Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Willet and Waves - preliminary

I had a little free time this morning and I decided I wanted to paint a *big*  painting this morning, big and bright and colorful. I found (can't even imagine where they came from!) several 16x20 heavyduty Canson cardboard sheets, all in dark colors - three dark brown and one black. How odd. But I figured I could cover the surface with pastel. WRONG. It turned out the paper mounted on the board was the standard bumpy (meaning ugly) side of Canson. When I tried to apply any pastel you got all the classic ugly Canson dimpling showing through, in DARK BROWN. I tried to blend to get rid of the dimples, and it did blend a bit, but the colors were still dark and muddy. Any layer I tried to put on still had the dimples, which I HATE. It just went from bad to worse and I finally decided it was not going to get any better and gave up. I loved this photo I had taken on a bird walk at Fort Matanzas a couple weeks ago, and the pastel was not doing it justice.

So I got out a 16x20 canvas I had, covered it with gesso toned with a little burnt siena and decided to try an acrylic. Never having taken any lessons in acrylic I still feel like I'm just futzing around with it, but even so I was happier with what I was getting than I was on the Canson board with pastel.

I've reached this logical stopping point with it right now, and tomorrow I have my monthly art critique so I'll be brave and bring it to that and see what advice I get on where to go next.

Meanwhile, here for fun, is what my Canson board with pastel on it looks like. Quite a sow's ear. I doubt there is a silk purse hiding in there anywhere. So are these boards good for anything? I can't even recall why I have them. I might still try this in pastel again though, on sanded paper!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The Art Guild of Orange Park has a current show hanging which was supposed to be anything but standard 2D artwork. Well bummer for me, I'm a 2D artist and my mind really does not think outside the box for anything beyond 2D. I thought about it for months but really had no ideas of interest to me. We have so many 2D artists though that I was afraid there might not be enough artwork for the show, so finally the night before receiving for the show I sat down and painted this! Pretty crummy I know. Thirty minutes worth of acrylic which is not my forte, and then I glued a few small shells and rock onto it to give it a bit more than standard 2D. LOL. Clearly no award winner but at least I produced a piece for the show, even if only at the last minute.

Alpine Groves

I did this painting last month at our First Coast Pastel Society plein air paint-out. We went to Alpine Groves Park along the banks of the St. Johns River. It was a cool, overcast, misty day. No sunlight, no shadows, no reflections, no lights and darks. The lake water looked dark and foreboding, the sky was light solid gray. Hard for me to paint without interesting lights and shadows. I did this from out on the long fishing pier looking back to the shoreline.

I took it to the monthly art critique I go to which always helps, lots of good advice. I always struggle in my artwork to add things that were not actually there. I was told I need to make the sky darker, and that I should add some orange reflections of the trees in the water even though there was none there. And also the fact that the three elements of my composition (water, trees, sky) divide the painting almost into even thirds, a very uninteresting composition! LOL, I was so careful to make sure I didn't put my waterline smack dab in the middle of the painting, such a big no-no. I didn't think about the thirds business. Guess I'll have to raise my treeline higher since I can't really change the water.