Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunflower Trio on TerraSkin

Each Friday, I try to get together with a dear friend who has been an artist for most of her 80 years.  Sometimes we paint, sometimes we just talk but we always have a good time and always enjoy a good lunch.  This past week, we painted.  I picked up some fresh sunflowers and we each did our artistic interpretation of them.  I took over a couple of pieces of TerraSkin for us to use.  My friend is a very loose painter, which I've always admired, so she didn't need to use TerraSkin to paint in an impressionistic way but it sure helped me.  This is really loose for me!

I just love TerraSkin (as I've told you before many times) but it's been awhile since I've used it.  No reason really - just too many other fun projects stealing my time.

And......My studio is FINALLY clean.  It feels so good to be able to work and know that everything is where it belongs and that I won't be wasting time looking for things when I need them.  I'm excited to start new works in my clean, uncluttered space.

Sunflower Trio on TerraSkin
Image Size 8" x 10"
Watercolor on TerraSkin

Monday, August 19, 2013

All Alone

I really love the photo that I used as a reference for this painting.  I've used it before and will keep using it until I get just the right feeling.  I've painted it in oil twice.  The two paintings look very different and neither one resembles the photo but that's okay.  Each time I paint it, I'm in a different frame of mind and I think it's pretty cool that I can use the same photo over and over with totally different results.  In the photo, the day is overcast and the colors are muted.

All Alone
Image Size 12" x 6"

Here is the first one I painted from the photo:
I used a lot of artistic license with this one.  The latest painting is much closer to the actual photo.  For the painting above, I just plucked the tree out of the photo and added the vineyard and put it on a hill and I made it a sunny, cloudless day.  The tree doesn't even really look like the one in the photo.  I guess the tree was just an inspiration and I didn't really use the photo very much but it was a jumping off point.

Lone Tree
Image Size 6" x 6"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rocky Point II

Back in the 90's we went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  When we were docked in Barbados,  we asked a taxi driver to take us to the nicest hotel where we could spend the day.  He took us to "The Crane" in Crane's bay.  The hotel sat on a cliff and had such a charming atmosphere, relaxing pool area, and an old stone walkway down to the beach.  I've painted that before and plan to paint more from my reference photos of this area.  This scene was at the opposite end of the bay from the hotel.  I love that clear turquoise water of the Caribbean.  Someday, I would love to re-visit this spot but for now, I'll do it with my paintings.

I'm STILL cleaning my studio!  What a mess it was.  Half of it is done and the second half will be easier so I'm hopeful that this week it will be done.  I can't wait until it is finished and I will NEVER let it get so messy again!  This painting was an unfinished project that I finished this week so that is one less unfinished project out in the studio.  Only umpteen more to go......

Rocky Point II
Image Size 6" x 12"

Oh, here is the painting that I did of the stone walkway to the beach at Crane's Bay:

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Lot of Old Stuff

I've been doing some major spring cleaning in my studio.  Yes, I know it isn't Spring but in my usual fashion, I've procrastinated until the middle of Summer.  Since my studio is a disaster right now, I didn't have any flat surface (or easel) to use for my weekly painting.  Fortunately, I have one that I re-did a few weeks ago that I think should count.

This is a painting that I did in the late '90's and I liked most of it but there were some areas that bothered me.  Our son wanted it and I couldn't get myself to frame it the way it was so I did a little more work on parts of it.  Here is the new version...

And here is the 'before' version...
The rocks looked like they were floating at the waterline so I darkened them along with some of the water and the rock on the left in the foreground.  I left the sky and the upper rocks alone because I thought they looked okay.  It looks really nice framed and I'm glad that I won't have to cringe every time I see it when we visit our son.

As I was cleaning, I found some old, old projects.  This one cracks me up!
Yes, it's one of my unfinished projects and I can guarantee that it will remain that way.
Here is the reference photo:
Have you ever seen a sadder face?  This was taken when I was 18 and this project was for my art class my senior year.  Even though it was a long (LONG) time ago, I still remember that when my teacher was taking the picture, I was thinking, "Don't smile, you'll have to draw teeth if you do"!

I loved my high school art teacher.  He had such a creative energy and motivated all of us to try new things.  I'm assuming that this was an extra credit project since it's unfinished.  I was a bit of a nerd and always got mad at myself if I didn't get A's so if it was a required project, it would have been finished.  Obviously, I've had many years of practice not finishing projects.  That's probably why I'm so good at it.  : )

We drew a grid on the photo as well as on the paper to transfer the image.  I think this was done on Bristol paper because it has a very smooth surface.  We used all of the different pencils from 6H to 6B to get the different values.  We looked at the shapes rather that seeing it as a face which made it easier to draw.  This was all drawn using very small circular motions.  It took forever!

Here are two more projects that I found during my cleaning.  They were done in the late '80's using china paints on glazed tiles.  After each layer of paint, they were fired in a kiln to make the paints permanent.  It took many firings in order to get the depth of color.  China paints are dry pigment mixed with oil and the tile surface is slick so it was hard to get the color dark enough in the beginning because when I would try to add more color, it lifted the color that I had already painted.  It's not impossible to build up the color without firing each layer but it was impossible for me.
It's still going to take at least a few more days to get my studio the way I want it.  I've torn everything apart and am cleaning from top to bottom like it's never been cleaned.  I was getting so distracted trying to find things while I was painting because I wasn't putting things away when I was finished with them. I have soooooo much stuff out there that I found I was wasting a lot of time looking for the supplies that I needed.  It was getting so bad out there, I was afraid that someone was going to submit my name for that show"Hoarding; Buried Alive"!
Okay, I admit that when it comes to art supplies and fabric I do have some hoarding tendencies but I really do use the stuff that I save.  Our daughter loves it when she has a project to do and finds out that I have ALL of the supplies that she needs - some of them from when she was 5 years old.  She's 26 now so that tells you how long I keep things.

Along with the art supplies, I had a lot of tools stored out there from when I used to do a lot of fix-it projects around the house.  Because of that, in my mind, the space was more of a workshop than an art studio.  I decided that it was time to change my view and get all of the woodworking tools out of there, clean it up, and have a pristine art studio.  Well, pristine except for all of the unfinished projects and hoarded art supplies.  I'm about a third of the way done and I'm very excited with how it is looking.  My friends that come over to paint each month are going to be SHOCKED!!!!  I'm hoping that when it is done, I will be able to focus on my projects and have more time to work on them since I won't be searching through the mess for what I need.

Wish me luck!
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