Sunday, October 30, 2016

No tricks, just a work in progress

I've been back in the studio painting- nests of course. I'm not sure how long I'll be painting these but for now I'm going with the proverbial flow. As long as they keep hold of my heart and mind then I'll keep on making them.

Recently, one of my students was wondering what my process is for painting the nests so I thought I'd post a few work in progress pics.

Here you can see I've already got the gold in place. Before I can apply the gold I prep the canvas. The first thing I do is apply a layer of Super Heavy Gesso with a large palette knife. You can see the texture on the canvas surface. That layer of gesso is pretty thick so I leave it to dry over night. When it's dry I coat the canvas with a primary red acrylic. 

Then I use a white charcoal or pastel pencil to sketch in the outline of the nest. This gives me a map for the adhesive size used to adhere the gold. Once the size is tacky - that takes approximately 15-30 minutes - I place the gold leaf, brush off the excess, and this is what the canvas looks like.

In this next step I've coated the rest of the canvas, all areas without gold, with burnt umber. After the paint is dry I use the same pastel pencil to sketch in the main elements. I mark the edge of the nest opening, the largest pieces of leaves, plastic, or other bits of debris the birds used for building.

I paint those large pieces in first and then use a liner brush to start building the layers of grasses and twigs that are woven together. When I build these layers I work from dark to light starting with a burnt sienna\burnt umber mix and adding other colors as I get lighter and lighter.

acrylic and gold leaf

The final strokes are the lightest ones, the ones that make the painting pop and give it depth. I think the toughest challenge about these paintings is photographing them because of the gold leaf. In every photo the gold looks a little different. It all depends on the angle, the time of day, the light- if it's overcast or sunny outside. You can see the difference even in these progress pictures. At the same time, that's my favorite thing about these paintings- the way the painting changes with the light. It's not a trick but sure is a treat! LOL, I know..... way too corny but couldn't help myself. 

Happy Halloween ya'll!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Munchkins and fun party projects

I took some time off from the studio recently. What could take me away from painting? This pile up of little munchkins. My daughter came for a visit with 2 of my grandbabies. They moved to TX a year ago so it's a treat to have them here with the other 2 who live nearby. No way was I going to spend time in the studio when I could love on all these people!

Before their visit I had a very special project to work on. My father celebrated his 80th birthday and my mother decided to throw him a surprise birthday party. I was in charge of table decorations. Dad is a golfer so of course my first thought was something golf themed. I searched Pinterest for ideas, I went to the party stores, I looked all over and just couldn't get excited about any of it.

Then my husband had an idea. We have a book of illustrations of costumes and clothing through the ages so he suggested making paper dolls with Dad's face on the illustrations. Mom was putting together a slide show of family pictures for the party so I went through the photos and made copies of his faces and matched them with different costumes. I enlarged the illustrations, sized the faces to fit and put them together. I did this the old fashioned way of cut and paste. If I were more used to Photoshop I would have done it that way but by the time I dealt with the learning curve in figuring out how to do it I could have had them done. 

After putting them together I scanned them, flipped them to a mirror image and printed them out so I'd have 2 of each to make a double sided figure. I cut them out, then added a piece of cardboard between them so they'd stand up and then attached them to a base made of paper fans I picked up at the party store. The white bases are just plastic plates turned upside down.

If you're an NCIS fan you can see who kept me company while I worked on this project.

I made 8 of these figures so each table at the party had a different Dad. What a blast it was finding just the right face to go with the illustrations. In a couple of them his own hat in the photo worked perfectly for the style of clothing. 

The party was a great success! He was surprised and he was especially happy to have his granddaughter and great grandchildren come all the way from TX to say Happy Birthday.

So now the party is done and the kids have gone back home. I'm back in the studio painting.... nests of course. I'll share the newest ones in the next post. And if you have any cool party decoration ideas I'd love to see so please share!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Painting what I love for people who love what I paint

The last couple of weeks have been good in the art world. I want to just take a moment to say thanks!

Thank you to my friends and family who give me so much encouragement about my work and support what I do.

Thank you to my Facebook friends who cheer me on and "like" my work, who tell me which paintings are their favorites.

Thank you to my students who show up every Monday ready to learn and practice and make me laugh in the process.

Thank you to the Signature Art Gallery and the Macon Arts Alliance Gallery for their help in connecting with collectors. Vera at the Signature has been amazing. I very much appreciate all she does for the artists.

And a big, giant, squeezy hug to my collectors. Without them I couldn't keep doing what I'm doing.

This is what my collectors make possible - days that are like Christmas in the studio - when art supplies come in the mail. New supplies means new paintings and new paintings mean new ideas and the cycle continues. I'm able to keep on doing what I love to do.

This is my dream right here, right now. I'm living it. Painting what I love for people who love what I paint.

Thank you!