Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grandma's Singer ~ experimental

Okay....I think I finally got myself headed in a new direction. I'm not there yet by any means but I'm working on it. I have my grandmother's old Singer sewing machine and have always wanted to include it in a painting. I used to do a lot of sewing with it and am no stranger to those ole Jiffy patterns so one thing lead to another. I cut the last painting in half and flipped the pieces over. Waste not, want not and also it takes the pressure off to create something frame-worthy and allows me to relax and experiment.

Funny where inspiration can come from. I was looking online for different decorative patterns but found nothing I liked. Then I received a home decor catalog in the mail and found wonderful patterns on their selection of rugs. This is also a new composition for me but I think it works. My palette consisted of Ivory Black, Prussian blue, cerulean blue and Quin. pink. The pattern piece is diluted walnut ink and I added some silver leaf to the Singer and the bobbin in the lower left corner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Studio Cat 2 WIP ~ a bust

Where have I been? Lost...totally. I admit it...this style change is not going to be easy for me. After spending an entire afternoon freehanding my sketch onto my working paper I began painting and it immediately got away from me. Foolishly I didn't realize it at the time. My first clue that I was headed in the wrong direction should've been the fact that I took so long with the sketch. So meticulous rather than expressive. At some point I noticed I had three separate paintings happening in one and, over a period of days, battled to tie it all together and (hopefully) rescue it. Too many ideas/styles equals no cohesion and no amount of color blending can bring it back from disaster so it's back to the drawing board.

(1.) I need to learn how to set up a proper still life. Don't rely totally on imagination.

(2.) Don't sweat the details. If it looks good in 2-D, leave it! It's about the basic shapes, not contour and volume ie. realism.

(3.) Don't choke up on the brush. Holding a brush near the bristle end tends to make one want to focus on fiddly details. Instead hold the brush high on the handle and be confident/expressive with the strokes.

(4.) Find interesting patterns/textures to incorporate. This is what makes Shirley's work so exciting and that's why I was drawn to it in the first place.

(5.) Not sure yet. Probably lots of practice with lots of failures. I hate failing but I seem to learn something from each disasterpiece I create.

Note: a good thing...I've been sketching more than I have in months and that's never a bad thing. I'm not a sketch artist nor do I aspire to become one but practicing observation and honing basic drawing skills is/should be the core of any good artist.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Metal Leaf on Watercolor Paper

I love metallics but am never sure how to incorporate them into my artwork effectively. Recently I purchased a few packages of Simple Leaf from Daniel Smith. I like it because it's cheaper than gilder's leaf and it doesn't require sealing to prevent tarnish. I chose silver and copper w/a bottle of Mona Lisa leaf adhesive. Last night I experimented on Fabriano 90# w/c paper and found the cotton rag drinks up the adhesive like crazy. In order to get the metal leaf to stick I had to apply it within moments of painting on the adhesive. Afterward I thought " that bright and shiny!" To tone it down I tried some Ranger alcohol ink over the leaf and got some interesting results. It did tone down the brilliance of the copper as well as the silver and, depending on which color ink is used, I believe it's possible to create some really exciting effects. I'm posting a sample piece so you can get an idea of my results. Metallics are difficult to photograph but I did my best.

Note: The sample is partially silver leaf and copper. I used Ranger's Expresso and Clover on the copper and just Clover on the silver.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Studio Cat 2 ~ sketch

First sketch for Studio Cat 2. I wanted to include the same elements and shapes from the first painting but switched around. Working off a basic theme/concept but with a purely decorative intention is proving to be a challenge. The flowers will be on the vase, not in it. I wanted to keep the fan shapes from the tray and also the stripes. The fan shape has now become a Japanese paper fan, the stripes are on the 'wallpaper'. The cat has been stylized and will remain completely white. I borrowed the tea cup in the lower right corner from one of Shirley's pieces. Thanks, Shirley!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Studio Cat ~ complete

I finished this one yesterday but some buckling occurred that needed to be corrected so I wasn't able to photograph it until today and, of course, it's very gloomy outside. I did the best I could with my photo editor. This is a painting I've needed to get on paper for months. It has been rattling around in my head but I just wasn't able to bring it together until I studied Shirley Trevena's work. I looks nothing like Trevena's work but her (sometimes)blatant disregard for perspective, placement of objects, etc. gave me the impetus to get it done. I'm not a still life painter but it's a direction I'd love to explore. I plan to do this painting again, this time more in Trevena's style and see what happens. I like surprises(mostly).

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Studio Cat ~ WIP 1

Sorry it's taken me so long to post an update. I wanted to take my sweet time deciding how to approach this style of painting. Tranferring a drawing to working paper would lose the spontaneity so I freehanded my sketch instead. Then I 'danced' around this for days, trying to choose a palette, etc. The trouble with this method is there comes a tipping point when one loses momentum and fear sets in. Fear is the death of creativity. I grabbed my new colors (in this case DS Quin. Burnt Scarlet, DS Prussian blue, DS Undersea Green and also a tube of Quin. gold) and dove in. I knew I could achieve a full range of values with these colors so I held my breath and took the plunge. Right away I saw it begin to tighten up on me. At that point it was time to walk away and regroup. Today I forged ahead with the cat and immediately thought I'd lost the painting. I took it off the easel and set it up in my living room against a shelf to get a long view and there it was...the painting I envisioned was underway! Why is it so hard to trust my instincts and let go of control?

Friday, March 01, 2013

Shirley Trevena in Action

For those that may be interested, Shirley has a few videos available on YouTube that are a must-see. I'm still working on a setup for my 'still life with cat'.