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!


  1. How gorgeous are you? I think you should finish the self portrait; it is really stunning. Love the eagle on the tile too. It has to feel so good to get your studio cleaned up. I always can't wait to do something when I get mine where I want it.

  2. Hi Sherry, I've been thinking of doing a self portrait lately but I won't be finishing this old one. My heart just wouldn't be in it and the method used for it was so time consuming it would drive me crazy. Also, the paper was not acid free and is discoloring so it would really be a waste of time.

  3. You did such an amazing job with your portrait, Nancy....I LOVE it and wish you would finish it. You're beautiful!!!!
    Also, I love how you finished the first painting..
    adding the darks in the water made such a difference in the painting..

  4. Thank you Hilda. It feels good to add to a painting and be happy with it. I have a few other paintings that I did of Lake Powell at the same time that I may adjust too.

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