Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pickled Peppers

I've been doodling a little this week - on a pepper frenzy! I like the interesting shapes of these vegetables but have previously found them a bit of a challenge. Only one way to beat a challenge! SO here are my peppers.
I've also been doing battle with lighting. My house is painted a sickly colour of very pale green and the light is awful. As a consequence everything ends up looking a little putrid! This week I set up my peppers with a spotlight from one side but bouncing the light off a red surface to give some interesting colour variations. It works a treat! Admittedly people might find the lamp suspended off an armchair and pieces of red plastic taped to lampshades a little odd! Whatever works is ok in my book!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Belatedly posting in response to Vivien's tag.

So I think I am supposed to post 7 facts about me

1. My favourite colour is Blue.
2. Rich, dark chocolate is my weakness.
3. I like flat, comfortable shoes.
4. I've lived in 7 countries.
5. I love early mornings.
6. I go to the gym 6 days a week.
7. I have a daughter, a son and two stepchildren.

And now to tag:-

1. Robin Neudorfer - extremely talented and a great friend
2. Mary Woodul - wonderful abstract and realist artist
3. Robyn Sinclair - lovely sketches and watercolours
4. Billie Crain - watercolour magic
5. Lisa Lorenz - a breath of fresh air with her bright paintings
6. Anita Davies - an artist who excels in many media
7. Kim Barker - An Australian, artistic Diva!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More on "Comfort Zone"

I've been putting in long hours on this grisaille - benefits of having a week off work! Also putting together thumbnails to try to work out the problems I am having with the painting. Huge learning process on both. I begin to long for colour and tomorrow plan to have a day of doing pastels for respite.
"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives." Clay P. Bedford

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Memorial Bridge, Arlington

Two pastel sketches of Memorial Bridge, Arlington - one from the Arlington side and one from DC. I tried to be strict and restrict the amount of time that I spent on these so that the light wouldn't change too much. I feel that working fast in pastel is something that is going to take time! Still it was an enjoyable experience doing these. Only one spectator stopped to chat and he stood about 15 feet away and asked before approaching me for a closer look. Interesting explaining to layman what I was looking for in terms of the colour of the light.

Back home now and determined that the year here will prove a little more fruitful artwise than the last year. Goals are set and I have some ideas of directions that interest me.
"The only limits are, as always, those of vision." James Broughton

"Start where you are." Edgar Cayce

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Georgetown Canal

There has to be an easier to way to carry art materials around for plein aire. From the hotel to the location in this post is about a mile and carrying portfolio with paper, drawing board, easel and pastels requires a team of mules. Still I made it there and back and survived the ordeal.

This was my first real adventure into plein aire where a possible audience would be total strangers. As I was struggling with getting this to look anything people would stop and say, "that's nice" and I would smile and say "thank you" while thinking "They must be blind - this is a disaster!" They were probably just being kind! Oh and then there was the nice lady who wanted to take my photo as I worked! I wonder where that will end up!

It got very hot as the shade I started out in moved away so I gave up in the middle of my second attempt and struggled back to the hotel. My next venture out is going to be with half the pastels, half the paper and possibly no easel. (I swore, as I struggled back, there wasn't going to be a next time!) I have not done nearly enough weight-training to be in shape for this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Under the dock

Have taken my pastels and paper on leave. We had a great few days at Lake Sinclair, Georgia, and I managed to squeeze in some pastels between rides on the boat on the lake.

The light in the early morning on the dock and creating shadows under the dock was pretty - lots of lovely colours in the water and on the wood of the dock. So peaceful out with just the lapping of the water against the seawall.
"The light is moving and not moving upon the water."
David Ferry

Friday, July 20, 2007

Barely outside

The light outside didn't seem too good today (too much sand blowing around) and the most dramatic shadows and nicest light were just outside my front door. My poor mangy palm tree! We transplanted it a few months ago and its only just beginning to recover, not that you can tell by looking at it! Still it is a refreshing dash of green in an otherwise drab and dusty world.
"Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams"
St. Augustine

“I see drawings and pictures in the poorest of huts and the dirtiest of corners.”
Vincent van Gogh

Sunday, July 08, 2007

On the Threshold

I've been longing to get out to do plein aire work but have several things conspiring against me - the incredible heat (working in the sun with temperatures over 110 degrees F (44 degrees C) and also with the restrictions imposed here so I decided that the next best thing was just to open my front door and the door to the street and draw what I could see from there. Of course, this then becomes somewhat symbollic too of my life here.
“Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”
Andrew Carnegie

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”
Kahlil Gilbran

Friday, July 06, 2007

Across the room

Looking across the living room to the patio window. Feeling quite happy about this pastel. The light was interesting as it was coming from three directions. The window in the background, from a window behind my left shoulder and also very diffuse light from the skylight windows above the chair and table.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sunny Side Out

View out of the window from my breakfast table. Fun doing this pastel and feel particularly happy with the light showing through the cloth on the table. Begin to feel more at ease with this medium.
"But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
William Shakespeare

“Sunlight is painting.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne quotes

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Developing a theme

Working with "Comfort Zone" has become rather like working with an old friend. I begin to know this chair so well that I can imagine the feel of its curves as I work. Developing the colour studies - not quite there with the chair yet but feel much happier with the background colours now.

The grisaille is an ongoing work ........ everyday another step forward. One blessing to living here is that the oil paint I put on one day is dry by the next! I knew there had to be an upside to living in the desert!
“Shades of grey wherever I go,
The more I find out the less that I know
Black and white is how it should be
But shades of grey are the colors I see.”
Billy Joel

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Harem - pastel

I'm beginning to enjoy the pastels. Having to fight the temptation to use the same colours in every orange - have to think of each one as a separate object and not that they are all identical.
“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”
Vincent van Gogh

"Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the champagne. The champagne definitely improves the orange."
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pastel "Comfort Zone"

Trying to pinpoint the colours in the walls - not sure that these are right yet but an exercise in pastels none the less.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Comfort Zone - Oils

Started the grisaille of Comfort Zone this week. This is the first pass.

Painting is a refound pleasure!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Brief glimpse of colour

Interesting lesson learned doing this on how colour moves objects within the visual plane.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Refreshed and Invigorated

Its been too long - but I am freshly returned from rainy Spain and ready to pick up my brushes.

A couple of photos from the trip - I have a passion for doors and windows and this pair from the Bullring in Ronda particularly attracted my attention. Super blue shadows!

The flowers were just from playing with learning how to use my complex camera on manual settings rather than entirely from the automatic ones. Of all the pictures I took of flowers I like this one the most.
“Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humor, and like enough to consent”
William Shakespeare

Friday, April 13, 2007


"Jarhead" - graphite on paper

It was a pleasure to do this for a friend.

“The devil is in the details, and everything we do in the military is a detail”
Hyman George Rickover

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just a snippet

I've been very bad at posting lately - mainly because I really didn't feel I had anything to show. However, I've been told that I need to post something so I am doing so (and may even post more in the next day or two!).

I've cut this section out of a pastel that I did (its the best section) and I was pleased with the glassiness of the bottle and the reflected coloured light on the bowl.

Working with pastels is a huge learning curve. I've been without colour in my life for a while and just getting my head back round that is huge! The new medium is another challenge all together! Just figuring out how to hold the pastel took hours! Still each one I do puts together another piece of the puzzle.

"The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity".
Doug Horton

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Solitary Vision and Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

Solitary Vision

I think I am finished with these, at long last!
I'm starting to work with pastels with my mentor, Michael Newberry, and am finding using colour again an enormous but pleasant challenge. I hope to post some of these soon.

Blue flower, red thorns! Blue flower, red thorns! Blue flower, red thorns! Oh, this would be so much easier if I wasn't color-blind!”
Donkey from Shrek

“Artists can color the sky red because they know it's blue. Those of us who aren't artists must color things the way they really are or people might think we're stupid.”
Jules Feiffer

Monday, January 22, 2007

Freedom of Speech

I've been unable to post for the past few days as for some reason Blogger was being censored here! Thrilled to find today that I could log in!

Continued work on "Solitary Vision" - nearing completion.

Also "Study of a chair" which is preparation for another piece.

"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to
conscience, above all liberties." John Milton (1608-1674)

"Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself." Salman Rushdie (1947-)

"I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."
Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire (1694-1778)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Solitary vision

Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone." Paul Tillich

“I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind” Albert Einstein

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

I'm late with posting my resolutions - there are, as usual, many. From using handcream more often and taking my vitamins more regularly to creating a serious amount of artwork.

"May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window
open to great possibility." - Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey 1995

"We all need to have a creative outlet - a window, a space - so we don't lose
track of ourselves." - Norman Fischer

all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009