Drawing

Shayln Seated graphite figure drawing by Sarah F Burns

Drawing of Shalyn.  For sale here on Etsy.

Sparro

Portrait of Sparro, from Ilene Geinger’s studio sessions.

Sparro

Portrait of Beth

My favorite working method is having the model come to your studio many days in a row (nine sessions, unless I lost count) – instead of the way I used to work, which was have the model come once a week for a number of weeks.  When you have the model in the room everyday, you don’t forget which pigments you were using, where things were set up and what your goals are.

Portrait of Beth Oil on Panel 20" x 18"
Portrait of Beth
Oil on Panel
20″ x 18″

Water

Water by Sarah F B urnsMy latest piece for Smithfields.  My working title is Water.  Titles -eh.  They’re hard.  They either very robotic for me, or very silly and embarrassing.  I am not a writer.

I was playing with echoes in this piece – the male figure and the crab both have bent knees, orange color.  The woman has a mermaid tattoo (hard to make out), the baby and the fish have their mouths open.  The baby and the fish recently came out of the water.

Ashland Painters Union

I’ve been exceptionally busy this year, working on the Smithfields paintings, working my day job and then I added a pet project with a group of painters  – Ashland Painters Union – we found a great space and simply wanted to put on shows that were curated by the artists.  Clean, gift free space to show art.

Ashland Painters Union
March 2012 Ashland Painters Union Opening
Ashland Painters Union
My Sister, Claire Clooney with her portrait, at the opening of Ashland Painters Union - Painting by Sarah F Burns

We had a lot to do, had a lot of fun at the opening, and everything was going well… until Monday March 19

Ashland Painters Union Fire
Fire in the Stairwell directly under our gallery - set by homeless mentally ill arsonist.

In the cold light of day, we discover that our gallery has extensive smoke damage (although all the art work is okay – smells smokey, but not ruined) and worse, the support beams have been damaged, leaving us unable to safely occupy the space until repairs are done, which may take two months.

Ashland Painters Union Entrance After the Fire

There are some very informative articles you can read on our website – www.ashlandpaintersunion.com, plus take a tour of the show.

So I find myself with my usual busy schedule, waiting until we know more…

Way Back Machine

I’m  ALWAYS tempted to get rid of everything I’m not using RIGHT NOW, but I’m sure glad I can control that sometimes.  While moving my studio I ran across these little pieces of personal history.

We’ll begin at the beginning.  I’m pretty sure I drew this before I started school…?  It’s me and my dad feeding the sheep.

I don’t remember going to this circus.  I do remember Mrs. Jones and her wonderful handwriting – See the “Very Good”?  She was really a dream of a teacher.  I loved her.

I thought Jr. High would stop being embarrassing to me by age 35.  Nope.   This is from 8th grade, I think.  I don’t remember the teacher’s name, but I do remember thinking her glamorous – she had bleached blond hair with a hair style after all.  This project was a scratch board.  I think we used crayons to cover the paper, then painted it with india ink, let it dry and doodled away…

I’d forgotten about “ROY”  – it was the name on a bowling shirt my hoodlum friend Annemarie had?  It seemed so cool at the time to me.  Annemarie – what was the story there?

Fast forward to high school.  I don’t know where my school stuff went – much went to friends and family – thank goodness!  (I painted huge paintings during those years.  What a hassle to keep around!)  Anyway, I went over to take Life Drawing classes in the evenings at the local college (now SOU).  This shows the influence of both the teachers I studied with – Bob Alston always wanted us to sit down and look waaaaay up at the model who would be on a really tall pedestal.  Later I saw his paintings at an art show and they were all of sky scrapers seen from the street.  The other teacher was Jim Muhs who had a zen approach – he wanted us to be convinced our brush and ink were actually on the flesh of the model and would travel over and around it.  His paintings were large and distorted but interesting.

After high school I went to Pacific Northwest College of Art for two years, until I dropped out to have my dear little daughter.   I have many fond and embarrassing memories of college.  The embarrassing ones I blame on the fact that I was gearing up for a nervous breakdown.  Anyway – I imagine I’ll regret all this spillage – but the recent studio move and a friend’s addiction problem is causing me to drop normal barriers today.  Here are some Life Drawings – this one is of Ed C H King – another student at PNCA.  He, our friend Jacq and I modeled for each other to make up for some classes we missed.  Look up their art on the links I posted – they are fantastic.

Here are some quick sketches where the model came wearing some striped long underwear and Tom Fawkes, our teacher, asked her to keep them on so we could draw them.  I borrowed this exercise when teaching kids at the Ashland Academy of Art.

This whole post kind of started – in a round about fashion this morning when I saw that I had written “Notan” on a file folder on the kitchen counter.  I’m pretty sure that was something Steve LaRose told me to look up because something I’d done at Life Drawing recently reminded him of  or something ?  –  (why is my memory so bad?)  Anyway – I looked up Notan and then went to go organize the stacks of old art work I had to deal with when I ran across this – an exercise from like Design 101 or something – I guess this was a Notan exercise.  I think the teacher was Christy Wycoff.

So PNCA was big on printmaking – and during my last semester in school I made this wild thing – I was feeling exactly like this at that time.

And finally here is a self portrait I did at home – but during the time I was in college at PNCA,  I think it was right before I spun out of control.  It would be many, many years before I seriously took up painting again.  (Well, many years for someone who is 20.  Really I guess it was only 5 or 6.) I look like a boy in this piece – and that’s not the first or last time that my self portraits look masculine. weird.

Fast forward – This painting was something I made looking back at the time I’m referring to.  It’s supposed to be serious and sarcastic – painful and angry and funny.  It’s how it feels to know people are “worried” about you and how it feels to be grieving, how it felt to me to have embarrassing things get public.  Believe it or not, Judy Garland was an inspiration for this piece as well.  I painted this in like 2008 or something, not long after finishing four years in the Gulag.

OK!  Enough about me!  Share a memory or two in the comments.   Was adolescence embarrassing for you too?  And if you were there for some of the events above – please chime in.   oxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

PS – And the Gulag thing is a joke – and not as mean-spirited as it probably seems.  I learned a lot at that institution and I respect the instructor and classmates.  There was some unnecessary art-police brutality though.  That’s all.

Portrait of Adara

I have wanted to paint another portrait of Adara for years – ever since painting this first version when she was about 10 years old.

Sarah F Burns

You may notice a serious expression on her face.  This is due to her EXTREME displeasure at having to sit still for 20 minutes at a time.  After this first painting several years ago, she has artfully avoided the experience – until now.  A well placed bribe along with a couple of threats have coerced her back into the studio.

Sarah F Burns

She tried a few positions and finally settled on this one you see in the photo below. I told her she could sit anyway she wanted (except lying down asleep in bed, which was her first choice) and she settled on the pose you see in the photo below.

image

I tried a couple of sketches.

Sarah F Burns

I like this one below very well.

Sarah F Burns

I still need to work out a composition, but I”m looking forward to our next session.  And before you think I’m a terrible mother, after the initial irritation and resistance, Adara seemed actually to enjoy herself – a little.

(By the way – I apologize to those who get this post in their inbox – I inadvertently published it before it was ready.  I have a new smartphone and I can barely work it.)