Thursday, March 31, 2011

New WIP, Canson Board and NYC trip

I am currently working on a new WIP, another Venetian mascarone. I am calling this one "The Gate Keeper" ( there will be ironwork on the bottom right corner that resembles a gate). My challenge /learning for this painting is the use of Canson Watercolor Board: Arches 140 lb glued to a rigid backing. This is the surface that Krista Hasson has used ( most successfully!) in her latest paintings.

The reference for this painting is again one of my own photos from trips to Venice.The composition is probably not too orthodox - the oblique line on the left hand side cutting the corner is most likely  a composition "no-no", but I really liked the angle at which the mascarone (the carved head) is presented. There is not much to see yet: I have painted most of the hair, I have started the beard...the eyes and the nose will be the scary part:-(  

It is 16" X 20" on the Canson board. Do I like this surface? Not sure is certainly not the same as regular Arches 140 dries very quickly and I have had to change my usual method of working - I don't seem to be able to blend as easily - During the first hour that I worked on this surface, I kept getting hard water lines. Nevertheless, I like the rigid support. How will I frame this if it turns out ok? If I am brave, I will varnish it and frame it as an oil or acrylic. If  I feel less adventurous, I may try to mat it and frame it as a regular watercolor...I am not sure if the thickness of this board will have an impact on the matting  ( if the matting is larger than the board, will there be a visible difference in thickness where the board ends?)

Unfortunately, I won't be able to work on this piece during the next few days. I am flying to NYC to visit my daughter:-) The weather is not supposed to be too great over the weekend, but that won't matter. I am planning a trip to Dick Blick that I just loved last fall when I was NYC. 

Wishing you a great evening!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Current and Upcoming Shows

I am quite excited about the various showing opportunities for this spring. Now that I am retired, it will be much easier for me to be available for art shows. Here are some of the shows for which I have confirmed my attendance. Whether one sells many paintings or none, shows are fun - since painting is a lonely activity, art shows are a great complement to our artistic balance.

How do you feel about showing your work in art shows vs online....

  • Current show:  The Ottawa Little Theatre: until April 10th 2011
      • Group show with the Ottawa Art Association
  • The Ottawa Home and Garden Show at the Landsdowne Park Arena
      • Group show with 76 Art Group
      • March 24-27 2011
  • Ottawa Art Association Spring Awards Show
      • April 12th until end of May 2011
      • Ottawa Little Theatre 
  • Ottawa Orchid Show
      • April 23-24th
      • Nepean Sportsplex
  • Clarence-Rockland Art Association Art Show
      • June 4-5 in Rockland
  • Two Friends, Two Artists: Christiane Kingsley and Carol Penny
      • Rockland Culture Centre
      • 2 weekends in a row - Friday, Sat, Sunday: June 10,11, 12, 17, 18, 19
It would be so exciting to see some of my blogging friends at these events!..although Ottawa, Canada,  is a bit out of the way for many of you:-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Golden Arch -Completed

My bronze/copper/golden orchids are finished. It's really better than I thought last night:-) The colors are very rich, especially under glass. The dark background ( almost black at the very top to dark green just above the flowers) adds drama to the painting. I am usually not a fan of anything with a yellow tone, but the magenta tones in the painting decrease the impact of the yellows/golds. 

I am glad that I tacked this painting...I really thought that it was going to be too complex for me, but I am pleased that I managed to do it:-) I am also pleased by the very positive reaction I got as soon as I posted this painting on WetCanvas, that had provided the reference.

What to paint next? I have another mascarone on the drawing board as well as some white peonies with some really wild and colorful reflections...I am also playing with oils again as well as contemplating trying a textured mixed media....As you see, once again, my problem is not finding inspiration, but stopping to procrastinate while I decide on what to select for my next painting:-) I am not sure if one problem is better than the other:-)

This painting has just been featured on Red Bubble:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First - and last? - orchid painting almost finished

My bronze orchid painting is almost finished. I have to darken the green at the lower right corner and blend some edges etc.
Do I like this painting? I am really not sure: these are certainly not my favorite colors and the many dark layers decreased the transparency that I like. I also find the composition  too busy. However, I am glad that I painted this even though it looked too complicated for me to tackle.  I may paint another orchid painting, but certainly not in these colors.

Did I like the Fabriano SP paper? yes, and I will try it again for another floral. It is really between a cold press and a hot press paper. The background is not quite as smooth as it would have been on a CP paper, but I like the way the paint glides on this paper.

Let me know what you think of this painting. I always appreciate your comments and suggestions...without them, painting would be too much of a lonely activity.

Have a great Sunday evening.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Progress on Bronze Orchids -WIP part 3

I did some work on this bronze orchid painting today: painted a few more petals and worked on some of the  background leaves and steams.
My palette is composed of the following: quin gold, brown madder, permanent magenta, Hooker's green and a touch of pthalo turquoise.
I am using Fabriano 140 lb Soft Press and so far, I really like it: it has just enough tooth while letting the paint spread very smoothly. It is also a nice bright white.

Have a nice evening!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bronze Orchids - WIP part 2

I have done some more work on my bronze orchids. I decided that I did not want to spend hours putting in the small blades of grass and little leaves under the orchid on the left-hand side; consequently, I have started to simply fill this area with dark green as part of the background. This section is not yet smooth and will need a few more layers.  I was impatient to add the red on the orchid in that same corner...I like that part. In other areas, I got carried away and added some purple, some turquoise her and there even if these colors were not totally logical there:-).

We had a small earthquake today in Ottawa. I am sure that a lot of people immediately thought of Japan and got very scared. 

Have a nice evening everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WIP - Learning to paint orchids

 I know little about orchids and I have to admit that they are usually not my favorite flower - I actually find that some look a little bit scary:-). However, if possible, I would like to enter a few orchid paintings in the Ottawa Orchid show in late April. This is my first try: don't ask me why I chose such a complex reference instead of just one macro flower!!!The reference is by Pampe on Wetcanvas...Thank you Pampe!

This watercolor is about 11' X 14" and instead of Arches CP paper , I am once again trying the Fabriano 140 far I like it: it is very white, it has been accepting a lot of abuse ( removal of masking, some lifting).

The gold petals will have some rusty color and two of the flowers will have some red in the centre...The composition is in arc-shaped., which I though would add nice movement to the piece. However, there are so many blades of grass and leaves at the bottom...I am not sure if this piece will turn out ok....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mascarone 2 and plans

I posted a Venetian mascarone ( carved stone head on  a keystone) a few weeks ago. It was a very quick sketch and I wanted to paint another one. Below is a 8"X 10" watercolor of the same mascarone, but from a different reference photo.. I took this one from a different angle and on a sunnier day. This painting started much larger, but I got tired of all those perspective lines and decided to keep only the focus on the mascarone itself. As a result the mascarone is too much in the center of the page...but that will have to do:-)
I think what attracted me to this reference photo was the little pigeon that I discovered as I looked at the photo more carefully...

I now really want to return to my florals...I would like to paint some orchids: I don't especially like these flowers usually, but I would like to submit a painting to the artist section of a large Orchid Show in Ottawa in April. I have not painted regularly in the past few weeks and when this happens I always have a hard time  starting something new: insecurity? an equivalence of stage fright? painters' block? Do you sometime feel this way?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm back,...Abraham Lincoln's Posterized Portrait.

I have not posted for almost two weeks because I was moving my mother into a retirement home and had to take care of all the "stuff" she has accumulated in her 92 years! She is now settled into a very nice retirement home, has a nice room, likes the meals and the activities and is making friends. Although I still have a few more trips to move furniture, my life should start to get back to normal.
Last night, I started a posterized portrait of Abraham Lincoln as part of the DWP weekly challenge.

Part of the challenge was to paint this portrait using only 3 colors to achieve shades of gray. I decided to use only one color, ultramarine ( although I did add a touch of black for the eyes:-) and to use an almost pop art approach - posterization, where the image is created by a number of different values, without any concern about color or smooth transitions.  This time, I did not use the pouring method as in last month's posterized portrait I did all in green ( see Feb 9th posting). The result is a monochrome posterized portrait that was a lot of fun to do! Do check all the entries in this challenge.

I am also completing another "Mascarone" ( carved stone head over an archway) that I will post tomorrow at the latest.
I hope that you have all been well!