Wednesday, March 21, 2018

It Comes Back

From the pictures that I've taken over the years, there are a few images which just stay with me. This is one of them. It's from the Heart Of The Beast May Day parade. There is something so compelling and powerful about this woman in a chariot.

I finally decided to try and tackle painting it. It's a challenge. It has a ridiculous amount of detail, so I'm practicing making decisions about what to change, simplify, and so on. 

What I am happiest about is that I am out of my rut. Prior to vacation, I felt a little stuck or mechanical in my painting practice. I can't articulate what was off, but something was. I'm glad to have a daily painting practice, because if I just keep working the good always comes back.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Painted A Face!

It's a fictitious face of a gnome, but still I painted a face!

#191 - Gnome Out For A Stroll - 5" x 7" - paper - standard palette
I like the gnome, flowers, and path. While progress never takes place in a straight path, I feel like I'm getting better at mixing colors, especially the ones in the face and beard.

This is another revisit. The last time I painted from the same source pictures was back in December 2016.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hello Blog, I've Been Neglecting You

I was away from last Friday through Wednesday. It was good to be away. It was even better to be in a beautiful place visiting a dear, dear friend with my hubby and her spouse. If that's not enough goodness, it was in a new and beautiful location. The only time I've been close to the Atlantic Ocean was in Florida. This trip, I was on Block Island RI. My friend is house-sitting for the winter. Since it's an island, you are surrounded by water, plus there are a number of ponds on the island. While I love living in the city, I also loved being away where you can see so much sky and water. The views and the colors were amazing. I had a good camera along and put it to good use.

We had time to wander around the port in before we took the ferry to Block Island.

Fishing Boats - Port in Galilee RI

Fishing Boat At Dusk
Ferry Docked On Block Island
Imagine living on an island. To get to and fro, it's either by water or air. Many islanders will have a vehicle on the island and on the main land. What do you do when you've done a bunch of shopping and need to get your stuff easily back home? Use a cart provided by the ferry company.

If you have a lot of stuff, there are options for that too.

Once you get to Block Island, it's easier to show some of the beauty rather than trying to describe it.

While we were there, we chased a sunset.

Also, I practiced counting.

One Snowy Owl
Two Swans

Three Seals
Four Llamas
It was an incredible trip. Being from Minnesota, the weather helped me feel right at home.

Oh yes, this is supposed to be a blog about drawing and painting. While, I took a painting hiatus. There was too much to do and see. Now that I'm back, I picked up my brushes again.

#190 - Cardinal In Snow - 5" x 7" - paper - standard palette

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Another One For Art 4 Shelter (And Another Revisit)

Art 4 Shelter is going to be at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, this year on May 9th. It's mind-boggling to think that I am sending in paintings for the 3rd year. I still feel like such a beginner. How could it be the 3rd time? It still does cause a little angst and causes the internal critic to make an appearance.

I went back to revisit the peony. The last time the decision to "suggest" a second flower at the bottom of the painting really annoyed me. I'm not sure if this was the editor or the critic, but I decided to give this one another go. This time I tried to "suggest" the irises in the background of the actual picture. Overall, I like this version better.

#189 - Peony - 5" x 7" - paper - standard palette
I also went back and added a few strokes to Dorian, the value cat. Two things bothered me in the original version. First, her chest didn't seem grounded enough. Second, the outline of her face on the left side seemed to just float in the world of black. I added some additional brush strokes and I like the end result better.

Take that internal critic!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Value Cat

Yesterday, I took some additional time and started and finished a painting in one sitting. I haven't been doing that. My self-imposed assignment was to focus on the values and the shapes. Rather than sticking to one color, I went with one color for the cat, one color for the blanket, and one color for the eyes.

#188 - Dorian Value Study - 5" x 7"- paper - standard palette
It just amazes me how well the suggested eye reads any time I've tried something like this. 

Also, I switched my standard palette today. My official yellow is now hansa yellow opaque. Since I haven't used this color with pthalo blue red shade before, it did make mixing grays interesting today. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Finished Flower, Plus Cabin Sunset

I finished the second version of the pansy. It was interesting that this is the first time that I did not try to represent the little black lines that appear on the lower petals. Guess what! You don’t need them. I also added another layer of color in the flower petals. I think that helped.

#186 - Pansy in Pot - 6" x 6" - hardboard - alternative palette
Over time, I want to paint up a bunch of 6” x 6” paintings on hardboard. I want them to be of things which have some sort of meaning to me. The other day, I realized that much of the wood work in the living room and dining room is perfect for perching this very size of painting.  My goal is to fill these spaces with paintings over time and to make sure that they are not all paintings of cats.

Next up, I revisited a scene of a cabin sunset.

#187 - Sunset on Dock - *" x 10" - paper - standard palette
While it's getting better, I still struggle with a complicated scene like this. In this version, I think that sunset and reflection of the sunset is much better than in the past. The sky and water look more distinct from one another, although I do think the far shoreline needs a tab more weight. That's all I'm going to say.

It would be easy to point out the things that I don't like. Unfortunately, I've been fighting some negative situations in life and it's spilled over into how I look at my paintings. This is temporary. It will pass. For now, I  am only willing to write down what I like or find positive as a way to also fight the negativity.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bully On The Playground And Other Thoughts About Color

Where did the last 1 1/2 weeks go?  It doesn't seem as though that much time has past since my last post.  Last weekend was devoted to the MONDO juggling & unicycle festival.  I've also been taking some time to watch the Olympics in the evening, but still the last 1 1/2 weeks flew by.

Since my last post, I finished up the deer painting.  This is the second painting from the same picture.  The last time was almost a year ago.

#184 - Deer In Woods - 5" x 7" - paper - alternative palette

I also fussed with a painting a pansy in a pot.  I am a bit sentimental about this picture, since I grew the flower from seed. I've painted from this picture before.  The most recent time was three months ago.  The time before that was more than a year ago

#185 - Pansy In Pot - 6" x 6" hardboard - std palette
Fussed is the accurate word for this one, especially with the flower.  I struggle whenever I want a "purer" yellow or orange that is saturated. So I paint and I paint over and I paint over and I don't like the end result. When I'm doing the tawny oranges of the orange cats, I've got blue mixed in to help give the color strength.

This time, I sat back and realized I used my standard palette.  My standard palette consists of primary yellow, titanium white, quinacridone magenta, pthalo blue green shade, and pthalo blue red shade.  My alternative palette replaces the yellow with hansa yellow opaque and the red shade of blue with ultramarine blue.  While I've been painting with both palettes and noticing the differences, I haven't really thought about it in a focused way.

Meet my two different yellow colors.

The difference in strength is apparent.  The top row is "pure" color not toned down with white at all.  The hansa yellow opaque was a little dry on my palette, so it went on heavier than usual.  I compensated by doing two layers of paint for the primary yellow and the primary yellow still could not keep up.  While I am willing to concede that part of my problem is skill and experience, I am a little tired of fighting with my yellow paint.  On the back of the paint tubes, the difference in these two yellows is in the opacity and tinting strength and hansa yellow opaque is stronger in both categories.  

I also decided to compare my blue paint.  

I have enjoyed using the ultramarine blue.  It's easier for me to use and I figured out why.  Pthalo blue red shade is the playground bully on my palette.  It's the middle color. In the top row, it's pretty darn close to being the same value as the black gesso.  While the other two blues are dark, they aren't quite as dark and enveloping as pthalo blue red shade.

Since I've only recently figured out that I need to use a lot more white paint with all of my paint colors, it's no wonder that I let pthalo blue red shade dominate. This should be an easy bully to tame.  

In comparing the blue paint side by side, I noticed something else.  I like how the two pthalos related to each other.  They compliment each other in a pleasing way.  I don't find that when I look at ultramarine blue and pthalo blue green shade.  I'm not sure it makes that much difference in color harmony when using a limited color palette, but for now it's a reason to stick with pthalo blue red shade. 

Once I'm done with the primary yellow on my main palette, the refill is going to be with hansa yellow opaque.  I think I'll keep my alternative palette going and it will have primary yellow and ultramarine blue. 

This morning, I started a new pansy painting with my alternative palette, so I could see if the flower colors improved.  I think they did, although I still needed more than one layer of color. I'm still a long way from painting a flower with lyrical paint strokes, but trying is easier with the stronger yellow.