Friday, August 24, 2012

Calling it quits...

Calling it quits??? Is she crazy? Naw, I'm not quitting blogging, I'm just finally throwing in the towel on my current painting.  It started out to be an actual representation of a photo that I took of Peri in the train station in San Fran on the morning of our initial departure.  Once again I am reminded that a pretty cool photograph doesn't always translate into a beautiful painting (even when the subject is beautiful in her own right).

I may have mentioned that I take photos during my painting  process to  see what errors jump out at me.  Well, after forty photos and forty changes and forty layers of glazes, I have completely changed the photo from a bright sunny morning shot to a very dark and moody painting and it's still not "right". 

I'm going to post it anyway and say up front to my sister, who I love dearly, that I'm stumped and am calling it quits...I mean complete.

Keep it mind that this is a somewhat large painting, approximately 16 x 20 and I painted it on watercolor paper instead of canvas.  Originally I wanted to convey the brightness of the sun coming into the windows reflecting the lightness of our mood and our anticipation of the trip.  This never happened to my satisfaction.  I kept all of the photos of the process and will perhaps put them on my Flickr page at some point.  In the mean time, I give you a very different version.  The original plan was too busy and didn't highlight Peri in the way I wanted.  So I basically just blocked everything out with shadowy greys and blues and chalked it all up to experience.

I did finish up the crochet tote bag that I was working on.  I haven't made a handle yet, because it worked so well containing my wayward yarns that I don't want to empty it yet.

I have no new projects in the works, except a crocheted shawl that is working up slowly.  Who knows what I'll do next week.  Might be jewelry, might be sewing, might be more painting.  I guess we'll see.

Have a fun weekend and don't forget to stay creative.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another week, another project

Well, another week has passed and I do have a new painting on the easel.  It's one from our train trip, but I was almost done with it when I realized the perspectives were off in several places, so I'm going to let it sit for a while until I decide what to do with it.  The good parts are very, very good but the bad parts are very, very bad.

Now with all that being said,  I went ahead and started a crocheting project.  I suppose you realize now that I, for some reason, must have something to do with my hands.  I just can't not have a project.  Currently, I am crocheting a tote bag/basket to use as storage for my yarns. Sounds sort of freaky doesn't it?  Storing yarn in yarn...somewhat cannibalistic.  Anyhoo, I've looked at Etsy, and I've looked at Pinterest and I've looked at lots of fiber sites like Ravelry.  After doing much research, I decided to wing it and design as I go.  I really like doing crochet this way.

So, that's all for today.  Hopefully in a week or so, I will have a picture to share of the tote/basket which I am making using a large hook (M) and three strands of different colored yarn.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Monet

Well, I didn't work on any art yesterday because it was our anniversary. YaY, twenty-four years! If you're new to my blog you can read about us here.  It's a re post of a post, but the sentiment is still the same.

We had a quiet day, ate lunch at a little barbecue place and watched old black and white movies together at home.

Last week I started another Monet painting, just to practice the technique.  I enjoyed your suggestions on the next one to do and even Peri's suggestion of using this technique on one of my own photos.  I'm having so much fun I'm sure all the suggestions will become paintings and yes, I'll send it to my very special friends that suggested each one...cause that's how I roll.

Back to the matter at hand, I thought it would be fun to post the steps that I used to create my copy of one of the versions of Claude Oscar Monet's "Woman With A Parasol".  Actually the reason I chose this one for my next practice piece, is the fact that there is no detail in the face and I like the wiggle room that this style affords me.

So here we go...

 In stage one, I drew the outline of the woman holding the umbrella.  To do this I traced the picture from my book onto vellum and then used the grid method to enlarge and transfer it to my sheet of watercolor paper whichI had measured out and taped down to my piece of Masonite board. It's a fairly easy process.

Next I blocked in some shadows and clouds and such...

Here I have really tried to begin developing the sky.  I worked on this for a long time, probably longer than necessary, but I was having fun.

This is the version that was almost complete.  In order to see where there are glaring mistakes, it's a good idea to either take a photo of your painting and look at it on the digital screen, or if you are still holding out and haven't gone digital...sit down with the painting to your back and using a large hand held mirror, look into the mirror at the painting behind you, basically from a different point of view.  It really helps to see things like clouds that need reshaping, or a dark area that draws too much attention to itself, thus moving your eye in the wrong direction.

Here is the final version.  I did some finishing glazing with a grayish blue watery paint to push the sky and clouds back a bit more behind the subject and decided it was done.  Knowing when a painting is done is one of the challenges that I often have.

Well, hope you liked this little tutorial of my progress.  I'm chomping at the bit to do something else, so it's back to the drawing board for me.  Hee hee, get it?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Copying the Masters

Every artist, whether it is the scrapbook artist working at the kitchen table or the professional painting for his livelihood in a huge studio, at one time or another, needs inspiration.  We have had the "to copy or not to copy" discussion several times, so I'm not going there.  What I'm doing today is showing you my latest painting.  Inspired by the age old tradition and learning technique of copying masterpieces of years gone by, I present you my version of Monet's Boating on the River Epte

I chose this particular painting because I had just painted over a used canvas with black gesso and was looking for something that would benefit from a dark background.  While painting, it seemed to be getting darker and darker, so I used my artistic license and lightened it up a bit.  It is sometimes hard to copy a painting on a smaller canvas.  The canvas I used is 16 x 20, which is fairly large for me, but not the large format that Monet used on this painting. It was originally painted on a 52 x 59 inch canvas and the tone of the original is a bit different from my version.  That being said and also pointing out that, as so often happens, the girls on the skiff look very much like my sister and me when we were younger... I have to say I'm quite happy with it.

It is done is acrylic heavy body paint, versus oils as in the original.  I haven't decided if I am going to varnish it or not.  As a general rule, acrylic paint doesn't need varnish to protect the painting, but if you are going for an "oil painting look" a gloss varnish is sometimes used.  What do you think? Gloss or not? Also, what painting from Monet's collection should I do next?  Not sure, feel free to browse through his collection at this website and make your suggestion.  Who knows, if it looks good upon completion, I just might send it to you.

Oh and here is the original version....

I see now that my oar need to be curved much more, but still I'm happy with it.  Let me know what my next Monet should be.