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I have been creating things since I was old enough to hold a pencil, a crayon or a needle. You may be surprised what you find here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A day at the Lake

Yesterday was a great day.  Our whole department was invited to spend the day at our bosses island retreat as part of a team building day.  I took the opportunity to take my easel and paints.

This painting was created in about an hour over the course of the day.  It was challenging on many levels. One, I never paint buildings (all those angles defeat me). Two, I had an audience';  Granted they were generous and kind. And three, I was trying water soluble oils for the first time ever, not that this was a challenge in itself, but I was working with just six colors, three primaries, white, black and sap green.  The most limited pallet I have ever worked with.

At the end of the day, I declared it done and gave it to our host as a thank you for his generosity.  Not too bad for my fourth time out doing plein air.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

54 Donald Street-work continues

Continueing to work on this painting.  Refining areas, adding and changing as I go, trying to find a look that pleases me.  And of course, lots of help from the cats and helpful comments from hubby.

Dessie, my youngest cat, decided to investigate what I was doing and managed to walk through the ultramarine blue paint.  This started a catch the cat chase, which was made more difficult by the fact that having stuff in her back paw was spooking her and she didn't want to be caught, she just wanted to get away from it all.

We finally caught her, and hubby held her while I a) cleaned the paint off the floors so that they other cats wouldn't walk in it, b) covered my pallet with paper towels to avoid the same fate with the other cats while cleaning Dessies paw and finally c) cleaned Dessies paw using brush cleaning soap, paper towels and warm water.  I have to hand it to her, for a cat that is often teeth and claws when she isn't getting her own way, she was very calm and let me really scrub between her toes for nearly five minutes.  Although her white paws have a light blue tint, I think we got enough off she won't get sick.

As you can see, I have added the day lilies, highlighted the bush on one side, and the ivy on the other.  I also completely redid the roses and are, at the moment, the feature I am happiest with.  Out shopping the other day, I found some miniature brushes on sale for half price at the Hobby Lobby.  They saved my roses, I was really getting frustrated with them before.  I have even done more work on them since this shot was taken.

I am changing the color of the chair from teal to yellow, it will need more work, but I am happier with this color.  I really like yellow and don't mind having a lot of it in this painting. The wood area in the background has been enhanced, adding groove lines, texture and brightened with a glaze made of burnt sienna and cadmium yellow light. 

What I plan to do before I finish, at least at the moment, is to complete the chair, work more on the geraniums and day lilies in the front. Maybe work more on the gazing ball, not sure about that yet.  Haven't decided if I need to add more of something above the chair in the empty area or not.  It's a busy painting but perhaps a garden sign or something would be a nice touch.  Any thoughts?

To compare both versions go to WIP.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

54 Donald Street - work in progress

Way too much glare on this photo due to wet paint, but I promise a better one when it's done.

Early this spring, I had occasion to walk down a street where I usually just drive. This gave me the opportunity to admire the gardens and plantings along the way. This particular garden struck me because of the chair holding the bucket of geraniums, and the sun on the back wall. The chair was the same color as the wall, and I so wanted to remove it from the garden and paint it color that would show it off. But since it was not my garden, and I am sometimes a sensible human being, I just kept walking.

About a month later I went back with may camera and spent some time photographing the garden from the street. It had lots of wonderful elements in it like the boots and the planter off to the side, but as a painting it was going to need more.

Over the past few months, I have been observing gardens along the way and have grabbed quick camera phone snapshots of various elements that I think will work in making this garden still life. And as I paint, I have added items straight from my imagination, like the shrub on the right and the ivy on the left which I felt was needed to balance the painting. More flowers to come, more detail everywhere and a lot more time to be spent on developing shadows, reflections and highlights. But I though you might like to see that I am still painting. It's taking me longer as I am working on larger pieces and only get a couple of hours a few days a week.

My painting today was cut short by one female cat who jumped up and walked through the ultramarine blue paint. I thought I grabbed her in time, but when I put her down, I discovered that she was tracking dark blue paint with one paw. And of course, now she had to be caught, and the goop in between her toes was scaring her so she didn't want to be caught.

Thanks to help from hubby, he managed to capture her and hold her while I cleaned up the paint on the floors. Then it was off to the kitchen to try to get the paint off the cat. I knew I couldn't use turp, so I grabbed my container of Master's Brush Cleaner which is water based. After lots of soaping, scrubbing and rinsing we finally got to a point where no more paint was coming off on the towel, although her white fur is light blue on that foot. I was absolutely amazed how still she held during the entire process. Cats hate it when you touch their feet, and she doesn't like to be held for more than 30 seconds at a time. We gave her lots of praise when it was over, and she doesn't seem to be any worse for the wear. She also isn't trying to lick the foot, so I am comfortable that she won't be ingesting stuff that's bad for her from this adventure. And that's life here on the hill, one adventure after another.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Day Lily - Finally done!

I finally finished this painting, although I may need to photograph it one more time as the original is a bit lighter in color (the day lily is more yellow than orange). I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Link
If you have been following my blog, you will remember that I originally posted this on April 17th as a work in progress. You can see the original post here. To get the colors right, I put on many layers of glazing. There were times when I didn't think it would ever come together. Have I mentioned that patience is not my forte? That may be why I might be more suited to direct painting than this particular style. But the end result is amazing...the transparency in the colors and the glow that seems to come from the flower was worth the effort. Still, I'm not sure if I will do this on a regular basis, probably only when I am seeking a certain effect.

I have another painting on the easel now and this one is a real challenge. It's a garden still life inspired by a garden I saw when walking last spring. Of course, being who I am, my painted garden will have elements from the one I was inspired by, and things added as well. I have been busy taking reference photographs this week. Hopefully I'll have something to share relatively soon.

Thank you for dropping by, I hope you'll share your thoughts with a comment. I'd love to hear from you.