Thursday, January 8, 2015

The 20 lives of a painting

This is the story of a painting with 20 lives. I started it in November and have been experimenting with it ever since. I have to say, it has been a bit of a struggle, but not like a bad struggle, more like a puzzle... a stubborn one. I compare the process to doing a Bob Klahn crossword puzzle in the Washington Post. I always groan when I see one, because I know what I'm in for, but I know that if I stick with it, I'll get it. That's how I felt about this painting all along. 

My intention at the beginning was to paint a large abstract design and then cut it up into smaller pieces, to make a bunch of little paintings. I put gesso on the watercolor paper and textured it with a plaster spreader.
 A light wash of acrylic paint to bring out the texture in the gesso.
 I draw in two long lines to turn it into a landscape and add some buildings.

 In the sky, blue, water-soluble oil pastel and trees with charcoal pencil.
 Green acrylic mixed with matte medium over the "field".
 Trees in the foreground with charcoal.
 More color around the trees and in the field, on the buildings. I'm still thinking I'm going to cut up the painting into smaller pieces at this point.
 The field gets changed to a darker color to get what is now a little town to stand out. More color on the buildings, too. This painting is not speaking to me. I'm thinking here, for some reason, that I need to make it work as a big painting before I cut it up.
 In an effort to try to make it work I get rid of the little town, which has been bothering me, by covering it with tissue paper secured with matte medium.
 I have no idea what I was thinking here! Huh?
 I paint over that real quick.
 Maybe some large trees in the foreground?? Nah.
 I cover the bottom part with tissue and paint it.
 I hate the tissue. It feels great to scrape it off.
 Feels even better to sand it with a power tool!
 Cute!!! Little sheep. I think I'd had too much wine. I was really perplexed here. What on earth did this painting want from me?
 I go back to the tall trees in the foreground, looking at an earlier painting that I liked. After this I cover the whole surface with a wash of light green.
 Finally. Charcoal and acrylic trees. You can still see the little sheep in the background. I probably won't attempt a large horizontal painting again for a while. I prefer working with a vertical format for sure.
 (I'm not going to cut this up.)

4 paintings 1.8.15

 8"X 12" Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, Thai banana paper, graphite. An odd little thing. Judy didn't care for it, but I like it a lot. Something quirky and mysterious about it. It has a nice, complicated surface, particularly in the "sky" area.
8"X 12" Acrylic, charcoal, graphite, tissue and Yupo paper, oil pastel. I don't often use this much red, but this one called for it.
 8"X 12" Acrylic, charcoal, graphite, chalk and oil pastel, watercolor pencil.
8"X 12" Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, colored pencil, pastel. All 4 of these paintings started out with sketches from pictures I took at the botanical gardens in Atlanta. This is the only one that stayed with some of the original composition. The sweeping horizons were lines created by leaf shapes.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2 paintings 1.4.15

Size ~ 12"X 18". Ingredients ~ Tinted gesso, acrylic, tissue, Thai banana and Yupo papers, card stock, colored pencil, pastel, conte, watercolor pencil, watercolor, graphite, charcoal on watercolor paper.
Size ~ 12"X 18". Ingredients ~ Tinted gesso, acrylic, rice paper, ink, card stock, colored pencil, pastel, conte, graphite, charcoal on watercolor paper.

I've been getting less and less hits on this blog each time I post new paintings. Not a good sign. What to do? Can only keep on keepin' on...

Monday, December 29, 2014

8 paintings with a tree theme


Eight 5"X 8" mixed media paintings with tree themes. They were done with two shows in mind that are coming up. One at Berkeley Arts Center in Martinsburg, WV that will have pieces featuring wood and another at the Ice House Gallery in Berkeley Springs, WV with the title "Plan B". 








Sunday, December 28, 2014

4 paintings 12.28.14

These paintings are 8"X 12". They are done with acrylic, charcoal, pastel, added paper, ink and graphite on gessoed watercolor paper. 

Each painting started with an image of a horse, but this is the only one in which the horse is still somewhat visible.
This one was started the other way round. I ended up turning it 180 degrees to finish. The brown Yupo paper collaged piece is where the horse originally was, standing on a high horizon. Sometimes I want to get away from anything representational and just create a composition with shape, line, texture, layers.
This one was started as a horizontal, with a large white horse silhouette. The only thing remaining of the horse is its ears and the arch of its neck just above the yellow circle, top right. I just couldn't get comfortable with the horizontal format and needed to return to vertical.
If you look very closely, you can see the white horse in the center top third. Its back is in line with the horizon created by the trees. It had appeared as though it was standing in water, with a reflection under it. But it's not important! The painting ended up being about something else.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Two new paintings, exploring a slightly larger format




I worked on these at the same time, side by side. They each measure 12"X 18". I'm getting more comfortable with a larger painting surface. These are done on 140 lb watercolor paper with acrylic, charcoal, pastel, and added collage of Yupo and Thai banana papers.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Exploring the same barn shape in 8 paintings


Each of these paintings is 5"X 8", playing with the same simple little barn shape in each one.
They are done with acrylic and charcoal, some conte crayon.