There Is More Than One Way to Make Black

Recently I was talking with a young artist about his work. He's not a visual artist, but the conversation reminded me of my first painting class, a night class at a local art college.This young actor thinks there is only one way to get the effect he wants. I was saying there IS more than one way, but it might take more thought and work. I likened it to squeezing black paint out of a tube. Which brings me to my art class story.

I had done a lot of drawing prior to taking the painting classs, but hadn't had a lot of success working with color.  Part of that was because like a lot of beginning artists, I relied too much on the use of black and white paint straight out of the tube to create lights and darks. I didn't yet know that there is a way to create a very dark dark that will read like black but doesn't involve using actual black. The teacher at the time pointed out that using white to lighten colors and black as a dark creates a kind of pastel grayed out painting.  Boring. There are lots of ways to create "space" in a painting. One way is using dark and light. Another way is to make sharper lines in the foreground with less sharp lines in the background. Varying intensity of color and using contrast also creates space.

You CAN use black paint straight out of a tube.  It is the darkest dark, but not the richest dark.  When we look around in the world and squint, the darkest darks are a color.  They're not black. Try this:  mix equal parts of alizarin crimson with a very dark green.  Mix burnt umber with a dark blue. You will get dark colors for your paintings that have a sense of life.

So. Squeezing black paint straight from a tube is one way to make the darkest dark. It's quick and easy. But the use of a small amount of black in a painting will make all the other darks sing.

Americans Being Kind to Americans

I shared this experience I had on  Facebook, and thought I would share it here.  It touched me deeply.

Americans being kind to Americans. 
It is still there. 

I went to get a famous Coffee Pot sandwich at the store on Broadway. In Bangor, Maine. While in line, a very old man went up to the counter, held up three work-worn fingers and said, "I want three super deluxes with salami!" 

I could tell that this was an event for him.  A treat. He had another man with him, at the counter.  

The lady at the register told him how much the sandwiches would be.  The elderly man opened his wallet slowly, pulled some money out, along with a card which showed he was a veteran (for a veteran's discount). 

When the cashier saw the veteran's card, she said, "Aw, you're a veteran. Your sandwich is on me and you'll get the others with the discount. You're always helping other veterans."    (I didn't know this is a ritual for them).

At that point another customer said to the cashier, "Put his other two sandwiches on my order" and turned to the elderly veteran and said, "Thank you for your service."

The veteran and his friend had tears in their eyes.  They got their sandwiches and left.  The other person was waited on.  

When it was my turn to pay, I asked the lady at the cash register about the veteran.  She said, "He served in World War TWO.  He is always buying sandwiches for other vets.  So I buy his sandwich when he comes in." 

America being America.  
Kindness matters.  

It's still there.

Merry Christmas and Memere's Apple Cake Recipe

Whenever I make Memere's apple cake recipe I can hear Memere calling Rick "My darling".  All her grandchildren were her darlings. That's a pretty good seed to plant in any child's heart.  

This is a really good recipe. I use Macintosh apples. I used coconut oil this year. Trust the recipe.  It won't look right when mixing it up.  

Memere's Apple Chocolate Chip Cake

2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar 

3 cups apples
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts 

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a bundt pan 

Sift flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda together.  

In a separate bowl, mix vanilla, oil, eggs and sugar until well blended. 

Fold wet and dry ingredients together until well blended but don't overwork.  Fold in apples, nuts and chocolate chips. 

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. 

Cool slightly then remove from pan to plate.

Art Process: Using the Brushes Redux App

In 2014, I hosted an art party.  Participants were invited to put random brush-strokes on the canvas, working on a collaborative piece of art, which I would finish later.  After the art party I wanted to remember the experience, so I hung it on the wall as is for (ahem) two years. And life did what it does. 

Recently I decided it was time for me to go back in and "finish" the work.  So I used the Brushes Redux app for IOS to try out some ideas.  It's really a fun application, because after you finish drawing, you can see a kind of "video" of the drawing sequence.  Artist David Hockney used his iPhone and iPad to make paintings with this app.  What's great about that is you might see a spot in the middle of the film that you like better than your ending.  Art is like that.     

Here's the video of the process.  If I were going to be "professional" about this I would have put the ipad on a stand and put my iphone on a tripod to take the video.  But then it might not have gotten done.  This is a quick video to give you the idea of the process of the app:

Here is one frame I isolated from the video above: 

Here I used a photo app called Over make a filter of the painting and combine it with a photo I had taken of sunshades in a city park in Auburn, Maine.

The following is a combination of the painting 
with a photo of a quilt I took at an antique auction:

And here is a the painting combined with
a photo I took of a little antique lamb toy.

This process is fun for me on days when I cannot get to my sewing room or my cellar painting area. As John Wooden says, "Don't let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can do."

Making Slipcovers for Furniture

Because I chose a new colorful rug For my living roomI need to slipcover a chair and loveseat. I thought I'd share the resources here for those who are also going to try learning to slipcover furniture, and also so I can find them again.

This guy has a series of well done videos on YouTube.

This now vintage book (!) is how I originally learned back in the 80's - before the Internet, y'all!!!.

Slipcovers and Bedspreads

That book is a penny used, y'all.  And now vintage,  SMH.

If you can get ahold of John French's out of print DVD videos for learning to make patterns for slipcovers, buy them.  They are very well done.

On this Pinterest board I've collected links to videos and images about making slipcovers.

Using welt, not using welt, whether to use colored welt, etc, length of skirt, etc., all dramatically affect how your chair/couch, etc. can look.

There is a discount place nearby that sells drapery fabric.  Consider what the backside of a fabric looks like.  Sometimes the more muted side can be exactly what you're looking for.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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