Category Archives: January

Our 52 Review

January Champagne

Our 52 Review – January Champagne

So we got through January and I have to say, I am happy with the results.  We both completed the 5 topics in January and reviewed them over pizza and champagne.  One thing we have discovered is that one week is not a long time to complete a quality finished product.

So after one month, I’d personally like to take a step back and rethink my goals of this project.  I guess for starters, the main objective is to think creatively more often.  Now that I am working an 8-5 job again, it is easy to slip into a rut and waste the tired evenings away. This year-long project will help prevent that.

Now regarding the quality…I am not sure it is the most important goal but I certainly would love to have several portfolio pieces by the end of a year. I mean really, 52 pieces of art, certainly not ALL of them can be horrible, right?

The great thing I have been experiencing is the desire and continued excitement of exploring where I haven’t been for a very long time.  I WANT to come home and work on the topic of the week.  I am also finding that as I am working on the topic, a dozen or more ideas come to me for future projects.  And that is definitely a good place to be.

Memory Book

Memory Book

Week 5 – Memory Book

I set out to begin my collage with miscellaneous items of relevance and/or interesting textures.  I started with a piece of wood, stapled fabric down and gessoed it.  Painted textures and washes and added tissue paper and an actual page from my journal, and watched as the piece came to life.  It is small, approximately 6″ x 9″.  I’d like to try something like this again.  Very fun.

Week 5 – Memory Book

Chosen Sunday, January 27, 2013

Love the topic!  Inspired by my friend’s nephew who uses bound journal book to place interesting objects inside, sometimes writing about them.  I’m thinking collage (and interestingly enough, somebody this week was just showing me videos demonstrating a cool collage technique).


Painting with image and surface upside down.

Painting with image and surface upside down.

I found the stairs I wanted to paint, the stairs that lead up from the Monocacy Creek to Main Street where it bends around Moravian College.  But when I got home I just wasn’t feeling them.  After several attempts, I re-coated the plywood and put it away for several days.

A thought occurred to me one night in bed.  I remembered an exercise from a book I read years ago, “Drawing From the Right Side of Your Brain”.  Turn the image you are drawing to draw upside down.  The theory is that upside down, your brain cannot comprehend the objects and forces you to really “see” the shapes, colors, light and shadows and such that make up the image.  It really works too.  After all of the struggling, when I turned the image right-side up, the painting looked pretty accurate.  Well, I am still no Picasso but I am much more pleased with it.

Week 4 - Stairways

Week 4 – Stairways

Week 4 – Stairways

Chosen Sunday, January 20, 2013

I was struggling to decide on a topic and was over thinking it.  Laying on my couch (still recovering from the flu-like cold) I looked up at the tiered nick-knack shelf I have.  Stairs lead up or down, can be indoors or out, can be ancient or modern, but they always lead us to a new level.

Going to snap some images of interesting stairways and paint one of them on the plywood I gessoed up.

Obstacles in My Path

Had to sit with this one a bit.  The main difficulty I was having with this topic was that it carried a negative tone which contradicted the excitement I had been feeling since beginning this project January 1.  But many people struggle when they are “stuck”.  And we are all guilty of coming up with excuses from time to time for why we are not improving, learning, achieving our goals.   “Oh, I will eat better…after the holidays.  I will get in shape…once the weather warms up.  I’ll visit more often…right after my busy season.”  There always seems to be obstacles.  But I think, most times, WE ourselves are the only real obstacle in our path.  So I created an illustration using Adobe Photoshop showing the road we are on cluttered with our own heads rolling about.  The “obstacles” represent various aspects of life.  A more subtle truth is that what we call obstacles in our lives are life itself.  Life is family and work and friends, along with the inevitable challenges that emerge trying to keep it all together.  All those heads are more relevant to our story than the perceived goal awaiting at the end of our path.

Obstacles in My Path

Week 3 – Obstacles in My Path

Sidenote – This week I got sick with what I believe was the closest thing to the flu possible and had an actual obstacle in my path!  That’ll learn me to be judgmental.

Week 3 – Obstacles in My Path

Chosen Sunday, January 13, 2013

I was slightly disappointed with this topic because it sounded more like a mood determining the topic, not just a random, perhaps more creative or meaningful way the topic could have presented itself.  But committing to a year-long project will inevitably have some moments of non-inspiration, tired-ness or otherwise.  I guess I just didn’t expect it so early on.  But the topic is named, so let’s see what we come up with.

Back to Basics

For my first acrylic painting in ages, I want to paint an apple.  Simple, basic apple.  As children, it is the first object we associate with when learning the alphabet, the colors or fruits.  It is sweet and nourishing, it keeps the doctor away and it is the all American pie.  It is my computer, my new direction.

So I picked the most beautiful apple in the fruit drawer and opened my newly purchased, 50% off, pre-Christmas sale tubes of primary colors and started painting away.  Wanted to get lost in the zone without getting preoccupied with perfection.

Week 2 - Back to Basics

Week 2 – Back to Basics

It was my intent to not spend more than an hour or two on the painting – it was only an 8” canvas after all.  I worked and reworked the apple trying to capture the colors and lighting.  When I started to feel like I was overworking it I stopped it.  I completed it in 2 and a half hours I think.  I admired it in all its imperfection, for what it represented – a new beginning – but continuing where I left off – always having a special place and respecting where I was coming from – the beauty of simplicity.  I am doing it.  Starting anew is not necessarily starting over.

Emergency Map of Oahu

Week 1 - Emergency Map of Oahu

Week 1 – Emergency Map of Oahu

Going with my initial reaction, I created an illustration looking out a window at a wintery snow scene. Using Adobe Illustrator, the snowbank was created using the blend tool – the starting point the shape of Oahu and the end shape is the shape of the snowline. The clouds are all shaped like the island of Oahu.

Week 1 – Emergency Map of Oahu

Chosen Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The first thing I thought of when I heard this topic was the desire to be in a sunny and warm place instead of enduring the 30 below temperatures.  I thought how my daughter recently changed her profile picture on Facebook to a photo of her and her husband in their bathing suits at a beach.  Somehow it made her feel better.

I decided to take this abstract topic to Google where I found a recent news story about how the island of Oahu will slowly erode and how a less mountainous island will affect the allure of tourists.  Of course the erosion will span many centuries, long after we are gone, but yet the headline was somehow warning “Hurry, don’t wait too long to book your trip to Hawaii”.