It's officially summer! You can tell by the calendar and the weather, not to mention our watercolors. One more sign of the times is the attendance. Lots of people on vacations and out enjoying the beautiful day. Too bad, too. Those of us who were present got a double treat—Pat's birthday buffet and a chance to witness "the perfect paper towel." It's true! Lydia nailed the paper towel color-matching exercise in no time flat. And it wasn't just close, it was perfect. Take it from Ken. He attests he's never seen better in 25 years, so you know it's true. This is such a feat we're going to make you wait for it until the very end. Trust us, it's worth the wait. So let's begin.
Most of our thoughts turn to vacations and the great outdoors. Abla is no exception. Here, she's finished the fountain at the Detroit Zoo. We love the limited palette, the beautiful trees and water and the spray from the bear fountain.
Madeleine, too, is painting vacation pictures. Here, she sketches a houseboat in Amsterdam. We can't wait to see the water in the foreground, her forte.
Another vacation picture from Madeleine, this one features a cloudscape from Costa Rica. In this beautifully atmospheric vista, we seem to be actually standing above the clouds, looking at softly rolling mountains. Madeleine credits the soft edges and delicate modeling to an experiment with gum Arabic. A great use of the medium—and this is exactly why so many of us are fond of experimenting. You never know when you're going to succeed like this!
Marva's landscape is an equally panoramic vista, but she's painting the Great Smokies. Notice the crisp foliage that conveys the essence of fall. We love the colors and the depth she conveys. But that's not all—beyond the trees are a vast expanse of mountains and sky. This is going to be breathtaking!
One more sweeping mountain vista for your consideration. This time, we're in Peru where John's re-imagined temple stands solidly before a real mountain range and billowing clouds. Look closely. We love the contrast between the solidity of the manmade structure and the animated mountains and clouds.
Bill is also in a vacation mood. Below is an old painting of a beach scene at sunset. While this successfully creates a very distinctive mood...
Bill revisits it below. He steps back to give the colorful sky added prominence. At the same time, he doesn't lose any of the interest in the chairs, while the shadows of the people add to the mood. There's a lot to be said for working in series!
And speaking of series, here Bill revisits his still life of last week. He's moved in even closer to focus on the sparkling bottles and peppers against the inky background. The changed perspective creates a totally different mood.
We're all interested in perspective lately. Steve finishes up his beautifully composed cityscape below. The shadows are deeper and the plants on the balconies add life to the painting... as well as being Steve's signature! Look closely at the shadows, particularly the shafts of light between awnings. Those perfect little slivers of light totally define the shadows.
Like this one! Here Ken directs the viewer as we look through the back door, through the length of the bar and out the front window onto the street. The colorfully patterned style is perfect for bricks, wood and the stained glass at the front. And we'd be remiss if we didn't point out the doorknob and plate. Yes, it's a cat!
Like the rest of us, Mark is painting in a series. Here he paints his "toe" shoes against his Wilson basketball. We love the coordinating blue colors and the lively composition.
Susan's back to her Venus/shower/flowers series. Here she paints roses and strategically places the leaves, moving from Venus to Eve. The simple blue background is the perfect complement to the colorful textured roses.
Elaine, too is working in a series. These vintage vignettes are sketchily painted to evoke the feel of a warm summer day. The warm tone of the colors add a touch of nostalgia.
We're getting closer to the perfect paper towel—a result of some breakthroughs Lydia made in the color exercises. Look at this lovely color wheel. She's made notes to remind herself of what she discovered. This is going to be a useful reference.
Here's her complementary color study. She was amazed to see the range and variety of neutrals she was able to achieve with just two colors...as long as they are the right colors.
And here's what we've all been waiting for... the perfect paper towel. To orient you, the real paper towel is on the right; Lydia's perfectly matched swatch is on the left. There's no other way to describe it than "perfect;" the color, tone, intensity and value are spot on. And how did she do it? Using what she learned in the complementary color chart above. It only took her two swatches, too—a 25-year class record. Kudos, Lydia!
Artist of the Day. More books on the library table today. Escher was back (we're fascinated with perspective, after all). Also, a book on Edouard Vuillard. Vuillard was a French post-impressionist/Nabi. His skill with pattern inspires us (and reminds us of Ken's). Finally, we had Proud of Our Feelings, a children's book, written and beautifully illustrated by our own Lindsay Leghorn. This was an autographed copy, no less!
Happy Birthday, Pat! Yes, we had a birthday buffet for Pat today. Her birthday is actually tomorrow but that didn't stop us from celebrating today with mango and tropical fruit ice cream bars and mocha cake, courtesy of Susan, and peanut butter kisses made by Pat's own true love, Kris. Everything was absolutely delicious!