Thursday, May 30, 2013

Meanwhile ... Back at the Swamp ...

I've been playing around with landscapes. I wish I could be doing this in some hillside Italian village, but ...
 This is on "0" Avenue, the road following the U.S./Canada border. At one point, there is a fabulous swampy area. I drive by it several times a month, and have always found it quite attractive - in a marshy sort of way.
When starting something new, I tend to be quite tentative. You can see this in the photo.

I've strengthened it a bit, but it still needs oomph.

Another view of the swamp.
I enjoyed painting these two, and I have another more complicated one on the board to paint, as well as another pair of shoes.

Thank you for dropping by. Your comments are always welcome.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Odds and Ends ... More Odd than Anything Else!

The photos came up in reverse order. However ...
I took this and the one below of Fat Bastard [her favorite] to take in when I visited my aunt. She is still in the hospital - hopefully set free today!

Hoping for a raisin ...

You KNOW I made some touch-ups - can't resist. It's signed, and cropped to about the size it will be when mounted on the cradled frame. [still waiting for the wood stain to dry]

This one is done, too, and will also be mounted on a cradled frame and varnished.

While waiting for the stain to dry, I've been playing around with some landscapes.  Both are renderings of La Specola observatory in Padua, where Galileo made some of his brilliant, paradigm-shattering discoveries on our place in the solar system.

Thank you for dropping by, and your comments are always most welcome!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Feeling a Lot like Nero, Playing His Violin While Rome Burned...

I have darkened the greens with a thin glaze of the same violet I am using on the petals.  To bring the eye more to the upper right, I am glazing the petals with a warm [more pink] or cool violet - permanent rose and indanthrone blue. This is another painting I want to mount and varnish, to show at the gallery in Vancouver next month. The allusion to Nero is that I feel it's too much time spent on something this small [6 x 8 inches] and that won't sell.   Yes, I am having a bit of a bad day with regards to my painting. Probably a good time to leave this, and go play with Bruno! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Been a Long Time, but ... PROCESS ...

This poor clematis was planted about five years ago, and never bloomed till this year. It is really making up for lost time. The blossoms are huge - probably ten inches across - and profuse. And the flower itself, as you can see, is gorgeous! It must be all that good composted horse manure. :)

This is my reference photo for a smaller painting - 6 x 8 inches.

I start with the greens - the background colors are a mix of quin. gold and phthalo green[YS]. The inner color is aureolin with a touch of pink and cobalt blue.

For the shadows, I am painting all w/w, using cobalt blue and pink. I use a grey mix [cobalt blue, aureolin and pink] for some of the darkest areas, then glaze over with the pink and blue. I am darkening the greens with phthalo green, quin. gold and alizarin crimson.

Here, I have put a mat around the painting to see how it looks. 

And here is where I am now, still playing with the pink and blue to get more depth.
A few people have asked me if I intend to varnish all my watercolors. This one will certainly be mounted on a 6 x 8 inch cradled frame and varnished. And I am just staining the frame to mount the sexy shoes. I don't think I'll varnish all the work I do, but some of the fun, smaller paintings - yes.

As always, it's great that you visited, and your comments are most welcome.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Long, Tall Zebras Are Done

I left these this morning as the black stripes were making my eyes wonky. I went into town to visit my aunt, and when I got home, the urge came on me to finish them. There may be the odd touch-up [you know me :)] but essentially the wild shoe painting is done!

As always, your comments are most welcome! 

It Might Just Turn Out ...

I've worked the shadows using a "dab and blend" technique because of the roughness of the paper.

Next, I've done a thin glaze of the pattern I want. In the original, it was leopard-like spots, but I didn't think that was a good idea considering the state of the surface.

I think there is hope for this!!! The zebra stripes are striking, and are going on well.  I have to leave it for now, as I am going cross-eyed painting the stripes. :)  As always, your comments are most welcome!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

UNDER-IMPRESSED with masking fluid ... AGAIN!!!!!

I started to work on the shadows first this morning, and was quite displeased to find that, although the paper "looked" all right, it did not accept water well at all. I really like to paint w/w, but with this painting, I am forced to dab and soften. I'd like to finish it as best as I am able, as I really do like the background.  I probably would have thrown it out, but I was watching/listening to the movie "Troy", and was happily distracted.
WOW, what a great movie!!! I've always enjoyed Greek and Roman mythology and history, and I found this movie to be quite well done. It didn't go into the meddling by the gods of Olympus - just focused on the war, and the siege of Troy. I am not a war-monger or lover of brutality by any stretch of the imagination, but the glory [I suppose] and the honor of one-on-one battle was very stirring.
Back to painting - and time to change masking fluid brands again.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Shoes that Hit the Shower ... and came out better

A friend of mine at work told me about her wild shoes. Having had a bit of a shoe fetish in the past, I asked her if she could bring them to work, so I could photograph them as reference for a painting. They really were WILD - six inch spike heels, and a faux-fur finish. The heel was so high, Laara couldn't wear them.
I  masked the shoes [I found out what I was doing wrong with the masking fluid - using a hair dryer on it.] and did two graded washes - aureolin and alizarin crimson.  

Another two washes of yellow and red, and some of the shadowing.

I got too heavy-handed with the black, and lost most of the yellow on the upper right, and the shoe shadows. So I took the painting into the bathroom, turned the shower on cold, and stuck the painting under the water. It lifted enough of the color gently, so I could re-work the darks. 

I alternated between doing a large, all-over graded wash, and painting the shadow details. I did this twice, and I liked the effect of the shoe shadows merging into the deep shadows on the left, so the masking came off. This is where I am now. Next ... the shoes!

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Varnishing Watercolor Paintings

For the sake of being able to offer finished paintings, immediately ready to hang, and to try to avoid the cost of framing, I decided to try varnishing a few watercolor paintings.  These are some of the paintings I decided to varnish. I have propped them up so you can get an idea of the frame.   It is a one and a half inch cradled frame, which I have sanded and stained with Minwax Polyshades, using a light oak or a black stain, depending on the painting. I think the staining and spray- varnishing procedures were the messiest.

Here I have my varnishing supplies all set out.

First I went to the art supply store, and got some help selecting products.  I bought some inexpensive cradled frames, some acrylic gesso, a jar of gel medium, and a can of glossy archival varnish.
I sanded the frames, and dusted off the sawdust. Then I applied a relatively thin coat of the gesso to the surface on which the painting was to be glued, to protect the watercolor paper from the wood. That dried fairly quickly. The next step was to glue the paintings onto the frames. For that I used the gel medium, slathered on rather thickly, careful to get it on everywhere smoothly. Then the painting went on, and was smoothed onto the gel "glue" with a roller.  [I used a rolling pin, with a sheet of wax paper on top of the painting for protection.] I flipped it over. painting on protective paper, and put some heavy books on top for weight. The paintings then stayed that way overnight.
The next day, I trimmed the excess paper around the frame, sanded lightly, and started to spray-varnish. I did about three thinner coats, then one thick coat at the end. I let it dry a day, then stained the wood. I did two coats, sanding lightly with fine steel wool in between. I got a bit slap-happy doing this, and got a bit of wood stain on the painting. I sanded the spot, and varnished again.
It's quite a procedure the first time, but I'm sure the next time will be much easier ... and neater!

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Monday, May 6, 2013

No Guts ... No Glory ... or Something like That ...

Something struck me as just wrong with this painting. In the back of my mind, a voice was niggling - "the background". 

This is where the "guts" came in - playing with a fairly detailed, almost finished painting. I mixed up a puddle of phthalo green [blue shade] and a touch of alizarin crimson, and painted wet on dry, in manageable segments. 

Here it is finished. I think the cool dark makes it look much better. It unifies the background, and really brings the flower to the fore.
For those of you who have been following for a while, my aunt's surgery went very well, and she is now in recovery. :)

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Closing on the Finish Line ... and Some Farm Stuff, Too

I had to resort to masking fluid. Then I could start work on the central blossom.

I am at this point now - very close!
If you have any questions about colors or techniques [John] please feel free to ask.

This is the start of my vegetable garden. The layer of soil is quite thin and clayey, so it needs some help. I have put down all my old hay, covered it with peat moss, and am now laying on the compost.

My stash of compost ...

My compost producer ... "partner in crime" ...

If you look closely on the lower right, you can see one of the killdeer, who is most upset by my presence in the field. There must be a nest close by.
I am trying to keep myself really busy, so I don't have time to brood.  My aunt's surgery is slated for Monday.

As always, your comments are most welcome!