Friday, December 11, 2009

Confessions of an art supply junkie

Pictures, Wolf; wax and silver point

Crow; wax and watercolor

Abstract; watercolor, ink and collage

Dragonfly; acrylic, litho pencil, and watercolor

There are two phases in the growth of art, learning and experimenting.

I am a firm believer that to make good art you need to know the basics.

A good painter needs to know how to draw. Value sketches, design plans are foundations to a good piece of art. Knowing color will develop richness and emotion to a painting.

Phase one you learn the rules, phase two you break the rules.

The art junkie habit grows with every new or different art supply I stumble across. The new material has properties that take some time to learn. That is simple enough but then I have to see what it does with other material I already have. Rules start getting broken experiments happen. Soon the conservative watercolorist is venturing into the scary new world of mixed media. I try to give the new addition a safe name, water-media, and that works for a while. Then the oils and waxes start sneaking in and I have to confess I am on my way to a life as a mixed media artist.

I hope my family and friends will forgive and that moments of pure watercolorist will still emerge. The adventurer in me is not going to stop, so here is to experimenting and breaking rules.

Some of my favorite places to learn and get supplies are on the net and locally.


Boundless Arts, Grand Blanc, MI

FIA, Flint MI

On the net:

Wet Canvas

Robert Burridge

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

more motivation

Fall is moving in here fast, October feels more like November this year. Knowing the fall season will move

too quickly, I used what good days we have to get some reference photos and some outside painting in.

The last wild flowers to bloom in my yard are the Jerusalem Artichokes, so the weather determined my subject matter for me this week. The last blooms of these flowers I captured with acrylic outside.

While working on this I noticed my neighbors starting to put away the wonderful lawn decoration

they use all summer. They have two large metal birds that I have admired all this year, and contemplated painting. So before they could drag them in for the winter I ask permission to get some drawings done on them.

With paper and pencils and charcoal, and grabbing as an after thought some ink and sumi brushes

I headed for they’re yard. After sitting and just viewing the birds I realized the only media that would work

was the ink. So to make a long story short… I let the weather motivate me and the subjects determine the media.

Sometimes you just have to let things happen, everyday life can present an abundance of motivation, subject and creativity.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

go with the Mood

Let the moment grab you

There are moments that are good to grab, and sometimes they grab back. It is too easy to look pass the small glories of everyday life.
There are small garden patches and wild flower areas in my yard. They are there for two reasons , one less to mow (main reason), and two they are kind of pretty. I get up with a coffee in hand each morning and if it isn’t raining just walk around the yard. Each day the patches grow and bloom and I finish my coffee, then go in to deal with the day. Today I set the coffee aside, got out my paints grabbed a few flowers and painted several pictures. Still inspired I got the camera out and took some reference photos. Why today the bug grabbed me, who knows, but I do know it felt good and is something I should do more often.
It is good to let that a nice moment flow over and touch other things. What emotions you are feeling, will spill over to what you are creating at that time.
Also sharing a couple figure paintings that I let a moment of good feeling help me paint. Hope you enjoy the reference photos and the paintings I shared today.
Oh and by the way those big (10 foot tall) flowers are Jerusalem artichokes and I hear you can eat the roots, they are suppose to be like little potatoes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

layers and layers

A habit I start some time back…is to work on more than one picture at a time. For me becoming too focused on one painting, no matter what the media, causes frustration.
It is too easy to over work an area, is one reason. The other is practicality, I hate to waste paint. I keep extra paper and or canvas handy so to there is a place to transfer the excess paint on my brush. In this case I have been working on a large figure painting but had t other smaller canvas boards near by, I used the extra paint to try out related ideas.
In this case it worked well because it made me step back from the large canvas, and yet keep the momentum of painting active.
Hope you enjoy seeing the changes, that of layers of acrylic paint, and the finished work that resulted on the extra canvas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Play with Boldness

I bought some inexpensive canvas and just let the brush and the colors take control.
My only conscious decision was the colors to work with.
This is a wonderful release from detail and planning. I am not sure how I feel about what resulted, but I know is opened the door to a new adventure. There is some where I can go with these. Now it is time to pack and start the journey.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Learn then Play

Learning & Experimenting

A thought to share….one can not grow unless they are willing to learn something new and then experiment with new ideas.

I just took a class in silver point drawing, which I really enjoyed. Now that I have tried this, I just had to find some new places to go with it. So I took an old method of creating art and experimented with new technology. Thought I would share some of my new finds. Used the PC to combine images, and then experimented with them:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Combining passions

Combining passions sometimes creates odd partners.
A few years ago I won first place in the women’s division of the state pistol competition, in Lansing MI. Competitive shooting, art, and gardening are all activities I deeply enjoy. And I have often tried to combine these activities. Gardening and art were simple to put together. The garden makes a wonderful back drop, and environment to for painting.
Finally, this year I managed to put the skill of shooting with art.
Last Wed. I dressed in my paint clothes, packed up my glock hand gun, acrylic paints, rice paper, plastic bags and tape and headed to the range. With the help of my husband we put together an easel/target stand and proceeded to make ART. This was the first attempt, but from one afternoon I have, one complete painting and the beginnings of several more.
The basic set up is to hang masa paper from one target stand at a close angle to a second target stand that has plastic bags filled with acrylic paint hanging off it.
Then the trick is hit the bags, (not the paper) and watch the paint fly. The hand gun produced large droplets, and a 12 gage shot gun made a fine mist of paint. As other shooters gathered, several different fire arms were suggested to try out and see what results they produced. I am looking forward to trying several different set ups next time out.
The most interesting aspect of this, is the combination of using the creative side of the mind, at the same time as, working with the discipline and skill of gun control. The fun part is not just making a huge mess, but listening to the hoots and calls from fellow shooters, saying things like “MORE BLUE..MORE RED …MORE TO THE RIGHT!”

Friday, July 3, 2009

Staying on track

I am trying to stay on track with my figure drawings. I pulled out a one minute drawing that I liked and plan to do at least 12 paintings from it. So far I have about 4 and it is amazing how different each one turns out. The paintings so far are ink on hot press paper, but after 12 are done, 2 or 3 will be worked up to acrylics on canvas.

This is another way to work around the “what do I do now” mode that often attacks us as artists. This may appear to be work but it is really turning out to be fun and an easy project to work on.

Monday, June 1, 2009

watercolorist first....

Watercolorist first….BUT you don’t what your missing if you don’t experiment with all those other goodies out there.

Artist = Student, yep I think to be an artist you will always be a student. The logic to this is; making art is to create, to create is to grow artistically, by learning and experimenting.
Back to where I started artist = student.

Also, I will admit I am a sucker for new toys, new toys mean learning new games, and new rules. So there it is a totally logical reason to jump from watercolor, to inks, to acrylic, and finally to a mixed media for all three.

I have also been influenced recently by a DVD from Robert Burridge, “Start abstract painting today”. There were many interesting points, but it was the idea; to always do a series, that has me going, right now.

I have folders full of quick figure drawings, that when an idea is needed they are handy and inspiring.

Started out with a pencil drawing on newsprint, that was simple with good lines and decided to do a watercolor, from there a mono print adding an extra figure, then an ink…soon to follow an acrylic on canvas. Using one basic figure there is a number of things to learn, by testing new media. Continuing this process with another figure pose, a series can begin. With each new version I am free to change a point I may have questioned in the last, without losing the original. I really love this new freedom…so simple why didn’t I think of this sooner!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Play before cleaning

Practice, training, skill, are always factors in improvement.

You realize this when you have to learn something that you need but isn't something you like.

But fortunately when you are doing something you love it is called fun.

I have been sorting and cleaning my studio. This is a very long process because every time I find a tool I haven’t used in a while, all cleaning and sorting stops so I can play with my new found toys, This time it was my collection of Sumi brushes.

These brushes mostly used for Asian painting with inks are wonderful for expressing line work in watercolors. So often I focus on colors with watercolor I tend to ignore line work. And I thought these would be something that I could share in my watercolor class. So I worked up a few small paintings. Took a pile of brushes to class and shared the experience.

But of course my studio still isn’t clean, but what is more important an neat desk of time with an old friend.

If you want to start with a simple brush stroke I suggest basic orchids….

Thursday, January 15, 2009

SO Much to DO

Usually Jan. is a cold, long, slow month. Well it is cold...but it is not slow. My show came down last Monday, and yep there are pictures left to pack up, but some did sell, too so I am happy. I have more room to store work, with a studio away from home. Started the month by moving into a space at Red Ink Flint. So far I like it, there is a freedom to working away from phones, no pets to step on wet paintings, and a lot more room!
Also started teaching a watercolor class,Boundless Art, Grand Blanc and I think I am learning as much, if not more that the students. To try and explain how something works, that you do a challenge.
This is going to really good, I am moving out of my comfort zone. Now that I have you all up on what's happening...on to some art work.

Painting with water.
I had some 8 by 10 inch illustration board and with just water, painted the out line of a person sitting. Then with a round brush very wet with color...started with yellow, just let the color drip into the pre-wet area. Added some green and red the same way.
I let that dry the did some finishing painting ............

Did one more starting the same way just finished it off...well different. These are ways to start something with a small idea and let the paint lead the way....