August 2013 – Light Reflections in Paintings & Sculpture Lessons

We have been working hard to clear the new patch of ground across from our backyard shop.  If you read last month’s newsletter you know I found out that yellow jackets can make me move like a rocket.  Lots of brush and felled trees had been moved to our big burn pile area.  Unfortunately lots of grass had grown over all the trees pulled to the pile.  Today we heard that rain is coming in and it will make that area a big matted, soggy mess.   So at 5:30 PM I got on our big John Deere mower and started moving trees out to mowed areas.  Grass and weeds were over two feet high, so cutting them down was number one on my priority list.  As I was working it was getting darker so I turned on the mower’s headlights.  It took only a few minutes for the artist in me to start seeing how the lights from the mower were giving me one of the best evening lighting lessons I’ve ever had.  I was seeing how light played across the blades of grass and highlighted some areas while causing shadowed areas that gave the lawn an eerie look.  Watching the lights and cutting the grass made time pass quickly.   The changing dark and light areas were hypnotic.  As I finished my last cut, my flashlight revealed that by my watch, it was 9;45 PM.  I parked the mower under the shed and headed for the house, the lesson of the reflected lght and eerie shadows fresh in my mind.  We will be discussing more about lighting and how to capture it in your own paintings in upcoming newsletters.

I just finished a two-day hands on class in how to sculpt the human torso.  Mr. Paris Alexander was the instructor for our class.  I  can tell you that he is friendly, courteous and very smart.  He is dedicated to making sure that each student receives personal instruction and guidance.  That dedication from a teacher can move a student from the overwhelming ” WHAT am I doing here?” stage of the learning curve to the stage of “Wow, I am doing this!”  The one thing I cannot tell you is just how talented this artist of clay and stone is.  Mr. Alexander’s work needs to be seen in order to get the full meaning of what the words beauty, strength, imagination and warmth mean in regards to his works of art.  Please take a moment to visit his web site,  so that you can understand why my words fail to convey the depth of design and pure soul that he has released from the stone pieces that come to his studio.  In addition to his commissioned works, he also participates in public work and community outreach.   It is both my hope and desire to continue further instruction in future classes that may be offered by Mr. Alexander.  For those of you who might want to see the male and female torso figures that I completed, please check out our Facebook page.

We have a sunny day outside today.  I will be working on 4 watercolor paintings and expect to finish them by evening.  Each of the paintings are at different stages of completion and I wanted to have a bright sunny day to finish 3 of them.  The 4th will be my evening painting and the dusk light will allow me to “see” the desired shadow colors for the areas I want in my painting.  I will be needing to take a break in the early afternoon.  Yesterday while driving down the highway near our home, I spotted the perfect place to catch all the glorious beauty of a special area sky and clouds.  I will be talking with the owner to see if I can have permission to set up and paint in a clear spot that offers some convenience to areas that will make it a more comfortable plein air experience.  Unless I catch someone on a bad day, most people want to help out whenever they can do so and know their permission to paint in the desired spot is sincere and appreciated.

In testimony to what I just wrote above, here’s a big shout out to Steve, who works in the Lowes Store, Wake Forest, NC.  Steve works the area from  Patio Furniture all the way to the Weed Eater section.  Yesterday, Steve took time to help me select a great LARGE fan to use in my shop and on our deck .  Today, after realizing that I needed a bar height deck chair, I returned to Lowes and there was Steve.  We found two such chairs, comfortable and met my specs for the height necessary to paint on my watercolor paintings. The store manager gave me a great deal on purchasing the two chairs.  Combine that with the great competitive price I got on the fan yesterday and Lowes helped me to stretch my budgeted dollars until they screamed for mercy.  Now that’s great customer appreciation and service.  Hi-Fives to Steve, the store manager and Lowes!

That’s it for now.