Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cajun House

This is about 6-1/2" x 11" on textured print paper glued to illustration board, sealed with clear Colourfix primer. (The edges are very raggedy, which looks nifty.) It's done almost entirely in panpastels, over a bright reddish magenta underpainting.

The scene was difficult because the whole ensemble was back-lit. I wasn't sure how to deal with the lighting and the value range. The sides of the buildings facing me were actually very much darker than this.

I am going to do this scene again, larger, and with more sky and trees. I like the symmetry of the trees/sky shapes that I created (with Photoshop) at the top of the pic below. I also like the overall shape and the proportions much better. It echos the centeredness of the walk and bridge and door line.

Here is the reference photo of the old Louisiana homestead, and another angle on the house. Both pics are very much photoshopped.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

To knead, to merge = impastare

I made the mistake of buying the most perfect pear yesterday at the grocery store . . . More experiments with impasto and layering with transparent gels. This one is done with Golden's Heavy Gel (Gloss). I put it on only the pear shape. It dried both quickly and nicely transparent. But the glossiness was trouble. I had to add a layer of clear primer to get any hold at all, which obscured the transparency. Live and learn! (It comes in a matte version. Must try too.)

It's about 6-1/2" x 8" on Japanese print paper that I glued to a piece of cardboard. I like the raggedy edges.

This next one (below!) is done with Talens' Heavy Gel Medium Matt, applied to the pear shapes and to the tabletop area. It dried quickly too and semi-transparent and only needed a coat of fixative in order for it to hold pigment. This medium is a 'keeper'!

It's 8" x 10" on a piece of peachy-toned illustration board, sealed with clear Colourfix primer.

Both of these were done with about 90% panpastels and about 10% with very soft sticks. (The more I use the pans the more I look forward to the dark set that is coming.) First I laid in the big shapes with soft pastel sticks. Then I palette-knifed on the gel, on top of that first layer, which picked up and spread the pigment.

The pans were rubbed into the texture a bit. Last I put the final touches on with the soft sticks, just flitting over the tops of the textured surface. Interesting effect.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Autre haute butte

This is just a very quick sketch. It's about 6" x 9" on "blue haze" Colourfix coated pastel paper. It's done with almost all panpastels over a real messy underpainting of pastels and watercolors washed with alcohol and water mixed together. (Big mess!) It's super unfinished and just dashed off. No thought given to composition. The focal point is smack dab middle. Sorry!

I am surprised to say this, since noted experts disagree, but I don't like the Colourfix paper with the panpastels. It's too slick and slippery. No grab. But the Colourfix primer on paper? Perfect! Maybe I got an old mistreated piece of paper . . .

Bonus PIC! --> Queen Elizabeth II "decorously dropping the puck at centre ice for the ceremonial opening face-off in a pre-season friendly between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks", October 7, 2002. (Toronto Star, 7Oct02, p.A01) This pic makes me smile every time I look at Mike Ricci's face.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

There isn't really a Rural Alternative

These drawings are from my sketchbook, done during a recent outing to the pick-your-own farm just south of Poolesville.

That's the place where, due to the deleterious effects of not wearing proper headgear, folks tend to (inevitably) pick about five times far larger quantities of whatever fruit or vegetable they initially came out to get.

The result is that the home canning supply industry gets a welcomed boost. And everyone gets a jar of strawberry jam! Woot!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We are all in this together, remember

This is about 7" x 8" on pastel paper. The sketch is in PR Velvet Black ink using my pointy old Esterbrook fountain pen. I washed the lines a bit with the waterbrush, then came back later with the panpastels.

These are a few of my fellow commuters. We are all in this together. Damnnit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shorty cakes! Yes!

Strawberry Shortcake

makes 8 servings
2 quarts (32 oz) fresh strawberries
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 12-oz tube Pillsbury Golden Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits
1 7-oz can whipped cream

Wash and hull the strawberries, then slice them into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar, toss, and set aside. [Ed. note: this seems like an awful lotta sugar to me but whatta I know. Maybe this is the place to use some of my homemade jam . . . ] Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, sprinkle the tops with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and bake according to package directions. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then slice them in half. Place the bottom half of each bisciut on a plate and spray with some whipped cream. [Ed. note: substitute one generous spoonful of Vanilla LaCrème Yogurt for this lower dollop of whipped cream.] Spoon the berries, including some juices, over the whipped cream. Place the other half of the biscuit on top and serve. [Ed. note: substitute raspberries. Delicious!]
(From Real Simple magazine, July05)

Bonus Link:
Bikes@Vienna for your recumbent and semi-recumbents, or more properly called: Crank Forward. Yappeeee!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Zen Garden

I trust the leaves are a bit better on this one. But they were hard.

It's 7-1/2" x 11", on illustration board which is beveled along the edges, so the ground colors go down the bevel, right to the edges. It's prepared with clear Colourfix primer. Underpainting done with pastel sticks, washed with alcohol. And sealed again with clear primer.

I used all pans, about four layers. I used regular pastel sticks for the stems.

The source pic is below. I took it myself, so this one isn't "after" anyone else's work.

I might be done with pear plan, finally.


This is 8" x 10" on illustration board coated with primer, as usual. And also done with a few layers, and all pans, except for the stems. IRL this is more hard-edged and marky. Not so dreamy.

The underpainting is below. I did that with gouache.

It is after a Creevy oil stick demo painting on page 167 of his book.

I am not sure yet if I really like the pans. I will persevere.

Two useful links, from Donna Aldridge:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

At-cha, at-cha

This is very small, about 7" x 4", on illustration board. I experimented with thick layers of transparent Liquin Light Gel/Wingel mixed with pastel 'in solution'. It's interesting but not as much fun as the flatter scratchier texture on the background. This is clear Colourfix primer on top of both the dried gel smears and a very bright overall underpainting.

Again, I used all pans except for the stems and the pink fire in the top background. Despite the small scale, I stayed away from the weeny applicators. Bravo to me.

Next step? Dunno. Mix the primer with the (hopefully) quick-drying acrylic gel that's on the way. Yeah! Big mess.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oddly schody

This is from a ballpoint pen sketch that I bought from a street artist in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia.

It is 6" x 9" done entirely with pans. It's on white Wallis "professional grade" paper. This is the first piece I have done with the pans where I used the little eyeshadow applicators. I don't like them nor do I like the dot-diddlyness of the marks I made with them. Nah.

Need to stick to the more expansive, less fussy gestures/tools.

Keep a sharp eye

This to-do list is adapted from Donna Aldridge's post here:

• Look for the various PLANES on the different parts of the subject.
• Notice where the LIGHT is “strong” and where the SHADOWS are “strong”.
• Pay attention to the HARD, MEDIUM AND SOFT EDGES.
Look for the WARMS AND COOLS within any given HUE.
• Don't let things get picky/fussy---but instead look for making or keeping INTERESTING VARIATIONS.
• Pay attention not only to what is happening within any of the objects but rather look at what is happening on 'EITHER SIDE OF THE BORDER' everywhere within the painting.
• ----and then just keep looking at the painting over all and what it needs to make it striking!

(This pear piece is about 6" x 9", done entirely with pans, except for the stem. It's on white Wallis "professional grade" paper. As usual I did a bold and wild underpainting in bright complimentary colors using sticks and washed with alcohol. And then I promptly covered it up.)

Bonus Ovie PIC!
Ovie after the 2009 NHL Awards Ceremony. Posing with his second Pearson, his second Richard, and his second Hart. The hardware he does not have is the Tall Cylindrical One. [sigh] That's the one that comes with a parade. A parade that we have never had. "Personal stats is good, personal award is good. I just want to win one award and that’s the Stanley Cup.” Amen, Ovie!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Suppose it's a sapote

This is about 8" x 10" on Saint-Armand Colours watercolor paper, coated with clear Colourfix primer.

It's done with all pans except for the stem and a few dots of white on the imaginary green fruit.

The fruit is covered with a layer of Gamblin Galkyd gel which isn't dry yet and which I ought to throw or give away because it stays sticky for weeks. I put more pastel layers on top of it, but it's still too tacky to put in the scanner.

The background has some layers of pastel with 'Acrylic Fluid Matt Medium', which is watery, but at least has the courtesy to dry.

I have some transparent acrylic matt gel on the way which might be just the ticket for (a) transparent layering, and (b) quick drying. And by 'quick' I mean in less than a day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just a cute butte

I had this up on the blog before, very briefly a few days ago, but snatched it back off because I looked so lame and cartoony. But the fact is that I like it. So there you are.

It's about 7-1/2" x 11-1/2" and on Fabriano Artistico 300lb. Rough watercolor paper. It has so many layers of pastel and fixative that it's shiny.

It's after an oil painting by Eva van Rijn called 'Red Buttes' --- that was in an exhibition called 'Painted Journeys' at the Museum of Northern Arizona. Which may have been modeled on something wonderful in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Athos, Aramis, and . . . Malus

This one is a little more grounded on a tabletop. Whew! The deeper question here is: when will I be able to get over my infatuation with pears? Is it the shape that so sings for me? Dunno. Maybe with this apple that snuck in here I can start to edge over into other fruits and vegetables . . .

This is 8" x 10" and done with all pans, except for the pear stems. I used nice illustration board that I had coated (two layers) with white Colourfix primer.

I did a gouache/watercolor underpainting in complimentary colors (well, almost) and sealed that with clear Colourfix primer.

I used the new SpectraFix Fixative between the layers of pastels. There are about four or five layers. (I am still not sure how to use this stuff to compliment my "color symphonics". Are you supposed to shake it before use or not? Are you supposed to spray with the piece horizontal or vertical? How far away? I shake and spray horizontal and get bubbles and drips, which -- lucky for me -- fit right in with what I am doing.)

The underpainting and the source pic is below.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pears on the Plains, Twister Bearing Down . . . !!

More pans, but I am not as happy with this one. The background is too bland/blended. Need to have the sticks out at the same time, so I can do some more satisfying, more dense and scumbled applications on the background.

I really like the Sofftart.com Flat Shaper tool. It's easier for me to use than the mini-palettes. Flatter? Stronger?

(Another take on these three pears.)

Monday, June 8, 2009

I was Wingeling it.

In this one I experimented with some impasto gels and other sticky stuff to create texture and layers, as per Creevy, my idol:
•Acrylic Fluid Matt Medium
•Galkyd Gel
•Liquin Light Gel (formerly Wingel)
They all were messy and the Galkyd and the Liquin dried very slowly. The matt medium was too liquid to really do much impastoing. I am going to have to try that on another piece all alone to really get a notion.

The Galkyd and the Liquin, both clear and sticky, did really make some pronounced impasto texture on the base. (You can see some by the Galkyd on the blue background, especially on the left and around the pears.) Both were hard to control with a brush, so I believe that a palette knife is the answer here. (Plus I won't need gamsol to clean a knife!) Next time I want to really try to do layering with these, instead of with the fixitive. But they take so long to dry, you have to be patient. We'll see. (The Galkyd is still sticky, about twelve hours later. Hmmm. Not very practical.)

This Three-Pear is about 8-1/2" X 12" on white paper, using mostly pans and a few sticks at the end, for concentrated color. The more I use these pans the more I miss a good fat selection of darks. Which is on the way. Whew.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pans Can Fly

Here are some pears with my new PanPastels! I had always thought of these with a bit of suspicion, since the whole technique -- application with foam pads -- seemed (to me) to demand or force blending blandness. I was inspired to reconsider when a colleague who needed to get her looseness back decided to do a series of paintings using the pans! Whoa! If she chose this medium and these tools to get loose then it was time for me to take a look.

I ordered the Landscape set, which has some oddball colors in it. It is a 20-pan subset of the now-up-to 80 pan full set. Q: do I need the full set? Can I stay loose with these? They really are fun.

In any event, this pear piece is about 6" x 8" on that nifty Japanese print paper. The underpainting is shown here, done in watercolors and gouache, sealed with clear Colourfix primer. I used about four layers of pan pastels, layered with my new casein fixative, which seems just fine. In some cases the fixative goes on really thick and wet, which I like.

You can make fine marks with the pans and pads, but I wasn't getting them chunky enough for some areas where I needed heft, so chose to do the pear stems (and some other spots here and there) with regular very soft sticks. In the case of the stems, with a new color for me -- Schmincke Quin Violet -- a real fat strong red burgundy. Nice color!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From Fine to Not

This is about 4" x 7" on kraft paper, originally done with water-soluble PR Velvet Black ink in a vintage Esterbrook fountain pen with a lovely fine point. I really liked the fineness of the lines in this sketch and so pulled it out to demolish with pastels.

And then once I was finished with the color I sprayed it with my new SpectraFix Original Milk Casein Formula fixative. (Ingredients: Casin, Denatured Alcohol, Water). This promptly and instantly blurred all the nice fine pen lines so that they became almost big gloppy puddles. Que sera sera! I need more Esterbrooks!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Our very own!

Visit Artomatic this year --> May 29 – July 5, 2009

How to get there - it's right at the Navy Yard Metro
More info