Monday, May 24, 2010

Hitting the Road Again

I will be hitting the road soon on the next business travel. During the journey, I will post some travel posts and also more art inspirations. I am bringing a paint box, just in case I can find an hour here or there to use it !

Here is a floral medley of colorful thoughts that I like. Such vivid colors, some things that would be lovely to paint sometime soon.

More soon from the road !

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Verdigris Rabbit

I began to paint some studies of the verdigris rabbit garden statue. Just small ones in oils, with palette knife and thick brush strokes. Because they are studies, I was experimenting with background colors and techniques.

I did not like a blue I used in the background (but it was on the palette and extra paint, so I gave it a go). Bad idea, competed too much with the verdigris tones. I started to work some lighter contrast background in, but the rest of it will have to wait until another painting session. Or perhaps the rabbit would like to be painted among flowers ? A thought....

Then I did another smaller study of the rabbit, also in oils (there was still oil paint on my palette). I think I will do one more next painting session, and he will be more centred on the small square canvas, so I can paint in some reflections he casts on the polished timber surface he sits on at the moment.

I will do more with the rabbits when I next paint. They are just a start....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Finishing Touch

Sometimes you think you have finished something, but then it just sits there and everytime you see it, it tells you it wants more, or different ! I have a small oil painting like that. See detail from it on left. From the day I painted it, I have wanted to add ONE MORE THING ! Just one colour really. A little bit of sunshine, in form of some cheerful yellow, onto a hill (see photos below for the hill).

Why change that little landscape painting ? First, the sun was bright that day. In that area of the composition, the hill in question almost gleamed from the sun shining on it. Second, I felt I had not been bold enough in my previous colour choice for that hill. I know there were reasons--it was stinking hot that day, a sweltering 42 degrees C by mid morning, enhanced by with a hot wind (not refreshing). Flying insects landed on the painted canvas, and also in dabs of the oil paint on the palette. Trucks whooshed by the country road occasionally, causing a break in concentration. Due to a poor footwear choice, one foot not shaded by the easel got sunburnt horribly (I was traveling there, alternatives were not available that day). I sweated buckets ! A borrowed wide brim hat tried to escape, its string snapping in two in a gust of wind. And I was time-boxed also, with a flight back to Sydney in afternoon. I still had to drive to Adelaide's airport, so I did not have time to finish it then. I had to leave it behind to be posted to me (it was painted in really wet oil paint). So, I could not add in the envisioned change so easily at the time. But I did have photographs taken on location and also my memory of the scene, so I was sure this change should be added in.

The painting has been put in the upstairs studio, so I have just not acted on this frequent (every-time-I-see-that-painting) thought. My oil paints are kept down in the sunroom studio. But since I was finishing the golden roses painting, I was upstairs with it and carried up a palette full of beautiful oil paints, for doing glazing and work with oil paints to finish it off. It all has to dry flat tonight and I don't like leaving that downstairs, lest some pussy cat step in the glaze ! (Bad for the painting and also bad for the cat, whose paws would need cleaning with solvents). So there I was upstairs and late in the afternoon had a bit of leftover, cheerful looking yellow oil paint on a palette, wanting to be used.

I knew exactly where the extra yellow oil paint should go on the small landscape oil painting. Where the sun shined brightly on that hill beyond the foreground hill on the right. I added it in, just as I had been imagining it should be. Plus a few light handed smears of yellow with my index finger, across another hilltop. It took maybe 15 seconds to do. And then I studied the painting. Did this long contemplated change make a difference ? A good difference ?

I have decided the change was good, a step in the right direction. Now, I think the house in the composition shows up much better, now that hill has a bit of definition. The composition has a bit more life to it too. The yellow really did the trick. I am very happy with the change. (new & improved above on left, older version below on right)

Which one do you like better ?

This painting was painted on location in one morning in mid December 2009, in the Barossa Valley area countryside in South Australia. Painted in oils on canvas, mostly using palette knife, but with a bit of bristle brush for back up. And five months later it has gotten a sweep of sunny yellow added to complete it. I would paint landscapes on location again, but will be a bit better prepared for the experience. I always thought hay bales looked easy to paint. I am here to tell you, there could be more to it than it seems !

Friday, May 7, 2010

Golden Roses Done, and a next subject ?

Yeay ! This afternoon, after getting a lot of work done, I had a few good afternoon light hours to work on the golden roses. I needed good light for it, for detailed work with colours and also some of the edges. And I pulled out the Cadmium Yellow Medium too. This hue is a rather expensive pigment and usually behaves like what I call a "bossy" yellow. Without taking a lot of care, it can really dominate things it is mixed with. But today it was, well, golden ! It mixed and socialised so nicely with Naples Yellow and Titanium White, and for warmer shadows it looks lovely mixed half and half with Transparent Perinone Orange. As I may have mentioned in previous posts, working with yellows is not simple, and the various shadows on this painting have been a challenge. Some are orangey and some are dark yellow. A few have a grey cast to them, they have been very difficult indeed, because get them wrong and you "ruin" your beautiful yellow. So, I am kind of glad I kept the Cad Yellow for this last painting session when I was was working very carefully, with a pretty light and sure hand (and eye !).

After finishing this, I put a layer of gloss medium over the whole painting, just to liven up the finish. I worked today with paints on bit the dryer side (so not mixed with medium, or much water). As I work on a painting in acrylics, this is the pattern: very soupy paint plus medium for underpaintings, and each successive session is a bit more structured and careful with paint mixture, mixing, and so forth. I have perched the painting in the lounge room, so I can admire it this evening. It is signed in a mid green, over a greens part of the bottom right corner. This will be glazed tomorrow and on this one I will be working highlights into the glaze with oil paints (it will get an oil based glaze).

Winston and Pookie are pretty satisfied with today's studio work. So is Maggie, but she was not willing to be photographed, staying behind the scenes !

Here is a possible next subject. A still life. Verdigris rabbit (a new verdigris statue acquisition). But that silly pink ribbon has gotta go !

((sorry for funny text formatting....having formating problems today with Blogger... it seems if you select the first block of text, it shows you the first picture bigger, but selecting that photo does not. possibly this is operator error--maybe tomorrow will be a better day for that !))

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Almost Golden

Well, after a hugely busy work week, I finally got to paint a bit. And the golden roses are ALMOST done. I have a few high lights and depth areas to put in tomorrow. But today it got a lot of work. First work on golds, yellows, and orange tones. Plus some white and naples yellow for highlights. I ended the painting session with greens, and deep colors, adding some brighter green highlights on some leaf edges that I quite like.

And yesterday, I happened across some coffee colored roses, cafe au lait color. I think some also call them Julia roses. I bought them and today did a photo shoot with them. They look pale coffee colour, but on close inspection (and on camera) they have deep rose and burgundy shadows and some of them have centres with orange and deep yellow. Just beautiful !

After photographing them, I left them in the vase and put it out in the lounge room. Winston knew there were roses in the house (he has a severe rose grazing habit and I am sure he knew they were here by smell--this bunch is mildly fragrant). He found them and has already had a little taste !

The new roses will be fun to paint too...Just stunning colours.