What have I been doing since we got back from Paris?

I last posted in October when we returned from a month in Paris. My heart is still there, bleeding for the Parisiens we met, we watched and enjoyed. But life has gone on here in Western New York. I entered two juried shows, the first being Buffalo Society of Artists 119th Catalogue Show, juried by Antonio F. Petracca. My two paintings were accepted, and I won the Gold Medal for my watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper, entitled Hertel Avenue Sunset. I found out by text from my wonderful friend and watercolor mentor, Sally Treanor.  2:30 am Paris Time – “You Won!”

CSiracuse_Hertel Ave Sunset01.web

The other entry, Sunset on the Black Rock Canal, is much more traditional transparent watercolor. I am drawn to high contrast, strong values and light. These two paintings work with all three.

CSiracuse_SunsetBlackRockCanal01.web

 

The other juried show I entered was the Fall 2015 Niagara Frontier Water Media Show juried by Barbara Nechis. NFWS is close to my heart. I’m in my second and last year as it’s president.  It is the only Watercolor Society west of the Central New York Watercolor Society in New York State. My two paintings were accepted. Both florals, both with ink and watercolor, therefore considered to be “water media”. One, entitled “Spring Amarylis” is painted on rice paper.  I love rice paper! The other, “Hosta No. 1”, is on watercolor paper, and has been selected as the poster image for this year’s Garden Walk, Buffalo, an honor for me as I am an energetic gardener, and our city garden has been on the Garden Walk, missing one year for construction, since 2002.

CSiracuse_SpringAmaryllis01.web     CSiracuse_Hosta101.web

There are many wonderful galleries in Western New York, and they all put on holiday shows, encouraging art lovers to support our artists community. I’m in two shows, one at TGW Gallery at 497 Franklin Street in the Allentown District of Buffalo.  The openings for this show, and the other I’m in at Artsphere at 447 Amherst Street, as well as a lovely handful of other downtown galleries, are scheduled for the First Friday of the month, in this case December. It was a great evening of conversation, food and art. These shows will all be on til the end of the month.

At TGW, I have four paintings, “City of Night Light”, “Canalside 2”, “Bullseye” and “Darwin Martin House.”  Darwin Martin sold on opening night. The artwork at TGW for this show is a wonderful representation of the talent in WNY. All work is “economically accessible”, my phrase. Everyone should be able to own original artwork!

CarolSiracuse.City of Night Light.web. CarolSiracuse.Canalside.web CarolSiracuse_Bullseye.web CarolSiracuse_DRMartin.web

At Artsphere I have three paintings, “Roadtrip Sunrise,” “This Year’s Pears,” and “Red Twig”. This is a special show of paintings from Sally Treanor’s students. We meet with Sally every Monday morning, September – June. I’ve been painting in Sally’s studio since 2002.  She’s been a wonderful encouraging teacher.

Carol_Siracuse.Roadtrip Morning.web Carol_Siracuse.This Year's Pears.web Carol_SiracuseRed Twig.web

Since the push to create for these shows is over, and Christmas is fast approaching, I am finishing some paintings I started this summer, and trying some new ideas, but I’m going to have to switch gears and attack some of the commissions I have patiently waiting. Time is short! Here are some of the paintings I’ve been working on. I am challenged to paint trees by our proximity to Delaware Park, an Olmsted beauty, and by my fascination with the work of Charles Burchfield. I used to be a docent at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and during that time I became enamored with Burchfield’s early work in watercolor.  These two paintings are greatly influenced by his work, especially the first. I dare to title it “Yet Another Homage to Burchfield”, though that title may change. The second is “Night and Day.”

Delaware Park Fall 2015.web Night and Day 12.09.web

The painting I just finished, called “Sonia!”, is a solution to the pear and apple painting exercises we were doing in Sally Treanor’s class. Since rediscovering Sonia Delaunay in the Pompidou in Paris, I have been dreaming Delaunay, hence the title, an obvious homage.

Sonia!.web

So, on to the commissions and holiday preparations. My goal is to post more often.

Til then, enjoy your holidays, one and all!

Experimenting with Gessoed Watercolor Paper

I have learned something, sometimes many things, from every water media workshop I’ve ever participated in.  Just finished one with Susan Webb Tregay which leaves me with Sue perched on my shoulder whispering one of her multitude of quotable quotes all great advice about color and composition strategies.  Maybe my favorite is the most piercing -“things not worth painting are not worth painting well”.

All that being said, one of the approaches to watercolor and its paper that has most stuck with me, and continues to challenge me, is what Mark Mehaffey had us try during the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society’s Spring 2013 Workshop.  Paint with watercolor on gesso coated arches 140 lb paper.  Two coats of gesso each side, dry in between. Paint in any set of colors you choose all over the paper, best if pretty intense but not required.

Loving Burchfield .web

My first attempt, after the workshop was over and I had had a chance to mull over all that I had learned, turned into a “harmony of intensity” color strategy without any conscious direction from me.  I call it “Loving Burchfield” because it reminded me of one or two of Charles Burchfield’s periods. Being a Buffalo resident, and a former docent at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, I have spent a lot of time studying Burchfield. He was a lover of light and nature, as am I.

My second attempt was not as successful, in my opinion, as the first, and I think it’s because of the rather intense color scheme.  It could be relieved with some much lighter tones, and a little more cool areas of contrast to the warm.  This is called, appropriately, “Heated Landscape” and is for sale at Art Loft just outside the entrance to the Chautauqua Institution.   I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t like this painting – I do!  It was really fun to work on.  The paint has a mind of it’s own, and even so can be added and subtracted easily provided you don’t care about controlling everything that happens.  It’s almost like painting on Yupo, but not quite as slippery.

Heated Landscape.web

This painting which I call “Bidwell Market Zinnias” after our summer Saturday farmers’ market, also for sale at Artloft, is among my favorites ever.  I started out with a circular swirl of high intensity colors, red, yellow and blue, and moved the paint around, adding and subtracting to come up with a painting I really like.

Bidwell's Zinnias.web

Friends who know me well, and admire my paintings, have given me some good advice. They say, in one way or another, include some architecture, some neighborhood, in your paintings, even when you are experimenting.  So, these two are very recent, and include architectural elements from my home city, Buffalo. The first, “City Sunset” is the view I have as I look out of my studio across the street, almost due West, at sunset. It was accepted into the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors which opens August 8th in Old Forge, NY. Very excited to have been juried into this terrific show.

City Sunset.web

This last painting, called “Canalside” is a view from across the newly constructed memory of the Erie Canal at our Lake Erie Shore, is also a favorite.  It will be included in the group show, “Art Exhibition – Seeing and Being: Making Art in WNY Neighborhoods” opening Monday, June 1 at 6 pm at Betty’s Restaurant, 370 Virginia St., Buffalo.

Canalside.web

I love to try new ways to work with watercolor and all of the other water media. I am not a young person, though I am a young artist, having really started to get serious about this in the mid 2000’s. Architecture took all my work time and energy for 44 years.  I don’t think I’ll be  able to paint for the same amount of time….as I’d be painting at age 107, but maybe I’ll still be at it!  I’m pretty young at heart!