Monday, April 23, 2012

A Measure of Success in the Modern World

"Mom, do you know what's really cool?" my 12 year old son Brendan asked me the other day.

"What?" I said.

"You are Googled enough to be a suggestion," he said enthusiastically. When I looked puzzled, he explained. " You know how when you start to type in something you want to search in Google, it tries to guess what you are looking for? It makes suggestions based on popular searches. Well, you only need to get to the first e in Eveslage before your name shows up. That means lots of people try to look up your name."

"That is cool!" I said. I love Google! It has helped me find answers to important questions, such as "Why does my son get 104 degree fevers that recur every month?" as well as to mundane ones like "Is Fred Rogers dead? (from Mr. Rogers' Neigborbhood)"

And now I know it helps my collectors find me. Very cool indeed!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Portrait painting

My mom and I have been taking an oil painting class called Portrait Techniques of the Masters since last fall and we are learning so much.  I had not touched oil paints since high school and even then I only made two paintings. In class, we mostly paint  models, but after doing  four paintings of lovely people I do not know, I decided to try my hand at painting someone special to me. This is a portrait of my son Brendan at about age five (done from a photo, obviously, since he is now twelve).

We start the paintings with an underpainting to get the values in place. I was pretty good at this, I think, because it's like drawing, which is something I've always done.

Then we added more color each week...

 I loved this stage. It reminded me of an old hand colored photograph. I almost wanted to leave it like that.

 Adding more color seemed to "flatten" his face a bit.

In the photo I was working from, Brendan was holding a different bear. He requested that I paint Teddy Bob (a plush Steiff bear which was a favorite of his for a while) into the painting instead of the one which was there. He was also holding his video game which I didn't want to include. Since I didn't want to have to "make up" the hands and since Brendan's hands were much to big for the picture as they are now, I recruited my five year old nephew to be a "parts model"! I loved the hands in this one, but I turned the bear around.


Our teacher showed me how to push the contrast and color up to get the form back. He's finished!

I love it! When we start the class again in the fall I will do a young Alex portrait.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work Table

I got a new work table for my studio from Ikea earlier this year. It is actually a Hemnes desk and a Hemnes "sofa table" back to back. Together the pieces have a large workspace on top and a good amount of storage. I quite like them.

This is how they looked when first I set them up...

 And this is the way it looked when I was working furiously for the Teddy Bear's Tea Party online show!

Here's my lovely assistant, Missy. You can spot her in all the messy-table photos. She prefers the mess, I think. More stuff to lie on!
Is it time for bed yet?

Good night!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lost and Found

It is a Catholic tradition to say a prayer to St. Anthony when one has lost something. He is, apparently, the patron saint of lost items. I learned about the tradition when I moved to Cincinnati for college, so maybe it is just a Cincinnati Catholic tradition; I don't know.

Some people call on St. Anthony when they have lost something--I just call on Sean! When I have searched and searched for something I have misplaced at home, a call to my husband (at work or where ever he is) yields miraculously quick results. This is usually because he has seen the mislaid item in it's bizarrely random location and remembers it.

" Yes, you left your shoes under the desk in my office." 
"Your car keys are on the bathroom sink."  "
Your camera is on the nightstand."
"I saw your purse in the pantry."

However, even when he cannot tell me where the lost object is, somehow the act of talking with him sends me in the right direction, and I find whatever it is within moments of hanging up the phone.

Today, I lost my car at the mall. I am not a frequent mall shopper, but I needed to exchange a shirt for Brendan, and I wanted to buy this red bag I'd seen in JC Penney. I would usually park my car outside of the JC Penney entrance so I would remember where it was, but this day I parked outside the food court entrance since I had to exchange Brendan's shirt at the American Eagle store. But I remembered that I had parked outside the food court and so, when I had the new shirt and bag, I exited through the food court. After walking up and down the rows of cars in front of the food court and not finding my car, I began to second guess myself, and began to walk the rows in front of the JC Penney. After ten minutes of not finding the car, I walked to a bench outside the food court to sit down. Feeling a little bit tired, and more than a little bit stupid, I called Sean. "I got my red bag..." I told him, my voice tinged with frustration, "but I lost my red car!"

We talked a few moments, and he assured me that it was unlikely it had been stolen and suggested that if I didn't find it soon that I should see if one of the mall security cars could drive me around the whole parking lot ot look for it. I was just hoping the phone call to Sean would work its magic. It did! As soon as I got off of the phone, I decided to walk a little farther to the right than I had before and in doing so, recalled that the food court has TWO entrances! I just smiled and shook my head. Just a few more steps around the bend and there was my little red car smiling back at me ( I swear it was!)

Who needs St. Anthony when I have my Sean!