Saturday, January 31, 2009

Abstract... the end of the beginning

I've pretty much finished with this abstract start... for now. Since last post I added the smaller dots and the little line in the upper right.
At that point I wasn't happy with how it looked. I reviewed my composition notes from last Wednesday's class and decided to darken the bottom left corner and that seemed to improve things quite a bit. Doing the abstract has given me some insight into my own head. For example, I realize that I am very attracted to the play of lights against darks with minor mid-values. And so the journey continues... enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Red Trees revisited

I've revisited the infamous red tree composition and made another attempt in watercolor. Here is the result. I'm much happier with this painting than I was with the original watercolor. I was able to keep the feeling of the light coming through the trees in this version. Come daylight tomorrow I do plan to make a couple of changes to this painting so, as usual, I'll keep you posted ;o)
As I type this I am sitting at Ron's computer desk and wow, is it ever uncomfortable! My [Dell] laptop (aka "craptop") had the video card wrap up it's ONE year of useful life yesterday. It is on warranty so I will ship it off to Dell tomorrow and I should have it back in about a week. This isn't the first time it's had to go back either. Happy camper?... not me! Buyers be warned! And now I have to move my purple bracelet (why? click here). Have a great evening!

Monday, January 26, 2009

this and that...

We had a fun class today working on our collage composition and technique. Here's a snapshot showing the the beginning of my project on the left. Obviously it has some work to do to finish it but it's fun stuff. There's no end to it really - if you "take it to a train wreck" you can always gesso over it and begin again with what you learned from the "failure" to guide you.
I had an added surprise today - Ken Lampard brought Lindsey, Sheila, and I a copy of the creativity workshop write-up from October 2008. We did the workshop at my house back in August and I had forgotten about it. Turns out they used the photo I sent them and a description of our group's project. Click here to see the article full-screen. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ted Nuttall's "A Garden in Her Face" copy attempt

When challenged in my art class to copy a painting I loved I immediately thought of Ted's Nuttall's painting style. I'd almost talked myself out of trying to copy his loose, casual, drip friendly style but this morning I decided to give "A Garden in Her Face" a try. It's a tall order particularly because of his loose style and subtle color. The layering order is difficult to determine also. In the end I decided that even if my copy turned out poorly I would learn enough about LOOSE watercolor to make it worthwhile.
As I painted today I could hardly make myself stop for breaks - it was so fun! I missed the mark considerably but it was a worthwhile exercise and I'm even more impressed with Ted Nuttall's work than I was before. This painting was featured in Splash 8 - click on the link above to go to Ted's site and see the original and many other beautiful paintings. Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Trees as promised

Well, as I committed yesterday here are my acrylic trees. This is NOT a good photo but I couldn't get the lighting to work for me tonight. I'll give it another try tomorrow.
This is the first time I've attempted to use acrylics like watercolors. I succeeded in some places and failed in others. Acrylics are VERY forgiving - and I made use of that trait several times. I have much to learn about handling this new medium. Color mixing is a real challenge - adding white just seems so strange and color temperature is even more critical. A poor choice results in weird hues that mess up the mood entirely. My mood as well as the painting's ;o)
I still love these colors but the acrylics dry darker so even though I struggled with having the red too dark yesterday in watercolor, I didn't compensate enough for the darker acrylics well enough. As a result, I've gone over some of the branches in a lighter value of red.
I'm not fond of the branch shapes coming in on the right side but otherwise I don't mind the shapes so much anymore.
Curiously, I'm still not tired of this subject! I find that intriguing. I've learned an awful lot from the set up and painting of this subject. In fact the biggest learning is that I still have A LOT to learn! Enjoy...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watercolor trees

... on the way to becoming acrylic trees. I started the preliminary work for this painting in class before Christmas - a LONG time to work on one painting, I agree. However, Mexico and Christmas visiting have lengthened the focus on this subject. I think the only reason I'm still interested in this painting is because of the color - RED trees? I love it now... 3 years ago I would have REFUSED to make red trees, lol.

This is the painting as it was last night... after class and after landing face down, unscathed, in the Chinook Bay parking lot. Here's the list of concerns:
  • the yellow seemed too dark or bright or something... Sharon suggested that it was too solid, no variety in the yellow hue.
  • the value of the red trees is the same as the tree trunks... thanks Joanne for that lesson on values and the color wheel. In my value study the branches are at least 2 values lighter than the trunks...
  • the shapes of the right hand foreground tree are too similar and spaced equally. Big bad!

So, these issues in combination with my burning desire to play with my Golden fluid acrylics gave me an idea. Why not glaze the entire painting with gesso (basically white acrylic)? That will knock the value of the red down. Adding a slight yellow tint to some of that gesso might help vary the yellow background a bit too. Of course that will give me an opportunity to change shapes as well. To a previously die-hard watercolorist this seems like a cheat. I'm fighting that instinct and it's actually kind of freeing!!! Tomorrow I'll post on the results of this little experiment... stay tuned!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Collage prep

Here are a few of the papers I made today in class. We are preparing a variety of papers and next week we'll begin assembling a collage with them. So much fun!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

ATC's..... All Through Creating Artist Trading Cards

Sorry to get so punny but seriously, I really had no idea how long it would take me to produce 16 ATCs for my class. Part of it was the learning curve on image transferring and I feel like I've learned a lot about that process over the past 2 weeks. It's all about timing and patience. Since I'm waiting for a Currys Art Store order (thanks Doug and Candice for the gift certificate), I don't have any Golden's Soft Gel Gloss... that is supposed to be the best medium to use for transfers. I used cheap Rheotech liquid gloss medium and it worked really well on these small transfers. Sure, I had some disasters but I think the constant puttering at it has paid off.

Tomorrow I'll get close-up shots of the rest of the ATCs... and then I'm going to paint something BIGGER!!! [before Wednesday hopefully].

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Exiting Paradise (14"x10")

When I painted this I had no plan, I just meant to get going and hoped I'd end up with a "start" I could use later. I added some masking fluid splatter which, in one area, got mucked up and spread into the shape of a sail. That gave me an idea and it developed from there.
Here's the learning (again): when I get an idea like that I need to grab my sketch book and do a value pattern sketch to see if it is worth pursuing and sort out composition, etc. It's not that I hate this painting but if I'd taken that 10 minutes to think it through I would have changed several things before proceeding. [the list is too long to type, lol]
Actually, considering it's been over 6 weeks since I've painted more than an ATC, I'm going to give myself a break on this one. I'm seriously out of practice and I had to get moving on something, right? I really loved watching sailboats in a moon glade though... very pretty. We had a harbour view unit at Paradise Village in Nuevo Vallarta where I visualized this. What a gift that week was to Ron and I. Beautiful sunny weather with somebody you love. You can't ask for much more from life than that really.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Altered Book Project - Introduction

So, what is an "Altered Book" you ask? Good question... I asked this very thing in class two months ago. I had no idea there was such a thing. In fact, altering a book in this way seems almost destructive to an avid reader like me. Regardless, I am embarking on my first altered book project. The book I've chosen came from the Calgary Public Library "For Sale" section and it cost me 50 cents!
The title of the book I will be altering is "The Effects of Light". Right now I am scanning the book to find those nuggets of art history and technique... some really fun and informative passages that I will keep as part of the finished product.
Not only will this book be a work of art, it will be a work about the artistic journey through the principles and elements of design. And that is about all I know right now. I will definitely be taking photos and posting updates here. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 12, 2009

ATC Treasure Chest

This ATC is part of a set I am doing for a swap in my class... I think I have until next Monday to come up with the rest. I've got some work to do, believe me. I really enjoy these little projects. I get a sense of accomplishment from working on and finishing these even though they are tiny - same size as a baseball or hockey card.
In order to get myself started on these I grabbed some "starts", found interesting places and cut them out. From that point I just ponder the pattern before me and start making a line here, a wash there, some ink to define this or that... etc. It's lots of fun...
I'm also preparing a book to be altered... it's got a great title and I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. Really, I WILL tell you about it TOMORROW!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Color studies

Well, it looks like I'll be able to paint again later this week. Yipee! I've painted with the little girls over the holidays but nothing serious. I'm craving some painting time so whether or not I still have company, I WILL be painting on Thursday for sure! I've missed it and I can't wait.
These color studies were completed back on December 17th in preparation for a larger painting. I did them in my sketch book and I must use too much water to make this work well - lots of buckling and far harder to lift anything (IMHO). Anyhow, I'm now considering what I'll paint when I get back to it late this week. All the family votes to date tell me to paint the one with RED trees! Interesting, I like it best too but I thought they would balk at red trees.

Hope to see you here tomorrow!