Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 21, 2015

It's've seen the last of our videos. It's true! Our camera is terminally ill but, honestly, no one will miss the videos anyway, so we're not shedding any tears.

Only half of us showed up today. We're not sure if people were getting an early start to Thanksgiving or just frightened by the first snowfall of the season. Regardless, we had a small but choice group.

We start with Greeta's lovely sunflowers. Very painterly, very fresh and summery.... the very essence of watercolor. Go ahead, zoom in to look at the fluttery petals, the textured seeds in the center and the delicate blue glass. You know you want to, so go ahead! There are fewer paintings than usual, so there's plenty of time for a closer look.

Bill, too, is painting a floral still life. Notice the blue vase and the sunny yellow color in the draperies? We seem to have that mind-meld thing going today. Seriously, look at the color palette. Wonderfully sophisticated results from such basic primary colors.

Can you sense a theme going on? Here is Madeleine's take on a still life with yellow. Notice the color path her yellow takes from the background, through the flowers, leading the eye to the miniature tea set. In a virtuoso turn, she's also added a beautiful metallic candlestick.

We love our themes, don't we? You'd never know it was snowing outside to look at our lovely flowers, lakes and landscapes. Here, Greeta leads off our second theme with her painting of children playing on a lake. The water is especially lovely in this.

More fun on the lake! Elaine adds to her painting of paddle boat racers. We're eagerly waiting for her to start painting the water. Right now, it looks like they are racing on snow (except for the shorts and t-shirts).

And here's an aerial view of a lake...without the kids. Alan has painstakingly added, removed, repainted and scratched out a field of lily pads. And it's all done on Yupo.... enough said! Seriously, if you know the qualities of Yupo, you can really appreciate this. 

Back to watercolor paper, Alan looks across the lake to a cottage on the opposite bank, framed by leaves, trees, and fall foliage. We love the colors and textures—and especially the reflections!

Still on the subject of flora and foliage, Sara switches to a delicate spring palette in this close up of a zinnia bud. The purple tips are far more subtle than this photo would indicate.

Remember last week's dancing trees in Central Park? Sara takes another look at fall in Central Park but this time she adds buildings to give a better sense of place. The inked outlines perfectly describe the crisp fall air and the foreground leaves are exquisite. Did we mention this is a card to a friend? No wonder everyone asked about getting on Sara's pen pal list!

Madeleine is also working on a building. We're anxious to see the final result as there are some incredible details here.... the bricks, the cobblestones, the sign painted on the glass window and Madeleine herself. Should be good!

The highlight of Bill's watercolor-y building is the flock of pigeons calling it home. You see them side-by-side on the roofline. And there's another line coming on the lower level. Yes, it's an actual building... one we all recognized (along with the pigeons).

We leave you with Ken's painting, another in his Ten Cat series. While it may be a simple pool table, it reminds us of Sullivan architecture...and of the Thanksgiving table. 

 Upcoming events and important announcements
If you're reading this on Saturday, it's not too late for Steve's concert tomorrow. It's a great way to kick off the holiday season!


DePaul Community Chorus Concert.
Come hear Steve in the November concert, Darkness & Light: Nordic and Mediterranean Perspectives. 150 voices strong, eight part harmony—it's beautiful and it's free!

     Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 3pm

We'll be off next week for Thanksgiving. We are thankful for every one of you and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

November 14, 2015

Another Saturday with no video! Today the camera wouldn't even start up, so we're pretty sure something is wrong. We'll investigate further, but meanwhile we'll have to settle for still photos again.

We began the day by taking down our exhibit in the McKeon Center. It certainly came down faster than it took to install! If you made it over to see the exhibit, thank you! If not, we'll keep you updated about future shows.

On to the art—starting with a wonderfully witty seasonal painting by Vivian. She began this last year and is adding finishing touches this year. Entitled Freedom from Want, it features her cat and some of the most delectable looking Thanksgiving food we've seen in quite some time. Our mouths are watering as we look at the luscious turkey and pie... and it seems the cat feels the same way!

Abla is using her fabled #0000 brush to great effect. Zoom in and look at this tree trunk. The colors, the texture.... just lovely!

Sara is painting trees too, but hers are in New York's Central Park. Appropriately enough, as this chorus line of dancing trees looks like they took lessons from the Rockettes. We love that Sara is channeling her inner Seurat in the frame, too.

Who doesn't love trees? Alan uses a tree trunk and leaves to frame a lake cottage. The beautiful texture and colors guide us right to the focal point.

The cottage painting above is on paper, but below, Alan switches to his newest favorite, Yupo. And no wonder, when you see the effects he can achieve on this tricky surface. The delicate flowers stand out in contrast to the deep background. Love the fern, too!

More Yupo for Alan. This time, he's created a lovely pond background and has started to reverse out a field of water lilies. Watch out, Monet!

Bill returns to his floral still life. This time, he's strengthened the vertical elements of the composition and added volume to the plant.  We especially like the window and the way the plant leans toward the light.

 Another floral! Here Madeleine is memorializing a bouquet she received, skillfully adding a candlestick and pottery to the composition. She's perfectly captured the metal and we applaud her use of yellows in the background.

Madeleine has also finished her painting of Bill and his friend, Donkey. This just makes us smile—for so many reasons—the warm sunlight, the textures, the shadows, the gestures and the sweet relationship. Don't you agree?

Elaine is in people painting mode, too. And like Alan and Greeta, she's memorializing the last days of summer at the lake in this scene of paddle boat racers.

Mohammed taps into all of our major themes today—portraits, flowers, textures and unusual surfaces. He's added a floral background to his portrait of a woman framed in an textured arch. And he's returned to another favorite technique, sponge painting. Despite the slick surface of the foamcore, he is certainly making it work.

Ken's painting of a view through a stained glass window (Alan's creation, to be precise) to the street beyond is coming along beautifully. Even the tree across the street looks like a stained glass window! We love this Ten Cat series.

We end with Greeta's take of summer on the lake. And what's even more exciting than the painting of the kids fishing is the fact that she's painting this in a book of "cottage" paintings.  That's right! It's a spiral bound book with paintings that have a common theme. They are all of her cottage or done at her cottage. What a wonderful idea! So we've added a small sampling below, ending with a tribute to summer.

This painting is a bit fuzzy, but be assured that the real painting is exquisite. It's a very watercolor-y painting of a cottage...

... as is this.

A  floating platform on the lake is perfect for kids to fish from.

These flowers look like something Van Gogh would have done if he visited the cottage.

Isn't this casual arrangement of flowers in a rusty watering can just the essence of lake living?

And we end with heirloom tomatoes on a country tablecloth. (Again, the painting is much better than the photo.)

Upcoming events and important announcements

Finally, as we mentioned, our exhibit is over, as is Ken's opening reception. But it's not too late to see his paintings at the Ten Cat (through mid-December) or to hear Steve and the DePaul Community Chorus next weekend. Mark your calendars!
The Ten Cat Ten Cat Show.  Ken will be having a show at Ten Cat Tavern. Drop by to see the art...and maybe play some pool.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     October 26–December 7, 2015
DePaul Community Chorus Concert.
Come hear Steve in the November concert, Darkness & Light: Nordic and Mediterranean Perspectives. 150 voices strong, eight part harmony—it's beautiful and it's free!

     Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 3pm


Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 7, 2015

Sorry, there is no video today. We're not sure what's happening, but there was nothing on the camera. Maybe next week!

That doesn't mean, however, that there is nothing to see. We have all kinds of wonderful art.... not to mention a special surprise guest and a new theme. We begin with our special guest artist. David is a former student who dropped by to see our exhibition and stayed to deliver a lovely birthday portrait to fellow artist Susan.

Continuing the tribute to fellow artists, Ken's latest painting in his Ten Cat series is a painting of one of Alan's stained glass windows. By the way, you can see Ken and Alan and the stained glass window at the opening reception for Ken's show this afternoon at 3.

Back to Susan who finishes her background by drawing grout lines in an homage to Ken and his Ten Cat paintings. She's also inspired by Ken's upcoming mosaic classes.

Enough of self-referencing admiration! We seem to paint in themes anyway, and we love our flowers. Here, Bill does a still life featuring a house plant on a table. He's planning to revisit this painting but we hope he doesn't lose the lively brushstrokes featured here.

Alan's painting flowers too, but his are carved out of pools of color on Yupo. Look closely at the subtle background trees and the colors of the foreground flowers.

Another flower.... this time an orchid. Unlike watercolor paper, these flowers are created last in the painting process, by removing color from the Yupo surface.

Here's Alan's finished his eclipse painting. Who would have guessed a dark moon in a dark sky could be so deep and colorful?

Using a very limited palette, Tony achieves striking depth in his painting of a Greek monastery on a cliff. You really get a sense of place. 

Greeta has returned from a trip to Washington DC and was inspired to paint this view of Smithsonian buildings behind the autumn foliage. Welcome back, Greeta—we especially love the dome and the trees!

Madeleine's painting, Bill and His Ass, is coming along wonderfully. Can't you just see the sunlight on the figures and background? And the donkey's fur actually looks soft and furry. (Again, in the interest of technical accuracy, this should be really be called Bill and An Ass as the donkey isn't really his.... but the artist gets to name her own painting).

Elaine is also painting people. In this case, family members in a pedal boat race. This is a view from the winning boat—which is why we can't see Elaine and her partner, just the second and third place (losing) teams.

Mohammed experimented with foamcore and found it tricky to paint on. So he added another experiment to the mix, mixing gum arabic with the paint on the arch. It seems to be just what he needed, adding richness and texture to the wood.

More people paintings as Vivian finishes her conceptual, abstract, based on shingles. We are intrigued by the expressive face and the carefully modeled bones and shadows.

Abla re-sketched her skeleton in this allegorical painting about the meaning of life. We are really into concept paintings lately!

We didn't get a photo of Rosemary, our newest student, and her color wheel. Disappointing, I know. But she did bring some watercolors she completed prior to our class—landscapes, florals and still life paintings. Enjoy!

Finally, check out these events, some of which are closing soon. Don't miss out!

Upcoming events and important announcements

The Ten Cat Ten Cat Show.  Ken will be having a show at Ten Cat Tavern. Come to the opening reception at (where else?) Ten Cat on Saturday, November 7.

      3931 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL

     Exhibition: October 26–December 7, 2015
     Reception: November 7, 2015, 3pm

Expressions in Watercolor
There's only one week to see our exhibition, Expressions in Watercolor. We're closing next Saturday. Drop by the McKeon Building and visit all the glass cases.

When:  October 8–November 15, 2015,
             9am–5pm, Monday–Friday
             9am–3pm, Saturday

Where: Truman College McKeon Student Services Building
             (behind the main building)
             1145 W. Wilson Avenue

DePaul Community Chorus Concert.
Come hear Steve in the November concert, Darkness & Light: Nordic and Mediterranean Perspectives. 150 voices strong, eight part harmony—it's beautiful and it's free!

     Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 3pm