Saturday, December 9, 2017

December 9, 2017

We had snow this morning...which may be why some of us didn't make it to class. But for those who did, we were definitely feeling festive. Ken passed out holiday candy kisses, there was a lot of baby talk (new grandchildren, of course!) and we seem to have found some great new themes—babies, botanicals and buildings.  We begin with Ellen's sweet painting of her new granddaughter. Zoom in for a closer look, but we remind you that the real painting is softer, more delicate and subtle than the screen image.

We'll be looking to Sara for baby pictures in the new year, too. But for now, she's doing sketches of the trees outside her window. She's doing different small views.... the typical view she always sees, a view from the treetops, a dreamscape and another straight view. Here's another one you have to look at closely to really see how beautiful it is.

Bill is all about the second "B" theme—botanicals. He's carefully observing and painting leaves and plants. For now, he's concentrating on his houseplants, but he's engrossed in the subject and is even considering 2018 being the year of botanical painting.

Here's Bill's second painting. This is a corn plant—not the same kind of corn plant we saw from Ken, but you can see how it got its name by looking at the leaves. We also love the complementary color background Bill chose.

You'd think Ken would be all about corn, too. But no—he's back to mosaics and he's painting tomato blossoms. We like the colors and the composition of this one and are eager to see how it progresses.

Susan dropped by on her way to a holiday party to share her holiday painting and some gift calendars. Right on trend, she is painting plants too. We can't help but notice how all of us are fascinated by the veins and shapes of plant forms.

Alan is concentrating on botanicals, too. This water lily is painted on a small scrap of Yupo and features more plants—different colors, different season, different background—but the same fascinating shapes and forms.

More plants from Alan. This is on a scrap of printmaking paper and Alan details the way leaves grow on oaks in the South. We love the values, the composition and the trees. We couldn't decide if they were more Matisse or Cezanne, but we settled on "french trees" and loved them.

As if that weren't enough, Alan began a sketch of a New Orleans scene. He plans to use this as the basis for several smaller vignettes and a later masterpiece on Yupo. Look to see more of these in the days to come.

Madeleine's painting feels like New Orleans, doesn't it? But it's not. This is an abstraction of a grey building in Chicago's Ravenswood industrial corridor. But here, the corners have been combined, colors and decorative touches added, and it becomes a jazz tower.

Not too far away (geographically, not stylistically) is Elaine's church tower. She's added the final touches to the slate roof, accentuating the sloping shape. The tree leaves that frame the scene are within our botanical theme and the structure fits the last of our "b" themes... buildings!

 And from there, Elaine finished her still life with an unlikely subject. This is a pair of socks with a message. Elaine's calling them her "retirement socks," but the message isn't limited. Notice the cute caterpillar on the front and the stylized butterflies near the heel?

Our newest artists have been painting still life studies, too. Crazie takes things a step further, by beginning each assignment with a sketch. First, her homework. The assignment is to Paint an egg... a white egg on a white dish and/or background. Here's the sketch.....

... and here's the watercolor. Carefully observing the egg reveals all kinds of colors in the white.

The class assignment was to paint several fruits or vegetables. Again, Crazie begins with a sketch....

... before starting to paint. This eggplant is rich, shiny and beautiful.

In contrast, Yanna's egg is soft and subtle, but just as colorful. The lighting she chose makes for a single, delicate shadow. Despite the delicacy of color and brushwork, this egg has a monolithic quality. 

We love Yanna's multi-fruit composition. The way she's composed them gives them distinct personalities. And notice the shadows. The orange bounces some color onto the apple, as does the lemon. And the cast shadows ground the subjects, yet unify them and make them seem to dance.

Yi's egg is the most monochromatic of the three, relying on value more than color to model the egg. Yet, if you look closely, you'll see soft greens and blues in the egg and the background brushwork.

Yi's painting of fruits/vegetables shows just how good she is. She chooses textured subjects in complementary colors. She models the cucumber with both color and value and adds highlights, spots and bumps. The cast shadow isn't finished yet, but it is also very carefully observed. These new students are incredibly good!

Next week is our last week before our holiday break, so be sure you come back then! Meanwhile, you still have a few days to catch the exhibition below and to mark your calendar for our upcoming group show.

Food.  Alan and Greeta are featured artists in a group show about Food. The show runs through January, so there's still time to catch it. If you attend, you are asked to please bring a donation of non-perishable food for neighborhood food pantries.

      4243 N  Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL

     Exhibition: September 16–January 13    


Save the date

We'll be having a group show at the Ten Cat starting in mid-February. It's the perfect time to meet and greet us, see some good art and anticipate spring. Mark your calendar and bring your valentine to our opening reception!

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