Sunday, July 12, 2015

5 paintings - Experimenting with Composition and Technique

I saw some quilts by Paula Kovarik on the American Craft Council's website and I liked the way she divided and composed her space, and the kinds of detail she stitched into her designs. It reminded me of my own work, particularly the use of nature imagery and repeated geometric shapes. These 5 small paintings (each 5"X 8") were all worked on at the same time as a group while I kept in mind what I wanted to do with shape and detail, contrast and texture.


I started by painting a flat color on each gessoed surface. (My paintings are usually done on gessoed watercolor paper). Each one started with a different background color.


Before the paint dried I scored the surface with a spatula, creating horizontal and vertical lines. When that dried I followed some of the lines in charcoal to determine a composition. Then I chose 5 or 6 colored pencils + a black pencil and colored in the areas.


I painted over all of the pencil except the black areas with white acrylic. In the painting above, the red pencil I had used bled through the paint. I didn't mind that, but toned down what was a hot pink shade with some gold.


Then I added details with charcoal and more paint, some pastel. In some areas, like the trees, when I drew in the lines the paint came away and revealed the colored pencil underneath.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

10 small paintings 7 11 15

10 paintings, painted together as a group, each 5"square. 
They were done with acrylic, charcoal and pastel.

I used pieces of the random pattern of an old crazy quilt as 
an idea for the beginning composition structures.











Saturday, July 4, 2015

4 paintings 7.4.15

Four paintings, each 14" X 20", done with acrylic, charcoal, pastel and ink.





Sunday, June 21, 2015

18 small paintings 6 21 15

These 3 5/8" X 5 5/8" paintings were painted together on one sheet of watercolor paper. I created the grid with drafting tape and coated the paper with gesso. At the end of this post I've put a picture of what the paintings looked like at the very first stage.



The series will be featured at a solo show from next week through October at the Nano Gallery 
(which specializes in small pieces) in the D.C. Art Center, Adams Morgan. 


They are primarily acrylic, with charcoal, chalk and oil pastel, and some collage. 


















Below is how they all started. The use of ochre over charcoal comes from classes I took in traditional oil painting at the Hagerstown YMCA as a kid. I wanted to begin with some semblance of composition and used images for reference from a small book I picked up at a museum shop on the architecture of Tadao Ando. Not a lot remains of these under-paintings, but some hints of them can be seen in the finished pieces. 





Monday, June 15, 2015

2 summer paintings + 1

The first two paintings here are 14" x 20". Both were done to enter into the Berkeley Arts Council show "Summer Bloom". I like the challenge of an assignment, so here was an opportunity to see what I could come up with on a summer theme. 


They started out quite differently ~ huge swipes of very bright yellows, golds, reds. There were critters hidden in the branches. But I just wasn't happy with how they were going and I ended up toning them down, making them more subtle, and just about the trees.  

                                                 
These paintings gave me a hard time coming into being. There are MANY layers from all the changes. I thought the last painting I did had a delicious surface, but now it looks plain compared to these.


This one is 20" X 26". It may look as though the photo is blurry, but it is the illusion the texture creates. There are a lot of layers in this painting, too, and I might have gone further with it, but I just wanted to stop at this point. There is something spontaneous and raw that I like and didn't want to cover up. I thought I'd just let it be what it is. Definitely not a "summer" painting, though.


I used acrylic, charcoal and pastel on all 3 of these paintings and the addition of ink on the last one.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Painting 6 10 15

This painting is 20" X 26". There are many layers of paint. A lot of scraping, covering, repainting. With acrylic, charcoal and some collage. 

The surface is delicious. I hope you get to see it in person or at least enlarge the image so you can see a detail.


I added tiny accents of color, their locations determined by the shapes created when I drew the lines into the wet acrylic paint with a charcoal pencil. The strong, dark almost circle is a piece of Thai banana paper, brown, covered with pastel to push it back a bit and help it blend into the painting.

Just for fun, I'm showing here one of the layers under the finished piece. I started this in March, 2013. 



Saturday, June 6, 2015

6 small paintings ~ June 6

Six small pieces. The first four are 5" x 8". The last two are 8" X 12". They were all painted at the same time, using acrylic, charcoal and pastel. 

I took these paintings, while still in progress, to my crit group a few days ago for some feedback. They were just started and quite different. My friends gave me some fun suggestions, like making a bold mark, then walking away! This was after I said that I never seem to be able to leave well enough alone, I always feel the need to change a mark in some way rather than leave it raw. 




Another suggestion was to do something totally counter to what I might normally do, like use a color I never choose. I tried both of these things. The large red area in this last painting is a sample of making a mark and leaving it alone. The painting above had a huge smear of a yellow I wouldn't have normally reached for. It got covered up, but can be seen through the layers.