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.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Finding Peace

I need some color, some lightness, some vibrancy. The last couple of weeks have been very hard. In fact this year has been hard. A lot has been going on in my life since 2018 began, starting with my father's death in February. Just a week after the funeral I had to begin the process of refinancing my house so I was rewarded with 2 months of banking hell. Then not long after the closing my mom ended up in the hospital because of an accident- thankfully she's ok now. And of course we have the national news..... 

In a previous post I talked about being included in the Professional Artist magazine article called Get Inspired by Darkness. In it I talked about my Silent Voices series and painting through the grief of being a mother of adoption loss. Well, because of that loss and knowing what it's like to have a child taken from me I'm having a particularly hard time with what's happening to migrant children right now. I don't know what those families have been through to get here but I do know what they're experiencing after they arrived and their children were taken away. I know the terror and grief. Hearing the audio, the cries of little ones was too much. I found myself sobbing for the babies who need to be back with their mothers. I'm doing what I can to help the cause but I also need to do something to keep myself from sliding down into despair. I've toyed with some ideas for a concept piece about the situation but it's not coming together yet.

So, now what I'm doing is painting light, color, and things that remind me of life such as the bird nests. I did the first Color Dance painting a little while ago and decided I needed to do more so recently I did #'s 2 and 3. And, I have to admit, I love fall color because it reminds me that this Florida summer heat won't last forever.  :)

Color Dance

Color Dance 2

Color Dance 3

Below is the newest nest painting. This one along with 3 others just made their way to my gallery rep in Tallahassee- Signature Art Gallery. I think this one is my favorite so far. I want to do more with that format when I get some new canvases.

In the Shadows

And here, a new one in progress. This is what I need right now- life affirming images and a process that keeps me going. Getting immersed in playing with gold leaf, squishing paint around, throwing splatters of golden yellow, these things will keep my spirits up and keep me going and sane in what seems like an insane world. 

One other thing helps this summer... playing with grandbabies and going to the beach. Ah... salt air!

If you paint, keep doing that. If you sing or play an instrument, please make more music. We need inspiration. If you have grandbabies, make a play date because we also need more smiles right now.

Til next time... check out the rest of the nest and landscape paintings at my website.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Something new and a coupon too

The last few weeks I've been focused on painting and shows so I decided to take a break and work on my Etsy shop. Sadly it's been neglected lately so it was time to get back to it and try something new. I just added a new section to the shop called Painting Project Singles. These are instant downloadable PDFs and they take you step by step through one painting.

To get the ball rolling I'm starting with projects from our book Creative Colored Pencil Workshop so if you have the book, you already have the first 2 projects. But for those who don't have the book, it's a great way to pick and choose which painting you want to do and you don't have to spend a lot to do it. I'll be doing some new projects in the future to add to the series so check in at the shop from time to time.

The first 2 projects focus on mixing colored pencil with other media. Above I'm combining them with oil pastel to paint a loose, impressionistic landscape. The project below is my froggy from Paynes Prairie. He's done with watercolor and colored pencil. I take you through each step with a full color photo and instructions. I also include a line drawing, the original source photo and materials list.

So check out the new listings and tell me what you think! Do you think it's a good idea? Do you have a particular subject you'd like to see in a step by step format like this? I'll be doing more landscapes for sure but I'm also thinking of doing some seasonal type things like pumpkins with gold leaf backgrounds for fall or maybe do one with a bird nest and eggs. You know how much I love painting those! I would love and appreciate your feedback so leave a comment if you're so inclined.

To introduce these 2 new projects I'm sharing a coupon for 50% off the Painting Project Singles that's good through May 31st.  Share with your friends and happy painting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A short and speedy clip

I discovered the hyperlapse setting on my phone! Yay! I love watching artists in their speed painting videos so I decided to try it myself. Yesterday I set up my little blue flexible tripod with my phone in it and did a clip of me working on the next bird nest painting. This is only the second time doing this. Hopefully these little clips will get better with practice. Light can be an issue in my studio so I might have to experiment with the placement of my easel and I have to figure out a way to get closer to the canvas too.

Anyway..... here's a short clip of a work in progress. It's an 8x8 canvas that I first textured with super heavy gesso. After letting that dry overnight I painted the whole canvas red, sketched the design and then applied gold leaf. Here I'm working with acrylic. I'm not done at the end of the clip, I still have some work to do so I'll share it when it's finished.

Thanks for watching!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Be brave, be bold, go paint!

Soooooo........ I'm excited about the June/July issue of Professional Artist magazine. Thea Fiore-Bloom is this wonderful writer who thought I should be included in her article about inspiration. I finally got a copy and I couldn't be happier! If you can, pick up a copy and read the article titled Draw Inspiration from Your Dark Side. In it she talks about finding inspiration in the hard times. Sometimes going through trauma can bring you to a new place in your art if you're willing to be vulnerable. For me, it's the Silent Voices series.You can see them by clicking on the tab above. That series then led to the bird nest series. You just never know where an idea will take you.

You can see some of the nests by clicking the Nest tab above or to see even more click here to go to my website. If you can't get to a bookstore you can order a copy here.