Sunday, August 21, 2016

So many paintings... so little time.

Hope everyone's good. I've been busy in the studio since the last post. Finished this nest....

And then painted this one..... sold another one.....

Then for a change of pace I started this landscape with a flowering tree. I wanted to play with some different colors and shapes. I've done a couple of other pieces similar to this one and love the blue-greens against the gold leaf.

From this angle you can see the texture and shine of the gold. I'm using metallic gold acrylic to drybrush gold along the edge of the leaf. It softens the edge and makes a good transition between the 2 areas. And it shows off the texture too. Love the texture!

So right after starting this landscape I found an old nest in a tree in my yard. I got on a step stool to get some shots of it to paint from. It was well seated in between the branches so it wasn't easy to take photos.

The next day I decided to see if I could get the nest out of the tree without damaging it. It was tricky but I did it with only losing a couple of little twigs. 

Of course, now I'm dying to paint the new nest!!! It's going to take some discipline to make myself finish the landscape first. If I don't, who knows when I'll get back to it. There are so many nest paintings I want to do- bigger, smaller, different angles, doing some with copper leaf instead of gold.... 

So many paintings- so little time. LOL

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beach week and bird's nests

Beach week was amazing!! What did I do? Nothing. I went from condo to beach and back again. I took walks, listened to the waves, read and slept. I guess those things are actually something but you know what I mean- nothing that was required of me, only what I felt like doing when I felt like doing it. To me there is nothing more peaceful and rejuvenating than being near water and listening to the sounds of nature. After I got back my husband got me a white noise machine for sleeping that includes the sound of the ocean- perfect! I might be back inland but when I go to sleep I can listen to waves crashing, feel the fan blowing and pretend I'm dozing on the porch of a beach cottage as I drift off to sleep. 

 I love how these ripples ended up looking in this photo. It might end up a painting at some point.

My son and his family came out to spend a day and he brought the big bubble stuff with him. I think I enjoyed that more than the girls did. All they cared about was sand and water. :)

So beach week is over and now I'm all refreshed, excited to paint again and back to the easel. The first thing I did was prep 3 canvases. I used the heavy body gesso as usual. After letting them dry overnight I coated them with red acrylic, mapped out my design and then applied gold leaf to all 3.

One was for a landscape, one for a floral and one for a nest but I couldn't decide which one I wanted to start with. My sister-in-law said I should do the one on top first so I did the landscape...


Remember the nest painting I showed you last time? It's already sold and delivered! Now I'm working on the second canvas. I said I might do something different with the next nest painting as far as the texture goes but no, I just couldn't help myself. It isn't giving me as much of a problem as it was before so that's good.

I'm not too far from being done with this one. I should finish in another day or two and then I'll move on to the third canvas- the floral. I'm sure you'll see it in the next post. So, until then, I hope you're doing something artsy. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

No excuses, inspiration and summertime

No excuses. I saw this video on Facebook this morning and I thought- what an inspiration! I've had some issues lately with my hands due to a long time living with Rhuematoid Disease and of course the first thing that goes through my mind is.... what will happen if I'm not able to use my hands anymore? What if I can't hold a paint brush or colored pencil? Then I saw that and thought- hell, I'll just strap the brush to my arm if I have to. If you want to create or NEED to create like so many of us do, you'll find a way.

"Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway." ~Robert Henri

So.... on to painting. Remember the bird's nest from the last post? Airborne is done- 12x12, mixed media on canvas. These are fun and a challenge to do. You know how much I love texture but I can't decide if I like it with these particular paintings. I think the nest itself might be easier to paint if the canvas were smooth but I do prefer the texture behind the gold leaf. Putting the gold directly on the canvas without texture tends to show off the weave of the canvas too much for my taste. I'll do the third one with the texture but maybe I'll play with something different for future pieces.

In the meantime I received a request for a portrait from someone who loves the gold leaf that I use in the landscapes but wants it done for a baby's portrait. Here's my first foray into gold and people painting. I have 7 grandchildren so I'm never without subjects to test techniques on. This one is Mila Blaze.

I think this will take some experimenting with surfaces. I love using Canson Mi-Teintes for portraits because I love to work on colored paper but the adhesive size for the gold does make the paper buckle. You can tell in the photo- especially on the left side. I did this one pretty small because I had a feeling that would be the case. The paper size here is 8.25x11. Maybe it would buckle less if the paper were larger? I don't know. The Canson also absorbs the size so it took 2 coats of the adhesive in order for it to work and get tacky. We'll see how the next one goes....

In the "catching up" post I shared some new landscapes. Since then I've shipped them off to the Signature Art Gallery in Tallahassee FL. and my wonderful rep Vera emailed me the photo of how they have my work displayed there- you can see the brand new ones on the left. I love this gallery and am so happy to be included with the fabulous artists they have there. Check out their website, or better yet, visit them if you can.

What's next? NOTHING! I'm not painting a single thing for the next week because tomorrow I head to the beach. I thought about taking some art supplies with me but then I thought about the hundreds of books on my kindle and decided to make a dent in that list instead and this will be my view for the next 7 days. Ahhhhh.......

Here's to creativity, inspiration, summertime, relaxation, peacefulness, and sunrises over the Atlantic. I hope you're getting your own time to rest this summer. See you when I get back.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Shiny gold and a bird's nest

Birds have always fascinated me. If I believed in reincarnation I think I'd like to come back as a bird. The thought of being able to fly, soaring on the currents, looking down at earth, seems so amazing to me! I first started using the bird's nest image in my Silent Voices series about infant adoption. As a thematic element it works to represent the position of the first mother, the place where life begins. And because of my love of birds it just made sense for me to use the imagery of their handiwork. 

Since then I've been lucky enough to have wrens visit my home and build theirs inside my mailbox. So far I've collected 3 nests and keep them in my studio for inspiration and painting reference.

Here they are sitting on my big drawing table. 

When I paint my landscapes I frequently use gold leaf and texture- I love shiny, and I love the way a painting with gold changes when the light in a room changes. Lately I've been focused on some new gold sky paintings and decided I wanted to change things up a bit. A bird's nest is part of the landscape so why not? Why not combine the nest idea with the gold sky idea and do something a little bit different. So here's the first one......

And the second one (below) is in progress, still lots to do. I've noticed that when I painted the nests in the Silent Voices series they were more stylized. It just seemed better suited to the paintings that way. Now with these new ones I'm getting more realistic with them. They're not quite so neat- more messy and real. It just seems to work better with the texture and the looseness of the gold application.

I'm enjoying this little crossover in painting subjects between 2 different groups of work. Who knows where else it'll lead. 

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts- it would be a nice break from the chatter in my head. :)

Friday, July 1, 2016

The "catching up" post- painting, portraits, coloring books and censorship

Wow, almost a year to the day since the last post! That is way too long!
So what have I been up to- let's see.....

Painting, painting and more painting.
Did multiple portrait commissions.
Designed and published the Masterpeace Mandala coloring books- yes, my husband and I put our skills together and jumped on that bandwagon.
Had a solo exhibition at the 567 Center for Renewal in Macon GA.
Changed a few things around on the Etsy shop
Spent a week at the beach.
Spent a week in Ohio with daughter and grandkids.
Spent the holidays in Texas with my other daughter and grandson.
Spent 3 more weeks in Texas helping my daughter when she had baby #2.
In between those trips there was more painting and working on my website.
Teaching art classes on Mondays.

I think that's it. I don't think I left out anything major. And I think the traveling will slow down this year. Of course it would be a huge help if my daughters would just move to FL!

Ok, back to the work.....

The landscapes

Golden Edge

Gold Sky Woodland

Spring Pink

These are some of the newest paintings from my studio. I'm having fun with the gold leaf again- can you tell? :) Sales at the Signature Gallery in Tallahassee and the Macon Arts Alliance in GA have been picking up- yay! My next step will be to add another gallery to the list. I'm not sure which area I want to approach so if you have any ideas about where my work would fit in, feel free to share.

The solo exhibition


This is one of the pieces from the Silent Voices series. I have 16 paintings in this series so far, all the same size. This was the group of work for my solo exhibit in GA. It caused quite a commotion and 3 of the paintings were censored from the show!! Every weekend for the duration of the show the paintings had to come down and were rehung on Mondays- not kidding! If you want to see the pieces that were censored and why, check out the post I did on my other blog. To see the rest of the pieces in the show, go to the Symbolic page on my site. 

The portraits

I've done several portrait commissions but this one I did for myself. My granddaughter was hanging out at the house with us one night. She had wrapped a blanket around herself and was just being goofy and making faces. I grabbed the camera and took a lot of shots and decided to compile some of them into the 6 Faces of Maxine. It's colored pencil on red Canson MiTeintes and let me tell you.... skin tones on red paper is a challenge!

The coloring books

Coloring books?! Yep, we made coloring books. There are actually 3 coloring books and 3 coloring journals. We thought it would be fun to make mandala designs and patterns inspired by line drawings of the masters. So far we have Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Mucha. In the journals we have pages that are lined and some unlined and some that have coloring designs or edges. Since this kind of work is not something I normally do it was quite the learning curve for me. Getting to know the programs required to do the designs took some time but once I got it down it was a lot of fun.

I think this catches us up and hopefully I can get back to posting here on a regular basis now that life is getting a little more regular again. So in the meantime, check out the links, leave comments here or there.... let me know what you think. And Happy 4th of July! Hope it's a great weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stages of the latest portrait

The days of the week have all run together lately. I had a rush job portrait commission so this piece has been my only focus for the last week. It's now done and in the mail to the client. YES- made the deadline! While I was working I took quick shots with my phone so I could share the progress online. Here are the steps as it went.

 I used a blue Canson Mi-Teintes paper. I know some of the photos look more grey than blue but I did shoot with the natural light from the window in front of my drawing board.

 First layers on skin and shirts.

 I used a variety of browns and golden yellows on his shirt. Building up the skin tones was trickier- using a lot of deco orange, pumpkin and mineral orange and burnt ochre.

 To get the blond hair to be blond and not turn green on this blue paper I had to layer white pencil first to keep the yellow and blue from mixing.

 It took a little while to figure out the reds for the other shirt. What finally worked was using peach and vermillion in the light areas and permanent red for the overall color, tuscan red for the shadows.

Calling it done!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Projects, parties and inspiriation

Sometimes in my commission work I get to switch things up. Instead of doing a beautiful face in colored pencil I just finished a graphite portrait of this lovely home. I really enjoy working in pencil once in a while. It takes me back to focusing on light and dark values. Value is king after all. If you don't have the values down the work won't be successful. I'll be mailing this piece out to the client this week and soon will have another house to do for her and I also have another people portrait to do soon. I love my time at the drawing board!

This week I'm also prepping for the Friday Painting Party. We've been in the middle of a wicked heat wave so my brain went to the beach hoping my body will follow- hence this month's project.....

This is from a photo I took at last year's beach trip. I love to lie under the umbrella and watch these guys skitter across the sand, pecking and poking. To stay updated on Painting Party info please visit my Facebook page. I'm usually posting links to cool artsy stuff I find online too.

The photo below is from the park where I walk in the morning. Because of this very hot weather we've been having I go to the park as early as 6:15 so I can finish my miles before I melt into the concrete. I really don't mind because I love to see the early morning light on the trees. Sometimes I even get to spot an eagle looking for breakfast. This tree is the eagle's favorite look out spot so every time I pass it on my laps around the lake I look up to see if he's sitting up there. This particular morning the orange light on the tree trunk and the moon peeking through the gap made for an interesting shot. You know this is going to show up on a canvas sometime. I might even play with gold leaf on this one- we'll see. I'll share when it gets going.

What's inspiring you lately?