Saturday, June 30, 2012

Floral WIP Painting in New Oils

Well, I started another oil painting this morning and got this far before deciding to do a WIP (work in progress) of it.

This is a painting of some orchids and I know the pencil drawing is a little light so hope you can see the actual flowers well enough.  As you can see, the background is pretty much finished although I may tweak it a bit later.  I'm very pleased with it so far and it was a dream to paint as blending is easy as is layering lighter colors on top of dark ones.

The only things I'm not sure about are the leaf in the bottom left corner and that stem beside it so I may take them out.  I'll wait and think about it a bit more first though.

My DH, CiCi (our Maltese) and I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday where I got some paint brushes, a nice canvas and this cradled panel with canvas texture from Ampersand.  This one happens to be 12 inches square as I knew I wanted a square format for these orchids.  I usually love Ampersand products although they're very pricey but I'm not real sure about this one.  The paint seemed to drag more on this than the canvas I used for the wave painting shown yesterday.

Which brings me to the brushes I bought - I had seen several recommendations for the Robert Simmons synthetic line which are very reasonable and I've used them before for acrylics & liked them.  However, these seem almost too soft to use with the oil paints.  Of course, it could have been the Ampersand surface instead.  Anyway, I'm reserving judgement on both for right now.

So, I'll eventually try other brushes and surfaces -  Jiminy! a painting supply addiction is almost as costly as a drug addiction!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Experimenting with Water Miscible Oils

Some time ago I was asked about painting a pet portrait in oil and I said no because of the odor, the mess and frankly, the cost.  Then I remembered some water miscible oils I'd briefly used many, many years ago and thought I'd give them another try.

Of course the tubes I'd used way back then were dried up and harder than brick bats (what's a brick bat anyway?) so I immediately did a little online research and placed an order for some Lukas Berlin water miscible oil paints.  They arrived yesterday and I did the little painting shown above.  Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but it did give me a good indication of how I'd like these oils.  (I do!)

Because the order was being shipped via that crazy UPS to local Post Office method that took nearly 2 weeks the last time, I wasn't really prepared with canvas or brushes.  I'd hoped to get to Hobby Lobby or Michael's to pick up any supplies I needed as I wanted to see them in person.  But, surprise!  here's the order and I wanted to get started painting so I found two brushes left over from my oil painting days and a small (5x7 inch) stretched canvas.  The wave seemed to have the perfect proportions for the little canvas so I started painting and finished it pretty much in one sitting (alla prima).

I'm someone who really gets inspired playing with the different mediums and I started out painting in oil in high school art waaaaaay back in the 60's so painting in oils again felt very comfortable.  These water miscible oils are great too.  There's virtually no smell and the clean up is quick and easy.  As with any other medium, there is a downside to using them - they still take up to a week or more to dry to the touch and 6 months to a year to dry/cure enough to varnish.  However, many artists are opting not to varnish their paintings so I may follow their example (which would have been heresy in my early years of painting!)  I know I have to relearn some techniques, prepare to be patient with the drying time and practice, practice, practice but I think I'll really enjoy using these paints.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Watercolor and Gouache Floral

I'm still playing around with watercolor and gouache and thought I'd try a flower painting instead of an animal this time.  These are some cosmos flowers from a reference photo by Debbie Byess on Paint My Photo.  It's a work in progress and is watercolor and gouache on Arches Hot Pressed watercolor paper.

I still have some shading to do on the stems and some additions of the ferny leaves.  Also, the background needs some more work.  While it looks black here, it's really a mixture of various greens, blues and the pink and maroon of the flowers.  Since I'll want to use this primarily for prints (if it ends up good enough!), I want the background to look flatter and more varied than it appears right now.

While I've got you all looking, I'd like to put in a plug for my friend, Sue Clinker from PencilPix blogspot.  She has a wonderful entry in a "Best of British Drawing Contest" sponsored by Derwent and the winner will be determined by votes.  Her painting is of her husband trying to bar-b-que in the rain (which I gather is pretty typical of British weather much of the time).  Here is a link to the contest:

You can vote for up to 20 entries and I do hope you'll find Sue's entry and will vote for it as I think she's done a wonderful job on this painting.  It's called "Typical British BBG" by Sue Clinker.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Watercolor Lucie

I've been exploring pet portraits in watercolor for some time and really like the medium of watercolor and gouache (opaque watercolor) but I haven't had a lot of time to experiment with it lately.  Recently an online friend posted some photos of a little service dog trainee that she was keeping and I couldn't resist painting her.  I also felt that she would be a perfect subject for a watercolor portrait.

My husband is usually my best critic and he thought the painting lacked enough contrast (first photo) so I went back in and deepened some of the color.  I think I like the first version best but it's done now so I plan to leave it alone.  What do you think?  Comments and critiques are always welcome.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Playing With Frames

I've been doing some painting lately but really have nothing to show at this point.  I've also been playing around with making my own frames and the frame shown here is an example.

I've mentioned before that I'd like to get away from having to mat and frame my work under glass as having art framed is so expensive.  Even frames by themselves without glass are also expensive so I decided to try to build my own.  The frame on the left was a relatively simple design but dressed up with the addition of a little decorative moulding.  I don't have a lot of fancy woodworking equipment so the frame was made using a simple hand saw and a miter box.

The trick was to get all the sides even with the miters cut so there would be a perfect fit.  That's not at all easy with a hand saw and I did end up cutting more than one of some of the pieces before getting that perfect fit.  I even measured more than twice before cutting!

Anyway, I don't think I'll go into the framing business - at least without investing in a good miter saw, but I did have fun making a couple of frames!