Monday, May 28, 2012

Silky Bougainvillea - Silk Painting

I started to work on this a few weeks ago intending to paint it while I was demonstrating silk painting at Chemers gallery.  I put the resist on 3 silks and ended up working only on one - the clivias that I posted earlier this month.  Like that silk, I used a design that I have painted before (I didn't have much time to get things ready for the day) but I made changes that I think make this look entirely different.

The first time I painted it, I used very bright colors and a wrought iron design for the border as you can see below.  For this new one I painted a soft background, more delicate flowers and changed the border.  I also left some of the flowers out.  I think the new one looks more traditional.

I still have one more silk painting to finish that has the resist on it.  I'll probably work on that one this week since I'm trying to clean up my studio and the best way to do that is to finish some of my many unfinished projects.

Silky Bougainvillea
Image Size 13.5" x 24.5"
Silk dyes on silk

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Nice Award - National Orange Show

Last night I got some good news.  I had entered two paintings into the National Orange Show All-California Juried Art Exhibition in San Bernadino, CA.  Both were juried in and I was awarded third place for one of them in the Citrus category.  When I originally saw the prospectus for this show and saw that there was a citrus category I knew I had the perfect paintings to enter.  The paintings could be up to 5 years old which is unusual for an art competition.  Usually the requirement is that they must have been painted within two years.  Three years ago I painted a series titled "Paradise Lost", my statement about the over-building of Orange County.  The first two paintings in the series were my favorites and they are the paintings that I entered and were juried into the show.

Paradise Lost II is the one that received the award last night.  I was really happy because I've always liked this painting and have entered it into many shows where it has been rejected.  I was glad to have this one last chance for it to get some glory before it is retired from entering shows.

Paradise Lost II

And here is the other painting that was juried into the show.

Paradise Lost I
Paradise Lost I was awarded third place in Watercolor West in 2009.  This series has been good to me.  If you would like to see the other three paintings in the series, click here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

One of a Kind

Hmmm, what to say about this one?  I think the paper I used for this is Arches 140# cold press which is the paper I've always used the most but for some reason this seemed to react differently. I had a hard time getting my colors bright which is odd since I used a lot of yellow, orange and red.  The colors looked really bright while wet but faded so much when it dried and I had to keep adding layers and I would like it to be even brighter.  Maybe I'm just getting used to how beautiful and bright colors are when I use silk dyes on silk and the watercolors pale in comparison.

I think I will try painting a similar subject in another medium and see if I can turn up the heat.

I was playing around with the background and can't decide whether it is distracting or interesting.  What is your opinion?

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Traveling Chicken - Poolside

Here's the result of a fun project that Jill Polsby invited me to join.  Jill is a fellow artist whose blog I follow.  She and I have never actually met but like so many other fellow artist bloggers, I feel like I know her.  I think that someday we will meet in person because she lives only about an hour away.  I was happy that she thought of me to participate in this project.

This small ceramic chicken was purchased in England by Azra to use in one of her paintings.  She decided to offer it to other artists to paint and The Traveling Chicken was born.  This chicken has her own blog so you can keep up with her travels and see each artist's ideas for a painting using this ceramic dynamo.  You can sign up as a follower if you are on blogger or sign up to get e-mail updates as this world traveler is immortalized in each new city (or country).  I am the fourth artist to participate in this venture and I must say it was a lot of fun.

This was painted on 140# hot press Lanaquarelle.  The reason I picked this paper was because I had a few pieces left on a watercolor pad and it was the size I wanted to use - not the best reason to chose a paper.  I don't have anything against Lanaquarelle, I really don't like working on any 140# hot press paper.  It's very different than a cold press or rough paper because the paint sits on the surface more and when additional glazes of color are added, the previous layers are easily lifted which is frustrating to me because I like to use lots of layers of color and build up my darks.  It's also hard to get smooth washes on this paper.  The hot press paper that I really love is the Arches 300# hot press.  Wow! That is a wonderful paper.  It's the thickness of the paper that seems to make the difference.  It has a soft surface and the paint seems to settle into the paper better and it gives a beautiful end result to the painting.  Waterford's 200# hot press also seems to have that softer surface that allows the paint to settle better.

Anyway, this was a nice side project to get the artistic ideas flowing.  Thanks Jill.

The Traveling Chicken - Pool Side
Image Size - 6.5" x 9.5"

Saturday, May 12, 2012

ACEO - Spirit Island

I haven't done an ACEO for a long time but I got a notice from an e-bay group that I've been part of for a long time (but never participated in) about a photo challenge so I decided to try it.  One of the members, Leola, posted a photo and gave permission for everyone to use it.  I usually don't use someone else's photos for my paintings but it was a requirement for this challenge. 

ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals.  They are all 2.5" x 3.5" and are basically artist trading cards.  If you visit E-bay and search ACEO Originals, there are thousands of them up for bid.  I've sold a few of them in the past and it's fun to play in that arena - not profitable but still, it's always fun to follow an auction.  I've posted this one just to see what happens.

This is done mostly with colored pencil with a little bit of watercolor added.  The surface I used is Terraskin, which I've used a few times in the past with watercolor.  It's 80% stone dust and 20% resin.  It's very smooth so it's a great surface for colored pencil and this small format is also good for colored pencil as far as I'm concerned.  I don't usually have the patience to use that medium although I really admire artists that use colored pencil as their main medium.  Those larger drawings can take forever with it.   The Terraskin I used was very thin so I attached this to a mat board to give it some thickness and stability.

ACEO - Spirit Island
Image Size 2.5" x 3.5"
Colored Pencil and Watercolor

Monday, May 7, 2012


I was missing doing my fun watercolors so I did this painting.  I've been thinking of this concept for awhile but never took the time to actually draft it.  "Draft" is a good word because it is very structured.  I played with the perspective so that it would look like the piano keys were floating.  I hope that is the effect you see.  The background is many layers of glazes which finally gave me the depth of color I was trying to achieve.

Image size 11" x 30"
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