Thursday, June 27, 2013

Roots ~ continued

This is the third in my series 'Roots'. The inspiration for this painting was a connecting of generations. My memories as a child watching two generations of my extended family roughing it together in the wilderness, reaching out and creating the ties that bond, not bind.

The hunting camp I mentioned in my last post was what they call 'primitive', a large old army tent with a very long, makeshift dining table and handmade bench seating (old tree stumps became bench legs) that ran the length on both sides. Our only heat source was a wood burning stove made from a 50 gallon metal drum and enough stove pipe to clear the top of the tent. The latrine was dug by hand and a board with a hole cut in the middle served as the toilet seat. There was very little privacy but we managed. At night we all slept together in the tent, each one in his/her own army cot topped with a sleeping bag. There was water to be carried by bucket from the creek for cooking and washing up and to make the family favorite...swamp water pancakes. The adults and the kids worked side by side to get the chores completed with no bickering or whining from either side. It was Heaven on Earth to me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roots ~ alcohol ink on Yupo

After a very detailed batik it was time to get back to basics and create ink paintings that allow the inks to do what they do best...flow, blend, form the most fascinating organic shapes and are a perfect medium to render tree roots.

I grew up in a family that are avid outdoorsmen and hunters. I spent a great deal of time in the northern Michigan woods with them so I was around trees a lot. My dad's family owned a piece of wooded property in the eastern part of the state that served as their hunting camp. In the surrounding forest was a creek and some swamp land and I loved to venture down there and play. It was magical. Moss covered logs, lot of ferns, weird looking fungi and partially uprooted trees whose exposed roots created perfect dwellings for all manner of elves and fairies and anything else my young mind could conjure up. Since then roots have held a special fascination for me. They also remind me of the happiest family time I can remember. This small series is my homage to 'roots' in all its connotations.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Willow Emerald ~ alcohol ink faux batik

After much tweaking I'm calling this damselfly done. It's a Willow Emerald and my reference photo was courtesy of Paul Sherman from PMP. Lots of teeny tiny detail work (read time consuming) but it looks pretty darn good IRL. Scans don't always tell the true tale, even after much adjusting in a photo editor. It's only 5"x 7" so I was just about cross-eyed afterward.

To take a break I started what I hope may be a small series titled 'Roots'. I'm painting directly on the Yupo with Ranger alcohol ink, allowing the inks to do their thing with a little help from a bamboo skewer here and there. I'll be posting some of my results soon. Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gizmo Sunbathing ~ sketch

I decided I should get back to the inks for awhile so last night I prepped some waxed paper with black ink for faux batiks. I treated the paper with Krylon's 'Make It Acid Free' spray this afternoon and while I was waiting between coats (btw, I only apply one coat to each side)I sketched my cat Gizmo sitting in one of the front windows soaking up the heat from the sun. She's black furred so she really gets hot in a short amount of time and it seems to send her into a Zen-like mode. Her eyes are barely half open but I know she's looking at nothing and she remains perfectly still until the sunbathing session is over which isn't long. I took the opportunity to scribble a quick sketch on a scrap of paper with a black ballpoint pen. Now to look for inspiration for my next batiks!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Hostile Takeover ~ fighting roosters

I had an idea of adding fighting roosters to my corporate chicken collection. Somehow it seemed appropriate. Anyway, I thought if I planned to paint them I should see them in action so I browsed some Youtube videos. No illegal cock fights to the death, just barnyard quarrels. It was fascinating to watch these birds spar off. They mean business! Each rooster will fan it's neck feathers out to create an impressive frill or mane as the first act of aggression. With heads down they circle each other, looking for an opening much like human wrestlers. Then the feet with those sharp talons and leg spurs will start to fly. The loser was bested when the opposition was able to plant himself on the other's back. I do know some roosters will fight to the death but thankfully the pair I watched did not.

I couldn't help but look at all the various roosters online and found a breed, the Asil or Aseel that is bred specifically for it's aggression. It's bred in the Middle East and is a rather odd, almost prehistoric looking bird. Tall, very small breasted and very long legged, it's a formidable looking creature:

This painting was a quicky. I did a freehand sketch directly on my working paper and worked fast with broad, expressive strokes to hopefully capture the action and violence. This is mostly transparent watercolor, a touch of India ink and Caran D'Ache water soluble crayon.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Board Meeting ~ complete


I had planned to paint this as a work in progress but it's been so gloomy lately I couldn't get decent photos of the steps. Finally I decided to forge ahead or this painting would never be finished and I completed this last night. And today we have sunshine! Perfect timing (for once).

The chickens (and one rooster) were painted with transparent watercolor, the background is tinted gouache. As for the steps/tips, chicken feathers(or any feathers for that matter) equal a nightmare for me. I hate painting tedious details so I made short work of them. With my easel at a sharp angle, I applied my various mixtures of watercolor in the approximate areas they belonged, letting them run and blend as they will. I came back when the paper was completely dry and lifted out a feather here and there, hopefully to create the illusion that I did much more than I actually did. The lifting also helped give the chickens contour and volume. My entire palette consisted of FUB, Quin. gold, burnt sienna, Quin. red and white gouache. I tinted the white gouache with Quin. gold for the background and applied it with a 1/2" synthetic flat in crisscross strokes. I love using gouache for my backgrounds because I can get a very painterly effect that works well in contrast to the watercolor.

Regarding my new Silver Black Velvet brushes, I was very happy with them. Especially with the rounds. They hold a nice sharp point so I didn't have to use so many different brushes to get the job done. They carry more water than straight synthetics but are stiff enough to control. I highly recommend them to artists who want more from their brushes but don't want to spend a fortune.

Note: my reference photo is courtesy of photographer Anita Guinane from PMP

Note #2: It seems I can't get a decent photo of this painting although not w/o lack of trying. I hope the background looks like a soft ocher on other monitors and not neon greenish yellow like on mine. *sigh*