Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watercolors of Italy

Cell Phone Eavesdropper
by Jane McElvany Coonce
I have been doing some watercolor of my Umbrian trip.  I have so many great photos to pick from that it's hard to decide which one to do first.

"CellPhone Eavesdropper" was a great shot of a young man talking on his cell phone in the open courtyard while an elderly woman sat on the bench inside the archway and observed him (or maybe even listened in as he talked to his girlfriend!) This was in the town of Villa Lante with beautiful gardens.

 Flower Box of Assisi was one of many shots I took of the beautiful flower boxes that you see all over Italy.  These geraniums were particularly lovely, and it was on the 2nd floor of the house, so it made for an interesting angle.
Flower Box in Assisi
by Jane McElvany Coonce
by Jane McElvany Coonce
Assisi is a scene looking down the hill at the houses and churches in the town.  Assisi is the town known for one of the most famous Umbrians of all times, Francis of Assisi.  The day we went there, they were having a Medieval Festival, and everyone was decked out in costume.  So cool!

We are going to have a show of all the art work of Umbria of the artists that went with me to Italy.  Mark your calendars now!  Save the date of Sunday, Sept. 21 from 5:30 - 7 pm at Cassatt's.  
More details to come later. The show will hang from Sept 14- Oct. 19.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Italian Men

Morning Chat
by Jane McElvany Coonce
I love Italian men.  Especially ones that sit on a park bench and don't move, even when they know you are painting them.  I started this painting the first morning that we painted in Italy.  It was a little hill town called San Gemini.  These 3 men sat on the park bench and chatted with each other.  Then a group of 16 artists descended on the town and began setting up to paint.  I set up across the piazza from them, and they knew I was painting them.  They didn't seem to care.  They just chatted away the whole morning and seemed oblivious to us.  Maybe they are used to artists setting up in their town.  But they were great models.  Because I was teaching, I had to stop what I was doing and go around and help the other artists.  So I ended up finishing this one at home.  I finished it last night and when I look at it, I smile with fond memories of painting in Umbria.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

ArtSpace in Herndon

Painting on a Country Road
by Jane McElvany Coonce
My friend, Deena, told me about a call for art at Herndon's ArtSpace.  The only problem was that I only had one day to enter before the deadline.  It was a digital entry show that you enter online.  I got home and began to see what paintings that I didn't have out in a show somewhere.  Each artist could enter 5 digital images.

I entered 5 images.  Apparently, they had 300 entries and they picked 31.  I was lucky enough to get 2 into the show.  I was thrilled to be picked.  And I have to thank Deena for telling me about it.  Thanks, Deena!

 I deliver them tomorrow.

On the Farm
by Jane McElvany Coonce

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lake Bolsena, Italy

Lake Bolsena, Italy
by Jane McElvany Coonce
I'm finally getting around to matting some of the watercolors that I did in Italy.  Matting is the least favorite part of the job of being an artist.  In oils, you don't mat the work; you just slap it in a frame.
DONE!  But with watercolor, you need to cut a mat to go around the piece to set it off.  I've always said that my definition of a successful artist is when you drop off the piece at the framer and let him cut the mat.  But I'm still cutting my own, so I haven't quite achieved that success, yet.

The reason cutting a mat is such a pain is that you have to measure carefully.  Being off by 1/8 of an inch can sometimes be disastrous and you have to start all over.  Other times, you knick your finger with the cutter and you end up with blood all over the mat that you just spent 15 minutes measuring and cutting.  (Blood isn't acceptable in the frame; the customers don't seem to like it.) So that mat goes in the trash.

This scene is one I did in Umbria on my trip a few weeks ago.  It was a beautiful day, and we sat at the edge of the lake and painted while people strolled up and down the promenade, stopping to admire all of the art work.  I got the whole painting done and then the sailboat showed up. Damn!  I liked that sailboat; why couldn't that boat captain have sailed by 2 hours earlier?

But when I got home, I decided I wanted that sailboat in there.  So I took a piece of acetate and drew the shape of a sailboat with a black sharpie.  I drew the size and shape of the boat.  Then I took an exacto-knife and cut out the shape; I basically made a stencil.  I moved the stencil around until I decided where I wanted the boat.  I wanted that sail to be against a dark area so it would stand out.  Next, I taped the stencil down and took a sea sponge and began scrubbing!  Within a few seconds, it was back to the white of the paper.  And there stood my boat! I added a dark base for the boat bottom and scrubbed a little of the color out of the water to make the reflection.

Without the boat, the painting was nice, but a little boring.  I think the boat adds a little life to the work.
What do you think?

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