Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tempt your fate on Eight

What's happening down there? An opening into an alternate reality? [cue Twilight Zone theme]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Körtét Trio

This is about 7-1/2" x 9", on 140lb cold press watercolor paper. I began by 'gluing' empty and cut-open Mandarin Orange Spice teabags and other teabag scraps onto the paper using Colourfix primer as the adhesive. Next I painted on 2 or 3 coats of white Colourfix primer. I let the whole thing dry overnight.

The underpainting was done with Neoart Aquarelle water-soluble "wax pastel" crayons, washed with water. I liked the way the crayons left a texture on the teabaged areas of the surface. (I dug the crayons out to see if I still liked them. I am trying to resist the urge to buy the ridiculously expensive DS Watercolor Sticks.) I was worried that the waxiness might interfere with the adhesion of the pastels, but it wasn't too bad. Especially after washing with the water. Anyway, nothing a little SpectraFix between layers didn't solve!

The painting is about 85% Panpastels and the rest soft sticks. I like the lost edges, especially on the right, and I like the reflections and the overall crustyness of the surface. I don't like the middle pear or its stem. Both look nervous. C'est la vie.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mortlake It6: Clearly on "A Roll"


Underpainting of gouache. Golden Heavy Gel on the canopy area (applied with a palette knife), overlaid with Colourfix primer in clear.

Learned:
✱ The gel medium dries pretty fast with a fan on it. Sufficiently dry to allow application of the primer. I imagine the gel will continue to 'set up' for a while. It's alive!
✱ Need to be quicker and looser. Still! Also don't need to post every single iteration, do I? Except in the composite. Which looks cool, I admit.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mortlake It5


So then:
this is the challenge
✱ this is the inspiration, JMW Turner's Mortlake Terrace

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wait. What?

Bull's eye! (Click on the image. Kewl!)

Mortlake It4

Outlandish colors? I'll give you outlandish.

Lessons:
✱ Warms advance. Cools recede. Tinker with this at your own risk.

(Reminder: this is the challenge that I am attempting.)
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Composite:


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mortlake It3


Iteration #3 in the challenge. Lower left. What I learned:
- Perspective and distance. What makes this image strong is the vanishing point, to the left of the trees. Don't let that peter out. Or let it get away from control.
- Complimentary colors. Fun, but banal. Try more outlandish combos.
- Speed. Don't dawdle. Crank 'em out.
- Pastemat is the greatest thing going!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Examined: Eight Adaptable Pastel Supports


Try quick-drying, clear Colourfix Primer on these 8 surfaces:






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. Regular Pastel Paper (100 lb.) -- I like some of the colors of the Daler-Rowney pastel paper. I had two different sized pads of this paper spiral-bound at Kinko's, with glassine bound between each page. Then I put a light coat of the clear primer in the "back" (smoother) side of each sheet. Now I have a coupla real nice traveling sketch pads! The primer causes the Daler-Rowney paper to buckle a bit. But I can flatten it after the clear primer dries with heavy books. These pads are just fine for sketching. (Try the same prep-work with Canson paper too, a paper which is, in my opinion, impossible to use without a coat of Colourfix primer.)
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. Heavy Japanese print paper (estimated at 100-140 lb.) -- With the heavenly surface texture and the beautiful deckle edges (and your 'image' going all the way to the edge) this makes a very nice 'floating' piece framed. If you apply the primer carefully with a damp "foam" brush, you can retain most of the paper's texture.
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. Saint-Armand 'Colours' watercolor paper (140 lb.) -- This is Canadian paper. Outstanding colors and texture. Nice edges if you want to make your own torn deckles.
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. Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, 'Rough grain', 300 lb. -- Beautiful surface, real lush paper. Love the funky bumpiness, which is retained even after application of the primer.
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. Handmade one-of-a-kind paper -- We have a papermaking and book arts school/studio here in town that has workshop-made paper for sale on occasion. You can get some really nifty textures, colors, shapes, and sizes. Look around for handmade paper where you are. It can be mounted on museum board if it's too flimsy. Again, apply the primer carefully with a damp "foam" brush.
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. Museum Board or "Illustration Board" -- in "extra heavy weight", usually 40-ply. This is the ideal surface for me. I love this. I use this good board as the base for any and all of my other outlandish surface treatments and then finish with the Colourfix primer. A frame shop will cut big sheets of this for you with their mat cutter, into any sizes you wish.
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. Acid-free Foamboard -- I didn't like this surface. It bends too easily for me: too fragile. But the light weight is a plus, if you are plein-airing or traveling.
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. Ampersand Hardbord or masonite board -- Might need a few coats of gesso or something under the primer, but why not? I have used it successfully. If you are starting with a watercolor or gouache underpainting, you can begin on their "Aquabord".

Plein air TIP:  Bring a jar of clear Colourfix primer along on your plein air painting trip. So if you run out of Wallis or Uart paper, you can prepare your own surface using 300lb watercolor paper or board. Never be without good sanded paper again!

More Info:
 -- Colourfix primer how-to tip sheet (PDF file)
 -- Product Test: Art Spectrum Colourfix primer, from Benoit Phillipe on My French Easel
 -- Creating Pastel Surfaces...The Products and Techniques! is a video from Fine Arts in Rochester
 -- Colourfix Primer on Watercolor Paper is a thread in WetCanvas

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Did I leave anything out? Are there any good surfaces you've used with Colourfix primer? Click on COMMENTS, below, and tell us!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Milky Way


Shane Pickett, Harsh and Arid the hotter days summers.* He is one of the artists in the show Culture Warriors: Australian Indigenous Art Triennial, sponsored by the National Gallery of Art of Australia. Lately (with fewer numbers of works) at the AU Museum at the Katzen Center.

. See all the images in the show here. (Each image has a wonderful audio commentary, in an Australian accent. Explore!)
. See the Post's review here.
. Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at UVa in Charlottesville
. Another wonderful Shane Pickett image here, entitled Calling for Rain - the Wanyarang

OUTSTANDING stuff! All of it!

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* this pic courtesy of Indegenart: The Mossenson Galleries, in Subiaco, Western Australia

Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Cereal Killer'

Delightful oeuvre of Terry Border. Click on the image at left to see seventeen more of these vignettes. Tee heeee!
You gotta pay close attention to the titles, too. 'Stud Muffin'? Oh yeah.
(Terry Border's blog is here.) Christmas idea: buy his book!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Eye Yi Yikes!


Aren't these Eyescapes nifty? Artist = "Rankin" (one-word name I guess, ala 'Cher') a UK art, advertising photographer.
Click on the eyes, above, to see the full series.

Thursday, December 3, 2009