Win My Heart Painting, High Tide

Congratulations to Penne Poole! Penne is the winner of last week’s Share Your Heart painting. Penne was the very first one to share!

What a great way to kick off Share Your Heart than to sit down with my coffee at 7am, scanning my feed, and see my heart painting already shared down in the feed! Whoa! How inspiring is that?

Penne won my pastel painting, Muse III. I will be sending it to her today.

plein air garden painting
Muse III, pastel on sanded panel, 10 x 8

I hope you are getting the idea of Share Your Heart. This is not a random drawing! Penne’s heart jumped and shared impulsively before I’d even had my coffee. She won my heart! It’s not so much that she was first.  Being first on the first day of a new project told me unequivocally that the project connected powerfully. And so for that Penne has won my heart painting!

Congratulations Penne! Watch your mailbox for my heart!

Win My Heart Painting

This week’s Share My Heart painting is High Tide.

coastal landscape painting
High Tide, pastel, 9 x 12

To qualify for this week’s Share My Heart painting you must be subscribed to Dorothy’s Daily Paintings via the subscription link below this post.

Second, help me in Sharing my Heart by sharing YOUR heart. Use the Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ links below to share what inspires you most about it or any of my posts.

This week it won’t be about being first. This week someone else will stand out and inspire.

Good luck! And thank you for sharing my heart!

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Pastel Painting Lesson & Osteoporosis

Structure is a hot topic. I had lunch with two friends this week and osteoporosis was a topic of discussion in both conversations. One a writer, the other an artist, we chatted about creating both art and bones.

The Connection Between Art & Healing ~ Osteoporosis

I have been doing a lot of architectural paintings recently. Since my diagnosis of osteopenia in January, I now see the correlation to my attraction to painting buildings. This insight is helping me create a new daily structure of yoga, painting, eating well and enjoying friends. This is a healthier lifestyle than the workaholic one I was living without the support of exercise, friendships and regular meals.

Even my garden paintings are being impacted by this renewed awareness of structure. In the initial block-in, it’s easy to see the bones of this painting. Remember my post about the botanic garden last week? That’s where I first saw these tulips! To draw the tulip garden, I started with a gold ochre pastel on a 24 x 30 Ampersand sanded board.

Since artists are thought to be unstructured, these marks may appear random at first. So I will show you the structure I am using in this sequence, and how it is related to my osteopenia.

Pastel Painting Lesson

How Painting is Helping Rebuild my Skeleton

pastel painting lesson
Block-in on Ampersand sanded board with calligraphic drawing and bold shapes

Drawing is an extension of one’s signature. Everyone writes or signs their own name without thinking, a calligraphic expression of one’s heart. Like my signature, the scribbling calligraphy of my lines creates the specific foundation suitable for my painting.

Think of my canvas as a mirror. As I adjust each color, shape, and intensity, smoothing out or ruffling up ~ the same is happening in my aura reflected in the mirror. Like DNA, the wavelengths of my colors and shapes correspond to my own. I don’t need to see or want to know all the details. See that the colors work together, smooth out the hair, check for something out of whack, a little lip stick and off we go.

Like a prayer, my painting is simply a request for help and guidance. For a split second I let go of my fears and concerns about it turning out well. Yes, I still have them ~ without them I wouldn’t be able to paint!

Drawing is like holding a live wire. I hope you can see and feel the charge of glowing embers in these simple, rudimentary drawings.

pastel painting lesson
Block in warm cool balance show complimentary colors within shadow shapes.

Once I have drawn the image I use broad cool shapes to connect the shadows. The side of the pastel is perfect as a wide brush. You can see the wide triangle of cool shapes anchored along the bottom of the painting, coming up the sides, then slanting toward the center.

The tip of the cool triangle is missing. Instead it forms a V-shape in the center. This shape is open for receiving light from above.

In the second photo, I have added lavender pink to the cool shadow triangle. These pinks are part of the same anchor  triangle. The cool neutral greens and cool pinks are complimentary colors, opposites on the color wheel. Yet together they read as one dynamic cool shadow.

Again the V-shape is still open.

Shoring up the structure, I add a few more bones for the tulips and hyacinths with deep gold ochre calligraphy.  At this stage, I am not thinking about all this structure as I am painting. That would be like focusing on how to create bones when I do my yoga! As I move from one yoga pose to the next, cells in my body are called upon to build strength and bone mass. Painting the shadow structure of the flowers does the same in my painting ~ establishing an hospitable plot for my healing garden.

An Important Note About the Shadow Side

Without the shadow side, the flowers would blow away. Without the dark side of this story (my osteopenia), there would be no story, no painting, no friends to share it with. I shudder to think what would become of me if my bones dissolve!

pastel painting lesson
Block-in #3 shows addition of Highlight shapes and beginnings of integration with shadow shapes.

Integration of Light with Shadow

This third photo shows the highlights. Using a cool Nickel Yellow, I broadly stroke light shapes around the top of the triangle. You can see I have filled out the shadow with a few more cooler greens near the top of the triangle.

Notice how the light shapes begin to go in between some of the shadow shapes. And some of the shadow shapes reach up a bit to help define light areas. Without light, there is no color. It’s all shades of gray or pure intense pigment. I do not use black paint. White paint is only used when tinted with color. And with pastel, most of the color mixing is done on the painting itself.

Heart is the Healer

Now take a look at the placement of the three hot pink shapes ~ heart centers. These accent the shape of the triangle, tilting it back and open to the light. Seeing them now I realize they are my soul sisters. And the Deep Cadmium Yellow and Dark Gold Ochre calligraphy of the hyacinths brings the eye back down to ground in the lower right corner.

A bridge between earth and heaven, our heart connects us. A human being connects heart and mind day by day, moment by moment. No one stays connected all the time. The heart/mind/body/spirit connection is a pulse. Connect/Release, Connect/Release.

It only takes a split second to let this connection happen. Trying to stop it feels like holding the weight of the world on our shoulders.

What a gift to have this life on earth!

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Tuscan Vineyard Landscape

I really like the subject and composition in this Tuscan vineyard landscape. I have been working on an oil painting of this view since January. But I became attached to too many things in the painting.

Attachment is a deadly thing that kills creativity, unless it is acknowledged and used as a creative force.

Realizing I was attached to something in the painting, I set it across the room and put a clean piece of paper on the drawing table. This did two important things. It acknowledged my attachment issue AND created space to solve it.

Two main issues got solved with this Tuscan Vineyard Landscape

1 – Working with a Diagonal Composition

The first is the slanted mountain repeated twice across the painting. When working with a diagonal composition, a counter-balancing element must lead the eye back to center. Since I didn’t want to give up the hillside, I chose instead to use the vertical cypress trees to bring the eye down. And the buildings to wedge the slanted focus back to center.

Notice how the tree in the foreground anchors your eye back to the signature corner with it’s shadow.

2 – Resolving the Busy-ness

The second element is the subject matter itself. So many buildings and so many trees can get busy very quickly. In the oil painting, I became too enamored with them, and the vineyard itself.

Stopping myself from going in circles on the oil painting was a good thing. Still I was reluctant to give up  my attachment to all the details.

Switching gears, I started fresh with the small pastel. Painting from the oil painting, I blocked in the simplest shapes. The smaller scale helped me see only the most dominant shapes.

In the pastel, I attached the buildings in the middle ground together. I also moved the foreground building closer to them. This allows the viewer to see the structures more as a single unit. Do you see how the foreground trees complete the wedge shape of the buildings?

Insights for Life

As usual, solving something on canvas solves something in life. I often don’t see it until I write about it. Both of these issues do have parallels in life. I see how I have solved a slanted life issue by structuring an integrated unit of well-formed compositions. And I see something else too about mitigating busy-ness ~ but that’s a subject for another post!

I’m still transferring my new filter from the pastel to the oil painting. I’ll post it soon.