Friday, 29 May 2009

Started a tea cup

Work in progress 10 x 10" inch Acrylic on panel/MDF

Today, I thought would share a work in progress from my studio.

This week was a start of a routine for me. This was to pay a visit to studio each morning to paint. Even if it is just for a little while.

It is a work in progress so there is still areas of the painting that needs to be resolved. I have gone back and made corrections on the ellipse at the top left of the cup. You can see where I rubbed in some white. This still needs some attending to. I'll have to revisit the body of the cup. At the moment, it as is just the first layer and mapping. There is also a decision to make with the stylized flowers in the background. But, it's coming along nicely.

This teacup was another charity shop find from Pudsey. I was unable to purchase a single yellow cup so I acquired the full set of cups. In this case, painting a stack of cups probably would have been more appropriate. But a single cup can be an exercise for a tight schedule.

Other thoughts about a still life set up came to me this morning as I was walking home from food shopping. This time of year, the gardens are thick with red violet peonies, lupines and small cool pink flowers. I don’t know much about flowers or their names but the warm red violet colours and cool pinks would go well with the yellow.

Seeing all these flowers in passing reminded me that I have some gardening to do. Luckily it is going to be another gorgeous weekend.

-Kim Bennett

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Go out and See More Art

Who knows what else you will enjoy!

View outside the York Art Gallery (York Minster in the background)

Outside the café with two latté’s and a plumb and apple slice. Children chase each other around the fountain on this warm day. What a view! I wonder why the tour buses park here. A man with a walking stick and dog on it's lead sits at a table. I take a photo.

Stack of macaroons in Betty's window

Like Oliver Twist, I peep into the window at Betty's Café.Bathing in a vanilla slice tempts me. Heart shape scones with clotted cream and strawberries amaze me. Checking the queue, I enter the shop. The lady behind the counter tries to sell me a Fat Rascal. I purchase a raspberry and lemon macaroon.

Living statue (Busker) on Stonegate

At the Minster there is a puppeteer show. A bearded man in the small alley plays guitar and there are chalk drawings in the square. A pass a uniformed woman speaking with a man on stilts. I pause for a moment in Stonegate to watch a poised man dressed in purple painting a "moustache better than Dali’s."

These photos were taken on Sunday in York.

What else I got into
Went to the St Ives exhibition at the York Art Gallery
Sunbathed and made daisy-chains in the park
Walked around the York Minster
Shopped in small independent stores

In York art is everywhere.

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

St Ives Artist Exhibit with Alfred Wallis

I have been reading books about Alfred Wallis on and off for a couple of years. By chance, the opportunity came to me this weekend as I was paying a little visit for a morning coffee at the York Art Gallery.

While there for a coffee, I thought to check to see what the current running exhibition was. It was a pleasant surprise, for it to become revealed to me, the artist of St Ives between 1930 and 1970 is on show in their featured gallery. The exhibition includes sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, and abstract paintings by Terry Frost, Peter Lanyon, Patrik Heron and others. The earliest works on display is by self taught painter Alfred Wallis.

Alfred Wallis was known as a “primitive” painter. In the mid 1920’s, after the death of his wife, he started painting "for company". Living in poverty he painted with household boat paint and materials at hand. Surfaces such as cardboard and wood were part of his regular supplies. Painting from memory and his knowledge of the St Ives Harbour Wallis’s sense of scale and proportion were very much his own. Due to the perspective and the line of the horizon being lost the paintings have a map-like feel or quality to them .

The selected exhibition from the Arts Council Collection will on view until the 27th of September.

Alfred Wallis works can also be seen at Tate St Ives

Further reading on Alfred Wallis:

Alfred Wallis Cornish Artist & Mariner

June 2009 issue of Artist & Illustrators Magazine features an article written by John Charles Clark called “Paint Like Alfred Wallis” In this, Clark looks at Wallis's life and his appeal and influence on 20th Century British painting.
It may also be useful to mention that the St Ives School of Painting will be running one and three day workshops this summer called In the Footsteps of Alfred Wallis.

External Links and information on Alfred Wallis

Images from the Tate Gallery Collection

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 22 May 2009

Magnolias for 2009!

Recently, someone asked me to explain how I developed the design for the Magnolia Box. It was something they found interesting and asked if I would share it with my class in June. So if you are interested in how the idea evolved, read on.

How did the idea of the design begin?
The design developed, by making connections and rolling with them. You may say that it progressed in a natural course. The hues, or the colours, for the faux wood came to me, before I even considered the subject matter.

I wanted to approach the project by using a lighter range of earth tones. I was drawn to the Raw Sienna tone, which leans toward a warm yellow. First, the idea of choosing Raw Sienna rather than a darker earth colour, like the Umber’s, was an attempt to try something different. Secondly, there was the idea that it would be in keeping with modern wooden furniture, like birch, pine and teak. Well, at least the warm honey teak colour of the 1970’s furniture in my house.

These are approximate colours and may vary depending on your monitor.

Also, my was to incorporate the sheik look of satinwoods. With this in mind, the palette quickly materialized. You may notice that there is a green in the designs colour swatches. Originally, I wanted to feature green in my design. But, by some good fortune, I acquired an older supplement from The Marquetarian Newsletter. It listed colour references for veneers. Looking at this reference I discovered that magnolia was one of the recommended veneers for green.

By a stroke of luck or chance, it was April and magnolias were in full bloom. And, that is how the idea came to be, by making connections and rolling with them. Magnolias for 2009!

- Kim Bennett

Friday, 15 May 2009

Magnolia Box in June

Magnolia Box, faux marquetry, 9" x 13" x 4 7/8", acrylics on wood
©2009 Kim Bennett

I have several painting on the go. Things have been going great in the studio. I started on a cityscape and made the final touches to the faux marqutery box for the class in June. It is nice to work the right side of the brain again!

The faux wood box is a magnolia design that I have put together for the KVDA members in Charleston, West Virginia. Along with the box, we will also reproduce some early graining techniques with 20th century materials. Non-toxic Traditions Acrylic paints and mediums will be used to create the faux finishes.

There is no need for any specialty brushes for this class. We will use a variety of bristle brushes that are readily available at hardware and art supply stores. We will also be making graining effects with materials that you can find on hand or lying around the house. These can be stored in a album that can be taken home.

Prepare to get messy!

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 11 May 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

It is Monday evening. I have already travelled to Stockbridge and back and had a little snooze at home.

As mentioned in my previous blog post. The past few months have been a little busy with commitments that have involved writing. In the past couple of weeks, I felt that all of my words have been used up and I was getting nowhere. I tried to get going again with things such as long walks, cleaning the studio and house, making several "to do" list, research, and etc. This was not enough.

Yes, motivational remedies are still useful but it is time to focus my attention somewhere else.

I accepted during weekend that I was burnt out and in need of some studio therapy. It is time to lay down the pen and pick up the brush. Time to reconnect with the studio… even if was just for a little while or long enough to get my thoughts in line.

The plan is for:

Sketchbooks- Before doing anything else, I would like to spend some time in the morning working in my sketchbook. Trying to do three sketches or doodles a day. This will be before brush my teeth, wash my face or check e-mail. Well maybe I'll brush my teeth but it could be something that I would do during breakfast.

It will be nice if this can help me get in a creative mode for the rest of the day. Hopefully it will act as long term therapy for the days when getting in the studio is not possible.

Studio Therapy- Immerse myself in the flow of the studio for a few days. The studio is a happy place for me.

So the next few days will be spent enjoying time in the Studio.
Wish me luck!

- Kim Bennett

Here are some interesting links that I discovered this week.

Caroline Roberts writes How Can I Find Time to Create?

Michael Nobbs started a discussion last week asking other artist how they stay focus? In this weeks blog post, Staying Focus Michael shares with his readers a talk from about creativity and flow.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Happy Mothers Day

The past few months have been spent outside the studio. Instead, I have been busy writing instructions and newsletters. As the instructions for my next class is being prepared, I have momentarily set aside another project. That project consists of 22 pages and growing. Also one of the local clubs newsletter has been completed and the next issue will be due in June.

Blessed are all those women who write instructions. Not just painting instructions but needlework, recipes and anything that helps us or adds a little pleasure to our lives.

Now, as my pen runs dry, the computer creeps and the monitor has become a little temperamental. I am left with a trusty laptop. This is not the best of arrangements but it will have to do.

On this day, I would like to wish a Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers in the world and a Happy Birthday to everyone who is celebrating their day of birth. I would also like to send love to my mother. She was able to forgive me for forgetting to send her a card on time.

Enjoy this time because you are amazing!

-Kim Bennett

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Book On Reflections Brings Back Reflections

My art books are my bedside books. Very few of them ever reach the coffee table.

The past six months have been very good to me in receiving art books. They are either piled up on my special “get to” shelf or stacked somewhere near my reading place.

Yesterday a fresh unopened art book arrived in the post. This was from a good friend who knows my soft spot for water reflections in paintings. The book that arrived to me was Reflections of Nature: Paintings by Joseph Raffael written by Donald Kuspit and Amei Wallach.

Just to give you a little insight to myself and interest with the reflections of water.

As an art student at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. I took several painting classes in a studio setting under the direction of Stanley Sporny. He had a different take on colour and approach to painting. And a solid practice on learning to see and the observation of form.

While I was studying, Stan was exploring his Water Series in small studies in his studio. There were multiple elements he wanted to apply in building these painting. It is interesting to see his work after ten years. I think that they were a success from what he had set out to do.

Stanley's last show River Series was located at the Callen McJunkin Gallery in Charleston, WV.
He passed away in October 2008.
Remembering Stanley Sporny

Briefly looking this book and on first impressions. The first paragraph, located in the main text, sums it up for me. This is what I would like to see more of.

“When Joseph Raffael paints water, he paints light and movement. The light is transparent, it glitters, it moves as the water moves. There is a great deal of slippage in this light. It loses itself in the depth and reflects off the surface. The surface appears gelatinous, seems to slide, submerge, to surf the light...

I could only surmise how much of a challenge these water paintings were to create. They are visually challenging. Yet, there is a calming energy about them. They show what an artist can do.

If anyone has read this book, I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

-Kim Bennett

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Going On a Summer Holiday

Well bank holiday has just past us by and now I actually have a little time to write. I became a year older this weekend. It was a good one and thank you to all my friends for the party atmosphere on one of the social networking places. It really meant so much to me.

In five weeks time, I will be on a long summer vacation back at my native homeland in West Virginia. My room is booked at Ma and Pa’s house and just about everything is ready to go. There is not much to pack as everything that I will need will be waiting for me there.

Still, there are a few more things that I need to get ready for including the class I will be teaching during June for the KVDA Chapter in Charleston, West Virginia.

During the past couple of summers, I had volunteered and dedicated my time to paint faux marquetry projects for community service and fundraisers for the chapter. This year, they asked if I would teach a class in faux wood finishes.

I will be teaching a faux marquetry piece featuring a magnolia design. Along with this, the class will be given an album to hold other faux finishes that we will work on.

It will be lovely meeting up and getting back together with everyone. Will see you soon!

-Kim Bennett

Monday, 4 May 2009

Lesson 6: Combat the Uglies

Today's lesson for the Blog Triage class was to make a couple of changes to our blog so it would have more of a visual impact. These are a before and after pictures from one of my post. Before is located on the left and After is on located on the right.

Here are some noticiable changes to the blog.

Font: The font in most of the post, title and side bar has been changed from Times New Roman to Arial. Arial is one of my fonts of choice and as we learned today, it is easier to the eyes. I discovered make Arial into a default text. Hooray… no more forgetfulness of having Times when what I really want is Arial.

The Header: I couldn't tell what the font was originally in the header. I can only tell you that it has changed to Georgia.

Font size: The font size to the post text has also been made larger so it is easier to read. I was able to increase the font size in the settings. So it is still normal but looks larger.

Photograph at the top of this post has been increased in size. An extra photo had been added lower down the post. Another photo has been changed in a previous post.

Colour change to the header, title and links.
The header has been changed from light grey to black.
The titles were originally orange but are now black.
The links The link colour was a little bit of a problem for me as the paler blue links made the difficult to distinguish from the text. And now they are one of my favourite colours.

Another alteration that has been made is trying to have some sort of consistency of labelling artwork throughout the blog.

It looks much better!

Over all I am pleased with the changes but will have to return to it with some changes at a later date. There are still a few more tweaks I would like to do such as add a few more photos to a post and work on developing a header.

Thanks for Alyson's advice. There has been so much improvement to it all ready.

Kim Bennett

Sunday, 3 May 2009

A Kreativ Blog Award!

Hurray! Smiles to go all around! I received my first blog award!

Laure Ferlita
has graced me with the Kreative Blogger award.

I have had a wonderful time looking through Laure’s blog Painted Thoughts. She is also in the process of starting a Painted Thoughts Sales Blog which will eventually house her painted works for sale. Best of luck on your new blog venture Laure!

Here are my 7 things I love in no particular order.

Cool wind on a warm summer night

Wading in the creek

Smell of fresh air in the morning

Creativity! Is there anything better?

My family and friends and a jolly cat named Spatz.

I love listening to music with my brother Mark. It just sounds so much better when he is there.

My one pair of woolly socks to keep me warm.

-Kim Bennett

Friday, 1 May 2009

Wounded Blog in Need of Help.

I got myself a prescription and enrolled in the 4-week course Blog Triage course with Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield.

The first part of the lesson is to describe the people I want to visit and read my blog. The second part is to describe what kind of change and growth I would like to experience through blogging.

My blog serves or is going to as an outlet to share things that I am unable to cover in class and connect with other artists. I also wish to share my own experiences and insights that I encounter while painting. And let’s have some fun too!

So artist, student, art appreciators, lovers, patrons, family, friend’s and anyone else that I have forgot to mention. Learn and share this journey with me!

-Kim Bennett