Saturday, March 31, 2012

Clearly Pansies
Day 40

© A.K.SIMON - Clearly Pansies - 6"x6" oil on cradled ampersand panel- $100

Sometimes you walk into a place, see something and that is all it takes for inspiration. This is from "upstairs painters" session on 3/27/2012. The whole scene had a silver teapot and I can't remember what else because this is what I fell in love with and focused my entire attention. I absolutely love the vibrant colors of pansies and just sometimes if you're lucky the paint just flows off the brush in the the right places with the right number of strokes. This one turned out exactly like my vision of what it should be - it was a good day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Santa Fe Kitchen
Day 39

© A.K.SIMON - Santa Fe Kitchen - 6" x 6" - oil on linen panel

click to bid in auction

This is a little "homey", herbacious scene set up by Donna in our  "Upstairs Painters" class. It was at a very weird angle for me so I probably should have moved my chair. I do love the colors of the Southwest and the beautiful glazed pottery in the set up. I was fortunate enough to visit Santa Fe a few years ago and was blown away by the reverence for art (and artists) they have in New Mexico (made it up to Taos too). I honestly think I could make a home in a city that has over 250 art galleries. I saw some of the most beautiful art I have ever seen there, including an original, life-size piece by Daniel Gerhartz and some original Calvin Liang plein air work. If you ever get the chance to see Santa Fe, don't hesitate to spend several days!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Harmonious Scents
Day 38

© A.K.SIMON - Harmonious Scents - 6x6" - oil on linen panel

click to bid in auction

Sorry I haven't posted in several days. However, I do continue to paint everyday it is just getting the time to photograph, fix in photoshop then post that seem to bog me down. Plus, I am preparing for an art stroll in my hometown and just finished a show at a local metro park. Then there is the fact that grass is growing at warp speed this season and I do all the mowing (I know, more excuses).

I am trying something new with some of my smaller still life paintings before I try using it on some larger landscape work. The main problem is the drying time between layers. I start with some light colors, add darks then let that dry. Then add more and more layers of light and dark sanding between and bringing things forward and pushing things back and leaving some areas untouched.  I really like the feel of this. It appears more dimensional almost like fabric (I'm thinking tapestry). I will have to experiment with different dryers in the paint though because it takes too long to get something done on a daily basis. If anyone knows of a dryer other than liquin that would work, please let me know. I really hardly ever use dryers so I have little knowledge of what works best.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fiber Optics
Day 37

© A.K.SIMON - Fiber Optics - 8 x 8 - oil on wood

click to bid in auction

Okay, so why "Fiber Optics" you say? I'm still reading the Eating Clean book (it's taking me forever) and have been reading about fiber and so you are seeing fiber (get it, optic nerve - bowl of fiber laden fruit). Silly I know but why take myself too serious. (You're lucky, the first title was Fiber up the Ying Yang, Literally.) My goal was to really show a traditional type still life with a very severe, contemporary-like persepctive. So, here it is - this bowl is really quite tall.

So back to this book -  this book suggests I pack a cooler each day with the items I am supposed to eat for the day to avoid outside temptations. Really,  this just has to be too embarassing? You show up at work, everybody has their little tub of yogurt, ramen soup or celery sticks and here you come with your cooler touting you are "on a diet". Not that I would care what people think if it works but if I really ate all that I am supposed to have in this cooler every day, I would be flying over Cleveland Stadium with the name "Goodyear" on my side. These amounts have to equal about 2,500 calories/day. Doesn't she know that I am down to 800 - 1000/day? Seriously, she does have many good recommendations and she looks awesome, but a cooler - I think not. I am more of a Sparkpeople kind of person. Plug in the # of calories you want to eat, click the menu and print - hang it on the fridge and you're good to go get started on that daily painting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh, the Smell of Peaches
Day 36

© A.K.SIMON - Oh, the Smell of Peaches - 8 x 10" - oil

When I was young my paternal grandmother was a great cook. Though she died when I was young, to this day when I smell peaches I think of the cobbler she would make with fresh peaches. It's funny when you're young, watching someone transform fruit into something as heavenly as cobbler was like performing magic. I still admire the time she took to prepare all of the homemade dishes she would prepare for us when we would visit. My brothers, sisters and I (six of us) would often collect black raspberries on their property during our visits so grandma could make black raspberry jam (which BTW is synonymous with heaven in my memory) which we would enjoy with real butter and homemade bread for breakfast. My grandmother died of breast cancer back in the times when chemotherapy was so intense, and the surgery so radical that I believe the cure is what finally took her from us. My hope is that she really knew how much what she did meant so much to me. 

I painted this painting once, wiped it off and painted it again. Maybe I was too distracted by the subconscious thoughts of cobbler potential. Oh, and the cherries could be something to occupy you while the cobbler cooks. The seeds are especially valuable for ammunition against annoying siblings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Forth
Day 35

© A.K.Simon - Spring Forth - Oil on Wood -  8" x 8"


As I sit here sweltering in the upstairs room where I have my computer I'm thinking about all of the things I saw today that were coming to life in our yard and flower beds. So, why am I sweltering? I absolutely refuse to start the air conditioner in March in Ohio. If I had painted these eggs in this room today they probably would have hatched. These items are all symbols of nature and life. The egg is such a universal symbol of new life. The branch with its new leaves and the tomato with enough seeds in each with the potential to feed a small army all speak of something to come. Anticipation can be so much more exciting than the actual event. Can you tell I love Spring? So I wonder why we are skipping it this year. We went from a nondescript Winter to Summer. Plus, who wants to do their Spring yard work in 80 degree heat? (Just kidding - I don't want to do it whatever the temperature - well mowing and mulching for the most part!) BTW, my brain still hasn't sprung forward - may take till falling back for that to happen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Dependant Relationship
Day 34

© A.K.Simon Art - A Dependant Relationship - 6" x 6" - oil

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Are all relationships dependant in some way? I was talking with my husband about this the other day then this scene was presented in class and I just kept ruminating about the subject of dependance. The flower won't survive without the water vessel. Being an artist for probably most of us is a very tough life. You're driven to produce but sometimes the reason for your drive is not even known to you. Your work for the most part is appreciated by all but there is little understanding of the time and angst that sometimes goes into the creative process.

Anyway, the question for me is whether I could survive without his financial support (that's a flat out NO) but I especially could not survive without his emotional support.  He gave me the usual lecture (you see we've been through this before) that success is not only measured monetarily but in the lives touched and people inspired to see beauty where they might not have noticed or taken the time to see. Then he said something that touched my heart so much I will never forget. He said, "you know I am dependant on you too and look to you for inspiration. Every day I look forward to seeing what you have created. Sometimes I am amazed at what I see."

So, I guess yes is the answer. Sometimes we just don't know how much someone else depends on us until we have a meltdown and they have to tell us. So take that Visa and Mastercard - this month I'm paying in inspiration points!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Perfect Compliments
Day 33

© A.K.Simon - Perfect Compliments - 9 x 12 - oil - $100

Okay with this one I did the old "switcheroo" to make them the perfect compliments. This was really a red and white rose (really odd and looked too weird in the purple vase). Many of my paintings are broken apart like graphic designs. There tends to be a grid like structure that I hang an object from. In this case that is a window behind shedding light on the two tables. I tried to make the split between the tables at the 1/3 canvas mark. My favorite part of this one is the purple glass. Of course the compliments are purple and yellow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pussy Willow and Supporting Cast
Day 32

© A.K.Simon - oil - 14" x 11" - Pussy Willow and Supporting Cast $175
This work was done from a setup arranged by Mary Spires who has been an art teacher for years. (Check her blog out at the right - I have a link to it.) You can read about her current teaching adventure in Florida. She is an Ohio "snowbird" so we should be seeing her again around May. And, I believe she knows probably everybody from here to Florida - those involved in art anyway.

Sometimes I approach a painting like a sculpture. I cover the surface with paint then start carving the shape from the darkness by wiping out paint, then adding back only in certain areas. I used that approach in this work mainly on the vase. In trying to get the texture to look really rough, I thought this approach worked the best. It is really funny sometimes when viewing your work with someone and they are mentioning their favorite part and all you can think about is that certain little place in your painting that your really love. In this one it is that one lone grape right in front of the pot - that red on the bottom just makes me want to eat it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lilacs and Lavender Tea 
Day 31

© A.K.Simon Lilacs and Lavendar Tea Time 11 x 14 oil on clayboard $250

Thank you Donna for being who you are and setting up a still life in class every Tuesday. Some of the unsung heros in the art profession are the ones who have hung in there for years with little or no financial reward or public recognition for the fabulous work they do - unfortunately many of them are women. Many of these teachers have helped thousands of people through the years become better artists and people, Donna is one of those artists! Did you ever wonder why in many workshops 99% of the class is usually women, yet 1% of the artists at the top are women!

I can't remember what else was in this setup because I hone in on a specific area and forget about the rest. This was an experiment with board surface. This is one of those clayboard panels and it does render a really soft looking surface but beware, they drink oil faster than an SUV.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bearing Fruit or Vegetable?
Day 30

© A.K. Simon 8 x 8 colored pencil

click to bid in auction

I think I mentioned before that I like to draw so sometimes I like to make these tight little colored pencil drawings. This particular plum tomato was so cute with its potbelly sticking out just basking there in the sun that it begged for a picture. My daughter, Sarah, decided in her junior year of high school that she wanted to have a raised garden. So my husband gathered all the tools, bought all the wood, had dirt shipped in and the planting commenced. (So what if we had to have the cable restored after the rebar pierced it clean through - we had our garden.) I had my doubts about weeding and how much her garden would add to my burden but I was the ever supportive mom - encouraging - you know the drill. By mid summer I loved that garden. Sarah's interest had waned and the weeding and watering became my chore, but I have to say that there is something endearing about watching something grow from a seed or small plant (you get the connection here right?). So, the title for this piece is about bearing fruit and the simple messages that come to us from the garden. Things like nature and nurture that apply so much to our own human relationships. So, that summer Sarah and I learned a little about each other. I learned that sometimes something I dread may turn out to be something I love, she, that nature can be pretty tough to figure out she doesn't have the worst parents on the planet. Hubby, well, he's still wondering how that cable got moved into the line of construction. And, have we ever figured out if it is a fruit or vegetable yet?

At the risk of being even more wordy, I make these drawings on panels and varnish them. I use alcohol and Q-tips to blend in some areas. I also just blend color on top of color to achieve some of the really dark darks. And yes, my mind really does go in these weird directions sometimes.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

All Prim and Rose-Like
Day 29

© A.K.Simon -All Prim and Rose-Like 8x10 oil

Don't you just love this time of year in Ohio when the stores are gearing up for the spring planting? They now have all the little violets and primrose in the neon-colored pots on the greenhouse shelves.  I thought I would show this work now because the primrose is one of the first flowers of spring (crocus are already up too). Here's a little Wikepedia fact: ("Primrose" is ultimately from Old Frenchprimerose or medieval Latin prima rosa, meaning "first rose"). I just thought it looked so prim and proper sitting on the bureau top - which is really kind of funny because it's hard to be prim and proper when dressed in neon! The painting reflected in the mirror is a work in progress by Robert Warren. I am soooooo glad to be on this side of winter in Ohio! Saw the daffodil buds today - hmm, now where did I put that blue vase?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Red, White and Blue - 8" x 16" oil on linen
Day 28

©A.K.Simon Red, White and Blue 8"x16" oil $165

Same subject - more time. Today's piece is a duplicate (almost) of yesterday's plein air painting. However, this time I sat there for three hours and really studied the light and shapes. I am satisfied with the result in that it really says to me what I felt that day - the warmth of the sun, the brightness of the flowers and the roughness of the fence in the background (you can see this more clearly in the auction picture when you "mouse-over"). Hopefully you can tell that these are Lobelia, New Guinea Impatiens and Begonias. Each time I start a painting I give myself some goals. This one was to ramp up the light and shadow, really define the forms and create texture with paint application. I am pleased with the result and believe me I have done many plein air paintings that now line the closet floor. Too bad you can't chop up your oil paintings like watercolorists do and create a collage - oh wait, there's an idea!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Catching Morning's Light - 8" x 16" oil
Day 27

© A.K.Simon - Catching Morning's Light - 8" x 16" oil

I do like painting plein air but it seems I can rarely get myself organized enough to get out when I think the light is best. I'm such a snob about mid-day light. It does not inspire me at all. Being the lover of dramatic light, I like to get out around 6 - 7 AM for maybe 3 hours then not again until around 7:00 PM till just before sundown (in the summer especially).

This work was done plein air in a limited amount of time. I went out before work in the AM and sat on my patio and painted these flowers that I had noticed over several days caught a beautiful partial morning light. Hey, if Monet could paint his own garden, why not me? So many people pack up all their gear and travel hours from home to paint plein air. It would be nice if I had the time and resources but I really can find so many simple, beautiful things in my own back yard. These pots are made from extruded clay pipe cut by a regional clay manufacturer. Logan Clay actually makes two times a year when they will extrude pipe for the purpose of inviting artists in to transform the clay into shapes, objects - this is a juried process and can be grueling work if you do get accepted in the workshop (hot, dirty and bicep building). The background is the wooden fence behind the pots.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Salty Caramel
Day 26

© A.K.SIMON - Salty Caramel - 5" x 7" oil on masonite

Not too long ago Canal Winchester got an official cupcake store. Who would have ever thought that you could make a business out of just selling cupcakes?  Well, once someone decided to get really creative with the idea of adding fabulous flavors to cake which had heretofore been "mock sponge," they got my attention. Being a pie person I was skeptical of even trying the "new" cupcake varieties. I know, I'm really behind the times but I'm the kid who always asked for cookies or pie for my birthday! Now look at how far I've come! This was so good it deserved it's own stage with spotlight and all. Sorry to say though that the amount of cobalt violet in the shadows is not translating that well online. I do say that this subject matter needs further exploring - I believe "banana split" is in my near future.

Oh too, that avoiding sugar for lent - not going so well - there is now a giant "divet" in that frosting where that delicious salty carmel once was - of course there was a little frosting and cake on there too!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Admiration, Meet Elegance
Day 25

© A.K.SIMON - Admiration, Meet Elegance - 8"x8" oil on Ampersand Panel

I'm trying to get a handle on painting roses and painting white. This is one that I think turned out pretty well. I started this on a totally mid-value solid gray panel to get a mysterious look to the white.

Did you know that giving someone a pink rose is a sign of admiration where red is a sign of love and passion. Give someone a yellow rose and you want to be their friend and white is a sign of pure intentions. I read the book this year, The Language of Flowers, and it was very interesting how a story was woven around the way the Victorians associated specific flowers with human emotion. Elegance comes from that graceful looking spout - reminds me of a swan.

Check out this website for a really neat color of roses chart.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Big Gulp Tea Time
Day 24

© A.K.SIMON - Big Gulp Tea Time - 6"x6" oil on linen panel

This is a quick study arranged by Donna Noice on Tues. The picture appears a little "glarey" because I just photographed it outside and it is "really" wet.

As I was painting this thinking, "man what a big cup for tea," I  heard Barb discussing her drawing with Donna and they were commenting on the cup size to vase proportion. If you think about it you would be drinking a half of a vase of coffee/tea in this cup. That would be one huge "pick-me-up" in the AM. Gotta think about those portion sizes - oh yeah, I guess black coffee doesn't count - of course bitter, black, smelly stuff is calorie free! (not a coffee drinker)

There are things I would have done differently in this painting if starting over but moving on to the next.
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