Peacocks in Magnolia Tree

Peacocks in Magnolia Tree
24" X 60" Alkyd and Gold Leaf on Board

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Storybook Illustrations

I've always wanted to illustrate children's stories. Stories I write and stories I love. My mother instilled in me a love for stories and writing from a young age. Everyone in our family loves and collects books. Illustrated children's books, comic books, poetry books, books on birds and beasts, art books, basically if it's got pages, information, illustrations, and a cover we like it. Today's offering of art will be illustrations that I did because I wanted to. I love the poem Wynken Blinken and Nod, and my Mom can recite it from memory. Now my mom has Alzheimer's, but it doesn't have her. She might have short term memory loss, but her long term memory is just fine. She still can remember her childhood, our childhood, and reading. She can't remember recipes, but she's done enough cooking in 84 years and 60 years of marriage so she deserves a rest anyway. She doesn't want a rest, and it ticks her off she forgets what she is doing in the kitchen, but life has handed her some lemons so it's time to make a lemon cream pie.

And this time someone else has to make it. Ha, isn't life grand.

The Wynken and Blinken and Nod are illustrated with Teddy Bears, as is the Rock-a-bye-Baby Bear. They are done from sketches I made up in my head, and the Quilt theme is done with my sister's Yvonne and Carolyn in mind. They both like to Quilt, and are both artistic in different ways with their quilting. Carolyn made my boy's quilts when they were young, and then made Kevin another King Size one for his older age. My other illustrations are a mermaid and then some Traveling Companions I sent on a journey. I don't know where they are traveling or why they are together, but they are friends going on a journey. I don't know why the Mermaid is diving with the fishes, and I don't know if they are guarding her, or bad and escorting her somewhere. I just like to experiment with techniques, and paint what's in my head. Obviously when it looks like I'm doing nothing my brain is busy doing something. One of the things it is doing is dreaming up more art work for me to execute. Today's offering are in my growing private collection of framed art work that is propped up against walls and bookcases and sofas. I will continue to illustrate books, poems, and imaginary scenes as long as the characters in my head want to come out and play across the pages of white paper or canvas. Thank you Mom and Dad for the Love of Books and my love of art. You nurtured this love in all of our hearts, and now our spouses have to deal with our love of books and art. But Art, Music, Theater, Film enriches all man kind, and lifts the human spirit. May your spirit soar daily, and may all my fellow artists be successful in their endeavors. Write when you get work, and continued good health for everyone who is traveling down the path of aches, pain, and undetermined illness. And Mom remember what you forget may be a blessing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Artistic Reasons

Today was again hot so I guess it's officially summer, and swim season. I cool off in the summer by leaping in the pool a couple of times a day, and wearing my swim suit to paint in. Don't come to visit in the summer I am not a pretty sight. But that's the one of the benefits of living out in the wilder parts of San Diego. Freedom in my old age to do what I want, when I want to (most of the time). Today's offerings are again, watercolors I've been finishing and framing for the past 2 months. I love farms, trees, and shadow landscapes, and of course painting snow. All of these paintings were taken from photographs taken by me on one of my adventures, and then translated into a painting that captures the flavor of the day. I like doing tight water colors of flowers, and loose watercolors that have tight areas in the landscapes. I actually like to paint anyway I feel in the moment. I was speaking with a fellow young artist who is in college, and she said her teacher said it is necessary to have a reason for doing a painting. She didn't agree, and asked my opinion. I personally paint what ever I want to do, and what inspires me. I don't need a reason to do it, other than I feel like it or I want to try something different. Inspiration is all around us, and I think my paintings and drawings reflect that. Do I think a painting should be approached with reason and thought YES do I think I need a reason for painting something NO! If I see a beautiful girl, a scene with raking shadows, a bounty of flowers, a cute dog, or a kitten, or if my imaginations just prompts me I want to paint it. I've worked all my life, and I've paid my dues. Life is not a dress rehearsal so you should live your life fully and paint, draw, write, and live what you are interested in. I doubt if Monet, John Singer Sargent, Van Gogh, Michael Angelo, Leonardo de Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Einstein, Edison, Thoreau, Fred Astaire, or the Beatles ever needed a reason to paint, draw, ponder, study, invent, write, dance, or sing. They do and did it because that is what they wanted to do. As long as you don't harm others or the environment pursue what you love. I hope you enjoy this batch of paintings. It's all my personal art work because I did it for no other reason than a strong desire from within. Write when you get work, or even when you are tired of working. I know how that feels. Blessing upon all fellow artists, and struggling human beings. Lee I am thankful Beth is feeling a little better, and Yakshi I understand the totally worn out feeling one gets from trying to do a years worth of housework in days. My sympathies and love are with you. Alethea I hope you find something in this batch, if not, I guess I will just keep painting. Love to All.......Annie

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hot Weather Cool Paintings

I've been framing paintings, and I finally had to spend a day photographing some of said paintings, and getting them ready to blog. MY number 1 son has a lovely young significant other who always remembers me on birthdays and holidays, but I'm usually struggling through something and failing to meet personal dates of importance. Today's blog is dedicated to Alethea, and her desire for a water color. Alethea take your pick of today's paintings, and pick out the one you want. If these don't tickle your fancy then I will blog some more tomorrow. It took all day to photograph, and I'm still not finished, and then a couple of hours to make the photos blog ready. I then took a break, and drove over to Ale house and went swimming with my God sons, before I went computer, house, stir crazy. Something similar to Cabin Fever, but not as deadly. I hope you find something you and Jason like, and if it comes down to it you both can choose something that stirs your hearts. I love you both, and wish we all had more spare time in this life to just do what we wish rather than what needs to get done. I have another floral and a few more landscapes to add to this. I hope you find something you like. Keep following your dreams fellow artists, paint, make music, sing, dance, follow what brings you joy and peace to your soul. We will all write when we get work, if we can afford the new stamp price increase for snail mail. Thank God for Blogs and E Mail.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Today was a day to sketch out new ideas and clean off the table where I've been painting. It's only half cleaned off, but I did sketch a watercolor of the Cactus Flowers and the Panther Chameleon I photographed at Joshua's marvelous Birthday Party. I couldn't print out the pictures so I just drew them from the computer monitor. It's almost like being there. The cactus flower is still holding it's blooms so I could draw them from life. However, I did photograph some more because I have no idea how long the blooms will last. I reworked the face of the Male Emu on Hop on Pop, and I still don't know if I am satisfied yet. I won't frame it until I'm happy. No paintings completed today, just drawings started and some introspections on what I should do next. There are still paintings needing to be finished, and finished paintings waiting to be framed. Alas, a women's work is never done, especially when she is obsessed with art. Nothing to show but preperation for new beginnings. I'll write when I get work...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Beautiful Cactus flower

I decided to share my strange cactus flower that is about 10" in diameter and 6" deep. I received a cutting from my neighbor's plant, and this year it decided to flower. I will probably paint them because they are so extraordinary. They are also heavy, which is why I propped them up on a chair rather then let the flower hang down onto the ground. I hope you like them.
I also photographed the beginning of the Matajia Poppy flowering. Those are the white crepe flower with the round gold pom pom in the center. I started with two 1 gallon plants, and now the plants are about 25' X 25' yes that is feet and joined together, and warring with Cecile Bruener climbing Rose, David Austin Roses, Climbing Iceberg, and Climbing Wisteria for space. Every thing is growing up, and is much taller than I am, plus growing into the Eucalyptus tree. I also failed to mention all of the above plants succeeded in destroying the arbor we built to support them. It's a good thing I love Jungley planned chaos. Some day when money just comes rolling in I will build a steel Arbor to support the warring factions of climbing beauty. I hope you enjoy the photos. Click on them to view the large, close up versions. Keep painting, drawing, photographing, and doing the things you love.
And be sure to write when you get work.

I finished the "Hop on Pop" painting today, and am letting it dry thoroughly so tomorrow it will be framed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Emus "Hop on Pop"

I've been working on the last of the Emus paintings for a while, and it's almost complete this evening except for some little touches I want to do in the light of day. It's title is Hop on Pop, and it's just a fun memory of childhood put into Emu land. If anyone out there owns chicks (baby chickens) and have watched them jump on a rabbit or a dog or a slightly larger duck just to see what they can see, then you will understand where this idea came from. It's also something anyone with brothers and sisters has experienced playing king of the mountain, on a mound of snow, or a pile of rocks, or a small grassy hill. I photographed more plants today, the roses, and a beautiful pink flowering cactus type plant my neighbor gave to me, and of course more Iris. I've been busy, and thus have of course neglected household duties for artistic ones.

Women are always torn between wifely duties and obligations, and their personal desire to neglect everything except artistic pursuits. Obviously, I'm speaking from my own personal psyche and experience. One always tries to achieve some form of balance, but with arthritic knees I'm a failure at any form of balance what so ever. However, being a good cook does tend to make up for major house cleaning failures, at least I hope it does. For all those hard working artists out there, men and women, keep painting and follow your dreams. Life is not a dress rehearsal, and as I tell my mother, I don't think there is a prize right before you die for the cleanest house in the world. Hope you like the painting, and I hope you don't give up your dreams. Paint on, and write when you get work!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Garden and Zoo Photography

Yesterday I was brave, and explored the San Diego Zoo all by myself and took 230 photos of plants, flowers, birds, and that's it. They have reconfigured the Zoo, and after going down a very steep path from the Bird Aviary and holding on to the rail the entire way my arthritic legs couldn't walk any further. I asked an attendant the easiest people mover way to get back up, and she called me a shuttle. Bless her and the man driving the shuttle. I was driven to the exit, with all my new photos safely stored in my camera, walked to my car, and drove home. I then took two Excedrin and went to sleep. I am such a wild and crazy woman with so much energy! Ha!!! When I wasn't looking as the years passed, and I worked away I got old. How does this happen to such nice hard working people? I did download the photos, and also took more garden pictures, Iris and Roses. Sometimes, especially in spring I do a lot of photography. In southern California, there is less of a bounty of flowers in summer because it is so hot (desert climate), and water is so expensive. Thus after the rains we have California native poppy's and all the other plants and trees blooming. Plus all the spring bulbs are coming up. These are some of my Neighbor's beautiful yellow Iris.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A woman's Work is never done!

Yesterday I didn't blog because I hadn't finished my latest painting of Emus. This painting is 20" X 30" as opposed to the usual 15" X 20" . I needed the larger format to put The Emu dad and his nine offspring on the entire piece of illustration board. It's a horizontal painting rather than the usual vertical, and it has a lot more subjects to paint. Now I thought it would be complete today, and I worked on it, but I needed to water the Iris garden and the Potted plant. It's gotten very hot here in San Diego, and the watering can't be ignored. Plus, my husband and I watched our God children and those two boys take a great deal of time and attention. We had fun, and I did paint but I also made some homemade potato salad, and some fried chicken for dinner. After moving household stuff to storage, and getting all tired, hot , and dirty, the boys parents were glad to get a good meal, and take home very worn out boys. However, I was worn out too. We then had more family stop by, and shared our bounty of nopales, oranges, and limes, and had a real good visit.
Now I decided I would blog this evening, share the changes I made on "In Our Father's Shadow", and share the progress I've made on the large Emu and Family Painting. I will probably change the dad's expression, and I still need to finish four baby Emus, and work on the pebbles. However, I thought perhaps you would like to see how the image looks near the beginning, and in the middle, and then perhaps tomorrow or Monday I will show the completed work and you can see the changes I make as I finish a painting. I did the dishes this morning, but the evening dishes are awaiting my attention. I will finish up here and get back to work. That's why the title of today's Blog is A woman's work is never done! Hope you enjoy the paintings, and the changes I made even though I thought the one painting was complete.
I start all these paintings with a rough sketch in pencil directly on the illustration board. I then clean up the drawing with an kneaded eraser. I then put washes of raw sienna watercolor (not Gouache) over the background and the chicks. I use a Cerulean Blue for the shadow area, also transparent water color. I then lay in gouache for the father Emu from the colors I premix before starting the painting. I lay in the blue of the neck, scalp, and beak, and then proceed immediately to gouache under painting working medium to dark, defining my form and saving highlights until the last. The feathers are layered from darks to medium to light, but are done in groups and patches. All the painting is a gradual build up of form and color. If I want to change something I wipe it out with paper towel and water, and then add what I feel will make the painting more effective. I take pictures frequently, for they help tell me where something is "off" or disturbing to the eye. If you have any questions, ask, and I will answer you back in the comments section of this blog. I hope this info is helpful, and that the pictures combined with the words help you understand my process of painting. The original sketch was done on a regular sheet of fax paper, and the cartoon came out of my imagination from a silly thought or picture in my head. Keep on painting what you love, and write when you get work!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Emus "In the Shadow of Our Father"

Sometimes, being in the shadow of your father is a good thing. The Emus are up and about, and dad is watching over his babes with a proud papa eye. However, it is hot in Australia, and sometimes the only available shade for emus on the move is good old dad. I started this yesterday, and completed it today so I'm a happy camper. I originally conceived of the idea with just the Emu chicks and the Dad's legs, but 3/4 of the way through the painting I felt it lacked intimacy, and personality, so I added dear old dad's head and neck. I have to go iron my husbands shirts, so he looks all pressed and tidy. Hope you enjoy the painting! I dreamed another up, and I will try to get to it before the paint goes bad. I bought some pears I want to paint also, plus some of my garden photographs of Iris and nasturtiums are calling me. Plus I need to finish more fish for the Underwater Scene for I'm getting tired just thinking about all the work that needs to be done. Keep working fellow artist, write, and share what you've been doing. Lee, thank you for all your kind words and support.