This is the third painting from the weekend workshop. I was amazed at how much duller the reflection was relative to the brilliance of the orange! Given that blue is the compliment to orange [ie mixed together they would be dull greyish] I shouldn’t have been so surprised. I love painting glass and this was a good challenge for the last painting of the workshop. One more weekend of focusing on, and painting, what I see – not orange sections and a blue bottle! So fun!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
We continued our weekend workshop by setting up a simple little still life each. I chose an eggplant, which I thought would be simpler than my striated apple ;-). It was somewhat simpler but I found it fascinating that a great eggplant only reveals a little bit of it’s purple hide at a time! Of course the lighting is somewhat controllable with my nifty Home Depot clamp on trouble lamp. I set it up close to the left hand side of the eggplant and set to work. The reflections are amazing! They define the shape and the form, dulling and cooling gradually as they fall away from the light. Then you have the funny things – like the reflected red of the background fabric and the warmish white of my roll of paper towel sitting just out of sight on the right. Fascinating! I thought this was done but I’m going to set it up again tomorrow and see whether I got the right value in the shadow – I’m guessing I’m off by at least two… I learned SO MUCH this weekend. Cheers!
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This weekend I am lucky to be in a Calgary FCA workshop with accomplished painter Liz Wiltzen. We’re painting in oils and concentrated on value, color, and intensity today with several exercises. The goal of the workshop is to concentrate on observing these things carefully, putting down the “true” colors. Once that has been mastered, an artist can move on to their chosen path wherever they want to be on the realism --- abstraction spectrum.
For the last 90 minutes we worked up our own small [6”x8”] still life. I brought an apple that was striated red/green – what a nasty thing that was to paint! The color was difficult due to the complimentary nature of red/green. Every time I made a stroke it changed EVERYTHING! I was reasonably happy with the way it turned out despite running out of time. The background color was challenging and I’ve made it just a tad too cool in the painting. More practice tomorrow. Have a great weekend!
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I had another go at this self-portrait today. I used the same canvas but set up the lights differently this time so that I could eliminate that awful shadow from my glasses. I also worked at restating the neck, which had been too short [for me] and decided to attempt a more cheerful, less concentrated and grumpy, expression. I like it better now although it might be a bit too yellow still. It’s better than looking bruised as I did on May 16th. Here’s the before picture so you can see the difference. Cheerio!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
I just had to get out of this house today… packing and reorganizing seems to be the theme at our place right now. It’s been inspiring to reorganize my art room and find all kinds of ideas that I’ve jotted. All are now safely stored away in a much more organized fashion. My art accounts and invoices are also. Phew!
So, to reward myself for all that hard work I grabbed my gear and headed to the park on the ridge in the community of Tuscany. Set up is so fast with my BestBrella and my Alla Prima pochade box. I was looking west towards the Rockies and the clouds were rolling towards me. I expected rain before I finished so I was hustling to get started. That’s when I discovered that, although I remembered the all important mosquito repellant, I’d left my medium pots at home. No walnut oil nor thinner to help with paint control. Too late for that – I sketched in quick and grabbed my palette knives. Consequently, this painting is thick. I basically slathered the paint on with my knifes and used a bristle brush on most of the sky – it was amazing how fast those clouds were moving! But, the distinct line of dark was constant like this for a long time. It didn’t rain on me but it certainly was raining at Springbank Airport. Eventually the wind picked up enough that I had to collapse my umbrella but I kind of like this painting – LOVE painting with the knives [loved the sale at Curry’s too]!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I painted this on Monday at my oil class… just me, a mirror, and 5 colors of paint. The overhead light is not attractive – the shadow of my glasses is quite awful but the exercise was to paint the shapes and values that one sees. I think I kind of got a likeness at least and the light/dark areas on the mouth and chin are definitely working to describe the contours of my face. Cheers!
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
This scene repeats itself over and over again all along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I had a bunch of paint left on my palette at the end of my painting session yesterday… second day for some of it and I needed to clean it up and resqueeze for next painting session. I used my palette knife throughout this painting.
Here's a question for my oil painting friends...
You’re invited to the FCA Calgary spring 2011 show “Absolutely Art”, This Saturday from 10am – 4pm. I have four pieces in this show and my first ever Honorable Mention for Lift My Eyes. I’ve included a preview of my pieces and prices below. There will be ~100 pieces of quality, juried art in this show – come one, come all!
Lift My Eyes, Acrylic on 36”x24”x2” gallery wrapped canvas. Sides are painted so it can be hung as is or framed. $800
Farming 101, Acrylic on 18”x24”x2” gallery wrapped canvas. Sides are painted so it can be hung as is or framed. $425
Counting Sheaves, Acrylic on 14”x18” canvas. Framed in matte black. $250
Royalty, Watercolor, 10”x10” matted and framed in German Silver. $190
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I did this little still life on the deck today. The deck has the added advantage of a big umbrella and lots of space to spread out the junk. It also royally ticks off the neighbor’s dog who barked 50% of the time I was painting. Just another uncontrollable to practice blocking out if I want to learn to plein air paint.
I also say “little” still life sarcastically b/c I bought a bunch of 9”x12” panels and that’s all I have right now. Hmmm, there are some really good reasons plein air painters use tiny canvasses. I will be rectifying the situation asap. But, it was gorgeous today and I was outside. So, it’s all good… cheers!
Monday, May 9, 2011
I made it out into the fresh air today to paint. I chose Bowness Park as it’s close to home in case I forgot anything and dog friendly. Farley enjoyed about 10 minutes of the 2.5 hour session and then he was cold. Lesson learned. He stays home.
This was a fight to the finish. I spotted this last little bit of snow hiding behind some trees. The was a nice, sunny path above and a bare stick forest behind. This is on a north exposure so nothing has budded up there yet. Sad really. But the light promises so much warmth to come. I think I learned a few things on this one… at least I hope so. I used far less white and found that helped to not kill the colors. It was fun. Might be a scrape tomorrow though. Cheers!
Friday, May 6, 2011
This is the view northwest toward Bearspaw reservoir from my deck. Weather rumbles up the Bow River valley so it’s a great spot to watch active weather year round. The weather was beautiful this morning but I had appointments. I scanned for a decent plein air view as I returned from my errands. When I saw the clouds rolling in I hustled home and set up to paint. By then the sky looked completely different, of course! I used a baltic birch panel sealed with amber shellac [but that process is another story!]… it feels completely different than the canvas I’ve been using. I found I needed to add more walnut oil to make the paint adhere. Interesting… just one more tiny step up the learning curve… Cheers!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
My plein air plans have been put off for a few days while I rest up after a little spring cold. So, rather than sitting out another day on the sidelines, I set up a little still life and played with my plein air gear inside.
I took a few photos through the process. Those of you that are more experienced with oils are welcome to chime in with pointers as you see the things I’m struggling with.
This first sketch and layer… I struggled, as usual, with the composition at the drawing stage. It’s my weak point.. I miss painting on paper some days – canvas panels like this take the “cropping” options away. I struggled with the closest egg shell, getting it wrong from the get go.
After establishing the shadow areas in the darker blue/grey, I move on to dropping in some mids [and leap to highlights – too soon!]. My eggs are quite scrambled at this point.
Below, I’m still working on both the darks and the lights… just oilier. I’ve caught on to the drawing mistake re the spoon handle and fixed that so I’m starting to feel the form of the spoon. I wrap it with a bit more finesse on the bowl of the spoon. Cheers!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The mixed media class I attended all year wound up this past Monday. Sharon Williams instructed this all year class for the past 3 years and her water media all year classes for many more. In future she will be offering classes of shorter duration and workshop format.
I’ve been part of Sharon’s classes since September 2005. I’m sorry to have missed Monday’s class [conflict with my oil painting class] but this poem written by my classmate and friend, Sally Hodges, sums up Sharon’s impact on her students.
An artist sat on a folding chair,
She held her paintbrush in the air.
“What would happen if?” she said,
And thought of the message on her fore-head.
“Repetition with Var-i-ety”
“This way I’ll find out what might be”
She said, never needing herself to coax
As she set to work with new, bold strokes.
“I’m gonna keep loose and take a risk”
Never had art seen one so brisk –
This lady was fast! This lady had powers!
And she painted on for hours and hours.
Now this artist took on lots of folks
Teaching them what was real and what a hoax.
She passed on her knowledge. She shared her skill
And taught that art needs people’s… will.
Her passion was contagious , her eye very sharp,
On the less than good she did not harp!
“We’re going to play the Waldo Game”.
So she mixed up quins and her favourite blue,
“Looking for the colours is what you do”.
“Now if you are stuck you simply say
‘What do I like, or not, today?
What do I need to leave or change?
Believe that you know how to gauge.
You can fix and change and choose
No rules of never, so there’s nothing to lose”
So her students worked ‘til they all could say
“How cool is that!”…like their teacher one day.
Sharon, You taught me a lot of things about art, among the most important was to accept constructive criticism. That sounds like something that should have been in me already but, alas, I missed that part of my childhood education. Assigning homework, and critiquing the results allows you to gauge where each student is. Their response to critique gives you more information about how to help them [or not]. THAT is why I've learned so much under your tutelage. I've taken several other classes and no other teacher has bothered to take those risks consistently, thus I haven't learned how they think and, consequently, how I should approach critiquing my own work. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I count myself fortunate to have such a mentor and friend,
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday’s art class was the last of our still life exercises. It’s interesting to try out new painting methods, especially when I don’t really even have the feel of the oils yet. In short, the method used was:
- sketch big shapes in composition with very dry neutral
- loosely scratch in the darkest shadow shapes using either a)the same dark neutral above OR b) the darkest local color. Method b) would help if further layers were getting too muddy for us.
- move up to the mid value shapes and continue to loosely scratch those in. “Scratch” isn’t a technical word… it just helps me to remember what it’s supposed to sound like when the brush is applied to the canvas… dry and scratchy at this point. That means the paint is dry enough and you’re applying it thinly enough. Also, you’re painting PLANES not PETALS in this step – think geometry… circle, triangles, square, rectangle, trapezoid… [etc yawn]. Thinking flowers, petals, and vases will be counterproductive at this point.
- getting lighter, tighter and oilier, stroke a few petal type shapes “as if you’re petting a bug”. The higher oil content allows the paint to exit the brush without disturbing the wet layers beneath. Make only enough marks to say flower or vase or whatever.. don’t overstate.
- now it’s time for some background… I painted the drapery and the wall [including shadows] loosely and quickly.
- Assess… are more highlights needed? With the background done one can see the overall effect and make this decision. I added several highlights at this point.
I’m loving this medium!
Monday, May 2, 2011
The lifelines in this first painting were created with loops of yarn soaked in encaustic paint and collaged on to the board. I built the hills out of some extra chunks of colorful wax laying around on the table. The silver lifesaver is glass, from Michael’s and a discard from my jewelry pile.
This one came about as a result of the pattern in the initial application of clear wax. The lines suggested tree trunks to me and I proceeded with that in mind. Hmmm… no plan is not the best way for me to work!
This one began with the collage piece I made printing a public domain image onto fabric using Golden’s digital ground. After I collaged the image on I added embroidery thread as a type of frame around it. As I did this the redhead began to disappear under all that opaque wax. I heated the area and picked up the excess wax with my brush – easy! I love that part of this board. I used a lot of fabric in the figure’s face and collar. On the lower left I painted encaustic through a thick lace piece which made a deep ridge pattern when pulled out of the cooling wax. It left behind some orange paint which worked pretty well with the red of her hair.
This was a great experience for me. I now understand some of the strengths and weaknesses of encaustic as a medium. I’m not excited enough to go out and purchase the gear to paint encaustic though… I’m back to my oil painting class today and that’s really where my heart is right now. Cheers!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I attended a fun encaustic workshop hosted by the Calgary FCA and instructed by Ken Bourassa on Saturday. Ken began with an overview of the basics of encaustic art – painting and/or sculpture. I found a website – All Things Encaustic -with much of that basic information. Ken is more of a purist than this site. He mixes the beeswax with powdered pigment rather than using oil paint as described on All Things Encaustic.
It was fun to see some of the things that can be done with wax and pigment. We used pucks of paint that Ken made up for the class, melted them in foil tins on large flat griddles, and used cheap bristle brushes to paint on 1/4” hardboard. It sets up very quickly when it hits the board! Working quickly is your only option. We shared an iron and two heat guns to “fuse” the wax into the board and the various layers to each other. When we got a chance, we also used the heat guns to melt wax on the board so that we could move the paint around. I found the layers built up quickly and the wax is fairly opaque. At one point I heated an area and pushed several layers off of a collage element… it’s very flexible.
Here are two of the pieces I started yesterday… finishing them could be problematic since I have none of the equipment.
This one is a simple landscape with no collage elements and very little reheating. Lots of brush stroke remain in the paint – I love that! This was the last painting I did… it took about 10 minutes and I feel that, at least in the sky, I was just beginning to get a handle on mixing the colors to get decent neutrals and the grey in the sky is the result…
I used several methods in this painting. First of all I collaged some a paper napkin onto the board with clear wax… then I picked up a flat lump of encaustic paint left by previous workshoppers – about 8” long, 2” wide and 1/4” thick and glued it onto the board with clear wax. Then I used a heat gun for quite a while, remelting the wax in that thick lump and moving the board around to get the wax to flow. Another chunk of wax looked very much like a white figure with a smaller figure beside it. I used scissors to cut out a white head from the waste wax and melted it on to the figure. The smaller figure is painted as is some of the bottom and the top left. Fun stuff.