Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
oil on linen
It's been quite a while since I started and finished a painting in one day. I forgot how gratifying it feels. There are a few more bugs in the works, but I began feeling like I was painting myself into a subject matter corner, so I thought I'd just dive in and paint a cup.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
oil on canvas
This commission was done at least 3 years ago. I am gratefully very busy this week and wanted to post today, so meet Penny.
I remember feeling very out of control when I did this particular portrait. When I started painting pet portraits, I felt compelled to finish a portrait a week—I guess due to the insane deadlines from my previous career—and as a result the work did not turn out the way I would have liked. At that time, I hadn't a clue how to use oil paint and started my work day by squeezing out a blob of color from every tube of paint I had in the studio! I'd then thin the paint—as I worked—by dipping my brush in turp substitute and try to cajole it into a workable consistency. The result was too thin paint that would dry dull and transparent by the next morning. Some of that is evident here.
When it dawned on me that perhaps there might be a better way, I Googled and found The Carder Method. It's a great tool for beginners and professionals alike, and offers a complete course in still life painting, but I was mainly interested in the mixing, storing and using of oil paint and this was just what I was looking for.
With a few changes to suit my needs, my experience with oil paint went from weird to great virtually overnight! I now use very few colors—burnt umber, Frenchmarine blue, red, yellow and white in air-tight canning jars, thinned to a luxurious texture with Delq Oil Painting Medium for my work. I dole out generous portions of those colors with inexpensive tongue depressors, into a large, rectangular shaped, air-tight plastic container lined with a few sheets of taped, cut to size palate paper. When I work, I mix the colors from the air-tight container, onto a large serving tray with die-cut handles, also lined with taped sheets of cut to size palate paper. I then compare the color I mixed to my subject matter or reference using the patented color checker included in the Carder Method and I'm off.
This process has saved my sanity, my time and lots and lots of paint. I store the air-tight container in the fridge when I'm done and the colors stay moist and skin-free for at least two weeks. I change the mixing tray sheets as needed by just untaping the used layer, carefully peeling it up and re-taping the layer underneath. Now, if I could just get my brushes to wash themselves, I'd be set. If anyone knows how to keep brushes plush and usable for more than two weeks, please don't hold back! On his DVD, Jeffery Hein mentioned that he stores his brushes in mineral oil and rarely cleans them. I'm tryin' that next.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
oil on linen
Have you ever fallen in public? We all know, as long as nothing is irreparably damaged, our pride is more bruised than anything else. You feel yourself losing control for whatever reason, you try to correct, but it's too late...you're goin' down. Thud!
In my last year of junior high school, I was, much to my surprise, gleefully accepted into what I considered to be a very cool clique. The leader of the pack was exactly what I wanted to be. I was thrilled. We all had lunch together, traveled the hallways as a group, and enjoyed what we considered to be very witty repartee. I thought I was in heaven. They liked me...they really liked me!
Then, without warning, it happened. One day someone slipped the head honcho's little chair out from under her as she went to sit down. Thud! Her face turned crimson as arms and legs flailed to regain control. I was completely clueless and had never been in a situation like that and without even thinking, I began to laugh...uncontrollably.
As you might well imagine, I was instantly banished. It's amazing what can happen when the one in charge hands down an edict. It was as if I'd never existed not 10 minutes after the incident. One member of the group, in secret, apologized for not being able to speak to me again, but she was determined not to suffer my fate, and she too turned her back on the outcast. I was very careful, from that point on, not to ever laugh when someone fell and I guess that's a good thing.
That said, I'm having the best time with these freakin' bugs!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
oil on canvas
I knew at some point I'd have to get back to still life and give the bugs a rest, but I have to say the excitement level isn't nearly as high. I started this months ago, right before I got bugged. I finished it today because my current bug painting is still in progress, I haven't posted in days, and I'm under strict orders from himself to do so. As usual I'm not the least bit pleased, but what else is new?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
oil on linen
These are my favorite bugs to paint...I think. So colorful and interesting, standing still and moving at the same time.
Does the end of the canvas represent the End? Do we paint different scenes for ourselves until we finally run out of canvas? And, if so, how big is our brush and what color paint are we using? Do we use broad strokes or lots of single small ones? Does our canvas hang in a museum, a gallery, on someone's wall or does it sit, untouched on our easel?
I love this size canvas, however it is a chore to photograph! We're in talks about a new camera with more mega pixels I think they're called, which should make for higher resolution postings. The copy board is in storage. I need to find a way to make it work though, himself is not at all happy about the cobwebs that have happily taken up residence on it.
Monday, June 8, 2009
oil on linen
I guess it was inevitable wasn't?
I'm beginning to get comfortable enough with oil to play around with it. (Apparently I'm still intimidated by it, it's been five years now.) I painted a light coat of the color I wanted for the wings and then wiped it off with a paper towel and what was left was a nice transparent feel. I also took the liberty of giving them all a bit more fur so they'd chub up and look fuzzy and, well, more cute. Ouch! Perhaps I meant more delightful...fetching?
Friday, June 5, 2009
pencil on paper
I should tidy closets more often. You know all those drawing journals that you buy constantly, because this time, you're going to keep that promise and draw constantly? You know, the ones you buy because this cover is a lot cooler than the covers on the other forty-five sketchbooks you bought? Well I found one of those forgotten promises when I cleaned out the closet earlier this week and in it was this. Unfinished, untidy, but I like it so I'm posting.
A little note on a mini-ephiphany I had this morning while reading. Has nothing to do with the drawing by the way.
Like most couples, we do the "I'm right, you're wrong" tango, probably a lot more than we'd like to admit. I'm sure I'm right, even tho' I follow most proclamations with a patronizing... "but, I could be wrong," just to cover my butt. And himself? Well, he is always right. Period. So, this morning, I looked up from my book and saw into the adjoining bathroom, that he'd again cranked the skylight to the very limit to get every last breeze of fresh air in. Makes sense, however, I'd asked him not to go to the very last crank because it was feeling a tad "hinky" to me and I don't want the handle to come off in my hand one day. Looking at the skylight, yawning it's widest, I actually heard myself think..."well, when it breaks and it can't be opened, then he'll see!!" Hmmm. So, basically, I'm willing to have to deal with an expensive repair and all the inconvenience that involves, just to be proven right. Bummer.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
pencil on paper
Still working on the latest bug incarnation and really havin' fun with the concept. I want to be patient and not post any painting before its time, but we know how well I do with that. So, I thought I'd post some pencil sketches in the meantime to keep "little suz" pacified. Sulking, whining, a lot of heavy sighing, not at all pretty.
We sometimes gather magazines and just draw faces at night while glued to the tube. Makes us feel a little less like Brad Pitt's character in True Romance. Speaking of movies (nice segue suz) I believe this is Tim Burton. A fan yes, but not enough to draw his countenance on my free time. I just liked the reflection on his specs.
Pastel on Wallis paper
I met Jessa through my blog a few months ago. She left a comment on one of my bug paintings and invited me to check out her work. I did and was awe struck by her paintings and the atmosphere at Projectinsect.com! Her work is incredible! She is a live performance painter, working on enormous canvasses, creating microscopic details of insects while balancing from a ladder in front of an audience! And, as you can see the results are spectacular. I wanted to share her work with you and she was kind enough to grant me permission to include one of her paintings in my blog.
Jessa and her husband James Huebing-Reitinger, also an artist and educator, travel around the country and educate the general public on the science of entomology, ecosystem preservation, and global conservation through the mediums of live performance, visual fine arts, scientific approach and interactive activities. Pay a visit to their site, www.projectinsect.com, it's a feast for the eyes and quite a field trip for the little gray cells. And thank you both for your incredible work and generosity.