Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Don't Like to Toot My Own Horn, but If I Don't Nobody Will ...

I entered "I'm Free" in the latest Federation of Canadian Artists show, called "Works on Paper". I was very surprised and pleased to find out that it won 2nd place, and also sold.

I submitted "Steph's Hollyhocks" to the previous FCA show, and it sold as well.

Maybe things are looking up!!!

Many thanks for visiting! And your comments are always welcome.

The Paper and Paste Menagerie Is Growing ...

I start with a few sketches to get an idea of pose and proportion.

Then I scrunch up some newspaper into balls, and tape with masking tape.  Legs, fingers and toes, I usually use a wire armature of some sort - craft wire, coat hanger, twist-tie. Then I wrap the wire in paper, too, and tape it.

My next step is taping all the body parts together, and making sure the figure stands solidly, and is in proportion.

Meet Mr, Przewalski, ready for some paper and paste treatment. The Przewlaski horse is believed to be the progenitor of all horse breeds. I think there are still some herds on the Asian steppes, and in sanctuaries world-wide.

Sketches for the dog figure.

It's supposed to be a Basset hound, but I'm not sure if it will be long enough.
Now to get REALLY messy with some flour and water paste!!!

Many thanks  for visiting! And your comments are always welcome.

The Tugboat Is Still Out at Sea ...

I think when I last posted about this painting, the boats and gulls were still under masking fluid.  At this stage, I think I have done a decent job of portraying the British Columbia coast. [Yay ... there is hope for my painting landscapes.]

Masking gone, edges smoothed and cleaned up, and I have started the tugs. I am using my favorite black mixture - quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and indanthrone. For the reds, I am using mixes of alizarin crimson and quin. siena, adding phthalo green [blue shade] for the shadows of the reds. Just a lot of nit-picking work to do on the ships, then assess the overall image.

Thank you so much for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Something REALLY Different ...

Froggy - armature only

Awesome Possum - some paper mache "muscle" on him, and a hole cut in the top

Owl - with removable head

The Gang - drying out by the bathroom heater.

About two months ago, I re-connected with an old university friend. It was quite funny how she found me. Her daughter-in-law was on facebook, saw my froggy Christmas card, loved it, and showed it to Lynn. The artist's name was very familiar, so Lynn sent me a message ... Are you the Kathryn Ragan who ... I was! She [generously and kindly] wanted so support my artistic endeavors, so she asked if I could make some "awesome boxes". I had never heard of those; I thought she said "possum boxes", and thought it was a cute idea. Now I know what an awesome box is, and am creating some animal-shaped containers in paper mache.
I am having a blast with the paper mache!!! It is gloriously messy, gooey fun! So far, I have constructed armatures [basic support structure] for an owl, a possum and a frog. I have built up their shapes with layers of paper mache [using newspaper, old telephone books and flour/water paste]. Once I have a reasonable shape, I will slather them with gesso to smooth and give detail. Then I will paint them, with acrylic I think, and finally varnish the critters. I may get together armatures for a horse and a dog today, as well as working on the tugboat painting. It has been snowing for three days here, and we have almost a foot of snow - very un-Vancouver-like weather! I am getting a little twitchy being inside, not being able to play with Bruno, so I have to keep busy ...

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

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tugboats Re-visited ... a Watercolor Painting Process

I masked the tugs, and then covered the light areas with old watercolor paper and masking tape. Then I spattered and spayed greens across the top to indicate trees. There was a light blue/grey wash over all except the tugs.

This was the result. Spattering gave a much more natural look to the trees.

I painted a w/w grey/blue wash over the top again. It softened some of the green of the trees, and I quite liked the effect. Then I used a darker grey/green to give the feel of fog below the trees.

I did two separate w/w washes of green for the water.

 ... and then wet all the water and did it again. I think it may need a few washes.
The colors I am using so far are indanthrone blue, aureolin, quin. rose and alizarin crimson.

The last version of the tugboats was good, but didn't really say what I wanted. I was painting it for my saint of a landlady, and she agreed. Also, she preferred green, so off I went ...
I changed the format to "portrait", to enhance the grandeur of the forest, re-sketched one of the tugs, and started. I must admit, I really like the green better than the blue, but that's just a personal preference. And I find the vertical format gives the painting more of an imposing presence.

Thank you all so much for dropping by! Your comments are always welcome.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Hydrangea Finished

I have added some veins to the flowers, the stem and a shadow.

I have done the shadow beneath in two stages, to be able to enhance the gold.
Well, it's done, and to its credit, I like it better than my earlier attempts at hydrangeas [below]. I like the idea of the starkness against a soft, almost-not-there background. I will have to play with this concept a bit more ...

The above two paintings were done about a year ago.

What I really want to paint are some thoughts and feelings about Rio de Janeiro.  I have never been further south than Mexico, but I love the Brazilian culture - music especially. A few nights ago, I watched Black Orpheus - a great old movie. And I have been doing a lot of reading and researching on the recent turmoil concerning the "gentrification" of the favelas. I have google-mapped as far into the favelas as the map permits, and have scrounged for pictures all over the net. Now I must mull over images and ideas to come up with some work expressing how I feel about all of it.

Thank you for dropping by - hope you enjoyed the visit. And your comments and critiques are always welcome.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Having to Prove to Myself that I Can Still Paint ...

Reference - I am still fascinated with dried hydrangea.

I wanted to capture the shapes and translucent overlay of shadows.

My palette is cobalt blue, quin. gold and quin. pink.

I am fairly satisfied with the depth of color and shadow. Now I must decide whether I want to be really fussy, and include the veins in the flowers, and how to represent the shadow below the arrangement.

Suffice to say that it has been a rough couple of weeks. I haven't felt like painting much, and when I do, I don't like the result. So I thought to do something smaller, easier - simple and attractive to me. So far, so good - I LIKE it!

I appreciate your dropping by, and always welcome comments and critiques.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

As for Bruno ...

Himself, having a munch of lunch. It's become very cold again, so he is wearing a quilted blanket under his winter blanket. It feels like about -5C out there right now, with a howling wind, too.

That scraggly weed is dock weed. When I looked it up, the note said it might cause an allergic reaction in horses if ingested. I believe this was the culprit that caused Bruno's hives, which are still being treated.

There was a line of the weeds along the fence line [nothing but barely visible stumps now], and I have now roped this area off.

He also pruned the honeysuckle I had planted along one side of the ring. Believe me, there were plants there. :) Thankfully, they are not noxious for horses, and grow very well even when cropped to the ground by someone with teeth needing exercise.

He also re-contoured the fence ...

... and the fence posts.

This is the new charger I bought yesterday, as the old one was doing nothing.

Last night, when I went to feed him around 9:30, this insulated handle was on the ground, not hooked up to the connection, as I had left it.  He had obviously been playing with the gate, and knocked it to the ground.  And when I opened the gate to go in, he jumped up in the air and 6 feet backwards. Usually, he is at the gate, over the gate, mugging me for goodies. So, it seems the zapper is doing what it is meant to do.
Horses like to chew, some of them more than others, and some develop neurotic behaviour associated with chewing -  usually the more highly-strung and very bored horses. They will chew and gnaw wood like beavers! Some people resort to trying various unpleasant-tasting solutions applied on the wood [which doesn't work]; others will put a top-line of metal stripping on the fence; and some resign themselves to their horses' habit, and just replace the boards as they are chewed through. I have found, for this property, the electric fencing works best. It delivers a relatively mild jolt - I know, as I have been at the receiving end many times. It's just enough to discourage most horses from chewing up the fences. There you have it - a little introduction to fencing-in horses.

Thank you so much for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed the post!!!

A Fishy Tale in the Making ... or ... Koi in Progress

I started with a fairly detailed drawing, then wet all the background and dropped in phthalo blue.  I find I am not using cobalt blue as much, to start with, as it dulls or greys the later glazes a bit.

I added more phthalo blue to the tail, and applied a wet-in-wet wash of indanthrone blue. Then I painted some wubbly lines for ripples.

I spent some time darkening the background, with indanthrone, or a mixture primarily made with that blue.  I also lifted some highlights in the tail fin, both when damp and when dry.

Here, I started glazing the fancy pectoral fins, both w/w and directly. There is a touch of quin. rose at the top of the pectorals. I also shaded the head and body [those parts under water] with a thin glaze of the violet mixture.

Finally, I removed the masking that I had applied to some of the "dangly bits" - what are those things called??
Right now, I am working on the head and body, using quin. sienna and quin. rose. The inside of the mouth is the same rose/sienna mixture, with some of the violet from the background color in the depths of the mouth. This is quite small, only 10.5 x 9 inches, and I hope to finish it today or tomorrow, but knowing me ... it might be a week.
I needed something fluid and yet complicated to take my mind off other things - my aunt, Bruno and the bumps, the whopper traffic tickets I racked up last Friday ...  no, not for speeding.

Anyway, I am very glad you dropped by - thank you! Your comments are always a pleasure.