Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Making something new to play on

Surprise! I know it's weird to see another post so soon after the last one but I just wanted to share a quick look at what I was playing with this week. When I was shopping at Sam Flax a few weeks ago I was admiring the accordion sketchbooks, or what some call concertina sketchbooks, and I was also admiring the price! I didn't want to spend that much on a sketchbook so I decided to make my own. I certainly have enough paper lying around the studio so I didn't have to purchase anything.

I used a full sheet (22x30) of 140lb Winsor & Newton watercolor paper. I cut two 8" x 30" strips from the sheet. I measured and marked every 6" on the two strips and then folded each one accordion style. Then I attached the two strips together to make one long one and glued the two ends to pieces of mat board that I had cut to 9x7 so the covers would be slightly larger than the pages. After the pieces were assembled I gessoed both sides of the paper and both covers.

I made the sketchbook Monday and yesterday I started playing with it. Here's a bit of video of me working on it. Yep, I know the camera should've been on the other side of the drawing board but the way my studio is currently set up I don't have a lot of options for placement. If I put it on the left side, it would have to be attached to the drawing board and the motion of me working at it would have the camera wiggling all over the place. I don't post a lot to my YouTube channel for that reason and I'm not a video producer. I'm just sharing little clips for folks who want to see a bit of the process. Hopefully I'll get better with time but right now, honestly, all my focus is on the painting process itself. I'd rather be painting than dealing with a tech learning curve. Sometimes, us old schoolers have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the current century. At least I've quit putting two spaces between sentences when I type and I'm even going to learn about NFTs! That's big and it might take a while for my brain to wrap around that concept. LOL 

Anyway, have a happy hump day everyone. I hope you're doing something creative. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Birds, berries, a squirrel and some art.

Before I get to the art, I have to tell you about a squirrel. Yesterday, around 2:30pm, I was sitting outside in the yard watching the bird feeder. Behind the feeder and under the camellia trees was one of the squirrels that skitter around my yard all the time. I watched as he picked up a fallen, white camellia flower. He looked at it and then buried his face in the petals. He rubbed his face with the flower like he was refreshing himself. He played with it a bit and then he turned it so he had fresh petals to feel. He kept rotating the flower until he felt all of it while petals fell. When he was finished with his petal bath he settled down to nibble on the dark yellow center of the flower.

It's hard to get good pictures on the phone when zooming in from across the yard.

He's still holding one of the petals and you can see what's left of the flower.

Right after watching this squirrel's little ritual, a flock of cedar waxwings swooped down to eat the small berries on the tree to my left. As they're feasting on the berries, their leftovers are hitting me like little berry pellets. 

To my right is the bird feeder where 6 sparrows are fighting for space on the bar, a pair of cardinals are sitting in the camellia waiting their turn, and from the crepe myrtle, come flitting back and forth, a chickadee and a tufted tit mouse. Every time a space would open up on the bar, one of those two would swoop in, grab a bite and swoop back out.

The other birds I saw in that one hour outside were a pair of doves who like to walk around under the feeder and eat what spills, and a yellow throated warbler managed to find a spot to eat. The most fun was when a large group of waxwings decided to come down all at once to the bird bath for a drink. The squirrel, who had been watching, waited until they were all in the water, then he ran at them and made them all fly. This was happening all around, above me, right next to me, in front of me. And the sound - it was amazing to hear the blend of so many different types of birds, the notes floating around each other. It was truly a magical hour. 

Now, back to art. Remember the little painting from last time? I wasn't sure what I was going to do to finish it.

I started making my own collage materials. I'm using deli paper and anything that will make a mark with acrylic paint - brushes, stamps, twigs, anything with texture, even fingers. I've used collage materials in lots of paintings over the years and have a collection of handmade papers and various other ephemera floating around the studio but I thought it would be fun to make some sheets of my own mark making to make the layering even more personal. 

I cut out one of the purple circles and glued it in place. The paper goes translucent when glued so the background color shows through the stamp effect. The final touch was a stroke or two with the palette knife and white paint, and done.
All Good Things
wood panel

On this last one, I used more of my collage papers along with a bit of handmade paper with leaves embedded in it. I wanted a more earthy feel and color for this piece. I'm still working on a title so if you have any ideas.... shoot them my way.

And if you have a day that's pretty and an hour to spare, be sure to spend a little time in nature. Just listen and watch. There's probably a squirrel expert somewhere who can tell me exactly what that squirrel was doing but right now, I like the idea that he was bathing in the flower's perfume. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Is there life outside the studio?

Keep scrolling and you'll see why I haven't posted in a few weeks. I couldn't tear myself away from my studio! It's a lovely problem to have. I'm still working with the sketchbook from the last post. I got some new colors in from Nova so of course I had to do some swatches, mixes, and playing. Bits and pieces of these pages have been working themselves into finished paintings. It may be recognizable or it may not, but the book definitely sparks ideas and helps keep the momentum going.

Loving these colors! I was playing with black, white, magenta, and cad yellow. Black, cad yellow and white can make the most wonderful sage greens. 

You can see the influence of this one on Quiet Time below.

I don't know where this one will lead but I'm sure bits of it will show up on a canvas at some point.

Testing out new paints. At the top I was playing with more black and yellow mixes using Hansa yellow and Indian yellow. 

This is a mess - but I like the colors. It's just a sketchbook.

Quiet Time
This one is on a convexo canvas. Instead of flat sides it has a beveled edge. I textured the entire canvas with tissue paper before painting.

Riverside is painted on top of a painting I did years ago. I kept the basic composition but pushed the colors and values. I added drips, dots, and a band of interference color that shifts depending on the way the light hits it. 

I don't usually work on this extreme shape but I was gifted the canvas by a neighbor and loved it!

This one was a bit of fun. I do love circles, they show up in almost everything but this time I thought I'd add leaf shapes too. Is it done? Who knows.

The mess of a page? I told you I loved the colors - creamy yellow, light bright greens and blues with a kick of purple. This is where it's going so far. I'm still deciding what else to do with it. I'm also playing on a different surface for me. I picked up some cradled wood boards and wanted to see how I felt about painting on a rigid panel. Do you have a preference? Wood or canvas?

I went for a muted palette this time. I still wanted the bright yellow but I wanted to tone down the bright pink and make it more of a dusty pink. For the black accent I used ultra matte BLK3.0. To set off the flatness of the black I finished the rest of the painting by using a satin varnish. I'm still deciding on a title for this one. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below!

After a month of studio time, February started out with a full art immersion. Friday night was First Friday Art Walk downtown and then Saturday, hubby and I went to the Mt. Dora art festival, then on to Orlando to Sam Flax for supplies like that wood panel I'm playing on, and we got back to town just in time for a lovely reception at 8th Ave Gallery. New supplies, looking at fabulous art, and talking to other artists is a reason to celebrate and the inspiration continues....

Now I hope it won't be a full month before posting again. I'm trying to be better about it. I'm not exactly sure what's up right now but I feel like something is shifting. Maybe my work is moving in a new direction. Maybe something is brewing. Do you ever have that feeling that something is changing but you can't quite put your finger on what it is? Hey, maybe I'm about to have a creative breakthrough!! It would be cool to think so. Or maybe I'm just reacting to stress and hiding in my studio feels like the best place to be right now. I really don't know. I'll take it either way because I'm painting and most importantly, I'm learning. If you feel compelled to make stuff - just go do it.