Saturday, June 13, 2015

Week 15 and the end: week 16 (we did it)!

And here are the last two posts…. 
my summer camp for young students is starting on Monday, 
so Libby and I finished the series just in time.

For week fifteen I loved the opportunity to paint another clothes pin, and in BLUE too!

Laundry Day, painting by Kalen Meyer

10" x 10" acrylic on canvas

Laundry Day, photograph by Libby Ellis

For the last week, Libby expressed some trepidation about coming up with a perfect last image.

 I, of course, picked one of my more difficult subjects out of her five photographs, plants! 

Each time I think this will go well! And then the painting doesn't live up to my expectations. 

It's good to go through that experience—my students frequently complain that they never achieve their vision when working in art… I just tell them, try again! And I will.

Now it's time to put away the paint brushes and turn to teaching. 
I'll be posting our summer projects and new paintings in the fall!

Seed Pod, painting by Kalen Meyer

10"x10" acrylic on canvas

Seed Pod, Photograph by Libby Ellis

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bicoastal Project, Week 13 & 14

We are almost to the end of this project, only two more weeks to go.

I will miss the challenge of working with Libby's imagery.
 Love this latest image of the boats on shore. I love the photograph and also the painting, but feel they are really two different things this week. Sometimes it feels as if the images are sisters, but these feel more like interesting distant cousins.

Boats on a Beach at Sunset

Painting by Kalen Meyer, 10" x 10", acrylic on canvas

Boats on a Beach at Sunset

Photograph by Libby Ellis, Martha's Vineyard

The flowers were challenging, as usual. 
This week I did a flower painting with my young students and for the demonstration, 
painted some white roses in 5 minutes. I think they were better than this more labored painting. 
I really should do this one over!

Flowers in Vase

Painting by Kalen Meyer, 10" x 10", acrylic on canvas

Flowers in Vase

Photograph by Libby Ellis

Bicoastal Project, Week 11 & 12

Like many bloggers I follow, I got a bit behind these last few weeks, 
not too busy to paint, but too busy to post. I apologize.

These two paintings are similar in that the water in the backgrounds have a lot of details, and details are never easy. Since I have an affinity for painting birds, I had to do this one, but the cattails were a little crazy making. Am I just complaining here? 
I am still so satisfied that each time I tackle these images from Libby Ellis, I start feeling doubtful I can do her images justice, and I end up satisfied with the final result. I can paint water. Who knew?

Black Bird on Cattails, Painting by Kalen Meyer
10" x 10", Acrylic on canvas

Black Bird on Cattails, Photograph by Libby Ellis

Three Buoys, Painting by Kalen Meyer
10"x 10", Acrylic on canvas

Three Buoys, Photograph by Libby Ellis

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bicoastal Project, Week 10

 I confessed to Libby today that every week I can't wait to open the file from her with the five new images, and every week I say to myself, "You've got to be kidding!" when I see them. 

The photographs are always great images, but even though Libby is sending them to me knowing my painting style and sensibility, some seem to me to want to stay photographs.

Then usually one image will become apparent it's the one.

I consider this a spring image along with the last two, I guess they could just as easily be summer images if I didn't know Martha's Vineyard is still thawing.

Loved this composition and relished the thought of painting clothespins (thought it was going to be easy, ha!), but wondered about the color all being so similar. On this painting, I feel as if I took some liberty with the image, blurring the tree texture to make the pins stand out more. I think the shadows are really the painting.

The tie-in to the other images is the rope, of course.

Really looking forward to seeing these all mounted and up with the photographs.

Clothespins, Rope and Tree, Photograph by Libby Ellis

Thought I would add the drawing today.

Often I really like the under drawing of a painting and am tempted to stop or use washes to preserve the pencil line, but when I do, I am never really satisfied.

So the paint goes on and I do my best to make it as good as the drawing. 
Most of the time it works, but not always.

Today it worked.

Clothespins, Rope, Painting by Kalen Meyer, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 10"

Bicoastal Project Week 9

Buoy on open water (no more ice)!

Loved this image Libby Ellis sent from Martha's Vineyard.

Felt as if I hit a new level for myself this week, this project is really stretching my painting muscles.

Buoy, painting by Kalen Meyer, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 10"

Buoy, photograph by Libby Ellis

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bicoastal, week eight

I know those of us on the West Coast don't fully understand how it feels when you see the first flowers poking up from bare dirt after a long winter, since our plum trees bloom in January, but I can try to imagine it.

Of course, Libby sent images of flowers this week. 

In the past I've thought about doing a series of 36 flowers because they are SO HARD to make into interesting paintings.

So, here is the first!

Libby was a little disappointed in this one, I think. This is the first week I didn't choose the image she was secretly hoping I would. I felt this was the hardest image to work with so far—and that's good! 
I really enjoy pushing myself. I feel that has been the greatest reward of this project so far—I am painting images I never would choose on my own!

First Sign of Spring, painting by Kalen Meyer, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 10"

Flowers (you can tell I don't know what they are, crocuses? snow drops?)
Photograph by Libby Ellis

Bicoastal, week seven

Libby sent a couple of images by accident before the Wednesday deadline. I looked at them, of course, and LOVED this one. Since it was in an odd format, I didn't know what they were but was HOPING she was going to send this as part of the five. I got a text a few hours later saying to please not look at the images, she hadn't meant to send them. I didn't tell her I'd already looked at them. She ended up leaving the island for a break from the winter, and called from St. John's wondering if she should send photos from there for this week, since she hadn't taken any on Martha's Vineyard… I said, "Oh, but you did!" and confessed to looking at them. Turns out she had texted me right after she had sent them, but due to a texting delay, I got her message so much later. She couldn't remember what she had sent—I assured her they were good.

So that was a long note just to say I got to paint this this week, it was fun knowing Libby didn't know what it was going to be. 

Love the hint of spring in the image. 

After I sent this to her, she remarked that this was the longest view we had done so far and that she has been sending me close shots because she thought they would be easier to paint. 
I let her know absolutely that was not the case!

Ice Breaking with Buoy, painting by Kalen Meyer, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 10"

Ice Breaking with Buoy, photograph by Libby Ellis

Bicoastal, Week Six

We still have not come up with a good name for this project!

I noted on Instagram this week that I could most definitely see the Marine influence in all of these images (except the first and fifth), of course it is Martha's Vineyard!

Again, knew right away which of the five photographs I was going to paint, and Libby said she thought this was the one also. As usual, my first hit was this wasn't going to work as a painting, but I ended up really enjoying painting this one and liked the way it turned out. Abstract boat. 

I took it to a fellow artist's studio to talk about the images and the process, and she said as she was looking at this one, "Don't tell me what this is, I want to look closely at it first." I told her what she sees is all I see, I have no other information from Libby as to what these are photographs of.

Boat, painting by Kalen Meyer, acrylic on canvas, 10" x 10"

Boat, photography by Libby Ellis

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Week Five, Bicoastal Project

Week five. Libby sent five photographs of closely cropped type from a sign at a llama farm.

When I first saw them I had a few doubts about how this was going to work as a painting.

I looked a each photo by itself, and this one, with its subtle fold in the sign, ended up being the one.

Only three colors on my palette. I knew since it was a simple an image, the painting had to be about the paint quality and I loaded my brushes for this one.

White Type, photography by Libby Ellis

White Type, painting by Kalen Meyer

Week Four, Bicoastal Project

On week four the photographs came a little late. I had been thinking it was easier to take five photos than it is to paint one, but when Libby was late this week, I realized it's not so simple to take five compelling photographs on demand.

We talked on the phone, she apologized and then soon sent a batch she was calling second rate (or some such distinction). They were great! Some I knew had to stay photographs, but this one jumped out. The rope was so much fun to paint. Libby had called out the hint of blue in the rope, I might have not added it, but realized it was the bridge to the last image.

Rope and 36, painting by Kalen Meyer

Rope and 36, photograph by Libby Ellis

Week Three, Bicoastal Project (We were going to come up with a better name for this!)

Week Three: Libby sent me five photos of buoys hanging on fences and walls. A few had snow visible near the bottom of the frame. 

I knew I was going to use this one as soon as I saw it. There was something odd about seeing objects I associate with summer next to a bank of snow, and I also liked the fence these were hanging on. Libby said she was craving color and so responded to the blue in this image.

Buoys, Painting by Kalen Meyer

Buoys, Photograph by Libby Ellis

Libby said, "I knew you were going to pick this one!" as soon as I sent the image of the painting to her.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week two, bicoastal project

Second week—
Libby Ellis sent me a great batch of photos, it was hard to choose which one I was going to paint. I found myself thinking which image would go with the first painting, but decided I had to let go of that and go with my gut decision. I love this image of the chair on ice (what is it doing there?) with the futuristic sleds in the background. I enjoyed the process of painting, even though it had been a rough day and I ended up painting very late. Libby and I haven't talked about these (other than she texted she was hoping I'd choose this one), we've both been very busy… will add a note after we do!

Chair on Ice, photograph by Libby Ellis

Chair on Ice, painting by Kalen Meyer

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bi-coastal Art!

My friend, Libby Ellis, and I are starting a new collaborative art project.

Libby lives on Martha's Vineyard (currently under 4 or 5 feet of snow) and I am in California. We had been talking about doing a project together for a while and on a recent trip to L.A. we came up with this!

Each week for 16 weeks, Libby will send me 5 photographs.
I will choose one and paint it. After Libby sees the image, she sends me a new batch of 5.

After some debate, we decided I can't crop her image.

Photograph by Libby Ellis

Painting by Kalen Meyer

This is our week one. When Libby sent her images, I knew immediately the one I would paint, however the image was so much more abstract than anything I usually work with, I was a little daunted!

I sent the image to Libby while she was on a call, and when she called back she said, 
"Wait, is this a painting I am looking at, or the photograph?" (it was on her phone), which brings up the question, why paint when you have the image already?

After digesting the fact this was my painting, we both got fairly excited about going on.
Stay tuned for week two!