Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Time for Ink

Time for Ink
6x6 Oil on panel

This is todays painting. My sketchbook is looking rather ragged. Half the spine is missing and its warped as can be, but it has a lot of character. I like these old bruised up art tools. It makes me comfortable enough to use them without fear of messing something up.

I am playing with Line in composition. Composition is going to be a bit of a focus as I continue to learn how to play with paint.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sea Shell - Copperpoint

Sea Shell
4x6 Copper on Canson Watercolor Postcard (2 coats of Blick Studio Gesso)

This is to practice for a silverpoint. I am testing to see if this gesso is going to work for a metal point drawing. The copper is just a piece of electrical wire shoved into a writing pen and taped. You have to have a fairly soft hand to do this. Layers and layers and layers are the key. Although I did this in about an hour and a half, I really could have spent hours on this and gone into much nicer detail. I had to sharpen the point on a piece of sandpaper a couple of times to get the point a little sharper. This gesso seems to work just fine. I was surprised at how easily it received the copper. Over time, this should darken and patina. I thought a shell turning green would be a nice effect.

I am sending this postcard to my dad so he remembers that I love him.

Pensive Tori

Pensive Tori
6x6 Oil on panel.

This is a new day and a new painting. Tori was beginning to feel a little better and was sitting on the couch. I let her watch cartoons while I painted. Although I do need to play with this palette a little more, this is probably one of my better attempts of Tori-girl. A little more contrast would have made this one so much better. Placement rears its ugly head again. Had I put her just a bit higher so she doesn't have so much head room, this painting would have looked a lot better.

I love drawing or painting Tori. She has a very intense gaze. She doesn't look at things, she looks through them a lot of the time. One day I hope to capture that look.

Palette Info:
Titanium White
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna
French Ultramarine
Alizarin Crimson
Cadimum Yellow Light (Thought I would mix it up a bit)


6x6 oil on panel

My daughter stayed home sick from school. I thought I would take advantage of her nap time and attempt to paint her. I had a good start and there was a point where it looked pretty good. Then I got a couple phone calls, the dog wanted out, more phone calls and my time was running out. I attempted to continue to paint during all of this. I cannot talk while drawing or painting. One of the activities always suffers, be it the conversation, or the piece I am working on. In this case it was the piece I was working on. By the time all this was done, she woke up and moved and I could not resurrect this from a slow and painful death.

This goes in my ugly collection to remind me that phone calls mixed with paint causes mud.

Story Time

Story Time
6x6 Oil on panel

This is mostly to play with my palette more. I will give my own critique. Placement is off. This could have been improved had I turned the chair inward and placed a book or perhaps a blanket. I was winging the background and I could have done better. The overall mood is pretty close to what I was trying to accomplish. Placement is my biggest challenge. I need to work on that.

Palette Info:
Titanium white
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna
Yellow Ochre
French Ultramarine
Alizarin Crimson

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Goal Check Time

I have reached the middle of the month so its Goal check time!

If you want to see the original post go here.

  • Woman with a lute - Still needing strings on the lute.
  • Because I miss her - Not even finished with the grisaille.
  • The Structure of Man - Up to lesson 10
  • Learn to use composition rules effectively - Working on that with some of my small studies.
  • Learn to use color effectively - Working on that with some of my small studies.
  • Fill my small pocket sized sketchbook - nothing (Shame on me!)
  • Do at least one Silverpoint drawing - I have some ground tests running currently with copper.
  • Complete enough paintings/drawings to participate in at least one of the local art shows - Working on that with some of my small studies.
  • Complete at least one contemporary/surreal piece - nothing
  • Complete at least one real self portrait - playing with an idea.
  • Get in the practice of reviewing my goals monthly and mark my progress - Here I am!
  • Produce a portfolio/body of work so I can make more goals - I am painting daily, not sure if it will all be "portfolio work", but its building.
I seem to be in a skill building zone lately. That is always good. I have painted every day this week and starting to make it a good habit. I may not be sketching in my sketchbook, but my sketching skills are strengthening due to the sketches I do before painting. Getting out of the house to sketch when the cold sets in is like pulling teeth. All I want to do is stand in my slippers over the heat vents.

I have discovered that doing these daily paintings is killing several birds with one stone. I am working on color, composition and building an inventory of paintings all at one time. I never saw myself as a still life painter, however the illustrative work I want to do includes still life, so I am going to use this winter weather to my advantage. At the end of my daily painting journey, I should be able to combine still life elements and figure studies with ease.

My motto this month is: It's not what you paint, but that you paint that matters!

Blue Vase

Blue Vase
6x6 oil on panel

I am not real happy with this picture. I think the painting looks better in real life than it does on here.

Today was fun. My ellipses are more accurate and it felt more natural. I am learning to get control of my colors a little better. I got some pretty nice darks without black and I combined some of my earth colors without making mud. Hooray!!

I got brave enough to really play with that doily. It was more fun than I first imagined. This is your basic boring vase in the middle of the panel kind of composition. I hope that the reflection adds interest without getting too busy. I ended up a little less "brushy", but when you step right up to it, it looks kind of cool. This vase would look great in a more populated still life.

Palette Info:
Titanium White
Burnt Umber
Yellow Ochre
Ultramarine Blue
Alizarin Crimson

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I love these little coffee creamers. I love anything coffee related. I was given the clear bottle. I am not sure where it comes from, but it makes a nice still life item.

My ellipses are off just a little. I ran out of time to put in the holes in the doily, so its just a white table, but I am fairly pleased with the overall painting experience. I surprised myself a few different times today.

This is my first time getting off the Goya palette. I was surprised at how well I did finding the gray I was looking for using just Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine (Plus white of course). It is still a limited palette, but I wanted to challenge myself to get off the earth colors. I love earth colors, but it is time to start seeing what these other paints are for.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Her Shoes

They say the third time is the charm. I am going to switch subjects tomorrow. I had to give this one more shot to see if I could do it better. Composition is something that I struggle with. I do not seem to see the problem areas until the project is done and they are staring at me in the face. Although the painting practice is always good, even in a bad composition, I am going to take an extra minute to jot down some thumbnail sketches before I begin tomorrow.

I used much less white in this painting. I am not sure if you can tell, since my picture has some horrible glare, but overall there is a lot less "chalk" in this painting than the others. I am starting to understand a little more about my beginner palette. The more I understand, the more I enjoy using it.

Palette Info:


Titanium White

Ivory Black

Burnt Umber

Burnt Sienna

Yellow Ochre

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Small studies - An effort to get more painterly

Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light & Color

Between this and some of the online information, I have been encouraged to take to the easel every day. This is what I produced over the weekend. (in order) I have a one month supply of panels to use for the daily paintings. The book says to do 100 starts. I hate not finishing. I continued until I had at least a result I could live with.

I am not ready to join the daily painters, but I am enjoying painting daily.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Creative Solutions

This is my easel. In our family we name our cars, our computers and other inanimate objects that we adore, so her name is Dorothy.

If you look a little closer, you will see a palette knife hanging on a string. I like to work in sight size for drawings I want to be extremely accurate on, so this is my plumbline. When I am not working in sight size, I often loop that string on a belt loop or around my wrist so I don't have to look for it to mix paint. You can't see in this picture, but I also have a pair of wooden skewers (usually used for shish kabobs) for measuring and finding angles. I discovered that if I put a recipe box under my clipboard, those small postcards are at just the right height and it stays pretty secure for painting. The box itself is great for holding small stuff like erasers and spare bulldog clips.

This is quite honestly one of my favorite pieces of equipment. This tacklebox will hold a lot of stuff! My nephew put it in a garage sale and I gladly paid the $1.00 for it. Each of those slots will hold 2 - 37ml tubes of paint. If I ever start using lots of colors, I might have to come up with a different set-up, but for what I do now, this is awesome. When I am not on the go, I keep my paintbrushes in jars, but I usually pick my favorite handful and put them in that top long slot. In the bottom you cannot see, but I have a couple rolled up baggies and used plastic bags to hold garbage and whatever else I need. I do not do a lot of outdoor painting, but I have found that I am free to roam any room of my house with my portable set up. In the summer time I love to hang out on my North facing front porch and sketch/draw/paint. This makes it easy to pack a studio in and out.

This is my charcoal box I pulled out of my tackle box. Remember when AOL was sending everyone those unsolicited free CD's once a week? The CD made a nice coffee coaster and the box became my charcoal holder. I taped a strip of sandpaper to the middle to sharpen and create loose charcoal. Any loose charcoal I don't use goes inside and the make up wedges I have inside get nice and coated for toning paper later. I don't know if it means I am smart or cheap. I will let you decide.

My daughters boyfriend recently gave me this beautiful red box for storing things. I believe the original purpose of this box was supposed to be photos or postcards. I have discovered it works great for those 6x6 panels I use for small studies. The lid doesn't fit on it, but it will

When all is said and done, I can pack myself into a square corner that is the width of my easel. By keeping my "studio" small, I can move to the south facing back deck, the north facing front porch, the computer room or the living room within minutes. Since my main corner is in the dining room, I have the table at my disposal for spreading out and getting comfortable.

My Creative Journal

My Creative JournalThis is my Creative Journal. I like having the zipper binder so that all the goodies inside do not fall out. I keep sticky notes and scrap paper in the small pocket for quick notes. I also keep pens and pencils, erasers and pencil sharpeners in there.

In the back I have a nice pile of page protectors, graph paper, loose paper and spare pocket folders in case I need them. Sometimes I punch computer paper and keep it in there for a quick sketch. Because the zipper contains so well, I have learned to keep a small sketchbook in there instead. If I end up using a sketch, I pull it out of my sketchbook and file it with the project.

You can get all kinds of dividers. I prefer the clear pocket dividers because you can see through them. They are thick enough to hold the sales catalogs from art suppliers and sturdy enough to hold canvas panels if I decide to keep them in there.

In my project section, I keep printouts of referances, progress pictures, notations and anything pertaining to the project. Having Document protectors comes in handy for flat stuff. I can punch holes in gallon size freezer bags to hold ojbects that won't fit in a document protector or pocket divider.

The sections I have in my journal are:

Business info - For business information I pull out of magazines or print out from the web.
Journal - I jot down conversations, stories, the occasional deep thought, or even the shallow thoughts here that pertain to my art.
Creative ideas - Magazine clippings of pretty pictures, scribbles, ideas for paintings, possible painting titles, possible series ideas and ideas to jumpstart creativity.
Dry media - Documentation of Drawings and dry media projects.
Oil Paintings - Documentation of oil painting projects.

In my documentation I include a sheet of the facts, a log sheet of my time and progress and a sheet of my personal analysis.

The facts:
Date Started
Date Finished
Time Spent
Painting method
Palette used
Support Info
Date Sold
Date Shipped

The Log Sheet
I just recently added this and its still in testing to see if I will continue. This is to give me an idea of how much time I spend on a project and will help me break down how much time goes into prep work, etc. I will probably use this more if I ever do a comission. For now, I am mostly using it to build good habits.

The Analysis
What did I do well?
What did I do wrong?
What did I learn?
What would I do differently?
What did I do differently on this painting than others?
Why did I paint this?
Symbolism used (if any)
Where is the egg? (I just recently added this question.)

The nice thing about using the 3-ring binder is that I can always add and subtract the contents. I know there are lots of computer methods to achieve the same thing, but there is something kind of inspiring to see my own handwriting. I can tell if it was a good day or bad by the loops in my letters. It is kind of nice to sit down with a cup of coffee and browse through the old ideas or jot down a new one. On those not so good days, I can go through my finished project section and see light at the end of the tunnel. There is also a sense of accomplishment when I document all the thought time and effort I put into a project. It reminds me that this is not just a silly little toy I play with, this is my passion.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baroque Self Portrait - Sketching out the idea

The creative process begins

One of the nice things about digital paint programs is that you can take an actual photo and sketch in ideas. I am not sure if this is the final idea, but it is one of them. I was looking for a way to go ahead and use that arm coming forward to click the button on my camera. If I go with this idea, I will probably get out my sewing form and do a proper drapery study. Since I am flipping the photo, I may need a better photo to work with. My original plan was to use myself in the mirror, but I think I like it flipped better.

I like paintings that tell a story, so this will most likely be my self portrait as a muse. There are all kinds of deep thoughts that can be invented, but secretly, I had to find a purpose for the egg. This sounds plausible, so I will go with it. I have no idea what I am going to do with all that room on the left side. Since this is supposed to be Baroque, I am thinking there should be something fairly dramatic. I have a few ideas floating around in my brain, but at this point I am open to suggestions.

An explaination for the egg:

I recently had a conversation with my cousin who challenged me to do a series of paintings in any style or method and include an egg anywhere in the painting. It can be bluntly represented as I am using here, or I can choose to hide the egg in the painting. She explained that an egg is a symbol of restarting or new life. Since I am starting over in my persuit of being an artist it seemed like a fun challenge.

There is something about making just a few obscure rules like "in the Baroque style" and "an egg must be involved" that gets my creative child jumping for joy. When the options are open, the inner critic shoots down nearly every suggestion. My inner critic is much more open to ideas once a project has guidelines. I have learned that if I feed this need my creative blocks tend to be far between and shorter in length.

I am heading to the store to get a few more supplies for my Creative Journal. I have lots of notes and a 3-ring zip up binder. I am going to get some paper and a few markers. While this blog is an online version of that, its nice to have something to flip through when the kids are hogging my computer.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Is this thing Ba-roque?

Playing with images for my baroque self portrait. Not sure if this is Ba-roque enough to use. This is one of many I took tonight. I will explain the egg later. I need a camera with a timer, dangit!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Postcard - Still Life with Egg

Oil on 4x6 Watercolor Postcard

My son got me a watch for Christmas and it came in this amazing box. I will probably do more paintings of this box because I love the shape. I didn't know what to put with the box, so I added an egg. Eggs are always good in a still life.

This is on a Canson Watercolor postcard. I taped all sides to mask it off, then applied 2 coats of gesso. Once that was dry, I applied paint and Ta-Da!! There is no rhyme or reason to my palette selection which is:

  • Titanium White
  • Ivory Black
  • Burnt Umber
  • Alizarin Crimson

I may do this again using a different palette. Larry Seiler has a video on YouTube. I am going to watch this a few more times and see if I can get closer to what I am aiming for. I tend to be such a busy blending body. Getting painterly is a very hard thing for me to do. I ruined this a couple times before I decided to just be happy with it.

Once it dries, this will be my weekly postcard to Dad. He doesn't know it is coming. He will eventually figure out that I have dedicated one day a week to art for his mail box. I used to send him drawings on postcards, so I am sure he will be happy to see I have moved on to paint.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

ATC - Small stuff

I decided to give some ATC's a try. This is a fun way to experiment with new colors on my palette. These are oil on Bristol Board. 2 1/2 x 3 1/2. Any of these are up for trade.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Baroque Self Portrait

The classical art gang at wetcanvas is starting the year off right with a set of new challenges. The first challenge of the year is a Baroque Self Portrait. I found a short description of the Baroque period. This is going to be a fun challenge to watch as well as participate in.