Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Better than fishing

I painted with my friend for about two hours today. She told me about "Goo Gone" for keeping my brushes like new and I got a good start on an under-painting. I like the play of light and dark in this painting, but the color of this photo taken with my new handy dandy iPhone 4S is much cooler than the original painting. I especiallyI like that in the water. I will let it dry and play around with the colors a bit. That is the beauty of oil you can always make changes. It is painted on gessoed board with mitered side that Randy put together for me. The gesso gives you a slick surface that lifts easily making it  interesting  to paint on. to get a smooth surface will require many layers. Some would rather go fishing, but It makes my day when I can  paint—I am fortunate to have that luxury. The hardest part is stopping.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Every artist should do a still life and a self-portrait. The first step—and hardest for me— was getting a good source picture. It took several days and many shots. I wanted a full-length shot and found a great 30 x15' canvas for the job.

Along with the source picture I am using a mirror to stare at while I paint to get the skin colors better than the cmyk  print my printer provides. Staring at myself this way is painful, but necessary.

Painting my hands and the zebra pattern on my blouse, although challenging have been quite fun. Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson with white and black make up the pallet for my skin tones. 
Now off to my next painting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Great Outdoors

Painting on location in the great outdoors, or Plein-air painting has been a new and exciting experience for me. I attended a workshop on Plein-air painting last night that I would like to share. For all you Texans the pronunciation is plen that rhymes with ten, not plain. Both my recent try at Plein-air and last night’s presentation were inspirational enough to blog about. It is educational for those interested and a reminder to me of the basics for my next outdoor painting experience.

I have had one Plein-air painting trip to Galveston. Our group of three drew quite a crowd with oohs and ahhs. I was having great fun painting the sails of the Elissa until they moved the sails on me! 

You need to paint quickly and small. Take a picture before you start painting just in case they move the sails on you. Find a good cross light where patterns of light and dark are accentuated. Paint them first—as they will change. Look at the shadow to determine where your light source is coming from and exaggerate it for drama.  
Plein-air painting can be used as studies for larger creations or to loosen you up, like gesture drawing does.  Although you can’t possible paint it all, your main mission is to decode the vast amounts of detail into a simpler version of itself. Placing a compliment next to a color gives a shimmering quality to the subject matter and using strong value contrasts with 4 major value scales imitates the drama of natural light. 

During my first Plein-air experience I took too many tubes of paint. Next trip I will try a pallet of both warm and cool primary colors with white and black instead. There is also a wet canvas carrier I want to look into. I plan to bring a black board to prevent light from shining through the back of my canvas. Some prefer board or canvas panels. A viewfinder would come in handy as well. Using a horizontal pallet prevents a value change that happens when the light is cast on a flat pallet. Pale Drying Oil was also suggested as a medium. It is nearly as fluid as walnut oil though it is quite a bit darker. As far as its drying ability, it is said that a layer of paint could be touch dry in less than 12 hours. I have got to give that a try.

Thanks Lisette, Jim and Bill for your all your advice. I can wait to try capturing the great outdoors again.