Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Finished Crocodile Piece


To finish the piece I detailed the birds, strengthened the colors in parts of the reeds, added the foil stars and smaller bits of foil around the crocodiles, brightened behind the heron, added gold touches including the gold starts in the sky, and placed the inscription at the bottom left.  The inscription is supposed to mean "rain over the river."

I'm quite attached to this piece but can't fully explain why.  I like the mood, but there's more to it than that.  Something mysterious.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Putting it Together


I glued the three pieces - the two crocodile strips and the larger piece with the heron - together.  This was not easy because the paper was pretty heavy (Strathmore Mixed Media paper) and a bit warped.  The moisture of the glue (I used Liquitex Matte Gel Medium) also warped the paper a bit.  I had to keep pressing the three pieces together with my fingers for quite a while until the adhesive took hold.

At that point, I had a pretty wavy and warped piece.  So I spread a towel on my kitchen counter and laid the piece upside down on the towel.  I sprayed the back with water and covered it with a few layers of paper towels.  Then I topped the whole thing off with heavy books and let it dry overnight.  In the morning, it was flat!

Then I began the painting.  I wanted a dark stormy sky and used opaque paint, using a couple of slightly different colors, and a couple of graduated layers, one over the other.  I blotted the second layer with a damp paper towel for an uneven look.

The most fun part of this painting was the reeds.  It was exacting work with a liner brush.  I used photos of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings for inspiration, but added my own touches.

I realized I needed something more, so I painted (Daler Rowney acrylic ink dropped on a shape painted with cleear water)  the two birds on a separate piece of paper.  I tore out the duck and glued it in place.  I usually prefer tearing to cutting, but I cut out other bird because I wanted to preserve all the background around it.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Inspired by Crocodiles


I was watching a TV show about ancient Egypt and one of the visited sites was Seti I's tomb.  There was the most beautiful painting of a crocodile.  That inspired me.  So, using Tracy Verdugo's method of dropping acrylic ink into a shape painted with clear water, I painted three crocodiles. 

A page in a magazine about travel had a wonderful photo of a storm approaching over palm trees.  That gave me the theme of a storm approaching over the ancient Nile.  I researched several more tomb paintings, then painted this heron, again ink dropped into a wet shape..

I painted all three crocs on one sheet of Strathmore Mixed Media paper, then ripped them out, into strips.  The heron I painted on a full11" x 14" sheet.  After fiddling a bit with the composition, I decided to only use two of the crocodiles.  I glued the pieces together and let it dry over-night, ready for the next step in whatever might emerge.

Monday, August 28, 2017

My Mixed Media Class



 Earlier this month I taught a mixed media class in conjunction with our local art association's annual juried show.  I taught a method, but each student worked on her own project.  This was mine.

During the first session I worked on the background and glued down the drawings.  In preparation for the second session, I had torn out some magazine and catalog pages and had them sitting on the left side of the piece, ready to go, when I somehow managed to tip over my Diet Pepsi onto the piece.  I wiped it up, or so I thought.  But when I got to class and went to lift the torn pages, I discovered that the Diet Pepsi had partially "glued" the pages to the piece - right over my drawing of this sweet ermine.  I was so upset!  I didn't know what to do about it.  I used a wet paper towel to try to wipe away the transferred ink, but it began to lift portions of the drawing, so I stopped immediately.  Not knowing what else to try, I decided to just go ahead and work on other parts of the piece.

In the end, I touched up the ermine's eyes, and left the rest of the damage alone.  And I'm OK with it.

So, I learned two lessons.  Protect my piece - no spillables near the piece.  And, two, in mixed media, at least, go with serendipity!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Then Another


It seemed like a good idea to paint another frog.  When I was doing the first one, I didn't particularly like it - at least until I cropped it.  But now I like it more than this one!  Just couldn't resist the gold crown above this little prince.

As I look at it now, I think I'll go back in tomorrow and add two more large blue flowers.  One just doesn't seem enough.

I really like the greens I used.  Wish I had kept track of what they were/  But I think the primary one is Viridian.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

And Most Recently, a Frog


Next I did a frog.  But this time the florals were different.  I tried to depict water hyacinths.  Both the flowers and the leaves are larger than in the other pieces I've done.  Because they were larger, they were harder for me to paint in watercolor.  But the frog was hardest of all.  This required layering.  I don't have much watercolor experience, so I'm always concerned about lifting previous layers, but it turned out OK.  

I started this as an 8" x 8" piece, but wasn't satisfied with the composition, so I cropped it.  The only problem with that is that I'll have to hand cut a custom size mat.

I especially like the colors.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

And a Bear


Perhaps I should have chosen flora associated with a bear, such as poppies (as in California, of which the bear is the state animal) or berries.  Maybe I'll do another one!  It;s about time to change my palette, so I'll be sure to include poppy and berry colors...