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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Where's the Squirrel? Right Here!

This is the fifth and final of my five 5x7 paintings for our art club's 50th anniversary celebration - another acrylic on canvas.  Even though I used my softer-bodied acrylics on this one, I still didn't enjoy the experience.  I don't like the texture of the canvas.  So, the paintings are finished, and I'm a bit wiser!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Another 5x7 - Almost Done!

Here's the fourth of the five little paintings I've committed to doing for our party.  I'm running out of steam, so have decided to re-do designs I did on ACEOs a few years ago.  Thus, the eared seal!

Once again I've used the tube acrylics, and once again I'm not thrilled with their heavy consistency.  It boggles my mind that there are even heavier ones available, but that just goes to illustrate the wide variety of art materials available, catering to nearly every style of painting.

For my final little painting, I'll go back to my fluid acrylics.

I've always liked the design of this ACEO, and now of this 5x7 painting.  The swirl of the surf nicely haloes her head!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Munching Sheep

I have to finish five of these little paintings by Friday for our local art club's 50th anniversay party.  This is the third.  I did it with tube acrylics which I've had for a while but haven't used much.  And when I tried them again I found that I didn't much like them.  They're really too thick to work well with my painting style.  So I'm bequeathing them to a friend who wants to try acrylic.  I have plenty of fluid acrylics that are just fine for me!

I always do enjoy painting the little landscapes.  Adding the grass strands to the sheep's mouth was an afterthought, and I thought it improved the painting by adding a little personality and a tiny touch of "a story."  I hope whoever gets this painting will enjoy it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Next Drawing Collage

This is the first of the drawing elements for my next collage - a rock dove.  The theme will be "royal birth" and this dove will be nesting in a rusted crown.  The nest will be various collage elements including drawn leaves and feathers.

My main problem is how to make the rusted crown.  I would like it to be dimensional - at least with the look of shaped metal, but not rounded to protrude from the canvas.  I'm thinking of cutting out a crown-shaped piece of thin metal and embossing it, then coating it with a faux rust finish.  We'll see.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of drawn elements to work on.

Drawing is my favorite of all!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Collage with Drawing

 Drawing is my favorite medium, but I thin it's a bit dull on its own.  So I've been trying to find a way to liven it up.  One effort was in my pieces of Jane Austen cats where I began with pencil drawings then colorized them with watercolor pencils and colored pencils.   I think they turned out nice, but I also knew that my quest wasn't over.

Here's my latest attempt - a collage with pencil drawings as some of the elements. 

After I chose my theme (you may well wonder what it is!) and knew what drawing elements I wanted I created them individually, one by one.  The only way I was concerned about them "going together" was their approximate relative sizes.  I wasn't necessarily trying for a realistic scale, just a pleasing one.

To put the collage together, I first prepared a piece of hardboard by spraying it with primer.  I ripped the drawn images carefully around their edges then protected them from smearing by spraying the individual drawings with workable fixative.

The next step was to adhere the individual pieces to the board with an even coat of matte gel medium.  I also covered all the pieces with an even coat of gel medium so that they would take the paint evenly later.  The metallic pieces you see are from the wrappings of chocolate Easter eggs I bought in England - I couldn't resist this gorgeous salmon color!

PS  The text is from an old Latin book I had in college - Plautus' plays!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Journals

I made a few more hand-painted canvas-covered journals recently.  Painting the cover for the wolf journal was so like doing a painting for the wall.  I took great care with the background and, of course, with the wolf. The background was really fun to paint.  For the trees, I just scumbled in color then stood back and looked for possible tree shapes, for parts that seemed to go back and other parts that seemed to come forward, and followed those hints.  Then it was pretty much the same for the grass and the rocks.  The wolf was a more deliberate process, generally going from dark to light.
The bottom picture shows the bear journal also.  It has a more mystical feel with the bear up in a tree and lit from below.  The lighting is wrong since the light comes from the moon which is behind him.  Given that, the bear should really be just a dark silouhette, but that's where artistic license saves the day!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Painting Pussywillows

Here's another journal I painted this springs.  I wanted to do something with pussy willows in it, and a little sparrow seemed like the natural subject for them to share the stage with.  And of course it wouldn't be spring without violets.
I decided to use pussy willow branches to frame the border as well as frame a cartouche for the bird.  Ironically, the cartouche is - unconsciously - a house shape.  Is it a birdhouse?
I'm often glad that I began painting with decorative painting.  Not only did it introduce me to three lines of decorative paints which have such beautiful colors premixed (Delta Cermancoat, Americana, and Plaid), but also familiarized me with brushes and techniques that I've never come across in "fine art" painting.  One example is stippling with an old, beat up round brush, and that's the perfect technique for the pussy willows.
Anyway, I had fun with this one and I'm ready to paint more journals - and more birds!

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Young Rabbit's Fancy

Yes, as the saying goes, in Spring a young Rabbit's fancy turns to Love!  So he's come to visit his little sweetheart who is waiting at the entrance to her burrow.

When I went to Henley-on-Thames for my recent vacation I took watercolors and scratchboard supplies with me.  Neither of those are really "my medium," but they travel well.

I was there a few weeks before Easter and the stores were full of the sweetest merchandise, including greeting cards with Victorian looking illustrations.  For this painting, I borrowed from a few of those cards and combined them into a new design.

The watercolor was a hard slog, but it provided me with several hours of enjoyment over a few days.  It didn't take long to decide on a round format, and when I got back home I framed it in a mat with a circular opening.  It looks very sweet, and I'm happy with it.

Watercolor keeps drawing me back in on a pretty regular basis, so I guess I'd better get good at it or just finally give it up!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Arth Journal

I made this journal to take with me on my recent trip to Henley-on-Thames, UK.  The pages are good drawing paper in white, cream, fawn, and natural.  The idea was to sketch the beautiful things I knew I would see in this book.

The covers are book board (a thin masonite type material) painted with acrylics.  After they were painted, I glued them to a piece of gesso-d and painted floor canvas.  I left a canvas spine of about 1" width so I could sew the signatures in.

The satin ribbons for bookmark and closing ties I secured between the book board covers and the canvas when I glued them together.

It's a nice, substantial feeling journal.  But I got the feeling that it was "too good" to sketch in, so, after its travels from California, to England, and back, it remains sadly empty.  I will need to rectify this!

PS  "Arth" means bear in Gaelic.