Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Having fun: something different...and Red Bubble update:-)

I seem to have to play between labor-intensive paintings. Last night, instead of tackling a new floral or a Venice cityscape ( not sure which will be next), I painted a small, quick painting from one of my Venice reference photographs: a Venetian Mascarone.

What is a mascarone, will most of you ask.

Also known as decorative keystones, nmascaroni are stone carvings that lie in the middle of the stones that together form an archway, holding them together and completing the strong structure over arched doorways, windows and bridges. Often, especially in the case of Venice‟s keystones, these important puzzle pieces play a decorative role. Over 300 of these mascaroni were catalogued a few years ago in Venice. I must have photographed a dozen or so...this probably means that I will have to return to Venice to photograph the remain 290 or so:-) Those that I photographed are carved heads...there is one in my painting "Venetian Guardian".

This little watercolor  is only 5" X 7"; it has a touch of metallic fluid acrylic on the inscription on the archway. The inscription is not entirely visible on the photograph. It is something like "Dominus custodiat", or "May the Lord ( or master of the house) protect  (you). I rarely paint paintings quickly like this - it was fun. Can you make out the face enough?

Now, what would be a post without a Red Bubble update? Do I hear a collective groan :-)
My recent Dahlia has just been featured in the Painted Nature's group.
 (Added Feb 24) It was also selected a one of the  Best in Show ( Feb 21-24)in Painters Universe:

And, my Springtime in Venice,, that you may not remember from over a year ago, placed in the top ten of a challenge on Spring in "The Painters Universe"group.
Have a great evening!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dahlia Completed...and Red Bubble of course:-)

I have finished my dahlia for now. I will probably go back and softened edges etc before matting it. I really like some petals, other petals did not come out quite the way I wanted. However, I am pleased since whenever we paint we learn! What do you think of it?

Dahlia Beauty

As mentioned in a previous post, I would like to try a Fabriano soft pressed paper for a floral. Lately, I am having problems (fuzzy paper)  with the Arches 140 lb CP where I have used masking fluid. Is it the masking or the paper? 

I have been very spoiled on Red Bubble lately. Since my last post two days ago, I have had two more features: 
1. Garden Kaleidoscope  ( my recent clematis) was featured in Just Watercolors:
2. Forever Friends was featured in the Fine Arts Group:

And now, what to paint next? 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dahlia WIP Part 3, ARTALEE feature...and Red Bubble update anyone?

I worked on the dahlia this afternoon. I like it, but would now change a few things if I redid it: I think that I would leave a lot more white on the light petals...I find that they end up looking gray with that yellow, pink and blue. I should perhaps have just put in a touch of blue...It would have been a lot simpler. What do you think?

I may also go back to experimenting with the Fabriano soft press paper: I do a lot of lifting with these florals ( with Q tips mostly while the paint is still wet) and I seem to remember that lifting was much easier on that soft press. When I played with this paper last year, I had noted that it would probably be a good choice for florals. It is also much cheaper than Arches in my area. So...I am putting this paper on my list for my next shopping expedition at my art supplies store.

I finally took the time today to add a new feature on ARTALEE: the wonderful poured watercolors of Leslie Redhead. Please have a look at her beautiful work.

And, yes, my lucky streak is still going strong apparently with Red Bubble, since I received a feature today for one of my doors, Venetian Doorway  in the group Windows and Doors; this painting had been submitted to that group more than a year ago and they have now discovered it:-) Thank you again, Red Bubble!
Have a great evening and I hope that you will all have time to paint or look at some great art tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dahlia WIP part 2 and more Red Bubble news

I worked a bit more on my Dahlia. Here is part 2 of this WIP:
The heart of the flower will have some reds and rusty-gold. The other petals should be mostly white, but how can one resist adding color:-)

I was hoping to make a lot more progress on this painting yesterday and today, but somehow time just flies and there is always something to do: today, it was grocery shopping, getting new passport pictures, cooking, cleaning. How did I manage before I retired in December??? How do you balance your painting and your other responsibilities?

 You may be getting tired of hearing about Red Bubble, but I really want to post this little bit of news: my  Cherries and Lace below won the Still Life Challenge in the Fine Arts group - it had to be a still life with some red.  Please have a look at the other entries - some are simply fabulous, so I was quite surprised to read that my painting had placed first. No big prize, just "fame and glory" they said:-)
Cherries and Lace

Have a nice evening!

Monday, February 14, 2011

New WIP and another double feature on Red Bubble

Happy Valentine's Days everyone! I am celebrating by doing something for myself- I have spent the morning painting:-)
I finally seem to be getting out of my "procrastination" phase and putting brush to paper again with the aim of producing a painting and not just to playing. Here is the first stage of my new WIP: a dahlia that I photographed in Maine in late September last year. It's not the best reference, that at least it's my own and reminds me of a nice relaxing week near the ocean. At this point, I have put in a dark background and have painted the leaves; the leaves have a prominent role in this painting and this gives me the practice that I certainly need with painting leaves or anything green:-) I have also put in the local color of a few petals. This should be a fairly quick painting; it's small at about 8' X 11" to fit a 11" X 14" frame if it turns out ok.  I won't be trying to create  a "Wow" painting- I just want to have fun painting and getting back into a routine.

My Venetian painting are getting a lot of attention on Red Bubble these days. I have received another double feature for my Venetian Guardian! In the Painters Universe group and in the 100-500 views group.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Double Feature in Red Bubble!

Wow! I think I should really go back to my "Memories in Venice" series. Two of my Venetian door paintings  from that series have just been featured in the group Time Gates on Red Bubble. The first painting is Venetian Guardian that I added just yesterday to my International Artists Gallery:
The second feature is of  Venetian Doorway, one of my favorite paintings, that is now sold and in a good home:-)  For both of these paintings, I used my own photos as reference. 
After my week of playing, I now have three paintings started: a second attempt at that posterized portrait, a small floral and a challenging  Venice scene. For two of these, I am trying out the Canson artboard with Arches watercolor paper...I will post what does not end up in the bin:-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ten days of playing:...not much to show for it:-(

I apologize for my absence from my blog in the past week or so. I have been busy with family matters ( preparing my mother's move to a retirement home in March) and simply playing with my paints. I really did not produce anything worth posting...I still don't, but will post one picture anyway:-): I combined an experiment with 300 lb paper with a poured study for a monochrome "posterized portrait" of one of my nieces. Unfortunately, in the process, I lost her nose, ruined her eyes and blackened a few of her teeth:-)
I will redo this posterized portrait, but will probably paint it instead of pouring it. What did I learn with this experiment:
- the 300 lb CP Arches paper is certainly sturdier for pouring
-but, I found that I required a more concentrated paint solution to get the values I have gotten with the 140 lb
-the masking (W&N) removed a lot of the color with it - I have not had such a problem in the past - was it the paper or the masking fluid???
- I started with a good sketch, but I ended up with a portrait with little resemblance to my niece: what happened? I know that I had made a masking error with the eyes, but thought I had fixed it:-(

Conclusion:  I have had success in the past with pouring with several colors on a 140lb CP paper. Pouring really blends the colors beautifully....However, there seems to be more disadvantages than advantages in pouring a "monochrome" painting.  Consequently, I intend to re-use my sketch eventually and paint ( not pour) this portrait. ...I hope that my niece will not check my blog and see this picture:-)

What else did  I play with during the week?
- adding fluid acrylic to a watercolor, adding  acrylic gloss medium to it to see the effect, looking at my hundreds of favorite photos in search of inspiration.

Tomorrow, I will get back to more serious painting!!!

I have to add that Red Bubble has honored me with another feature for my Garden Kaleidoscope ( Purple Clematis). Thank you, Red Bubble, You are good for my morale:-)