Saturday, December 4, 2010
I started this painting today just to keep my brushes wet. Having that simple goal – keep your brushes wet – seems to work for me. There are days that I find it hard to focus and the discipline of wetting my brushes and diving in is great. If that starts me, usually I get interested and inspired and challenged and I’m off to the races.
I began this painting with a violet watery under painting. This loose paint runs and bleeds and blossoms as it dries and it glows through the later stages. Ciao!
Friday, December 3, 2010
I’m definitely fighting with this painting and I don’t think I’m winning at this point. It’s definitely helpful to see these thumbnail size photos because it forces me to get back to the basics. I’ll have to see if I can pull this together over the next few days. Oh, and I actually did use my carving tools to excavate some line into this painting… you’d have to double-click to see the lines on the table space and highlights on the leaves.
Meanwhile… I received my boxes from Curry’s yesterday!!! I’m like a little kid at Christmas when I get a new box of art supplies. The new and fun items are larger canvasses – one is 2’x3’. Yikes, that one is intimidating! It should be fun to attempt a larger painting though. Ciao!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I’ve been working on this one off and on for a few days now. I’m keeping the colors almost analogous, but the flowers want a bit of that orange in them. This surface has a lot of molding paste texture in the background. My next step is going to be excavating some of the texture with my Speedball lino cutter. This will be my first attempt at this so wish me luck! I’m in an experimental mood – why not?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
How wonderful it is to putter on a happy subject when I’m feeling down. That’s what I did today and presto chango – the happiness of the subject & the bright colors lifted my spirits. It might be temporary but it all helps, right?
For those of you that are interested, the photo below was the state of the painting after the first painting session a few days ago. I kept only the three main sunflowers and noted that the two smaller ones seem a bit in awe of the “big girl”. They appear to be leaning towards each other and whispering. So, now you know the crazy things that are running around inside my head, haha! I quite enjoyed working the background transparently, then translucently and finally, in the upper right corner, opaquely.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
The last time I posted this painting was July 16th and it’s been waiting patiently on my list of “to do’s” since. Today I puttered with it a bit and I’m liking it better for a summer painting. As you can see from the “before” photo below, the mountains were pretty cold looking for summer. When the sun is further north these mountains get quite a bit more warmth on them.
Friday, November 26, 2010
This is my painting Elbow Falls after the most recent tweaks. I’m still playing with transparent/translucent/opaque acrylics. Since the post on Nov 17 I have made the sky a brighter opaque orange & added some lights back into the rock face. I’m really liking this one now – it is a great painting subject. I look forward to a plein air session there next summer. Cheers!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Last year I used watercolor paint straight from the tube and plastic Yupo “paper” to build a monoprint plate of this snowman. I’ve had it tucked away in my studio. Yesterday I scrounged up a piece of BFK Rives printmaking paper and processed the print. However, a quick read of my blog post from last March 16 would have been a good idea – I forgot to blot the paper before printing. As a result of the extra water, this print is a little blurry… it adds to the snowy feel though so I don’t mind it. Here are the images:
Watercolor on Yupo plate Print –muzzy as you can see!
This is what’s left on the yupo paper after the print.
Happy Thanksgiving to my USA friends and family!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Today I puttered on a couple of paintings including my violinist. She’s been in the pile an awfully long time and, as I looked at the variety of photos I’ve taken of her, I can see some interesting developments. So, here’s a look back in time.
Today, after another 90 minutes of puttering, she looks like this:
The photo below was taken yesterday… I was liking the dark band and vertical behind her but felt that the light and dark were too far apart in value. Also, the transparent dark green paint was fighting with the absorbent ground and quite streaky. I developed the sense of light on the figure and it’s now more dramatic.
The signed version below had a very choppy background which I kind of liked at the time but I’ve since changed my mind. I bought some absorbent ground a while ago and recently I decided to experiment a bit on this painting. I put two coats of the stuff on the background and, once dry, I laid in very light transparent washes. Once dry I added the dark green bands you see above. WOW! That’s some kind of interesting acrylic medium. It absorbs so much that it’s almost like 300lb watercolor paper… some interesting things happened with all the hills and valleys on the surface.
The 3 images below are earlier stages and I show them to give some of the background of the paint. There are so many layers on that surface now. It all adds up to interesting! You can see I’m struggling with the girl’s right hand and the placement of the bow. From the first “oh, I see a violinist!!!” I’ve been struggling with how to get this thing to work. It might not be much of a painting – ever. But, it’s certainly been a good workshop for me. Cheers!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I’ve had another go at the colors on this painting. Mostly I’m going back into this one to try to help me work through missing my brother. This painting speaks to me of Chuck’s continued presence in our lives through the veil. I know his spirit lives on.
I believe that at times he is aware of what’s going on as part of “the great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on to victory in our lives. He’s much more able to intercede on our behalf from there. He’s also busy learning all the ropes up there and Kiya [she’s just coming up to her 2 year birthday] has got Papa on a steep learning curve I’m sure! Lots of people to show him around to. I can imagine how wonderful it was for him to finally hold that little one in his arms. I can imagine him sitting around visiting with those that have gone before and enjoying their company.
If I asked him if he’d rather be here with us I can imagine him saying “sometimes sis. But, you’d be glad for me if you could see me now”. Well, I am glad for him… just not so much for the rest of us. But, this week I promise to work a bit harder at entering into the Christmas spirit. Have a great week!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I’ve resolved many of the issues with this painting and I’m [definitely] ready to move on to another one. I’m really liking my doggie in this painting – she’s kind of a large version of my Kassie. She loved Bowness Park… ah, we had some good times together there, that’s for sure. Enjoy!
Friday, November 19, 2010
So evolves a painting… try to fix the 4 things you didn’t like and create a few more in the process ;-) Oh, and while you’re at it HURRY and take blog photos before the sun goes down – at 4:30 pm. First , it would do me goo to say what I LIKE about this painting:
- I’m still liking the bridge – it’s been glazed a bit darker and that’s working.
- I now like the sky – the bigger shape is still a triangle but the gradation helped even though it’s subtle.
- I toned the value of the rocks on the left down and extended them toward the bank… that’s better. The trees on the bank extend above the deck of the bridge now too.
And now we get the inevitable next steps:
- The hat needs help. Once I get the shape right I will…
- Get the get the lights back on the right side water and sand.
- The trees on the far right bank are too warm/light.
- Bump the gradation in the sky a bit further???
Otherwise just puttering…. Oh, the joy of acrylics – it’s never really over!
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I’ve kept a bunch of the texture from the original acrylic ink start. Due to the darkness of the start I decided to select a subject I could work abstractly. The railway bridge has plenty of graffiti on it and I wondered how it would look to paint the bridge negatively and leave most of the color and texture as the bridge. So, I’m pretty happy with the bridge.
Still on the list after looking at this in thumbnail size:
- My man looks really dull in the figure. I’ve got to work on that a bit. He also looks sad. What’s with that? Shouldn’t he be a happy camper wandering around Bowness Park with his buddy in the SUMMER? Hmmm.
- The sky shape in the top right is about as boring as shapes get. That’s got to change.
- The rocky shore curves way too smoothly as it goes under the bridge. It makes the shape of the water too static.
- I’m missing the bits of overlap in the brush in front of the left side of the bridge - it’s causing a perspective issue.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Elbow Falls, is about 45 minutes from my home in Calgary. It’s a great place to go for a picnic as long as you get there before the rest of Calgary. Every visit provides a slightly different scene, varying with the weather and seasons. If it wasn’t for my terror of grizzly bears, I would love to tackle some of the easier hiking trails in this area. Maybe next spring I’ll get my bear spray recertified and head into the hills.
This acrylic on 140 lb watercolor paper was started transparently and then worked back into with translucent and opaque paint. The eye sees transparent against opaque very differently. This is clear in the waterfall… I did the furthest left water first and then painted the right most water opaquely on top. The closer opaque water comes forward as I’d hoped it would. Enjoy!
Monday, November 15, 2010
I started this transparently today and it was fun. I’m really into the split compliment created by Pyrrole Orange/Phthalo Blue & Green Gold/Dioxazine Purple. I think a fairly realistic array of colors can be created if one wishes to work realistically. But, there is still plenty of scope for the imagination. Abstracting a subject’s color is lots of fun and a definite stretch for the imagination. I hope to find some hard evidence one day to support my premise that puddling around in bright colors is good for one’s mental health. I have anecdotal evidence that says it’s so.
I am working my way into quite a pile of these starts. My plan is to work on several concurrently and, eventually, move them closer to finished. Hope springs eternal!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I’ve had these Daler-Rowney FW acrylic inks for a while but haven’t used them much at all. Last night I wanted to play with something new so I took 3 bottles of ink and my water atomizer and went to work on this full sheet of 300 lb watercolor paper.
I dampened the 300 lb paper and then applied the inks straight from the dropper. I continued to spray and tilt the paper from side to side to get the inks to run and spread… possibly a bit too much. The inks are really quite beautiful as they run and drip and blossom on the paper. Perhaps I am easy to entertain, lol. Lots to do here still. Stay tuned!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I’ve been looking into opportunities for marketing my art for a while. Some of them require a heavier commitment to activities other than painting. They are bricks and mortar exhibits, markets, etc. that require physical attendance and, while I like that in limited amounts, I can’t afford the time to do much of it. Since I have limited energy and time due to some health issues, I need to find a way to market that allows me to continue to make art at the same time. What better way than a 24/7 store on the universal marketplace… the WWW!!!
After reading a few reviews and many adverts, I have decided to give Etsy a try. Etsy.com is a company offering a platform connecting buyers and sellers of handmade products. I like their mission and vision:
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers.
Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice
It’s easy to set up and maintain and lots of other artists have had success selling there. My own experiment is underway and will be for many months to come. Check it out on Etsy… see you at the mall!
Friday, November 12, 2010
The goal was to stay transparent with this painting. I’ve done that but BOY do I miss the ability to add punch with the opaque. This was a messy, complex sunset and the intriguing thing for me were the streaks in the clouds. I’ve captured a bit of that here. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Happy Remembrance Day and Veteran’s day. Tonight my night prayers will include a lot of thanksgiving for the safe homecoming of Captain Matthew Quist from Afghanistan. I’m also thankful for the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep Canada free.
This canvas started out on November 4 as the monochromatic greens over heavy texture [Golden coarse pumice gel]. That surface is a challenge to paint… acrylics tend to bubble when dragged over this rough stuff. The paint puddles and absorbs and runs and does all kinds of unexpected stuff – fun! I’m not done this so stay tuned!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It’s been another interesting week around here. Yesterday I went to the curator’s tour of the Fernando Botero exhibit at the Glenbow Museum - good thing – yay!] I really enjoyed seeing so much amazing art in one place! He says so much with his art… it’s hard to take it all in.
However, recently our Grandson Ethan  has been feeling rough and the docs continue to try to figure out why – very bad thing – boo! The next step is a biopsy on one of his lymph nodes next week. Matthew [our Canadian Forces Captain son] is on his way home from Afghanistan to be with his family. When I was a kid I had a benign tumor removed from the right side of my neck so I’m counting on this one being the same. So we wait… and we pray…
Today I came across some copies of letters and postcards that my Great Grandpa Mac wrote home in 1918. I did this simple remembrance day digital piece with a public domain poppy and part of a letter he wrote home.
So let me set this up for you: Mac was in France recovering in hospital from wounds he sustained in the 2nd battle for Amiens and he’d been in Europe without a break since 1916!!!! The hospital had no coal for warmth [it’s cold in late October] and few blankets and yet his words are inspiring!
He says “…we went all last winter [in the trenches] without coal so that is a small matter. Put on lots of clothes and the buildings are warm and not full of shell holes and there is no lice and mud and we have more than one blanket and lots of other comforts so our motto is DON’T GROUCH AND WAIT!” I have so much more to be thankful for and I chose to do just that. I shall not grouch and I will wait!
Happy Remembrance Day Canada! Thank you to all the “great cloud of witnesses” that served our country and gave their lives. And THANK YOU to those of you that are still serving! A big hug out to my own special hero – Captain Matthew Victor Quist of 2 Regiment based in Petawawa, Ontario.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Puttered on this today… the goal of this exercise is to use acrylics like watercolor. The most important thing is to save the white. As you can see I’m in deep here with respect to the MOST important thing!!! However, I do like some aspects of what is happening here… I’ll repost after I’ve worked on it again. It should only take me another 10 minutes to cover up ALL the rest of the white space [tongue firmly planted in cheek, eyes rolling].
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I revisited my July 13 painting and took it from warm and dark to cooler and lighter. I took a cotton rag and alcohol to remove some of the dark bits. I put a light veil of white over some of the more textured areas before glazing blue and blue-green in those areas. This canvas is heavily textured so any paint applied did interesting things… I love the surprises that come from this. I may play with this a bit more to get the warm/cool dynamic sorted out. Hmmm… just what I need – a good puzzle!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
I took a painting that I was thoroughly disgusted with and covered it with white gesso [again!!!]. This one was “Good Jumpers” from October 19 in it’s most recent life.
Today I glazed several layers of acrylic paints over the heavily textured white surface and experimented with a few ideas. But, in the end I couldn’t get Chuck off my mind. I’m also thinking lots about my brother Harvey who is in Haiti right now. Harv has a photo of Chuck as his Facebook profile picture from their trip to Haiti this past February. I wondered what would happen if… and the next thing I know I had contact paper over a blow up of that photo of Chuck and was cutting out a mask. I used the mask and painted the landscape around that shape. I kind of like it. It reminds me that he is in my life still – just not how he was before. Ciao!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Today I planned, puttered, and started a few pieces - two starts on watercolor paper, two on canvas, and one on baltic birch. All but one of these starts is going to be worked abstractly at first. I have precious few concrete ideas so working this way seems logical. Somehow it seems “right” that I am working my way from chaos through to concrete – it mirrors life. Life is messy, art reflects life. The process of allowing myself to work creatively within the chaos is somehow rewarding for me… So, we shall see how these work out over the next few days and weeks.
Three of the starts are shown below… the color choices are deliberate… green reminds me of life and peace, yellow represents hope. Ciao!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I put this collage together using tissue paper stained with fluid acrylics. I tore pieces from the paper that were tulip-like colors and pasted them on to a watercolor paper previously stained with acrylics and on which I had stamped purple and green. After the collage was dry, I painted into it extensively.
In this case, the base [below] doesn’t appear to make much difference – you can see only a little bit of it in the dark band in the background. However, the support reminded me of the collage papers, which reminded me of tulips, which got me working towards this. I’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately so finding inspiration from a “start” like this is critical. Enjoy! .
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This was painted using an interesting technique from my mixed media class yesterday. I started with splattering watered down fluid acrylic paint [Golden] over a piece of watercolor paper. Most of the surface was covered in this way. When that dried, I used chalk to sketch the subject, being careful to make interesting negative shapes behind the flowers.
Next I used juicy opaque yellow paint on the background and voila!!! out popped the flower and table shapes. A translucent [white and blue/green] paint was used to define the glass vase. I then puttered with the flowers to define them better but left some of the dots and white paper showing through. Then I painted a transparent reddish glaze [lots of water added] over the table area. Once dry, I put the shadow in.
I finished this at 2am and I am unrepentant!!! I’ll get my days and nights straightened out eventually. Really… I WILL! Ciao.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
My art buddies organized a nice potluck lunch yesterday to cheer me up. Besides enjoying great food and company, we each brought some of our recent art for a critique. I love these things… they really push me to think of the fundamentals and provide many ideas for next steps.
Something was bugging me about the bottom right of this one but I couldn’t put my finger on the problem. Today I obliterated the previous work with the turquoise and dark purple paint I used in that corner, let it dry and then used the stencil again with opaque paint and my handy, dandy stencil brush. Then I hand printed the quote. The quote doesn’t stand out as much as it did before but I think I like it better this way. I also increased the contrast in the main butterfly. I hope you like it… Regardless, I guarantee this is my last post on this painting!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, my friend Lindsey asked me over to try my hand at oil painting. Thanks to a course she is currently taking at Calgary School of Art, she’s all set up for it and bubbling over with enthusiasm… She sat me down at an easel, squeezed out some paint, put a brush in my hand and pointed me towards the still life. This little painting is the result. I know there are all kinds of composition issues in this one… but the bottom-line is that I painted, and it felt wonderful! It’s definitely about the process for me right now.
I loved the creamy texture of the paint. It’s a completely different experience than acrylic and watercolor painting. You can go back and make changes long after acrylics would have been dry. I really enjoyed the afternoon – it was a great diversion.
Hmmm, I think oil paints are going to be a the very top of my list for Santa this year! Ciao!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This painting has been a really good diversion for me this past week. My subconscious choice to combine the numbers stencil and another that, among other things, include a butterfly was interesting. The last time I used the number stencil it was for “Counting Sheaves” months ago. So, once the texture of both stencils started to appear I jumped to the title, and the meaning of this painting for me.
It’s interesting to study the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. For example, in nature, only 10% of monarch chrysalises develop into butterflies. The numbers can climb to 90% if the process variables are properly managed. We can count on more butterflies in our lives if we set up the right conditions… that’s what I hope to do over the next weeks and months. Cheers!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I’ve added a quote by Maya Angelou and emphasized the butterfly motif in this painting. I’m still not done with this. It lacks balance and I will continue to resolve it over the next few days. I’ve taken a close-up shot of the quote below… I think I may have made it a bit too small in the painting. The process of painting is SO good for me right now. I’m so thankful to have this outlet in my life right now!!! I’m looking forward to Nov 1 when we begin another journey of discovery in class. The routine of it will be good for me.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This painting is looking every bit as muddled up as my mind and heart. I used 2 stencils with opaque paints. I’m a “reformed” accountant and there are times I miss the counting parts of my life… that’s why this number theme surfaces regularly in my work. I’m also a fan of the butterfly for all it represents about life and transformation within life. Perhaps a good title for this piece is “Counting on Transformation”… I think I like it. I still have a long way to go to make this into a painting but I think I have a plan now… stay tuned.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I’m proud of myself – I cleaned up my studio!!!! You can’t even imagine what a relief it is to re-organize that mess. It frees the mind. While tidying up I found a start [below] from Sept 17th and I puttered a bit more putting in some darks here and there. It really was mindless doodling. Next I will add some opaques and hopefully push and pull it into some kind of a painting. It felt good to spend some time in the studio. I don’t feel fantastic about the results but, hey, it’s at least a step in the right direction. It is definitely NOT about the product right now.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
There’s a little row of bins on the way to the Leighton Centre and that’s what I had in my memory’s eye when I started this. However, they bear a strong resemblance to the row of old wooden bins we had on our family farm back when I was a kid. My sibs and I would take a run at the row and hop from one to the other like crazies! We’d run down the entire row of [I think] 6 bins. There were a few incidents but nothing too dramatic. The more dangerous trick was “swimming” in the flax seed. Yes, I can hear the collective sucking in of breath amongst all the farm folk out there – you can drown in that stuff it is so slippery. I remember taking turns with Chuck… one would slog across the bin and the other would sit on the braces ready to grab a hand if it was needed. What a pair of brats we were sometimes.
Anyway, I’m still struggling a bit trying to get into the studio. I seem particularly stuck in the planning phase on paintings. I cannot plan right now. So, rather than judging myself and stressing about it I’ve decided to just play… this was today’s play session. I enjoyed it… particularly once I recognized the row of bins and the fond memories from the farm.
Now, I’m off to the FCA meeting… Cheers!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I’ve had precious little time for painting lately but I started this yesterday with some loose washes of acrylic in yellows and reds. This watery application of acrylic doesn’t seal the paper and I was able to put the clouds and foreground in today. I hope this will kick start me into painting again. It’s been a rough few weeks for me and my family. I know that painting is one of the best things I can do for myself and I need to be doing it more regularly. Hopefully that starts right now.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Music credits: Faith Hill singing "There Will Come a Day" [songwriters Christopher Lindsey, William C. Luther, Aimee Mayo]Matt & Beth Redman singing their song "You Never Let Go"Natalie Grant singing "Held", [songwriter Christa Wells]
There are thousand of photos of Chuck. Most of these are from the perspective of the Matson family. May these memories of Chuck comfort you as they have me. God Bless!
Friday, September 17, 2010
Lindsey and I set up this still life and spent a lovely hour or two playing with our paints last Saturday at her house in East Coulee. It’s such a relaxing place and I love to visit Caracol Studio and admire Janet Grabner’s pottery. Sorry, no website to link to for her but look her up if you’re out to the Drumheller area. Such a fun place to shop and chat!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Today I covered up some “duds” with lots of white gesso. What a GREAT feeling ;-) The surfaces looked so clean and inviting and I just mucked about in my paints and doodled creating… this. I have no idea what it’s going to grow up to be or even IF I’ll explore further on it. But, it was sure fun today!