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!

Paris by Sketch

My husband and fellow traveller Tom and I spent a month in Paris in an apartment North and West of the Pompidou Center, about a 10 minute walk. It was a great month. We walked and metroed and bussed, and drank cafe au lait, and ate and saw almost everything we wanted to see. I had planned to do 4-5 or even 6 paintings, and only did one. We learned a lesson, being don’t expect a lot of yourself when you are in a fabulous city like Paris.  Every day was too interesting and too full of new experiences to find time, say 3-4 hours, to sit down and paint. Next trip will be planned with a section of time in a fascinating city, and a section of time in a delightful town.

So, the only painting is of the Ile Saint Louis.

Paris painting

It’s an ink (pigma micron) and watercolor, 10″ x 15″. I sat on the banks of the Seine in the same place I had sat and sketched back in 2006 when we first visited Paris together.

It took me a few days, really two weeks, to forgive myself for not painting, but I did sketch everyday. I took my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, 5″ x 8″, with me everywhere. Used pigma micron pens, some watercolor pencils and watercolor graphite pencils, and filled the book with items we collected, sketches and daily journal entries. I love doing this.  It adds a lot to our trips for me, and serves as a good record for Tom when he creates his videos of our travels for youtube.  His youtube name is Graygeek.

So, here are the pages from my book.  Hope you enjoy them.

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The sketch on the left is from our dinner table the first night in our neighborhood. On the right is from our coffee break near the Pompidou.

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There are always things to draw. Left is shelves from a creperie on Ile St outs, and right is a market on Rue Montorgueil in our neighborhood.

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Left is a wonderful Sicilian Restaurant near our apartment, and right is a very quickie after visiting the Musee du Quai Branly. Place de la Contrescarpe at the head of one of our favorite streets, Rue Mouffetard.

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Left a trip out to La Defense, and right Rue Cler.  So different, both fascinating sides of Paris.

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One of our favorite hidden treasures, Saint Paul Antique Village in le Marais, and the Eglise Saint Eustache at Les Halles for a 5 pm Sunday organ concert.

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A quick, very quick and unfinished sketch, during Richard Sack’s walking run, not far from Palais Royale, and a leisurely dinner sketch at Restaurant Le Taxi Jaune, a favorite.

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Musee Rodin, Paris, though under reconstruction, still a glorious place, and our back view out the kitchen window on Rue Saint Martin.

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At Metro station Abesses at the base of Montmartre, and a quick view from the top of Georges, the restaurant on the 6th floor of the Pompidou.

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Another quickie, this one from the steps of Sacre Coeur. Another sketch over coffee at Rue Montorgueil, our market street of choice.

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Our only day trip, to Giverney, and a sketch from the rooftop cafe at Musee Picasso.

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The magazine stand by our coffee stop one mid morning in the 2nd arrondissement, and a beautiful fountain, Fontaine de Louis Visconti at Square Louvois.

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We loved our metro ride to Saint Denis.  The basilica was wonderful, being lovingly restored, and we lucked into the Festival of Saint Denis, the town!

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Wandering through the sun dappled Cemetery Pere Lachaise. Quiet except for the gathering at Jim Morrison’s grave. Our view from Cafe de la Paix after being amazed by Opera Garnier.

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I loved Centre Pompidou, especially reconnecting with Sonia Delaunay. We understand why Parisians love Luxembourg Gardens, especially the Medici Fontain.

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The view from our balcony on Rue Saint Martin.  This is the church that has been adaptively reused as part of the Musee Arts et Metiers across the street.  We took many photos of this view and down toward Centre Pompidou whose rooftop we could see. A wonderful airbnb apartment we recommend to anyone thinking about a week or more in Paris.

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Our last night we stayed in the hotel on the Left Bank that I stayed in with friend Yvonne and her mom, 2001. The Hotel Pas de Calais has been renovated and is perfect, especially the living wall in the lobby.

So that’s it. We had a time unlike any other, and hope to return to Paris someday. Here’s a picture of me sketching, and another of Tom and me. Now that I’m home I have much to do.  Will post again soon!

t&c3c sketching

Painting in Gardens

For the past two years, in July, as part of the National Garden Festival here in my home city of Buffalo I have taken part in the Artists in Gardens, a very enjoyable opportunity for local artists to sit in beautiful gardens and paint. These gardens are open to the public the same time each week, Thursdays and Fridays. I painted in four gardens this year and twice in the same garden last year.  I also enjoy sketching and painting in my own garden.

http://nationalgardenfestival.com/garden/opengardens.asp

Here I am hard at work on a pen and ink sketch of Ellie Dorritie’s front yard. I haven’t finished the watercolor additions yet, but here’s the sketch too.  A great cottage on Little Summer Street in Buffalo.
IMG_3411Dorritie drawing

I also painted at Arlan and Dominic’s Garden on Norwood Avenue. Arlan and Dom have been involved in the Garden Walk Buffalo since its inception. They have a wonderful victorian home and a yard full of surprises. As a former architect I was drawn to their back porch and back elevation.

gardenwalkbuffalo.com

PetersandDeFilippoGarden 2015.web

 I drew this in pen and ink and added the watercolor while I enjoyed ice tea and even birthday cake made by Dominic. What lovely people!

There were two other homes whose gardens I painted, one the Timlins’ on Park Street. The point of view was challenging, but I think I did an ok job.This is a beautiful brick home with a very  sensitive entry and garage addition. Nicely done!

Timlen.web

The last garden I painted in I also painted in for the 2014 Artists in Gardens. 8 Paths Garden is unlike any other I have seen. Such a eye and attention to detail. The gardener has an unusual selection of plants, some that I’ve never seen before.

2014 8 paths 2014 8 paths 2

Image 68 paths 2015.web

I also like to paint and sketch in my own garden. Here are a few from the last three years of Garden Walks, together with some photos of our garden.

 5.Tom's Garden Fence.2013.web 4.Last Night - Open Garden.web our garden.web3.SummerBackyard .ElmwoodVillage 2013.web

pansies our house front hellstrip  begonias backyard2 backyard photo

I also like to pick flowers and make bouquets just as my father the gardener used to pick so that my mom the artistic flower arranger could work her magic. Every bouquet reminds me of them.

bouquet 2 bouquet 1 front hellstrip

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!

An Amazing Amarylis

Every Christmas Holiday my wonderful friend Judy Shanley gives me an amaryllis bulb to watch grow.  This years lay dormant for some time, and finally started to show green in February.  It didn’t bloom until just before Easter, and then it was amazing!  Not red, but crimson-tinged white with green centers, eight flowers on its two stalks at first, and then, when they were done and I was about to put it in the cool back hall, four more! Definitely worth photographing and drawing, it sat in my kitchen window next to the sink so that I could enjoy it all the time.

Here’s the photo, taken at night, with the window blinds on the left and the kitchen cabinet doors on the right.  I liked the contrast the dark window and door made.

amarylis photo.webBefore I tried any painting, I sketched the beauty in my moleskin sketchbook with pigma micron pens. It obviously begamarylissketch2.webged for color.  In Sally Treanor’s Watercolor Salon on Mondays we were trying our hands at ink and watercolor on rice paper.  What better subject, I thought.  I had forgotten a lot about painting on rice paper, especially how you really have to be patient and let it dry in between layers.

amarylis drwg.web
I began the drawing with an 03 pigma micron pen, very light, knowing that I would want to darken it, accentuating the places where lines began and shapes met, at a later sitting.

Starting to paint, using hansa yellow, pthalo blue, permanent rose and quin gold.  Let it dry. This is when the lines begged me to be brought to life, so I added some defining with an 05 pigma micron, and added some more color, still not much of the darker colors, though my dark reds were a bit worrisome.  Must have included some brown madder at this point.

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When I started to add the background, the painting took on new life for me, but then in the next sitting I began to lose the light from the darker blossom.  Not good.amarylis4.webamaryllis5.web

I resorted to chinese white to rescue the light in the darker blossom, and felt pretty good about the results. Now to finish the blossom on the left, very sparingly though that is tough for me, and to to complete the background.

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And for the final touches on the lighter blossom, and the background, darkening here, lightening there, and I can call it finished! I am proud of myself for taking the time to do it right! Hope you like it. amarylis final.web

Markets and Coffee Shops are among my favorite Subjects!

When Tom and travel we often plan our days and weeks around when the local markets are open. We have favorites. The Ballaro Market in Palermo, Sicily is in our top 5. The painting of Ballaro is actually a studio work, not plein air.  I took lots of photos and painted it upon our return.  The fellow in the painting was priceless.  I wish we had recorded this market.  The cry was, from almost every stall, “Broccoli Broccoli Broccoli” which was really cauliflower!!!

Balarro Market.Palermo

In Rome we visited three different kinds of markets, the famous, and tourist-full Campo dei Fiori, and the less travelled Print Market in Piazza Borghese was fascinating. We found a Piranese-like lithograph to take home….Piranese’s work was really expensive!

Campo dei Fiori. Rome   Print Market. Piazza Borghese.RomePorta Portese Flea Market

 

 

 

 

 

The third type of market was the Flea. Staying in   Trastevere, we couldn’t leave without  visiting the famous Porte Portese Flea and everything Market. Packed and worth the trip though I wasn’t tempted to buy.

Markets in smaller cities and towns in Italy are fascinating, but different.  On Lake Como, the market day is different for each town. We liked Lenno’s because it had everything. This is a detail, looking up over coffee on a market break.

Lenno Market. LakeComo

Markets in smaller cities and towns in Italy are fascinating, but different. On Lake Como, the market day is different for each town. We liked Lenno’s because it had everything. This is a detail, looking up over coffee on a market break.

Via degli Orefici Bologna

Perhaps the best Italian city markets, that we saw, at least, are in Bologna. What a wonderful surprise Bologna was to us. We stayed there to satisfy our search for the perfect Bolognese dishes, and we found so much more. Seemingly empty streets around the city center opened and filled with people shopping on their way home.  This painting on rice paper is a studio piece painted from photographs we took on Via Pescherie Vecchia. What a wondrous display of food and flowers!

We loved our visit to Argentina, and Turkey, and took in as many markets as we could find.  Buenos Aires is famous for it’s weekend markets.  We loved the street markets in Palermo Soho and Palermo Viejo.

Sunday Market Palermo Viejo BSAS

San Telmo.BSASSan Telmo was a crazy weekend market in Buenos Aires, full of everything including tango, and tourists! We enjoyed the music, the variety, people watching and of course tasting the local faire.

Luncheon umbrellas.Salta

 

 

We travelled to the the Northwest corner of Argentina to Salta, a much smaller and very welcoming city, full of more spanish and indigenous influences. This sketch is of the umbrellas at lunchtime. Lunch was relaxed and warm!

 

I was surprised that I didn’t do any sketches of markets in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. We stayed in Istanbul for a week. I think it was just so much! Here are some photos of the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market and an area on the Galata side of the Golden Horn which was an area selling fish and household hardware. It was amazing!

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The Spice Market was fascinating inside, and even more interesting in the small alleys which surrounded it.

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The Grand Bazaar was too much! We spent a few hours there, but could have spent several days and not seen everything!IMG_4686The markets in the shadow of the bridge to Galata were a total surprise.  No tourists there. The buckets are full of pigment for custom-making paint. We had fresh fish cooked on the grills and ate at tables with the fishermen and market workers.

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Siegburg Cadessi.Selcuk.Turkey We left Istanbul and flew to Ismer and drove to Selcuk, a small city/town that served as our center of activity for visiting the archaeological sites. I loved the town; loved coming home to the quiet streets each night to sample the local faire.

I sketch wherever we go as much as I can, markets and coffee houses, and food carts. The sketch below is of the wonderful Queen Anne Thursday Market in Seattle, WA.

Queen Anne Thursday Market, Seattle copy 

Garbo's Food Wagon.KeyWestThis is the Garbo’s Food Cart in Key West. Great food! It was the last stop in one of our southern trips, some by plane, some by car. We stopped in Virginia on the road in Stoney Creek to sample fried chicken at the Tastee Hut.Stoney Creek Tastee Hut, VA

Washington DC is a favorite.  The sketch below is from a Starbuck’s coffee break near the Eisenhower Building at 14th and New York Ave. NW.

Starbuck's at 14th & NY NW

My resolve for 2015 is to sketch more at home. These three are from favorite local places, some still here, some moved and changed. Favorites are Sweetness 7, Bistro Europa in its older more intimate setting and location and, for those of you who are Buffalonians, the inimitable Spot, this one is on Elmwood.  Love it.

Bistro Europaspot Sweetness 7

We certainly have plenty to sketch and paint in Buffalo.  Look at these shots from our Elmwood Village, Bidwell Park Farmers Market.

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IMG_8415So, time to finish this blog post and think about sketching and painting!

Figure Studies – a perfect way to perfect your skills of observation and hand-eye coordination

I love to attend figure study classes, afternoons with other artists as we work on our skills. There is no better way to perfect your skills, to rekindle your enthusiasm than by studying and drawing the human figure.

These drawings are from three different periods in my life. First from 1974 when my then husband and I moved from Ithaca, NY to Fredonia with our three year old daughter Cynnie. I hadn’t found a job yet; finding a job as an unlicensed architect, really a designer/draftsperson, was not easy in a small town south of Buffalo. Instead I found a figure drawing class at Fredonia College with professor David Small. He was willing to let me audit, and I loved it. These next few drawings are from that class, 3 hours two afternoons a week. Heaven for a person who had not drawn, except with architect’s tools, since 1964!

1074 Female 2 1974 Male 5 1974 Male 4 1974 pen and ink 1974 Female 1 1974 Male 3  1974 Male 2 1974 Male 1

I found a job in early 1975, and didn’t draw for fun again until I moved to Buffalo in 2001. My daughter Cynnie convinced me to sign up for a Figure Drawing Class at the Buffalo Arts Studios. I could only find two drawings from that class, these 5 minute gesture drawings.

2001 BSA Woman IMG_6484

I got very busy at Cannon Design, and could not continue with the figure drawing class. (I substituted my Monday nights with Sally Treanor, also at the BAS, learning about watercolor painting).

It wasn’t until this past year, in the fall, that I started with the figure again. At Sally’s suggestion, I joined a group of artists on Friday afternoons at the BAS. We rent a room, hire a model and draw and paint together. These next drawings, and paintings are from those afternoon sessions.

AShley 1B 2014 Ashley 3 2014 - 3 minutes sketches 2014 body study Jordan2.28.14 2014 Ashley 2 Nov. 2014 female 12014 (all about the throw)

We also did some work with clothed figures in Sally Treanor’s Watercolor Classes this past session. Working in watercolor with a figure is a real challenge!

2014 Sally's Watercolor Class 12.08.14 - Watercolor movement sketches

I will return to Figure Drawing next week! It’s worth it.