Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Painting process

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, oil, 16" X 20"

I think this painting is finished now. I'm going to post the intermediate steps below. Painting done with water mixable paints, brushes and palette knives.

First step, blocking in the main shapes. I blocked in the underpainting with acrylic paints, then started the oil painting over them.
The oil paints lack dimension at this point, the values are too similar. I need more contrast between light and dark.

Working on the colors, details etc.
Starting to see more darks now.
Trying to lighten up the colors on the faraway mountains, but then some other colors were too light.
At this point I knew I was almost done, but needed some help. I went to visit and paint with an artist friend who advised glazing the far away mountains (to get a sense of depth) and darkening some areas. Scroll back to top to see the result.

I haven't posted this painting to my website yet since I'm not sure it's done, the artist's dilemma, when is it done? I think I might fiddle with it a little more.

I enjoyed my trip to Utah 2 years ago and hiking in the national parks with my daughter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What inspires me to paint

I wasn't going to bring a painting to be voted on at the last meeting of Manchester Artists Association, but I liked the mixed media painting I had done "Follow Me" so I matted and framed it. (I had a mat and old frame in my studio for it). I won a certificate and some nice comments from other artists.  My painting is on display this month at the Triangle Credit Union on Candia Road, Manchester. I typed up information about the memorial and the battle site so anyone looking at the painting would learn more about this.

Unfortunately our puppy got hold of the watercolor paper (he seems very attracted to paper, toilet paper, magazines etc.) and chewed a little on it. I covered up the chewed part with the mat, but it also covers the front of the first horse's face. The image I posted on my website shows the full horse.

I guess what inspires me to paint is the beauty all around us. I think of the divine (whether you call this God or some other name) as the Master artist. I remember writing a poem about that years ago (it is in my first poetry book available on Amazon).  I have enjoyed retirement and traveling the last few years with my husband and we both take many photos. I have been doing small paintings in different styles the last few weeks just to keep practicing and teaching myself how to paint better. I have tried some online courses, but found that I didn't want to paint someone else's image.  I need a relationship of some kind with an image to want to paint it.  Unfortunately one way to learn is to copy from the masters, but that doesn't work for me. I need to "feel" something when I am painting as my painting and poetry are both expressions of my emotions.

This is an experiment of working on black gessoed canvas board. I found an old photo of the old Notre Dame Bridge in Manchester, NH.  I really liked that bridge and was sorry when it came down. I started in monochrome, but decided to add some colors as I went on, not only to the bridge (which was green), but also to the millyard buildings and the river.  The inspiration photo was grayscale, not color.  I'm not sure if I'll do any more to finish this, or just leave it as is, a study of the bridge. Acrylic paint, 8" X 10".

This experiment is also acrylic paint on canvas board (8" X 10"). I remember walking the trail along Lake Massabesic years ago and taking the photo of the two fisherman. I took several photos that day and tried to frame them with the trees. I enjoyed the memory, especially now that I have knee problems and can no longer hike.  Again, it is just a study and I don't know if I will make a larger painting. I can see several areas that definitely need to be improved, but that is the point of the study. I'm not aiming for perfection in a study, I'm trying to work on details as well as get paint on the canvas. I do not post the studies on my website.

Ready to Ride, 16" X 20", Acrylic on stretched canvas

While I had the acrylic paints out, I convinced myself to finish this painting. I wasn't happy with some of the trees so I tried to improve them.  This one shows the boats that were waiting for the tourists. We were on the Athabasca River in Alberta (Canada) and had a wonderful experience on the boat ride, saw a bald eagle and an elk too as well as the beautiful mountains.

So, I have been going back through my photos from my travels the last few years and finally started another 16" X 20" painting, this one of the Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park (Utah). I have blocked in broad areas of color so far in acrylic (underpainting) and started on the oil painting.  I must admit that while I really love New England, I also enjoy all the colors of the west and I'm looking forward to our move to Idaho in 2017.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Studio work

Since I was frustrated with trying to work outdoors, I went back to my photo collection and decided to play with my art supplies in my studio.  This is a memorial at the Little Bighorn Battleground in Montana. While the native tribes joined together against Custer and won this battle in 1876, they subsequently lost the war. The painting is a mixed media piece, 9" X 12", pen and ink with acrylic used in a watercolor style on watercolor paper.

I am trying to draw or paint every day to improve my skills. I have taken some video classes online, but find it very difficult to follow along with someone else's images. I think I just like working with my own images since I have an emotional connection to them.

I also played a bit more with my idea of sunflowers. I like this one so far and will probably work on it a little more. Mixed media, acrylic background with oil painting over it on canvas paper. 8" X 10".
I did go out one more time with my friend to try the plein air painting again.
The Back Door, 5" X 7", water mixable oil on canvas board.
Again, I found this difficult and I didn't like my image enough to work on it as a studio piece.