Friday, September 1, 2017

MIXING IT UP!!

HAASTRECHT, NETHERLANDS


I am usually not inspired to paint landscapes except when I travel.  This was a scene  from our boat trip on the waterways from Amsterdam to Brugge earlier this summer.  Nice that the camera records where you are when you take the shot,  otherwise I wouldn't know this was from the village of Haastecht, which is very near Gouda.  The long, narrow canvas was a challenge.  I had to create a more simplified and interesting foreground than in the photo.   I also enjoyed the challenge of mixing various greens.   Mixing it up by using a different canvas proportion, different perspective and unexpected greens created a personal vision for a landscape.

There are at least two other paintings underneath this one.  I lose track sometimes as to what lies beneath!  Nice to finally feel satisfied and I can move on.  Eventually they all find a satisfying finished painting, but lots and lots of false starts.  The build up does make for an interesting surface.  This one has a coat of gesso that I used a sponge roller over the top.  When it dried, it had a very rough finish.  Paint scumbles beautifully on this surface but it chews up brushes so don't use good sable on this type of surface.

With every painting, I try to learn something new.   I explored surface and color mixing and think I have added to my ongoing attempt to master painting in acrylic. How boring it would be to know it all.    Fortunately, there is always something new to learn.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

EMBRACING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE!!

ZEN BRUSH APP
So many artists of my generation are not embracing the new technology at their fingertips With all the incredible digital programs available for phones and tablets from altering photos to drawing and painting digitally, it is a treasure chest of new ideas and ways of creating from combining traditional methods with digital to working completely digitally.  Staying current with technology is fabulous for keeping one's mind and spirit young and functioning optimally.  Although I prefer actually manipulating art materials, it has been so much fun learning how to manipulate digital art as well.  Especially at night while I am relaxing in a chair or waiting in the airport, doctor's office and other sit around and wait times.  It has become my new "sketch book" an artist is encouraged to have with them at all times.


I have learned how to work with these programs on my own with out any instruction.  That is, until a few weekends ago when I had the wonderful opportunity to take a 2 day seminar on various digital programs as well as information on printing, marketing and everything digital.  mDAC sponsored the weekend program and it was fabulous.  I loved meeting others who are really embracing this brave new world and learning how to go deeper into these programs.     Here are some of the new digital images I created at the seminar and since.  My goal is to do a digital drawing or painting everynight while I veg out in my comfy arm chair.


ZEN BRUSH

We started the portrait party by Julia Kay, by drawing with our nose!!!  It was a great ice breaker.   One can't help but laugh after realizing she wasn't kidding.  
Vector brush i Sketch Club app

Vector Brush in Sketch Club app
Next we played with the app Sketch Club and used the vector brush.  This creates shapes.  Challenges but quite fun to play with.  I need  to go back and explore  this app much more!

here is a portrait another artist did of me and shared using the vector brush.   

We didn't have a lot of time for our portrait party but here is another brush we played with Sketch Club. It is procedural Dots 
ZEN BRUSH APP

ADD A DIGITAL BACKGROUND

KEEP ON PLAYING!




SKETCH CLUB TEXT BRUSH

text brush from Sketch Club worked over photograph that has been modified in iColorama.

I hope these examples tempt you to explore digital painting for yourself.  Please share your images!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

TRAVEL MEMORIES

ALONG THE CANALS FROM AMSTERDAM TO BRUGGE


As most of you know, I rarely do landscape paintings.  The exceptions are usually related to traveling.  Painting is the most wonderful way to revisit trips creating an indelible memory.   This past June, I had the unusual opportunity to travel along the waterways between Amsterdam and the seaport of ZeeBrugge on a 35 foot sport boat.  It was a beautiful experience and I took tons of photos.  I thought I would be painting while cruising but that turned out to be impractical.   I am now in the process of turning some of those images into paintings.  This is the first one I have completed.   Taking photos from the docks provided a lower vantage point than normal, giving a different perspective to the landscape.  I liked shooting through the vegetation.   This  particular scene doesn't seem to be typical of what we think of Belgium or Holland but it brings back special memories for me.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

THE PROCESS


For me, it starts with a photograph, usually of a person.  I had found a clever little gadget called a PODO which acts like a selfie stick without the stick.  It is a small square lens that can be attached to any surface by a sticky pad on the device.  It connects by blue tooth to your phone.   This allows me to shoot photos at unusual angles and create perspective distortion which I find fun to paint.  I was sitting at a desk at an art exhibit for the day and decided to play with my new "toy".   I stuck the PODO at a low angle on the desk leg and set my phone on the floor in front of me so I could see what the lens was picking up.   Here is one of the photos I took that day.

I straightened the image, cropped the photo and eliminated the background.  

Then, I digitally created a line drawing using Procreate 


This is a painting I wanted to paint over.  I was hoping to save the circle patterns in the background.


I covered the face with turquoise acrylic,  had fun spritzing with water and alcohol and then turned it upside down to disguise the image underneath.


Using my line drawing as a guide, I drew the new image onto the paper and proceeded to establish a value pattern.


Adding color but it is beginning to look too much like a cartoon  but I press on!


Not at all happy at this point. Along with many other problems,  I decided that the hands were too small for the head.   Start over by  covering with gesso and redraw the image.  


I might have over exaggerated the hands this time.  I photographed the painting and then put it into my favorite app where I could overlay my current painting with my digital drawing and save the blend.  Now I have a guide to correct the drawing!


Hands are definitely way off but very impressed with how close I got the face drawing freehand.


Okay, drawing corrected.  I was surprised the original watercolor drawing wouldn't wipe off of the gesso but it will wind up being covered with acrylic anyway, so a distraction but not a problem.


Back to establishing values.


Having fun scumbling color.


In the end I painted out the white pants and put several more thin coats of color on the background.  Only thing left of the original painting is faint circles hinting of what is buried underneath.  









Saturday, July 15, 2017

ANTOMY OF A PAINTING



I just finished this painting yesterday.  I have been exploring some ways to work with acrylic lately.  I managed to photograph the work at the end of each day, with a small exception.  I forgot to take a photo after the charcoal drawing and remembered after I had started to add color but one can still see the progression clearly.  I wasn't sure how I was going to finish the painting until I was there.  That is a nice quality about acrylic is it is so changeable and fixable.  With watercolor there is much less flexibility.

This particular piece of paper has 3 different paintings if viewed through an x-ray machine.  I don't even remember what the original failed painting was.  I covered that over with collage papers and did a painting on that.  Another dog!  Time to reinvent.  So here are the steps I took to get to this image.  I think I will keep this one.  


Lots of spray with water and alcohol to create some texture and surface interest.  



I drew the image on with charcoal because I could make corrections easily.  Once I was satisfied with the drawing, I went over the lines with acrylic paint in sepia.  Once dry I washed the charcoal off with a damp cloth.


Establishing some value patterns


This is the ugly duckling stage  where doubt starts to creep in.


Now I have to make some major decisions as to the final direction I want to take this painting in.  


I even surprised myself!  





Tuesday, July 4, 2017

RISKY BUSINESS!

AFTER

As much as I loved the golden background color on this painting, there was a lack of color harmony that was bothering me.  I could have glazed with a warm color over the skin tones but I decided to go with a cool color in the background.  I was hesitant to do anything because it couldn't be reversed if I didn't like it.  It was risky business but I took a chance and  I am very satisfied with the results.  

BEFORE

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

CLOSER AND CLOSER

WHIPLASH finished


This is the final version (I think) of my lastest painting, an acrylic on canvas.  I purchased a book on abstract textures in acrylic and started to play around.  The first instruction was to create a design with horizontal movement.  I put some dark diagonal splotches on top of the yellow ochre and viola!  I saw two eyes, and a nose!!  Can't fight the inevitable, I guess.  I went looking through my resource images to find something that would fit what showed up and found this wonderful face of  actor J. K. Simmons who played the despotic musical instructor in the movie Whiplash.   Great face, almost demonic.  I was able to pull lots of wonderful closeups by stopping the DVD and taking screen shots.    I have been working on this painting everyday and kept painting back into it.  I wanted to try and save the initial texture I created.   Wish I had more of the original but happy with the final results.  I photographed the painting at the end of each day.  Below is how the painting developed.  I wanted to keep it loose and more impressionistic.  I am getting closer and closer to that style.
 






WHIPLASH FINISHED


I will be traveling for a few weeks and hope to bring home some new inspiration for future paintings.
lnspiration for future paintings.
 

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