Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pastel Skies

Today I was inspired by a Pema Chödrön quote, “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” How lovely!

As I reflected on this beautiful quote, I browsed images of skies and came across a beautiful picture of a sunset at Meenogahane Pier, Causeway, County Kerry Ireland by Sergio Vavilchenoff . I decided to capture the beautiful colours in the photograph with my pastels.

Pastel: "Meenogahane Pier"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
For this painting I used MUNGYO soft pastels and my Gioconda soft pastel pencils (that I had written about in a previous blog post). I painted on Canson Mi-Teinte paper (#470 Champagne).

Sky Studies

Karen Margulis has a great blog " Painting My World" and she sends daily updates by email (she has been posting from her current travels in Iceland!)

On her blog, she has written a very helpful post about pastels and skies.

In "Seven Days to painting Better Skies" Karen reminds us that "the sky is not always blue" and "clouds are not always white and fluffy". Karen suggests that to improve your pastel skies you could spend 15 to 20 minutes each day to do sky studies:

  • Paint from real life. It's not necessary to go outside. You could sit by a window! Don't rely on photographs.
  • Work small so you can work fast (Karen suggests 2.5 x 3.5)
  • Cut your paper in advance and have pastels set up and ready to go to make it easy.
  • Write on the back of each study: the date, the place, the time of day and the weather conditions.
I think that pastels are such a great choice for capturing the colours and beauty of the ever-changing sky. 

And what a great reason to take a time out of each day and look up!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Parka: Winsor & Newton limited edition Desert Collection watercolour set

Source: screenshot of Parka's flickr

I had written earlier about  Winsor & Newton's limited edition Desert Collection watercolour set and then I came across this lovely grid on Parka's flickr.

I love Parka. He is a graphic journalist from Singapore and he collects art books which he shares (still shots and videos of him flipping through the entire book!)

You can see the art books he collects on his Flickr photostream or on his blog, Parka Blogs.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Time to start a new art journal

This was my first time using the Strathmore Series 500 mixed media art journal and I am completely satisfied with the results.

The paper can take lots of liquid and I love the way the pages lay flat.

The cotton paper took a wide variety of mediums with ease: water colour, gouache, acrylic, graphite, pen and ink, water colour pencil, water colour crayons, markers, collage and gel pens.

 I cannot wait to start the next one - already purchased and on standby!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Better To "Wiggle-Wag"

Reduction Linocut Block Print "Wiggle-Wag" (1/6)
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
I am still fond of this print and I am looking to make another (Lesson #2) in the linocut series "Lexie Life Lessons"

Lesson #1: It's better to wiggle-wag than to bark.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Artist Russell Stutler: Moleskine Sketching

Quote from the Sketching Forum
My daughter bought me a lovely little moleskin water colour "notebook" (actually a "sketchbook") to tuck into my handbag for sketching.

My unused pocket water colour Moleskin notebook
Confession: I haven't started using it because I love it too much!!

That is all about to change after having read, "Sketching With a Moleskine: Good news for pocket watercolor sketchers" by Russell Stutler.

Artist Russell Stutler talks about the history of Moleskin and the popularity of the "notebooks" with artists.

Sketch done horizontally in Moleskin
Artist: Russell Stutler
He even offers suggestions on how to hold the moleskin for horizontal sketches to make it more stable (below). Be sure to check the flickr group: sketches in vertical format 

How to hold the moleskin notebook
Artist: Russell Stutler
Russell's whole website is worth visiting. He has written a wonderful online book about sketching that is definitely worth a read!

I hope to post some completed sketches from my pocket Moleskin very soon! Thanks for the inspiration Russell!
Russell's Links

Quote from the Sketching Forum

Quote from the Sketching Forum
Quote from the Sketching Forum

Friday, July 11, 2014

Winsor & Newton Water Colour Demo!

 I love using Winsor & Newton water colours

"Tulips" by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
I attended a wonderful Winsor & Newton Water demonstration at the Wallack's store on Bank St. this past week. The majority of the folks attending the demonstration were members of the
Ottawa Water Colour Society.

Winsor & Newton demonstartion at Wallack's Bank St store

Winsor Newton's 96 unique colours

Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour offers a range of 96 unique colours and a wide array of mediums to help artists alter and enhance the characteristics of their work.

Winsor & Newton has developed  a new product line of 6 limited edition professional water colours that were inspired by the desert. We received a sample pack at the end of the demonstration!

W & N Limited edition colour tester
New Desert inspired limit edition professional water colours
Winsor & Newton has developed water colour sticks (48 colours) and water colour markers (36 colours) that should be available in stores by this fall. In addition, they will be offering their own brand of water colour paper. It is 140 lb cold pressed (we learned that this is referred to as "not paper" in the UK).

New Winsor & Newton Artist's Water Colour paper
We learned how to use following Winsor & Newton (W&N) mediums:
There were many interesting "sidebar" discussions on:
  • fugitive colours (alizarine crimson, rose madder) 
  • terms "archival" versus "permanence"
  • pigment development (sometimes by car manufacturers) how it is introduced and sometimes withdrawn resulting in new formulas that may differ slightly
  • differences between umbers and siennas from the U.S. 
  • half pans (preferred in Europe) versus tubes (preferred in N. America)
  • ban on sable brushes
  • EU abolishing cadmium paints
  • tips on varnishing water colours and acrylics
Included in the free sample pack of Winsor & Newton products was a 5ml tube of Alizarine Crimson, a Winsor & Newton #1 round brush and a bottle of W&N granualtion medium.

Winsor Newton free sample pack from demo
 This demonstration was presented by E. Joseph McCarthy.

E.J. McCarthy
 E. Joseph McCarthy is an artist with over 30 years of experience painting in oils, water colours, acyrlics and producing large ceramic tile murals. For the past 10 years, Joseph has received training in the Winsor & Newton Artist Outreach Program. As a working artist he gives seminars on the properties of oils, water colours, acrylics and their mediums at colleges, retail stores and art associations throughout the Northeast.

Wallack’s has been part of the Ottawa community since 1939. They offer free demonstrations and art classes at all of their locations. It is a great way to learn about art mediums directly from the art manufacturers. I have attended quite a few and have always walked away learning something new.

Fall 2014 courses will be posted in the coming weeks at this link: Learn with Wallack's

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Digressions: Clotheslines and Laundry Art

I love doing laundry. I love the sounds of the washing machine; the smells of laundry soap and bleach; the touch and feel of clothes fresh from the dryer; the action of folding clothes into neat little packages and the sight of clothes hanging on a clothesline undulating in the breeze. I love ironing too.

I am told that most women deeply dislike all of the above (women’s diaries going back centuries are filled with complaints about their laundry load) and so I am not sure where my love for it comes from?

Perhaps it comes from watching my grandmother Moynahan in the dark, damp basement on Marentette Avenue washing her handsewn clothes in her wringer/washer? Or perhaps it comes from memories of my mother ironing in the dining room on Sussex Drive on Saturday mornings and the smells and sounds of starch and steam?

Who knows?

I am not alone. Other artists, poets, photographers and painters, appreciate and feature the subject of "clotheslines and laundry" in their work. I created the journal page below to have some fun with the subject of "laundry".

Art journal page "Laundry"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
Central to the feminist analysis of laundry and clotheslines is the whole subject of women's unpaid work in the home.

Laundry and clotheslines are also:
  • places where women gather and talk together
  • places where the most private things are put quietly on display
  • reasons to linger outdoors in the sun quietly witnessing nature, in awareness and synchronicity with the weather
 Jeffrey T. Larson explored the theme of clotheslines beautifully (below) and what strikes me most about his work is how the woman is never fully seen, always obscured and half hidden. Such an interesting metaphor.

Artist: Jeffrey T. Larson
"Feminist Art and the Maternal" by Andrea Liss tells the story about the  Mother Art Laundry Works

Mother Arts Laundry Works was formed in 1973 to address the issue of artists as mothers.

In 1977, Mother Art created a series of art shows and performances in laundromats throughout Los Angeles, from Venice to Echo Park. Helen Million recalls, “The whole process of water and cleansing is such a spiritual experience in many cultures. We wanted to elevate the idea of washing from the mundane into the public sphere.”  Mother Art formally stopped working together in 1986.

Stills from the Mother Art trailer
I recently came across this house on my morning walk in Centretown with Lexington and just knew I needed to paint it.

Backyard in Centretown
Centretown Laundry (water colour)
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Clotheslines were common in Manhattan 30 years ago. Not any more (*). I wonder what Allen Ginsberg would have said about that?

Artist: Allen Ginsberg

Allen Ginsberg, “I sat for decades at morning breakfast tea looking out my kitchen window, one day recognized my own world the familiar background, a giant wet brick-walled undersea Atlantis garden, waving ailanthus (“stinkweed”) “Trees of Heaven,” with chimney pots along Avenue A topped by Stuyvesant Town apartments’ upper floors two blocks distant on 14th Street, I focus’d on the raindrops along the clothesline. “Things are symbols of themselves,” said Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. New York City August 18, 1984,” (1984), Gelatin silver print, printed 1984–97, 16 1/2 x 11 in. (42 x 28 cm)

Clothesline and Laundry Links of Interest

Monday, July 7, 2014

To be an artist...

My mother and father, 
my brother and sister, 
my husband, daughter and son
always encourage(d) me and support(ed) my need to create art. 

Portrait of me in 1968
Artist: G. Williams
This encouragement and support means a lot.
It fuels my fire.

Detail: Watercolour: art journal page "Eleven"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
 For this, I am truly blessed and eternally grateful.

Full view (text omitted) of art journal page "Eleven"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Artist Quotes
The following inspiring quotes about being an artist were found on the web. In particular, many were found on Robert Genn's Painter's Keys Art Quotes pages.

  • To be an artist is to believe in life. (Henry Moore
  • Inside you there's an artist you don't know about... (Rumi)
  • We didn't choose to create art - it chose us. (Author unknown)
  • Even if you are not an artist nor ever expect to become an artist, if you can learn to see like an artist, your life will forever change. (Tommy Thompson)
  • We are painters first, artists always, and as such not bound by anything but our innate desire to create. (Mary Todd Beam)
  • The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
  • I am an artist who, for forty years / Has stood at the lake edge / Throwing stones in the lake, / Sometimes, very faintly, / I hear a splash. (Maxwell Bates)
  •  It is the consistent act of painting or drawing that creates an artist - the painting is only the bi-product. (Carol Cottone-Kolthoff)
  • Artists are the people among us who realize creation didn't stop on the sixth day. (Joel Peter Witkin)
  • The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back. (Norman Rockwell)
  • Artists are those who have instinctively known the concept of Plato's shadow on the cave wall, and they're trying to look past the shadows to find the object standing between it and the light. (Cyd Madsen)
Quote (Unknown)
1968 Portrait framed
Artist: G. Williams

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Linocut Printing: "En Pointe"

I spent the weekend working on a new linocut entitled "En Pointe". It took some time making a register that I felt would work. This one is made from a dollar store picture frame and I used popsicle "shims". I really like the way it worked and will use it again in the future for other small prints.

Homemade register using picture frame and popsicle sticks.

I used Speedball water soluble printing inks: yellow (3405), dark yellow (3412), brown (3806) and black (3400).

Speedball Block Printing Inks

In between pulls, I hung the prints on a dollar store drying rack that worked really well. Each rack holds twenty prints.

Drying rack: first pull - yellow

Drying rack: third pull - brown

I was quite ambitious initially. I had cut 100 pieces of Subi (white) block printing paper. My actual number of prints was quickly reduced to 24 (4 proof/testers; 10 discards; 10 final prints)

Next time I print, I would like to try Hosho paper or  Curry's recommended Stonehenge paper.

The final product was ten numbered and signed prints (only seven remaining) which will be available in my Etsy shop. The print below was placed in a pre-cut 8x10 (4.5x6.5) seashell/black double mat by Logan Graphics, Inc.

Linocut print: "En Pointe" (10)
Artist Cynthia Moynahan- Foreman

Links to printmaking supplies: