Friday, November 21, 2014

A painting in 20 steps

Thought it might be fun to show you the stages one of my paintings goes through before I'm satisfied with it. I'm working on a 10"X 14" Arches watercolor block, hot press.
 I fill the page first by drawing a random grid and tracing leaf shapes into the sections, just to get some pattern on the image area. I fill in the negative spaces with charcoal and the positive spaces with oil pastels, the colors chosen blind.
 I go over the whole thing with a neutral color oil pastel to blend it...
 ...and scrape it with this toothed plaster tool.
 Brushing with water...
 ...and smearing more with a paper towel.
A light coat of gesso.
 More scraping and messing with the surface with a palette knife.

 Some charcoal lines, as well as scrafitto, and a wash of burnt sienna acrylic mixed with gel medium.
 Details of charcoal (trees) and yellow paint. I've sprayed the wash on the bottom with water to make the speckle pattern.
 Love what a toothbrush does to enhance the surface texture.
 Highlighted the shapes indicated in pencil with white paint.
 Added the ochre wash on the left, more color in the middle and the black house in charcoal. More color on the trees with oil pastel and the blue highlights are chalk pastel.
 More detail in charcoal and acrylic.
 Decided the painting was too segmented, without focal point so tried a different approach to middle section, adding a large figure.
 Didn't like this bird, Painted over it with white and tried again...
 Lots of scratching and highlighting with charcoal. More oil pastel details.
Painted background around bird warm yellow and added prints of leaves. Bird still looked too weak as an image...
...so I filled in the shape with more solid color, mixing some purple with the background yellow for a neutral tone that would harmonize with the colors around it. Strong enough, but not too much.

Finished, coated with acrylic gel medium to enhance the colors and texture. Final image 7"X 13". Hope that was interesting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mixed media paintings 11.18.14 (again)

These felt more playful to do than those on today's previous post. Again, 5"X 8", the usual mixed media with acrylic, oil pastel, charcoal. I started by tracing some large leaves just to establish some shapes. I colored in negative spaces with charcoal, then picked oil pastels at random to color in other areas. Gessoed over that, then just a lot of layering and scratching, applying and removing, pretty much losing the under-drawing, but it does show through in spots. I like these for their texture and subtlety and whimsy, and because I had fun painting them.


Mixed media paintings 11 18 14

Both of these paintings started out with very different imagery from that with which they ended. I seem to go back to the landscape by default. Safer there...which isn't necessarily good. 
Both are 5"X 8", mostly acrylic, with charcoal, oil pastel, rice paper.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Mixed media painting 11.17.14


For the most part, these small paintings happen fast. I paint intuitively, something a lot of painters like to say these days. It means, to me anyway, attempting to paint without thinking, without a plan. Painting by "feel".

This painting gave me some trouble. It made me work. And think. Think about what I needed to do to it to make it mine. To get that gut feeling that it's good.

 This is the under-painting. It started out as a watercolor, mostly. There is a layer of rice paper over the watercolor under the "horizon". Then charcoal and white acrylic over that. It's pretty enough, but I just couldn't leave it at that.
 I stared at it for a long time. Couldn't find the direction or the courage to take the direction if I thought of one. Then I read the paper I have above my work table ~ Diebenkorn's notes to himself on beginning a painting. The first note is Attempt what is not certain. So I did.
I pasted a piece of pre-painted yupo paper over the top section and added some pre-inked rice paper over that. (Thank-you, Fran Skiles, for letting me paint with you in your studio!!!) I put a wash of gel medium stained with red oxide over the bottom and hated it. Scrubbed it with a paper towel, Added blue to the gel to make a grey and went over the forms with my finger and a toothbrush. Scrubbed and scratched some more, used charcoal here and there. 
Then I went over the bottom section with an ochre watercolor pencil, which dug into the paint layer nicely and revealed some of the bottom layers of charcoal. Then white oil pastel on the forms, smooshed with my finger and some touches of purple and blue oil pastel in the areas between the forms to tie the bottom section in with the strong shapes on the top. That's what I remember, anyway. There were probably some other steps here and there. Whatever it took until I was satisfied.

Latest mixed media paintings

Some new mixed media paintings. They're small. On paper, using watercolor, acrylic, yupo paper and rice paper, some ink, charcoal, a lot of scratching and layering.








Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shadow box #21 ~ Grazing

12" X 12". The background painting is a watercolor with pastel and charcoal. As with "The Light Trees", I sprayed the finished painting with polyurethane to fix the pastel dust, then coated it with acrylic gel medium. The inset of the horses was done with acrylic on watercolor paper which has been wrapped around a block of foam core. It stands out from the background.

The stick has been sanded and coated with acrylic gel medium. It is secured with jeweler's glue.

The thin, brown frame around the opening edge is watercolor paper painted with acrylic. The outside, natural wood frame has been sanded and finished with varnish.

Shadow box # 20 ~ A Lizard's Life

This one is 9"X12". The lizard design is one I came up with in my series of twelve animals drawn in the proportions of the golden spiral.

The painting was started with charcoal and white acrylic on Bristol board. Color was added with watercolor and pastel.

There are two carved wood "beams" painted black and sanded. A leaf preserved with acrylic gel medium sits on the top right shelf. On the bottom are two land snail shells and a painted masking tape ball wrapped with yarn.

The frame has been painted black and sanded.

This shadow box was a hit with twelve-year-old boys at the Chautauqua show this past weekend. They recognized the "golden spiral" immediately.