Sunday, March 31, 2013

Starting with Background

Girl and Her Cat, acrylic on paper, 14 x 11 inches
                                                                                                         Available on DPWs

I love to work on paper or canvas that has a lot of texture from gesso.
Some times I will spend a day just getting surfaces ready for painting, and set them aside to dry so they are ready to grab when I am in the mood to paint.
Once in a while the surface treatment will actually give me the idea for a painting.  When I use toned or color gesso and randomly spread it out, after spending some time just looking at the surface colors I will see suggestions of shapes and forms in it.
This is an example of that process. 
a mix of white and black gesso
starting to find the forms  

Adding color

Friday, March 22, 2013

Preparing for Abstracts

"Secrets"  Mixed media 24 x 18  inches
"Rust and Steel" Mixed media

It often appears that an abstract art work is quick and spontaneous.  Sometimes abstracts do happen that way.  But often there is a lot of preparatory work going on behind the scene. 
For most of the abstracts I do in watercolor or acrylic I use some collage.  For collage I like to texture and design my papers.  This could involve textured artist tissue paper with gesso and paint, there times I use ink, and solvent on found papers, to get usual effects.
To apply my collage parts I use a mix of gloss and matte medium, fluid for thin papers, and gel for heavier ones.
The process of textured the papers to use take a few days and layering then into the work takes several days also, because it is best to layer thinly allowing each layer to dry before apply the next.  Any painting between layers and at the finish should completely day before finishing with varnish.
Yesterday I spent the whole day just making collage papers. Today I am sorting and figuring out which ones are best to use. Next will be laying them out on a gessoed panel and creating the basic design. That is the process I used in the paintings that I am sharing above.  
piles of ink textured paper getting sorted

close up of one paper

another example of paper

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2 colors x 2 objects = 4 paintings

Tea and Fruit, 10 x 8 inches, oil on canvas

     I had planned to do a little warm up painting today and then go on to something else.  Didn’t go as planned, but that was OK.  The plan was to section off a 16 x 20 inch canvas sheet and paint 4 small paintings with just 2 colors Cadmium Orange and Cobalt Blue and White (I don't count white as a color).  Well I did just that, but spent more time on them than I had planned.
    As I got into painting my interest turned to how I could use the colors differently in each section. What started as a warm up ended up being an all day study.  Thought I would share the pictures of the process.  

 The one at the top of the blog is my favorite, here are the other 3.....


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stop before you are done

Coffee and flowers, acrylic on canvas, 16 x12 inches

Something I am trying to incorporate into my painting is learning when to put the brush down.  I am sure many painters struggle with finding the perfect stopping point. 
As artist always see one more spot that needs a touch more color or shape, but will that add to a painting composition or not? 
   Adding one more line or shape really adds two, the area you added and the one that you changed in relation to the other parts of the composition.  That dual change can lead to over working a painting.  It can also completely change the direction of the composition, which can help if it needs a correction.  Taking the time to analyze the changes is sometimes like playing chess.  For me, that can be bad, I don’t have a clue about how to play chess.
    So I have started taking the advice some fellow artists gave me; stop before you are done, and work on more than one painting at a time.  Both tips are great, working on multiple paintings keeps me from over working anyone of them.
  This painting of flowers and coffee, I worked on between two other smaller tree paintings.  When I stopped painting flowers this morning, and left it for the trees, it was not done, but coming back to it this afternoon, I realized there was no more to do, for it said exactly what I wanted it to say; “Good morning have some coffee and enjoy the flowers”.

Here is one of the tree paintings, like this one, the other tree not enough to share.
Two out of three, is not too bad.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Muse

20 x 16 inches, The Muse, acrylic on watercolor paper
My Muse visited in the form of a wolf.  I had an older painting of 3 dogs that I was never very happy with and got it out thinking it was time to discard itAlmost with out thought I picked up a brush and some indigo acrylic paint and started painting a a wolf over the top of it.  This was my visit from my Muse and it was a wonderful one, just thought I would share.