Sunday, May 27, 2007

An Eye for an Eye

There will be no image today. I'm just not prepared to post it.

I spent 7 hours on trying to do my very first self-portrait, with no prior skills or ability to do this.

It is going to be quite the process for me. I started with my eyes, and then had to contemplate the bags under my eyes. It's only the first layer, in all in raw sienna, and I think I got the position of the eyes okay, but still - because I am far from putting in highlights yet, I look like I have an eye disease. My nose is too big, my chin too fat - do I sound like I have body issues??

I won't care if its realistic - that's hardly a goal I can harbor on my first attempt, but I do hope there is *something* of me in there so that I'm recognizable at the end.

I did my face and upper torso (without hair I looked like a cancer patient), then added the shape of my hair - again, all in raw sienna and I'm going to stop there and let it dry (it is oil) and contemplate my next stage.

I knew it was going to be hard, on many levels - which is probably why I have always been afraid to attempt a self-portrait. But I'm all about facing down my fears and now some under-developed facsimile of me sits there all in brown for me to contemplate this week.

I look forward to seeing what I learn and how I feel at the end of this project, though I suspect I won't be going into the portrait business any time soon!

I think I'll shift back to safer and familiar painting territory tomorrow. But I like when I get in the mood to shake things up and do something I've always avoided doing.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

What's Up With the Bees?

I mentioned in my past post that I was thinking about several news articles that came out forecasting the extinction of honeybees.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the newest affliction to strike the worldwide honeybee population. To date it has been observed in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Brazil, Europe, and possibly Taiwan. CCD is the name given to a specific set of characteristics observed in honeybee colonies that have failed. These characteristics include the absence of dead bees within or around the collapsed hive, a hive that has sufficient stores of honey, developing larvae in combs, and a delayed invasion of honey raiding pests. It has been suggested that bee losses on the west coast of the United States at 60 percent and 70 percent on the east coast.

Recently, a study done at Landau University in Germany showed that cell phones had a negative affect on honeybee hives. Researchers placed cell phones in and near active hives and the bees lost their desire to return to the hive. These results have also been documented in bees that live near power lines. Another theory is that the bees could also be becoming victims to a new unknown parasite. Another problem working against the bees is a reduced gene pool within the honeybee industry. These little guys have a lot stacked against them!

As a person who enjoys painting with pigmented beeswax and even the smell of the beeswax on the painting, I certainly hope these little guys survive. I'm rooting for them. But if it turns out the cellphone theory is correct, I don't know.... I don't see people giving up their cellphones to get their hands on some real honey.

Anyway, all these articles about bees got me thinking about them on all kinds of ways, like how they see, how they measure distance using optical flow (how much an image appears to move as the position of the observer moves), and I just got in the mood to paint bees.

This encaustic (thankfully, still made with 100% natural beeswax) piece is TOTALLY silly and whimsical, but that was the mood I was in today. It's titled, "What's Up With the Bees?"

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Marin Open Studios May 5-6, 2007

My friend Glynis and I took a field trip up to the Marin Open Studios weekend in Novato at the Hamilton Art Center. There were three buildings that had art in it . Although we came on Sunday and arrived there well after the opening time of 11am, we were kind of surprised at how many artists were not actually in their studios. But we still saw a lot of art.

I know some people there from my encaustics painting group and I grabbed two pictures of the two that were around.

Above is Kathy Knebel from the wax painting group speaking with my friend Glynis.

Above is Sandi Miot from the wax painting group, working bright and early in her studio.

It was amazingly warm and bright and sunny, so Glynis and I drove to Sausalito to eat lunch by the water and everyone was out enjoying the great weather:

And here is a good view of San Francisco from the waterfront at Sausalito:
Everything about the day felt great, the weather, visiting with good friends, seeing good art, getting a perfect parking spot in Sausalito (no easy feat!), getting a table right on the water with no reservations (again, no easy feat on a nice Sunday!), and after lunch found a cool spot on the waterfront to sit in the shade (it was actually too hot in the sun) to just soak up the view and the people and the great weather.

I could not have asked for a better Sunday.

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