Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's not easy being green

It would be nice to be the kind of unselfconscious artist who plows ahead with confidence and bravado and just paints. Anywhere. Anytime.

But that's not me. Yet. I need familiar objects and materials and that comfort zone that led to the last successful painting. No rabbit's foot required but having all the stars aligned helps!

New adventures are a wishful fantasy. Actually embarking on the adventure? Well, that needs work. Lots of WORK.

A great opportunity presented itself recently when we went to "the islands" for a wedding. All that warm sunlight, ivory sand, turquoise water... and the green-freakin-tropical @#$% foliage!  (excuse my french, green is greek to me)

I was having a terrible time getting situated. Too much sand, wind, people or crazy-giant-green-plants. But I knew I would be completely pissed at myself if I didn't figure out how to do SOMEthing outside of my safe studio.

So I employed a reliable old motivator: GUILT!
Of course I would feel guilty if I didn't at least TRY ("just TRY the asparagus..."). But that wasn't motivation enough because it would only be for my own good.

I had to get creative here. Guilt on behalf of someone else - that would work!

Technically, I had my sh*t together as a traveling painter. Just needed way to get wet oil paintings home (and obviously the guts to get started!) Graciously, my painting teacher Todd Casey offered to lend me his awesome wet panel carrier. It's a hand-made, compact, light wood box with his own logo branded on it... so it was a pretty big deal to borrow.

More important than being functional, it provided just the motivation needed. After all, how UNgrateful would I be if I took his prized possession out of the country and then never bothered to use it! Todd would KILL me!!! (I may be exaggerating a bit here but hey, if that's what it takes...)

So I set up on the balcony (thereby eliminating sand, wind and people) and only had to deal with the green: lots of green. I actually did two small paintings! They are not exactly wonderful so I'm not posting them. But that's OK.

I feel pretty good about overcoming my personal obstacles and finally sticking my toe in the water, from the balcony if not the beach.  

Next time will be easier.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" says Lao-Tzu.
I do believe that I need more practice vacationing with oils!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"...they say it's MY birthday!"

"MUG HUG" drawing prize for one lucky donor

And, to celebrate, I have a gift for you!

Well, at least, one of you!

If you know me, you likely know that girls figure greatly in my life (mother of 4 daughters and one of 5 sisters…+ 2 brothers, but who's counting). Pink and rosy – that’s where I come from!

But it’s not so rosy for girls everywhere. Together we can change that. (And you could win this painting!)

I am raising money to help Edge of Seven build schools for girls in the mountains of rural Nepal and villages in Tanzania. Edge of Seven a wonderful organization that really delivers what it promises. Seriously, they literally build schools and dormitories so girls in rural mountain villages can be educated. Investing in girls helps poor communities thrive, and you can trust Edge of Seven - they achieve amazing results with every dollar.

In Nepal over 218,000 school age children are not able to attend school. It’s either too far, too expensive or they need to work at home. Of those who can get to school, 70% of girls drop out by 10th grade. And yet it has been well documented that educating girls helps the community as much as the individual, reducing poverty for all.

Help us help girls and I will put the names of all who donate $20 or more into a drawing for my painting, Mug Hug. And why a painting of a mug o' joe? Because all you have to do is donate your coffee money for a week (or two depending on your caffeine habit). Anyone can do it.

Donate here to help improve the lives of girls and ultimately their communities. It's easy and it'll give you a better jolt than your morning mug!

Take a chance - my Mug Hug painting could be yours!
It's like the lottery... but you can't lose 'cause you'll definitely win with that feel-good feeling of DOING good.

breaking ground in Nepal
environment friendly earth bags
so many lives changed
ready to learn and make a difference!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wood you challenge yourself?

Isn't this red pear amazing? It was so red and stripey that it almost didn't look real. But the thing that really challenged me was the old wooden box it's sitting on. I've had trouble making wood look like wood.

Wood's brown right? But it's more complex than that. This brown is made with raw umber, ultramarine blue, transparent oxide red, cadmium yellow medium and a little white. After a good bit of experimentation I think I got that rusty brown old pine look.

It turns out capturing texture is all about observation and patience! You know the saying: the devil's in the details. Slow down, look at each detail and see how it fits beside the next.

Red Anjou Pear ©2013 Dorothy Lorenze

In the past I've just painted a sort of neutral background in the grey/brown family. Like this:

Cabbage Peach ©2012 Dorothy Lorenze

It's OK in this painting because the peach is the star and the paper wrapped around it is busy  and adds interest. That's what I tell myself.

But the truth is... I've had a tough time rendering wood. So I am working on it, hence the wood challenge.

I hope you are challenging yourself to grow creatively this year.

I'm happy to say the Red Anjou Pear (on an old wooden box) will be donated to a fundraiser for the Taghkanic Chorale. I hope there are lots of bids!