Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~ Edyth O'Neill

Sunday, February 7, 2016

First oil painting strokes, number one

Dear Rose Ellen,   how exciting that you are starting to follow your heart and take up painting now. You are in a wonderful place to begin as you are already a photographer of some skill and you and Bob live in the glorious state of Maine.
Thank you for letting me guide you in a few first steps of your journey with both of us acknowledging you will soon be ready for a more capable painting coach.   If you jump ship and take off with a teacher on your own before I can hand you off to someone I can scout out, please do not choose a person who will have you just copying photographs, painting from life is so rewarding. Our cameras are great to gather information but our eyes are the best.  And then we do not paint just what we see, but what we feel about it.  Another way of saying we will paint an enhanced view.   If all we want is to replicate what is before us, use the camera and quit there.  If you have taken the photograph yourself and breathed that  air you will know more about it even if you go back inside to work!  At least begin with life.

For some years I designed hooked rugs and taught a few friends about making them. We spoke of color and texture and design as central to the success of the project.  Basic was the choice of a pattern or design. Painters say composition or design, and without a good composition for a framework there is no need to make the painting.  It cannot succeed.  You would not put hundreds of hours into making a rug in a design that was poor  from the start.  Speaking of color we covered the importance of contrasts and compliments.   Texture may be thought of as varied brush strokes and palette knife marks.   The many visual art forms share so much, and you are already far along with these concepts.

Remember from your rug making time how may things there were to learn. You did not need to learn them all first. You take a few and begin and add understanding a little along as you are ready to absorb it.  This is for joy not to stress  over ever.  I love paint, the color the texture and the mystery as you shove it around and it mixes. This is akin to how we enjoyed the feel of fine wool in our hands.

You will put a lot of yourself into this endeavor, so let’s begin with quality materials.  There are so many beautiful art supplies offered and it is easy to load up fast and then wish you had chosen differently.  So take it slowly at first and read and watch to see what else you need a bit along.  I recommend buying on line from Dick Blick or Jerry’s Artarama.  For Pochade boxes and related plein air gear wait a few weeks.  I currently own 6 of these costly little boxes and have let others go to new homes, so may have had ten or eleven over time.  I will share my feelings about them a bit later in our discussion.  We want paint, brushes, a palette and something to paint on. The knife and the soap ease the process and the easel supports your work.  That is it. 

Let’s begin with an order to Dick Blick for paint and brushes and a few essentials.  When you open Dick Blick’s web page note any sale codes for your order, that might help and will get free shipping, though this large order would get that anyway. 

COBRA stands for Copenhagen Brussels Amsterdam, and is a line of superb water washable oil paint. There are two others I find comparable, Lucas and Holbein Duo.  Begin with just a few basic colors, you can add others as you choose to. Notice there is no black.  You might not ever want more colors than these, just replace it as you use them up.   Do not buy any medium yet. 
Titanium White 150 ml tube
Cad Yellow Lemon and all the following in a 40 ml tube size
Yellow Ochre
Cad Red Light
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean  Blue
Cad Orange
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna

Useful colors to add if you wish would be Raw Umber, Thalo Blue, Cobalt blue and Naples yellow and I like Indian Yellow. I use a lot of Purple, you can mix it from alizarin and ultramarine or buy a tube of Holbein Duo Dioxazine Violet.  Do not buy cheap paint or student grade paint or any that say Hue.

 Next a few brushes:  the best are from Rosemary and company. I don’t have any but they might be my next important purchase.  Start with these and add as needed.  Check in your family for any other brushes they may have to spare. You do not need many little ones.   Fairly stiff ones are wanted not many soft ones.   I probably have 300 brushes. I do not throw them away when misshapen, I might use them for crafts or glueing something or for a weird stroke in a landscape, a little bush perhaps.

Grumbacher Gainsborough Brushes:
Filbert size 4, size 6 and size 8

Flat size  6, size 8 and size 10

Wash with brush cleaner in a little jar. Stroke the soap with the brush and then stroke it in the palm of your hand with water till clear and rinse well in barely warm water.
Master’s Brush Cleaner, a jar lasts months. This will also take the paint out of clothing or where ever else you wish.

Paper Palette in gray color, size 9 x 12,    50 sheets.

These are easy and disposable.  Find a plastic box to store it in. You can also use plastic plates for a palette. In between painting sessions my pallete is kept in a box in my freezer. It takes only 15 min to thaw and use.  I spray my palette every hour or two with a little mister bottle of water to keep it from drying out.  This way I do not loose mixtures I am working with. Paint is poison. The Cadmiums are particularly toxic. Keep your hands away from your mouth.  Do not get it in your food, nor eat while painting. Use newspaper on your kitchen counter if doing something there. Wash brushes in a place you never prepare food or cover a little bit of the counter.  Wipe much of the paint off soiled brushes on paper towels before washing them.  All just common sense. I think we can get by with walnut oil as a medium, no turpentine to hurt our sweet earth the Lord has given us.   I am still experimenting with this after owning maybe 12 bottles of medium for water washable oils, expensive and most not even opened!   
A palette knife is wanted, likely several.   Use it to clear off the palette or part of it, and to mix paint and to apply paint to your canvas in some cases.

Blick Italy knife style 44     You will soon want more.

Panels to paint, inexpensive and disposable and not frightening! And you can scrape off anything you paint and don’t like as long as it is wet.  Use one just to stroke paint on and try out your brushes. But these are also nice enough to frame and keep. You never know when comes the masterpiece! 

Canvas panels to paint, Blick size 6 x 8, size 8 x 10, size 9 x 12 get 6  of each size.  I buy them by the dozens and just grab which ever one I want. I keep them standing up in a book case shelf. Do not buy student grade.  And you do not need the more expensive linen ones.

One table top easel number 50359  1001  This is an American made one priced about $32.  Any other you have or find should do.

This is something I pick up easily at garage sales, you may have one already.  Like a rug frame you will really use it a bunch. Ask among your friends to borrow one or more easels, table top or floor easels. Many people have them unused and stored away in the garage. You will want a number. 
I hope you will send this order off or call it in (easiest) right away.  Let me know when you have the supplies in hand.  If you need me to help with the order I will do so. If you want to order by phone from Blick they are wonderful to work with.  1-800-828-4548    Ask for a catalog.  Also ask get on their email list for sales. Become familiar with their website.  Large orders are best so you do not pay shipping which is a killer.  Try to wait and group your orders.

Meanwhile I will make a list of things to get near home like an apron and paper towels and gloves etc.  I will also send links to a few YouTube painting demos and a book to order at your library.     
Here we go! This will be a lovely spring together!  By mid-summer I hope you will have a four or five day class with Michael Chesley Johnson in Lubec.  Get used to reading his web site and FB page.   He is a fine person and a good teacher.   We will be using Michael C J  and Bob Rohm as our guides with their books and DVD’s.  These are well respected award winning painters of note.  
Look through your own beautiful photos there at Panther Pond for a simple one we might start on.  Sky, distant shore, water and perhaps a bit of foreground, not many trees up close to challenge us.    Soon you will want to paint from life, plein air.  Warmly, Edyth
PS anyone wishing to follow along is welcome.  I cannot individually critique.  

A pad of disposable palette sheets in a plastic box within a large freezer bag helps keeps  paint fumes from migrating in my fridge. I also own other palette systems that do not go in the freezer. This paint has very little fume to worry about.


Friday, January 29, 2016

From a private collection

Thank you for sharing with us my friend.

 Colors are far from drab or dull.  The walls show off the collection. The painted furniture and portraits and textiles add even more color.

There are two parts to this post. Don't miss the other part, you may have to refresh the banner at the top of the blog to see the whole blog.  e

More from a great collection

Chinese Export porcelain and other early ceramics set the scene.

What great wall color!

Old Delft my husband loved

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Eighty Five is a Blessing!

My birthday was a happy occasion, Beth baked two pound cakes and served cake and berries and whipped cream and tea to eleven of us.  For the sake of safety she used 5 candles instead of 85 which would have set off the smoke alarms!  I enjoyed the company of my little ones as ever. 

The two strands of turquoise I am wearing here are gifts from Linda who makes wonderful jewelry!

The next morning, my real birthday,  I had a few friends in for cake and tea at my house and we visited and had a great time. Barb Carroll told how she went to a local resale shop here last week and bought two good Jacquard coverlets, one with cows in the border!  Others of us discussed great finds but none could top that.   All in all a happy bright day, one to count my blessings.  I spent a little time starting a new painting.

My beloved minivan is getting on up there, she is 14 now.  Since the deer hit us on the side, she has had a number of issues, but looks great again. Vanessa is home now with a new radiator and her door lock redone.

Yesterday at the thrift store I bought a pretty rug to go in the back so she feels all dressed up. The back end was originally fitted with a third seat which Jack discarded in favor of more room for antiques, but we were left with the grooves for it. So a pretty rug looks good plus when I am hauling painting supplies the van herself is protected somewhat. She is silver outside and Copen blue inside. For an old girl she does very well.  I dress so much in denim and silver so we match.  She and I both know that one day our motors will stop but for now we are happy and looking toward spring. E

Monday, January 4, 2016

My Daughter Cheryl Roberts is Artist of the Month

Linda, Cheryl, Beth and I have  just finished hanging Cheryl’s paintings for her art show this month.  We finished in 3 hours.   She has 26 paintings there.  It is a happy occasion for us all!  When we finished Sarah and her baby Ramsey came and sat a little while there too.  I took a press release to the paper this am, hope they will print it.  Here is what it said:
Art Show for Cheryl Roberts at Biedermann’s Ace Hardware 
The paintings of Cheryl Roberts will be featured at Biedermann’s   Ace Hardware  for the month of January.  Studio B, the art department at Biedermann’s,   exhibits the work of a different local artist each month.  Cheryl works in oil, acrylic, and soft pastels and will be painting there a number of times during the month.  
Growing up on a small ranch in Hamilton County inspired in Cheryl a lifelong love affair with the natural beauty of the Western landscape along with the livestock and wild creatures at home there.  She and her late husband Glen lived in the mountains of Colorado a number of years and spent many days horseback searching out and photographing the animals and scenes she enjoys painting both from her photographs and from life.
Cheryl is a member of Die Kunstler von Fredericksburg and has studied with Olin Travis, Ross Merrill, Clive Tyler, Ron Rencher and Albert Handel.   She invites all interested persons to stop by Biedermann’s at 1102 East Main St. in Fredericksburg.    e
Cheryl with our hostess Barbi Biedermann


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Family Christmas pictures


Macy loves dressing up!


Jackson in the back ground, mostly electronic gaming gifts for him, Sarah had the three youngest children in matching red striped PJ's.

Music music music
Blake and Bailey

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