Progress Photos from the Painting "Food Forest" - 2012
Several people have told me how much they like seeing progress photos of paintings. Soooooo, I thought I'd share with you all some of my progress shots from recent works, starting with "Food Forest."
The process for this painting started with a photography session at an Urban Patchwork "food forest." Several artists were preparing work for a one-night show to benefit Austin's Urban Patchwork community gardens. I took quite a few photos, and then spent days just thinking about what I wanted my first painting for this show to be. I came up with my composition with some imagery drawn from many photos.
I don't always do sketches for works, and the one here is a pretty sad example, but sometimes all you need is a compositional thumbnail and that's all this was meant to be. (I can draw much better than this, really, and if I'd known I was going to share these sketches with anyone, maybe I would have). :)
I also painted this in acrylic -- Chroma's Atelier Interactive acrylics, which is mostly what I've used when trying to paint in acrylic. You may know that I'm an oil painter at heart, and find acrylics frustrating, but I knew I didn't have time for a new oil painting to dry in time for the show, so acrylics it was to be. (yikes!)
I started on a Friday afternoon, and finished the following Monday, which is pretty fast for me to complete an entire painting this size.
These are the only photos I took of the process, so I'm guessing each photo represents one's day's work. The final photo is color-accurate, AFAICT; the others are shot with a mishmash of lights in the studio (so the color temperatures are different from the actual painting and the final shot).
I have to admit, shaking up my medium really worked in this instance. I love this painting! It now hangs in the living room, so I get to enjoy it every day. Which is not to say that I won't part with it. :)
Another New Painting: “Taco and Feud in Asia Minor”
This is another work that started out quite differently than it ended up. It was filled from corner to corner with ovals to start with, but then I kept taking out more and more stuff. I'm much happier with it now, though still not sure I'm 100% thrilled...
I haven't done much figurative work in the last two decades, but I did begin my serious study as an artist with 4-5 life drawing classes and 2-3 figurative painting classes. I also went to life drawing sessions around town for awhile.
This was maybe a 45-minute pose, and I was working in colored pencil (!), so I still didn't quite complete it. But after the pose was over, a small crowd gathered 'round to ooh and ahh. :)
Maybe the best figurative piece you will see from me. It will all be downhill from here! Ha!
For the record, I've been posting these chronologically, not by any kind of countdown.
Still working small, still experimenting, this painting was sort of an experiment in soft and broken colors. I do quite love the palette. Don't even know what to say about those forms...more unexpected goofiness!
Here is my second entry for the Best Twelve of Twelve. This is perhaps the first abstract painting I have developed from a sketch. (yeah, I know!). I have created other compositions based on portions of previous compositions, but I haven't usually planned my abstractions out in advance, as I kind of liked getting lost in the process, and then having to paint my way out.
In doing this one, I discovered there is not a direct translation from sketch to paint, at least, not for me, not at this time, as each material makes different demands, and each new decision changes the outcome.
If you'd like to compare this to the original idea and see what turned out differently in the translation from colored pencil to paint, here is a link to the sketch: http://goo.gl/SF9Wg
I wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
Consider celebrating Buy Nothing Day on Friday instead of Black Friday. We've been doing it for years, and this way, we get 4 days in a row to just relax and enjoy living, rather than frantically consuming stuff we don't need.
This is the best link I found that explains more about the whys and wherefores of BND.
Still not ready to post new work, so here is a large painting I did in the studio after returning home from my 2002 Italy trip, based on the small study I showed yesterday. Unfortunately, there's a bit of glare in the photo below, and the painting has been sold, so this is the best shot I have of it.
For my 3rd Best Twelve of Twelve, I present my very next painting, "Sun Rose." This was also developed from a sketch (inspired by Lee Bontecou's sculptures) and at 36" x 36" is the largest painting I have done in a few years! I used a palette knife with oil paint and cold wax medium, a process I haven't done in a long, long time. And the colors kept changing, trying to achieve just the right balance.
Anyway, I love this painting, and I didn't get to live with it for long, as it sold almost immediately. And just for the record, as I've heard that many people like to know how long it takes to paint a painting, this one took a rather long time for me: an entire month (though I have no idea how many hours. I should have kept track!).
I got a bit bolder with the colors on this painting. This was intended to be a continuation of the same visual idea from the painting I posted yesterday. The fact that it isn't quite seems to be proof of something, but what exactly, I'm not sure. Another goofy composition, but I love it!
Finally finished getting our taxes ready for the accountant to work his magic, and I am now also almost finished reading an excellent book on colors (which ones are fugitive and so to be avoided and which are recommended to use)...just 4 more chapters. I'm taking notes, and plan to search through my tubes of paint and mark the not-to-be-used for serious work tubes. Dang! :(
I have been painting; some small oil paintings are in various states of not-quite-doneness, one 24" x 24" oil painting is coming along quite nicely, but surprisingly, and will take several more days, I think, and I have 3 sketches ready to paint as watercolors.
So, I thought I'd go ahead and finally share my 3rd painting from this year, which I haven't shown before. It's a bit busy, a combo of 2 things I've been exploring recently. I finally decided I like it after all. :)
This year (so far), I am experimenting with lots of ways of finding images and lots of ways of painting them. So I thought I would share them all in one album, since as a group, they look a little wild, and I look a little unfocused. Gotta try stuff, though, or else how will you learn new ways to paint?
I got up before the sun hit the yardarm this morning, so I was able to shoot photos of quite a few small oil paintings, and finally, I think I have the color close to accurate on this one.
This is the first of my "Fragments" series -- favorite snippets from larger works repainted on smaller canvases. I think I prefer this in the horizontal orientation. They look like snuggling friends to me (I see lots of characters in my abstract paintings. Do you?). What I was exploring here was painting in very thick paint over previous layers of thick paint in different colors. I still like it better in the larger painting this was drawn from ("Comin' Through!" - http://marilynfenn.com/art/abstract/?titleid=490), as I think some even cooler brush accidents happened in that one, but this one is sweet, too.
Here are a couple more watercolor and ink paintings from Friday night. I like the sprites in a forest kind of vibe in the one on the left, and the one on the right I think could be the beginning of a nice composition for a larger oil painting. :)
In the past three days, I started 3 new series of very small works on paper. It's been a very productive time so far -- 17 new pieces -- and I have no intention of slowing down yet. Oddly enough, I have overslept the past two nights -- 10 or 12 hours a night -- very good sleep. The good sleep started after I began this very satisfying burst of creativity -- but I have been undersleeping for weeks, if not months. Painting must be good for the soul. :)
I like working this small, as I can run through a bunch of ideas rather quickly, try out numerous variations, a bunch of compositional ideas, and come up with some new ways of thinking about painting and some new moves. Not all the paintings are totally successful; some aren't successful at all; some can't even be recovered, but I like most of them.
This was the first in a series I'm calling "Fraccidental Paintings." Well, not really the first, because I did about 4 of these in 2011, which are also included in this post.
I'm using watercolor and inks and sometimes other media on very wet paper, and the inks do really cool fractally things when they hit the paper (hence the title of the series).
Working this way is kind of like when I worked in encaustic: there are some things I have control over and some things I don't. I should buy a video camera, so I can shoot this process; it's really cool the way the pigments in the various media interact, and I especially like watching that moment when the ink overcomes a certain resistance and suddenly floods into the wetness of the paper. :)
I'm adding these to my various art sites this week. This one is:
I started 3 more small sketches for watercolor paintings in the last day or two, erased one of them, ignored the second and painted only this one. This didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned, but I like it anyway, and it is inspiring a new set of oil paintings that I hope will be rather successful, but we'll all have to wait and see on that. :)
Just finished this, and I realize I still need to erase the pencil lines and maybe modify the color of a thing or two, but I'm pretty happy with this one...another in the sort of hippie theme. :)
I feel like I'm on a roll, and it feels great!
My husband said something the other day that has had me tickled ever since. He said basically something like, if I weren't doing these little paintings, they wouldn't exist. They could only come from my own particular take on the world. So, yay me!
I think that's true of all artists (of all flavors - painters, musicians, writers, etc.) who are following their inner need to create, rather than trying to respond to the marketplace. I think of all the painters, writers and musicians without whom the world would be a much poorer place. Too bad our society makes it so hard for artists to survive by doing their art.
So, if you are an artist, keep that in mind: you are (hopefully) adding something of beauty or importance to the world by following your true creative voice, something that would not be in the world without your endeavors. :)
Anyway, I have taken forever to find that thing inside that needs expression, and of course, it keeps developing. I'm glad I started with representation, but I'm even more glad that I've moved past that. I'm really grooving on these shapes, compositions, and color combinations that I discover by the drawing and painting of them. Something like these little painting studies will probably make it onto large canvases in oil, and I'm really looking forward to that, too, but I may not be done with this round of little studies yet.
So here is another original work from the slightly twisted mind of yours truly. :)
I made some minor edits to this piece that I posted earlier today, based on responses to my question from that post. You can see the previous version as the next piece in this album, which now needs a different title, as the last 3 paintings were not really inspired by Bontecou anymore.
Isn't it amazing you can ask your fellow G+-ers a question at 3:22 and 20 minutes have several helpful answers?
I think I am finished with this now. Off to start one more in this not-so-series series. ;)
This painting started out inspired by a sea anemone, but didn't seem to want to remain that image. I worked on this for about a week, which is kind of long, considering it's only 16" x 12"!
I love working in really gooey paint, and have been experimenting recently with various medium mixes. I think I had switched to a medium of only poppy oil by the time I was working on this one. The paint remained so deliciously squooshy for days at a time, that it lent itself very well to creating these hurricane swirls.
I was working on it during the time Hurricane Isaac was building in the Gulf Coast, so this image was influenced by that sad event. The title refers to the fact that Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans exactly 7 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
+Lena Levin has suggested posting our best 12 paintings of 2012, and I'm all for it! As a bit of a number geek, too, I'm delighted to start this on 12-12-12.
I'm having a devil of a time choosing exactly which twelve paintings of mine from this year I consider to be my best, so I am posting ones that I feel moved my work forward in some way or are otherwise just my very favorites.
It's not often that I'm directly visited by the muse, but in this case, the vision for this painting hit me almost at once, and developed over a period of just a few hours. It was during one of the weeks that assaults on women's rights were all over the news, which was creating a strong emotional reaction in me. Some viewers view this as more uplifting than perhaps what was in my heart, and that's great! It can go either way.
I painted this very quickly (for me) -- in maybe just 4 or 5 hours, and then a little bit more here and there over the next several days.
Thought I would finally rejoin +FigurativeArtFriday sponsored by +Maude McDonald by resuming posting of the images from this series. Today, I am sharing drawing #4 from the most cool figurative drawing class I took at art school with Elizabeth Rupprecht (at SAIC). We were still in box mode at this point, but I promise you, these drawings will get more interesting eventually. :)
It had to do with understanding space, in a way, from the inside out; of trying to be cognizant of the space around the subject, not in a Renaissance perspective sort of way, but in more of a cubistic way—drawing conceptual space rather than perceptual space. It was about using empathy to project yourself into the picture plane, a way to activate the space by drawing not just the subject in a space, but also the space that encloses and surrounds the subject. It was about combining 2D space and 3D space in a way that projects the artist and the viewer into the center of the picture, thus pulling what is behind one into the painting. This is what Cezanne did with his landscapes, in which things get bigger as they go back in space (contrary to perspectival space).
Most of the specific instructions were, I believe, merely tools to help us get to this place. For instance, we began each drawing by drawing it from a fly’s eye view; imagining what a fly would see from above the space with the subject, and putting that little vision in a tiny box on one corner of our drawing so that we could keep that overhead view in mind while working on the rest of the drawing. While drawing, we were to remain cognizant that every action demands a reaction and implies a counter-movement: draw in and concave, then out and convex; in and up—out and down. And make things bend for the demands of the flat surface.
This little painting will be coming home Sunday (unless somebody buys it tomorrow or Saturday, but I don't think that's going to happen).
It was a painting that went through a lot of changes during the initial creative explosion, and at one point was going along quite nicely as an abstract landscape (turned 90 degrees ccw). But that wasn't what I was aiming for, and I started to make some changes to it, and things sort of got out of control.
So I think I will have another opportunity to make it better. I will say that I love the color palette, but the composition is really bugging me, especially the floral parts. I know I screwed up when I added that purple thing in the middle, but I became very attached to what the paint did there, and I'm still not sure I can make that happen twice, so I am very reluctant to obliterate it. I tried adding the other flowers for balance, but I still don't think it works. I am considering making more flowers, like a bouquet, only smaller than that one ginormous flower at the bottom right (!).
To the +Friday Art Critique folks and others who may have construction tips, your thoughts and suggestions? Thanks!
Well, I promised +Emily Rose a story from art school, and since this is the first day I am participating in +Friday Art Critique, I thought the following tidbit might be kind of fun to read.
In the summer of 1991, I was lucky enough to get to go to SAIC's Oxbow Art Camp near Saugatuck, Michigan on a work scholarship (my job was to clean all the bathrooms daily).
One of the classes I took there was "Figure in the Landscape" with the wonderful, but gruff, figure painting teacher, Dan Gustin. Susannah Coffey was supposed to be co-teaching it, but didn't (curses!), but we had a few prestigious guest artists attend.
So, after a morning session painting models in the gorgeous landscape, we gathered for a critique with Professor Gustin and a guest artist from Yale, I think it was. I presented my morning's work, including the following painting, which I hadn't had time to finish.
Before I had much of a chance to say anything about this work, the two teachers got into quite an animated and lengthy discussion about the brilliance of the way I had painted the scarf on the model's head as a flat yellow triangle, thus introducing abstraction into an otherwise representational painting, and referring to the whole art history of the 20th century, or some other such high-falutin interpretation.
I couldn't get a word in edgewise to tell them I just hadn't finished painting her scarf!
However, it made for a lively debate between these two brilliant men (I'll refrain from mentioning what this practice is sometimes otherwise known as). ;)
P.S. +bb blacha posted a link yesterday to a review on Two Coats of Paint about an entire book on art critiques written by another SAIC professor, James Elkins (I always seem to be reading one of his delightful books) -- particularly art critiques at SAIC, so it should be an entertaining read: http://goo.gl/Rz047
Now that my Art Motherlode circle has hit 500 people, it's time to share (and start a new one?). This circle includes all pigment artists, illustrators, sculptors, curators, art writers, gallery owners, and art pages that I have circled so far (at least in this circle; there may be some unintentional omissions). I have tried to include only those who post, though no guarantees.
If I left you out and you think you belong in my next incarnation of this circle, please be sure to let me know in the comments. Enjoy! :D
RESHARE: (Oops, no wonder nobody commented; somehow this didn't get shared publicly, as I intended).
Ha, ha. Having now seen the controversial photos that Arne Svenson shot surreptitiously of his neighbors through their windows, I now see this Balthus painting in a whole new light (pun intended), especially when "Shared publicly" on G+. :)
I am still too early in my new and improved painting process to start showing my most recent work. It feels very different to me from what you might expect, and I am loving the process and the outcomes, but I need to crank out another 10 or 20 studies before I feel like I know what what I'm doing, and that what I'm doing is what I actually want to be doing. But so far, so good!
In the meantime, I thought I'd show you the partner to the earlier abstract landscape I posted a few days ago. That one was called "Steamy Spring" and this one is "Burning Ice." Two of a kind, and that's all I did like this. They still look great together. :)
And here's where I get to prove to you that I'm going chronologically, rather than by rank. ;)
After my last painting (Food Forest), I thought I'd try acrylic again, since it worked out so well the previous time. This time, it was turning into a complete disaster, though. This started out to be a close-up of a passion flower, and it just wasn't working out. I wasn't enjoying the process. I wasn't loving the paint.
I switched to oils and started painting over what I had, and it still wasn't working out. So I started painting out more and more of what I had painted in, and then some more, and then more.
I know this isn't my best painting; the composition is awkward, and I probably could lose a few more things. But I did at least quite enjoy the process eventually, discovered a few things along the way, and I am really quite happy with parts of this, at least (love those teeth-things!). It is a step along the path...
*December Sale, Day Two: Two Small Mixed Media Paintings on Paper*
Today's sale offering includes two of my favorite small mixed media paintings from 2011: “Not So Daily Drawing 2” and “Banzai!” (Not So Daily Drawing 3). Both paintings are mixed media on 5" x 7" watercolor paper. Normally $75.00, each painting is on sale through December 31st for 20% off, or $60.00 each. Plus, shipping is FREE on these and all small unmatted works on paper.
RESHARE: +Rob Rey is another really awesome painter who I am not sure is getting all the attention he deserves. Take a look at his entire body of both paintings and illustrations. IMHO, they are very, very special.
Since I'm trying not to post new work for awhile, I thought I'd post one of my favorite older series. These are from 2007, when I was working exclusively in encaustic (hot pigmented wax). I did all 4 of these in one short afternoon painting session, inspired by a glimpse of poppy plants I had spied in a BBC story about opium in Afghanistan. Mine are more colorful and benign. ;)
RESHARE: I love this story! Wahoo, +Aaron Wood !!!
Reshared text: warning, looooong post is long
One year ago, I made a post on Google+ that changed my life.
The post itself was made in frustration. It was one of those "Can't we all get along" moments that you find yourself in when you see people arguing in real life, or online, even if it is over trivial matters.
I had only been on G+ for a relatively short time. It was in beta and I managed to snag an invite from a real life friend. After trying to figure out what to do here, I was told to start circling people and "let the magic begin." (Or something like that. The actual situation and words exchanged probably weren't as dramatic.)
So, I set out to circle people. I randomly picked someone who's profile I saw (I can't remember who it was. It might have been the friend that suggested I add people.)
A little while later, I found that I had just gone through and added about 600 people. Six hundred people that I had NO clue who they were really. It was to be my "grand experiment."
After a week or so, I wasn't hating my experience here, but I also wasn't loving it. One of the reasons I wasn't loving it was the amount of loathing and hatred I saw that people had for Facebook and Twitter.
It was all out war. It was us vs. them. On a digital battlefield.
Choose your side. Things were going to get virtually bloody.
I was baffled by this. Why so much hate? Why couldn't people just use all 3? As an artist I wanted my work out there on as many sites as I could get it on. I wanted to share my images with people.
A little more time went on and I decided to do something about it.
If they wanted to make it a war, I'd give them a war.
Drawing on the propaganda themed posters of World War 2 (for the allies) I sat down and created my first poster. It was for Twitter.
A blue bird (akin to Twitter's mascot) of prey rearing up and 8 orange birds (the same number and color of the fail whale screen birds) decorated the image. "Be Brief! The enemy might be listening in!" It stated. (Drawing on the short posts of up to 140 characters that one can make while using Twitter.)
When I finished that image, I went on to the next one. Facebook. What did people on G+ hate about Facebook? The virtual games were one thing. I ran with it. "Facebook Join the cause! Your friends' farms need you!" proclaimed the black text set against the green fields in the foreground. In the distance a farm and some trees were set in silhouette against the early morning rays of yellow sunshine. Two posters down.
Then it was on to G+. I had only been here a short time. There wasn't much to draw on since it was in its early infancy. What did Google+ want you to do? It wanted you to share things. Sharing is associated with communism. Ok, go with that idea. Draw on the striking imagery of the Russian WW2 propaganda posters. Utilize red. Toss in a +1. Make it the focal point. Add in a tag line in English using a faux Cyrillic font. "All must be shared to win the war! Google+" (Which confused a lot of Russian speakers who were trying to actually translate it! Sorry!)
Three posters done. I put them together into one image and posted it. Within moments my notifications started going crazy. People were +1ing and sharing my post like gangbusters. A couple key shares from +Pete Cashmore and +Denis Labelle had it sprawling out all over G+. They both had a lot of followers already and it was thanks to them that it reached a wider audience quickly.
Within a day it had an obscene amount of shares (for the time. Since then posts regularly bury the numbers that I had for +1s and shares, but I was pretty proud of what I had accomplished for someone with next to no followers, save for some friends from Facebook.) People started to follow me. Random people. People I had never heard of. Much like I had randomly started circling people a couple weeks before, people started randomly circling me back.
I decided to put the posters up on my Etsy store. I posted links here and the orders started pouring in.
I was surprised a couple days later when people started linking me to my images on sites that weren't on Google+ or on Facebook (where I had also shared them.) They were going viral all over online. I was getting emails for freelance work. People wanted to interview me for their sites. (+matthew rappaport was the first to interview me on G+.) All based off three simple images I created because the people on G+ couldn't play nice with the rest of the internet.
My experiences in the last year are truly humbling. I have had my 15 minutes of "fame" and then some. I've sold my posters to people all over the world. My posters have shown up in print. I've crowdsourced a book of my posters. I'm still waiting for the roller coaster to stop. Much like +Daria Musk took a chance when she did her first hangout concert, I took a chance on my art.
I honestly thank you all for the inspiration. It has led to a lot of great experience and opportunities I would have never had if I had never joined G+. I look forward to many more great times and you can look forward to a lot more art from me.
I do have a favor to ask from you though. Well, it's more of a challenge. Currently, my original post stands at 486 +1s and 3412 shares. That post was made on July 29, 2011. One year ago. People say that this place is a ghost town. I want to beat those numbers. I want to see if the community really has grown since then. Can the same art (accompanied by a rather inspired and long-winded story of its creation) garner that much attention when G+ has millions more users signed up for it than it did back then? +1 or share this post. :D
I may (or may not) be done with this painting, started last week and based on the sketch below right. The sketch itself is based on a sculpture in tan canvas and black wire by one of my favorite sculptors, Lee Bontecou.
I haven't really developed a set way to get started with the work I've been doing for the past 6 months. I usually have a period of getting very lost while developing my composition, and then have to paint my way out. I hoped working from a sketch and a planned composition would be a good way to start my paintings, and suspected other things would occur as I was working.
I think I may have tried too hard to stay true to the original sketch in this one, though clearly, it's not 100% true to the sketch, either. I did intentionally simplify the shapes, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, the drawing exploded off the canvas a bit, and the color got very intense. Not my fault! ;)
Yes, yes, of course it's my fault...I work rather intuitively, having spent years already thinking about every minor move. Perhaps I am relying too much on my intuition these days. I don't know.
This en plein air painting was done during the same semester as the still lifes I posted this morning and yesterday.
I took advantage of the brief beautiful fall days in Chicago to head over to Grant Park during my studio class hours. Nothing spectacular--in fact, another goofy composition (what was I thinking?). Anyway, it sure is enjoyable to paint in the great outdoors, when it's not 100 degrees, or raining or cold, and you don't have mosquitoes biting you. This was a perfect day!
I was trying out painting on gessoed Masonite panels, which I found fairly challenging, as I had always used canvas before. The paints slides around a bit, and you have to paint thicker. You can see the texture of the gesso poking through the paint on this one, and maybe I had to hurry to get back for my next class; that shadow in the foreground is kind of a mess!
Here's my second artists' circle. I call this one "Artists who post other stuff," because I guess, when I checked their profile initially, there were more posts not about art than about art, OR they are artists who are not primarily painters. Some people in this circle belong in my "Painters Painting" circle and will be moved there over time, as I happen to notice or I am made aware (you know, like with a comment or a slap in the face). :-)
Feel free to get my attention...or share widely, as you see fit.
Here is my contribution for #PicassoSaturday hosted by +Lena Levin .
I seem to be the only one of us who interpreted the challenge of doing a copy after a Picasso work as a challenge to do an exact copy of a Picasso painting. In art school, we did a few of those, but I never finished a couple of mine, so perhaps this is penance for my student sins of the past.
When I first found this work online, I thought it looked like a cartoon version of a Picasso painting, or what Picasso would paint if he were painting a cartoon version of his own work. It is such a fun image, I couldn’t resist!
In the album below, you can see my finished painting, Picasso's original (well, a photo of it), and then the painting in process as each color was added. The way the painting pops once the black lines are added, and further pops when some of those black lines are covered by white is really quite amazing!
Some of you may remember that about a month ago, I mentioned I was starting a new series that represents a slight (or maybe not so slight) change in direction.
I had found with the work I was trying to do that I was attempting to make new strides in several directions at once, and it turned out they weren't necessarily compatible directions!
For one, I wanted to emphasize the brushwork more, and find a way to make the brushstroke form the shape -- that they would become one, like the blood and bones of Chinese calligraphic strokes.
I also wanted to stretch my color decision-making process, in part by reducing the number of tubes of color I was using to perhaps between 6 tubes to no more than 8 or 10 (or 12) tubes. Well, you get the idea. This was partly a result of my color studies last month.
And the third major thing I wanted to do was to really push my own understanding of and conception of what makes a good and interesting non-objective composition.
I figured it would be easiest to work out all these ideas by painting in acrylic - a medium with which I have very little experience, but am learning to like for this purpose, at least.
So, for today's #firstfridayartwalk , I decided to go ahead and share with you the first successful acrylic painting sketch in this new direction, from those several weeks ago. It is sketchy and a bit thin on the paint, as I got where I was going in this painting with almost no struggle or rework at all! Amazingly enough. But I'm letting it stand as a record of my 1st successful attempt, plus, I fear if I try to "improve" it at all, I'll really just end up with something completely different. So it remains, as of this writing. :)
Anyway, I am loving this new exploration (dare I use that word?), and I love this painting! I don't have any clever titles for this series yet, so for now, the working title is:
Returning to another sketch in my heavy paper sketchbook, and continuing to explore more watercolor techniques a bit -- I used masking fluid on the plant-like parts of this one, so that I could make a delightful mess on the background without worrying about messing up the plant bits. This technique may be a keeper as I begin to work larger in watercolor. It's not so dramatic on these tiny pieces as I imagine it could be on larger ones.
I'm not super-thrilled with this one, but that's O.K. At least it's done, and out of my sketchbook. What I could paint over and improve if I were working in oil, I have to learn to get right the first time in watercolor. Or live with the less-than-stellar results.
Another bit of painting zen. I usually prefer to just be done when I arrive at that moment where I feel I have "finished" a work, and not go back to fix older works, letting each painting be a record of a small (or large) stretch of time. And then move on to a new chance to do better. :)
I finally finished the watercolor I was working on last weekend. I'm not sure what to think of it. I decided to try a new approach, a sort of accidental approach, wherein I splattered a few drops of paint on the dry paper, then quickly brushed them into a shape (hence, connecting the dots). It was an interesting way to discover new shapes, but I'm not completely comfortable with the shapes thus discovered. And then, of course, I embellished. :)
There are quite a few things I like about it, even the color palette, which is a bit intense, but...well, O.K. FWIW.
The new G+ Profile background is huge! For my tastes, the width is fine, but the height is about 1/3 larger than it needs to be. I can't even see the whole background image in my browser, even with the browser at full size. What to do with all that space, too? I'm a bit bamboozled.
I used black in the bottom...here's a screencap of the full window (after spending way too long trying to figure out just what proportions to make my image). Probably looks different on my tablets, too, and on your devices. :\
For today's FirstFridayArtWalk, here is the first oil painting I've completed this year that I'm happy with. :)
It's also my first attempt to interpret my recent watercolor mini-painting series into an oil painting, and I've pushed myself in several other ways with this one, too. Perhaps a bit too much pushing for one painting, but I do like it and I'm ready to try another, having learned a few things though this work.
Forgive the slight sheen on this one. I will need to try and take a better photo later.
Well, I was all psyched to get back before my easel yesterday afternoon, but was stricken by a migraine (curses!), so 3 Ibupofin and a long nap later, 'twas already too late to start a new oil painting.
I picked a set of colors that were more subdued than my usual bright fare for this little piece, and I'm surprised at how bright they seem anyway.
The problem with working in watercolor is if you get the colors wrong, there's not a lot you can do to fix it. Initially, I got the colors wrong on this one. I had painted the webby type stuff in the background twice, ending up with a kind of burnt sienna (red-brown) color on the third layer of webbery. Not only did it clash with the more jewel like colors of the foreground imagery, but it made the whole piece very busy, and you couldn't really distinguish foreground from background.
Sooooo, I tried lifting the color with water (didn't work well), then lightly with a sponge (nope), then with a bit of light and careful scrubbing with a sponge (better), and finally, I gave up all hope of making this piece work and washed it under running water.
Yes, I washed a watercolor painting. It's on paper, you know. This is why I love the heavy Raffine "sketch" paper I'm using; it's tough! And has a lovely texture. :)
I took care not to pill the paper as I lightly helped some of the paint off of it, let it dry, and then had to repaint most of the foreground "characters," while adding a third. And now I rather like it.
Hope I don't get myself into this predicament again, but if I do, I know what to do now.
Here's an obsessive little painting that got out of control.
After the crazy looseness and unpredictability of the Fraccidental series, my fingers itched for a bit of tightness, and this is what happened. Named after the earworm running through my head during the entire creation of this piece.
Not sure what to think of this one. I had one thing in mind when I started drawing out my sketch, but something completely different happened.
Then I decided to switch to pure watercolors; not a medium I consider myself to be terribly proficient at, but one that I do want to explore more at the moment.
Then I discovered that some of the colors I wanted to use were dried in the tube (they're probably from about 1988!), but then I discovered you can slit the tube open and apply a wet brush to the dried paint and so use what's in there more or less like pan watercolors. So that's a bit of a money-saver while I'm experimenting. Otherwise, there's a $100 set of paints I want to buy, and I'm not sure I can justify that right now.
Plus, I painted the background far too dark, so I sponged some of it off, but there's still a disappointing lack of contrast here.
Finally, this one just didn't give me that little thrill of creation as much as the previous 3 little paintings did, so I arrive at...hmmm.
Hoping the next one will be pretty groovy, though. I love the sketch. Now if I can just get the paints to behave. :)
Haven't posted much work yet this year, as I am trying to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone -- and I have stretched -- but I'm not comfortable enough to share those pieces with you yet.
Here is one I started last night and just now finished that I am comfortable with: just a small watercolor pencil painting on paper. I started from the point of continuing my thoughts/impressions of Bontecou, but decided to aim for a simpler design and a slightly subdued (for me) palette. Not sure I was successful on either of those counts, but I do like this piece!
I do find doing these little studies to be very calming. And after 2 weeks of not having our usual daily life routine, and a few days of a visit from my old college roommate, I was more than ready for some calming! ;)
What can I say? I love this painting! It's goofy and awkward, and it took me a long time to get it from where it started to this point...days -- many, many days. But I love the color palette and the shapes and their interactions of bumping into each other and falling and flying.
Here's another painting that is a bit of a departure for me - one that I feel will move my work forward in some ways, eventually. This was done in acrylic, due to time constraints, and that change in mediums shook up my usual process quite a bit. I usually work in oil, and like it to dry as slowly as possible, so that I can keep working into wet paint for days.
Also, this was a composition based on a number of photographs taken in an urban food forest for a show to benefit the food growers community. I don't usually work either from life or from photographs so much anymore. I did not intend for the flower heads of the artichoke plants to become so representational, but I must say that I am actually quite thrilled with this whole painting, and I look forward to seeing how it will influence my work in the future.
Reshared text: December Sale, Day Seven: Prints of My Favorite Nude Drawing
I love this drawing from the archives of my early work. I got lucky; I had a beautiful model and the best position for this pose, and I'm so happy the drawing came out so well, if I do say so myself (and I did). I have only 3 prints available of this drawing on my shop site right now. I could print more, but that won't happen this year.
Here are the current options:
Large unmatted print @ $60.00 14.75" x 12" image on 19" x 13" Epson Watercolor paper Small matted print @ $40.00 9.25" x 7.5" image on Epson Velvet paper in a 14" x 11" acid-free ivory-colored mat Small unmatted print @ $32.00 9.25" x 7.5" image in a 14" x 11" on Epson Velvet paper All prints are signed and numbered limited editions, and are backed with acid-free foam core and packaged in a clear archival bag.
These prices reflect the 20% sale and shipping is FREE through the end of this month. Such a deal! ;)
I'm back in the studio yesterday and today, thank goodness! With my husband's broken leg and hospitalization, this past month has been more full of interruptions to my (almost) daily painting routine. Next week, we'll find out how much (if any) more weight my hubby can start putting on his broken leg. I know this is going to be a long process of recovery for him, and we both look forward to the day when he can start walking on both legs again.
Anyway, until I finish my next WIP, I'll share with you one of my favorite little paintings/drawings from last year. It's only 7" x 5", but sometimes it takes a totally disproportionate amount of time to create a piece this size. This is a combination of ink, acrylic, and possibly watercolor.
RESHARE: If you're not familiar with +Heather Horton , you really should be. I love everything she does, and this self-portrait (I think it's a self-portrait) really grabbed me for it's intensity, but you may find other works are your favorites.
This is the painting I was working on before my husband's accident, the one that was giving me fits. I abandoned my original idea soon after starting work on it, then decided my next idea wasn't a big enough idea to fill this rather bigger canvas (24" x 36"); then tried at least half a dozen other ideas before discovering I needed to finish the painting more or less the way I'd started it -- my second idea after all!
So I think I am done. This is a studio shot; will take a better picture someday when it's not raining (yay, rain!).
I think this is my favorite of my recent paintings. I'd love to paint this loose all the time -- or looser even. I don't know why it doesn't always seem possible. Constitutionally predisposed to tightness, I fear...
Here's the next piece I did after the one I posted yesterday. I was aiming to create a painting with some nice space in it (and I do like the space here). Then it got goofy. And I let my husband convince me to stop where I did. Not sure if I should have. But here it is.
"Artists are some of the savviest, inventive people. They have to manage a really illogical pursuit. The rest of the world is a lot more logical. Every artist I know is dealing with a lot of stress, and a lot of desire, and a lot of curiosity."
from Artist Diana Al-Hadid, in "New York Close Up" (new video).
But they didn't post it here, so I will do it for them. :)
Oh, My! Just got +Lena Levin 's beautiful book of paintings in the mail. Lena, you outdid yourself! The book quality is much more than I expected, and the contents are....well, Lena's gorgeous paintings, with accompanying text. I am very much looking forward to having time next week to sit down with this for a nice long stretch and just absorb. :)
While I've disappeared into the world of web work during the day, I am still painting nights and weekends, and my latest painting is just taking forever! Two weeks of bits and pieces of time working in a mostly new technique for me on a 36" x 36" canvas (palette knife with Dorland's cold wax medium). I'm hoping it will come together before Friday Art Critique...
Reshared text: "Casa Batlló is a key feature in the architecture of modernist Barcelona. It was built by Antoni Gaudí between 1904 and 1906 having been commissioned by the textile industrialist Josep Batlló. Nowadays, the spectacular facade is an iconic landmark in the city. The "Manzana de la Discordia", or Block of Discord, is a series of buildings in Passeig de Gràcia. It is home to a collection of works by the most renowned architects, amongst which is Casa Batlló. The house, now a museum, is open to the public, both for cultural visits and for celebrating events in its splendid modernist function rooms."
Reshared text: Note: If you're going to add yourself to the list please use the SHARE link at the bottom of this post and make it PUBLIC so more people will see it. Thank you.
I feel bad that I could not update my original list with all you lovely artists so I thought it would be great to start afresh and do this thing properly. So, for all you arty people out there I'm going to try and create a database of G+ artists, with your help.
To find out your G+ URL (the address that links to your G+ page), simply click on your name (top left of your stream, next to your profile picture) and copy the link from your address bar. It should look something like this (this is mine): https://plus.google.com/109817489744930804252/ The big number at the end is the important part, it's your unique Google+ ID. Make sure it is correct!
Update 1: I've been looking through the list (thank you to anyone who contributed), BUT is there really any point adding your info on there if you aren't sharing/posting or generally using Google plus? Please remember that if you aren't making your posts 'public' none of us will be able to see them.
Update 2: I'd really prefer to keep this list for VISUAL artists. If you are a Musician, or a Writer I can help you setup your own form/database if you'd like.
Update 3: Added some info regarding G+ URL links.
Update 4: Thank you everyone who has contributed and shared this post. Just a quick edit to say we've teamed up with +Daniel Treadwell, the guy behind the fantastic group.as site. He's imported this list into his website and now everyone who submitted their info has been automatically featured under the group.as/Artist section! It serves the same purpose, but looks tons better. Daniel is looking for feedback concerning the site and he'd love to hear what you think. Make sure you send him any feedback or feature requests.
Update 5: We've passed the 1000 sign-ups mark! Woo!
I hope that you have all gained many new followers and discovered many more inspirational artists as part of this list. Here's to many more in the future! Long live Google+!
Personally, I think this painting is a mess. I've painted it 3 or 4 different times, each time almost completely obliterating what was there before. I repainted it quickly for that art show in February (the show that is still continuing until who knows when?), but when my paintings do finally come home, this one is going in the rework pile.
Here's what I like: the colors, the thickness of the paint, some of the flow-y kind of shapes. There's a smidge of white paint applied with a palette knife in a previous incarnation kind of in the lower mid section that I've been attached to, but I may have to not worry about keeping that.
Here's what I don't like: the overall composition, the feeling of the painting. It never really became something. I'm sure I either didn't push it far enough, or I pushed it too far. I think the big flower in the middle on the right is demanding almost all of the attention, so I'm considering wiping it out. OTOH, I could just keep piling on the paint and pushing it around until it works, but it'd probably be helpful if I had a clear sense of a strong composition.
So let me have it; hit me with your best shot. Really, this painting embarrasses me so much, I almost didn't post it even for critique. (and wouldn't you know, a lot of people say they love it! Argh!).
This was my first tornado painting. I was working with oil paints mixed with encaustic medium, which (if there is an excess of oil in the oil paint) can cause some odd mixing behaviors, which definitely happened here. I love the effects that I got in this painting! It kind of abstracted itself. :)
This was apparently my 9th (not) daily drawing from 2011, which was also not 100% successful -- a little doodle in ink, watercolor and possibly acrylic on cold press watercolor paper. I don't like cold-press paper; it's too textured for these little paintings. I was searching for forms and visual language at a very small scale.
This is very cool! I'm going to bone up on my Lithuanian and other languages; maybe finally study a little Latin. There are also flashcards for Arts & Literature, Math & Science, History & Geography and more.
I think someone in my circles shard this yesterday, but I can't find their post, so if it was you, let me know, so I can give you credit.
Drawing the Figure in Space, Lesson One: Project Yourself into the Picture Plane
Two weeks ago, I posted the 1st of these "figures in space," with the promise of posting more, along with some of the lessons about working this way. Just so you know, I have 18 of these drawings, but fewer notes, and so the lessons will unfold a bit slowly.
These are from a class I took with one of my favorite teachers at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Elizabeth Rupprecht. I learned so much from her classes. An awesome teacher!
For the first few weeks, we interpreted the model's figure as boxes representing the major and minor parts of the body, as below. But first, we drew the space the figure occupied, separating it into the X-, Y- and Z-axes: the large planes in the drawing (semi-erased. We worked quickly with vine charcoal to draw, and chamois cloths, kneaded erasers and the sides of our fists to erase. We drew and then erased several drawings on the same piece of paper). We also drew a little fly-eye's view from the ceiling (a "top" view), seen below in the little box at the upper right.
We were trying to really get a sense of where the parts of the figure are within that 3-dimensional space. It's a little different than drawing just what you see. It's really a different way of thinking about drawing; less about drawing a flat, pictorial or almost photographic representation, and more about finding a way to make art based on what is actually there.
If this is a little hard to grasp, stay tuned in coming weeks; I hope I can convey what I think I learned. And if you already know what I'm talking about, I would love to hear how you talk about it and what your understanding is. It's making me mental trying to put this in words.
Here are some of the notes I took from this class:
"When drawing the figure in space, use empathy – project yourself into the picture plane. Move yourself to the center of the picture plane."
"In Cezanne’s landscapes, things get bigger as they go back in space – he’s projected himself into the landscape."
"What's behind you is as important as the rest."
We looked a lot at the work of such artists as Cezanne, Michelangelo, Picasso, Henry Moore and Hans Hoffman, among others.
Anyway, let me know if this is at all interesting to you. It changed the way I thought about drawing and painting, and I am enjoying revisiting these lessons. :)
Did any of you study drawing in a similar way? I would love to hear about it!
As a way of offering penance for any heart attacks I may have caused with my scare over G+'s post sharing changes (not), here is a useful tidbit for adding info to your images. For PhotoShop users.
If you add File Info to your images (and then save them), that info will come along with the image when you upload it to G+. Then you don't even have to add that info to your images in the "Edit Photos" panel on G+; it will just seemingly magically appear!
An easy way to do this is to record an action and then play it back on each image. The idea behind recording and playing back actions is to minimize repetitive tasks by allowing the Actions macro that you recorded to do as much for you as you can instruct it to do.
So, to Add File Info, here's what you do: 1. open a typical image 2. on the Actions palette, create a "New action," call it perhaps "Add File Info." 3. begin recording 4. then click on "File...File Info." 5. enter the typical info for your typical image: title, description (this is where I put again Title, plus medium, size, copyright date and my name -- this is what will be uploaded with your image to G+), keywords (if you like; not sure where they come into play, if anywhere); select "Copyrighted" for Copyright Status; include a URL where you have your copyright info (if you have such, and if it matters to you). 6. Select OK. 7. Stop recording your action. 8. On each new image, before you save the final master PSD file, run the action "Add File Info." 9. click on "File...File Info" again, and change the title, medium and any other items that may need changing on a per image basis. 10. Save your master file for each image. 11. Save your file for the web for each image. 12. Upload the image from step 11 to G+ and see if it worked for you.
I include the type of information as seen in the image below under "Description:" YMMV. "Origin" may be another useful panel to include, as may several others.
Disclaimer: I am using PhotoShop v. CS3. I have no idea if newer versions would behave differently; several older versions should allow you to do the same thing, IIRC.