Sunday, July 31, 2011

After The Storm - Pastels

I wanted to get in one more submission for the Virtual Paintout in Jersey this month and since it is an island, I wanted to do one that showed at least a little of the ocean.  I was really attracted to this dramatic sky.  I found it and went to the studio to paint it but it disappeared from my computer and it was hard to find again.  I went all of the way around the island thinking that it would be really easy to find this sky but with Google you can have sunny skies, travel 20 feet and have a sky like this.  Crazy!  Anyway, I finally found it and this time I sent the link to my e-mail so I wouldn't lose it again.

I thought that using pastels would be the best way to capture the look that I wanted with the sky.  I love how dark and ominous the sky is on the left and the blue sky peeking through on the right.  We don't often get dramatics skies like this here so it's fun to find it in Google to paint.

After The Storm
Image Size 6" x 9"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nicholas Simmons' Workshop

Last week I was lucky to take Nicholas Simmons' "Watercolor Unleashed" workshop in Idyllwild, CA.  For 3 days we got to experiment with watercolors and acrylics used thinly as watercolor.  It's amazing how many different results you can get by combining the two.  Here is my first demo piece using only acrylics.
Nick gave us reference pages of chinese writing, the Geisha and bamboo leaves and we were to come up with a composition using all three.  He showed us several fun techniques and the day flew by.  And no, I don't know what the writing says - I hope it's nothing bad.  This group of lettering just fit my paper the best and I really liked the shape of that top letter.

Our other project was done by copying a picture of a photo that he had abstracted and we used both transparent watercolor and thinned acrylics.  By using the combination of both, we were able to employ different techniques and get very cool results.  Here's the painting:
Because we were all using the same reference photo, there are about 15 versions of this floating around California but each one has a different look as each artist put their own spin on it.

This was such an informative workshop and so much fun.  I can't wait to try these techniques some more.  I was not really successful with a couple of them so I'm anxious to try again.

I had watched Nick's video before and learned so much from it that I didn't think I needed to take the workshop but I'm so glad I did because I learned so much more by having hands on practice with Nick giving feedback and that is something you can't get from a video.  If you ever have the chance to take one of his workshops, I would highly recommend it.  If not, get his video.  He's an amazing artist, has a unique contemporary painting style and is very generous in sharing his techniques.  He's also a really nice guy and kept us entertained with lots of stories.  Check out his website and you'll see how crazy creative his paintings are.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nature's Fury - Watercolor

I had a lot of fun with this one.  This is another piece of that handmade paper that has the beautiful deckle edge.  I love this shape and the deckle edge adds an interesting little extra something to it.  I had to seal the paper because it has no sizing in it.  Once it's sealed, the paint sits on the surface of the paper. It's a different way of painting than on a regular piece of watercolor paper but it's really a fun change.

I wanted this to portray the energy and force of water as well as how dangerous it can be.  I think this painting shows the energy and force but maybe the colors are too pure and pretty to convey any sense of danger.  You know me and my love for pure colors.  I guess if I'd used blues with more gray and other dull colors that would have given it a more dangerous feeling but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun to paint.

Nature's Fury
Image Size 21" Diameter

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jersey Shore

This is another painting for the Virtual Paintout challenge on the island of Jersey.  This one is a palette knife painting done with oils.

Jersey Shore
Image size 6" x 6"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fig Trio

I was so excited this past week to find out that we have a purple fig tree in our back yard!  I know it seems like that's something I should have known.  The back corner of our yard has a lot of trees and shrubs and I rarely go back there.  Of course I knew that there was a fig tree there (it's about 20 feet tall so it's been there a long time and is hard to miss).  It's one of many trees that the local birds decided to plant for us.  I guess they thought our landscaping style could use some help.

We have another fig tree that they planted in the middle of our yard that I really like.  It's got a beautiful shape and I love the way the leaves look (on the tree and in flower arrangements) so that's why it gets to stay.   Unfortunately, I don't like the taste of the fruit.  It is a green fig tree and I thought that I was picking them too early or too late but maybe I just don't like figs.

Seeing that we also have a purple fig tree made me happy because I thought that surely they would taste better.  Everyone has told me how good the purple ones taste.  I always assumed that the tree in the corner was also a green fig tree because I  had never looked at it when the fruit was ripe.  When I saw that they were purple, I couldn't wait to taste them and also paint them.

Well... they were fun to paint and I really like the shapes of the figs but they taste worse than the green ones!  My friend that loves figs was over yesterday and she tasted one and also said it was terrible so it's not just me.  Why couldn't the birds plant a fig tree that makes good tasting fruit?  At least they are pretty for painting although I think I like the look of the contrast between the inside and outside of the green ones better.

This is a palette knife painting on a 6" x 6" panel.  I really like the look of this size and shape of painting and how they look in the floater frames with the painting mounted to the front so that none of it is covered.  I wanted to be a little different with this one so I painted it rotated 45 degrees and it will hang this way.  Here's how it looks in the frame:
 Fig Trio
Image size 6" x 6"
Oil on canvas board

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jersey Cottage - Watercolor

This month's location for the Virtual Paintout is Jersey.  When I first read the post, I thought Bill was just being cool and referring to New Jersey as "Jersey".  I hate to admit my geographical ignorance but I'd never heard of the island of Jersey.  I DO know that New Jersey is NOT an island so I was eager to see where Jersey is located.  It is close to the French coast and is one of the Channel Islands.  It's a very beautiful, charming island and I hope to do one or two more paintings to submit to this month's challenge  before July is over.

Jersey Cottage
Image Size 9" x 12"

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Question - Oil Painting

I painted this as a gift for my friend's son and his new bride.  He is also friends with our daughter and he is the first of her high school group to get married.  The wedding was this last Saturday and was so beautiful.  It was held in a vineyard in Temecula.  It felt so strange to see him standing up there getting married.  I still think of him as a kid even though he is now a young adult.  I know that others in their group will be following his lead soon but I wish they would wait because it really makes me feel old.  Geez, what's next....babies????  I'm too young for this next generation business.

On their wedding website, they posted the photo that I used for this painting.  According to the caption on the photo, 'dead ahead' is where he 'popped the question' in Peter's Canyon.  I always hesitate to foist one of my paintings on someone unless I know that they like that specific painting because art is so personal and subjective.  However, I wanted to give them something that would be personal because their entire family is very special to us.  I hope this reminds them of that special day when they committed to becoming husband and wife.

The Question
Image Size 6" x 6"
Oil - Palette knife painting
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