topiary cats

topiary cats

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I Need Practice

Rambly post ahead...

I need so much practice, my goodness, I feel so behind in my painting skillz.
These streaks of momentum happen, and I love them, then I get so heavy inside and I just can't muster the energy to do anything.

Being in the figure painting class is good, I love being back in the class/studio environment with other painters.  There is some truly excellent work happening, and I love seeing all of it.  Being in that kind of environment where everyone is working is important because you soak it up.  College was like that too, we learned just as much from simply being around each other as we did from assignments and critiques.

So I need to practice with others and I need to practice in my studio.  One month this year I might do dailies, but I'm not quite ready yet.

One of my reasons for doing the figure class, aside from the practice and environment, is to work larger and more slowly than I have been doing.  I have been working fast and small, and I need some balance to that. So I'm working 18x24 over a month on one painting now.  There is an odd balance between quality/quantity.  Practicing as much as possible is really important but at the same time too much quantity for too long also gets stale, and slowing down is important.

I have not figured out how to balance this yet.
And i dont paint enough.

But on the other hand, I want to be able to knock out a killer alla prima portrait in 2-3 hours... and right now I can't.  And there is no way around it except by doing it- a lot.

I have also decided to really standardize my palette for a while.
For my figure class I'm using some cadmiums- my Williamsburgs because that's what I have... but they are stupid-expensive so I went down to Jerrys and got some Lukas 1862s which are good quality with a much better price.. And they dry faster as well. So I won't mind using them in larger quantities.
I like to reserve my Williamsburgs for special occasion paintings, so to speak. (Also Williamsburgs can really take 2 weeks to dry, sometimes longer.)

Here is my current standard palette, which I will be using for plein air as well.

Titanium white
Lemon yellow
Cadmium yellow medium
Cadmium orange
Cadmium red light
Permanent Alizarin
Burnt Sienna
Ivory black
Cobalt blue

Optional viridian only if needed for special case.
I might miss yellow ochre, we are kind of besties...
Cobalt turquoise (PG 50) is my favorite pigment in the whole world and I love it so much I might still bring it plein airing. I don't think I can give it up.

However I want to get out of old patterns (and palettes) and just not worry about color choices for a while.  This is a very standard full-range palette which will work for both portrait and landscape.

And I am fighting with the painting on my easel, meaning it is total crap, and I should stop looking at amazing paintings because that is really demoralizing.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Daya went to the SAB audition again this year.  We know she won't get in, she isn't what they look for- it has nothing to do with ability- but it is good for her to be able to walk in anywhere and audition without being intimidated.  Audition experience is good. And she isn't intimidated, but she also doesn't like SAB.

But she got most of the day off school so that's something.

I took this super-sneaky photo in the absolutely no photos allowed on the floor! area. (Last year was a lot different, maybe due to being a younger age group?)

We had some nice tacos afterwards.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Waiting is Stupid

last Sunday when we were getting ready to go to Philly, Daya sent me a text.

It is a link to the BEST VIDEO EVER. 

Daya, like all the kids her age, is on Youtube all the time. It’s a big thing with the kids. They watch the stupidest videos. Nothing (that i have caught) which is objectionable, just things that are really, really stupid.  Anyhow, one of these teens made a wonderfully goofy video and wants other kids to share with their mom. I think this is AWESOME. And I love that Daya sent it to me.

Daya hasn't been quite right since the Ailey audition. I think- from what I gathered after talking more, she probably did quite well at the audition but she is putting enormous weight on minor mistakes.

But the waiting for results is hard, both Ailey and high school, which is a much longer wait.
We should know about Ailey soonish.

I get why the application system exists, but really it is so hard on the kids to wait and see where they end up.  For freaking high school.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Monday, January 07, 2019


Yesterday we had to go to Philly for Daya's Ailey audition, because we can't make the NYC date.
We woke up at 4am and caught a 7am Amtrak train for a 10am audition.

Daya was not happy with her audition, she said she messed up a lot, but I said to her "You did some things very well too, right?" and she said yes... but overall she was in a bad mood and upset.

Also she has a sprained ankle which is almost-but-not-quite-better... during the audition she had to do the jump she sprained her ankle doing... anyhow we'll see, maybe it isn't as bad as she thought it was. Results are in 2-3 weeks. She REALLY wants to go back to Ailey this summer, and it would be a good thing for her to get in again, so I'm holding a positive mind about it. I guess things will work out the way they need to.

Carey came to meet me in Philly!!!  I was so happy to see her!!  She stayed overnight on a mini-vacation from her kids, and we went to prison.  Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a museum.  It is a grim but fascinating place.  We also took art supplies- she did a lovely watercolor and I did a rushed pastel, because right when I started Daya called me to say she was done and unhappy.  I didn't take a picture of it, but I'll post it later.

Here are pictures from the prison... it is a fascinatingly creepy place.

It is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the US, but we did not experience any ghost activity.

Prison Mates Forever!

Friday, January 04, 2019


This morning I was looking at the Drawing NY sessions, which run all the time.  I have been to several, that's where I get my figure drawing fix. Also, I really need to find people so any getting out is a good thing.

If there are any extroverts out there who want to adopt a too-quiet but very friendly introvert, I'm your girl!

So anyhow this morning I was looking around and the one for tonight was on wait list.  I could go tomorrow, but I got to clicking around on calendars and found myself at Simon's (he is with Drawing NY) figure painting class (oils!) I have an account with them and have been meaning to do an Actual Class or Workshop of Some Sort. And Simon is an Excellent Painter.  So without thinking too much about it I put myself in the oils figure painting class for 4 Saturday mornings in January.

Starting tomorrow.



Part of my brain is protesting not being properly consulted about this, but I got a fresh new 18x24 canvas after work and it is toned to be hopefully-mostly-dry for tomorrow.

It has been many years since I was in a figure-painting class (have been focused on plein air).  I want to get feedback, try new methods, and just get out of my head and habits.

If I had the financial resources, I'd absolutely be an atelier junkie.  Yay for classical oil painting!!

Raw Umber toned 18x24, ready or not for tomorrow morning.
I have to pack.
The materials list calls for solvent and Flake White!  Lovely Lead! REAL materials not scared-of-everything-marketing-safety-hype-everything-is-so-dangerous-but-let's-not-consider-your-household-cleaning-chemicals-which-are-FAR-worse-fear-paranoia materials!

Solvent and lead, I'm so in.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

High Tea

Jackie said "Come over for tea!" so I said ok, and Royal Kitty waited for us to serve him.

Monday, December 31, 2018


I decided Daya and I needed to get out, so she went thrift store shopping in the East Village and got some cool things.

Then we went to the overpriced but still brilliant rice pudding place in Soho. (Rice to Riches)

Then we lit candles at St Patrick's cathedral.
The tree is right there so we saw it with the lights on tonight.

Then we went for sushi, and Daya discovered that the calendars on our phone go back through numbered years to 1583.  Beyond that, they go back indefinitely but the month of December is missing. Now you know.

Then it was time to go home and be nice and boring.
I have no idea why people go to Times Square on New Years, it seems like one of the most miserable experiences a person could do, to me.  Plus it is raining tonight.  Yuck.

And I sincerely hope in this new year that my upstairs neighbors MOVE.