Sunday, March 27, 2011




Russian composer Pyotr (Peter) Tchaikovsky

I really enjoyed working on the Renaissance oil collage of Tchaikovsky. His music, such as Swan Lake and the 1812 Overture strikes a familiar note (excuse the pun) with most people. Once again, here is yet another composer who experienced a troubled life and who also died young at the age of 53.

Musical notes, using crackle technique, emphasize his "mind of music"

Tchaikovsky pursued a musical career by entering the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia in 1862. He had great success and was loved by audiences around the world. On a more personal note, he was said to be a misogynist (he hated women.) He married one of his students but he never did live with her and left her shortly after the marriage. He was depressed and emotionally insecure a lot of the time. Wikepedia states that the contributing factors were his suppressed homosexuality and fear of exposure. He also lost his friendship with a long time patron which added to his depression in later years.

The beard was difficult but I finally got it

In creating Tchaikovsky, I painted entirely with oils in which I used the Renaissance Oil method. This method includes painting a first coat with oils. This is called a campitura. The next coat is called a dead painting, with a first and second painting after that, followed by glazing. It’s complicated but I feel that I can achieve a painting that has more “soul” than by using straight oils or acrylics.

Tchaikovsky was a fan of Shakesphere and created Romeo and Juliet symphony

Along with working on my composer series, I’m painting my first “Freida,” which I hope to post soon. She will be very different from my composer series. I am, however, using the Renaissance oil method again and I’m trying to convey as much emotion as I can into the face of this wonderful Mexican icon. I’ve started a sculpture to go along with it. They both are coming along very, very slowly. I feel like I must jump into her life and experience her agonies and joys vicariously and somehow show her passion for art and life. I must have corrected the sketches I did of her face at least 10 times now. I will continue until I’m sure I have captured the essence of “Freida.”

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Claude Debussy



Finished Renaissance Oil Collage painting

What I love about being an artist is that whenever I decide to start a new series, I feel the need to learn all I can about the subject matter in which I am about to embark. Take this new composer series I have started for instance. Claude Debussy was the first composer chosen and as I stated in an earlier posting, he is the first painting I have ever created using a male as my subject. (I have sculpted males though) The reason for this is because most of my paintings and sculpture are accompanied by a story I have written and quite frankly, I don’t think I could write a "man" story. I don’t understand them well enough to capture the essence of what they are about.

Crackled musical score

In creating the painting, in which I used the Renaissance Oil method, I turned up my CD player and listened to “Clair De Lune” the entire time I painted. This piece, composed by Debussy is one of my favorites. It took me back to the early 1900’s when Debussy was composing some of his finest pieces.

Debussy started playing piano at the age of 7 and by the time he was ten, he showed very promising musical talent. By 1900, he had achieved great success in Paris with his opera, Pelleas et Melisande.

Old time sepia of a woman depicting the women in Debussy's life

I added a sepia picture of a young woman to the collage to represent the women in his life. He had two wives and several other entanglements including women. One can only read between the lines to know that after marrying twice and with one wife and a prior girlfriend both trying to commit suicide, he had to have led a complex life.

Close-up of depressed expression on Debussy's face

I painted a heavy brow to depict Debussy’s depression, which continued into his later life. He died of cancer at an early age in 1918 at the young age of 56. He was working on a series of chamber music at the time of his death. I wonder what magical compositions we have all missed because of his early death.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011



Batik hanger

In my efforts to create beautiful items to pamper my students for my upcoming sculpture class, I thought about making cloak hangers. Not just any old coat hangers but “cloak” hangers. I created a few of them awhile back and really love using them.

Close-up of batik hanger. I created it by using a crayon batik

I found sturdy wooden hangers and cut canvas to fit. I attached the canvas with Yes glue. This is the best craft glue I know of for drying quickly and holding heavier papers together.

For the above hanger, I used photo copies of the labyrinth in my laundry room plus one of my Celtic planters.

Once the hangers were dry, I covered them with digital images of my work and quotations using Modge Podge to adhere.

Last, but not least, I added some spiffy looking jewelry on the top of the hanger and the gypsy comes to life. What fun it is for your guests to hang their coats, robes or even negligee’s on these fanciful hangers. I hope my students like them. I’ll be creating more with an Italian theme to go into the Tuscany Suite and others with a beach theme for the Cabana Suite.

Music Was My Refuge

Maybe you remember my crackled painting from a few weeks ago. I used a photo image and recrackled the hanger. This time I certainly got the crackles I was looking for.

I may offer some of the cloak hangers for sale if I find the time to create more of them. I'm thinking of creating several Freida hangers. Can't you just see her with flowers all around her face and a large colorful flower at the top of the hanger?

This image is from the tray that I created-I added extra lace to the hanger

Close-up of the lace added

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