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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Rush is On

Starting with the finished piece first and then the explanation for a change. I repainted this piece over three or four days while also working on a few other paintings. It took me a bit longer than I expected as I thought I would only "fix" a few areas. I don't think I left anything untouched except the hair on both of their heads.
2017 The Rush is On, oil on canvas 24x24

2010, oil on canvas, 24x24

2016 showing repair and mounted on board (bad lighting lightened up the overall image)
This painting is 6 years old. There is nothing major wrong with it for where I was at 6 years ago. A year or two ago I had hung it in a place where I could look at it with the thought to revisit it. If a painting hasn't sold, it is always fair game. For whatever reason, it fell off the wall one night - it woke me up- and on it's way down, hit a few places and in one particular sensitive area ripped a substantial hole. I could not decide if it was worth fixing or if I should just chuck it. I researched repairing paintings. So many different approaches. Some said do not patch an area as it will shrink at different rates and then will always looked patched, so reline the whole painting. Others said patch and you will be fine! The repair kits I found were nowhere near a 24x24" size. This particular painting was cotton canvas on the 1.5" profile of stretcher bars. Not my favorite painting surface.

After much contemplation, I took it off the stretcher bars and glued it to a gator board trying very hard to line up the edges of the tear across the front waiters forearm. I filled in the area with a bit of gesso and lightly sanded the area. I could not sand it smooth as the texture of this canvas was rough. I tried refilling the area and sanding again. All I can say is that it is as good as I can get it. It was worth trying to save at this point as moving forward I was going to repaint the whole thing. The structure and drawing are pretty good so it should be pretty straight forward. The major issue with the original version from my perspective today is once again a value thing. So in the redo, I pushed the values away from the middle. Not much color shift overall except in the skin tones. I thought the waiter in the back had too blue gray a skin tone so I lightened up his face overall and to his arm in the shadow made it a reddish blue.

There is something about the original version that I still like but overall I am still happier with the redo.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Another Go at it

Ye Olde Beer Glasses, 12x9, oil on canvas
Ok, round 2 of these beer glasses. I know I am getting behind in posting the paintings I have been working on for this month of 30 paintings in 30 days (now amended to painting every day for 30 days). I decided to work this one up again. It is not quite where it needs to be but it is far enough along to talk about. The first go around I felt the beer and the table were too close in color so in this version I lightened the table and gave more orange color to the beer to aid the contrast. The table really is sunshine yellow formica from the 60's. I believe these glasses are also from that era. They appear to be hand blown as they are both heavy glass and very irregular in shape. My drawing is really not that far off, believe it or not. I am working from a phone photo not from life. I had given this pair to my daughter for Christmas so she sent me the image to show they are enjoying the glasses. I never thought to paint them from life while they sat in my cupboards for the past 20 years!! Shame on me. And I like wheat beer, which is what these glasses are for. Weissbier in German. Prost!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Creek Crossing

Creek Crossing, 12x12, oil on linen panel
Here is something a bit different from all the still life setups I have been doing this month. The direction I was going here was to keep every thing very simple and in that I think I succeeded. It may still need a bit of fine tuning but I made myself stop as simple is simple and maybe it is time to just let some things be. Hard as that is for me to do.

I was up in Parmalee Gulch on a plein air paint out a number of years ago and we were painting along this creek when these kids came into view. I had forgotten all about this image but came across it recently and it was just what I was looking for and didn't know it.
Queen Anne's Lace, plein air study, Parmalee Gulch
This is what I was working on when the kids crossed the creek near me. The shadows were deep that fine summer day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hildebrand Ranch - Jeffco Open Space Park

Barn, 12x12, oil on linen panel
Today was the first time I have been out with Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) in years. It was a gorgeous morning the day after a spring like snow that came through yesterday. I have had such good intentions to get out and join them before now, but it has been amazingly difficult to add that to my schedule. I painted alone but I did go over and say hi to the group clustered on the bridge. There were a few of us singletons spread around but most were on the bridge.

I know that this is a dangerous composition; square format and subject smack dab in the middle!  I had tried to trek through the snow to get to the sunny side view but then all my gear and my feet would have been in the snow. There was no dry place over there. So I stood in the parking lot and dry pavement. Sort of dictated my view. There are a group of bare trees to the right that I have not added yet and will help break up the even sides. I had thought to paint from the road and paint the shadow side but I liked this well enough to give it a go.

The meeting place was Hildebrand Ranch Park. I had never heard of it and the reason is that it is a fairly new addition to Jeffco Open Space. It looks like some place I would like to go back to and hike. It is right up against the foothills just past the entrance to DBG at Chatfield. I am thinking the views to the east will be worth it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Playing around

Mum study, 8x8, oil on panel
I did not have a bunch of time to paint, but that is not an excuse not to paint. I grabbed an old painting I did not like, probably from a past 30 paintings in 30 days exercise, and got to work. I really only got this quick sketch done but I am not unhappy with it thus far and see potential with going further. I like the texture coming through and what really caught my eye once this was set up was the cast shadow. I decided to make that more the focal point. The texture coming through almost makes the surface look like rice paper...hmm.

Note: I have decided I am going with 30 days of painting versus getting 30 paintings done.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gold and more gold

10x8, oil on canvas
I have this collection of French pottery that I really like, but it is brown. No getting around that. Here are a couple of pieces. The squat piece with the top I found out by watching "Downton Abbey" is for salt. I saw Anna get it down from a kitchen shelf and I was blown away that there was my piece of pottery, of which I did not know what the original purpose was. You learn something every day.  I inherited these three pieces from my mother. The tall skinny one I think is for olive oil or wine, but that is just a guess. The short little pitcher is actually from Spain and it is for olive oil. I had first thought to use the wall as the back ground for this still life. After doing the block in I changed my mind and put the gold doll screen back there. It does add a richness to all the earthen colors.
Blockin using wall as backdrop
Now I am not sure the gold screen was such a good idea. Maybe too much of the yellow and orange and brown going on. I did that color scheme on purpose working with the repetitious shapes. It might have helped to switch the pear with the clementine. (Pardon me while I think aloud here). I did use different browns in the pottery; ie more blue in the salt cellar, more orange red in the olive oil pitcher,  and a mahogany for the pipe bowl. It is hard to see all the subtleties with the glare on the painting. That is a problem with photographing wet paint,

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Butterfly Alight

Butterfly Alight, 8x8, oil on panel
Almost did not make it today. It has been a busy last few days, and easel time not so much on the dance card. I am lucky I was a few paintings ahead of the game as I did skip a few days here and there not because I did not paint but just plain forgot to post them.

A dear friend of mine lost her mother this past year and she wanted to get a butterfly painting to remember her by. Apparently at the graveside service a butterfly (she could not describe it to me) kept coming and flying around the family and friends gathered there. I mentioned that I had started a butterfly painting that I could show here when I finished it. Then I got to thinking about it and decided that the image I was working on might not be the best option. I came across this idea and it seemed more appropriate somehow. This one then was done with her mother in mind. Simple, graphic but with a nice flow to it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Split Between the Two

Split Between the Two, 16x12, oil on linen
Here is that gold doll screen again. I so like the way one side gets the light and the other panel, not so much. Breaks up the painting so nicely. The bottles' shadows make such interesting shapes and colors against it. I am not tired of it yet. I carried two of these bottles home from Europe when you could still carry bottles on board a plane. What a concept! And that tells you how long I have had them, too. Again, I was taken by the unusual shapes. I had thought about calling this piece 'Vitae' after the name on the center label. Maybe hold that for another version using the same prop(s).  Red rice paper was used on the table this time. It did great things to the screen I think. I am so enjoying myself. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Gin Bottles again

Block in over old plein air painting, 12x12

oil on linen, 12x12
Can you believe it? No gold screen today. I decided to turn the screen around and use the back side for a more neutral approach. The painting underneath was painted on a grey day and was of old weathered outbuildings and a concrete wall. Somehow it felt better to just keep a quieter outlook this time. I tried rearranging the gin bottles but this seems to be the way they want to work together for now. I added a tea tin and the glass bottle just to add to the composition. As you can see in the block in I was leaning towards a more abstract approach and was going to paint it flat with the bottles being united and through each other. Then I get painting and it all goes away. Maybe next time.

I could not think of a title for this one, so if you have any ideas, I am open to suggestions.

Monday, January 9, 2017

not every attempt is a success

mid-century hand blown beer glasses
A photo sent to me from my daughter's phone; I gave this pair of Weisse Bier glasses to her for Christmas. I believe they are from either the late 50's or early 60's. I grew up with them in our home. They appear to be hand-blown, hence their irregular shapes. I liked that about them. I did get further than this before I decided to wipe it off. Don't ask me why as I am not sure now. Seemed the thing to do at the time.
It is painted over an old plein air painting which is why there are still some dark blotches that don't quite make sense yet. I will be starting it again at some point as I am not to be defeated. Figured I need to post the good with the not so good. It happens...

Saturday, January 7, 2017

We 3 Gins, disoriente I

We Three Gins, 12x12, oil on linen panel
I have been collecting odd shaped and colored bottles for years. Gin bottles are particularly fun and just recently a third bottle joined the collection. I really enjoyed painting this piece. The highly reflective gold screen background adds a richness to the scene and the different shapes and colors of the bottles made it pure joy to paint. I am having way too much fun.

You will see more of this gold Japanese doll screen as we move through the month. It is an easy background to put up. My sister taught English in Japan 20+ years ago. She brought this screen home to me thinking I could find a use for it. She had found it on top of someone's trash. One man's trash is another man's treasure...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Put it in your pipe and smoke it

An Odd Trio, 6x8, oil on Masonite
 A quick study done to say I painted this day. I pulled out this slick surfaced piece of Masonite being too lazy to give it a quick coat of gesso. The paint just skips over the surface, so for me with the attraction to big flat colors, it adds a texture whether I like it or not! Again, using scraps of paper to add some visual interest. Here are the much maligned hand-made brass handled scissors from India from a previous post, a mini magnifying glass that was my mother's, and a Meershaum pipe I believe belonged to my brother-in-law. This particular pipe looks like a Scotsman by the use of a thistle on his headdress not visibly apparent in this quick sketch. I had these three object in a can that I unceremoniously dumped things into to save for future use, like now.

I had originally thought I would work on this more later, but I decided I like it as is for now and am moving on.

I went looking for Meershaum pipes online as I was not sure how to spell the name. These pipes are not inexpensive so I am glad I held on to them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Color play: Three to One

Three to One, oil on panel, 8x6   available
Day Three, so the title seemed apropos. Playing with colored paper and fruit out of the fridge. Serendipity is what I look for as I roll the fruit out on the table. I have a collection of colored paper from years ago that I just rediscovered recently hidden away in the basement so look for more of these as I play around this month to loosen up and just experiment with the detritus of my life that surrounds me.

The job I had until 2001, was in a public school.  I was responsible for the bulletin board in the main hall. Do schools even have bulletin boards anymore? I accrued a collection of leftover paper of all kinds and sizes that I was allowed to take with me when I left. I have used this scrap collection over the years for cards, decoupage and still life! What got me thinking about it again was I volunteered before Christmas in a local jewelry/art gallery to help out with extended hours. The shop had these cases inset into the walls, and they were essentially a white box. The jewelry was mostly silver, displayed on these sandblasted glass necklines and hands. So white box, silver and neutral gray displays. It was killing me. Hard to see, and no one I ever saw looked into these boxes. I took it upon myself to dress these boxes up with color! I dragged the paper, cutting board, x-acto and ruler down to the shop and while the owner was away, I got to work making a few examples pop to see what happened. One of the regular jewelry cases had metal work, displayed on limbs of trees, dark pine cones and leather. Black literally on dark brown. Again, UGH. A piece of that lime green paper in this painting got cut into squares, rectangles and triangles and I popped those pieces right out. Now you can see the jewelry from across the shop. Luckily, not only the owner, but that jeweler, liked what I had come up with. I had so much fun doing this little project that I am bringing it to you. Aren't you lucky?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail, 8x8, oil on panel
Second piece for January. We have Virginia Creeper on the fence between houses, and saw this guy alight when I was out in the garden. It was in the shadows so fairly flat light. Amazingly enough no evidence of the Japanese beetles who love to decimate the Creeper yet, so it must have been early summer...

I took the photo with my phone. It was just a perfect subject with it's wings held perfectly still. Looking up what kind of Tiger Swallowtail it is there are lots of examples with their wings out like this, so it is not that unusual. It is a Western Tiger Swallowtail, although the only real difference I could see from the Eastern version is that it is a paler yellow overall. Lots of variety within the blue and reds in both.

Monday, January 2, 2017

January Goal - 30 paintings in 30 days

I am not sure how long Leslie Saeta has been running her 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, but I participated in it last January. Surprisingly I believe I got to 25 'paintings' done (loosely using the term paintings as a few were more like studies), although my goal was anything over 15 and I would be happy. I am not participating in this worthy challenge this year as far as uploading to her website but I am going to do my best to do it for myself as a way to start off the new year.

Sewing Kit, 7.5x4.5, oil on panel
I found this odd sized board and decided to use it for a small study as you see above. I have not had large chunks of time to be at my easel during the holidays so small sounded like something I could accomplish quickly.

In my studio I have a piece I did in one of my 'get a painting done in 30 minutes' period a few years back. Here it is:
Scissor study on sample watercolor paper postcard stock
I have it in a plastic sleeve attached by binder clip to an old cigar box in my studio. During my art open house a month ago, I cannot tell you how many people commented on this little 4x6 painting. My mentor, Kevin Weckbach, used the term "sweet." Seriously. A pair of sewing scissors. I keep it up to remind me how even a pair of sewing scissors can be painted well, and apparently I was right in my assessment.

In my new found freedom of no longer working, I decided to go through my collection of still life items I have in an attempt to use them or see what might inspire. I found a pair of hand made Indian scissors; cool, right? In that vein I had been doing some sewing repairs long overdue so I had all kinds of items at hand that lent themselves to playing with the idea of sewing. I wiped off more false starts than I can mention trying to get these 'cool' scissors to not only look right but be interesting. Long story short, I remembered the attention these little Fiskers got so I pulled them out and threw them in and viola! Problem solved. I think the bright orange plastic handles are just more fun then dull brass but I am not giving up on them as subject just yet.

Does anyone even use pin cushions anymore or sew for that matter? I still have some wooden spools of various sizes and shapes and I think they might lend themselves to some fun this month, too. TBD