Friday, February 16, 2024

One Thing Leads to Another

 On a Snowy Day  in 2014 . . .

And I Would Truly Enjoy Hearing Your Reactions

Nine years ago we had a February winter storm when our grandson, Noah, was just the right age to spend a day jumping and sledding and making snow angels. Facebook recently popped a great photo from 2014 as a memory. 


I decided this photo was just too interesting to ignore. It is a great composition, light hearted and full of energy. I have also been wanting to work on my transparent watercolor skills. So here is my week of studies, perhaps to help me create a larger painting.

( I have continued to put gold gesso on paper to continue my gouache work, but took a break this week to do just plain watercolor.)






Three Paintings Using Different Approaches

Based on Realism


This first painting was sort of a warm up. I used a more realistic approach and made the mistake of using a cadmium yellow wash to warm up the snow. I don't like the results.

 
Next Try: More Abstract


To me this is much fresher and joyful. It also led me to decide to go one step further with abstract and patterns.

Abstract and Patterns


I love the clean lines of this. It needs to be a book cover, don't you think?

But does it need one more thing?


 

I think the foot prints add a completion to the story. I haven't painted them yet, but should I?

I would love to hear which style you find most appealing.


Friday, February 9, 2024

Be Brave, But Have Fun

So many artists I've taken workshops with come to mind at various times. Yesterday it was Carla O'Conner and Frank Webb.  Carla's workshop came up when I discovered a full sheet of watercolor paper covered with gold gesso. Carla mostly paints on gessoed paper (not only gold gesso) with watercolor and gouache. This is something that I would have never thought of on my own. 

I applied the gold gesso to this paper in 2020 after the Holiday Farm Fire!


For Frank's influence there is always the #1--It's only paper.  This is what gives this artist bravery. If a painting doesn't turn out well, think of #1. But he also talked about how to make your art come from your own hand. If working from a photo, do a sketch, then draw it, then paint. Each time you recreate it, it becomes your own original work. 

So yesterday I went out to the studio with those two artists in mind--paint with gouache on gold gesso and make it my own! What better way to follow these influencers than take my own painting and recreate it on gold gesso.  So I pulled out my "One Must Always Wear Pearls" as my inspiration for a new painting. 


She tells a story, is painted with gouache, but has a lot of realism. I decided to do a new version of this painting, but with a more abstract design. Below you will see the development of this piece. One of the advantages of working this way (gouache on gessoed paper) is that one can totally remove a part or all of the paint with a wet paper towel. 




This is how I left the painting in the studio today. Mike liked it better before the white circles turned into faces (too illustrative). Yes the arm in the foreground is overly big, yet I like the amount of light it creates. Oh so many things could be different, but most importantly, I had fun! 

Now from Gone with the Wind--Tomorrow is another day!


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Creating Equals Experimenting

For more than a year now I have been painting faces using only black and white gouache. One way I have finished the background is with a flat color.

He's a Carhartt Man

Then I've tried creating a background that tells more of the story.

One Must Always Wear Pearls

Now I am struggling to find an interesting way to add to a portrait without such a storytelling background, yet something that adds interest. Below you can see more of my experimenting with a face and background. 

Trial and Error





Open Window


Finally arriving today with the soft greens floating around her face, (notice green eyes) I have a story. You know that moment when you open a window and smell cool fresh air? It can almost feel like the outdoors is coming right in and surrounding you.

Comments are welcome and often very helpful to me as I struggle through the process of creating something that communicates to my viewers!