Saturday, January 24, 2009

Don't Walk

Don't Walk ... or Don't Wok, as Angelia thought I said. I'm having the hardest time getting back into the watercolor groove lately. It's all the rain and grey skies that make me paint even a photo of Chinatown in California as if it were dreary. Pooh.

This is the reference photo, given to me by Susan after she realized that if she didn't give me something I was going to drool all over her Chinatown photos and ruin them. It was that row of color that got me and gets me, still. I was a coward, though, and left out all but three of the figures. Maybe next time I'll have more guts. Everything turned out to be much more complex than I thought it would be when I started! And really -- I should have left out the car, I think.

Oh well. That was my Saturday morning. I hope yours has been wonderful!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Geeky Girl

Yep. I just can't resist a good techie gadget any more. When PC's first came out, I remember VERY CLEARLY saying, "No way am I ever getting one of those. Who needs one? What can it do that I can't do on paper? What a crazy waste of time and money." I resisted for a very long time.

Sigh. And then I bought a Vic 20 with a cassette drive. After that it was game on.

Back to the present....

Okay, so I figured out that I'd already saved enough money* to get that iPod touch I mentioned in an earlier post. I actually started saving in November when I got really mad at my brand new computer that crashed on me. It has been sitting in the closet waiting for me to take it to a True Geek to check out. I've just been so personally ANGRY at the darn thing that whenever I've started to get it out of the closet, I can't even talk to it and have to just slam the door. Yeah. My computer crashing has been a personal affront. Thank goodness I have the old model that still works well enough. SO I'd started saving for a new one. That's how mad I was. I considered buying another new computer rather than getting the NEW broken one fixed. I was that disgusted. **

Wanting a new techie toy took my mind off of my anger and made me get the computer out of the closet and get it to the True Geek who is looking at it now. And I took that saved up money and bought the new gadget. And right off, I downloaded the Brushes app, which turned out to be way harder to use than I thought or than that sweet little video shows. Still, I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Just blending colors is a trick, and it takes a whole different mind set. But it sure was nice to have it with me on the way home from work the other evening when the sunset was just spectacular. I pulled over and did this ... and was happy.

*I am a cash person, so if I'm going to get a new toy, I have to save for it. It is amazing how fast you can save when you have something in particular in mind ...
** It is doubtful that I would have actually purchased another computer without having the crashed model checked out. I mean, there's like a 95% chance that I wouldn't have. I'm not frivolous, just stubborn. Really.
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Monday, January 12, 2009


Step two ... or is it three?... of the gigantic pink flower. I realize that I tend to start out well, but then get to a point in a painting where I'm not following a plan -- I'm just REACTING to ... to... something. I don't know what. Sometimes I don't even bother with the good start, I just go straight into reaction.

Right now what we see on this one is still just underwear, I guess, and there's a lot to do on it. You may never see this again, though, because there's a jar of gesso sitting nearby just waiting on me to say, "that's enough of THAT!"
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Who Crawled?

Well, who sketch-crawled today? I'd planned on it, but then had to work this morning before WC class, and then this afternoon it was raining* so bad that, again, any painting would have just been blobs of grey. Maybe I'll make this a sketch crawl week, and really try to get out there.

And I would have had a really good time sketch crawling if I had an iPod Touch with the brushes app ... ooooh, do I ever have technology-envy on that one! I'm starting to save my pennies today. Give me a few months ... Just watch this great video:

There's even a Flickr group!

Sigh. I'm going to go try and mix up some pink paint now. Wish me luck.

*Rain, rain, rain -- boy do we ever need it! On the sidebar I'm celebrating by adding a link to a site that updates our favorite lake's level daily -- now that we're getting rain the lake levels aren't quite so depressing. It actually shows that it is up, are you ready, 4.2 feet in the past 24 hours. Yes. That is FEET. That's 50 inches. That's 128 centimeters. That's a fair amount of water!

P.S. I just found this link about the moon. If you don't have clouds where you are ...

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Improper Use Of Gesso

My bet is that this is NOT the way to go about doing an acrylic painting. I never was much good at rules, and will probably reap the consequences of breaking them with this one.

I forgot to show you my initial sketch, which I've been pondering over for the past few days. If you look closely at this, you can see the light outlines in white pastel pencil. I'm now "sketching" in the flower with white gesso. I really don't think you're supposed to sketch with gesso.

So here it is so far. The petals are a little bit skinny, and I'm planning on plumping them up on the second coat (of gesso, of course). Now I'm going to let this sit for a bit so I can watch it some more before I go any further. Um, and I'm waiting on you guys to give me any suggestions for corrections before I go beyond the point of no return!

Meanwhile, today was a beautiful sunny day, with clear blue skies and a light breeze. Perfect, and a very nice break from the rain, which we needed badly.** This watercolor sketch is from the rehab room from the facility where I work in Knoxville. I just love the old apartment buildings next door. The plantings are evergreen, mostly great big old viburnums, with ivy that climbs up around every corner and window, and the light on the brick in the evenings is great. I'm still figuring this new palette out, and got my greens got a little bit dark. That mineral violet can be waaay stronger than I thought, too - but I love it! (Please see the giant purple splotch. Yeah. That one. That's what I'm talking about...)

** Grammatically, it is difficult to tell if I meant we needed the rain or a break from the rain. I guess the answer would be yes. Both.
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Aw, come on. You CAN'T say you didn't know this was coming...

See HERE for more descriptions of Golden's GAC line.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Just a Little Background

I started the background for my giant dahlia painting like this -- squiggles of paint straight onto the canvas -- and then added GAC 100 and smeared it all around...

...until is looked like this. After it dried, it seemed like there were too many brush strokes and lots of little "M" shapes (which may be something I do with the brush when I'm smearing things around), so I glazed it with another layer of blues and greens mixed with glazing fluid and GAC 100...

...which leaves me with this. I think it will work. If you look, you can see there are still some distinct "M" shapes, but the flower itself will cover that up. Tonight I'm going to start working the flower shape over this in white gesso, and we'll see how it goes from there. If it goes well I will show you guys in the next few days. If it goes badly, I'll just gesso the entire thing back to white and start over! I'm determined to knock out an acrylic painting or two.

So. Since we're at the boring art stage, here's a funny video. It's a week late, but cheers anyway!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Stand By

Musical moment for the day ... seen on Artvisionz (Angie in Arizona) blog, which has been added to my blog list on the right! This is really worth taking the few minutes to watch. Especially if you've ever collaborated with someone on a project.

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Meanwhile, today I painted the background on a 24"x24" canvas, with the plan to do a painting of a frighteningly gigantic dahlia. In PINK. It's enough to give one nightmares. Since I couldn't move straight to the pink tonight, and since the weather today has continued to be so dreary and rainy that any landscape painting would just be a bunch of indistinct Payne's grey shapes, I decided to sketch it out in the watercolor Moleskine that I'm using for January. This paper takes a little getting used to, especially after using #300 hot press for so long. The plan is that by the end of January I'll love this book as much as everyone else does. Either that or I'll never get another. One or the other!

And I finished "Eclipse" -- the third book in the Twilight series. Sigh. Between Vampires and Werewolves and Guitar Hero I think I've regressed to age 13. But with wrinkles. And a driver's license. And only marginally more cash.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Play On

Just thought you'd like a peek at "Lindora", my rock and roll lead guitarist persona. This looks just exactly like me. Yep. EXACTLY.

... and here's my bass guitar persona. She looks exactly like me, too -- a little more fleshed out than Lindora, I suppose. Here's a hint ... buying clothes is one of the best parts of Guitar Hero. There are some coooool boots...

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No need to panic yet... I'm LIMITING my time playing that silly game! I make myself watch the clock. My word for the year is BALANCE, so I have to start out right.

So ... on to ART. I carried my watercolor Moleskine with me today, hoping for a chance to stop and sketch while I drove from one building to another, but the weather wasn't at all cooperative, with dreary skies, drizzling rain and piles of fog. By afternoon it had even started to get cold and all I wanted to do was get home and exchange my shoes for fuzzy socks. Sigh. It's hot chocolate weather. So much for painting from the front seat of the car.

One of my "things" I've been working on is expanding my watercolor palette a little bit. I picked up a 33 well travel palette to experiment with for serious "expeditions" this year (including another trip to Canada!) which would allow me to add a few extra colors. There are many people who feel that using the least number of colors possible is best; I agree that it is easy to get carried away, but there are a LOT of good colors out there and it seems a shame to miss out on them. I've tried to keep it pretty pure, and well thought out...

So... here's the layout, with a few spaces left to spare for other colors that I haven't decided on yet. (New additions are noted in italics.) If anyone sees a "must have" color that I've missed, let me know! All are Winsor Newton unless noted otherwise.

Row 1: Indian Red; Light Red; Brown Madder
Row 2: Yellow Ochre; Raw Sienna; Quinacridone Gold
Row 3: New Gamboge; Winsor Orange; Cadmium Orange
Row 4: Aureolin; Winsor Yellow; Cadmium Yellow
Row 5: Rose Madder; Permanent Rose; empty
Row 6: Cadmium Red; Winsor Red; Perm Alizarin Crimson
Row 7: Holbein Mineral Violet; Winsor Violet; empty
Row 8: Cobalt Blue; French Ultramarine; Winsor Blue Red Shade
Row 9: Cerulean; empty; Winsor Blue Green Shade
Row 10: Viridian; Winsor Green; Maimeriblu Sap Green
Row 11: Burnt Sienna; Holbein Burnt Umber; empty

Colors that are in the running ... Venetian Red; Cobalt Turquoise; Manganese Blue Hue; Indathrene Blue; Hooker's Green; Payne's Grey; Quinacridone Magenta

... and that's as far as I've gotten in 2009. Hmmmph. Doug's watching Bowl games tonight, so maybe I'll get some drawing done on one of those big canvases...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What - Another Year?

It has become a tradition that Diahn and I meet up on New Year's and set our yearly goals. Since Diahn is moving today (sobbing quietly...) we met up at Panera a few days ago and started a plan.

The first thing we did was look at last year.

Oh my. Last year we must have been full of caffeine and high on chocolate, because our goals were CRAZY over the top. I only hit one of mine -- and that was to become a rock star... Oh yeah. I'm a Guitar Heroine.

But really. Life threw some curve balls at both of us early on in the year and we got so totally off track that we never could get back on. Well, that's okay. We both dealt with the curve balls, and that's the main thing.

I'm still working to get my goals together, and it may be some time before I do. Mostly, I'm seeing that I have to find some balance between work and play and make my art time feel like PLAY -- not work. I have enough real work to do without making my hobby feel like another job. I've got a to-do list that includes, as usual, getting my art space cleaned back up so I can stop tripping over things while I paint. I want to draw / sketch more. I want to worry less about finished paintings. On the other hand, I keep thinking about working in acrylic, and so keep buying big canvases -- I have three that I want to actually put some paint on this year. I'd like to do portraits of my sister's girls. I'd like to do some pug portraits, too. I want to wander around and draw / paint what I see. If you look on the sidebar, you'll notice that I'm planning on joining the "Creative Every Day in 2009" challenge, and though I may not blog every day about it, I plan to take a few minutes to do something creative every day.* And, of course, I plan to continue my blossoming career as a rock star.

So there.

Happy 2009, everyone. What are YOUR plans?

*My creative thing today was to play the piano for 20 minutes, fill my new watercolor palette, and choose a subject for the first big canvas. More on that tomorrow!