and the landscape is also more varied because of the ever active erosion that transforms the earth over millennia. Each is more interesting than where I live, but certainly no mountains! So the landscape in Utah is going to have this mid-western girl walking around with her mouth open in awe.
I have never done pleine aire painting in oils. I have always taken my watercolors outdoors for painting. It will be a totally new experience. I want to develop paintings with figures in the landscape and this trip will help with the landscape part of it. I think it will be both challenging and fun. I’m already packed! do you think I’m excited? You bet!

T F m
June 3, 2012