Thursday, February 26, 2009

WIP - reflections

This was looking like a complete mess when I stopped painting this afternoon. But! now that I see it another way (through the eyes of the camera) I can see that it is coming together.

One of the reasons I love painting reflections on water is that it really forces me to paint what I see. Lay down the color that I see, and not the shape that I know this object should have. I also love how such a big fat mess will suddenly explode into life.

A lot of people say painting water is hard. Its really not, as long as you paint what is there. Paint what you see, not what you know. Paint what you see, not what you know! I have to remind myself to do that constantly... especially when painting water.

I like the composition of this painting. I think I could happily do another painting with even less of the sky and boats and dock fodder and more of the reflections.

I am really enjoying just painting this painting. It is challenging, but I feel more comfortable with each painting I complete. Like my joints are loosening up and I can stretch... and breath.

I look forward to seeing how this one turns out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WIP - reflections

Hmmm.... I had to stop and remind myself to do this thing the proper way.

I made up the sky color and it was just perfect for the lightest water color. I got a little carried away. Painting this particular part of the water is like putting the icing on the cake- pulls everything together and finishes it all off beautifully.... except, I was trying to ice a cake that wasn't there yet.

It was so very hard to stop myself from icing thin air, because icing is so very yummy, you know.

I decided to try to distract myself with some blue. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of that particular blue in the picture, so now I have to find something else to distract me with so I can bake the so to speak.

Its 9:27 PM and I'm feeling a little moonstruck. Its amazing how life changes when a child comes into it. This used to be early.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Project! WIP - reflections

16" x 20"

Here goes...

This one has been a little more difficult as far as drawing it out. The background is a jumbled mess of shapes and colors. I wasn't feeling very good about it last night- when it felt like the drawing part would never end- but the waters are calming now that I get to start with the actual painting.

I loved painting on the red so much I primed 9 small canvas boards in red. I picked up two more 16" x 20" canvases the other day and plan on redding them up as well.

Remember this?

I wasn't terribly pleased with the boring brown and gray.
So I made some changes!

Just Peachy
8" x 10"
oil on canvas board

I cut it down and mounted it on a piece of hardboard, changed the brown to purple, and the gray to green.

Ahhhh! Much better.

Same painting. Just cropped differently and jazzed up with more color. I thought about adding some highlights to the peaches to make them shiny, but they were drying out a bit when I painted them (not as juicy as when they were first cut) and somehow, I wanted to leave them as they are.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dry Spell

Dry Spell
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas

Woo-Hoo! Finished. I am proud of this one. I like looking at it. There are all kinds of subtle variations in the colors on the boat. They sort of come up in the photo. If you click on the photo, you can see the picture better.

I went back to the photos shadow placement... mostly. I dropped the bottommost shadow down a bit on the right hand side. It was almost parallel to the bottom of the canvas. Yech.

I was madly in love with this painting while working on it last night. I was thinking about keeping it for myself forever and ever. Then I finished it. I still love it. Funny thing though, when something is complete I sort of lose the desire to keep it around. My knitting is usually the same way.

I had a friend a long time ago that made fantastic sculptures out of clay. She kept them all in her living room and priced them so high no one in their right mind would buy them. She told me that she was afraid to let them go because she thought they were the best things she had ever done and ever will do.

Sadly, she seemed to be right. She hadn't made anything that good for a while before I met her, and she didn't produce a thing in the years I knew her.

I think an artist who hoards their own work puts a stop to their own progress. If a person sits and stares at the glories and mistakes made in the past, how can they possibly hope to move foreward?

I don't know if my desire to get rid of completed work is from a desire to move on or a fear of becoming like so many of my fellow artists, hoarding what will inevitably be our "greatest" and only works.

This sucker is going on Etsy.

Check it out! I found the sketch I made on location. A little different view point... Looks rather cartoony, eh?

I really enjoyed that trip. I got to sketch a lot and got a load of reference photos. I am ashamed to remember the meltdown I had two minutes into a rainforesty hike.... The mosqitos were horrid and it was hot and humid.

I hope to behave better next time.

WIP - boat - The Fixer Upper

I had to stop last night and take a picture before I started on the foreground. The colors are a little off... the blues are grayed down a bit. I forgot to change some of the settings on the camera and ended up with this. Oh well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

WIP - Boat

This is a couple of painting sessions' worth of paint. I am liking the progress. It is exciting to see the places I need to adjust. I feel like I'm getting somewhere when I get to that point. For example, I knew there was something fishy about the front of the boat- behind the scaffolding. The shape needs to cut in at a very slight curve, rather than bulge out a little the way it does. And the shadows in the foreground...

I am seriously debating on whether or not I should put the shadows on the foreground back the way they are in the photo. I like how these work as far as composition goes, but I've been wondering if my tampering with the direction of these shadows will confuse the light source all together. I think it does, because when I look at this painting there is a little ball of confusion bouncing around in my mind trying to fix on something specific.

I know people say you can do whatever you want in a painting, artistic license and all, but really you can't - that is, if you want to make the painting plausible. I mean, the lighting is like the soul of a painting in some ways. Or one of the basic rules in physics. If you try to bend the rules, things just don't work.

Ever look at a painting and something looks a little wrong but you can't really say why? Odds are someone fudged the lighting in one spot and did not adjust everything else to fit. Like I did with the foreground shadows. Tsk-tsk!

I didn't realize when I drew the painting out how much of a problem that would be, but it has been bugging me. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but the closer I get to that part of the painting, the more irritating those shadows become. Honestly, I don't think I would have fully realized that the problem lay in those shadows if I hadn't started writing about it today.

I gotta tell ya, this blog has been one of the best tools I have ever had! I enjoy posting my work and writing about it, so I find myself painting more so I can post more. I enjoy having a record of what I have done and when it was painted, and just writing about what I am doing helps me solve any issues I come across.

Hurray for the blog!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

WIP - Boat

A swath of mountains in the background.

The boat and foreground look like a paper cut-out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WIP - Boat

The sky is finished. Now I get to move on to other parts. I think the mountains and hills will be next.

Brad asked me if I started on a red canvas because the photo had reddish hints.... Brad is observant. I, sadly, did not notice the reddish bit in the sky before he pointed it out.

I just got lucky- total accident. I love the way the red shines through in the sky adding a hint of warm to all the cool. I would like to say in a full-chested, self confident sort of way that I planned that from the start, but I would be lying. I just wanted to paint on red. I like red.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WIP - Boat

I thought it would be fun to post the progress of this painting. I usually try to avoid so much detail, but I didn't think this boat would look like much without it.

Besides, I got a little carried away while drawing it on the canvas. It would be a shame to cover up all those wonderful little lines.

I am having a little trouble getting the color on the photo right. My camera sees all the red and tries to put a warm spin on my blue-white sky back there. Things like that really make me appreciate how spectacular human sight is. Machines are wonderful, but sometimes they just don't capture some of the subtleties in color.

My mom took me to Whistle Pik Galleries in Fredericksburg last week and there was a painting in there that just blew my mind.... Well, there were quite a few that blew my mind, but one of my all time favorites was by Robert Moore called "Essence." Wow! Let me say it again- WOW! That painting is spectacular, but the photos are nothing to the real thing hanging on the wall. I would have brought it home with me if I could.

Robert Moore, according to the salesman at the gallery, is color blind. I don't know to what degree. Oh! And he is ambidextrous and paints with a brush in each hand- both working at the same time. I paint with a brush in each hand, but one is always stationary... unless I happen to drop it.

Another fantastic artist at Whistle Pik is Cheri Christensen- her work glows! The lighting is spectacular. We were told that she will wait in a field all day long until the light or position of her subject is just right before taking her reference photo. Two of my favorites of her paintings are "Magpie on the Roof" and "Full House."

Check out the links- they are well worth a visit.