Octavia at the Getty

Today was a not so terrific day. I’m still getting over the tonsillitis/flu or whatever is camping in my throat and making me miserable – and I’m probably going to have to go see the doc about it tomorrow. It’s been almost a week and I’m just plain tired of it and going around whispering. Add to that a problem sending email and I’ve been crankier than usual. Thankfully Steve the Eudora genius solved it quickly – apparently a corrupt email was stuck in the queue and wouldn’t let the others go out. Kudos to Steve at Qualcomm for solving it. Qualcomm, if you’ve got a Google alert on blogs and you’re reading this, give Steve in Mac tech support a raise, he’s good!

Anyway, I didn’t get around to painting anything new today, so I decided to scan a sketch of Octavia, sister of the triumvirate consul Octavian, as captured in marble. This sculpture is upstairs in one of the galleries at the Getty Villa, which I visited a week or so ago. If you’re watching Rome on HBO, you know that poor Octavia hasn’t been lucky in love. Apparently her bust wasn’t too lucky either, because somewhere along the line she lost her noble Roman nose. I’ve heard that Rome is only going to last two more episodes, which is a real shame, because it’s an excellent series and I was really looking forward to seeing Nero, Caligula and all their pals.

“As the Parade Passed By” – new painting

“As the Parade Passed By” – 12′ x 15″ watercolor on paper.
VIVA Gallery – NWS all member show

Last week, I got some very good news that I’d like to share with you. If you’ve been following this blog for the last year or so you can imagine how much this “first time” means to me.

I found out that this new painting, “As the Parade Passed By” has been juried into the Natl. Watercolor Society’s all member show, which will be hung in about a month at the VIVA gallery in Sherman Oaks, California (in the San Fernando Valley.) I am delighted to be included in this show of other NWS members and look forward to becoming more involved through activities and future competitions as well.

The painting was developed from an original photograph I took at a parade not too long ago. The man had a faraway look that I wanted to work with and enhance in watercolor. It was painted about two weeks ago. The watermark, of course, is not on the original.

When I got my MJ at UCLA, one of my favorite J-school classes was photojournalism. To be able to fade invisibly into a crowd and capture a face, a look, a moment, still fills me with excitement. Translating that into another medium has made the experience all the more enjoyable and precious.


P.S. Here’s a good article on the use of street photography as an art form

Descanso White Azalea – Daily Painting

Descanso White Azalea – 7.25 x 5.3 inches – watercolor on 140# paper – available

The azaleas have started blooming at Descanso again – some bushes show great masses of them and others just show one or two here and there. These were the topmost blossoms on one bush in the Japanese teahouse area. No doubt the rest of the shrub will burst forth very soon. I was painting there around noontime and the light striking the flowers made them seem to glow from within.

If you are going to be in the LA area in the spring, you really must visit Descanso Gardens in La Canada – one of LA’s loveliest botanical gardens.

Monster Radishes – Daily Painting

“Monster Radishes” – 10″ x 14″ watercolor on 140# paper

Purchase from the artist: karen@karenwinters.com

When we go to the Farmers Market on the weekend, we are often delighted to see unusual vegetables from regional truck gardens. This week I was astounded to see these Radishes of Unusual Size (with a tip of the hat to Princess Bride.) These vegetables are between three and four inches in diameter and one alone would be sufficient to populate a salad with piquant red and white medallions.

Because time was short before preparing dinner, this was direct-painted without any pencil underdrawing, an experience I have compared at other times (like working on Yupo) to skiing downhill on ice. With staining pigments like these you get one chance to make the stroke, for good or bad, and then let it be.

A lot of people don’t like radishes because they can be hot, but I like them for crunch and flavor, but I’m going to have a hard time cutting up these proud beauties.

Art thought of the day from Matisse:
“It is feeling that counts above all. It is not physical matter one renders, but human emotion.”

Abstract Cliffs

Cliffside 7.25 x 3.25 – watercolor on paper

This small watercolor was an experiment in abstracting a scene – an exercise that I found very liberating and refreshing. When I look at the work of the California regional painters of the 30s and 40s, I see how often they broke away from realism to paint simplified forms and improvised color schemes. You can see the evidence of this movement in the highly designed travel posters of the era.

Quote of the day from Robert Henri:

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”

May you all be in that state all this week!

Asparagus – Watercolor painting

Asparagus 9 x 12 – 100 lb. paper

From my sketchbook …. When asparagus shows up in stores it’s a sure sign of spring, even if it comes from Chile or who knows where. My dear husband knows how much I love the vegetable and when it appears for a good price at Trader Joe’s or one of our other local markets, he brings it home when he’s out doing errands. I like it simply prepared, like most of the fresh vegetables we enjoy around here. Steamed or microwaved briefly, with a little butter and salt.

This was painted directly with ink and brush and watercolor. Simple and quick, just like asparagus should be prepared.