Afterwards Nothing Was the Same – New Painting

I’ve spent some time painting with my son, Timothy Allen, who’s work is much more intuitive and free flowing than mine, and at times more precise and geometric:

Dark Forest Lights
Dark Forest Lights by Timothy Allen
echoes and the sound of growth by Timothy Allen
Echoes and the Sound of Growth by Timothy Allen
The Day My Cages Turned to Smoke
The Day my Cages Turned to Smoke by Timothy Allen

Watching his techniques gave me some ideas of my own.  I did a bit of paint pouring and worked without really thinking about how the finished painting would turn out.

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Re-purposed canvas on the table

I sleep in my studio, so I just left the canvas alone for a few weeks, let myself look at the shapes and colors and flow of it.  I turned it different ways.  I thought it might be something I would paint over.

Then I found a figure wandering in the chaos.

So I painted her in and added layers and textures.  As I painted, I thought about how much about life we don’t understand.  I thought about disability, trauma, and how little sense life seems to make sometimes.

I thought about the grace of being given a path that allows you to think in ways that others can’t fathom.  But life does that to everyone, not just those who have veered into long-term illness.  We all feel a startling sense of aloneness at times.  And sometimes, we can’t fathom our own thoughts or our fate.

Any way, I finished the painting and then it told me what the title should be.

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Afterwards Nothing was the Same, 12×36″ by Joy Murray, acrylic on canvas
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Afterwards Nothing was the same, detail
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Afterwards Nothing was the Same, detail

What do you think?

I’m planning an open studio and art sale at the end of May here in Memphis.  I’ll keep you posted on dates and time.

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Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

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New Painting – Summer Dreams

Plants are just beginning to bud, the brown earth breaking open to delicate green blades working their way into sunlight.  But I am dreaming of summer.

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Summer Dreams by Joy Murray, acrylic and ink on canvas, 8×10″

I think it could be hung vertically or horizontally.  It was inspired by this sketch:

doodle

 

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Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

 

How to Mix Skin Tones

How to make realistic skin tones is one of the challenges of painting people.   It took me awhile to realize that there is no real formula.  You can mix every tone or color from the primaries red, yellow, and blue in watercolor.  With acrylic paint, a bit of black and white helps.   However, if you’re too realistic, you lose something.  A painting that’s like a photograph, or in my case, more like a doll.  Monotones and no personality.   I’ve learned to  paint using lots of colors and layers and collage.  I’ve learned a lot from Gwenn Seemel on how to look and react to skin color and the dynamism of the human face.  I’m trying to learn how to paint the light that shines forth from every being, and the prism of their personality.

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I also like using no color at all, keeping color and race out of the picture:

12 bus stop

 

 

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St Foster Keeper of Stolen Wisdom

But I like to use a mixture of every color, too.  It’s amazing to me how many tones and shades can be made by mixing and layering color.

IMG_4424 (2)

One of the things I liked about working with fabric sculptures years ago is that I didn’t have to use skin tones at all.  The figures could be any race, any body.

dream guide
Dream Guide

I’ve experimented lately with some fauvism in my journal:

IMG_20190330_0001_NEW

I think the hardest thing to learn is that there is no “right” way to mix skin tones, you have to develop your vision, and the way you interpret life is your own — a blend of your skills, your materials, and your vision.

My mistakes teach me so much, if I look at them as teaching tools, instead of mistakes.

When I work in acrylic, I use a parchment paper palette and I store it on moist paper towels in a sealed plastic box, my own stay wet palette.  I got this system from this video by art teacher Ron Leger:

When the paper and paint start to show signs of age, I use up all the paint by just doing intuitive painting for back grounds and other projects.

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I dripped leftover paint on this long canvas, then mixed a purple gray with the rest for another background.  It helps to have a few “beginnings” around the studio.  They speak to me, eventually and a painting gets started.

My last palette had all the colors I’ve used mixing skin tones on it.  As I was thinking about skin tones, I had to think about race and all the tension that continues to plague the world over skin color.

I have enjoyed looking through the Humanae Project by Anjelica Dass who is photographing all the skin tones she can find in a very eye opening project that speaks to our uniqueness and the wide range of colors that can’t be contained by simple reductive terms of race.

Still we fight and we have difficulties understanding the world.  Skin color is an easy way to draw lines between people.  It makes it easy for those who would manipulate us for their own gain to turn us against each other.  Skin color, race, identity are all volatile and vibrant ideas that swirl around our communities and countries.

So I took all these ideas, and all the  colors on my palette and made this piece:

10 skin tones (2)
How do you mix skin tones? by Joy Murray, 8×10″, Acrylic and collage on canvas

10 skin.jpg

What do you think?

~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here, and  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.

 

How We Get Home

12 bus stop

At the library bus stop, there was a man obsessively touching and rearranging his plastic bags.  He had a few groceries, but they were jumbled in small bags that he put in a larger bag of easily torn plastic.  The large bag was shredding.  It took me a few minutes to realize he was blind.  His eyes were mostly closed and slightly sunken.  He had a bottle of Sprite that fell on the ground and rolled a few feet away.  I told him, but he said he had to get his bags together before he picked up the bottle.

I had a cloth bag that folds up in my purse.  It’s made of strong stretchy cotton and accommodates a lot of stuff.  I was in my wheelchair and I rolled over close to him.   I asked if he was blind.

“I can see a little.”  He didn’t have a white cane, only a walking cane.  He had a bit of crust along his eyelids.  I was concerned that he was alone, that his cane didn’t indicate he was blind like the white ones do.  I understand the need to be self sufficient, I often take risks going out alone in my wheelchair.  The need for independence and to get places on my own is strong and I’m stubborn.

I explained the bag to him and said he wouldn’t have to worry about it tearing like a plastic bag.  He asked what color it was. I said it was shades of blue in a kind of checkered pattern.   He looked hesitant.

I said, “It’s okay if you don’t want it.”

He sighed.  “I think I’ll pass on it.”  He went back to fiddling around with the plastic bags, peeling off layers of plastic.  I backed away.  I had an urge to chase after the bits of plastic blowing away, littering the library grounds, but it would be impossible in my chair.

He got irritated.  In frustration, he banged his body against the back of the bus stop shelter.  His Sprite bottle rolled further away in the wind.  I was afraid to ask to help him again.  I thought he didn’t like my interfering and had taken a dislike to me.

Soon, a woman joined us at the stop.  She was short, elderly and looked frail.  She wore a white face mask to either keep germs out or keep from spreading them.  She was dressed in a purple fake fur coat, a blue skirt and purple boots.  She had on a wig that was slightly askew.  She pulled a small suitcase on wheels with a purse attached to the top with a bungee cord.

The sun came out.  It was about 40 degrees.

“That sun sure feels good,” the lady said.

She took a good long look at the man fidgeting next to her.  She began to talk to him softly.  She opened her purse and it was stuffed with plastic bags.  She went through them like she was going through a filing cabinet til she found the exact right size.

She gently but firmly urged the man to put his things in her bag.  He agreed.  Then she got another bag out of her purse and double bagged his bags so he could make it home without losing anything.

“I think I dropped my pack of cigarettes,” he said.  “I can’t find them.”

We looked with him.  He tapped around frantically with his cane.  With the sunlight beaming on his bags, I could see the shape of a pack of Marlboros through the translucent plastic.

“I think they’re in your bag.  They’re Marlboros, right?”  I said.

He said nothing.

“They’re in the bag,” the woman said.  “Marlboros, right?”

He felt around the bag.  “Yes.  Thank you.”

I felt a little miffed and wondered why the woman had such a better rapport with him.  He sat down quietly, compulsively rubbing the plastic as we waited.

The bus arrived.  It was crowded but they made room for my wheelchair,  no one grumbling about giving up seats for me.

The blind man didn’t get on the bus, but stood looking confused.  The woman with the suitcase got back off, and guided him on.  There were no seats and people crowded the aisles.  But they all  moved back more and someone gave him a seat.

“I took care of my uncle who went blind,” one woman said.  A man said, “My mother went blind.”

The woman who helped him with the bags stood by him and got him to tell her where he needed to get off the bus.  “I’ll help him if you have to get off before his stop,” a man said.

“We’re going the same way,” she said and her eyes smiled.  By then, to me, she no longer looked masked.  Her kindness made her smile visible.

When I got off the bus, the people standing had to get off the bus so I could get out.  The woman wished me a good day.

So much of life seems scary and people seem uncaring.  When I got across the street, dodging a car that didn’t see me because they were talking on the phone, braking inches from me — I thought that blind man shouldn’t be out on his own.

Maybe this woman in a wheelchair shouldn’t either.

But, safe on the sidewalk, a few blocks from where I live, I felt in my heart he would get home.  Some people may speed through life oblivious, but sometimes they look up and brake in time.

Kindness still weaves it’s way into our lives,  keeping us as safe as possible.

And sometimes, it shows up in a mask and purple coat —  patient, with a soft voice and a bag filled with exactly what is needed.

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~~~

Thanks for reading my post.  If you like it share it.  If you find a typo, please let me know and I’ll send you a thank-you postcard.  

You can now follow me on facebook here,  Instagram@joymurrayart.

You can get prints and cards of some of my work on Redbubble.  They also print my work on lots of other items, including phone skins, tote bags, shirts and journals:

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JoyMurray?asc=u

If you’d like to support my art and writing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon.  If I get enough supporters, I can make this blog ad-free!  Here’s a link to my Patreon page:

https://www.patreon.com/user?u=8001665

If you prefer to make a one time donation, you can do so at paypal.com  Please email me at joyzmailbox@gmail.com if you’d like details.