Self Portrait by my mother, Peregrine Higgins when she was 18 years
Sunday, May 12, 2013
David by Peregrine © Art by Two
Memory of My Mother Teaching Her Drawing Class
Making her way around the room, Peregrine is always careful to praise the strengths in her student’s work before making gentle suggestions for improvement. During every class the refrain “practice, practice, practice” can be heard. In one class there are several new students who are self conscious and worried that others will judge their work, or that they won’t be able to loosen up and draw. Peregrine looks around the room, then does a little dance singing softly the lyrics of the song I’m Too Sexy by the English trio Right Said Fred ...
“I’m too sexy for my shirt ... I’m too sexy for my hat ... I’m too sexy for my car ...” Shocked silence is followed by looks of delight. Clearly this is no ordinary drawing class.
Memory of Dragon Shadows
I am four. My mother and I are hanging paper dragon mobiles from the ceiling that we”ve just finished painting and cutting out. We are in an upstairs room that is Peregrine’s room at my grandparents. I am watching the dragon shadows floating across the walls as the air currents gently move the mobiles. The shadows swell and flow across my mothers art and a series of beautiful Indian miniature paintings.
Posing for Peregrine © Art by Two
Memories of Posing for my Mother
Peregrine complains that even my eyelashes move! To this day I cannot be still if confined to a small space, whether it be on a car trip, in a plane or camping out in a 'mummy bag'. I have to flex my knees, elbows, roll my neck ...
Memory of the Sea
I am two and a half. It is a summer afternoon and my mother is climbing steps, with me on her hip, to the top of a fire lookout tower on Fire Island. When we get to the top, I am drowsy from the heat and soon fall asleep to the sounds of the waves and the scratch of Peregrine's pen on paper as she draws the ocean.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Jar of Violets, 5 x 3.5", ink, © Maud Guilfoyle
Draw what is in season for an endless parade of subjects. while each one may last only a week, something else takes it's place.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Color chart set up for 5 x 7" oil chart on panel © Artist to Artist Handbook by Maud Guilfoyle
When I begin a color chart everything looks organized and tidy.
by the time I finish (see chart upper right) only I can see the order. By laying out the dabs of paint at first rather than one square at a time, it saves me time and keeps me on track.
This chart is my greens, I also have charts in reds, blues, flesh tones and violets. Sometimes I will do a couple of these before working on a large painting. This definitely saves me time and paint.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Color Chart of my Schminke Watercolor Box © Art By Two by Maud Guilfoyle
As soon as you get a new paint box or set, make color charts so you know what you have. I substituted about six colors I wanted more than what came with the 48 half pan set I received as a very special birthday gift. This blank chart handily came with the paint box, with code numbers and names on it. If you get a set or make up your own, be sure to make a chart with the color names and manufacturers on it.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Spring Greens Color Chart by Maud Guilfoyle © Artist to Artist Handbook
I'm always amazed at how many colors can be made from just a few. Keep color charts in a notebook with notes on color names and brands so it is possible to mix the shade you want with minimum waste.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Shelter Island Artist © Maud Guilfoyle, pen and ink with watercolor, 5 x6"
When I don't have a sketchbook with me I always carry an agenda book and can make quick sketches. Often I will color them in with color pencil or watercolor. Sometimes an image will come to me on a bus, or some other place far from my studio. If the drawing is on paper attached into a journal, I go these journals and find ideas for painting.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Artist's Room With Cat by Peregrine Higgins, pen and ink, 8 x 14"
Setting a window with a view of a landscape is a device used to combine still life and landscape. Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century by Sabine Rewald from an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New york has beautiful examples of this interior view.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Violets in Nautilus © Maud Guilfoyle
Why oh why do I drag it out when working on some paintings. Usually happens on larger pieces. Have no trouble with smaller pieces or journal sketches. I get all the prep drawings and research photos done and then progress at the speed of molasses. I think with the size, it feels more important and I don't want to blow it or be disappointed in the final work. Of course, that is the nature of being an artist, always being pulled to the next piece with the expectation that this one will come out as envisioned, like a carrot on a stick luring you forward.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Wood Nymph © Maud Guilfoyle, watercolor with color pencil, 6.5 x 3"
Why is art important? Roy Capellaro says "Art is important because it is what makes us human".
While I was driving I heard an interview with someone who said artists show us what is important and what is worth saving. Sometimes they show us what is wrong or unjust in our world.
Author Jose Arguelles wrote in his book The Transformative Vision: Reflections on the Nature and History of Human Expression, that art helps define and guide every culture and civilization.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Monet's Bridge © Maud Guilfoyle, watercolor, 8 x 8"
I am working on several projects at once now and if I don't organize with a mind map chart, I find myself at the end of the day feeling as though nothing was accomplished. If I paint early in the day in natural sunlight it feels as though I have made good use of precious time. I used to do lists. Then when I kept writing the same goals down I stopped making the daily lists. Now I do mind maps. I find it more helpful and creative than the lists. If there are several projects going on I can zoom in on each one rather than scanning a long, sometimes endless list. I may add to this map over the course of a week. This week my mind map includes work on my next e book about drawing, getting ready art for the tasoc faculty show at Belskie Museum, organizing my studio space so I can find works on paper, and shows I would like to see in the city - New York City.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Violets in Cherub Vase © Maud Guilfoyle, watercolor, 7 x 5"
Violets are just about to bloom, a little late this spring as it has been naturally cool. While thinking about flowers to plant for still life I am adding Russian Sage and a flowering Cherry Tree to attract honeybees. I have had mint along our side garden and bees love mint blossoms.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Seated Nude Model by Peregrine Higgins pen and ink
Draw the figure as often as possible to have the line fall where you want it without over thinking the drawing. My mother, Peregrine, would make the circuit in Northern New Jersey to open figure drawing sessions, finding three or four a week. Then she would housesit for a friend in New York City for one or two weeks at a time and walk over to Spring Studio in Soho drawing two or three sessions a day. When she returned home after a week or two of this her drawings would seem to flow effortlessly onto her pads. People often say to me, "I wish I could draw" and I tell them they can draw, they just need the desire to do so and time to practice.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Peregrine © Maud Guilfoyle, charcoal, 11 x 11 "
When my mother entered a nursing home, I bought blank journals and sketchbooks in pairs and would visit with art supplies and set us up to draw each other. We filled a couple of moleskine journals and a couple of dozen loose sheets of paper. If you have an elder artist friend or relative supply them with art materials and books of art they loved when active to keep the art spirit alive.