Monday, November 24, 2008

Detailing the Dawg

What fun, finally getting to the detailing of the dawg! This is the fun part! Using a bright brush I started feathering in the hair on her face, bringing up the detail with lighter and lighter shades of paynes grey, cerulean blue, burnt sienna and white. A small round brush was used to start bringing out the hair detail around the eyes. Matte medium was used as a barrier coat to protect some the detail in the event I have to scrub out mistakes. Some corrections were made on the shapes in her face, especially along the left hand jawline.

Lightening the colours further, the fur along her shoulder and chest was started with a round brush to get the sweep and direction of the hair. Acrylics are so awesome for this kind of work! It dries so fast, I can get right back into it without it smudging like an oil would. One has to be rather patient with oils I have discovered. Acrylics are definately for the artist with short attention spans, not unlike myself!

Still have to resolve some issues with the right leg, and some other things, but they will be dealt with as I go. Right now, my neck is tight, a nerve is pinching and I'm becoming irritable because I'm getting some referral pain in my front teeth of all things...better to stop than mess up all the great work so far.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grass can be a pain in the....!?

One would think grass would be an easy thing to paint. A bunch of green straight lines, scribbled with impunity. Wrong! Grass has a rhythm to it, one that can be a difficult one to tap into if the artist has not painted it for awhile, like ME! Without this rhythm, and sense of randomness, painting wild grasses looks contrived and stiff. Having some sense of control when painting something like wild grass, yet still have it look random and natural can be a pain in the ...grass!!

I found myself *erasing* some of the blades of grass on numerous occasions and even flipping the painting upside down, or on its side to capture the flow of it with my brushstrokes. It seems to have worked so far. Now to tackle the dog again, and let the grass rest for abit.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

In The Mood

Appropriate that painting the snow was the order of the day for this painting. Woke up to lots of the *white stuff* outside, putting me in the mood so to speak.

I used mixtures of a tiny bit of burnt sienna, with cerulean blue, paynes gray, white and some pthalo blue to try and capture the texture of the snow. In the process of painting the snow, I had to paint over the grass that I had indicated in the underpainting. Not a problem though, as I can still see where most of those brushstrokes are. The grass had to be started on the right hand side, using burnt sienna, raw sienna, naples and some paynes gray. This grass needed to be well underway, as the dog's body is overlapping it. I try to plan the spacial planes before actually applying paint.

Misty's face, ears and chest were also worked on during today as well. I'm at that horrible stage of nothing being resolved with lots of painting still to come before anything looks remotely finished. Just lots of brushstrokes, one after the other, painting whether I'm in the mood, or not.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Change of Pace - Misty

On to another commission. this one is of a German Wire Hair pointer pup, Misty. Like all my other commissions a looming deadline, is needed to boot me to the easel and get to work. Sorely in need of a change, like so many other aspects of my life, this piece was begging to be done in acrylics and not my usual oils. The last acrylic to sit on my easel was Spruce Baby (see sidebar for image) I had forgotten how nice it can be to work in acrylic. the fast drying time, and flexible application techniques is a huge attraction at this point. I cannot afford to be waiting for it to dry between applications not wanting to leave it to the last minute. Christmas IS coming!

This one is on a 12 X 16" MDF panel gessoed with about 3 coats of Daniel Smith gray gesso. I had forgotten how much I love this surface. Originally I thought the panel was an inch too wide for the drawing, so left the right hand edge blank so a carpenter friend could cut it off for me. after much consideration, it was decided it best to leave it alone, so I painted in the undertones of the grass right to the edge.

I am using matte medium on this one to stabilize the transparent glazes. In the past I used gloss medium. I'm not sure what motivated me to switch to matte, it just seems right this time. Payne's gray is the colour of choice for the under painting. The plan is to use a very limited grayed down palette of Payne's gray, burnt sienna, titanium white and raw sienna with some Naples yellow thrown in the mix.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Double Header

The Wolfe Cabin is done and I'm doin' the happy dance! One more commission out of the way. One step closer to autonomy and freedom to paint what I want. Now to let it dry, varnish it, photograph it, frame it and its a done deal. Contact the client, and its off to a new home.

Momentum rolling, I also delivered a different painting to another client who had paid me an advance in 2007 for a painting. More specifically, *the painting* I wanted to keep for myself. I had total freedom, no requirements, no expectations, no deadline. In the beginning I struggled with this idea of no restrictions. Then one day as I was laying on my couch looking up at a painting I had been reluctant to sell, it became clear that it was the *one* that he must have. It fit all the criteria. It was the right size, right price range, and it was one I wanted for myself.

I delivered it last night, filled with some trepidation. What if he didn't like it? What if it wasn't what he expected? I was secretly hoping he didn't want it, then I could keep it above my couch for me to selfishly admire. He loved it! We celebrated the hanging of "Mutual Support" with a few drinks, and much talk about the creative spirit that musicians and visual artists share. It felt good to let go of this one.

Upon leaving I was feeling a bit sad, and asked that he give my *favourite* a good home. He promised he would. Driving home, the sadness turned to a feeling of release, and joy. My favourite painting was hanging in a new home over a lovely fireplace, and it was then I felt great!! A double header on the art front! On to the next one to liberate me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Calendar Girl

Time ticks on...I'm stuck, too many things to do. Never enough time to do them all. Most of all I seem unable to motivate myself to finish the Wolfe Cabin or to work on anything that remotely resembles artwork.

Here it is November already, and I have hardly finished anything of substance. I am so hard on myself, always judging myself harshly, distracted by *other* things. Things like two cats, a horse, and a very high maintenance whippet Austin whom I cook for now. His allergies were preventing him from thriving on any commercially made dog food, veterinary quality or not. House maintenance, yard maintenance, and all the business end of the art business all take their chunk 'o time outta me. All these things require time, energy and organization. Without my daytimer, I'm lost!

I have become focused on the time passing far too fast. Deadlines past, upcoming deadlines, I forget to celebrate my having my painting "A Good Tail Wind" winning a spot on the American Academy of Equine Art's (AAEA) 2009 Calendar contest! I can now combine my time management with a celebration of seeing my work on a quality calendar.