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Saturday, November 24, 2018

More Cats and Flowers

Lily daydreaming


I've been working on more cats and flowers for my series of nine for a show in early December.  If there's one thing I'd change, I think I would have planned the colors over the whole nine pieces before I started.  As it is, the colors in each piece are good, but I'm having some trouble finding a good way to arrange them.   So now that I have seven finished I will pay attention to planning the background colors for the final two.  Perhaps I can pull it together with those last two.

Lily - looking a little stunned

V
Camellia all wide-eyed

Heather feeling a little cranky


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Apps and Art?

Last month, Steven Memering gave the program at Placerville Art Association's general meeting,  His topic was using apps to enhance your painting process.  This was a new subject to me.  But now it's come up again.  Tracy Verdugo, an Australian artist I greatly admire, offered a free on-line mini class in anticipation of her upcoming class "Abstract Mojo."  The mini class included two projects, each presented in two parts.  Much to my surprise, the first half of the second project was about using apps to enhance your photos as inspiration for your paintings.

There are two very accomplished painters in our group, Randy Honerlah and Ron Hall who make use of apps.  It's never a process that appealed to me.  In fact, I have to admit that part of me considers it cheating.

In Steve's presentation we did explore whether or not using these tools is, in fact, cheating and I must admit that I changed my mind.  I certainly don't consider using store-bought paints - rather than preparing my own - to be cheating.  So why should using today's technology be cheating.  Times change, and art moves on.

It seems that Steve mostly using the apps to explore composition and color alternatives.  I think Randy using the computer to deconstruct photos.  And Tracy seems to use it to explore abstracting forms and pushing color.  All valid.  And I must admit that watching Tracy working with colors was intriguing.

However, at least for the forseeable future, apps to enhance my painting process are not in my future.  I still like to good old-fashioned hands on mind twisting approach.  But it's great to learn about new approaches.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Not Much Happened this Week


I was sick for five days this week and so nothing much got done in the way of art.  But I was able to do the drawings for two more of the cat pieces.

And then this weekend I was able to finish a painting from one of the drawings, so now I have five of the nine cats finished.  This one, "Rose," was quite a struggle.  The cat was difficult, especially the colors in the fur.  And the rose was a challenge as well.  I knew I wouldn't be able to paint the rose in a lot of detail, so I opted for a simple rendition and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  Oh, except that I still can't find an opaque white pen that works for me - this is a real problem!


Even though I didn't get a lot of art done this week, I did do a lot of thinking about what I want to work on next year.

I can't remember whether I've already written about the Fearless Academy, so if I'm repeating myself, please forgive me!  Fearless Academy is a coaching group led by Nikol Peterman.  It is a year long program, and Nikol is aiming to help us "creatives" get clear about our style, voice, and audience and also increase our following and income.

It's winding to a close soon.  It's been a lot of work, but well worth it.  During the course of this week I've decided that next year I'm going to focus on my illustrated book, "Milkweed Manor."  It will be difficult to focus, and for that reason I'm allowing myself to stray a bit.  My first priority will be the book, but I will work on other things from time to time.  This kind of focus will be new for me, so we'll see how it goes.  It's a little scary, but also very exciting!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Series of Three


Our local art club, Placerville Art Association, is having its first ever Small Works show in December.  There are three categories in the show - Series of 9, Series of 3, and Individual Work.  This will be my entry in the Series of 3 categories.  I'm not sure yet what the title will be.  The design inspiration was traditional quilt block with animals in their names.


This one is Flying Geese.  My process for all three was the same.  They're on 12" x 12" cradled board which I sealed with spray primer.  I began by cutting out all the quilt block pieces from a Sudance catalog (women's jewelry and clothing collection from Robert Redford's company).  One thing I've admired about this catalog is how beautiful the images are and how harmonious the color palette is throughout.  So I knew that as long as I stuck to the catalog for my pieces the color schemes would be consistent.

I painted the edges and outside margin of the board a coordinating pale blue, then laid out a grid with light pencil to guide my placement of the pieces.  I used Liquitex Matt Gel Medium as my adhesive, and carefully glued all the pieces in place.  It was a bit tricky because the pieces were cut precisely to size, but the paper stretches a bit when it gets wet.  So I began at the outside edges and worked inward.


Next I applied a thin wash of the same pale blue acrylic I used around the edges.  I painted the wash on and immediately pulled most of it back up with a damp paper towel.  The wash toned down the differences in the collage pieces and, I think, gave an old and worn look.  With graphite pencil, I drew in all the little stitches that would be in a real quilt.

Then I turned to the ink drawings of the animals.  I first drew them on copy paper.  Then I taped the copy paper under a piece of deli paper and did the ink work with Daler-Rowney acrylic ink, using Burnt Umber and Sepia.  I let them dry overnight.  And I sprayed them with fixative before I applied them with the matt gel.  But still, the ink smeared!  I was so surprised - acrylic ink and fixative and yet it smeared.  The only way I could find to minimize the smearing was to work quickly and as lightly as I could.  It never occurred to me to test this combination. 

The smearing was worst on the bear which was also the first piece I did.  But in the end, I didn't mind it.


The ink work, the quilt block name, and a few random dabs of red and turquoise acrylic were the final touches.  I stamped the letters on deli paper then glued it on.  Fortunately, the ink in the ink pad didn't smear.

I did the inkwork swirls, branches, and leaves with the Daler Rowney ink and a crow quill pen.  Wary of smearing, I let it dry overnight and sprayed it with fixative before I added three coats of varnish.  I was concerned about the ink smearing with the varnish but, amazingly, it smeared much less.  So somehow the ink on the deli paper was a worse combination than the same ink on the dried acrylic gel.

I really like these pieces.