Saturday, September 29, 2018

Lovey in 3 little videos

Last time I shared the portraits I was working on and I mentioned another one in acrylic with gold leaf. Here are 3 video clips of me working on that portrait and a picture of the finished painting.

I was inspired by the first acrylic portrait where I finished the other artist's work. I really was afraid to start that one because of the pressure I felt to do well. I had always done portraits in colored pencil so not only was there pressure because of the circumstances but pressure because it was a subject I don't usually do in acrylic. After doing that one and getting such a great reaction to it from the client, I gained enough confidence to give it another shot. 

I'm constantly stressing to my students that reference material is HUGE. I'm sure they get tired of hearing about it but it really is that important. Sometimes I see them painting away on something while their reference photo is hidden somewhere in the mess of supplies on the table. How can they use it if they can't see it. You can't paint well if you can't see the subject.

Anyway.... the reference I used for this painting is a photo my daughter Sarah took of her daughter Scarlett. It's a good composition and clear so it makes a great reference. And what better way to play with a new portrait than of my granddaughter! I'm a mom so of course I'm also going to put a plug in here for my daughter's new blog about her photography so click on those words right there to see it and some more of her pictures.

Below I'm applying the gold leaf. You don't see it here but first I applied adhesive size to the canvas- that's the glue. You usually have to wait anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for the glue to get tacky. Once the color has gone from milky white to clear, give it a tap with your finger to check if it's tacky enough to hold the gold.

In the last one I'm working on the face. I don't use portrait smooth canvas like some people. I love texture so why change now? I did my usual slathering of super heavy gesso on the canvas with a palette knife. I just didn't make it as rough as I usually do so when I drybrush color on it you can see the texture on the skin. I'm ok with that because there's texture everywhere else and it keeps the look consistent.

And here she is finished - Lovey is 11x14. When I was on video chat with Sarah and Scarlett the other day, I showed them the painting and the first thing Scarlett said was "my lovey!" so the title was a no brainer.

acrylic and gold leaf

I'm still working on the colored pencil portrait of the 2 little guys on the bed. Look for the finished one in the next post - hopefully!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Acrylic to graphite to colored pencil and back again.

It's been a busy time with lots of projects and that's a good thing! I love having multiple things to work on. I can go back and forth between projects when I get tired of something or just frustrated with how things are going and need a break. 

Switcharoo time..... I went from nests and landscapes to portraits all of a sudden. First I got a very special commission. This is a portrait that was started by an artist friend many years ago. Sadly, she passed away before finishing and her sister asked me to finish it for her. Talk about pressure. I was scared to death to do it but once I got started I was ok. I just wanted to make the artist's family proud because really - what an honor that they asked me to do it.

The other challenge was figuring out how much painting to do. There was the obvious - everything that was left undone - face, hair, both shirts and bits of the rest of the clothing. There were other things too where she had done first layers but I was afraid if I did too much it wouldn't be her painting anymore but mine. I couldn't let that happen. So anyway, this is the finished portrait. I worked mostly on the figure and the jacket he's leaning against. Irene, wherever you are, I hope you're pleased.

While working on that one I got another commission that I finished and can't show you because it's to be a surprise gift. So pretend I'm sharing a photo of a graphite portrait of 4 people. You'll see the real thing at the end of November.

Then I got another commission to do one in colored pencil. I went from acrylic to graphite and now to cp. This one I can share in progress so I shot a little bit of video while I was working on it. I'll share again when it's done.

And now I'm also working on another portrait in acrylic but I'm adding gold leaf to it. Just because. It's from a photo my daughter took and I just love it so I thought I'd play a bit. I'll share that one in the next post.

Until then, keep on painting and playing.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Therapy canvas and the woman

So life seems to be getting back to a place of normalcy- kind of. This has been a very rough year but things are looking up a bit. The depression is finally beginning to lift and I actually feel like doing more. I don't know about you but when I'm very depressed, working and painting is extremely hard to do. I've reached a point now where I don't have to force myself to go into the studio. I actually want to and am excited about painting again. Yay!

One of the things that helps me get out of a funk is throwing paint at a canvas that I'm not worried about- meaning I don't have to think about that piece going to a gallery or being entered in a show. It's just there for me. I have a couple of these at the moment and I call them my therapy canvases. I have one that's 48x48, quite large for me, and it's the one I use when I'm angry. It's great to throw paint and get out some aggression. That one is stashed in my studio in a not so convenient place so I haven't thrown anything at it in a while (I guess if I get pissed off enough I'll dig it out of the corner where it lives). I also have my blue canvas. That one is not as large and it hangs in my bedroom. I just take it down when I need it, add a few more layers of paint and just don't think about anything while I do it. When I feel through with it I hang it back up until the next time I need it.

Since I was feeling very blue through most of this year so far I decided to take the blue canvas down and play. Pushing paint around without an agenda can be so relaxing- just what I needed.

I don't even know how many layers of acrylic paint are on this thing. There's also tissue paper, handmade paper and glass bead texture gel. I got done playing with it and hung it back up on the bedroom wall. Later that week I was sitting in the room talking with my daughter-in-law and she stops, looks at the painting and says.... "there's a woman in that painting" or something to that effect. I don't remember her exact words. I said, what painting? She pointed at it, I looked, and suddenly there she was.

I don't know if you can see it too but now, that's all I see when I look at it. These things fascinate me. Where did she come from? Is it my subconscious or is it coincidence? Now when I look at this painting I see her profile facing to the right. I see her wearing a cape with a hood, I even see her wearing a jacket with embellishments that look like they match the cape. 

I guess I've lost one of my therapy canvases because I can't bring myself to touch this one again. I think I have to leave her alone now.