Saturday, October 26, 2013

October 26, 2013

It's a new term and a time for new beginnings--we're beginning to wear jackets again, beginning to ponder a new class project (more on that next time), and learning a new registration system (don't even get us started on that one!).

While our numbers were small today (we blame the aforementioned new registration system), we had our typically wonderful time. We welcome Tony back and congratulate him on graduating to watercolor paper! Tony's been traveling (you'll notice his painting of an airport!) and has some wonderful new paintings to share. Unfortunately, we didn't get photos today, but keep watching this space for a view of his world.

As for the rest of us, we're into people. Proud people (like Vivian's portrait of Ken...proud of Marina City and proud of his Cubs), fashionable people (Susan's "Geisha Teacher"), fun-loving people (Elaine's portrait of exuberant kids), imaginary people (John's continuing story illustration), and relaxed people (Greeta's painting celebrating summer relaxation on the water). And it wouldn't be fall without Sara's falling leaves and changing colors. Ken and Mark are into colorful architecture—buildings on the river and a Gaudy-esque building in Pennsylvania.

Don't go away yet! Keep scrolling down to see our paintings....followed by artists of the week and a product review.

Artist(s) of the week—Special thanks to our guest librarian of the week, Kris, for today's book selections, Mary Cassatt and Frank Auerbach. Again, rather disparate selections, but very educational. We were especially fond of Cassatt's Japanese print-inspired paintings and Auerbach's portraits. Can't wait to see more next week!

Ken Ellis's painted quilts on display at the Cultural Center
A show to see—If you're in downtown Chicago, drop by the Cultural Center for Ken Ellis' painted quilts (left). They're paintings, they're fabric art and they are softly sculptural. Definitely worth a look!

Product Review—If you've been following us for any length of time, you know we love our gadgets! Okay, not really gadgets....let's call them serious art tools of the trade! One tool that's been intriguing us lately is what we fondly call the "water toilet." It's really a device to provide continuous clean rinse water for painting. You fill a bottle with clean water, invert it over a small well; the well fills and the level self-regulates and stops when it's full. Then, when the water gets dirty, you push a button and the dirty water drains into a holding tank and the well fills with clean water. Saves countless trips to the sink to get new water.

Susan introduced us and Greeta's also been a fan for some time. Elaine got one this week and we're ready to share our thoughts. Needless to say, Susan and Greeta give it a big thumbs up. Susan actively proselytizes; Greeta found hers a bit touchy at the beginning, but is now a fan. As for Elaine? She thinks it's theory...but is afraid hers might be haunted. Maybe it's the season, maybe she's got an overly active imagination (but others saw it too!). She went through nearly a whole bottle of water without once pressing the plunger button. Every so often, the water started gurgling and drained and refilled all by itself. No one was even close! So we either have artificial intelligence or a haunted water bottle. Still, Elaine had to admit her rinse water has never been it's probably found a place in her paint kit. See below for Elaine's brand new one between two well-loved water toilets in action.

Two Rinse Wells in use; one new one still in the box. Read above for a review.

See you next week!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 19, 2013

It's definitely fall. We all broke out our jackets—and the brightest colors we could find! Sure, we're still painting colorful sunsets, but we're branching out. From dual Pats, to stilettos and Uggs, it's fashion week here in the studio. Of course, we are still painting buildings and fruit and trees as colorfully as we can—and our paintings range from sheer fun (surfers and kids at play) to the mystical (kundalini serpents, crosses and visions). Yep, there's something for everyone today!

Still, you'll notice the one thing we have in common is that we're all turning to the dark side. And that's a good thing! See how Mark's increased saturation enlivens his shoes. And Marva's backlit mountains and surfer emphasize the brightness of the setting sun. Greeta's dark mountains are full of colors and  John's background really highlights his ephemeral vision. David has some darks that are so dark, they actually look silver from the side when the light hits them. Not your typical idea of watercolor, but a great use of the medium. Look and see—and then read on for more of what's happening in our world.

Best wish of the day: Happy Birthday, Peter!

Artists of the Day: Yes, the library table is proving very popular. Pat brought in books about Vermeer and Joseph Stella today—a strange combination, but an appealing one. There were plenty of people reading those books. Very educational—and fun, too! (Beats watching paint dry, right?) If anyone is taking requests, how about something about Demuth? His name came up today and I think we'd all like to learn more.

Quote of the day: Actually, there were two. And this time, we wrote them down so no worries about missing out on our wit and wisdom. Oddly enough, both of these quotes involved imparting wisdom.

1. In her capacity as teacher, Pat gave some wise advice—something she often does. Sara, the recipient of this advice, said, "Of course you're right! That's why you're walking around in fancy clothes."

2. Ken's also known for giving advice. So, when asked about the magnificent sky in his painting—how did you get that movement? Did you use a medium?—Ken said, "What I do is use water...and paint." Well, duh! There's his secret!

So another term is over. No break this time, though. Tune in next week for week one of our next term. Hope you see you all then!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 12, 2013

First of all, thanks to guest photographer Greeta! Secondly, I don't know if it's her camera or if the colors of fall inspired us, but have you ever seen such exuberant color? More sunsets, summer fruit and children, of course, but even the architecture looks positively Fauvist today. And look at all the colors within the black background of John's pencil drawings. Not to mention this week's episode of What's Pat Wearing Today?—of course it's colorful, but did you see the pattern? Klimt would be so happy!

You do remember that October is Chicago Artists Month, don't you? 18th Annual, no less—and this year's theme is the neighborhoods. So, while the weather is fine, take this opportunity to get out,  explore our neighborhoods, see some art and have a great time! For more information about what's going on (and where), click here.
See you next week.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 5, 2013

Well, we almost had to scrap the video today, but we finally managed the upload. At any rate, you can always look below for still images—and we encourage you to do so as there are some really fine paintings today.

Once again, our collective unconscious found a common theme—sunsets (although we suspect Ken tried to sneak a sunrise in there!). From Lake Michigan to Hawaii, we were awash with landscapes featuring the color orange.

Even the non-sunrise paintings are full of color. Greeta's painting trees instead of fruit and Sara's painting fruit (instead of trees); but both of them are amazing us with their beautiful colors. Mark is on a roll, with zebras this time—who knew grass and black & white stripes could be so vibrant? Elaine's Buddha background went through many permutations before she settled on the colors she did. And Pat's dress? Avert your eyes! It's an explosion of color, as is Ken's Cub shirt. Scroll down and enjoy the rainbow—you can't say it's drab, that's for sure.

Artist of the day: There were quite a few, actually. Last week's catalogs proved so popular, Pat brought in two more books featuring California artists Thiebaud and Diebenkorn. Ken shared a book on Charles Sheeler and Alan brought one on Walter Anderson. The "library tables" were a great place to visit while we waited for our paint to dry.
Quote of the day: Well, there was one, but no one wrote it down, so we can't remember it. You'd have enjoyed it, though. We did. Sorry!

What's Pat wearing? We know this question comes up a lot. But now you don't have to wonder, you can just look at the latest in Susan's newest series—the Pat series. Every week Susan photographs Pat in all her sartorial splendor, then paints her against a lovely rainbow background. Either Susan is trying for an "A" or Art inspires art! (We suspect it's the latter.)

At long last: Many years ago, we all placed a group order for art supplies, including some 300# paper. Today, Elaine finally got around to breaking open the cellophane wrapping! Yes, we all saw it—hooray! The cellophane was actually a little yellowed, that's how long it took her to decide she might be good enough to break out the expensive paper. Next step—actually painting something on it. Tune in and see if she dares.