Friday, July 30, 2010

C’mon In! [12”x9”, acrylic on birch panel]


Vicky loves the water… I used a photo taken July 2009 as the basis for this painting.  In that photo, her left arm was waving around like a cowboy’s so I had to do some adlibbing and decided I didn’t need to do much, just suggest that her arm is behind her.  I think it’s fairly convincing.  I really, really struggled with her facial features, particularly her mouth.  I found myself smiling while doing this painting…  the expression on her face is so cute and she’s a bold little gal.  What fun!

For those of you that paint, I thought I would share a few “in process” photos.  The support is a birch panel [1/4” prepared with GAC100 isolation coat].  You can see the warmth of the natural birch glowing through the painting and it pulls the whole thing together with a “warm day” look.

1.  Drawing and highlights…  Left photo below: I increased the contrast on my photo reference and collaged over her left arm as a test.  Right photo below:  After sketching her features on the panel, I painted the lights in her features and reflection with titanium white. 

DSCN4777    DSCN4778

2.  After glazing some hair [quin gold] and skin tones [yellow/red] as a base, I struggled to find the right colors for her facial shadows. The reflections from the water looked to be blue.  Blue, yellow, and red…  all side by side.  At times she looked like she’d been given a serious beating – bruised!  I persisted with what I saw rather than what I think her skin color should be.  Difficult and patchy!

Again, I found the acrylic paint [both fluid and heavy body Golden] dried very, very quickly.  That left brush strokes and bit’s of paint raised.  In this shot I was still struggling with the shape her mouth and just that one little issue and she looked like…  a blonde Rachel [a cousin].


3.  I’ve darkened the water, puttered a bit with her mouth/chin shape,and darkened highlights in her hair.  I’m happier with her facial expression now.  I mixed up a very light skin tone [zinc white, yellow, and red] with glazing fluid.  I glazed all of her skin with this mixture.  The glazing fluid extends drying time, thus giving me more time to change the color up a bit and time for the brush strokes to flatten out.  I think it worked well to unify all her skin tones!   


Onward to the next painting…  Cheers!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Clearing Tomorrow [9”x12”, acrylic on birch panel]

clearing tomorrow

We’ve had some big skies lately here in Alberta.  I love to watch the changes that happen so quickly.  This particular sky was roiling and the winds were high.  But, coming in behind the storm was what looked to be a clear sky, for the morrow.  This is my attempt to capture it in acrylic.  Cheers!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Whirl [acrylic, 9”x12”]

DSCN4762Here’s a happy little painting based on a photo I took of my granddaughter Kiera on the tire swing in Bowness Park last year.  I chose to do this on a baltic birch panel.  This is the first painting I’ve done on wood. This panel had been primed with GAC100 & Golden Transparent Red Iron Oxide both to seal and to tone the wood.  I hoped the toned background would provide the warmth I wanted to convey, particularly in the skin tones. 

It’s been a long time since I used a photo as closely as I did on this painting.  I wanted to work on the paint application and color selection rather than drawing skills.  After I selected the right spot for the focal point [her face], I traced the tire and figure onto the birch panel.  The only changes I made were cropping and adding a few inches on to her swinging dress to emphasize the movement.

 bowness parkNext, I blocked in the main shapes paying particular attention to the highlights.  You can see the warm color of the panel on this first photo…  the orange/red.  


I continued to develop the painting going back and forth between highlights and dark areas several times.  I used my fan brush for the first time in ages…  worked great for the grass.  Her hair was a challenge.  It’s almost white in the summer and with the sun shining on it in this setting, the top of her head was a halo of DSCN4759warm white.  I added the foreground grasses at the end.  I’m starting to get the hang of this new [to me] technique with heavy body acrylics. Lots of fun…  Enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poppies [watercolor, 9”x12”]

reader's poppies

Here’s the second of the paintings I did at Reader Rock Garden on Wednesday.  The oriental poppies were just past their prime but I found a few that inspired with their incredibly rich colors. 

We had another gorgeous day today.  It would have been incredible for painting outdoors but I trekked over to Michael’s for an hour and shopped for my art time today…  scored 14 sheets of Strathmore 140lb watercolor paper for 40 cents each!!!  Sweet!

I continue to marvel at how much enjoyment and fulfillment I find in my artistic pursuits.  I had so much fun on Wednesday’s paint out!  I’d love to do that twice per week.  BUT, I must find a way to do it smarter or shorter, or something…  Wednesday was lovely but I can’t have too many Thursdays like yesterday.  Today is much better pain-wise but…  Anyway, to state it in a positive light – I’m thankful  that I have friends to paint with, I live in a beautiful part of the world, and I WILL figure out how to get outdoors and paint somehow without a pain flare!  I WILL.  Anybody with ideas about how I can do this please step forward.

Matthew, our soldier son, arrived back to his home in Ontario for his mid-mission break today.  He’s been in Afghanistan since April.  He has 2 weeks off and then he’s back there until November…  Welcome home Matthew – I am so proud to be your mom!  Enjoy your well deserved time off! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Indian Paintbrushes [acrylic ~8”x10”]

indian paintbrush

I’ve used some heavy gel medium with the paint to play with the texture of the flowers.  This is one of the little paintings in acrylic that I’ve really been struggling with.  I’ve concluded that I must simply persevere and my paintings will improve as I go along.  Let us sincerely hope so!!!  Cheers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reader House w/c sketch [~7”x10”]

Reader's House2

I met some artsy friends at Reader Rock Heritage Garden today to paint…  my first time at this location.  It’s a beautiful rock garden re-opened in 2006 with the arts & craft home of Mr and Mrs William Reader rebuilt to house a lovely restaurant and the gardens restored to their previous beauty.  This was the perfect day for painting outside…  no wind, minimal cloud, and perfect temperature!  I perched on one of the rock pathways and sketched up this view of the house.  I love that veranda and I plan to get there for tea sometime…  Cheers!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Storage [acrylic on paper, 16”x12”


This line of bins sits near the Leighton Centre.  I’ve been meaning to paint them for a while now.  They are so evenly spaced and tidy in a shabby fashion.  I pictured it in the fall with the intense golds of a harvest morning.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Camping at Three Sisters [12”x18”, acrylic]

Camping at Three Sisters

Yesterday I spent some time in Canmore.  Although medical appointments take me there, I’ve decided that I’ll make a day of it each time and enjoy the beauty of the place.  I wandered around and found myself at a construction site near the river.  I took my sketch pack and camera and walked around enjoying the incredible beauty.  This view is from a new bridge that looks towards the Three Sisters Campground.  WOW!  What a place to camp…  it’s breathtakingly beautiful.  Today I started this painting…  I’ve got some work to go yet.  Tomorrow maybe.  Cheers!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free [16”x12”, acrylic]


I slathered this canvas with molding paste and textured it with a new carved stamp, butterflies, and various other tools.  Once dry, I applied washes of yellow, gold and transparent red iron oxide.  The butterflies, the fence-like texture and the building type shapes began to feel like a city park.  I gessoed an area on the bottom right and transferred the photo of the little girls onto it when dried. I’ve added some dark shapes to the composition as well.  I’m setting this aside for a bit while I think it over.  I find the more abstract paintings are much more difficult to finish.  Cheers!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Counter Huddle [8”x10” acrylic on paper]

still lifer1

My friend Lindsey and I had a play date today and this was my effort.  I’m always challenged by the white teapot…  I think it’s fairly true to what I saw in this case.  Great practice anyway!

One of the unique aspects of painting with acrylics is their quick drying time.  It’s great once you get the paint onto the support just the way you want it…  I love that it dries fast then.  However, it has a short “open” time in which changes can be made.  Also, paint squeezed out onto the palette must be used before they dry.  That can cause a race against time and it hinders the “meditative” benefit of painting [for me].  I’m finally trying out a modified Stay-Wet palette using a flat plastic tray with a very tight seal.  I squeezed out a lot of paint today and I will work with it over the next few days/weeks.  I hope it works well for me…  I’d like to paint outside with acrylics if it does. 


Monday, July 5, 2010

Melted Melvin 2 & Lazy Leo [8”x10” watercolour]

Lazy Leo melted melvin 2 I’m so much happier with Melted Melvin 2…  he has a bigger tree trunk and he looks more comfy ;-).  Lazy Leo has a more natural background rather than his abstract background previous.  I think the set is now done and can be hung up for Parker.  Here are the three together…

Rockin' Robbie melted melvin 2Lazy Leo  Cheers!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sheep River Rock Face [14”x11” acrylic]

Sheep river rock facer2

Sheep River Falls, near Turner Valley, Alberta, is a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon.  The parking is very close to the falls and a short hike takes you to a viewpoint overlooking the falls.  Across the gorge is an almost vertical rock wall and I’ve tried to capture that here.   

I painted this from a photo I took last summer.  In those lighting conditions the rocks are pink and grey with lots of lichen and some moss patches.  I found those a challenge to paint and this is much simplified from reality. 

It would be lovely to get out and try painting this en plein air.  This summer I’ve been painting in my studio and taking it easy on my sore back.  I’m anxious to get outside and I’ve considered taking out a feather light setup:  pencil, sharpie, a few pencil crayons and a pad of paper.   Soon I hope.

Happy Independence Day to all my state-side friends!!!! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sheep River Rock Face [14”x11” acrylic on canvas]

Sheep river rock faceThis painting has quite a bit of texture.  I spread coarse and fine pumice gel over the bottom 2/3 of the surface before painting.  Then, when I began painting I dropped shavings [acrylic scraped up off my glass palette] into the the first wash.  The pumice gel is absorbent so it’s interesting to see what happens with the washes.  I attempted to capture the variety of colors and textures on the rocks…  will repost when this is complete.  Cheers!