Friday, August 26, 2011

Being a Loose Woman Ain't Easy!

The following is a blog post I did at the Paint My Photo website.  They're having a contest where members can post a painting of theirs in a loose style and possibly win a book by Jean Haines who is to judge the contest.  Since I've been a fan of Jean's since I first saw her work on Wet Canvas, I really wanted to win her book but ------ the following blog post explains it all!

You don't know how many attempts I've made at a loose painting for this month's (August) challenge - my wastebasket overfloweth! 

I've tried loose paintings in watercolor (but I stink at that medium under normal circumstances), then I tried pastel but if you put a brush or a pencil or pastel stick in my hands it's not really going to result in a very loose painting.

I've also tried an acrylic piece that is definitely loose because I used my fingers only but it's certainly not on par with the paintings already submitted for this month's challenge.  I just don't think I'm cut out to be a loose painter.

I've admired the work of Jean Haines for eons and frequently refer to her tutorials on Wet Canvas.  I don't think I'll ever be able to paint as loosely as Jean but I would certainly like to loosen up at least some!  She makes it look so easy, doesn't she?

I think it's too late for me to paint anything for the challenge this month as there are a lot of things going in the next few weeks but I just wanted to say that whoever wins Jean's book certainly deserves it!  If it ain't so easy being a loose woman, it's probably not so easy being a loose man either!

The lion painting above is from ESP at Paint My Photo but I certainly did not do justice to it.  I painted it in acrylic but instead of using a brush or palette knife, I used my fingers and finger nails although my signature was done with a brush.  While it's not a masterpiece and loose may not be easy, it was certainly fun to do!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I just came inside after having the most amazing experience right out on our back porch!  When it got really dry this summer (they say we've been in a drought for the past couple of years) and the flowers just dried up, we put out a hummingbird feeder that I keep full of sugar water.

I was putting out some fresh nectar while ago and got literally mobbed by hummingbirds!  I got a few photos afterward but wish I could share the experience of having those tiny birds fly right up to your face as if to say "who are you?"

 I don't know how much larger I am than they are percentage-wise, but I'm sure it's a lot!  Those tiny little creatures didn't seem at all fazed by this giant though.  As soon as I put up the feeder, they came swarming in, jockeying for position at a yellow feeding "blossoms".  But these little beings are feisty little warriors at heart and will fly at one another to try to keep the nectar all to themselves!

There are times when I wish we had cable, stores and nice restaurants less than 15 miles away and some of the other amenities of city life.  Then there are times when I walk out on any of our porches and know that the lack of those amenities is nothing in comparison to the perks we have right here in the middle of nowhere!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Can Spell Schnauzer! Pastel on Suede Paper

This little guy was the source of some controversy as I had gotten the reference photo from Paint My Photo, a group I belong to.  I had started the painting but gotten busy and put it aside until today when I finished it.  I had intended to finish it in a loose style and enter it into a challenge at PMP but the person who posted the photo had left the site and removed the photos they had posted. 

The challenge is to paint a photo from the site in a loose manner but, as you can see, I failed miserably at looseness with this!  At PMP, all paintings posted must be from a photo also posted on the site.  I guess it's ok that the person left and I can't enter this in the challenge as it's not a best effort.  I began it to play on some suede paper I'd bought and had liked for other paintings but it was difficult to get the colors right on this bright red paper. 

It's another painting that I'm not particularly pleased with but I'm posting just to show you that I am painting. lol!

BTW, it's still ok to post the painting even though the reference has been removed from PMP - it's also posted on MorgueFile.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Dreaded Ginger Cat Portrait

My client picked up the cat portrait yesterday and said it looked just like him.  I had tweaked it a bit more before she arrived (but forgot to get a new photo of it) but I was still a little apprehensive of what she would think when she saw it. 

Whew!  I honestly did the best job I could with what I had to work with, but I wasn't really sure I'd gotten the likeness.  So, I was really pleased that she felt it looked like him.

It's these type of commissions that cause baldness and bad dental health from pulling your hair and gnashing your teeth!

Now off to get ready for Dors visit with maybe a quick painting or two if there's time before she arrives!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Enlarging Photos - SmillaEnlarger

Sue, from Pencilpix blog, was also blogging about poor reference photos so I went searching for a solution.  It seems we pet portrait artists get way too many small images that make it difficult for us to do the best job with our pet portraits.

My search for a solution led me to the SmillaEnlarger, an open-source photo enlarger that is free and works very well.  It's not perfect but I enlarged a small photo from 421 pixels to 1155 pixels with very little loss of detail.

The only problem I had with it was initially trying to install it.  Source Forge software often doesn't usually install the way other software installs and it can be intimidating/confusing to try software from Source Forge.  To help figure it all out, I found the following which should be of help in using this software as it doesn't actually install.  Anyway, if you have problems, go to the following website or search for using instructions on your favorite search engine.

Hope it helps!