Man with a Stuffed Owl Fine Art Poster from Zazzle.com

Man with a Stuffed Owl Fine Art Poster from Zazzle.com.

In the 90s, I joined a small group of artists at a nature center on Mt. Washington near downtown Los Angeles. There was a little farmhouse with a kitchen and a small barn that had been donated to the city. The artists were a fascinating group. One had done artwork for NASA and, during the time I know him, flew to Amsterdam to see the Vermeer exhibit. He did gem-like miniature portraits in oil and had organized the group. He also arranged for the space. Another was a prominent just-retired television producer with an outrageous sense of humor and a free-wheeling drawing style. A third was a glamorous Russian painter with an exquisite home in The Hills. Other members came and went. One of these was an artist who drew Pasadena nightclub patrons in bistre on vellum. We met periodically, and I don’t remember exactly how often. I think it was every other week. We each posed for a three hour session. If we could convince friends or relatives to take our turn, that was fine, too. In this picture, you see the couch we sat on. The stuffed owl belonged to the nature center.

I call this group of drawings my Elyria Park Series. Most of them are pastels on Canson Mi Tientes paper. I liked the rough, textured side in mid-tones. You can see others on Zazzle. I have some on Red Bubble, too.

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Angels

Angels by bluerabbit
See other prints & posters on zazzle.com
Before moving to Colorado, my husband and I lived in northeast Los Angeles between Glendale and Pasadena. On Tuesday nights, I went to draw at the studio of Sam Clayberger, a wonderful artist and teacher.

More than twenty artists attended his drawing sessions. Sam hired a model and each of us staked out a drawing table. For a long time, I drew each pose on a separate sheet of toned Canson Mi Tientes in pastel.

Then, on a trip to the Norton Simon Museum (in Pasadena), I saw a marvelous Picasso charcoal drawing on canvas. Ah hah! I thought. The next time I went to the studio I took an enormous stretched and gessoed canvas. I made it my task to draw all of the poses from the session (2 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute, and 20 minute–several each) on the canvas in charcoal.

The gessoed canvas made the evolving work possible, since the charcoal just sat on top. I could erase out overlaps cleanly and modify the composition with ease. When I got home, I fixed the work. After a month, I had several of these. (My husband called them my "Orgy Series")

When I took them to my dealer, Orlando Gallery, he said they needed something more to hang together and suggested glazes of color. Inspired, I rushed to the Art Store and stocked up on Golden transparent medium and some transparent colors. The glazes were fantastic!

The next time I went to the studio, the artist sitting next to me suggested something brilliant. I don't know whether he was kidding or not, but he asked why I always used canvas. He wondered why I did not draw on some other kind of cloth.

Well, my daughter was designing costumes for a high school production of Othello, and we were spending our weekends in the garment district in downtown Los Angeles. Several shops carried left-over polyester lining fabric. It had a nice texture, it was strong, it was archival enough to last through a nuclear war, and it was very cheap. I bought all I could carry home on the bus, and I was off!

I stretched the fabric on bars and gessoed it. The gesso soaked all the way through, so I learned to put down extra newspapers, but when it dried, I had a terrific surface.

This time, I decided to create further variation. I added filmy clothes and wings to each sktech, making the nudes into angels.

Now, I must admit, I had seen this sort of thing before. When I had a workspace fellowship at the Woodstock School of Art in 1993, I shared the models I hired with other artists, and one of them turned her nudes into angels.

Actually, that is the real point, I think. Angels are everywhere. They are the people we meet every day who share the things we need to hear. Most of the time, we do not recognize them, but they are always there.

If you are reading this, you are one of them…