Sunday, May 27, 2012

OK, I'm Getting Somewhere!

                                                                                                     acrylic, 6x6"

Now with this one, I'm getting closer to how I want my paintings to look.  I painted this today, all by myself (so far, could change when I take it to class).   It's not perfect, it needs some touch-up, but I'm getting somewhere now.  I meant to paint this larger but started blocking in three small ones as studies, all with different undercolors to see if different colors made a difference.  I ended up getting carried away with one of them--to the finish.  Actually, this may not be finished.  I'll bring it to class on Wednesday and see if Lorelle thinks it needs anything.

Truth be told, this one looks better in person, at least compared to how it looks on my monitor.  I wish I knew how it looked on your monitors....

Now I'll need to start another painting tomorrow so I'll have something to work on in class on Wednesday.  I don't want to waste time in class starting one from the beginning.  I can do the planning, drawing, underpainting, and taking it as far as I can on my own.  Then I can get help finishing in class!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend-- it is absolutely beautiful (but HOT) here.  I'm off to go swimming!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Needed Highlights!

Today was my Shadow and Light class with Lorelle Bacon, and we fixed up the painting from the last blog post, because I thought it looked dreary and needed something.  For the first time,  I will show you the painting at the end of a blog post. You have to wait.  I want to tell you a couple of things before I show the painting.  Because  I am very excited about all that I learned today.  I think until now I have had a tendency to avoid making the lights light enough.  I've read that a lot of art students have more trouble with getting the darks dark enough, but for me, I believe it has been the opposite.   Hopefully lesson learned.

By the way, if you were playing "Choose that Crop" in the last post, I am happy to report Lorelle told me to keep the crop as originally painted, or "A." 

Lorelle is a very good teacher.  You can navigate to her site by clicking on her name on the right site of this blog.  Check out her workshops and classes if you are local!  I am so glad I took this class.  Only one week left, how sad....  I know I have been very spoiled getting Lorelle all to myself for these sessions.

Since I finished this painting in class with Lorelle's help, I have to consider it to be the work of both of us.  She helped me a LOT with those highlights, including painting on the painting a few times to show me something (e.g. how to soften an edge). 

Okay, okay, here is the painting.  This photograph was taken right in the classroom, without benefit of a tripod.  Also, as you can see at the top, it was still on the easel.  I'll get a better picture in the studio at some point, but I did want to show you this update tonight.  Often I think the photos cause my paintings to look better than they deserve, but this time I honestly think the painting looks better than the photo.

                                                                           acrylic, 16x20"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A New Direction (or "choose your favorite crop")

                                                                                                         acrylic, 16x20"

Here is my first try since I decided to paint people.  I am, incidentally, also wanting to paint larger.  The former requires me to paint from photographs at this time, the latter allows me to swing my arm instead of just moving my wrist (and sometimes just my finger joints).  I imagine I will paint more still lifes, also, but for now, figurative work is calling me.  

In order to paint larger, I painted on paper, which causes some challenges with the paint.  I don't have any large boards to paint on right now, so I'll continue to use the paper till used up.

I know it's not the greatest painting, but I decided to show it, because it's the start of a new season in my art.  I was just telling a friend today that I wished I had blogged my entire art journey, starting six years ago or so.  I thought of that conversation and decided there would be value in showing this painting.

Ok, so I recognize the painting is sloppy, which I don't really mind, but the bench should probably be touched up so that parts of the background trees don't overlap the bench!  Also, the glow coming from the red of the left lower bench leg and that other red in the lower left of the painting doesn't look so glowing in the original, so must be an artifact of the photograph.  If I had it to do over again (which I may), I would not have toned this paper with red first.  I was fighting the red the whole time.  I don't know what else the painting needs.  I don't know if I am finished, actually.

I've been messing around with some crops.  Please let me know which you think is the best option.  The one at the top of this post is Option A (the original as painted).  Here are your other options:

                                          Option B - Raises the bottom

                                           Option C - Moves the right side closer to her

                                         Option D - Moves the bottom up and right closer in

                                         Option E squares it up (sort of)

Thank you for your participation in Crop-a-Rama.  I will also bring the original to paint class this week and see what Lorelle thinks. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sunrise Landscape from December

                                                                                                    acrylic, larger than usual

I think my mother would like to see another landscape.  This one was painted on a canvas board, which I rarely do (I paint on archival hardboards) and is no longer in my possession, so I can't measure it.  It may be around 16x20."  It was painted from a photo that I took in my neighborhood.

Here is what it looked like framed (the frame was straight, it's the photo that's crooked):

As an aside, I know a wonderful woman who lost her home and most of her pets in a house fire, caused by a piece of paper falling on a power strip.  Please, everyone, be careful about your power strips/surge protectors!

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Do I Really Want to Paint?

                                                                                                       acrylic 5x7"

I painted and am writing this on Mother's Day, but this will be posted on Monday.  I already had a post today.  I need one for tomorrow.   Not the greatest painting, but I am wanting to show you some of my learning process.

Daily PaintWorks, a website I love, posts a challenge each Saturday.  This week's challenge is "Yellow."  Hence, the yellow lamp painting.  I am no way going to post this on Daily PaintWorks, but I thought it would be good to get into the spirit ot the challenge.  This lamp has a certain eerie glow (especially in the base) when light shines on it that I tried to capture and don't think quite made it.  Oh well.  Being that it's my lamp, I can always try again.  In fact, this is the second time I've tried to paint it.

I started my Painting Shadows and Light class with Lorelle Bacon on Wednesday.  I was the only student there...which will work out nicely in terms of getting my learning needs met, but I forfeit getting to meet some new local artist friends. 

Lorelle wants me to do my paintings faster, like keep it to an hour and time myself.  She also wants me to  try mixing with my palette knife instead of my brush.  My brush tends to get gunked up with lots of paint.  So, today I worked on both challenges.  I ended up cheating and giving myself an extra 20 minutes, and I also ended up resuming my mixing with my brush when I saw the clock ticking.  Mixing with the knife I found very awkward.  I find the brush more efficient.  With the palette knife, I have to keep changing my implement--knife to brush to knife to brush.  I ended up using the knife for mixing in my right hand and  kept my painting brush in my left hand (I'm left-handed).  I finally reverted to my brush-clogging ways after awhile.

Next time I paint, I'm going to do what Lorelle said and stop after an hour, whether I am finished or not.  She assures me that I will get faster.  I think the lesson will only work if I follow it!  I'll practice with my palette knife, too.

If you haven't already checked out Lorelle's site, I urge you to click on her name in the right column of this blog.  She is great at so many mediums and just had a piece accepted into an international scratchboard competition!  Amazing woman.

When I set out to paint, I certainly didn't intend to paint lamps.  As one of my sisters said in a comment earlier in the blog, I didn't even think I liked looking at still life paintings.  When I discovered the Daily PaintWorks website, that all changed.  Not all the artists on that site do still life, but many do.   And many are fantastic (these artists create works of great beauty out of the simplest household objects).  I love looking at that site.  I aspire to be on that site.  And since membership is open, I can choose to be anytime I think I am ready.  So far, I am not.  I feel I should join at such time as I am consistently satisfied with my paintings. 

I do love painting the still lifes and all I am learning from them.  However, what I really yearn for is to paint people.  Not portraits or even necessarily capturing a likeness.  I want to paint "slices of life" with people engaged in daily living--paintings that would cause the viewer to feel that familiar "yes, this is how life is" feeling. 

When I put people in my paintings, I feel totally different.  I feel as if the painting has come alive.  I think I even breathe differently.  I know that landscapes are also full of life and I have painted many landscapes, but there is something that is just different for me about painting people.

Now, generally, people do not hold still for long when you want to paint them.  You have to either pay them to hold still, cajole them to hold still, or work from photographs.   Painting from photographs is very difficult if you don't really know what you are doing, because the photograph creates certain distortions and simply cannot show color to the artist the way the eyes can.  Lorelle said she is going to show me how to work from photos and adjust for the problems they create.  If I can learn to work with photos, I will be one step closer to being able to paint what I really want to paint!

(Hey, long post...thanks if you are still reading.  I guess having people in my post yesterday got me going.)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

                                                    An older one               Gouache, 8x10"ish

Happy Mother's Day!  I hope everyone reading this has as wonderful a mother as I do and gets to see or at least talk to their mother today.  My mother is very supportive of my art and anything else I do, so I am happy to show this post in her honor.

This one was painted around December, when I first started my painting practice but was still playing around with various mediums.  It was painted in goauche, from a photograph, of guess who.  And guess who else...

Just when I thought I had my blog figured out, Blogger is telling me that my browser is no longer supported by Blogger and that I may experience problems and should switch to the browser Google Chrome.  Obviously, Google (who owns Blogger) is trying to get all the Bloggers to switch to their own browser.  I am having some problems with the blog now, so I may choose to switch this blog to a service other than Blogger, instead of switching my browser to Google Chrome.  Guess why.....

I have scheduled this painting to post tomorrow morning.  I hope that works.  I never tried scheduling a post when Blogger did support my browser.  I did try to save this post this afternoon, and it did not save, so I am a little nervous.  Fingers crossed.  If it doesn't save now and post in the a.m., I will just have to rewrite it.  With love....

(Editor's note:  It did "Save."  It did not publish as scheduled.  I am going to try to publish it manually now, fingers crossed)

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Very Important Painting to Me

                                                                                                       acrylic, 6x6"

Originally titled "Hope," this painting is now called "Knowing."   Painted in January or maybe February, this is one of my earliest still lifes and gave me hope that I would someday be able to paint the way I want to paint.  I decided to change to knowing I will someday be able to paint the way I want to paint, thus the change of title.   Knowing is a great improvement over hoping. 

Painting this one made me very happy and encouraged me to go on.  It's somewhat sloppy, but doesn't give quite such a sloppy appearance in person.  The contrast of the photo makes the sloppiness extra noticeable.

I thought I would show this one to you because I haven't been able to paint anything decent since last Wednesday's roses.  I tried to paint some more flowers I was given this past weekend, but they turned out awful.   Rather than get down about it, I return to "Knowing."

Thanks for looking and understanding....

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thanks for the Roses

                                                                                                               acrylic, 6x6"

Yesterday, my friend Deb at work gave me these roses to paint.  I was going to put them in a nice vase for the painting, but ended up liking how the red, yellow and blue looked all together, with the roses in the pill bottle I brought them home in.  We work in a medical setting, hence the pill bottle.  Maybe I'll paint 'em in a nice vase another time.

This was painted today.  I don't know what possessed me.  Roses are so hard.  I'm happy enough with how these turned out, but there has got to be a better way to go about it.   If you had only seen the convoluted way I approached painting head almost exploded!

I'm going to ask for help on WetCanvas, which is a great resource for artists.  You can get help and feedback on just about anything.  If you feel competent enough (which I don't), you can help others.  Maybe there's a demo on WetCanvas, or maybe someone would be willing to do one.  Lorelle Bacon showed me how to paint a rose at a  pastel workshop I took five or so years ago.  I was so new at painting that I just followed along, but didn't really understand what we were doing until it was too late and the rose was finished.  Maybe she will show me again sometime.


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