Monday, February 27, 2017


Image size 8" x 12"
Mixed Media
We have a local art supply store that has classes and demos each month.  Last week I went to a demo for Akua printing inks.  I am not a printmaker, but had heard about these inks and wanted to learn more.  We were able to play with the supplies and we each made a mono print.  Once I got home I added to it with colored pencils.  I don't really need another medium, but I can see that printmaking could be a really fun artistic outlet.

Monday, February 20, 2017


Image Size 22" x 20"

Rondo is a beautiful town in Spain that is perched above a very deep gorge.  These buildings are right on the edge, which is so dramatic.  Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable being inside one of them, but this town has been around since the 15th century so I guess the buildings are not likely to fall off of the cliff.  Still, cliff dwelling is not for me.

The white buildings probably look too white to be that old, but in every town that I visited, I saw someone painting a building white.  The towns were so pristine!  I've never seen so many white buildings!

I drew this over 5 years ago and decided it was time to finish it.  The actual size of the painting is 22" x 30", but after painting it, I noticed that the tree was right in the middle of the painting.  I am usually aware of placing something in the middle, but it's amazing how many times I end up with a major element right in the middle, which is a no no.  I don't consider the tree to be that major, but because of the value contrast between that and the white buildings, that's what happened.  Below is the actual painting so you can see what I mean.

If this was painted on a canvas, I would be stuck with it, but since it's on paper, I can crop it to any size I want!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Big Sky

"Big Sky"
Image size 11" x 15"
The reference photo for this painting is from 2000.  We used to go to Big Sky, Montana at Christmas each year to ski.  I am not a skier, but I was content to sit by the fire with a good book and coffee (or wine).
I love the look of shadows on snow and wanted to try to paint a snow scene this week since it is winter.  I started this painting as a poured painting, but when I removed the resist that I had used to preserve my different values, most of the blue pigment came off.  I thought I was using Arches paper, but I don't think the pigment would have lifted off on that paper.  Paint sits on the surface more with some of the other brands and will lift too easily.  It wasn't a big deal to continue painting it in the traditional manner, but it does give a different effect.  At least the base color continues throughout the painting and gives it a cohesive look, which is one of the results that I love with poured paintings.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Metallic Motion

"Metallic Motion"
Image size 5.5" x 6.5"

I have some metallic leaf (not gold leaf) that I've had for years and never tried it in any paintings.  It is chopped up in a plastic bag and is a combination of colors - copper, burgundy, charcoal, gold - you get the picture.  

For this painting,  I placed my wood support (that had been gessoed) face down on the hot pancake griddle that I use as my palette.  The melted wax on my palette from previous paintings transferred onto the wood as would happen if you were making a mono print.  That mingled color became my background.  Then, I started adding the metal leaf.  I wasn't sure what would happen to it when I used my heat gun.  I was afraid that the heat would cause it to shrivel up, but it really didn't change at all.  I added some black and rust colored oil paint in certain areas as I continued to layer wax and metal leaf.  I also added clear shellac with white powdered pigment added.  I knew from past experience that my white mixture wouldn't catch on fire as nicely as plain shellac does, so I used a long lighter to heat each area of the white until it moved and took on the texture that I wanted.  I think my proportion of pigment powder to shellac is too heavy with pigment powder and not enough shellac for it to burn nicely.   I wanted the color to be very opaque, which is why I had the mixture heavy on  powder.  Next time, I'll add more clear shellac to my existing mixture and see if the white is still opaque enough and if it burns better.

The metallic element of this painting adds a nice texture.  The first layers that I applied have more wax covering them so they are less reflective, but having additional layers on top of each other adds different levels of shine and gives a real sense of dimension.

I'm looking forward to trying this on a larger painting.

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