Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Artist at Work (training painting)

while the students painted Sunday morning, I started a 'training' painting. i drew with conte crayon and gesso on a small gessoed canvas 10x10".  yesterday i took a pic of the scene at low tide and today i took one at high tide.  the sounds and 'feel' of Sunday morning reminded me of Venice.  yesterday i placed a light blue to establish the large cool and warm shapes.  it feels like Venice.  what struck me most this morning is that the photos tend to flatten and elongate the horizontal shapes.  the vertical shapes don't have the scale that i feel when placed within the 'cube' of space i stand in and use for reference.

My Paintbox

Here's my french easel set-up for painting:  a few big brushes, a few rounds, maybe a filbert, a small brayer.
My colors:

cad yellow light
lemon yellow
cad yellow medium
yellow ochre
raw sienna
burnt sienna
grumbacher red (napthol red)
alizarin crimson
pthalo green
winsor blue (pthalo blue)
cobalt blue
ultramarine blue
grumbacher pre-test white, original formula (titanium white)

medium:  1 part stand oil, 1 part damar, 1 part turp

thinner for cleaning brushes

for beginners I recommend 3 colors:  cad yellow medium, grumbacher red, cobalt blue and white, a small jar of oil painting medium and some gessoed boards, a few brushes (boar bristle is fine)

a portable easel

if you try painting and want to continue, you will want to invest in more colors, brushes, medium and an easel for outdoor painting.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Refrigerator Bio in 4 Parts

Three refrigerator magnets, courtesy of my friend Brenda support the painting that i am working on.  i did the chalk drawing during the Sunday morning painting class.  the orange chalk is sealed with yesterday morning's application of oil/damar.  today the drawing is refined with a few cool blotches.  also note the refrigerator bio.

detail with ganesh, calculator magnet, howard kline inspirational art card.

another view with refrigerator poetry

the big picture.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prince Conger!

Domenic Cretara suggested that if I ever had the opportunity to study with Conger Metcalf, that I should.   Within a year of leaving The Art Institute I found myself exhibiting with Conger at Boston's Park Street Church.  I introduced myself, showed him my work and gave Domenic's recommendation.  Conger had a studio above a cleansers on Charles Street.  We would meet on Wednesday evenings during the weekly 'cocktail hour'.  I was placed at a window with a plaster cast of a head.  My instructions were to draw the symmetry of the face.  Several weeks passed this way, I drew at the window, Conger entertained.  On the final night of my lessons (4, 6?) he gave me a plaster cast of a face.  He told me to return when I could draw the symmetry of the face.

20 odd years later my daughter EB and I returned the cast to him.  "Are you here to see the Prince?"  and then "Prince Conger, your audience is here."  then to us, "go on, up the stairs to the top on the left.  we passed stacks and stacks of paintings and books.  His rooms...Venetian tapestries, gilded frames, Venetian Shutters nailed to the walls.  and Conger, "did you bring the pink Ginger Ale?".

I returned the mask to Conger and told him that while the face appears to be symmetrical, there is no real symmetry, the left and right sides are not alike.  "oh, really."  he laughed.  "you know, I gave all of these masks away.  this is the first to return."

He reviewed my work.  suggested I was having a lot of fun with my work and asked if I taught.  me, full of myself, suggested that "I haven't had to" and as soon as the words were out of my mouth, i knew the slap in the face to the generosity of my teachers.  as if whether i taught or not had anything to do with my needs (although teaching is incredibly fulfilling), in that moment the needs of a student entered my thoughts.  3 days later my first student entered my studio.

Conger's painting is up for auction through the Blackwood Auctions in Essex on April 28.  estimate $400-$600.  wish I could.

sleep on sweet Prince.

Monday, April 19, 2010

"French Beauty"


I received an inquiry through a friend of the Goodmorninggloucester blog!  Sold the painting this morning and it will go to its new home this afternoon!  My first sale through my online efforts.  this is awesome!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This morning's class

Color Spot Painting, introductory demo
the colors are a bit florescent in the pic

the demo, started from the cad orange spot on the right. the reds are not as closely related as this pic would have you believe. i have to learn how to edit the colors in photoshop.  another time, and cobalt blue is a deeper value, and the yellows, well...another lesson for this artist.  and is the painting even in focus?  ugh.

and this beauty is a 20 minute color spot painting demo  that i did for a painting class back in '97.  wow, i gotta get back in shape, i used 'fatter' paint then.  the painting is as fresh as it was then.  again some photo issues, but this one is truer than the first two.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

i have gone mac.

i'm retiring my pc.  a long, long time ago, my (now defunct) pc with windows #something, it flew.  and for years it was faster than any mac i worked on.  now.  my pc is clogged with updating, fears, stalls.  i have recently re-learned to go where there is no fear.  so i now have a refurbished, imac g4 with photoshop and a few other goodies.  must plugged it in last night.  i have succeeded in downloading/uploading pics.  still in a learning curve until then, i'm at work.

Artist at Work

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Outdoor Painting and Drawing Classes with a real Glosta' artist

View Larger Map

Outdoor painting and drawing classes (weather permitting) with Debbie Clarke begin Sunday April 18, 7-9am.  Classes meet at the Cripple Cove Parking Lot across from Zeke's.  arrive by 6:30 to set-up.  fee $25. all levels encouraged from newbies to pros  to register contact me via email:  elli01930@yahoo.com

all painting and drawing media welcome, sorry, no watercolor.

questions, etc, you know what to do.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Domenic Cretara Part 2

Domenic was my painting teacher at The Art Institute of Boston. I think he is at UC Davis now.  Seeing his work takes me back to the dirty, drafty, studio we worked in.  The students were cold, and the models were freezing.  A lot of my work from those years include the orange glow of the space heater reflected on the model's flesh. 

Today I retrieved more of my old work from storage.  There are a few paintings left from art school, a few drawings.  I continue to weed out my work, or as my daughter reminds me:  "Mom, you have one hell of a portfolio."  she has no idea how much work I have lost track of and thrown away.  Well, maybe she does, as she continues to build her 'life inventory' of artwork.


Favorite Place

This arrived in the mail a few months ago.  It was scanned and placed on this blog, then it was forgotten.  It reappeared, found amongst my journals, a few days ago.  I thought it was a decal, basically useless to me, as I do not have a storefront studio.  Turns out, the front is the same as the back and one side is sticky.  I stuck in on the door of the Dakota.  I find humor in this, as my pick-up truck is not exactly a sociable looking place for a favorite place to be.  If someone with an iphone, or other device with the favorite place application on it, that little square can be scanned.  It will open my google business center listing, with my blog info and one can jump to google map, Voila! studio hours:  by appointment only.  Drawing class schedule will be up within the week.  I'm going to look at a studio space today to find out about evening classes (figure drawing).  Outdoor classes will be 7-9 on Sunday mornings. location to be determined.

You Too can be a Favorite Place, get your business on the MAP!

Debbie Clarke Art place holder on google business center


Friday, April 9, 2010

I''m a twit, tweeting on twitter!

and the name is debclarkeglosta.   how many names do i need?  apparently many.  debbie clarke, deb clarke, pbsage (paintbrush sage), another magpie, debclarkeart, elli01930, deb01930....webbie was my first nickname.  given to me my by my babysister linda.  i called her sister until helen said (i was 3, mike had been born) her name is Linda.  Linda!

i find my preponderance to refer to my daughter's father as eb's father, my sisters as sisters, my boys as my boys and a reluctance to name them goes to my choctaw roots.

my grandfather was your father's father.  my uncle your father's brother.  my mother, your fathers wife...and gradually nana introduced georgies father, georgies wife...all buried in the traditions of my grandmother's (my father's mother) roots.

if i were danish i would prounounce my father as fart, my father's father as fart fart, my father's mother as fartmor, my father's father as fartfart and my mother's mother as mortmor and my mother's father as morfart.
say that 10 times fast in the right order.

and in a good world my mothers brothers would have cared for me and my fartmores brothers would have cared for my fartmores sons, but then, i may have never been.

i digress.

debbie, aka deb, pbsage, another magpie, etc.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


A reader of the blog sent a link to Fredrick Leighton's painting of Hero.  the wikipedia link the tale follows.

Hero and Leander.

Thank you John for the link!


Refrigerator Magnets, again!

These nifty refrigerator magnet clips are promo samples from my friend Brenda at TipTop Branding!  a handy calculator, and it works!  A night light magnet clip highlights the words "Life Refrigerator".  These bios through the surface of our refrigerator doors are instigated by my good life friend Chan Buck.  She posts regular 1 minute video bios on facebook.  One of her bios is titled "Life bio" and the story unfolds through the items held to her refrigerator door.  I have a lot of stuff on the big black refrigerator box in my kitchen.  When I first saw it my thought was ugh!  Then I quickly recognized the advantage of a black backdrop for colorful stuff, and it works really well as a blackfield to play my artwork against.

you can get your brand name on these nifty items by contacting my friend Brenda Treuhaft at TipTop Branding.  following is the company link, click the tab for company, go to our team and you will find Brenda's smiling face and contact.  when you talk with Brenda, tell her Debbie sent you.

Tip Top Branding


send me pics &/or videos of what's on your fridge and I will be sure to post it here!
post link here, or send to me at elli01930@yahoo.com

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Refrigerator Magnets!

CapeAnnPainter Paul Frontiero watched the refrigerator bio and discovered I love refrigerator magnet clips!  He stopped by Bananas recently and gifted me a colorful collection of clips!  Thank you Paul!  2 of the clips are holding the glad news of Caleb's arrival into the world and my art buddy Howard Kline's inspirational cards!  in Greek mythology Hero is a priestess of Aphrodite beloved by Leander.

you will find Paul's blog with artwork here

you will find Howard's artwork here


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"This is Karen" a drawing for an artist in training

This is Karen, the completed work documented in my earlier 'wip'  in the series "Faces I Remember".  It is finished.  During the process that brought the work to this point I was continually critiquing the work.  I kept trying to get the eyes above the one third, but my inclination was to keep cutting the 'shape' down.  This morning I finally decided to find the center of my canvas.  Wouldn't you know it?  French painter Pierre Bonnard's words critiqued the work, he said:  "There should be nothing in the center of a painting."  Then portrait artist Helen Van Wyck words critiqued the work:  "In a portrait the eyes should be around the one third point."  then I said:  The Hell you say!  I'm still in training!  This is Karen and this is the way I do it.  I broke the rules, yet it works.  why?  because it is didactic and self referential.
so, there.

"This is Karen"  a training drawing
copyright debbie clarke
gloucester ma 2010
mixed media on canvas 12x16"
$275 including shipping, no frame
cash or money order only.
US continental sales only.
3-4 weeks for delivery.

Art Criticism

This link will take you to Steve Aishman's Report at The Phantom Zone on Big Red and Shiny provides some excellent guidance to writing art criticism, as well as, how artist critics write critiques.

"Get ready for someone to hate you and try to keep your philosophy down by yelling louder."
The Big Red has deleted their links section.  bummer, peeps came to read here from there, and i used to go through the links from time-to-time.  I still check in, but really miss the links.
as always questions, comments, critiques always welcomed here or to:  elli01930 at yahoo.com

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Self Portrait

I will start teaching again soon.  Whether folk show up with paint, canvas or rag, they will learn to draw.  Drawing is not passive, it is an active verb.  When we draw we are training our hand to follow our eye, and under the direction of an instructor, we learn how to move the eye.  We learn first 'how to see' spatial relationships and this process of looking, teaches the hand 'to follow'.  (eventually one may get to Joan Mitchell's 'no hands', but that comes much later, maybe years.)  The first lesson for all of my students is the head, through the observation of the self.  The 'self portrait'. 

to paraphrase leonardo 'the face we love the most is our own and we tend to impose our features on the other.' to this i add, first we see our face in the other, and then as artists, we learn to see how unlike ourselves the other is.  when all the brouhaha came out a few years back about The Mona Lisa being a self portrait of Leonardo I cracked up.  Knowing some of his thought, I was not surprised that they were able to find the leonardo's self portrait in the Mona Lisa's face.

I have not drawn an observational self portrait in quite a while.  To draw one is the quickest way I know of to get back into my drawing/teaching mind.  It is an opportunity for me to once again look at myself with no words and make sure my skills are still sharp. 

I took a photo self portrait today to document what I look like to the camera.  I will start the drawing later tonight.  the progress will be documented.


comments, responses, questions, critiques always welcomed.  either here or email to elli01930@yahoo.com