Monday, November 23, 2009

Doodling Xmas Card Ideas

For some reason I've never created a Christmas card so I began doodling on some notepad paper and came up with this idea. I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if Santa had a cat and decided to take said cat with him on his Xmas Eve rounds. And wouldn't it be even funnier if Santa suddenly realized his cat had a fear of flying! What exactly might that trip look like?" :D

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gingko Leaves~Fluid Acrylic on Gessoed Paper

Here's a much better image, taken on a sunnier day. This painting tranforms with each change in light which isn't an entirely bad thing.

Here's the completed piece with gold metallic oil paint added. It's actually a terrible photo. The lower righthand corner appears much too dark and dull, the top is too bright and washed out. I had to rely on indoor lighting as we're having a run of cloudy days. If I can get a better photo I will repost.

The second leaf has been added as have a few new colors...mostly Phthalo blue, Green Gold and Burnt Sienna. With each application of paint I allowed it to dry for awhile, then rinsed away the excess revealing some pretty cool textures.

I transferred my gingko leaves onto the first coat of gesso after it dried. I wasn't happy with the texture in the gesso so I added another thin layer over top. Fortunately, my drawing was still visible through the second coat. I traced around the shape of the leaves and added some veining using the tip of an awl, basically indenting and exposing the paper. The plan was to let the paint settle into the indentions but I couldn't get that to happen. I had hoped that the exposed paper beneath would grab the paint but it didn't. It simply rinsed away with each application of acrylic. Maybe I didn't dig down deep enough?

Lately I've been more interested in trying new techniques than in my actual subject matter. Here I've chosen something simple that has a pleasing shape to me(gingko leaves)and finally broken out my Da Vinci fluid acrylics. The good news...they're permanent when dry. :) The bad news...they're permanent when dry. :( Working with acrylics, even fluid acrylics which are similar to watercolor, is a new experience. I felt as though I was in a race with the clock to get the effect I wanted before the paint dried. On the bright side, I didn't have to worry about washing away areas that I liked (if I waited until they dried first) before adding more paint.

I'd like to share my first experiment with the fluid acrylics. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch but gave me a feel for the medium. It also gave me a chance to try adding metallic oil paint to my composition. I've been dying to try this. I added a few flourishes of metallic gold here and there to embellish the painting after the acrylics were completely dry. Between the sheen of the acrylic and the shine of the metallic paint this was a real bugger to photograph but I did the best I could. It might have been smart to spray the painting with matte fixative beforehand but I didn't think of that until just now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Berries & Birch~ Round 2 Completed!

I've included a few closeups to showcase the texture. You should be able to see where I added some white colored pencil to highlight the ridges. Love the icy feel the pencil lends.

This is the completed painting. I managed to tweak the original image so it looks closer to the real thing.

I've finished the tree trunks and the background and I'm ready to remove the mask so I can paint the berries.

It's done(!)although now that I see it on screen a few places need a little cleanup. I had lots of fun working with the tissue paper/gesso texture. I think I came as close as possible to matching the results I got in Elements using the watercolor filter. I didn't go quite as dark for fear of it looking dreary. For my palette I used Payne's Gray, indanthrene blue, neutral tint and a little burnt sienna on the bark and DS Pyrrol red, perm. yellow and more burnt sienna for the berries. To bring out the texture I used various colored pencils lightly rubbed across the ridges in certain areas which gave me yet another idea.

I've been admiring Sandy Maudlin's watercolor batiks on rice paper and wondered if it might be possible to create a reverse batik technique, if you will, using the tissue paper/gesso texture. Instead of applying ink into cracks in hardened wax, why not highlight the ridges in the gesso with a dark color producing roughly the same effect? I may have to explore this further.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Berries & Birch II~Round 2 WIP

This is the final surface I have to work with, remounted onto my working board. The buckling is mostly gone. The lighting I've used has created shadows that look like the buckling is worse than it is IRL.
I removed the prepared paper from my board, dampened the backside and weighted it down to flatten out the buckles. I was also concerned about tearing when I removed the tape as it had several layers of gesso over it plus the tissue. I took an Exacto knife and ran it along the inside edges of the tape before finally stripping off the tape completely. I'm glad I did that as I may have had problems later down the line.

Closeup of the texture from the crumpled tissue paper. This is before I applied the last coat of gesso. Lots of air trapped underneath at this point.

I've just applied the tissue to the second layer of gesso. You can see the buckling problem.

I finally decided to abandon my first version of Berries & Birch II. Even though there were passages I loved, the majority of the painting wasn't happening for me. Taking my last sheet of Arches HP, I covered it with a layer of acrylic gesso and decided to start again. Then I got the bright idea to add a layer of crumpled tissue paper for added texture. I've learned the hard way that trying to embed tissue paper into a thick wet layer of gesso is a very bad idea (the tissue will disintegrate) so I allowed the first layer to dry completely, then laid down a thinner layer and applied my tissue. When that was dry I trimmed off the excess tissue around the edges and thinned my gesso with a little bit of water and applied yet another thin layer of gesso. I did get some buckling so I removed the entire sheet of paper from the board, dampened the back and used heavy books to weight it down. It took 2 days to dry but removed the worst of the buckling.
The next step will be to transfer my drawing onto this surface. After that it's anyone's guess(including mine) how things will turn out. Stay tuned.............

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I'm very honored to announce that Krista Hasson has chosen my blog to receive this award. Thank you so much, Krista!
Now for the rules. Yup, these awards always come with rules. I must list seven things about myself my visitors might not know such as:

1.) I tend to be an impatient artist. I lose interest in a project if it takes too long.
2.) I really enjoy experimenting with different styles, surfaces and combining other mediums with watercolor.
3.) I'm a terrible procrastinator. Actually I'm a great procrastinator. I do it very well.
4.) I hate to clean house.}:( Unfortunately I love a clean house! I'd give my eye teeth for a maid.
5.) I tend to be a bit of a hermit.
6.) I loathe winter. Snow is NOT my friend.
7.) I don't think I've ever been as enamored with a medium as I have with watercolor. IMHO, no other medium compares.

Now I must pass this award along to seven other art bloggers whom I admire.

Jeanette Jobson
Angela Shogren
Tracey Costescu
Janet Belich
Stephie Butler
Dave Boles