Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Goodies and a Return to Art

Some of the Christmas goodies I received this year were some tubes of paint, two dvd's and a book called Art and Fear.

The book was recommended by Sandy Maudlin and is excellent! A 'product description' is: An artist's survival guide, written by and for working artists. The authors explore the way art gets made, the reasons it doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way.

It's getting me out of this horrible, deep hole of a slump I've been in.

Thanks for the recommendation, Sandy!

Also received were two dvd's, the first by Ann Pember called Painting in the Flow of Watercolor . If you'd like to see a quick preview, you can go to Creative Catalyst Productions which is where it was purchased! (The service is awesome there and the videos are top-notch quality.) I love this dvd and am itching to get to work on a painting of les Chutes de Plaisance, my favourite falls.

The second dvd was Urban Landscape in Watercolor by John Salminen and I've learned a lot from it also. Again, you can see a clip by going here. It's a really interesting dvd and I plan on using a lot of the info I've learned. Something I really like in an art dvd is an artist who explains and talks and teaches throughout the dvd. There was lots of that in both of these videos!

And then there's the paint! I chose the tubes and ordered from Curry's, which has awesome service!

If you click on the photo at left, you should be able to see the playing around I did with the new paint and a few old ones for comparison.

First , I should explain that I had originally placed an order for some Daniel Smith paint, which used to be my favourite brand of paint. I was ordering several triads of paint. Any Canadian artist can tell you how exhorbitant their shipping rates are - usually around 23% of the cost of the order! Yikes! But, they have these little sets of three tubes of paint called triads which they ship free to Canada and the US.

But back to the story, one of the triads was for the Hematite w/c triad. They have since changed the name on their website to a watercolor set! But, I have a screen shot (taken on Nov 29, '08) of the original webpage that refers to it as a watercolor triad set and if anyone would like to see the screenshot, let me know. I've also kept the correspondence from their customer service rep.

Anyways, after three emails received back from their customer service department, one of which from me had attached the screen shot with the words, 'triad' circled and highlighted, it all boiled down to the fact that they would not honour their policy of free shipping for triads because, and I quote: I'm sorry, but you'll note that there is no free shipping mentioned on the web page. And the product title says clearly "set."Triad of course means three -- three colors. Have a great day! If there are any questions or if I can be of any otherservice, please let me know.

That's right, there was "no free shipping" mentioned on the webpage BUT it is supposedly understood that their "triads" all have free shipping to Canada. And since the original page included the word, Triad, twice in the name description, one would think they'd honour their policy. But no, Daniel Smith does not like Canadian customers. So, rather than pay a whopping $13.75(!) to have these three tubes shipped, I cancelled the entire order on the principle of the thing. AND, decided to not use their paint anymore. It's great paint but not worth the aggravation.

It's not the money as much as it's the morality of doing what you've promised!!!! In Canada, if you advertise something, you have to honour the claim.

All that to say ....... three of the tubes of paint were M. Graham to try it out. I've never used the M. Graham paints but have heard a lot of good things about them and since I need to replace the DS with something, I decided to try these. The three I received were Sap Green, Gamboge and Naphthol Red. Wow! I'm blown away! They're really creamy paint - a feature I had liked about Daniel Smith paint. And the colour is sooooo rich! I'm sold on them! (And I can order them from Curry's, get free shipping and have them in a week! And Curry's Customer Service people work WITH you to give you excellent service - like the time I needed the Escoda brush set for a class on a Tuesday - they shipped in Purolator instead of mail so I'd have in time and I did! Like using a heavy roll tube to carefully wrap rice paper and masa paper around so it wouldn't crease and at no extra charge!)

I also tried three DaVinci tubes - Lapis Lazuli, Irridescent Burnt Sienna and Sap Green. Not bad! The Lapiz Lazuli and Irridescent Burnt Sienna are new to me and I like them.

Holbein Opera and Shadow Green were also included. Both I love and needed to replenish. (Since I won't be ordering any more Daniel Smith Undersea Green, I figured I'd better get the Shadow Green instead. A bit different but I can work around that.) I know Opera is fugitive but it's still mixes some gorgeous colours!

One other paint smear on the sheet is Winsor Newton Smalt (Dumont's Blue), a 5 ml tube I received free when I ordered a magazine subscription. Nice, but a limited edition. It's kind of like a mauved version of French Ultramarine blue.

Sooooooo, I love my new paints, I love the new dvd's and I love the new book!

What kind of art goodies did YOU get for Christmas? I'd love to hear!

And I apologize if this post sounds like a rant. It wasn't meant to, I just wanted to explain why I'm switching brands of paint.

Merry Christmas!

Due to the sad fact that I did not get any Christmas cards painted this year, I'm posting a small painting I did for Susie Short in '03. A group of us each painted her a card and mailed it to her. If I remember correctly, this was the year that Dabs organized a group gift for Suzie.

Wow, I've just realized that this was five years ago!

I wish you all a great Christmas, albeit a bit late, and a wonderful new year.

If you're an artist, may the next year be very creative for you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Golden Paint night at Focus Art

Every first Wednesday of each month, Focus Art Group here in town has it's meeting. Tonight was a special presentation by the rep (who is also a "working artist") from Golden Paints! Her name was Andrea Warren and she gave a great presentation on Golden paints, the mediums and pastes, and the new digital medium transfer products. Andrea also gave a great talk on the new Open Acrylics and Fluid Acrylics! I really enjoyed it! Each chair had a very informative and packed folder on their products with large hand painted colour charts. At the end, she gave each one of us a sample package with:

- a 2 oz jar of Soft Gel (Gloss)
- a 2 oz jar of Light Molding Paste
- a 1 oz jar of regular acrylic paint in Cobalt Teal
- a small 15 ml bottle of Fluid Acrylic in Green Gold
- 3 x 8ml packages of Open Acrylics (alizarin crimson, phthalo blue and titanium white)

How great is that?! Thank you so much Andrea and Golden Paint for the very informative night and the great sample pack!

Can't wait to try these out!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

If I post this, I'll finish it!

So, I'm going to post what's done so far, then keep up with the progress. It's been stashed away in my studio closet for almost two years now - I actually started it at the old place before we moved. (Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.) About a month ago, I took it out and leaned it against the wall, where I"ve been studying it since. Now, I want to finish it!

Here's what I have done so far .........

(I'd like to mention that it was Rhonda Carpenter who showed myself and a few other online pals this technique, though I don't think I followed the online directions very well. lol.)

The shot above shows the masking fluid on and sprayed. In Rhonda's technique, I don't think I was supposed to actually mask out shapes.

I used these pastel blenders to apply the masking fluid. They're excellent for that. Soft tips that won't scratch the paper at all and it's so easy to peel off the dried mask from them. I use Pebeo Drawing Gum to mask.

The shot above shows the painting with red paint and yellow paint poured on and mixing on the paper. It's a messy job but fun.

After the yellow and red paint dried, I poured blue paint on then let it dry completely. In the shot above, you can see that the blue was still wet when I shot the pic.

Now, here's another spot where I kind of messed up. In the overall finished painting that I had (and still have) envisioned in my mind, I wanted some rocks and things on the ocean floor. So I painted some in before I removed the mask. You can't really tell what they are now. But they looked good in my vision. lol. I'll work around that and fix them up later. The second mistake was attempting to make the very upper section look like water as seen from below. Didn't work. But .... I'll work around that too and fix it up.

I've since added some burnt sienna on the jelly fish and will photograph that a bit later on. Right now, I want to go on the Apples and Arts tour (a studio tour) here in town. Yesterday was a work day so it's today or forget it.

Two years ago, I was in the tour, all alone at the Cornwall Regional Art Gallery. As a first-timer, and alone, I found it extremely intimidating. For next year, I've been invited to participate with several other artists at one stop, which is very tempting. Maybe.

Some days, Blogger works wonderfully well. Others, you can edit and edit and EDIT until you get it to layout properly. This is one of those days! So if there's a lot of spaces between photos and descriptions, it's not because I haven't tried to fix them. Grrrrrrrrrr.........

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brush Space

I thought I'd post about a site I subscribed to a few days ago called Brush Space. It's a free site and a wonderful place to get your work "out there". I've been having such fun exploring the work of the many artists there! Best of all, it's really been inspiring me to paint - actually, I'm just itching to paint and that's a good thing. If you're an artist interested in joining and need an invite, just email me at ca_riverdancer at yahoo dot ca. (Replace the "at" and the "dot" with the symbols - putting it this way keeps the evil trolls from spamming me to death.) I have a few invites left. If you're not interested in joining and want to see lots of eye candy, go visit!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fiery Heart Won First Prize!!

Ohhhhhh, I'm so tickled! I checked into EBSQ on my lunch hour, to see if the voting had been tallied and what did I find? Fiery Heart took first place, which is referred to there as Member's Choice. I received a ribbon which is my 7th now from EBSQ and a cash prize of $50, which - due to Amie's top-notch diligence, I've already received into my paypal account! (The shows at EBSQ have a "Chip-In" feature and if the 'kitty' is less that $50, Amie (aka EBSQ) tops it up to $50. (You can also win more if the 'kitty' is more than $50 - when I won the Repurposed show, I won $600, paid the very same day as the announcements - Amie is fast!)

EBSQ is a great group to join and I can't say that enough. (Not just because I won, either! I love it even when I don't win!)
If you went to EBSQ and voted for me, thanks very much! If you didn't, you really should check it out!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mother Nature wields a mighty paintbrush!

I've entered two photographs in this month's EBSQart's Flower of the Month Show. It's on begonias this month. You can see them here along with all the other entries.

If you're feeling generous, maybe you could go vote? If you're not a member of EBSQ, then you can join free as a Patron and vote. Here's where you'd go to join up as a Patron. Voting starts on September 1 and goes through until midnight on the 7th.

Here's my two entries and accompanying statements:

Floral macros fascinate me! I love to shoot them and I love to paint them. The lines and curves and colours are just so amazing when viewed from so close. It's like a whole other world.

Begonias are so beautifully lush with colour and texture that it's difficult not to be attracted to them. Even though this one is white, I usually have some peach coloured begonias somewhere in my garden! But if you look closely, you can see a myriad of colour in those whites. Magical!

Something else that draws me to begonias is the waxy look of their huge leaves.

I shot this begonia originally for reference use as I like to use my own photographs whenever possible for reference.

I also have on file the original tiff format that I shot this in so that I can enlarge it to poster size. I use a DSLR with excellent macro capabilities.

I call the above photograph "fiery heart".

I love the inner world of a flower. I love to shoot them and I love to paint them. I use a DSLR that allows me to get very deep into the heart of the begonia.

The magical thing about shots like this is that you tend to feel like a little fairy that can actually step into this incredibly beautiful spot.

This begonia didn't have many petals yet when I shot this and for that reason, I was able to get a deep-looking macro like this.

Since this is also in tiff format, I can enlarge this to poster sizes.

The reds and the yellows look so fiery and I love the way the colours blend together.

Mother Nature wields a mighty paintbrush indeed!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Steps of a Giraffe

Since I've been so horribly lax in painting (with some other things needing doing and also with a hideously busy week at work), I thought I'd post a slide show of the creation of a painting.

I was pretty proud of the fact that I didn't use any mask at all with this background because I always have a tough time painting large backgrounds - i.e. keeping that area wet enough and not drying out. There were many, many washes applied for the neck and face areas with the spots.

Watercolour (of course!) on Arches 1/4 sheet with mostly Daniel Smith and Winsor Newton paints. A finished Giraffe is below the slide show. Titled "A Coy Giraffe".

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Brillante Web Award

Many thanks to Rhonda for sending me the Brillante web award! I have to send this on to seven of my favourite art sites. I'd definitely send it to Ann but Rhonda sent it to her also. I'd send it to Rhonda but she sent it to me. :-)

(Ann, I hope you don't mind but I copied the 'rules' from your blog.)

Soooooooo, here goes:

The rules are that if the persons receiving the award decide to participate, they must:
1 - Put the logo on their blog
2 - Add a link to the person who gave them the award
3 - Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4 - Add links to those blogs on yours
5 - Leave a message on each of the blogs nominated.

My nominees are:

1. Ruth Harris - I love Ruth's watercolours and she's a fantastic photographer who freely shares her photography at Wet Canvas.

2 - Deb Townsend - Deb's a great person (I mean Deb Townsend, not me!) whom I met through Painting Friends and I just love her work with webbing spray! (Anyone know where you can buy this in Canada?)

3. Carol "Dabs" Holt - I met Dabs through Watercolor Workshop years ago and I enjoy following her blog whenever I get the chance. I may not comment Dabs, but I'm rooting for you!

4. Jose Antonio G. Villarrubia - Oh, you have to visit this blog! His work is incredible! Before you look though, scroll down to the bottom and click the music to play. The Glass music matches the wonderfully old-world paintings perfectly!

5. Raynald Murphy's Blog called Art Plein Air - A bilingual blog that teaches a lot about drawing! I love looking at his work because so much of it is Montreal scenes. (I live an hour from Montreal and love to visit this beautiful city.)

6. Dana Marie's blog - I love Dana's work and one of these days would love to buy a large painting of her's. I met Dana through EBSQart.

7. Joyce's Daily Paintings - A fellow Ontarian artist who does gorgeous aceo's!

I've put all the links for these wonderful seven sites and will put them into my links list over on the right hand side of my blog. Visit them all for some wonderful eye candy!!!

Thanks again, Rhonda!


This post is just a temporary one to include the code for claiming my blog at Technorati. I'll delete it when the spiders 'catch' it.

Technorati Profile

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Cat Called Moose

We have a cat. He's not a nice cat. He's a nasty-tempered, cranky, mangey old cat who has this notion in his head that he's the master of this house. Master with a capital "M" it seems. In 'his' head that is. Not in mine. Moosey and I have a love / hate relationship. He loves to torment me and I hate him for it. We've had issues in past lives, as Teresa says.

There are certain things in this house that I will just not let him get away with. Most of the time, I'm easy to get along with. Really! But I just cannot stand a cat sitting on my kitchen table or counters. Nope. He gets swiped off with my arm no matter how many times he does it. If I have to stand there and sweep him off ten times in a row, I will. Because Moosey is not going to win the battle of wills. And because Moosey is not the Master. Oops, I meant to say master - with no capital letter. See what I mean? He's starting to brainwash me.

Another thing I cannot tolerate is his propensity to chew wires. Any wires. New headphone wires. Computer wires. Microphone wires. Aquarium wires. You name it - if Moose gets annoyed with you, he'll immediately strut to something used by the annoyer and 'crunch'. Or 'chew'. Or 'chomp'.

If there is one thing I hate, it's having him plunk his rear end down about four inches from my face, on my pillow, at 3 am if his food bowl is empty. Oh, am I in major trouble if his food bowl is empty during the night!!!

Anyways, I could go on about Moosey's nasty streak but I'm sure you get the idea. Or perhaps, like my Mom, you're thinking "Deb, cats don't think like that! And Moose is such a sweet cat. How can you possibly think things like this of the darling?" To which I always reply, "experience". Experience of buying phone cords like they're going out of style. Experience of replacing wires and items whose wires cannot be replaced. Experience of cleaning cat vomit from the sheets of my bed. (That's when he's really pissed off at me!) And the list goes on. And on. And on.

Lately though, Moose has been worming his way into my good books. Or maybe it's the other way 'round. I don't know, but I'm almost enjoying our new-found camaraderie. Which is a very scary thought indeed. He's always within a few feet of me whenever I'm in the house.

And aren't I the lucky one - he likes to sleep curled up beside me! He used to bite my toe if my foot got too close to him but lately, he just purrs and rubs against it. Hmmmmmmm. What's up?

When he has me trained to constantly be on guard, this friendliness, while semi-enjoyable, is kind of freaky really.

Here's a few shots of him - in lieu of a painting. (Since I had a rather large 2nd Annual Pool Party & BBQ this past weekend which required an enormous amount of preparation and work. And housecleaning. All of which totally wiped out any painting time this past weekend but was worth that sacrifice because it went beautifully!)

The first is Moose sleeping in his bed. I mean, MY bed. Note the paws! (But trust me - don't get taken in by the cute look of him!)

Before you get the wrong idea and start writing to me to tell me that I've got a poor judge of character, here's a shot of his "you'd better listen to what I'm saying, woman" look. I often get this look.

When his head is beside my foot and I see what is in this next shot, I quickly move my foot. Or he draws blood. From my toe.

Most of the time though, especially if I'm painting, this is what I see when I turn my head:

If you happen to read any comments from my Painting Pals about 'poor maligned Moose', don't believe them, k? He has them wrapped around his little finger. Or paw.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jose Antonio G. Villarrubia

I'm always discovering art blogs and I've found one that I thought I'd mention here. If you click here, you'll get to a blog called La mirada del Auriga. If you click 'play' on his music (by Philip Glass) (note: you have to scroll way down to the bottom to see the music option then scroll back up to see the paintings), you hear the most beautiful haunting music. It matches so totally & perfectly with most of his drawings and paintings that have this wonderful antique and old-world look. (I just love, love, love that old-world look!)

Wow, listening and looking took me back several thousand years! Beautiful!

We'll have to ask Teresa to translate a few of his writings though. ;-)

(I found his blog by clicking on his avatar after he made a comment here on my blog about the teabag painting. It always intrigues me as to how people find my blog! For some reason, I get a lot of hits on the post "Finished Teabag Painting". Hmmmmmm ...... Curiouser and curiouser.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Honour of the Samurai

Thought I'd post a few paintings I did a while back.

This one is called Honour of the Samurai. It's won several awards - a Member's Choice at EBSQ and also a First Place Watercolour division in a Focus Art Juried Show. It was also voted onto the 2007 calendar for Focus Art.

The ghost of a Samurai Warrior stands under the 'gate', yet his shadow remains strong. The shadow represents the legacy of the great Samurai Warriors.

In real life, the colours are much more vibrant than what you can see here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Heads Up

This is something I started a long time ago! It's been sitting, unfinished, on the corner of my painting table for a long, long time. Still taped down to it's board. Last week, (or was it two weeks ago?) I decided to finish it.

It started out as a small version of something I (later) wanted to paint in full sheet format. During the painting process of this one, many times I thought how there just wasn't going to be a full sheet painting done of this. I cursed those petals sooooo many times! Now that it's done though, I may just do a full sheet of some similar sunflowers. I have some shots I took in the park last year of giant sunflowers that would look great in this technique.

"Heads Up" began with lots of masking fluid drizzled around and a poured base of some wild colours. That was fun! It's painted on Arches Hot Pressed paper (which I love and don't use enough!) and is 13.25 inches by 9.5 inches. Each petal was painted OPAT (one petal at a time). More paint was dabbed off than was left on! I lay down paint, dab most of it off, lay down more, dab off again, and so on until I have the look I want. The main colours here are Winsor Newton Quin Gold and Daniel Smith Burnt Orange - two colours that I love for their intensity.

The reference shot was from Ruth Harris in England. Many thanks, Ruth! You're an awesome photographer and it's wonderful how you share so many of your photographs.

As always, this is a copyrighted painting. Please do NOT copy or reproduce it in any way, shape or form without my handwritten permission. Thanks.

Let me know how you like it ....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Canadian Brushstrokes Magazine!

My good friend, Ann (who is an awesome artist) sent me a link the other day about an e-magazine called Canadian Brushstrokes. It's a beautiful e-magazine with great articles. It features Canadian artists! You can see their site by clicking here. While there, you can subscribe. Best of all - it's free! Check out the beautiful artwork there .....

I've been working on a painting of a sunflower and will post it shortly. It's giving me a bit of grief lately but with the help of Ann and Teresa this morning, I think I may not have to trash it after all. Thanks you two!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Today's Art - Edible

Seems that Canada Day brings on Edible Art! Last year, I made the Canada Day cake that looked like our flag. This Canada Day, Mat (my youngest son) and I made homemade pretzels using Alton Brown's recipe. They're soooooooooooo good! (Instead of mixing the dough by hand, I adapted it to the bread machine and went swimming while it mixed! That's the life!)

I wanted to paint today but had a visitor so it was kind of hard. Tonight or tomorrow .......

Tomorrow's a work day. What a bummer. I could get used to this schmoozing around the house all day!!!

Happy Canada Day!!!!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The First Teabag Painting - Finished!

If you remember, (and if you don't, you can click here) my first teabag painting began with the article by Wendy Hill in the June issue of Watercolor Artist in the Creativity Workshop section. I read it and couldn't resist trying it. Things like this are an excellent way to get over, out or through a major block - I speak from experience! If you click back to the link above, you can see the steps taken to get to the wild background of this:

At that time, I had no idea what to do with the result! After much thought and contemplation, and a great suggestion from Rhonda of how ginkgo leaves might 'fit', I drew in lots of ginkgo leaves and berries. I had planned on doing them all in negative painting but once started, quickly changed that to a few in negative painting with the rest done positively. Ann asked if I saw anything in the design I wanted to enhance and I worked with that question in mind.

In the upper right corner I could plainly "see" this little fetal warrior. Every time I looked at the painting, I would see him, complete with a tiny little spear in his hand. I kept him in the finished painting 'cause he was so cute.

I won't go into detail about what I originally kept 'seeing' (the warrior along with a birth canal and two fallopian tubes) but I will say that I was starting to seriously worry about my warped imagination!

So, here's the finished painting that I plan on entering to the magazine:

When I posted the almost final version to Ann and Rhonda, Ann asked what I was thinking as I painted it. (Ann knows the perfect questions to ask to get you to think about your painting!) My answer was this: "Hmm, that's a good question - what am I thinking about when I paint it...... Mostly I guess I'm thinking about getting a mass of gingko leaves in there. I'm looking at the shapes and searching for spaces that would accomodate a leaf. I'm thinking of how I love the colours that show up in the leaves through the green paint. I'm thinking that I'd like to put darker greens for the leaves but I don't want to lose those colours showing through. I'm thinking that it might not make any sense to anyone but it's been one heck of a lot of fun doing it because I didn't really care if it was a mess. I'm thinking of HOW could I make it make some sense. I'm thinking that that fetal warrior is becoming like a little friend and I'm creating a forest world for him but that I 'd better not mention that fact to anyone or they'll think I've really 'lost it'. ROTFLOL. I also keep wondering how I'll get those teabag spots to look more like stepping stones. Whew! that's a lot of thinking while painting, isn't it?"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Judy's Pear Collection

With Judy's permission, I'm posting the shot she sent me of the pears I sent her and some others that she's painted and collected. Judy painted the large one of the oil lamp next to the three pears on the red background that I painted. Beautiful work, Judy! A quote from her letter, "I really am particularly fond of pears. I have them everywhere!"

Sunday, June 1, 2008


A huge, huge, huge thank you to Judy Stines in SC for helping me out and telling me that some of my pics needed to be re-sized! It worked!

Now, I'm off to pick a painting to send to her!

Thanks again Judy - you're a life saver!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Does anyone know ......

... why all my links and other info is now situated beneath all the posts rather than beside them???? I can't find out how to get it back to where it was a few days ago and am finding it sooooooo aggravating.

I'll send a small painting to the first person who can successfully tell me how to fix this!

fresh plants ......

Well, I haven't yet got to the teabag paintings (they're turning me into a 'bag lady) due to some other pressing weekend things such as housework, baking homemade bread and making some homemade soup, etc. It's been raining cats and dogs here and on cool, rainy days, I love to bake and fill the house with the smells.

But shortly! I've got some ideas for the 'bags. I'll post as soon as I do.

In the meantime, taking a cue from Ann, I'm posting some shots of my corner of the world. I guess you could say it's a *type* of artwork.

The front entrance, which needs some painting and work after such a totally rough winter with freshly planted pots of pansies. What struck me so much about these flowers when shopping all the greenhouses was the brilliant oranges! And since I love purple so much, I just had to mix a few of those in with the oranges. Like the mat? I'm such an introverted person......

Another garden of freshly planted flowers - this time it's mums with a white geranium every foot or so along with a bluish/purple border. Quite a change from my usual choices of cooler colours such as pinks, blues, etc. Unfortunately, a week later, all these mums look like they're dying. If they don't perk up soon, I"m taking them all out and putting something else in this garden - in pots!

Some chives in an old bonsai tree planter. The tree died several years ago but I saved the planter. Once these are more established, I plan on painting them.

Back to a bit more housework, then painting.....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Am I crazy? Another teabag painting?

I said I probably would not do another teabag painting and here I am, just days later, posting another attempt! Couldn't resist. While working this past week, I kept thinking how, if I dropped the teabags from a good height, they'd splatter tea around and wouldn't that make great foam on waves!! (I often plan out paintings while working - LOL.) So, I had to try it.

And I just HAD to go big. I'll be rolling my eyes soon over that choice but I did it. And I did it outside because of the splattering mess. Another thought I had during the week was that if I used green tea bags, it'd be a paler, more watery colour that would blend in, rather than deep browns of regular orange pekoe tea, which is my usual blend. ("Red Rose" tea is my absolute favourite - the very British comment "only in Canada you say? Pity!" brand.)

To avoid the stinky part, I used fresh teabags, soaked in a pot of boiling water. ("Green tea" teabags.) Now, afterwards, I realize that I should have steeped the bags and changed the water several times to weaken them. I had a full size sheet (with about 1" torn from the side so it would fit on my masonite sheet of wood) taped down to the support. Outside, from a height of about four or five feet, I dropped each teabag. (Use tongs so you don't burn your fingers!) There is no drawing on the sheet yet. I'll work from the tea stains for that later. Several of the teabags split open, which I left as they landed. I had to then get it into the house fast because it had started to rain. Now that I think back, I should have left it out in the rain to add more but it would have ruined the splattered effects anyways so ....... It was still wet so I propped it up on the kitchen table. You can see the roll of masking tape. This was so that some of the wet drips would run. It was left to dry then the teabags removed.
Above, this is it with the teabags removed. I'm kind of disappointed that the teastains are as dark as they are. I was hoping for paler colours but I'll work around that. (Go with the flow.) Maybe these could be rocks at the base of a waterfall... It's one of those paintings that you need to prop up against the wall beside where you sit so that each time you sit, you can look at it and think. The more you look at it, the more you'll see and then, just go from there. Good plan, Deb.
The nice thing about this one is that it doesn't smell bad. ;o) I also did not add colour with the teabags on it, like the last one, because I just don't like the idea of my good paintbrushes in tea grounds. When dry, I scrubbed the spilled grounds off with an old tooth brush.

This weekend, which only leaves today and tomorrow, I simply MUST get the Plaisance Falls drawing done out and sent off, too!!!
Now, to shower and go buy my flowers to plant. Their beds are all ready and waiting......

More colour on the grisaille pears

It's a holiday weekend here in Canada - The Victoria Day Weekend, which is traditionally the time to plant gardens. It's been a really busy weekend so far, gardening, housework, pool vacuuming, yard work. It's another sunny day today so planting is on the horizon. Yesterday though,I did do some painting. I'm posting another step in the grisaille pears and hopefully, more will follow today.

This one has two washes of DS burnt orange with some WN burnt umber dropped in the shadow areas. Today, I'll add some more yellow and burnt umber, then the red and green. I've been trying to save the highlight areas but I think I'll have to put in some white gouache or white acrylic. I want the highlights to really stand out and the lifted ones here don't really.

This past week, I received some awesome info material from Winsor Newton, thanks to Ian Maginnis at Winsor Newton! The hand painted colour charts are great and the info on how to use each of the mediums is very helpful. I have several and it seems I've been using them wrong, which would explain why I could never get anything out of them. There's also brush info, and much more info and colour charts on oils and gouache and acrylics, too. Thanks, Ian!

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Next step in the Grisaille Pears

I added some very watery Prussian Blue to a few areas, then a coat of Hansa Yellow Medium. While the paint was still wet, using a thirsty brush, I lifted a few highlights.

Almost three weeks ago now, I badly sprained my foot! I didn't step down when I should have. Baaaaaaaad mistake. After going to emergency to make sure it wasn't broken, I hobbled around on crutches for a few days (crutches are for the birds!), then graduated to one crutch (which was so much easier), then finally to none. Several people have told me that a bad sprain is worse than a break. I now believe them. When I first went to the hospital that night, my blood pressure had soared to 211 over 109! It set the alarm off on the bp machine it was so high. The doctor believed it was the pain causing that and he was right. The next day, it was well on it's way back down. The bruising on the foot has been unbelievable!

So, almost three weeks later, I'm still hobbling around - but without crutches. The worst part is when I'm sitting. Boy, does that foot swell when I'm sitting. It's getting better slowly though, but that's why I haven't been doing much painting or blogging.

I'm still on ibuprofen for the swelling. I really hate that stuff - it does very nasty things to my stomach - but if I stop taking it, my foot swells too much and that causes so much more pain.

To top that all off, I'm just getting over a cold which I caught about a week after the sprain. Probably because my resistance must have been low.

So, the foot's on the mend, the cold's almost gone. Things are looking up!

Painting with Teabags

In the latest issue of Watercolor Magazine, there was a creativity article on painting with teabags by Wendy Hill. To get back into the swing of things, I tried it. With this cold, I've been drinking a lot more tea so I quickly saved the ten teabags needed. Ten used teabags.

Some things I learned about painting with teabags;

1. Lay the teabags out flat and separately while saving them. I just kept adding mine to a bowl and the ones on the bottom were moldy when I went to use them. (Though, ticklingly, the bowl of used teabags really grossed my two boys out. That alone excused the moldiness for me.)

2. Used teabags STINK. I mean, they stink to high heaven!!! I had to open a window in my painting room because I couldn't take the smell anymore. At first, I thought that @#$% Moose had found another way to torment me, but no. He was out in the hallway, not even coming in the room. (He usually curls up around my feet while I paint.)

3. Dried teabags suck up a LOT of paint so you need to have a lot ready.

4. Have that paint ready in bowls or containers because the teabags break and the next thing you know, you have those tea grains all over the place - in your paint brushes, in your paint wells, everywhere. AFter finishing, I had some major cleanup to do!

Here's a few pics of the process:

First, you had to wet your paper, leaving some dry spots for whites. Then, splatter and drop in and drip paint in places. Place teabags on wet paint. (At this point, you don't notice the smell. lol)

Next, you add juicy paint to the teabags. (THIS is where the smell starts to waft upwards! We're not talking the sweaty socks smell of wet Arches paper you sometimes get, either. We're talking STINK. Horrible stink!) Those dried teabags can sure suck up a lot of paint! Let them dry.

The next photo shows the reason you put your paint in bowls or containers. So that you don't dip brushes full of tea back into the paint wells. ;o)

This is what I have now. Do I see anything in this? Not yet, except for the little fetal warrior in the upper right corner. The smell has fogged my vision for seeing anything other than that. I've thrown the teabags out, opened the windows to freshen this room up and will get back to it.

Would I do this again? Probably not. (Edit: A later note: I did, though!)

I've put some paint on the pear grisaille. I'll put that in a new post! Coming right up .......

In the meantime, would anyone like a cup of tea? (Don't worry, the teabags would be fresh and new. LOL.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The real grisaille pears

Now that I've got the test grisaille done and (reasonably) to my liking, I started on the biggie. Well, 1/4 sheet's not THAT big but bigger than the test one. I may do another after this in full sheet size but first want to see how this'll come out.

It's done on Arches 300 lb cold pressed paper, 1/4 sheet (which is approx 10 or 11" x 14). The gray paint for the underpainting is Ann's recipe of French Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, viridian and a touch of prussian. A beautiful gray!

Here's the reference shot. I took the photograph myself specifically going for strong reflections in the table. Not mirror reflections but close. (I actually shot a lot of pear shots on that day so if interested, contact me and I can send you a pile - for use as reference shots only.)

Drawing, which had to be darkened a lot to show the lines. The reflections aren't perfect in the drawing but I'll fix that as I add paint.

Below, I had problems with the left pear's bottom - it was too flat. I didn't notice until almost finished adding the gray. So, in the shot after, I've fixed it by making it rounder. These are slightly darker to show the grays. I may add more paint to make them darker. I found in the test pear that when you started adding colour, it tended to mute out the grays and I want them strong so I may add more. I was going to add the cast shadows in now but thought I'd wait to add strongdarks once the colour is on. (A touch of WN Blue Black was dropped into the core shadows.)

I did this late last night but was too tired out to post it. (After a day of washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees, lots of housework, and the very successful feat of removing the winter cover from the pool without getting a drop of the swampy water/leaf matter from on top of the cover into the clean water underneath! Sure beats the mess I had to clean out of the pool last spring! Wait for it to fill today, "open" the pump and lines, a quick vacuum and it'll be all ready for a swim! But I think I'll wait for that pleasure until the water warms up a bit.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more of the test grisaille....

This is the latest of the test pear! It started with 2 glazes of DS hansa yellow medium over the grisaille. Then more glazes of WN burnt umber and DS burnt orange. For the red, I started with WN Bright Red but changed that to Perylene Red because I found the other too cool. A very small bit of sap green and this is how it ended.

Next photo shows the page this is taken from, along with notes I scribbled down as I went.

So now, with this test, I know what to expect and how to get what I want. I love the way the grisaille underpainting completes all the shadows at this stage. I really like this style.
Next comes the 1/4 sheet of Arches CP 300 lb. I'll draw it out and start tomorrow. Bedtime now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pear Grisaille

I've started work on the Pear Grisaille. This snap is only a test to get the colour I wanted.

What is a grisaille you ask? "Grisaille is a traditional painting technique which uses a palette of greys to build up the tonal values of the picture. It can either be left as a monochrome or colour can be added by glazing. While it was traditionally done with oil paints or tempera, the technique is suitable for use with a range of media, e.g. acrylics, watercolours, inks, coloured pencil...."

Two other artist friends (Ann and Rhonda) have been working at the same technique. Ann is in Oklahoma and Rhonda is in Kentucky and we often do painting projects together like this! The internet is great! (Ann gave me the perfect idea of using her blog to keep track of colour mixes and techniques used for a painting. I often put things down on paper but then lose the paper!)

So, my first step was to mix a nice gray. I could have used something on my palette but I wanted a soft gray with nuances of other colours in there, too. I used a watery wash of prussian, then a watery wash of sepia and for the darkest spots, I used a little touch of WN blue black mixed with some sepia. Otherwise, if I didn't use the WN blue/black, it just looked brown.

(A few years back, I bought a few batches of WN paint on ebay and a tube of blue/black was included. I love this colour! When it's finished, which will be soon, I am going to cry. Seriously. I can't find it anywhere for sale.)

This test pear is being done on Sennelier paper, which I do NOT like, but I got a huge pad of 100 sheets (8.5 x 11) in with some paint brushes and paint. Came as a package deal so I use it for scrap paper. I found that scumbling worked better with an almost dry brush but that could easily be due to the texture and makeup of this paper.

I plan on doing this on Arches 300 lb Cold Pressed paper, 1/4 sheet. Maybe if I get really brave, I'll do it on a full sheet! Before I put it onto the Arches though, I wanted to make sure I had those colours down pat.

So, next step is to put it on the Arches. (Arches is my absolute favourite paper!)

I've also been working at sketches for another painting I'm going to start. A huge painting of the Falls at Plaisance, which is such a favourite place of mine!!!! I have a lot of reference pics I've shot which I'm putting together in the planning. Perhaps I need to go back there soon for more inspiration and shots???

Off to work now....

ps - I really love having to stick in html codes here because Blogger won't give me proper paragraph spacing!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Calming sights

I haven't yet started on the grisaille pears - I've been too upset over finding out that one of my paintings is being sold on merchandise without my knowledge. A few years ago, I donated "the use of two paintings" to a project for a pet shelter in need of cash. The paintings were being put on a calendar and the calendar being sold with proceeds going to the animal shelter. I was flattered that my two paintings were going on the calendar and was glad I could help the animal shelter. Never was I informed that they would also be sold on merchandise! I hadn't even realized until I did a routine google on my own name. What a shocker and how upsetting. I wonder if the other artists know that the work they had accepted for the calendar is even being sold as small posters, greeting cards, postcards, t-shirts, buttons, mousepads, and a slew of other items.

And to top it all off, the same paintings are now being offered on a 2008 calendar! Without any notice at all. Does this artist not think it important to get permission first??? As an artist, does she not understand about reproduction rights?

I'm waiting until a friend arrives back from a trip to see what she says. Maybe her memory is better than mine. Her work is also there.

In the meantime, I'm posting a painting of a place where I need to go and meditate (painting is my meditation) and bring the blood pressure back down. This was painted after watching Tom Jones paint.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

another pear ....

This is one of the previous ones with some background put in. Not much of a background but I'm starting to get tired of working on these same pears!

Just for informational purposes (and because I have a memory like a sieve), colours used are WN Indanthrone, DS Sap, WN Winsor Yellow, DS Transparent Pyrrol Orange and white gouache. (Or maybe it was white acrylic. See what I mean about the memory?) Arches 140 lb CP paper, approximately 5 x 7.

I'm going to start the grisaille pear. Hopefully tonight!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Update on the pears....

I worked on my pears tonight! One thing I've learned is getting white gouache to look like good highlights is not so easy. (But if you use your imagination when looking .......)

Tonight I concentrated on getting some reds in there and highlights, as well as a background on the one I was happy with previously. Oh, and stems too. Don West made some more great suggestions and I followed them. Thanks again, Don.

Since it's 1:30, I don't have time to make this into a slide show so here they are separately. (note - blogger will not show it the way I'm formatting it and I'm just too tired to keep trying to fix it, so maybe tomorrow.) They're all looking a bit on the yellowish side - I photographed them in incandescent light.

(Above) Here's the original one I was happy with, now with a background. If you look at the enlarged version, you can see red stripe-y lines down behind the pears. I painted in the background with DS transparent pyrrol orange. (I love this orange!) Then I painted on rubbing alcohol after which I painted red lines. Good effect. I hadn't planned on using the alcohol - I"d wanted to paint the orange in, then make some watery stripes. But thanks to a monster cat who was very intent on annoying me, the orange paint dried before I could do anything. Hence, the alcohol. (He sat there, on the table, getting closer and closer, flexing his back paw claws into the table which made sounds like nails on chalk boards, rubbing his head hard on my own, finally laying down almost on the painting. All the while, I tried hard to ignore him, but he made it difficult so he was thrown out of the room with the door shut behind him.)

The bottom is Ann's recipe for gray that I was experimenting with and decided to use here. You'll notice the pears have some red areas in them too. I didn't dare use any gouache here. (You can also see the Arches logo in the bottom.)

This is not the loose background I should have done though. Next photo below will have a background of loose, swishy brush strokes.

(Above) I'm kind of happy with this one! It now needs a background which should be put in tomorrow. Any suggestions for colours? I thought the highlights looked good in the gouache, too.

(above) I definitely do not like the highlights in this one. Can you tell it's one of the first to get the highlights added? ;-)

(Above) No comment.

I kind of like this one, too. It's a bit of a strange little character but unique. Like me.

The greens in the slide show from a day or two ago are much more accurate, colour-wise.

I need to go to bed now.