Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Daddy's Home WIP

This is my first big (as in 16x20) oil portrait. This is my son and all but one of his children. I liked the composition of the original photograph which was very dark and out of focus. The subject has quite a bit of emotional content for me as my son adores his children and after two tours in Iraq and other overseas assignments, he is finally out of the service and enjoying his family.

I am working slowly on this which is once again a learn-as-you-go project. Just blocking in some colors - that blue bloppy stuff in the left corner will be going away.
So, besides making a doll house and all the parts to that little world, I am still engaged in painting, but just not everyday, for now.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time Out

I haven't posted anything here in quite a few days and that is because we are remodeling my "playroom." Sometimes it is a sewing room and sometimes it is a painting space, but it is always an art space. (Studio sounds so presumptuous, coming from me, anyway.) It is my creative haven, although to be honest, cleaning out the closet and organizing all my stuff is more than a bit scary.

My first thought is that I am really quite insane. There is so much stuff. Finished stuff I don't like, unfinished stuff I was either bored with or disappointed by, and wishful thinking stuff. Oh, and of course a lot of "what was I thinking?" stuff. I have plenty of that, too.

But, these are my outlet. My creative force. I am struck by the variety of color and texture and whimsey and delightful madness of it all. That is a good description of my personality, too.

This post isn't about art work. Not exactly. It is however about another facet of creative expression.

In sorting through the scary closet I found a doll's house I started over a decade ago. So, I am finishing it. An idea finally came to me about how it should look. For awhile, I will put the brakes on one form of creative expression and pull out all the stops on another, long neglected but not forgotten one. I once made a really cute but really rickety doll's house for my children, but really for myself. I loved minatures and experimented with various scales. 1"= 1' scale was perfect and fairly easy to do. I always wanted to explore 1/2 scale (1/2"= 1' ) and 1/4 scale (namely, really tiny), and made a few projects.

Now with grandbaby number seven on the way, I can't think of a better time to finish Grandma's Dollhouse. When I took it down from the closet shelf, it looked like it wanted to become a half-timbered, thatched-roofed, country cottage. I'm not going for authenticity here, just something evocative of that look, something really cute, and (this time) very sturdy. Something for little kids to be enchanted by. I plan to put it on a plywood disk on rolling wheels and include some landscaping. There will be some electrical -- candles, the fireplace, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Here are the Stage One construction pictures. The pinkish tint is the spackling compound that dries white. I love this stuff. It's like frosting a very big cake and very forgiving.

As for the art room, we are getting a new industrial-strength floor, new lighting, and a remodeled closet. This was unexpected and planned by my husband as something he says he has wanted to do for me for a long time. I just love that -- he is so sweet.

I'm just wondering how long it will take me to make the closet "scary" again!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Don't Do Landscapes, Part II

These are experiments in watercolor landscape, just for fun. They aren't "fun" for me, usually, so I thought I would try a few while taking a break from the last ten of my still life 30 project. (No, not forgotten, just needed a palette cleanser. Pun intended.)

Snowed In

Below are two WIP's (works-in-process) from reference photographs in Zoltan Szabo's great book, Color-by-Color Guide to Watercolor. The one just above is also from a reference in that book, but I liked the unusual sky color in the photo and used that instead of the demonstration which was dramatically different.

I use this book often for reference in color mixing, glazing, and combinations. My version is stuffed with little odd pieces of watercolor paper with my own favorite combinations and especially transparencies.

Misty Morning

I like where this is going, but I am not really sure where that is. I seem to have too many shadows going in odd directions. But then, rocks under snow (that's what's supposed to be) look like that.

Tin Shack

I have too much detail on the far logs and they are too dark in comparison to the foreground log. I like the warm versus cool shadows in this, though.

While neither of these is actually finished and might never be, they are part of the great big pile 'o stuff and I thought I would post them just for fun. I am working on two much larger, more detailed projects than I have ever done and haven't decided if I would post a WIP in parts for them. So, while I am deciding, I thought I would update my blog.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Don't Do Flowers, Either

I mentioned that landscapes are my least-confident subjects. Here is another one -- florals. I never like mine, over-work them, and then really don't like them. Here are the latest efforts.

I don't know why I have such a problem. I love flowers. I grow lots of them and photograph them endlessly. But, I am posting these here to gain some insight into why I have such a problem painting them. The only idea that comes to mind just now is that I make them too complicated. That rings true, because I do it with lots of other things, too.

Poppies, I Think

Is thatSupposed to be a Lily?

Poinsettia Cruelty

Dark Lilies

This last one was for a Weekly Photo Challenge at Artist's Network and done from an incredibly beautiful photograph posted there. I actually like this one, some what. So, if I keep exploring, I may end up enjoying the process.

There are always those last 10 still lifes, too!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Come Out and Play at Artist's Network

Versaille Village, 8x10, watercolor

Back home and getting back into my painting routine, I once again joined in the Weekly Photo Challenge at Artists Network. I know this is a blatant commerical for them, but that was not my intention, other than to say for many would-be artists, these little challenges are great for broading our scope of interest, trying new things, and as I am so fond of saying: finding yet another way to not to do stuff.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Extended Stay

I was all full of great and amibitious plans to complete my still life challenge. I was going to photograph all kinds of mundane stuff, paint it in a moody style, and call the series "Extended Stay." Yep, I was.

Instead, I fought with some cheap watercolor paper and did exercises from Watercolor and American Artist magazines and a painting book we bought to keep me occupied for the week while my spouse toiled away.

This was fun and loosened me up quite a bit. So, I thought I would do something similar for a project I have been procrastinating about. Now comes the dilemma. While there is much I want to re-work when I do this next one on bigger and better paper, I really like the colors that appeared in the washes under the figures. I really, really like them and now am procrastinating about the formal version because of a bad case of "what if''s." Such as, what if I can't get those cool looking shadow colors and water patterns; what if I mess up the faces (again). See what I mean? Fear, fear, fear -- of the darndest things. It's just a painting. Lighten up.

Everyone has a case of this from time to time, but I found it perfectly ironic to be practicing loosening-up exercises and tightening up with apprehensions simultaneously. Ever been there? Are you there now? It's my biggest battle, how about you?

Oh, those photographs I was going to take? Here is the best of the batch. Seems there is a large population of cranes roosting in some of the very tall evergreens planted in a nearby business park. I love this image, particularly, with the moon caught in the branches. It would make a lovely, quietly mysterious painting, don't you think?

I'm already thinking I could really mess this up, trying to get the reflection on those feathers just right!