Monday, November 16, 2009

Some of the Booty

I had a great time at the Art of the Carolina's trade show and got some really fantastic deals on art supplies. But, oddly enough, this storage unit is probably my favorite purchase.

I've been wanting some kind of storage with drawers to hold all those tubes of paint, the tons of both pastel and colored pencils and all those other supplies that you want close at hand but off your work surface.

This unit is perfect - it has casters which I removed so it would fit under my monster work table and holds more art supplies than I have at the moment! lol The drawers aren't large enough to hold paper and other supports but I have another storage unit for that.

So, I have it tucked up under the "Monster" and everything is right at hand just as I wanted it to be!

We have been unusually busy this past weekend and not at home so I haven't gotten to use any of the art stuff I bought. Oh, wait, I did buy a new watercolor brush and played with it a bit this morning but just haven't had the time to get serious with the pan pastels that I got in last week or the UART paper or Ampersand panels that I bought at the show. I wish I'd had triple the amount of money that I spent as there were so many bargains there - cheaper than ordering online without the shipping costs! Of course they added our state tax but it all still ended up being very reasonable compared to what I usually have to pay.

My husband agreed that I got some real bargains but also commented that the prices just pointed out that there must be a huge mark-up on art supplies. Well, I figure that we rarely go out to dinner, we don't go to movies or out to bars or concerts, etc. so it's really a pretty cheap form of entertainment when all is said and done!

Don't worry if you don't see me for a while - I'll be in the studio playing with my new toys!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Art of the Carolinas Trade Show

This will be another day when I don't get to paint because of time. I'm going to the Art of the Carolinas trade show put on by Jerry's Artarama today and I'm very excited. It's the first one I've ever attended although we went to one in Boone, NC put on by Cheap Joe's Art Supplies and had a blast.

The show runs today from 9 am until 5:30 pm at the North Raleigh Hilton and since it's Saturday, I'm hoping to avoid the insane traffic that occurs on weekdays. Of course, I'm sure the trade show will be busy as it draws people from all over. It will also be going on tomorrow from 10 until 3.

There are quite a few vendors listed and I'm particularly interested in the UART booth as I've heard their pastel/colored pencil paper is very nice. It's a sanded paper and I believe it comes in several grits so you can choose the one that's right for you. I wanted to try out the different grits and see which one I like the best. Even though this paper comes from an industrial supplier of regular sandpaper, the art version is acid-free and suitable for long-lived works of art.

So, although I really don't need any art supplies at the moment, I'm sure I'll find something I have to have once I get there! lol

I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quickie Pan Pastel

I'd ordered some of the fairly new pan pastels and they arrived late yesterday afternoon. I wish our delivery people would come earlier in the day because all the companies seem to arrive about the time I have to start dinner, feed the critters and do the barn chores! No time to play with any new toys!

But, I managed to paint the attached and it only took a few minutes! The most time-consuming part of of the experience was unscrewing all the colors so I could see what I had!

Anyway, I know this isn't great art (just look at that crooked horizon!) - it's all free-hand (from a photo from Morgue File, btw) and it's on a scrap piece of cheap watercolor paper! There's not much layering on this because of the time factor but I can tell that they will layer beautifully.

So, what do I think about the pan pastels?

I really, really like them. I'm someone who hates the feel of pastel on my hands and have even had some cracking of the skin on my hands when I've used soft pastels in the past. I don't like working in gloves so the pastel pencils and these pan pastels are perfect for me!

I got the portrait set because it seemed to have the colors that I thought I'd use most for pet portraits. I added a single black because the portrait set didn't have black in it but I think I could have done without it. There's a dark umber and a very dark blue that I think would mix a good black. However, I was going by experience and past advice about not really being able to mix colors in pastel so was trying to get the exact colors I thought I'd need.

I was really impressed with the smooth lay down of color and with how far the colors go on the support. I got a really good collection of the Softt tools and sponges with my set and I like the way they work. I've heard that detail isn't possible with the pans but I'd think you would be able to get quite a bit of detail with these tools and some improvision (I think the Style Stix would even work to put color down precisely). But, even with regular soft pastels, you still need the pastel pencils at times for detail.

I was also impressed about how well the pastel clung to the paper and how little dust is produced when working with them. While I admit that I didn't have the tooth of the paper completely filled, I was still delighted to find that what I did have didn't fall off when the back was thumped hard!

I'm anxious to try these on the proper support and with a more detailed subject but I have to go out today to help a client find a frame (yaaaaay! more art stores and she's buying lunch!) and I'm nearly finished with the commission I spoke of in another post so want to complete that.

BTW, I tried Teresa's advice for getting motivated to paint and it does help! (see the comments under the Painter's Funk post). Of course, new art supplies work wonders too! lol

Monday, November 9, 2009

Painter's Funk

I hate to admit it, but I've been in kind of a painter's funk lately. I guess that's similar to writer's block but, whatever it is, it's not fun!

Actually, I think it may be due to the fact that I feel a little overwhelmed these days. So much going on and so little time it seems. I actually have a stack of photo references that I really want to paint but I look at them and then put them away again. I can't even decide what medium I want to use for them!

I'm working on the cutest commission too and even though the dog inspires me and I really want to paint it, I start then end up wiping off what I've done. I've gotten a ways into it in both watercolor and pastel then seem to hit a brick wall and end up just throwing down the brush/pastel in frustration! This is my last commission before Christmas too and I really need to get it done and in the mail before the holiday rush.

So, how do we get past this? I know that I would just let it naturally run its course at any other time but this commission has to be done soon and I need to snap out of it like today! However, it seems that if I try to force it, I just mess up and end up spending more time and effort on any painting I'm not in the mood to do.

On the other hand, if I feel that I still have time, I'll put it off until I absolutely have to do it and I may still not be in the mood. Grrrrr!

So,if you have them, how do you handle these times of artistic funk?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dough Art - The Rejects!

Well, it was my first try in probably 30 some years! Don't laugh too hard.

I made Mary's (DoughDitties) dough art recipe and it made a luscious, smooth dough that was easy to work with. I want to state that my failure was certainly not her fault!

The two ornaments I've posted were just sloppy work on my part. In case you can't tell, one is a bell and the other is a candle! (They're wrapped in plastic wrap to keep the grease off my scanner so forgive the shine.)

I did make two other ornaments that I'm very pleased with though but I can't really post them yet. One is for an ornament exchange at a forum I belong to and some of the members follow my blog. Since I don't know who I will be sending the ornament to, I don't want to give away any secrets here!

And besides, the ornaments that did turn out still have to be painted - I just hope that goes well! Guess I'll find out tomorrow.

Oh, Mary! Does the dough keep well? I've wrapped it in plastic wrap then put it into a plastic bag with the air squeezed out. Then I put it into the fridge - will it keep for a while just in case I mess up the painting part and have to re-do the ornaments?