I must be easily influenced! One of my friends mentioned interest in Horseshoe Crabs and off I went to work on Horseshoe crabs. Never would I have thought to do a painting of this particular sea creature. But, it was super fun! And, I learned a little bit about them too. I am going to do a series of 3. One more to do. I actually love their shape and design. These lent themselves to the encaustic medium as a finish…and the addition of white broken shells. Both of them are done on cradled birch panel, using a combination of oil bar, watercolor and casein, encaustic and the found natural shells. Lots of fun! I just have to decide the color scheme for the last one!
I started off with the ambitious proposal to myself of 3 paintings today. I did 2. One was not worthy of posting, the other I am happy with. Maybe tomorrow I will get 3 that work well. I am fearful that in order to keep up with this challenge I will have to stockpile!
This piece is resourced from my Animals: 1419 Copyright-free illustrations of Mammals, Birds, Fish, Insects etc as well as images that I found on google. It is a cross between an American and European Avocet (which may be the same, I don’t know). Regardless, I think that they are elegant!
Medium is watercolor ground with salt and graphite over top.
small study: oil bar, 5″ x 6″
It’s so interesting to me that sometimes the studies that I do to warm up for a “finished” painting turn out better than the final. Maybe it is the carefree attitude. I suppose I could try to trick myself into doing larger “studies”! No doubt the more I do, the better I will get at being less worried when faced with canvas or large substrates. It’s all a process.
The last few days have been spent working with the oil bars and some ink and water color projects. Ink is a lot of fun. I like going back and forth between these two mediums…they are so different. I think switching over to a different medium helps my easily distracted brain!
Trigger Fish: Ink & Watercolor, 5″ x 7″
quick study: R&F paint sticks on paper
So, the quick small study reveals that R&F oil paint sticks are super buttery! Which, in some cases will be exactly what I want. It makes them more difficult to work with on a small scale. The next experiment will be on a larger scale…maybe 9x12ish. I need a broader range of colors in these paints–and I probably should do a little color mixing with them to see what colors I can make. These paints will work very nice using a brush I think.
Next up to try will be the Windsor Newton Oil bars!
Sunflower study: oil pigment sticks on paper
I think that I have discovered a medium that I will stay with for awhile. I feel like I have been on a discovery project for the last couple of years…playing around with lots of different mediums and subjects. The oil paint sticks are awesome! So, my plan is to commit to them for the next 12 months and see how the work goes.
Not to say I am going to put away my pens and watercolor type mediums…I love those for sketches. Now that I have decided on the medium, I think I will be able to focus on my subject matter in a more serious and planned way. I need to get back to a sketch a day to continue to improve my drawing skills.
Feeling good about making some specific choices for the next few months!
Finished painting: oil paint stick on canvas
Happy Whale: oil paint stick on canvas 11 x 21
Finished up the whale painting today–tail is more proportional in the larger version. I like using the oil paint sticks on canvas…it’s a little different than working on a rigid substrate for sure. I found that I could use the edge of a plastic palette knife to make some really nice marks on the surface. And, the knife did a great job of blending the colors the way I wanted. I think that I will keep going with this technique for a couple of pieces.
I am going to try to do a similar scratching technique on paper to see if that works, but the surface may be too soft. I need to get more canvas!
Acrylic: 18″x24″ in progress
So, I think I might be over ambitious. I had such good intentions two weeks ago to get a bunch of stuff finished…I am not sure why I feel the need to hurry anyway. I am going to try very hard though not to start anything new until I finish the Jack-in-the-pulpit painting. I am still working on my beetle bug and of course sketching as much as I can. I feel like I have abandoned my shell painting–I am just not that happy with it. Of course I can go back to it at any time.
I feel like I need to give my self permission to move on when a project is feeling good. But, on the other hand sometimes when I push through and just get it done it all works out! And, time or the lack of is probably my most frustrating problem. Time in is what I want. I am just going to have to be happier with the time I get to work on my art projects, enjoy it while it happens.
I am missing the bug drawing. Now that the days are longer, I need to plan to get into the art shed after my day job–discipline.
Warm-up sketch: watercolor pencil
Ball point pen study
Time to get something finished! Before I am done anything it seems like I am already on to something new. There is an energy and excitement that draws me over to a new project, but I need to discipline myself to go back and finish the ones I have started. So, today, new painting of a Jack-in-the Pulpit (inspiration for painting is the sketch). The ground is done and ready for the subject. This is huge in terms of scale for me…18″ x 24″, yikes!
Also on the agenda, finish the bug and finish the shell. This should keep me busy. Hopefully I won’t get distracted and start anything else!
ground for jack-the-pulpit painting
Acrylic Painting in progress
I think that the bugs are here to stay. They are so much fun, on regular paper, on my Paper 53 app on my iPad…super fun. Why is that?
Just getting back front the beach I have the beach on my mind. After trying the mermaid, I thought I would try a shell in acrylic. Still not sure this medium is for me…but it is quick. I think I will try a little oil painting (I have the kind that work with water) tomorrow. Good to try new things. After that I am going back to watercolor and ink pen. And, of course I will continue to experiment with the Paper 53 app.
Ladybug: Paper 53 app on iPad
Opaque watercolor and sharpie pen. Portland Head Lighthouse
Sketchbook Skool has started! This semester is called “Seeing”. First assignment for this week was to draw toast. Ugh. I can’t say that was really enjoyable, but I get it. The goal is to get you to see things as shapes that aren’t associated with labels. Just draw the nooks and cranny’s. I was lucky enough to have some homemade bread that was stale enough to qualify as toast. I drew it for as long as I could.
Second part of this lesson was “Fast and Slow”. I have to admit this was kind of right up my alley–but a different take on how to start a piece. The instruction was to use one or two colors of paint to “draw” simple lines indicating the subject, and quickly. No more than 60 seconds to start. After you get that down, you draw in the details with a pen and really look carefully at all the complexity and proportions–take your time, draw for about an hour.
The most difficult thing for me in this was actually choosing the subject. I didn’t have anything from life that I was interested in drawing, so I just decided to work from a photo I had taken last May. I love this composition with the lighthouse and the Big dog. Buildings are not something I would normally choose to draw, so that was an added challenge. Proportions aren’t perfect, but no one really knows that but me. Fun assignment, and I definitely learned from it. And, I am inspired to maybe to do a Big Dog sketch book–he is such a fun subject.
Bread: micron pen