Saturday, January 29, 2011

Floral reworked… again [acrylic, 22”x15”]

floral These flowers are still evolving.  Today I turned many of the flowers opaque blue and blue/green.  I like that color but I’m unsure how I feel about the yellow now.  I get new ideas when I view a thumbnail of a painting.  Between that and living with the changes for a while I hope I’ll eventually get this one finished!  Next steps…  deal with the yellow – move it around OR lose it, add one or two [?] more tulip leaves over the left middle.  After some time and distance I’ll give it another whirl.

The pic below is from the last posting on this painting in early December.   

IMG_0140_thumb[1]The weather here in Calgary is wintery and perfect for leaving behind!  I’m excited to be  Heading off to Puerto Vallarta for 10 days next Wednesday Can’t wait!  Hasta maƱana

Friday, January 28, 2011

Self-Portrait tweaks

IMG_0213Slight tweak to move the pupil further right and darken the shadows in the eye area.  Better but I may need one more glaze on that left eye.  Eventually…. 

IMG_0209New changes…  eye moved left A LOT!!!  Now my left eye is crossed – sheesh!  I also reshaped the glasses with the bridge further down my nose.  It helps a bit but it’s still pretty long.  Hmmm…


Second post…  Jan 22.  Better, but the wall eye is definitely not working. 


First post…  Jan 20.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Golden Hour [acrylic on 16”x16” gallery canvas]

 golden hourThis started out as just some warm colors on the canvas which I intended to use for another cloud painting [see below].  But as the paint started to run and flow, trees began to appear.  I cooperated and the result is Golden Hour.  Hope you like it!

golden hour start1

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ucluelet [acrylic, 11’x15”]


I dropped in the first splashes of color on this painting of the view looking west from Ucluelet, BC Monday.  Since then though, I’ve covered pretty all of the original surface at least once.  That wasn’t the intention of the exercise but I kind of found my own way on finishing this one up.  I guess I’ll have to give that exercise another go on a different subject. 

Here’s a brief summary of the steps so far:

IMG_01921.  You can see some of the original paint here which was slopped, splashed stamped, and covered the entire surface.  I had in mind a series of rocks and trees so my plan was to paint the rock shapes negatively with the white water.   However, I pretty much lost my original paint in this first step. 

IMG_0194 2.  I developed the groups of trees, changed the horizon line, and worked on the rock shapes.  The colors are incredibly boring but I’ll deal with that last. IMG_01983.  I mixed up some two piles of green mixed with light molding paste – a dark grey-green and a light value reddish green.  I used a knife to add this loosely to reshape the trees in the foreground.

IMG_02084.  Boring, boring, boring…  but believable.  Since the soil in the foreground is quite orangey, I decided to move that color around and go for an orange sky.  I mixed up a bunch of streaky, orange/white and redid the sky. 

There’s a bit more puttering to do on this painting but I’m reasonably happy with it.  The rocks in the distance are way too rounded…  that’s going to change next. 

RE: Self portrait…  I find something I want to change every time I take a photo of my self portrait.  Tomorrow I will post my final tweaks.  Cheers!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Self Improvement

IMG_0182 … or rather self-portrait improvement.  The hubby tells me that he’s not sure I improved this [wasn’t that helpful?], but you be the judge.  In any case, I’ve sure learned lots puttering on this.  Here’s how it was on my last post:

IMG_0180Meanwhile, I’ve got 4 canvasses at various stages of texture and layering.  So, you’ll probably see me working from a lot of chaos again.  I’m going to attempt to take these paintings from chaos to clouds.  That should be interesting!  Cheers!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Self-Portrait on cradled birch panel, 14”x11”

IMG_0180Today I attempted a self-portrait.  This is something I’ve had on “the list” for a long time.  Given that this is my first attempt, and the first painting session on this one, I’m pretty happy with where this is.  I expect I’ll revisit this several more times and I’ll repost when I do.  I painted this from “life” if you can call a mirror “life”.

IMG_0177 I began on a board tones with Red Iron Oxide and drew with a watered down mix of acrylic paint.  I tried to just block in the shapes first. 

IMG_0178Next, I painted in flesh tones and some grey to restate the shape of my glasses and begin my hair.


I further developed things with shadows and skin tones, made an attempt at the eyes, and blocked in the background.

IMG_0180I puttered further on the entire painting before this last photo.  I can already see quite a few things I need to adjust next time I take up my brush.  Cheers!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Room With a View [acrylic, 13”x13”]

IMG_0177 This painting is inspired by a walk I took with my daughter Kim when I visited her on Vancouver Island a few years ago.  We hiked along the shore at low tide and came across this little shack.  It would be such a relaxing place to spend a night – the sound of waves rocking me off to sleep.  Beachcombing every morning, painting every afternoon.  But I digress…    Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Tree exercise [11”x15”, acrylic]

I started this little painting exercise before Christmas in my art class.  Sharon demonstrated the process for creating a “tree portrait” in a similar style to what David Langevin uses in his paintings.  If you are interested in David’s process I found a very cool YouTube video “David Langevin: Tree Portraiture” which explains his approach.  I found it fascinating.

My Winter Tree painting is at the “wait and think” stage below.  I think there will be a bit of tweaking on the sky yet. 

IMG_0173The following pics show the painting at various stages.  I don’t have a photo of the first step…  To the white watercolor paper, I applied Golden light molding paste with a palette knife to indicate the branches of the trees.  I also applied some soft gel gloss to the edges and stamped into it.  This layer was allowed to fully dry before any paint was applied.

This was a lot of fun and definitely expanded my understanding how multiple layers of acrylic paint can a beautiful luminous surface.  Enjoy!

IMG_0155IMG_0156 IMG_0162IMG_0164 IMG_0165 IMG_0167 IMG_0168 IMG_0172


Friday, January 7, 2011

Hugh Greer DVD Review – Creating Mood & Atmosphere

Unfortunately, I’ve got pneumonia and not enough energy/air to putter around in my studio – yet.  So, yesterday I got my art fix by watching Hugh Greer’s DVD “Creating Mood & Atmosphere with Color & Value” .  I thought today I would do a synopsis of what I learned.


hg3-slide2I enjoyed watching this video.  Hugh seems like a quiet, serious guy and he dives right in to his subject in the DVD.  He sets out to demonstrate how to create a different mood/atmosphere in two paintings of the same subject.  Lots of cool little tips along the way but in short, these were his steps:

  1. He stained 2 supports – one a blue grey, the other a warm golden yellow.  Let Dry.
  2. He applied an isolation coat of Golden Soft Gel Gloss medium – 3 light coats dried between.
  3. He explains transferring his drawing on to the supports including the process for establishing registration holes for later touch ups. 
  4. He blocks in the masses of the landscape – snowy foreground, barn, background hill, etc.  The same work is done on both paintings.  It’s cool to see the difference in feeling he gets just from the color difference in the base coat of paint.  He also softens most edges on the blue, misty scene but has harder lines and shadows on the sunlit, golden painting.  He does this fast and decisively…  He takes lots of care to get the values and aerial perspective working properly.
  5. He layers further wet washes over the early blocks and works into them with color shapers – one quite large.  This was very interesting!  It made the paint a bit more random and haphazard which he took advantage of when he saw something he liked.
  6. Details…  he does LOTS of detail in his pieces.  He used a variety of techniques:
    1. Alcohol to lift the paint down to the base color, removed with q-tips and tissues
    2. Alcohol dabbed over a tree mass and then scraped into with an exacto knife to lift out branch details
    3. details with a loaded ruling pen – something I’d like to try.  This drafting tool puts down a thicker bead of paint than a brush. 
    4. he rubbed coarse sandpaper over wooded areas to lift some detail out…  it’s easy to overdo this apparently.  Les is more.
    5. he used the color shapers quite a bit – especially to push the paint around to create the barn’s stonework. 

It was well worth the 2 hours it took to view the video.  He’s not a dynamic speaker, not a funny entertainer, but he’s got lots of stuff to demo and he does a great job demonstrating the difference one can create in the mood and atmosphere of the very same winter scene.  As you can see from the photos above, he succeeded nicely. 


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

T’was the season…

…  for family.  We had an enjoyable Christmas/New Year visiting with family and friends.  Our house was busy from December 15th when we welcomed Matthew’s [our oldest] family until yesterday morning when we dropped Candice’s [our middle] family at the airport.  We were so blessed to have all of our children and grandchildren for Christmas this year!!!  We are now SIXTEEN!!!  It’s a big group when we’re all together.  This photo includes both my parents and parents-in-law.  Precious memories!

photo of all twenty at Christmas 2010

Matthew et al are safely home in Ontario, and Candice just called to let me know they’ve just arrived in Tokyo.  I’m sure they welcome the return to routine with the children.  I have 8 amazing grandkids and they had such a fun time getting to know their cousins.  It was the first time we’ve all been together since Kim & Kyle’s wedding in 2004. 

It was important for us to be surrounded with our loved ones this first Christmas since Chuck’s passing.  The busyness of the children was a lot of fun and kept the thoughts light and celebratory.  However, I'd be lying if I didn’t admit to missing Chuck, especially on Christmas day with all my other siblings, in-laws, and children present.  Again though, we rose to the occasion and worked hard at making it fun and memorable for the kids.  The gift exchange was INCREDIBLE and competitive – no big surprise there for anybody that knows my family ;-)  “Loud” doesn’t really do it justice.  It was so much fun!

Ron and I spent New Year’s weekend in St Albert with our friends Maureen and Stu McLellan.  We nigh on to bored them out of their heads we were so tired!  It was a nice little break in the middle of all the Grandma and Grandpa fun.

It’s January 5th today.  My cleaning lady is here and once she’s done I’ll be able to get into my studio and sort it out to begin creating again.  I’m looking forward to getting going tomorrow…  I hope you and yours have had a blessed Christmas and I wish you a happy 2011!  Ciao!