Monday, June 29, 2009

Observations on Aquabord

My experiences with Ampersand's® Aquabord are limited to two pieces so far so any or all of these observations could change in a few weeks. For what it's worth:
  • Aquabord seems to create a soft finish (see yesterday's post for an example). I believe this surface would be good for fur babies or portraits.
  • The pigment sits on the surface so color is vibrant and clear.
  • When painting on this surface, it is helpful to "prime" an area first with water so that there are no hard lines. If hard lines/edges are desired, no problem!
  • I have found it very difficult to get an even wash on this surface as it is difficult to prime the area "evenly." That clay surface is thirsty!
  • The paint will "bloom" on this surface, but if it does and the bloom is not wanted, simply wet down the offending area and swish the pigment around and let it dry again - bloom gone!
  • Color lifts easily and in a variety of ways. In some cases, it lifts too easy, as in lifting any unwanted pencil marks before starting to paint. Pencil lines will lift before, during and after painting as will the pigment! Found that out the hard way!
  • Whereas pigment lifts easily, it is a bit challenging to lift in small defined areas. I have used a scrubbie brush, my Proxa brush and an Xacto knife so far. I just purchased Ampersand's special tool, called a Fiber Brush. It is made of fiberglass and one must be careful not to brush the loose bits with their hand nor get them on the floor where someone (pets) might step on them.
  • Masking can be used with this substrate but it is fragile. I went to brush some eraser bits off the surface before putting down a wash and damaged my masking. I had to redo a couple of areas.
  • This substrate can be sealed and framed without glass. The sealer does give the surface a slight shine.
  • In the new Daniel Smith Summer catalog there is an article on page 76 by artist Michael Ireland. He wrote of using a blow dryer to dry and "harden" washes. I'll be trying that.
That's where I'm at right now. If I learn anything else, I'll let you know in a future update. I am going to continue working with Aquabord and see what else it does well. I would encourage you to try it as well, even if it's only on a sample piece as it is a unique surface that challenges the normal way we do things, and I do believe that challenging status quo is almost always a good thing! Happy painting!

Summer's Delight

Over the weekend I was able to finish up this small watercolor, Summer Jewel! It is painted on Ampersand's Aquabord® and is my first painting on this support. (UPDATE: The size is 4" x 4" and this is an original watercolor!) I have to say, I rather like the Aquabord and I'm going to be doing some more work on it to see what this stuff can handle. (If you're interested, check tomorrow's post where I'll offer my observations on this product.)

The substrate gave a very soft finish that is just perfect for this flower. I'm not sure if this is always the case or partly my painting style. That's part of the reason why I'll be doing more work on Aquabord.

One of the coolest things about the Aquabord is that the painting is sealed using a UV resistant varnish spray. You don't have to frame it under glass! The spray further softens the focus and adds a slight sheen to the surface of the piece. (It would look lovely on a small easel in lamp light!)

In fact, to make it easier to display this piece, I have touched the sides and edges of this support with gold metallic paint so that it can even be hung without a frame! (If you click on the top image you can see the gold paint around the edges as well as on the sides in the second photo.)

I will be including a small plastic hanger that is self-attaching with tape adhesive. (The back is marked for easy application.) That way whoever purchases this little jewel has the option of framing it or displaying it without a frame or perhaps, framing it at a later date! (The tape adhesive will lift off with a bit of pressure.)

I will be listing this on the blog until Wednesday for $45 USD plus $2.50 shipping and handling. If you would like to purchase it, just click the PayPal button. On Wednesday, I will move it over to my Etsy shop for $52 USD.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Re-learning My ABC's!

Since you all know I don't have enough to do, I wanted to share something that I've been involved with for a some weeks now . . . . ABC's From Around the World! I was asked to play with some very, and I do many very, talented ladies in an Art Trading Card swap! The theme is the A, B, C's, and the creativity and fun from these little cards is just outstanding!

I have included a few of the cards I've received below, but I invite you to pop over to the ABC Blog, and look at the fantastic work these ladies are doing! I have learned so much about these cards, and I think the most important is that there is no end to the creative ideas that keep being posted.
The C is for chain and is from the lovely Teri of Teri's Painted Daisies and the F is a froggie fellow from Marianne from Mandalas and More. The B is my contribution to the ATC swap.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Just A Peek!

Detail of Chance of Rain
by Laure Ferlita
© Laure Ferlita, 2009 All Rights Reserved

I have finished Chance of Rain with the possible exception of a few minor tweaks as I observe it for a few days. The painting will stand on an easel in our living room, giving me the opportunity to see it at various times of the day and from different distances. I find this to be a wonderful way to see anything that needs to be pushed back, lightened, etc. Above is a detail shot from the umbrella that I described in yesterday's post. One of the challenges I anticipate in photographing this particular painting is getting the colors in the umbrella to read as they are and not as shades of plain black.

Hope this satisfies some of the curiosity that I accidentally piqued yesterday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sometimes, You Just Can't Tell

I fell in love today . . . . with my latest competition painting! And I can't show you. Yet. Dagnabbit! One of the things about painting that has always intrigued me is that sometimes when you start a painting, you can tell right away that "it works" or that's it's going to work. Other times, you don't really know if it's going to work until the very last brush stroke. Sometimes after you've finished, you're still not sure. You have to put it away for a few days and look at it with a fresh perspective to see if "it works."

The painting I am doing now has a close-up of part of an umbrella, and it was not until late this afternoon that I became sure that this painting was going "to work." It is the fabric of the umbrella that I have fallen for - and boy, did I fall! I wanted to paint a black umbrella that wasn't black. I wanted it to be violet, lavender, blue-grey and . . . . . peachy. That gorgeous pink-gold color you sometimes get early in the morning? Sometimes before a rain with the heavy violet, lavender and blue-grey clouds? That color!

And I did it! I've captured those colors in the folds of the umbrella! When I put down the first washes I thought to myself then that I would be repainting that painting as it didn't look anything like I wanted it to, but then I didn't know how to get what I wanted either. I kept at it, I'd let it sit for a while and then take another turn at it. Today, I put the final wash of the pink-gold color on it and it started to sing! The colors are soft and subtle, but they're there!

Tomorrow, I will finish up the painting, barring any debacles like I had with the last competition painting. I have to submit it by July 20th. Once I hear whether I'm in or not, I'll post it. Meanwhile, I have to think of something to paint with fabric in it, soft, flowing, sexy, fabric. Hmmmm . . . . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's All In What You Call It!

It would seem that Teresa, over at Blueberries, Art and Life, thinks the ugly duckling needs a new title because she doesn't think it's ugly anymore. Hmmm, okay, but what do I call it? (As it's still kind of ugly, I think). And if you're wondering why this little 4 inch square painting is taking so long, it's because it's my "play" piece while I'm working on the competition painting.

Sometimes, I need to wait for a big wash to dry (and to keep me from getting impatient and messing up said wash) or I may need to gain some perspective on what to do next on the big painting, I'll paint a small piece to distract myself. This one has served that purpose well as the surface, Aquaboard, has kept me intrigued.

Something new that I learned today is that you can easily lift pigment. If you look closely at the center and some of the dark background spots, you will see that I have lifted the color. Almost back to the white surface, AND I could go back to the white with no discernible difference. It does NOT damage the surface - wow! Very cool! After learning this, I started lifting wherever I wanted to just for fun. Got a little carried away. But it's fixable!

This evening, I was talking with my husband about this piece and the unique surface properties Aquaboard has. I commented that "this little jewel sure was taking a long time" when I realized I had just come up with the new name . . . . . Summer Jewel. Is that acceptable, Teresa?!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Ugly Duckling - Updated

Well, it's beginning to look like a flower. Finally. We all have preferences as to what we like to paint with (tools, brushes) and on (surfaces) as well as what type of media (acrylic, oils, wc) we prefer. Sometimes it is simply what we learn first that becomes our favorite. Other times we search and search and then fall head long in love with a particular media or tool. Regardless of how it comes about, shaking those preferences can be difficult. It takes challenging ourselves to try a new surface or medium AND giving it a chance to succeed before walking away and saying, "Nope. Doesn't work for me!"

The gold standard in watercolor paper is Arches and I have had a long love/hate relationship with the paper. The makers of Arches uses a vile, strong smelling sizing both in the paper and on top it, that makes it a true workhorse. The paper can be reworked and sanded and gouged and it will still take paint beautifully. There are other fine watercolor papers available, and they all have their own strengths and peculiarities as well, but Arches is hard to beat.

Whenever I try a new surface, it invariably gets compared to Arches. So it is with this Aquaboard. For something to become a staple in my studio, it has to offer me something that Arches does NOT. I'm still not certain what this surface offers me, but there is something pleasing about it and it's growing on me. It will take far more exploring than this little duck, but I will try it again. Perhaps with something more demanding to see what this surface can do.

Besides, I recently (last year) "inherited" a ton of it - I really need to find a way to like this stuff or I'm gonna have to have a big art sale instead!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Updated Sunflower and Goals

Original Sunflower Watercolor Painting
by Laure Ferlita © 2009, All Rights Reserved
2 5/16" x 3 1/4"

This little sunflower is considered to be a piece of Small Format Art or SFA. It just misses being an ACEO which stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals, because of its size. To be an ACEO, the size must be 2.5" x 3.5". This SFA will be available on the blog until Wednesday for $20.00 plus $1.50 in shipping. Should the sunflower not sell by Wednesday it will go into the Etsy shop for $24.00. If you would like to own this piece of art, please click the PayPal button below.

I sat down today and went over my goals and so far I'm doing pretty good! I have checked off 2 goals as completed and added 3 more! I also updated about half of the goals I still have on my list. One of them was to put a little more attention towards my online sales - hence, the first paragraph of this post! I feel pretty good about being on target with most of my goals. There are a few that are going to be a bit of a challenge, and that's a good thing. Don't want to be getting bored!

Hope you had a chance to review your goals and spend some time with the favorite "dads" in your life this weekend!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Daily Practice - Sunflower from Life

Boy! Wasn't I surprised when my muse brought me a sunflower to paint this morning! I must say it's a nice change from all the greys and lavenders and pinky golds I've been painting lately. But it would seem she had an ulterior motive in bringing me the sunflower.

It was to remind me that the summer solstice is nearly here! Sunday, in fact, is the actual day. If you've read this blog very long you know I'm big on goal setting, on challenging myself to constantly stretch, to reach for the next level.

This weekend, I will make some time to sit down and evaluate how I'm doing so far this year. I do this on each of the four solstices as a nice way to divide up the year. I look to see whether each goal is being met, has been met, why or why not, whether it's still relevant and what I may need to add, change, or delete. One recent goal I've added is to start painting at least one competition level painting each month. When I started the year, my focus was on building an online store. I wasn't thinking about competing, but in May, that changed.

When I first started with my goal setting, I would set big lofty goals like "Paint." Ummm, okay. Of course, it didn't really matter what my goals were that I so carefully wrote out as I stuck them in my day organizer, in the very back, and I didn't look at them again until December. No surprise, but I seldom met my goals. Now, my goals are broken down into steps. Some are daily, some weekly, and some are monthly or longer, but always broken down into steps. They are posted in my day organizer and my wall calendar where I can see them. At the end of each week, I do a review of my week to see if I'm on track and if not, why and what needs to be changed or adjusted.

This may seem counterintuitive to a creative life, but this allows my left brain and right brain to play together nicely. Having goals gives my left brain something to keep track of, something to strive for, boundaries to play within, and quantifiable measures. It gives my right brain the freedom to be creative, to create, to strive, to play all within a task oriented setting.

So now I ask you: do you set goals? when did you look at them last? Perhaps Sunday would be a good time to review them?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Daily Practice - The Ugly Duckling

Here is my little "ugly duckling" flower on Ampersand's Aquaboard, formerly called Clayboard. This is a rework from where it was last post. It still has a very long way to go! One thing I've noticed with Aquaboard is the painting gets ugly in a hurry. There's no middle ground. When I wet the surface with water, it turns to a light putty color. Then I add my color and I wait for it to dry to see if the color is too little/too dark or the correct hue. A bit disconcerting, but nothing that can't be overcome.

I think the fact that I started in with the pale yellows, greens and pinks may have helped to throw me when I first started this piece. When using a darker color it isn't so difficult to judge the hue and value. There are good things to be said for the support, but I believe I will wait to see if this will be a successful before I do a review.

The competition painting is coming along as well. It's beginning to look like a painting at least. As to whether it will be show material remains to be seen. It seems odd to me how sometimes you know, right from the start, that a painting is going to turn out well (assuming you're not me and you don't do something stupid when you're nearly finished), and how you can't tell with others until you're nearly finished. Maybe that's what keeps me intrigued!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Starts, Finishes, Stops, and Deletes

Today, and the weekend, has been just that - a series of starts, finishes, stops and deletes. I spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday getting caught up and up to date in the office. Receipts, paperwork, orders, etc. All the stuff that didn't get taken care of for the last few months. Paperwork is the bane, well, one of the banes, of my existence. I am clutter-challenged and it's my own doing. However, I felt 10-foot tall and bullet proof when my husband asked me for something and I reached into a folder and there it was! Victory!!

Today, I have attempted to write this post - three times. It is nothing like what I had intended. The other two posts were saved. Then deleted. My thoughts were so scattered and disconnected as to not make sense even to me. Not sure what's up with that but I won't subject you to my misspellings and ramblings. More ditziness I suppose.

I have two pieces of art on the go and both are in the extreme ugly stage. One is so bad it may go into the bin. I decided I wanted to do something for the Etsy shop, something I could "play" with while I'm working away on the competition piece. So I decided to do a small 4" x 4" flower on Aquaboard, made by Ampersand. The surface is suppose to be easy to paint on. And for some people I suppose it is. Karen Vernon makes it look falling-off-a-log-easy. And maybe with time and practice, I'll get the hang of it. Until then, this piece is probably going in the bin as there is no other side to paint on.

The competition painting is coming along in fits. At the moment, it looks hideous. Maybe it will look different (better) in the morning. For whatever reason, I'm suddenly value-challenged. Why? Dunno. But it's really putting a cramp in my painting style, I can tell you that! I think the problem is the painting in my head is not matching up to the one on the table. Of course, the one in my head is perfect and the values are exquisite. The one on the table is . . . . imperfect.

Thank goodness tomorrow is another day to do it all over again, and it is my strong intention to make it a great day!

Friday, June 12, 2009

So Much For Good Intentions

I had planned to take a few days of downtime. Get caught up on email, reading blogs, banking, cleaning up the studio after the last painting, decluttering the house and just decompressing after the last week of manic painting. Hmmmm, not sure what happened to those planned days but I've already got another painting on the go!

I thought I was going to do a full blown painting with some Rainier cherries, but no, I ate too many of the cherries and now I don't have enough. Actually, one of my blog readers, Gwen from Gwen's Daily Painting Blog, echoed my thoughts in her comment yesterday about how the detail image of No Place Like Home (NPLH) was a painting in and of itself that worked on numerous levels.

That's how NPLH started in the first place. I wanted to do a painting of an umbrella, but I couldn't "see" a painting when I was working on the composition. Now that I can, I'm going to begin again and see what happens. I want to play with the "atmosphere" in this painting and see if I can evoke a mood of early morning. In fact, it already has a working title of Chance of Rain.

And you know, the Universe has a wicked sense of humor. After finally finishing NPLH, I was breathing a HUGH sigh of relief because I had finished the painting in time for the competition AND I had salvaged the thing. So I go traipsing out to the mailbox yesterday afternoon to find . . . . . another . . . . prospectus . . . . . with another deadline . . . . . looming in July. . . . . . can you hear the laughter?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Painting Lives!!!

As of 10:43 this morning, I am calling this a finished and SUCCESSFUL painting! Many thanks to all of you for your kind comments and support. It helped more than you will ever know. It has been a rather stressful 18 hours, and I think I've changed my mind about missing the painting. In fact, I think I'll be damn happy to see it gone!

The offending area has been assimilated into the rest of the painting. A few more areas have been adjusted, darkened, lightened etc. I was far enough along with the repair job that Chris and I had the opportunity to evaluate the "success" of what I was doing before he left this morning. We both felt that it "worked" and yes, surprise, surprise, it made the painting stronger.

Some of you mentioned that Chris' words were wise and that he's a treasure. You're absolutely right, he is, though when I mentioned the treasure comment, he said, "and sometimes you want to bury me in the backyard just like treasure!" I didn't disagree. ;•) It is extremely valuable to have someone to support you, to challenge you to raise the bar, to pick you up when you fall, and to cheer you on.

Chris is all that and more, and I can truthfully say I wouldn't be the artist I am today without him. His feedback and critiques are straight on, and I want him to know how much I appreciate all that he does. If not a spouse, find someone who brings this kind of support to your artistic journey. They will make you a better artist than you can be on your own.

I have included another detail shot of the painting, No Place Like Home, that you haven't seen any part of up until now. In rereading the prospectus last night, I saw that the committee would notify folks the week of July 21st of who made it into the show. So this is probably the last you'll see of the painting until then. Again, thanks for your support!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There is Nothing Quite As Humbling . . . .

. . . . as your own stupidity. And I have had a colossal dose of humble pie. I have nearly ruined my painting. I was putting in the last shadow and when I "came to" I instantly knew I had messed up and messed up big. The shadow I had just painted was a value of 7 on a scale of 10. At most, it should have been a 3. The pigments that I use for shadow colors tend to stain. They can be lifted but not four value steps.

I have no idea how it happened. Only that it happened. After some furious scrubbing, some tears, and a few very deep, long breathes, I stopped. I just sat down and stared at it for a while. This kind of mistake is one of those that teaches you a lot - if you let it. Whereas I have no idea how it happened, I'm pretty sure I know why it happened. I thought it would only take 5 hours or so to finish up. Wrong. I've put in nine hours today.

I'm tired. I'm trying to meet a deadline. I was cautiously (or so I thought) rushing. And I rushed headlong into stupidity. The mistake I made was simply from not paying enough attention. In another post, I mentioned embracing mistakes, that's how we learn and learn well. Well, here's my chance. After Chris came home this evening, we sat discussing options. His comment, "Now you can make it an even stronger piece" was just what I needed to hear.

In the morning, I will get up and begin again. If I can't lighten the shadows, I can certainly make the surface that they fall on darker. Something about if the mountain won't come to you, go to the mountain . . . . or something like that. I've got about a 50/50 chance of saving this one. If you don't mind, send some good vibes my way, I think I'm gonna need them.

How Long Does It Take You To Do Your Best Work?

Detail from No Place Like Home

Have you ever tracked the hours it takes to create your personal best? I've been working on this paint for almost 50 hours - that's brush-or-pencil-to-paper hours! And that total doesn't include all the hours I've thought about it, struggled with it in my mind, worked out problems when I was eating lunch, driving around, taking a shower, making dinner etc. If you counted all those hours you could easily double the count!

This is probably my best work to date. The above image is not quite complete, but it gives you an idea of the detail. It's a full sheet of watercolor paper which is 30 x 22 inches. I have been quite pleased that most of this has been painted with the "get in, get it down, get out" philosophy. And even though I haven't rushed, I haven't dallied over the details either - I don't have time with that deadline looming! I have another 5 or so hours of painting today and then I'll begin the process of photographing the painting. Always a fun challenge.

I told my husband last night that I would miss this painting when it was done as it has so totally eclipsed everything else in my life. I think I'll feel a little lost without it. His advice? Start another! Okay, then, that's what I'll do.

I would love to share this with you today but that's not possible yet. Maybe by the end of the month depending on when I hear back from the competition. I hope to be back to posting on a regular basis after today as well. And I ask you again as I am curious, how many hours does it take you to create your personal best?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Extraordinarily Good Time

As I am deep into a competition painting, and the rules prohibit me from displaying it online at the moment, I thought I would share with you about a recent experience I had  - the delightful opportunity to meet Gabrielle of Inner Artist in person!  

Gabrielle and her husband, Paul, were down visiting family in Florida, so she and I made arrangements to meet at the Art Center Manatee, which was hosting the National Watercolor Society's 88th annual traveling exhibition. I've included the cover of this year's NWS catalog showing this year's top winner by Soon Young Warren. 

We had the opportunity to view over 100 paintings up close and personal as well as from across the room. Having just met did not deter us from sharing our thoughts and feelings on the various works. We also shared a few laughs as it became apparent we liked many of the same things and others, well, not so much. 

We shared our ideas and thoughts on what made particular paintings work, and why some worked better than others. And I have to say, to be in that room with many of those names I've only read about in major art magazines, and then see their work live, I understand why they're in those magazines - wow! Double wow! I wanna paint like that when I grow up!

The experience was made all the more special getting to share it with a like-minded new friend and artist. Paul came and joined us the last few minutes we were there, and even though he's not an artist, he picked three of the top five that both Gabrielle and I had chosen as the best. I went back with my husband the following day, and what do you know, he too picked the same winners!

If you have the opportunity to meet up with a cyber-buddy, I urge you to take the chance. If you have the chance to see a regional or state or national show of work in your chosen media - go! It is amazing what you can learn by studying the "modern day" masters. Those people have risen to the top of their fields for a reason and it really shows in the national/international competitions. And who knows, you may even make a new friend in the deal!! 

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Progress - Scarf

Here is the scarf - almost complete. I'll be moving on to other elements in the image and will come back and adjust different areas of scarf as needed to either push areas back or bring them forward. 

Kathy of Red Thread Art asked how I achieved the mottled effect. There are four ways, well no, there are more than four ways, but I used four ways to get the mottled effect. 
  • Painting the shape with water and then dropping pigment in. 
  • Painting part of the shape with clear water (in areas that were going to be lighter) and then painting with a heavy pigment load up to and in to the water areas.  
  • Painting two colors into one area and letting them mix on the paper. This can be done with the paper wet or dry.
  • Lifting paint as it dries with either a tissue and/or a brush.
Because painting something like this can be mind-numbingly boring, I tend to make up shapes and change the colors around. This challenges me to do something other than copy a photograph or an actual scarf. It puts me in control of not only the color but the temperature of an area as well as the shape. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

WIP- Scarf

Guess what I did today? In the first image, you can see the underpainting to help me identify where the folds in the material of the scarf lay. (Sorry for the odd colors in the photos. There really not quite that pink.)

This image shows the introduction of more colors.

The whole image begins to shift with the introduction of the darks.

This image shows 5 and 1/2 hours of painting and where I stopped for the evening as I was beginning to drop the brush. Still a lot further to go. What questions do you have?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daily Practice - Rainier Cherries, Take II Finished

You know, if it would do any good I would worry. But it doesn't help. Nothing seems to help. What am I talking about? My slow, downward spiral into ditziness. I'm pretty sure I didn't used to be a ditz. This seems to be a development of the last few years. Is art doing this to me? I don't think I'd mind as much if I could hide it, but, well, since I never know when I'm going into full-scale act of ditziness, it's kinda hard to hide. 

In case you're wondering if I've truly lost it, let me just say that the lost painting is no longer lost. But I didn't find it. It found me. So for those of you who doubted my method of calling the painting, rest assured it worked. It often works when I have the misguided luck to "misplace" something. Now about the painting . . . .

I have mischievous little imps that live and play in my studio, and no, I'm not talking about the cats, though they certainly qualify. I'm talking about faeries and gremlins, call them what you will. They find great glee in hiding things and moving them about so they can sit back and watch me until I become exasperated and then they put the item back. But they didn't take the painting. Nor did they hide it. So I can't blame them.

And I occasionally misplace things. Especially when we get a phone call from friends or family about to stop by for a visit and the house looks like it hasn't been cleaned in a month or seven. We go into overdrive and do a hide-a-thon, shoving everything into the coat closet. This is Florida. No one wears coats in Florida. But no, I hadn't stashed the painting in the coat closet. 

I normally store large, finished paintings in a large portfolio left over from my school days. The smaller ones camp out elsewhere so they don't get crumpled or rumpled by the big guys. Now, this is not to say that I always put things where they're suppose to be. Far from it. That's why I occasionally find a bar of cheese in the knife drawer. (Long story.) I looked in the portfolio three times BEFORE I looked again. Today. This morning. 

IT. WASN'T. THERE. BEFORE. Or so I thought. The painting was right where it should have been the whole time. In fact I had my hands on the painting no less than three times and I didn't know it.  Why?

This may come as a news flash to you. It obviously did to me . . . .  

Watercolor paper has . . . . . two . . . . sides. 

If you don't like one painting, turn it over and use the other side. But if you're a ditz, and apparently, I am, you have to look at both sides when searching for a painting . . . . One last thing. I didn't "find" it. I was putting a stack of paintings back in the portfolio and one of them jumped out and fell to the floor. On its backside. Which was its new front side. Which was the missing painting.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Daily Practice - Rainier Cherries, Take II

More cherries. This time a WIP as not only am I back into a competition painting . . . . and I've lost a painting. A painting someone wants to buy! EEEEEEEK! Of all the dumb bunny, really idiotic things I could possibly do, and right now of all times, I've. . . Lost . . . A . . . Painting. 

It's not really lost. Just misplaced, right? And I just don't have a clue where it might be. I checked in all the logical places. Not there. So, I tried some illogical places. Not there either. I haven't torn out the studio yet as I really don't have time at the moment, but this is getting ridiculous! I know it's in the house. Somewhere. Here painting, painting, painting . . . .

Monday, June 1, 2009

Daily Practice - Rainier Cherries

Another reoccurring theme in my life - cherries! These are the first of the year and they are delicious! Not to mention they make a fabulous still life. I started over on the left hand side and worked around to the right. If you look at the first and second cherries and then the next three, you see some color changes going on. I was experimenting with which pigments gave me the best representation of Rainier cherry colors. The first two cherries are also a bit muddy as I was a bit rusty. Why do I tell you this?

Something that I didn't mention in yesterday's post is that after years of trying to "go for it," I finally realized somewhere in the last few years that sometimes I'm better off NOT going for it. What do I mean? I mean I need to practice first.

Before becoming ill, I was putting in some serious time on a competition painting, and I was painting everyday. Painting is like any other skill - it requires practice, preferably daily practice - to keep that skill in top form. To get comfortable with the feel of the brush, the amount of water to pigment ratio, brush strokes, etc. After losing a week I knew it would be crazy-making to try and jump back into a painting with no practice. The feather from yesterday and these cherries are my warm-up, practice sessions. I'll be doing a few more too as I'm not yet ready to tackle the competition piece.

I cannot count the times I've "forgotten how to paint" because I went for long stretches without picking up a brush. The mechanics are there, but boy, are they rusty! Sanity has finally prevailed and I've learned to temper my excitement and put in some "brush time" before jumping back into a painting. I encourage you to do the same if you're not all ready. Save yourself some frustration, time, tears, and possibly, a ruined painting.