Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Shadow Dancer"

"Shadow Dancer" ............... oil ............... 30" x 30"

Shadow Dancer is one of my favorite roses in our garden, with its vivid, deep and light pink striped, profuse blooms.

To those of you who read and comment on my blog, you have no idea how much you mean to me. Some days you're my reason for getting up in the morning. It's been a very up and down month: Partly due to the nature of the month of March and it's mood swings from sunny 70's to blizzardy 20's. Partly due to world events (says the hermit. Is Mercury in retrograde Again already??). Partly due to ongoing life transitions.

So, which do you want first, the good news of the bad news? Those in favor of getting the bad news out of the way first win today, in my imaginary hand count. I lost another graphic design client yesterday; I was dumped in favor of someone younger and trendier and supposedly more cost efficient. I'm actually somewhat relieved as the client was difficult to deal with on a number of levels. But that makes 3 this year; at this rate I'll be out of the G.D. (read that anyway you want) business within 6 months. While I'd really rather paint, and have been focusing all my effort on that, keeping some sort of semi-regular pay coming in without having to leave the studio is comforting on many levels.

Now the good news: Thanks to a very good artist friend of mine I am in my first out-of-state venues. I shipped some paintings to Maine, some of which will find their way to South Carolina. The first week in the store, the painting above sold (!). Another good friend of mine, also a graphic designer/going-to-be-a-painter tells me "It's the universe's way of telling you to get over it and get painting."

So while I'm in a bit of an upheaval (and have been for months) I'm grateful to the kind notes I see in my inbox each day. Big Hugs to you all. (Everything's going to be OK, isn't it?)


Friday, March 27, 2009

Photoshop "Trick": Making a Color Negative

I had an interesting comment on the spatter technique today; an artist wrote that they thought this technique was not a "proper" use of the paint. Perhaps this can lead to an interesting discussion: What IS proper use of paint? What is allowable or inadmissible? While I personally wouldn't base my entire career on spattering, there are artists who have and do...Jackson Pollack comes to mind. Vance Kirkland. The late performance painter Denny Dent. I've seen many realist painters who use the technique (especially landscape painters). If memory serves, Robert Vickrey, the great egg tempera artist, has used this technique as well.

All your comments are welcome!

So, since we're on the subject (sort of) photos and art, the very fine artist Marian Fortunati had an odd thing happen when posting her photo yesterday: all the colors showed up in reverse, like a color negative (if anyone remembers film anymore!). Go to her blog to hers. Below is a sample of one my paintings with the 'invert' next to it.

Although Marian inadvertently inverted, you can do it by clicking on Control + I (or Cmmd + I for Macs, or from the top toolbar: Image/Adjustments/Invert).

It's an interesting, if odd, effect but led me to thinking how (if we can get past the idea that we're cheating), the computer might expand our painting universes a bit.

What if...what if we underpainted an entire image in it's complementary colors, and then top painted with the 'real' colors...? We know that painting on toned canvases gives good effects. What would this be like?

As you can see if the side by side above, though, the complementaries as seen by Photoshop are, well, maybe a bit drab and weird. If I was going to try this, I'd try upping the saturation, as in the image to the left. (Click on Control + H (or Cmmd + H for Macs, or from the top toolbar: Image/Adjustments/Hue-Saturation) for the Hue Saturation Dialog box, and move the saturation slider all the way to the right).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DSFDF Challenge: Week 27-28: Beach

First off, let me thank EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU who were kind enough to put up with my rant yesterday. I felt better almost immediately after seeing that I might not be the only one who'd get mad at this kind of situation. THANK YOU AND I'M ALL BETTER...(for now)!

And let me add, for those of you who've been so kind to check and edit my name on your blogs (and I do thank you!), that my rant did NOT mean to include mistypings on blogs-- because those are so easy to change--and I am also a terrible typist myself. It really just was about something that had been sent to print in multiples of several thousand, by someone who should have known better after almost 20 years.

"Cold Feet" ...................... oil ...................... 4" x 12"

So here is my latest offering for Karin Juricks' fine, fine, fine (and fun) artist challenge, Different Strokes from Different Folks.
I actually felt confident enough this time to go out of my comfort zone, and let me be the first to say: I can't believe I did this. Not that it's all that, because it's not; clearly, it's just a quick sketch with loose brush strokes... two things I was sure I was totally incapable of! I actually let a brushstroke show?!? And in muted colors, no less! and I pulled it in a couple hours! This is entirely unheard of in my studio (and I also started on a toned canvas-- quinacridone gold in this case-- thank you Leslie Saeta and Tom Pohlman for your inspiration)

I must have secretly been replaced with a much artier, more efficient alien.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another example of spatter

Because I've had trouble getting to the easel this week, here's another (not recent) example of spatter; it will be pretty subtle to see given the size of the reproduction. Because I'm pretty literal, I tend to use spatter only where it was in life, as on these plates. The black plate had teal and white speckles and faux marbling lines, and the blue bowl I think had just white speckles.
"Heritage" ............... oil ............... 20" x 32"
The 'heritage' refers to my childhood growing up in New Mexico (given my rant, I suppose the chilies represent the various degrees of my temper!) and my love for New Mexican cuisine. Did this take a long time to paint? Yes; yes, I think you could say that. Because of various upheavals and interruptions in life, it was started about 8 years before it was completed. I'm glad I finally finished it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spatter Technique

"Alien Encounter" ....... oil ......... 9"x12"

Every now and then this is fun to do; I've added a spatter pattern to the yellow area of the plate for some added interest. You may have tried this technique as a kid if you had a very lenient art teacher. It can be a bit messy but with a little practice you can refine your control.

How to spatter

Gather these tools:
  • newspaper
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • old toothbrush
  • rubber gloves
  • your paint of choice, thinned down to a fairly liquid state

On a large table, set out a good amount of newspaper, even if your canvas is small. With more newspaper or other paper (I've used white paper from the printer here so it shows better here), cut out some loose shapes for the areas you DON'T want spatter. Using masking tape, gently tape the paper mask to the canvas. You'll want to be sure any paint on your canvas is dry so you don't pick up any paint when removing the tape later.
If using oil paint, thin your color of choice using some medium and a very small amount of thinner. It should be a little soupy. For acrylics or watercolors, thin with water. You can vary the size of spray by trial and error by varying the consistency of the paint, and by the relative softness or hardness of the toothbrush you use.

Put on the rubber gloves (old paint clothes and/or a shop apron might be a good idea, too. Dip just the bristles of the brush in your paint. Aim at an area of the newspaper to test the quality of your paint. With your thumb, pull back on the bristles. When satisfied with your test spatter, reload and aim at your canvas. Repeat until you've acheived the amount of spatter you desire.

Carefully remove the mask. Later, when this was dry, I added a dark glaze over the entire shadow area of the yellow, which helped it blend in.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Painting for the Day: Mirror Callas

"Mirror Callas" ............... oil ............... 30" x 40"

Sheila asked for a series when she saw Saturday's Double Betty painting; Mirror Callas kind of fits into that. Although time consuming to paint, I am pretty happy with the overall effect, as it close what I had in mind. That doesn't always happen for me, so it's gratifying when it does.

P.S., I just ran across the rubber scraper tool that I used on the Koi/Pear demo while shopping online at
Jerry's Artarama. Apparently it's called the "Amazing Wipe-off Tool" and it runs about $6.

If it's a cold day where you are, and you need a good warming idea for dinner, try my
White Bean Chicken Stew.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Painting for the Day: Double Betty

"Double Betty" ............ oil ................ 48" x 24"

This painting will go into a 20th anniversary show at a local gallery (group show) where I had a couple of very successful shows a number of years ago. In more recent botanical work, I've been exploring the design and abstract qualities of flowers and plants. The 'Betty' in this canvas is the rose 'Betty Boop', from our rose-packed garden.

Because I clearly have too much time on my hands (?!?), I've started a garden blog, (in addition to the newly initiated cooking blog). I guess the spring weather has me feeling frisky and feeling like I can do it all (we'll see how long I can keep it up!). If you're a gardener or a rose lover, please feel free to lean over our back fence at The Intensive Urban Gardener.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Glazing Colors and a new title for yesterday's painting!

First off, thanks to Michelle Burnett, a fine artist who helped me sort out the naming dilemma on the Avo/Tom painting, now to be known as 'Tango'. It will also no doubt lead me to the next series... Salsa, Mambo, Rhumba... Thanks Michelle!!!

Another plug for Michelle... check out her monthly painting challenge, 'Following the Masters'. Each month artists are challenge to reproduce a painting from a chosen work of an old master.

Glazing colors

I recently bought this great set of transparent colors in small tubes. This is a great starter set if you're new to glazing.

Schmincke Mussini Oil Colors offers a "Test the Best" Set
— A set of 3 colors in 20 ml (.68 oz) trial-size tubes: Translucent Yellow, Madder Lake Brilliant, Translucent Cyan.
(Available online at Dick Blick art supplies )
I was amazed at how well these three primaries mixed into secondaries... even the violet was not bad, if a little earthy (see the color wheel I whipped up this morning).

For a glazing medium try Winsor Newton's Alkyd, Gamblin's Galkyd, or Daniel Smiths Painting Medium for Oils and Alkyds. All will dry overnight (at least in a drier climate) and allow you to apply successive glazes each day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Painting for the Day: Avo/Tom and a new blog!

(title?) .... oil .... 10" x 10"

And now back to our regularly scheduled painting....

What goes together as well as avocados and tomatoes?
I love them both. To paint and to eat. I like geometric shapes, too, but I must confess it took every force of my will NOT to get out a t-square and triangle and straighten the checks in the background cloth! I hope it looks softer and more cloth-like because of this.

I need a title for this. On my daily painting log (photo at right), I've had it listed as Avo/Tom but surely there's a more pithily appropriate moniker out there. Any ideas?


Also, now seems as good a time as any to roll out My New Cooking Blog, What's 4 Dinner?
Didn't know I could cook, didya? Well, I give it my best shot. I'm going to try and keep the food healthy, interesting, fast to prepare, and cost efficient.

Today's post features a recipe for the Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding I whipped up last night. Let me know what you think...


Monday, March 16, 2009

DSFDF Challenge: Week 25-26: Sushi

"If You Knew Sushi Like I Knew Sushi" .... oil ... 10" x 10"

This is my entry for Karin Jurick's latest Different Strokes for Different Folks painting challenge. I was happy to see a food subject (see the original reference photo below), and I've often admired the artistry of sushi (even painted a few back in the day).

But... my mind wanders, as it Often does, and starts forming puns, as it Always does, and well, you can see what horrors have been perpetrated.

I have an artist friend you says, 'my goal each day in the studio is to see how I can amuse myself.' Well, if amusement is the key to a good day, I consider this day amused.

My goldfish, on the other hand, is Not. Not amused. At all.

(above: original reference photo from DSFDF)

p.s., Thanks to sushi connoisseur and feline portraitist Extraordinaire Akiko Watenabe for assisting this landlocked western gaijin in morphing a California roll into a psuedo-Maki (tuna), (and of course a goldfish is not the same as a tuna, but be a sport and play along, 'kay?)

p.p.s., Yes, I've also found that James Parker beat my pun to the punchline...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

And the Winners are...

With so many great art blogs out there, how can I possibly narrow down the field to only 5 Fabulous Blogs? It's a tough job but Christine's Arts made me do it.

My picks for the enviable Fabulous Blog Award include:

  1. From Forensic to Fine Art's Sheila Tajima, for posting nearly every day, explaining the science of investigative drawing, and boasting the most devout group of blog followers ever
  2. The Blog of Manon Doyle, for stepping out of the box with her expressive mixed media, mosaics, and collages
  3. Nancy Hartley's Art Adventures for the coolest sushi paintings ever
  4. Painting is My Passion's Leslie Saeta, for posting her 50th blog entry this past Friday
  5. ...and to James Parker of Costa Rica (lucky dog!!), for being a smartass of the best kind and always having a laugh, even if of a dubious nature. and for having too much time on his hands... this guy mantains SIX blogs!!!
Here's the fine print:
"The rules for the Fabulous Blog Award are: You must pass it on to 5 other fabulous bloggers in a post receiving this award.You must include the person giving you the award and link it back to them. List 5 of your Fab Addictions in your post. Copy and Paste the rules in the post."

For my List of Addictions, see yesterday's post.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fabulous Blog Award

Thanks to Christine's Arts for awarding The Fabulous Blog Award to this blog. In honor of the moment I'm wearing a feather boa with my bathrobe.

Here's the fine print:
"The rules for the Fabulous Blog Award are: You must pass it on to 5 other fabulous bloggers in a post receiving this award.You must include the person giving you the award and link it back to them. List 5 of your Fab Addictions in your post. Copy and Paste the rules in the post."

My 5 Fabulous Addictions are:
  1. COLOR (vivid, beautiful hue! everywhere on everything!)
  2. SUNSHINE (light! warmth!)
  3. HUMOR (daily comics! snappy retorts!)
  4. FLAVOR (cinnamon hazelnut coffee! goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and pesto!)
  5. LOVE (in the words of the immortal Robert Palmer, 'Might as well face it...")

Tomorrow I'll post my 5 fabulous awardees...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Underpainting and Glazing

"Kim" ..... oil on masonite ..... 24" x 36" ..... SOLD

Every now and then I like to try something just to see if I can do it. This image was underpainted in chromium oxide green-- I had this thought that green would make a nice undertone for the skin, and being the complement of red, be fun for the hair, too. (Wish I'd thought to take a photo of it in the green stage!)
All the other colors are multiple layers of transparent glaze.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wigs: other thoughts

Why I went to Andy Warhol first with wigs, not sure... other after thoughts are B-52's ("What that on your head, A WIIIIG!'), SNL's Kristen Wiig, Devo's plastic wigs, Marie Antoinette and any other aristocrat of that era...

Monday, March 2, 2009

DSFDF Challenge Painting: Wiggin' Out

"Wiggin' Out" . . .. . . .. oil . .. .. . .. 10" x 10"


I guess it's called a 'Challenge' for a reason! The original photo from Karin Jurick includes over a dozen heads. Maybe it was the long necked mannequin with the blonde wig and sunglasses, that made me think of Nico from the Velvet Underground, and from there my mind went to Andy Warhol. I wanted a head that would fit in a square, so I went for the profiled mannequin on the middle left.

I thought by simplifying the image (going for a 'posterized' look) I'd save myself some grief and time; no such luck. I forgot how tricky it can be to paint four mostly indentical things in a group. The slightest slip of the brush can really change things.

Sigh. I like the idea well enough, but the execution, eh. If it had been silk screened ala Factory style, that would have been better (at least I didn't brick myself inside a wall like one of Warhol's assistants did). One of these day, it would be nice to nail one of these challenges.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Painting for the day: Coffee/Comix

"Coffee/Comix" ..... oil ..... 10"x10" ..... SOLD

Sunday without the full color comics? Unthinkable.