Monday, September 16, 2013

Where the Magic Is

This is something I started for my sister-in-law for her birthday, then decided to do something else for her.  I had all but the calligraphy done and finally finished it today.  I just love the quote... although I would maybe suggest that whatever it is we have inside ourselves IS magic.  Just something for you to chew on this morning :)

This is around 8x10 (I think?) watercolor and ink on 140 lb. paper and might be for sale at some point; I haven't decided.

Then I thought I'd work on a new acrylic henna impasto... I was dreaming about dragonflies last night so I decided that's what I'd do.

 I got the grass lines filled in but didn't feel like mixing a couple more cones of paint for the other colors I want to use.  The gel medium I'm using is opaque; I think I'd prefer a clear one for mixing with my Pearl-Ex powders.  This will have high-flow washes done over it when I'm finished with the lines.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Art Adventures

I and my son Brandon, who as of this semester is an Art major in college, had a plein air art date today.  We hiked at Burgess Falls State Park on this GORGEOUS day and picked this spot to sit down and paint/draw.

Bran worked in charcoal, me in watercolor.

I felt the need to ditch my hiking boots when we sat down to paint, in part because they were rubbing my heel raw and in part because I wanted to get to know the landscape better and in my mind there's no better way.

 Here's Bran in front of the scene with his drawing.

And here's my watercolor... I may play with it some more because I'm by no means happy with it, or I may be content to chalk it up to an experiment.  Watercolor is not my thing when it comes to painting like this, but I don't want to lug all the stuff and deal with the mess of oils.  Next time I think I may bring acrylics and canvas, paint an undercoat in acrylic, and then finish it in oil in the studio.

This family was hiking with their bear/dog, who was a little on the older side and not up to the gruelling challenge of hiking down to the base of the falls, so this was their solution.  She was too cute, just content to hang out and enjoy the scenery.  

I was excited that my camera managed to capture the rainbow.

The base of the falls is miraculous.  There's this RUSH of air off the falls and mist fills the air, and the grass between the rocks is so green, with boulders strewn everywhere and the falls towering over you, the absolute epitome of Majesty.  It's humbling.

I know I"m lying cause I never stick with any subject that long, even horses, but I took TONS of reference pictures and I had the feeling that I could paint the falls for months.  So keep an eye peeled for at least one painting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Revisiting Old Friends

I started this painting a month or two ago as the first in a series of alphabet paintings I was doing with Crystal Cook.  She did "Apple."  I did "Apple-oosa."  Ha.

Only I was never totally satisfied with it.  I thought the little munchkin needed more detail and that the background needed something.  Think so?

Actually comparing the two the few little changes I made seem to make all the difference.  I gave his eyes a little more expression, darkened shadows, defined muzzle and ears, brightened whites.  Not a lot of time, but a lot of difference, in my opinion.

Then, I wanted to take the swirly background I envisioned one step further and give him a henna impasto background... in case this is your first visit here, I thicken paint and put it in the same kind of cellophane cone I use to apply henna body art, then pipe it onto the canvas basically like cake frosting.

The result is this kind of nifty texture.  I was worried that texturing the background would make the subject not stand out but I think it really has the opposite effect.  Opinions welcome on that, though.

A is for Apple-oosa!   6x6 oil on canvas - click to purchase

And here he is, all done (except I forgot to sign him, oops!  I fixed that.)  This little guy is 6x6 oil on canvas, and for sale in my Etsy shop.  Just click the picture or the link to take you there.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Art Journal!

I've been wanting to do more art journaling.  I've been using my handy dandy sketchbook more but today I cracked open the journal - it's kind of a parchment-y paper that would probably be okay for ink.  It wrinkles a little with watercolor though.  I may go back to regular watercolor paper.

Anyway, last week I took a bunch of stuff to the county fair.  My two paintings got a 2nd and 3rd place (talked about that last week if you missed it) in the professional category.  But what was super cool was that my dried Cayenne peppers got a Best in Show in the Miscellaneous/Honey Canning category.  So I thought I'd journal that.

I also really need to practice drawing from life more, so this was an exercise in that too.  So, more journal pages to come, for sure.

Also, I'll be starting on a painting to donate to White County Animal Shelter for their fund raising at Liberty Square festival.  Pretty excited about that, stay tuned. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Patterns... not my forte

When I got my pans of iridescent watercolor I did the background for this in my watercolor sketchbook, just playing with the colors and splotching them around (I'm not sure you can see them very clearly in the pictures).  Then I used a compass and pencil and made a circle, and it basically sat that way for a couple of months.  

The plan was to make a mandala over it.  What's a mandala?  The word is Sanskrit for "circle."  It's a meditative ritual in Hinduism and that's basically my use for it here.... they're very relaxing to create once you get into a pattern, somewhat like Zentangles but better because of the meaning and symbolism involved in creating them.  I plan on making more.  Here's my Mandalas Board on Pinterest.

The other day I had an idea to use the compass some more, so I traced these circles in pencil, then retraced them without the compass in ink (fountain pen).

Then I filled it in with dip pen and India ink.  Except I messed up that one line... darnit.  Good thing this is in my sketchbook.  

And then... as I picked up my dip pen to clean it I flicked a blob of ink on it.  Grrr... note to self.  Put the artwork safely away before you clean up.

 But, it was a fun exercise that I may revisit either in watercolor again (larger this time), or maybe, if I'm brave, henna impasto.  Wouldn't that be wild looking, with a tie-dye background... or maybe tie-dye impasto paint, a concept I've wanted to try out for some time.

I have a bunch of typing to do today and I really have to get the jump on jewelry for my huge show coming up in October, but I'm hoping to sneak back into the studio later today if I can manage it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Is this cheating on my 30 paintings?  I don't know but it needs to count or I'll have a five-day catch-up :)

Yesterday and today I'm at Cookeville Fall FunFest selling my chainmaille and wire jewelry and doing henna body art (also known as mehndi).  I've been doing henna about as long as I've been painting and I've discovered that I really have a talent for it.  As a result, the techniques I use in mehndi have sneaked into my art in a lot of ways, and probably will sneak in more ways.

So there's no way I'm going to get a painting done these two days, so here you have it:  the art I'm doing.  

There's a henna page on my website if you'd like to check out more.

Wish I'd gotten a better picture of this one.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

F....uschia. Floral.

Yesterday was busy... my hubby and I took my pet praying mantis (one of them) to the county fair to compete in the "Novelty" category of the pet show.  She got 3rd place, and it was a lot of fun.  Then we went over the Cultural Arts center to check out the lots of stuff I entered over there... 1 piece of jewelry, 3 paintings, my famous French bread, and an assortment of canned goods -- I just started canning this year and I kind of went hog wild.  

The results:  not bad!  I was really excited that, unlike last year, this year I had to compete in the Professional category (woot!), and still got 2nd in the Animals category with my painting of my little dog Dink:

And 3rd in Still Life with my violin painting.

I got first place in Jewelry with my wire wrapped turquoise ("Anshar" on this page), and a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with canned stuff.  And my pretty dried hot peppers got Best in Show in the Miscellaneous canned goods category.  Sweet!   

At the pet show and later that evening at the Western Horse Show, I sat and practiced drawing from life (oh my god, do my skills at that need work....!!)

So that was yesterday.  Needless to say, I didn't get a chance to paint, but I drew a whole lot, filling pages and pages of my little sketchbook with gesture and contour drawings and quick sketches.  

So back in the studio today, I finished up a couple of paintings I'd base coated.  It's back to oil with the henna impasto for these.  I'm happy with one of them.  Guess which?

I might like the hibiscus better after it dries and I can make the central stamen more interesting.  We'll see.

By the way, these are 4x4 on hardwood panels.

I thought about doing journal pages with watercolor chronicling my fair adventures... that may be tomorrow's (or the next few days') painting.

Oh, almost forgot!  The fuschia is my "F" painting for the alphabet challenge with Crystal Cook., and I'm officially caught up for the 30/30 challenge  :)   Progress!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day One: Night Falls

Yay, it's Day One of Artists Helping Artists Podcast's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!   I had the groundwork laid out for this one and since it's going to be a busy day I thought I'd finish it off.  

"Night Falls" 4x4 Acrylic on Hardwood Panel $30  - Click Picture to Purchase
This was done in acrylic in the reverse of the henna impasto style I use in oil; i.e., the textured henna part was painted on first, and then I used Golden High Flow acrylics thinned with water to get the watercolor-y effect.

The nifty thing about this is that I could probably get one done in a single day, although in this particular instance I painted on the texture and left it sit for a couple of days before I finished it this morning.  Or, I could theoretically finish one and start another.  When I paint in oils I can almost never finish a painting in one day even if it's small, because I don't paint alla prima.

While I like this technique, I've decided I don't care much for acrylics for traditional painting and I think for my spirit animals series I'm going to go back to oils, after the bison is done.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited to be doing this again this month... I was kind of surprised at how much I've blogged since January because it didnt' feel like as much as it was, but at the same time, it sure is nice to get into the studio every day, even if you don't finish something every day.  So this is just the kick in the pants I needed.

If you're doing the challenge and you drop by, please leave a comment so I can reciprocate the visit... one of my favorite things about doing it is getting to see what everyone else is doing!  Happy September!