Oh, this pumpkin project has generated so much frustration for me. I've had this pumpkin for two weeks, at least. I don't care for carving pumpkins so I knew I'd paint it but I just could not seem to come up with a good idea. Inspiration was quite fleeting. I was originally planning to do this for my husband to take to his work Halloween party but I just could not get started on it so I opted to just paint it to put on our front porch. I had an idea to paint branches with fall leaves so I painted the entire pumpkin white with acrylic paint. That took 2 coats. Then I painted on the branches and they looked horrible! I was ready to chuck it at that point but then I decided to just paint it again in black. Once that was done, my husband suggested I paint a skull. But my inner critic put the kai-bosh on that idea, especially since I've had so much trouble drawing people. But then this morning I thought maybe I could do a skull but perhaps start with just a simple design. So, as I was looking through some reference images I saw one of Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas, which is one of my favorite movies! My first idea was to put Jack's face on this pumpkin, then I thought I'd do Jack and Sally's faces together. So, I sketched a couple of ideas but just couldn't work it quite to my satisfaction. Then I thought maybe I'd do the moon with the mountain cliff with Jack and Sally on top (an iconic image from the movie). But again, I couldn't get it sketched to my satisfaction. Then it hit me...ZERO! I love Zero! The image on the left shows the early stages...along with a huge area right in the middle where an air-bubble popped, ruining my paint job. ARGH!!! I was so frustrated that I was going to have Oscar take it out to the trash this evening. But, after dinner, I reconsidered and decided to fix it as best I could and finish it. I'm happy with how it turned out, all things considered! I love my Zero o'lantern!
Ok, I know I did a color wheel a couple months back with my inktense pencils, so why am I doing more of them? Well, these are done with acrylic paint. I've been working with and mixing colors with acrylic paint for a while but I've never done color wheels. It's actually really beneficial to do color wheels in each medium you work with but since I seem to resist these "foundational" techniques, I've not done them before. These two wheels were created using three different shades of red, blue and yellow. What I noticed while making these is that I still rushed through them and wasn't methodical in my mixing in any way. So, I think I'm still resisting this technique even while I'm doing it. What resulted is that the colors don't transition smoothly into each other so yellow-green isn't much different from green which isn't that different from blue-green, etc. The one on the left is the one I did second so I took a little more time but I still didn't create a "recipe" for the color mixing. I came up with some interesting mixtures that I'd love to make again but since I didn't keep track of how much I used of each color, I can't easily replicate it. I imagine you'll keep seeing these from me in the future since it's clear that I still haven't nailed this technique yet!
13 weeks in the bag and it keeps on going! I made the blue ink-stained paper a couple of weeks ago but wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it, so I figured it best to wait for inspiration to strike. I really loved the koi I did last week and feel drawn (no pun intended) to do more of them. I think the inky paper looks kind of like water so it makes sense to use it for the koi. In the other ink paintings I've done, I've let the colors form the objects by obscuring the rest of the background but I want to preserve the background in this one so I'll be painting the koi with more opaque paint, covering the blue where the fish will be. I'm thinking I want to use white, cream, yellows, reds and oranges on the fish to create a nice contrast between the background and the fish. I sketched out some compositions to get an idea of how to set up the painting. I'm leaning toward the composition with two fish, which will be different colors to set them apart from one another since they are so close in proximity to each other. We'll see :)
Ugh...I just couldn't find the flow today. Saturdays aren't usually a big creation day but I didn't have any classes today so I figured I'd work on another "reworked" ink drawing like yesterday. I drew in the flowers and got to work with the white acrylic ink. I added it and then some more and then more and then too much...:/. The acrylic started to crack in places as it dried. I outlined the petals with blue or purple acrylic (and proceeded to knock over the bottle of blue ink...I was able to get much of it back into the bottle but damn that was frustrating!). I thought I'd jazz up the flowers with some white dots. Then it just didn't seem done so I got some turquoise and gold acrylic paint and added some flourishes but I just couldn't save it. I'm not sure what I could have done differently after the white was already put down. I think the problem lies in my design/composition. The way the flowers are clustered just don't really work. But that's ok...bad art is still art and the only way to good art is through the bad stuff. Hopefully, I'll find the flow tomorrow!
I have several pieces of those inky drawings I did last week that just didn't work and that I decided to cut into pieces. When I started painting again last year, it was really thanks to the work of Flora Bowley. She is one of my favorite artists and I just love her style...vibrant colors, organic imagery, they are so lovely (and so is she...I had the pleasure of meeting her twice since she also lives in Portland!). Having fallen in love with her work, I of course just had to learn how to make art like hers. I bought her book and made a very lovely painting (that actually looks nothing like her work, the second image below). Then I took her online course and made another lovely painting (again nothing like hers, the third image below). I just really struggled with the imagery part. Her process is amazing and there are definitely many aspects that I continue to employ but I have come to realize (and have posted about before) that her style is simply not mine and I can't force myself into that hole. But I decided to try again with imposing imagery on top of the abstract work but not worrying about laying color over color...just focus on the images and making them stand out.
I picked out one of the leftover drawing pieces and just started drawing in flower shapes on top of the dried ink/paint with pencil. Then I added in the stems and vase. With a brush, I painted white acrylic ink around the pencil marks. I used the ink because I wanted to keep it fairly transparent so you can still see something of the abstract patterns underneath it. Once the shapes took form, I used green acrylic ink for the vines and to outline and shade the stems, and pink acrylic ink to give the petals more definition. I also used some diluted acrylic inks in a couple of colors to make the vase form more cohesive. Finally, I added in the white details/highlights on the flowers and vase. I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. Like most of my projects, I had to employ a lot of trust, perseverance and persistence. It's so easy to let that critical voice win and to just stop/give up but once again, I prevailed and the result is pretty much how I imagined after I had drawn in the objects. I think I'll have to make more of these...maybe with different colors to cover the background..
I revisited the ink drawing/painting from yesterday and tried to brighten it up but I'm thinking I ended up making a bigger mess...that's ok, though, maybe it's just in an ugly phase. I also thought about cutting it up into pieces to use as backgrounds for another project I'm planning. I've come to realize that nothing is really lost in art-making. If something doesn't work out, it can always be repurposed. I have several pieces on paper using ink and watercolor that just aren't successful on their own but they could be added to something else and totally work. In fact, I think it'll be interesting to see how my other idea pans out!
I also started another inky drawing/painting (the second picture). I have no idea where this one is going to go but it took almost all day to dry so I'll either add to it or use it for other art, too. I really love these colors. There is something about these vivid jewel-toned colors that just add to my happiness!
The third photo includes the color charts I made for my new colored pencils. The top sheet is each color in numerical order. The bottom sheet is all these same colors but organized in the way these sets of pencils are sold (5 sets of 24 colors). I like to make these charts, especially for the colored pencils I work with. Pencils often have a colored end or the exterior whole pencil is painted in the color that the pencil should make but I've found that those colors might be close but rarely are they the same. Usually, there are also commercially printed color charts included in the packaging but again, they rarely match what the color looks like in real life. So, in creating these color charts, I can get an quick idea of how these pencils perform on paper and I have a way to compare colors to find ones that meet the matching/blending qualities I need for any given project. I'm planning to do a product review in the near future as I play with them and put them through their paces!
Ok, not really but I can't help but think about "Finding Nemo" and that line when I use inks. I loved yesterday's inky drawing/painting so much I decided I had to give it another go today. I'll admit that I don't have a ton of inks on hand so there's not much variation in my color choices, but then again, I love these colors so who cares if I don't have many. I did do a little color mixing but I think those colors ended up in the first layer so you can't really see them anymore :(. Anyway, despite my inner critic chiming in and making me question my choices in these, I am liking this process of play and experimentation. I am also liking the results. This one, though, isn't done yet. There are a few places that are just a little too dark that I want to brighten up to create a bit more contrast. Stay tuned for the final piece tomorrow!
I also got a fun delivery today. My mom sent me some money to buy some art supplies and I decided to get more colored pencils...since I'm loving this medium right now. So, here are all 5 sets of Spectrum Noir's Blendable Colored Pencils. I've rearranged them by number rather than how they come in the set. I think I'll do a review of them in the near future after I've played with them a bit. I'm going to work on a color chart tonight to be able to see how they look on paper. I'll actually have two color charts for these. One chart will have each pencil in order 1-120 but the other chart will organize the colors as they came in each tin. I'll post pics of those when done, probably tomorrow.
See you tomorrow!
Some days feel so rich with creative energy and others definitely do not...this day is one of the latter. I'm pushing forward, however, and trying to get some stuff done. I think some of what is dragging me down is that I'm tired. I've never been a great sleeper but the last week has been crappier than usual. I really need more sleep and I hope to get some this weekend. I'm also realizing that I need to get my crap together to find ways to generate more income from my art. It just sucks that in many ways, it takes money to make money. For example, I'd like to offer reproductions of some of my artwork and possibly integrate them into some other products like journal covers, greeting cards, etc but I need to invest in getting good scans or photos of my artwork to make these reproductions/products with. Ugh! But, I can't worry about that right now...the money will come and I need to focus on producing art right now.
Today's contribution to my daily art project is a quick drawing of my dog, Kagero. I plan to do a full, freehand portrait of her (probably multiples) but I wanted to come up with a more simple line drawing of her face. I have literally hundreds, maybe even a thousand+ photos of her. I found one that was a closeup of her face, adjusted the lighting so that I could see most of her face and features clearly. I then traces the general outlines onto tracing paper. Then I used the printed photo as reference to refine the details, add some of the shading, etc. I like how this looks for a simple reproduction. I tried a couple of times to make more simple line drawings but they really lost her character and personality so I'm scrapping that idea for now. I might figure out how to make this idea work later.
The other photo below is of my palette. I use a large sheet of glass on a white table as my palette for acrylic painting. After I've finished painting, I let the paint dry and then scrape it off with a razor, paint scraper. As I stood over the table this morning, planning to clean it, I was struck by the beauty of the colors and textures left from my painting session last week. I love the way they've blended, revealing a variety of values and shades. I also love that you can see my finger marks, since I used my fingers to paint with that day. I just had to take a photo.
I'm so glad I started this daily art practice before I lost my dog. Even though I missed a few days in that first week, I feel like committing to it has helped me keep going and not give in to frustration, procrastination, fear and overwhelming grief. I'm still mourning and I guess I'll grieve her loss for a long time to come but making art is giving me an outlet and even distraction sometimes. I think today's project started with me getting out some pain and putting it onto the canvas and I ended up liking what I saw. I really liked the color combination of blues, turquoise, and purples of the last painting so I knew I wanted to use those again but I didn't know where it would go. I liked the effect of using my fingers last time so I loaded up my fingers and started applying the paint to the canvas using the same smooth motions as the last painting. I just wasn't feeling that though and I quickly started smearing the paint around then I started "drumming" my fingers on the canvas and I loved the texture that emerged. I just followed my gut in picking up more colors, darker ones, lighter ones, white, using the same motion but creating more contrast. The drumming was quick and expressive, it felt like I was working something out on a non-verbal level and I really love the result.
The photos, unfortunately, just don't do this painting justice. I'm struggling with getting the lighting just right to give accurate colors and contrast and not reflect off the glossy paint. It's really much better looking in person!
Today was my first day back in my painting studio in months...pretty much since Kagero got sick earlier this year. I avoided painting for many reasons, the typical fear of sucking at it but also because she followed me around everywhere I went and wanted to hang out with me. That was awesome, of course, but the studio wasn't the best place for her to comfortably hang out so I just tried to confine my art making to things I could do while sitting on the sofa with her comfortably ensconced on the ottoman or next to me on the sofa. So, today felt like the day to head back to that studio and face my fears. I'm not really interested in making representational paintings. I love abstracts and have gravitated to more intuitive painting techniques and teachers. I really love playing around with colors with no plan. I started working on this canvas last year just adding layer after layer, waiting for it to really speak to me. It now looks nothing like the canvas I put on the wall this morning...and that's totally ok by me! I had no idea what to do with it so I just started putting some colors on it, covering what was underneath. I quickly put the brushes down and just painted with my hands. Do not underestimate the power of fingerpainting...I think it allowed me to really connect to the paint, the canvas, and the moment in a way using the brushes hadn't. When I finally stepped back a few feet to see what was evolving, I thought it looked like a stormy sky...perfect!
When I started this daily art project, I intended to make small drawings/paintings in my sketchbook just to have accomplished something creative every day. I've decided, now, to include anything that I create in a given day toward this project since the whole point of it is to create art. I'll keep doing small things in my sketchbooks, especially to practice new techniques and explore ideas and I'll keep posting my progress here. I'm really grateful for you visiting my blog, reading my posts and feel free to comment (though I will have to approve comments to keep the negativity out).
Here's today's painting which is acrylic on canvas, 24"x24" and a compilation of this week's (plus a few non-art days) creations.