Friday, October 30, 2009

Bookmarks -a page in my new catalog

Cynthia Emerlye: I have been working on a download-able PDF catalog to put on my art website. This will make it easier for shopkeepers to order my cards and bookmarks directly. After a few days of work, I am nearly done! This beats creating a printed brochure every year. Now I can keep the catalog on a Photoshop file and easily alter it when I create a new product. Changing it online is a cinch and costs me nothing (since I manage my website myself.)

Here are the bookmarks currently in my catalog. Soon I will show you the link to my completed catalog. Happiness is learning how to use internet tools!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Pasture

Two weeks ago when I went out for that last plain air session with Sandy, this is the painting I started. I worked on it in the studio yesterday and thought I would share it with you today. Compositionally, I'm not sure how successful it is. I wanted to show the emptiness of the pasture and the changing colors of fall. But it turned out kind of a half and half piece--the bottom half, empty pasture and the top half, busy fall scene.

Fall Pasture

I've thought of lopping off some of the grass at the bottom--just re-stretching the canvas--but that feels too much like cheating! So, here it is just as I planned it. Successful or not!

A Field Trip

Feeling the need for some art stimulation, last Friday I decided to take a field trip to the Hood Museum of Art. (Remember those school trips on noisy yellow buses?....well, this was much more enjoyable!) I'd read about the exhibition "Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth" and was curious. It was well worth the visit with some extraordinary works on display!

My favorite piece was right at the entrance, a massive (about 8 feet high and 14 feet long, I'd guess) wall sculpture by African artist El Anatsui. It was made with aluminum bottle tops that had been cut and flattened, then painstakingly held together with copper wire. I've never seen anything like it! The artist made use of the two sides of the bottle caps, one side silver or gold, and the other, some variation of red) to create beautiful stripes mimicing fabric native to his region. The entire piece hung in huge undulating folds and seemed to move out from the wall.

I can't imagine the patience and vision that went into creating "Hover". How many bottle tops were collected and how could the piece have been constructed with such delicate materials? How was the artist able to evoke such emotion in me when he used such simple materials? Even thinking about it now fills me with wonder and I'm so grateful to have access to a wonderful art museum so close to home.
Barbara Bartlett

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ongoing Book Project

Cynthia Emerlye: The classes I taught at the Vermont Art Teachers Association Conference went well this past week. One of the projects I talked about was the book I've been working on for a while called "In the Land of Knowing." Shown here are a couple illustrations from that unfinished project, some of which have been made into greeting cards. The wonderful artists at the conference have helped inspire me to continue working on this long-term adventure. Thanks to you all, Vermont art teachers!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is Painting Pumpkins Art?

It has to be October. Not just the frosty mornings, but the appearance of orange paint in my studio marks this month. Every year around this time my work table becomes covered with pumpkins..... wooden, cardboard, paper.... painted in bright variations of this otherwise seldom used color.

As chairperson of our church's annual Pumpkin Fest I really like to bring an artistic feeling to the experience. It's actually my favorite part of organizing the event. I don't think it really qualifies as art, but it's not "non-art" either. Painting huge pumpkins and curving vines in making a wall mural pumpkin patch seems to satisfy some creative urge in a time filled with other demands.

So I indulge myself, looking forward to the week following the Fest when I can put the orange paint away and get back on track with what feels like more serious art. Whatever that is.......

Barbara Bartlett

Friday, October 16, 2009

A New Bookmark Design

Cynthia Emerlye: Since the bookmark display case I use holds eight, my designs are in series of eight. I was missing one, so today I took a piece of one of this year's paintings and cropped it into a bookmark to complete my colored quotation series. Just tidying up the shop, so to speak.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Heart Flower

Cynthia Emerlye: Working on finances was such a depressing job yesterday that I needed to create something whimsical at my "night studio" while relaxing in the evening. This is the result: a 5x7 inch scratchboard doodle I am calling "Heart Flower" because the black background came out looking like a heart with its bottom cut off. This is a two movie creation - just more practice with the wonderful Ampersand scratchbord. I tried using British Scraperboard recently but its flimsy cardboard backing doesn't provide the depth of dimension or hold up to rough use like the Ampersand masonite board does.

Painting Eggplant

My recipe for painting eggplant is pretty simple. Begin with Arches 140# hot press paper. Draw simple out line of vegetable. Paint eggplant with water, being mindful of contours. It is a good thing if the eggplant has some dry areas. Then, using a variety of blues and purples, drop in color without fussing. Put down the colors and walk away. I use a combination of ultramarine, cerulean, cobalt and Windsor blue along with mineral violet and another purple who's name I've forgotten.

Paint the leaves after the eggplant is completely dry.

Carol Egbert

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Eggplant - Help

My blogging life has intersected. I have found that it is easier for me to paint eggplant than to cook it.

Eggplant c egbert 01

After a trip to Sicily, I tried to make the classic Sicilian dish, Pasta alla Norma. I made an acceptable version of this simple combination of pasta, tomato sauce, eggplant and cheese, but I was not happy with the eggplant. It was oily and the skin was tough.

I need help. I would love to hear how you cook eggplant so that it is creamy and not too oily. What do you do about the skin? Do you salt it or soak it in salty water? What's your favorite variety. Please leave a comment or a question and if you want to know my 'recipe for painting eggplants'.

I'm confident that you have wisdom to share.

Ciao! --Carol Egbert

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The End of Summer

Yesterday morning, Sandy and I went out to paint pastures and mountains. It was an iffy kind of day--54 degrees. And even though we were wearing fleece and working hard, the clouds and wind made for a chilly morning. So, we had to hop in the car every now and then to warm up. However, when the sun finally came out to shine on the bright trees it was a spectacle to behold and the attempt to capture it all was both challenging and worthwhile.

But summer is over. Those chances to get out and paint in comfortable weather are coming to an end. Much as I love snowscapes there probably isn't one in my future unless I can figure out how to paint it from photos!

So, I was looking back at the plein air paintings I did in the last couple of months and this one really took me back to the feel of summer.

August Garden, Brookfield, Vermont

Just as I finished cleaning up and putting things away at the end of the morning, the skies opened and it poured! Looking at my painting, which I completed later in the studio, I can clearly remember the feel of that morning--the ominous sky and distant rumblings. It's a great memory....