Sunday, August 31, 2008

Challenge: Circle, Triangle, Square

In a new group I joined we are having a challenge: paint using the geometric shapes of circles, squares and triangles only. It can be totally abstract or more realistic (using the moon as a circle, a table as a square, etc.). This began as a poured fluid acrylic and gesso painting that wasn't going anywhere. So I worked it a bit more and came up with this. Everyone agreed you can see the circles and triangles but the squares are harder to see. (You can see them in the painting if you're standing in front of it, though.) This is Streaming Red Cliffs - so those are waterfalls, of course! ha ha

I really don't know what I'm doing with acrylics - and it shows.

How about this abstract I did with glued paper and different elements. It's very 3D because the paper I painted on is 3D - lots of texture and elements pushing out from the paper underneath.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Figure Started

Here's what I did in about 1 hour this morning. I can see her mouth isn't centered correctly at all but her face is wide like that and I worked a long time trying to get the hand right - it was a bear! I don't think I would have done any better if I'd stayed another hour.

I used nothing but a 2H pencil - I wanted to start light and work in the shadows much later.


I started the nuts, trying to get that mix of colors and that pale blue-violet, too. I either have too much misket still on the nuts or I'm not waiting long enough before spraying it off because I am not getting the batik look at all. So...instead of rushing through and getting discouraged, I put it aside for a while. Unfortunately, there is something very frightening to me about all that white and all those hard edges right now - it's very intimidating!

I know, I know - this is acrylic paint - I can cover over anything that needs it without worrying about it acting like watercolor and showing through. At least, I think I can do that. Well, I guess I'm expecting too much out of myself. I've only done 1 painting in an NKU drawing class in acrylic (not fluid acrylics), and 1 painting in Sandy's class using some gesso. So maybe I just don't know how to handle the medium yet. And maybe I shouldn't have painted that large nut yet - it should be more of the star of the painting and I should have done that last.

Oh, well. Don't Panic! That's what I have to keep telling myself.

I went to the open figure session this morning but left after an hour. Our model starts by saying, "I'm exhausted!" So our moderator sets her up for us - laying down!! So what happens? She falls asleep. Head nodding, bodying shifting, hands in a different position and body leaning far to the side - then back - then far to the side again. It was frustrating for me so I left. A shame, too, because she was a lovely girl and I might have made a good drawing. I'll take a photo and upload what I did get done all get to see my successes and my failures - aren't you lucky??

Friday, August 29, 2008

Australian Gum Nuts - A Bit Darker + Misket Removed

I did go back and do a bit darker with the colors I had. I got a bit more texture and a bit of batik in a few places.

Then I removed the misket all over.

Next step = put misket back on all around the perimeter and in the whites of the nuts and stems before painting anything more. Have to slow down and look carefully and my black and white pics will help with that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Australian Gum Nuts - First Layers

Well, I didn't get the batik look I was going for - you really have to time it just right when you spray off the still damp layer from the dry layer underneath and I haven't been patient enough to wait long enough - yet.

I did get some nice texture in this - but the color isn't quite right. Some areas that are showing more cool blue are not that blue but more green IRL. You get the idea, though.

I think I should do another layer to get some nice darks and then I'll remove the misket today and see what I think. After that, it will be time to go in to the nuts and the red stems. I want to keep the nuts pale violet with white highlights.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Color Swatches

While I was waiting for parts of the umbrella painting to dry, I did some color swatches in my Daniel Smith watercolors. I have a set of cools and a set of warms. Now I just need to figure out which ones want to be best friends :) and get them paired up to do some Carol Carter style painting.

Two of the painters in class Tuesday didn't do the fluid acrylic batik painting and worked instead on CC watercolors. I want to do both but need to finish up the acrylic paintings first before moving on, I think. I've started the gum nuts painting - lots of greens and I only have a few colors of the fluid acrylics but am going to add acrylic matte medium to some watercolors (mixed separately from my watercolors) to turn them into acrylic paints and work with them - I especially need a nice violet for those gum nuts! When it's dry, I'll get a photo to share here of where I am with it.

Umbrellas - Next Stage (Done in Class Tuesday)

Lots of working on this one in class. Tired when I came home!

I just need to do some minor tweaking of things now: removing all the misket on the umbrellas and working on those areas. Leaving the star of the show - the main red umbrella center stage - until next week in class. Many of the students are doing umbrellas - some doing the same photo Sandy is doing - some doing another version.

I don't know where the green umbrella came from - for some reason it wanted to be green :)

And I can't call them primarily umbrellas anymore - because I used about 3 other colors instead of the red, blue, yellow primaries with which I started. So maybe now they are A Rainy Day at Sandy's Studio.

The close-ups show the texture you get with the fluid acrylics - it just happens - and if it doesn't happen naturally, you wait until it's drying and then drop in clean water to blossom out the colors and make it create the texture - so cool!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Better Values - Gum Nuts Sketch

I think, after reworking this, it shows more value changes - whites and darks and in-betweens. I hope so, anyway. The lightest areas and most of the whites will be in the upper left area, if I follow the plan this way.

After I was happy with this, I traced it onto hotpress paper and then misketed out the whites - all the whites in large spaces - maybe I should have done the whole gum nuts? (We misketed the whole umbrellas in the first painting done in class - maybe there's a reason to keep all that area white?). I'll have to think about that. I forgot to misket around the tape, too - apparently, this is to seal the tape so no paint leaks out around the clean edges you are making. I'll have to go back and do that before I mix up any paint...what colors to choose for this? Hmmm...

I can think about colors for this at the same time I make up some swatches of pure colors (warm vs cool) for my next Carol Carter-style painting, too. My main problem will be cutting my palette down to just a dozen or so colors!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

From Saturday's Figure Session

I missed the last 2 sessions and it always feels strange to get back in to the sketching on Saturday morning mode. The model did several gestures and then got into this pose for the 1 1/2 left of the session - nice light on his shoulder, hair and down the left side.
For a lovely scene of a green pond filled with green frogs, go over and visit Nina at: Nature Remains (see sidebar for her recent post on "green.")
I told her I had to share this quote of her's from the post: It is the spaces we do not conquer, that wear the truest shade."
That can apply to greenspace everywhere - or the lack of it as we manage, cultivate, move, change, and basically get rid of all "wild life" in our suburbs so we can have lawns like golf courses and our neighbors will let us know if we are allowing our shrubs to grow too freely.
It can also apply to painting. How many times have you wanted to conquer that particular painting - that blending of colors just so, that glazing that is perfection; when we should just let it do it's thing and enjoy it.
One of these days, I must meet Nina and walk with her on her property (if I get an invitation, of course). We don't live that far away!
Have a Colorful Day!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Full Size Sketch for Gum Nuts Painting

Now, if I hadn't done a sketch for this and tried to work out the whites and the darks, I wouldn't have known that I was cutting the paper straight in two pieces with that one long stem - so put it behind the dark green leaf instead.
What do you think? Calling on all the value fairies to help me out with this one.
I'll start the pours tomorrow after I transfer the sketch to the hotpress paper.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Next Painting - Fluid Acrylic Technique

Well, since I can't just sit and wait for next Tuesday when we can get back to the umbrellas, I looked at some photos to see what would work well with this batik look painting style.

My friend from Australia, Joy M., had shared this photo a while back and I really like it -
and think it will work well with this look. Thanks, Joy, for being so free with your photos. Hope it turns out a winner! Don't you just love the colors? It's Australian Gum Nuts from the Australian Gum Tree.

So first, trace it out and look for where I want to misket the whites when I put it onto the hotpress paper (I have 1 1/2 sheets left but this can be done on coldpress, too).

Now, of course I want to get busy with the pours right away but with this technique it really will help me to slow down and plan more - I really need to see the whites and pale areas before I even mix up the colors for the pours. And then what colors do I choose? I don't want to do these in the 3 primary colors only - want those greens and violets and cerulean blues to shine.
So if I just have to put paint to paper today, it may be in the color swatches I do before working more in the Carol Carter style of painting - have to figure out what colors work from my palette - which colors can be best friends forever? :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Primarily Umbrellas - Homework Again

Time to wet the paper again and pour more colors into those pale areas that were too bossy so they don't draw your eyes there.

Then waiting (there is a lot of waiting in this technique!) for the paper to dry completely before doing the trickles of water and drizzles of paint technique. I didn't want to do it but Sandy said I should do it just in the deck area so I did.

Taking a thin brush, I used clean water and touched it to the paper, tilting the paper to let it trickle over and around on its own. Then I took the same thin brush loaded with some thinned (with water) fluid acrylic, touched the brush to those same trickles and let it drizzle around. You don't want X's or strong lines but you want thin drizzles of color to add another element to the painting. Not too dark, not too light, not thick but more calligraphic in design. I used the same 3 primary colors plus one surprise color: Dioxizine Violet.

Then, when everything is bone dry - bone dry = more waiting. Go have a cup of coffee or read a magazine or get some exercise if you don't play guitar like Nick Simmons while the paint is drying :) When dry, remove all the misket except for the splatters you put in here and there, and you have this:

So what to do next?

Well, now you have to go back and put misket in any areas inside the white umbrellas that you want to keep white - raindrops, water spots, shine, etc.

And redraw any lines you may need to have that were removed when you lifted off the misket.

And that is as far as we are allowed to go before class next Tuesday!

I know!!! How can I wait that long? I'll have to start another one.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Primarily Umbrellas - Class Work 1

Well, I could show you what I have on the umbrellas so far but it looks like a mess of colors and not much else.

I redrew it on 1/2 sheet hotpressed paper and then the first thing we had to do in class was misket the red and the 2 blue umbrellas (leaving the large dark and the smaller dark umbrella alone). We misketed completely, including the handles, of those 3 and then misketed the lights in the wooden deck floor and on the umbrellas that were left alone.

Then we wet the paper down until it was very saturated and poured our colors. I'm using only 3 colors of Da Vinci fluid acrylics: Yellow = Hansa Yellow Light; Red = Quinacridone Red; and Blue = Ultramarine Blue.

Because I used the Ultramarine Blue, I got a lot of texture. And that first pour was crazy!!! The paper was so wet that the acrylic just bloomed outwards and around the paper, running all over so by the time I got the 3 colors on, I was making a lovely brown all over!!! Anxiety!!! So I had to let the color just run off the paper and onto the towel and then I sprayed a bit of the color away where I wanted a lighter value. After some anxious moments of not knowing what to do, I let the paper and paint settle in and do it's thing and it worked okay.

Then the hard part: waiting for it to dry enough to go back in with drops of clean water to make blossoms. Then again waiting for it to dry dry dry - but not completely dry - just dry enough to have the sheen off all around (and there were lots of areas that dried before other areas because there were rivers and puddles and valleys that stayed wet a long time).

But you have to wait!

Then - the fun part - and the part you have no idea how it will look until you do it:
Taking a spray bottle and with a strong stream of water, shooting the water across the paper and, by doing that, lifting the acrylic paint that has not dried to the paper. That causes the batik look.

Then you can pour more paint just like the first time, getting more darks in certain areas (after that first crazy pour, you learn to relax a bit and know you can control where the runs go if you just don't panic and tilt the paper the way you want). Then wait some more, more blossoms (if you want), and more waiting and then spray stream of water to shoot off the damp color = more batik look.

You have the freedom to do this pouring, wetting, spraying because you have misketed those areas you want to leave pure = the 3 umbrellas and the whites in the deck.

And if you've read this much, you deserve a treat (if you want to call it that! haha) so I'll share a photo of what I came home with today. Much more to be done but this is what it is with the misket still on and the 2 pours done.

The grey is the misketed areas = 3 umbrellas. You can see some large pale areas I don't like so I will need to do another pour to tone that down - this time without blossoms and sprays to lift off paint.

Next step, we do "trickles of water and drizzles of paint" which you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see and I'll explain.

I do love the texture of this - hope it turns out but if it doesn't, it's still learning and practicing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Homework before Class

Sandy took several photos of our umbrellas on her deck one rainy rainy day and said we could use any of them for our next few lessons in fluid acrylics. Our homework was to pick one photo, draw it out on hotpress paper (1/2 sheet or larger), and be ready to paint Tuesday.

Here's what I have so far. I liked the overlapping parts in this photo the best. Then I took the color out to see the values.

And then I drew it - but I'll need to enlarge it more after I get the values right on the drawing (on 11 x 14 tracing paper).

We'll be working with a limited palette of colors, trying out some of the fluid acrylics - I've never used them before and we'll be using them very wet like watercolors.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dinner with Mary

Today is the first day since Tuesday that I felt human going to get some photos together and review the workshop stuff and get back to drawing or painting.

This evening, Mom's cooking a special meal for Jerry as a belated birthday dinner. He's asked for chocolate cake for his birthday cake - so boring!!! ha ha My favorite cake is carrot cake - Mom's version with lots of pineapple and walnuts and good stuff and cream cheese icing! YUM!

What's your favorite cake?

My niece, for her wedding, had just the cake topper and cupcakes. That is the in thing now = cupcakes instead of a large wedding cake. Makes sense to me - and you can have a variety of cupcakes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I've Looked at Clouds...

Something pretty - coming home the other day from Sandy's, Mother Nature was putting on a grand show of her cloud painting abilities. These are great. So I'll share them with you until I'm back painting something of my own.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Well, I should be painting. I tell myself this. I want to be painting. But...
I have such a lousy, rotten cold that I just want to lie on the sofa and whine whine whine.

Now, Smudge says when he feels bad, he just stops to smell the roses - and maybe eat a few, too.

Or lie in the sun and let the warmth make you feel good all over.

Or eat something - lots of your favorite comfort foods!

Sounds like fairly good advice. So catch me in a few days when I'll be good as new.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Things to Do Today Don't Include Painting

Well, my sweetie returns tonight from a short trip to the Bahamas for research. And this place has gone to the cats (well, just one big fat black+white cat) since he's been gone. So cleaning is a priority and grocery shopping and not just painting or drawing or watching the Olympics.

Have to share these photos that were taken at the Carol Carter workshop of the group so you can see our happy faces and how we were turned into Carolettes :) These are from Carol's blog and I think Sandy's hubby, Bob, took the last one and the one on the deck (after a lunch together) was taken by the waitress - there were a lot of cameras being passed around.

Carol and the Carolettes - just a few of us around Carol, with a fan in front of our faces (a marketing tool she used with her webside URL on the back and her face in front).

As workshop participants, we got some goodies on the last day, including a "bad girl" tattoo, a lovely pin of one of Carol's swimmers (I put mine on my camera bag so I'll always see it), a catalog of her work for a show she did, and the fans.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Work from the Workshop and Carol's Quotes

"My gift to you is a fresh approach to painting, not a certain method."

"Strategize your painting."

My Day One Painting. Two colors used were Prussian Blue + Quinacridone Burnt Orange (both Daniel Smith colors). We set up still lifes of fruit Sandy provided and then started painting after Carol's first demo.

"The more you have an emotional connection to what you paint, the better the painting will be."

"Ask your viewer to bring something to the painting. If you give them everything, they will become bored and walk away."

My Day Two Painting. I struggled more the second day. We set up a new still life and started painting after Carol's second day demo. I was unhappy with it at this stage so I ruined it later :( Carol said not to judge it before it was done but to make that front banana really beautiful and gorgeous with color (because that middle banana was sooo ugly to me). I still ruined it - I think my mindset was working against me.

I did do the spheres exercise okay on day two and were happy about those and the peaches aren't too bad (I still need to open up some space in that stem by lightening a bit here and there).

Day Two Exercise and final Painting done to shape objects using 3 colors with differing body colors (those are supposed to be peaches and I like the glow on the right of the peach in the forefront and the background peach, too.

A photo of the Wall of Fame: All our paintings taped to the wall to see.

Top: Mayte, Kathy, Roger, Karen, Chris

Middle: Me, Dona, Carol2

Bottom: Sandy, MaryJane, Bonnie

And my favorite painting from the workshop - on day three. I'm taking this to class today to work on a larger version.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Carol Carter Workshop - Day Three Info

Well, I have sorted my photos and realized I didn't take a photo of the last part of the painting Carol did :( I have to say I had an excuse - I was going on 4 hours of sleep and by later in the day my brain was really not working right. I even left my painting behind when I packed up and left and had to go back and get it.

So after a good night's sleep last night and catching up on things here at home today, I'm ready to share the last day with Carol (hopefully not my last and I am definitely going to see her again somewhere sometime in the future!).

So the Day Three Demo was a water lily with pads in lovely water - Carol's wet-in-wet and juicy colors work well with water so you can see why she does so many water themes (plus they have such personal meaning to her).

Working with a warm and a cool (Carol says, "A warm and a cool will do your work for you."), she started with the pads, not the water. If this was our painting she would have told us to start with the water (remember, work from the farthest background to the foreground) but she can break that rule - she's the teacher!

She prewet the pads, put a body color of Prussian Blue in and then dropped in yellow (don't ask me what this was since I don't remember but it was by Old Holland) while it was still very very wet.

After she had the color the way she wanted, she went back in around the edges with a darker mix of the Prussian Blue to strengthen the edges. She did this with a smaller brush than she used to paint the pads - she is a stickler with making your tools work for you and don't use a big brush when you just want to add a bit of color and a small brush will do.

Pads were done and the water was next. Surprise! She prewet the areas she wanted to work in and put in Burnt Sienna :) and then greyed that down (pushed it back) with Cobalt Turquoise on top - it made a greyed area that doesn't fight with the warmer, brighter lily pads. Careful because Cobalt Turquoise can be a very aggressive pigment!

Again, it's all about pure color. Working while the area is wet wet wet so you don't get much and working with a limited palette, whatever colors you choose.

She started working on the flowers rising up from the water, using the same colors and working the same way to get brighter color or more muted color, working her warms and cools.

In the studio, Carol would have waited for each wash to dry before going back to the painting and doing more. Why? In order to check the values as they are drying to make sure they don't need to be darker or lighter before the paper is dry and it's too late. In the workshop, with limited time, she used a hairdryer.

When I say she works wet-into-wet, I am talking WET! Can you see the water on this painting? Juicy!

Like I said, I didn't get a photo of the finished piece - maybe by this time I was working on my own painting - but I bet Carol or Sandy will share it on their blogs.

Tomorrow I will share some of the exercises and work I did in the workshop and some quotes from Carol that I love.

Again, if you can get your watercolor society or painting group or teacher to bring Carol for a 3-day workshop, you will be very pleased!

Before I met her and saw her work, I was just a wannabe Carolette but it's official now: I'm a Carolette for Life :)