Tuesday, December 31, 2013

John Singer Sargent Watercolors and Yarka Watercolors Review

John Singer Sargent watercolor painting MFA Boston
 John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Recently I went to see the John Singer Sargent Watercolors show at the MFA in Boston.  I can honestly say this was one of my favorite shows that I have seen.  Being an oil painter myself, I favor oil paintings.  This show changed that for me.  What I discovered were lush, energy filled watercolors that had an intoxicating range of colors.  I was in love! These watercolors had the boldness and confidence of oil paint.  They were dynamic and really captured the expressive energy and fleeting light of the location. 

review of Yarka St Petersburg Watercolors
Yarka St Petersburg Watercolors Sequal Set

Inspired by the sketchbook quality of the Sargent paintings, I decided I wanted to have more opportunities to paint daily.  What I needed was a great set of portable watercolor paints.  I love painting in my studio, but to be honest, I can't always get there and painting in oils isn't always practical(set up/clean up requires a good chunk of time).  I did some research and finally decided on Yarka St Petersburg Watercolors.  There were three sets to choose from (Additional Set, Original Set, Sequel Set)and after some consideration, settled on the Sequel Set.  I decided it was really worth doing a color chart of my own versus using the pre-printed one that came with the paints. These watercolors are amazingly potent!!  I realized quickly that I will have to use caution as my first attempts had me trying to dilute the paints because I took too much on my first pass with my brush. I am definitely very happy with this set, though am wishing I had ultramarine blue and yellow ochre.  I definitely think another set of colors will be on my immediate wish list! Oil paints will continue to be my focus, but these watercolors will make it easier for me to be creative at any time and in any place which will serve as great practice when I'm not in my studio.
Trying out my new Yarka St Petersburg watercolor paints

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reverence II

This 12" x 12" oil painting, "Reverence II", was created to honor the incredible power of the ocean.  When I finish the first painting in this series a couple of years ago, I was particularly disheartened by news of yet another oil spill in the ocean. I was sad and mad.  The ocean is a sacred place for me ...one which should be loved and respected ... always.

One of my favorite sayings is a Swedish proverb. "The cure for anything is saltwater: sweat, tears or the sea".  For the most part, I find this statement to be true.  2013 has been a year of sweat, tears and the sea for sure!  The New Year started with a dip in the cold ocean on Cape Cod and lots of tears as I processed an emotional end to 2012 (losing my father-in-law to cancer, the horrible tragedy in Newtown, CT and completing my cancer treatment(those were tears of relief as I processed the weight of having had cancer). The sweat came as I worked to get my physical strength back.  Luckily, I got to the ocean a lot in 2013 (Cape Cod, Gloucester, Key Biscayne and Northern California where - thanks to some special friends - I got to see the Pacific Ocean for the very first time).  I have been busy working on putting these waves to canvas, board and paper and look forward to doing more and larger ones in 2014! 

Yesterday, the same day that I was to deliver "Reverence II" to a client who was purchasing it, I found out that a friend, Erica, had passed away.  A mutual friend connected Erica and me when we were both diagnosed with cancer at the same time.  Erica and I had the immediate connection of our cancer, but, more importantly, she was an "ocean girl" like me - Hawaii for her and Cape Cod for me.  So, I am ending the year with tears learning of her passing.  So, Erica, this ones for you....peace, love and aloha.  xoxo

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Riding the Waves

I have been inspired by the ocean for years and was particularly moved by the waves one cold and crisp day during a beach walk last March.  I took a ton of photos that day.  I could not get enough of these waves which just came in one after the other.  The range of blues was incredible.  The energy powerful.

Seven months later, I finally got to explore these waves in oil paint in my studio.  I set out with several small (6" and 8" square cradled gesso boards) with the intention of painting these to explore the possibility of blue, the range of color combinations and the compositions.  Once I am done with the small studies, I plan on moving to some larger size surfaces where I will have more room to explore paint application and texture.  In the meantime, most of these have landed on the shores of Cape Cod just in time for holiday gift giving at www.markaugust.com (a wonderful store in downtown Chatham, MA filled with contemporary ocean inspired gifts, jewelry, art, and home decor).  Follow me here to see the large wave paintings when they roll in...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A New Leaf

So, I know I haven't been a regular blogger, but things are about to change. After hearing many people say they are curious about my process of making art and enjoy seeing what is happening in my studio, I am turning over a new leaf! I am going to attempt to chronicle right here on my blog the happenings in my studio, things that inspire me and, basically, provide a little glimpse into the mind and work of a painter like me. 

I am also exploring the effects of broadening my exposure via social media.  If you see something you like and you think others would like, I would love it if you share it on Facebook Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, or pin it on Pinterest (this might be especially useful given its visual focus and broad reach to many.  

Here we go...come on in!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

you HAD cancer

Just wanted to post a picture of the YOU HAD CANCER piece.  It has been so fun and therapeutic for me to work on.  While I have been working on other paintings at the same time, I always find myself adding something to this one.  Now the decision comes as to whether to call this one finished and continue on to another canvas?  I like the fact that this one is painted over an old (20+ years)  painting I did in my senior year at Skidmore.  Why do I like this you ask?  Well, a certain group of my friends from that time in my life were with me this past year in such a loving, supportive, non judging, real, honest, gut wrenching funny, unsung hero kind of way. It's only fitting that the foundation of this painting reminds me of them.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Year of Love

Dear Followers,

Soooo, a lot has happened since my last post.  In  a nutshell, I was taken by surprise last summer with a diagnosis of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma which involved a tennis ball sized tumor around my heart pressing on my pulmonary artery (which caused shortness of breath when I tried to run...that is what prompted a visit to the doctor).  As it was an aggressive cancer, I started treatment almost immediately.  6 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks, followed by a month of daily radiation finishing up in mid December.  I was lucky to be surrounded by such amazing love and support from so many areas of my life.  It wasn't easy, but I got through it with the help of so many good people.  I did not do any artwork except a little MAIL art project started by some dear college friends (they knew making art would be good for me). The treatment worked great and I had a clean PET scan.  I will be watched very carefully for the next three years as the cancer can come back.  My heart will also have to be watched as the radiation can damage it.

I have recently started going back to the studio at ArtSpace in Maynard.  I love being back surrounded by such a wonderful group of talented and nice people all focused on their art. 

I keep thinking I need to "process the cancer" in my art....but I also have a show this summer and not much time.  I started out making a little collage focused on the ocean (very therapeutic during my treatment), hearts (to signify my tumor and the love that carried me) and bits of notes, messages, gifts,  etc from my experience.  The first pictures are of the collage I made.  It is little (6"x6")...I had planned on making a larger one.

I have been working on paintings for my show and one day while doing that, I was eyeing one of my old canvases from college (my least favorite VERY LARGE painting from senior year - 20+ years ago!!).  Anyways, I just started painting stuff on it...kind of like a painted journal.  Everything in it has meaning...not necessarily obvious to anyone, but me. The process was extremely therapeutic and  I am not done with the painting.   That's it for now.  Just wanted to start blogging again and say "hi" and show you what is going on in my studio!  xo Whitney