Saturday, December 29, 2012

Growing a Painting by Mary Schiros

With the snow falling outside today, thought it would be fun to grow a painting.  Capturing photos of a work in process is like watching a plant grow with time lapse photos.  
So I thought to brighten the day, here is a little sun shine and flowers.....
From the set-up to the completed painting....
Hope that brightened your day
Mary Schiros

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Saving Ideas

Paper collage cover of a sketch pad

       Just having some fun today and thought I would share.
When a sketch pad is full, and I want to save it for future ideas,
I have some fun making a cover for it. 
The cover marks it as "complete"  and a "keeper". 
I have stacks of these sketch pads, and get some of my best ideas for paintings from them.  
    Thought I would share some covers (mainly made from collage of magazine photos) and a few of the sketches from them.

 A few sketches ...... (Just simple ideas for later)

 Sometimes sorting in the studio can be fun, cut, paste, and cleaning...didn't think you would see those words in the same sentence:)


Friday, December 14, 2012

What you see and more

Red Vase III,  16 x 12 inches, Acrylic on 300 lb watercolor paper

     I will often mention that the painting I enjoy the most is painting what I see. 
That can be outside or a set up on a table.  But having said that, those paintings will not be photo like images in paint of what I see.  I may paint the subject, but change the color, mood, even leave out some of the content.
     This is an example, the set up contained more objects than I thought were needed.
The color changes were due to necessity, because on site I had a limited choice of acrylic paint colors.  But, I think that a limited color range is just a fun puzzle to figure out, and enjoyed this one even more because of it.
   So remember you’re the artist and that give you “artistic license”, use and enjoy that license.
Nice set up, but like my version better;)


Saturday, December 8, 2012

One good goal

  This is one of those simple ideas that just has to be shared.
Never have an empty easel.   I just realized that this simple fact is one that keeps me painting everyday.  Always having a painting to work on is one of those things that I just do, and never think about.  Today I was cleaning up my picture file on the PC and noticed there were a lot of easel shots, various works in process, and had a DUH  moment.
   So thought I would share some inspiration .....

 Now go get something to paint on 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Finger Painting

        Bid on at DWP

     This small still life really did start out as “finger painting”.
I often start a painting by putting down a colored gesso as my base to paint on, usually orange.  But in this case I used a light wash of red oil paint, thinned out with some odorless mineral spirits.  To do this, be careful to not get the paint so diluted that it actually runs, just thin enough to lift off easily.  The panel I used is an Ampersand gessobord which is ready to paint on.
      I covered the whole panel with a light coat of red, then used a soft cloth over my finger and pulled off the shape of the glass and bottle, especially the high light areas.  After that I mixed up a slightly thicker blue to put in the dark outlines and shadows, still mainly using my fingers and a soft cloth.

     With this paint being thin and wet it is easy to make corrections to shapes at this time, and really what I am looking for at this point is the over all masses of the composition.
    I let that dry over night and the next day finished the painting, this time using a brush and thicker layers of paint. 


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simply a Pear

6 x 6 inches, oil on wood panel, Simply a Pear
                     Available at DPWs

   As promised more fruit painting.  Love painting pears, because it is almost impossible to get it wrong.  There are many varieties of pears, so how ever it turns out you can simply claim that it is correct.
    Of course I still did some practice paintings on canvas paper til I got what I wanted....


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Simply Fruit

simply an apple, 6 x 6 inches, oil on wood

Available  DPW auction

Started working on a small group of paintings, 6 x 6 inches on wood panels, all of fruit.  These are a small group of paintings that I think would be simple and elegant for a kitchen or dinning room.  And the subject is great practice for developing more skill with oil painting.  Did a practice one on canvas paper and liked the way it looked so did a finished one on a wood panel.
   If you can't think of a thing to paint here you go, raid the frig and then grab a paint brush ;)

Plan to see more fruit this week.

the first practice on canvas paper

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Flower for You

6 x 6 inch oil on canvas

                                     Available on DPW

I thought I would share the process of making this painting.  This is another in my small character still life paintings.  I have a collection of odds and ends, including some beanie babies that I use for set ups.  This one is a simple set up just the stuffy and a flower.  I set up the objects to paint on a surface that has some shine, so I get reflection and shadow to incorporate into the painting.  I use a goose neck lamp to get a direct light on the set up, moving the light around until I like the shadows.
Set up to paint

Then I do a quick drawing on paper as a reference for the painting.  I do not draw on my painting surface.  
quick sketch

Next, I do a rough, almost abstract under painting, using a dark oil color thinned down a lot with odorless thinner. In the under painting I am looking for a few main things; lights, shadows and lost edges.  The lost edges are places the outline of the object merges with either the light or dark around it.
The thinned paint is easy to correct because it can be wiped off if needed and adjusted.
not the best photo but here is the under painting

After that dries over night I proceed to finish the painting with color and details.  This isn't the way to do all oil painting but this method works well when doing still life painting for me.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thrift stores and still life

Cool Savings, 8 x 10 inches, Canvas panel

Available on DWP

      Ever second hand shop?   I love to visit thrift stores, second hand shops, the Goodwill, Salvation Army store and look for odd and interesting objects to paint.  I use them for a while, then donate them back. That way I can enjoy them, then pass them on again. I have gotten some strange looks, because I will actually pick up a few things and spend some time right in the store setting them up in a still life arrangement. 
    The piggy bank in this painting is one of those things I found.  The little guy caught my eye and reminded me of when I was young.   My first bank was a glass pig that I slowing filled up and later opened my first bank account with those savings.  I wonder if kids still do that now?
    With this little painting I wanted to create something classic and childish at the same time.  
   Just thought I would share my thought process on this one.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Look

Completed oil on Ampersand panel 14 x 11 inches

                                            Available in DWP auctions

Painting involves a lot of time spent just looking.  Looking at the subject, understanding the light, shadows, shapes and colors, because after all those are characteristics make a good work of art. 
    Often, after finishing a painting section, I set the painting somewhere to view easily.  And after looking at it for awhile,  I decide it is done, other times there is a growing feeling something is missing.  Having the painting somewhere I can view it at different times of the day, under different light and with different moods the missing part becomes obvious.
   This painting is an example, I loved the subject and the colors and thought I was done, but after a few days got that feeling it was missing something.  Then it became obvious the composition was missing something…balance.  I added the flower and it felt complete.
   So take time and really look at your work, it sometimes has more to tell you.

and after.

   Here are the before and after pics...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Painting and Dance

10" x 8", oil on canvas panel, still life, price $40

I had an interesting insight today, while reviewing one of my latest paintings.
This is an oil painting, so it is easy to make small changes during the long drying time.
I softened a few hard edges, and added a little bend to a few lines.  While doing that, my mind was wandering of to memories of dancing.  I studied Ballet for about 15 years (many years ago) and small moves were very important.  The tilt of the head, the bend of the back, or just the way fingers touched each other, all added to how graceful a move looked.  I guess it doesn’t matter which art form it is, little aspects accumulate to strength the overall quality.  
 Just my thought for the day. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Being true to yourself

Just a jar painted week 2 of an oil painting class

This is week two of an oil painting class I am taking at the Flint Institute of Art and just wanted to share the process.  The class is formal classic painting and so far I am loving it.  Class started this week with a short lecture on thumb nail sketching, before we were turned loose to paint a still-life.  There was a lovely well lit still-life waiting to for us, that I sat and stared at for about 20 minutes while everyone else was already putting paint down.  Just past the set up was an off white jar set not part of the set up on another table.  My eyes just kept going to that jar as if it was calling me.  So I made a few quick sketches of it at the bottom of my canvas paper and just decided it was what I wanted to paint. After a while the instructor came over, took a deep breath and said “ok I can work with this” and gave me some suggestions. 
    The story here is be true to yourself and still be wiling to learn. I know this is going to go well 11 more weeks to go and looking forward to each one.
A classic set up to paint
The jar that caught my eyes
Full picture of the painting and the sketches at the bottom. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Second Ink

Acrylic on paper, 20 x 16 inches

     Still working with the quick ink sketches I posted last time.  This is the second one.
Worked this up on red gessoed watercolor paper, and pick only primary colors to experiment with.
This is just one option, and I plan to try different variations to the way I paint it, but you need to start some where.  While I was painting, the thought of  "disconnected  conversations" kept popping into my head. I may later follow up on that idea.  It is always a good idea to jot down the ideas that can give a future work a direction to follow, that can be as important as the sketch.
Hope that sharing this process, encourages new ideas and gets painters to get those brushes going:)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just Do IT!

Acrylic on paper 20 x 16 inches "The Climb"

    Most of you know I try to paint or draw everyday.  When I suggest that to students and friends the first comment I get is, “I just don’t have enough time to do that”.  But, the truth is we really do, who can’t find 5 or ten minutes to put something on paper?  That is really all the time it takes sometimes. 
    The problem is what to do in that five or ten minutes.  We probably spend more time than that just thinking about what to do.  Well then don’t think, just pick up a pen or brush and start making some marks…really!  My favorite media for quick work is a small goat hair brush, some ink, and plain old printer paper.  A few brush strokes with ink will trigger ideas, or at the least some interesting designs.
    The pics here are from yesterdays 10 minute play with ink time.  I started with some random marks, then realizing I was sitting on the edge of a stool about ready to tip over.  I decided to try and capture that movement with the brush (see ideas come from strange places sometimes).  Today I picked one of the ink drawings and decided to work it up in acrylic, and plan to do more of these in the next few days. 
  Hope you enjoy the examples.

Yep this is me about to fall of my painting stool :)