Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Piano Time- Commedia dell'arte, the finished work

Someday, I will blog along in real time as I am doing a project. I had hoped to do so with the piano but after crawling around painting in odd corners I just collapsed on the couch and watched home renovations shows. If you want to see the evolution of the project from start to finish with details go here.

At the Richmond Beach Library 
19601 21st Ave. NW
until September 15, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Piano Time 2015-Blocking In

My first design planned for figures on the sides but the trick with these kinds of commissions is to balance the design with how long it takes to execute.

The end result? Harlequin pattern on the sides and top.

Looking down on the top with part of the figures visible. It took two hours to paint all those little triangles.

Heads of The Doctor and Pulcinella drawn with Stabilo Aquarellable pencil. It has a soft lead so doesn't leave an indentation and is water-soluble, so melts into the paint.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Piano Time 2015-First Primer coat

I decided to see if the medallions would pry off the front panel. I used a palette knife and hammered it gently in all round the edge. It went in easily but stuck in the middle. When I lifted up the front panel, lo and behold, screws! Five screws were holding it on. Several turned freely in their holes. Don't know why they didn't fall out.

Medallions gone. See the five screw holes?

I roughed up the ovals with a wet sanding sponge and loaded up the primer.

The legs left unprimed. Not sure if I'll leave them as is or paint over them. Because I still don't have the final design worked out.

Another Piano Time artist, Yoyo.

Jennifer working mosaic magic on her piano. Jennifer and I painted pianos in 2012.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Piano Time 2015-the Candidate

I was accepted to paint a piano for Shoreline's Piano Time 2015. I last did this in 2012. Unfortunately, that piano was in terrible shape musically and the city opted not to keep it. No one could be found to take it.  I considered just taking the upper and bottom panels until I remembered the state of my basement.

Oh No! Another beautiful old piano

Again I face the alteration of a lovely piece. I would have preferred a modern spinet with little innate character. 

Look at the detail on the medallions! I am tempted to see if I can pry them off without breaking them.

In 2012 we painted in a huge empty hardware store with a utility sink. This time it is a former medical office. The space is cramped and the hours are restricted to M-F  9-5. 

Limited access is tricky but has it's upsides. I have to schedule when I'll go and there is an enforced break on the week-ends.

The piano is washed. Priming starts on Monday. And I still have to design the thing. Luckily, I have week-ends free. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Portrait Group


Recently two artists friends and I have been meeting and drawing each other. We've been wanting to put together a show but while Peggy Murphy and Cynthia Yatchman have work that has commonalities, my work doesn't quite fit.  I wondered if we choose the same genre we would achieve bodies of work that would complement each other. 


It's an intriguing process trying to capture someone's likeness and I am consistently successful with my drawings of Cynthia but Peggy eludes me. These are fairly quick studies. We each sit for 20-25 minutes.

So far I've only done the drawings and haven't moved on to paintings. I am still having trouble painting, partly due to the complete mess of the studio and partly due to anxiety.

It is completely ironic that I, who hated and feared drawing when I first started art school, feel more comfortable with it than any other artistic expression.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Work in Progress-Patience

I have finally started working on this fencer painting again. I moved it down to the basement where I really don't like to work but I also don't like paint in my living space. Oh, to have a separate studio.

The first layout and drawing steps are here.

Blocking in

More blocking in and changing the colors.

What it looks like today

After I had brought this to a fairly complete state (which I neglected to photograph, probably a good thing) I realized the head was not sitting right on the body. It needed to be brought forward.

This often happens in a painting. I get it to a happy place and then realize it has some major flaw.  I dither about it for awhile because I want to save the parts I like.

Finally, I just have to suck it up and start revising. Going from thinking a painting is almost finished back to where it needs lots more work can be discouraging.  Just tell yourself you like to mess around with paint.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Interview with an Artist (me!) by Andrea Mull

I was recently contacted by a student, Andrea Mull, who needed to interview an artist for a paper for her Graphic Illustration class.  I was flattered that Andrea chose to interview me and grateful for the opportunity. Composing the answers led me to think more deeply about how and why I work the way I do.

Dear Ms. Bateman,

This letter is to request your assistance for a school paper that I am writing for my Graphic Illustration class that I am attending with the Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh.  We are to contact an artist that we admire and ask them questions about their work.  

I found your profile on Graphic Artists Guild and loved your illustrations.  I am fascinated by the way you use line and color to created such soft and beautiful pieces like Little Pink Dress with Cones.  I also enjoyed your sheep oil pastel work.

You will find an attachment of a few questions about your work and style.  I hope that you will be able to spare a few moments of your time to answer and share your creative process with me.

I thank you for your time.

1) How did you get started as an illustrator?

My background is in fine arts. I have a BFA from the University of Southern California and a MFA from the University of Washington. I majored in printmaking and have always had an interest in picture books.

2) How did you find your style?  How has it changed since you started? 

I think style, to a certain extent, is innate. I admire many artists and illustrators and I study their work to see how they accomplish certain effects. Ultimately, my work always looks like me.

When I started my work was darker, moodier and the artists I liked reflected that: Bosch, Kollewitz, Goya. Now my work is lighter in palette, line and subject matter and I love picture book illustrators like Mini Grey, Emily Gravett, and Shirley Hughes. Not to say I’ve left the dark behind, maybe the work is more balanced.

3) Can you explain your creative process?

I first sketch from life or photographs to get the forms I want. Then I make several thumbnails to play with the composition. I usually have some colors in mind but that can change over the course of the painting. 

 I work slowly and used to work hours at a time on a painting. This often left me tired and hating the process. Now, I work faster and don’t spend so many hours each day. That way I am eager to get back to it the next day.

4) Do you ever have creative slumps?  What do you do to overcome them?

I have had long periods of not working where it just seems impossible. I’ll trick myself by saying “I am just going to clean up my desk and palette” or “I’ll only work for ten minutes”. This gets me over the inertia. When I look up, it's several hours later.
Looking at art is also helpful. I’ll see a painting that excites me and it makes me want to paint something that I hope will engender that same emotion in someone else.

5) What is the best/worst part of your job?

Best part: I love color and paint and playing. Art supplies stores are toy stores to me. I am my own boss and can create whatever world I want. Making art puts me outside of time. It is passing, but I am not aware of it.

Worst: When the work is not going well and I stop for the day thinking, "I hate this, I can't paint." And each painting is starting all over again. I look at a finished piece and wonder how I ever did it.

I am my own boss. I have to organize and motivate myself.