Tuesday, July 26, 2011

entries for the art fair on the green

here are the paintings that i decided to frame and hang for the art fair on the green being held in la crosse on the 30th and 31st of july at the university of wisconsin, la crosse campus. there are about 12 others that i mounted, matted, and enclosed in clear shrink wrap to show in one of those canvas slings. as soon as the fair is over this sunday, i will get back to painting and i will ever so much happier! this show stuff is not for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

art fair on the green: preparation

aauw (american association of university women) sponsors a large local art fair each year entitled "art fair on the green." this year i have the opportunity to participate as a member of the eastbank artists group. i and four fellow artists will be showing our work in one large tent and i will have about 10 horizontal feet of wall space. since this is the first time i have entered one of these i'm not too sure how many pieces would comfortably fit in this size space. i have elected to mount, mat, and frame 10 pieces and just mount and mat another 10 covered in clear shrink wrap. i plan on hanging the framed ones and putting the shrink wrapped ones on one of those canvas deals so people can flip through them. i have no idea what prices i should put on the paintings and i may have to see what the market is once i get down there on the friday before (set-up day.) the fair is saturday and sunday, july 30 and 31, 2011 on the university of wisconsin, la crosse campus, quad.

needless to say i will be busy with mounting, matting, and framing of the 20 or so paintings that i am showing as i am way too cheap to pay someone else to do it. once i have this finished i will post the entries that i have chosen. don't look for any painting work until i have this all prepared, which i hope will be by monday, july 18th.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

finishing up: wall end farm

i finished the painting of the sheep farm yesterday. i posted it to wet canvas the day before and got some good constructive criticism. i incorporated some of the thoughts in this ultimate painting. i put the shadow side of the hill on in hookers green/olive green/quinacridone gold/burnt sienna mixed for the most part on the paper using a 3/4" flat. i then put in the trees behind the hedge row with varieties of the same colors plus ultramarine blue using a #8 round. i put the darkest pigment (i.e. tip of the brush) on the bottom right side and just pressed the brush up to the ferrule to "feather it out and create the light side of the trees. i sort of wanted that side to blend in with the background hill and this seems to have accomplished that end.
wall end farm
i then splashed and scraped and minimally brushed in the pasture with mostly quinacridone gold and hookers (with some olive) green. as i neared the bottom i darkened the splotches with the addition of some mineral violet. lastly i darkened the shadows under the sheep as the ones that i put in at the time i painted the sheep had blended in with the ground color at that  point. all in all i think that i am starting to understand how to effect some depth in the landscape and blend figures in so they appear to belong and not be an afterthought.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

next project: pastoral scene

it has become extremely clear to me that summer is not a big painting season for me. too many distraction, i guess. however, i do wander up to the studio 2-3 times a week and paint for an hour or two. in pursuit of not being ridiculously late for the wet canvas watercolor challenge again this month (i was at least 4 weeks tardy last month), i am determined to get this rural farm scene done in a timely fashion. i did a loose sketch of the major elements in the landscape on a sheet of 14"X20" fabriano artistico traditional white 140# rough paper. here is the photo that will be used as a source:
dale end farm

i started the painting with the "figures" which in this case are the sheep in the foreground. i have been told this is a bit backward from what most painters do in terms of the "lighter to darker" mantra of watercolor guru's. i find putting in the more important objects first gives me an opportunity to judge how well i am doing with these as well as to gauge all of the other values against them. this allows me a better way to get the values right. the important thing, i think, with this method is to make sure that the objects don't look pasted on and "sit" in the scene. the way i have chosen to do that in most cases is to lose edges to surrounding structures in a few places.....like shadow sides...where the values appear similar, especially when i squint. so i did start with the two larger sheep. i used a #4 round and a variety of colors from cerulean blue, alizarin crimson permanent, and raw sienna for the lighter larger one, to ultramarine blue and burnt sienna for the smaller darker one. i created some tie-ins with the surrounding grassy areas by painting up to the edges of the sheep with a mixture of quinacridone gold and olive green (in places i believe i also used hookers green). i scratched a bit of texture into these in places with a palette knife.
first steps on "dale end farm"

because at this stage of my painting "career" i am having trouble with skies that have white clouds in them, i thought that i should tackle the sky next before i invested too much time in this painting in case that the sky did not turn out well and i wanted to abandon the effort and start over. how's that for confidence? to begin this process i lightly ran a 1" flat  over the sky area and down to the fence/shrub line with clear water making sure that i skipped some areas so that there were several dry spots. i then ran over splotches of cobalt blue dulled with just a bit of raw sienna (i think cobalt blue right out of the tube is a little too "sweet" for lack of words to use in the sky). by leaving the dry areas i got a hard edges there and a soft, mingled edges in the damp areas. i further grayed the blue with burnt sienna nearer the hill tops as i moved down. when this wash was just barely damp i added the far hillside with a wash of cobalt blue with burnt sienna so that the edge was softer than if it was done over bone dry paper. this i hoped would create some atmospheric perspective pushing the hills into the distance. i worked on the house/barn/hedgerow mid ground while that dried. i used a #6 round with mixes of the colors i have already used, but in appropriate values, as i moved left to right doing everything in, more or less, one step. i have to be careful doing this not to get one big blur...getting just the right amount of water in the brush i think is key. at this point the far hills were dry and i did have to let the mid ground  dry before adding the greenish, near hillside with a mix of hookers green, burnt sienna, olive green, quinacridone gold, and one of the blues (cobalt i think but i wouldn't rule out ultramarine in places....sometimes i'm not real sure at the time as i just sort of stick my brush in a well that i think looks right value/tint-wise). i used the 1" flat for this work. the negative painting around the slats of the white fence was most tedious and i did it with a #2 round. it probably would have been easier to keep the fence dark as in the reference photo, but i thought that it would look better white. so i have no one to blame for this extra work but myself. that will be all for now and i hope to finish up later today or tomorrow.

i do HAVE to get the paintings for the upcoming "art fair on the green" at the end of the month mounted, matted, and framed this week as well. since i am too cheap to pay someone to do this i will have to take time away from painting to do it myself. luckily i have only about 10 feet of wall space so ten or so plus some extras just matted and put in stretch wrap should suffice. until later....be well.

Friday, July 1, 2011

finishing up: "i am lakhota" and "new life" (now known as "wonder")

"i am lakhota"
i have finally finished both of the above paintings ans have vowed to myself not to let this much time elapse before finishing a painting project ever again. it was very difficult for me to maintain my concentration and enthusiasm. i think both of them came out okay...the "new life" one which i think i am going to call "wonder" may have turned out a little better than "i am lakhota". that would have been the opposite from what i would have wished for before the final brush strokes were applied, but.....oh, well. i did correct the shadows on marlene's shirt but the whole thing still came off a bit too loose. i do like the face however, on which i further modeled the light side with a bit more blush on her cheeks with the alizarin crimson permanent and quinacridone gold (with just a touch of cobalt blue) and a #8 round. the clothing shadows were coming out more angular than i liked so i changed from a 3/4" flat to a #12 round and was happier with the softer more organic stroke.

on "wonder" i just finished up the background on the left of the picture by indicating the cross bracing with darker washes of cobalt blue and burnt sienna using a 3/4" flat brush. i dried, splayed the same brush and painted the grain on the boards with a relatively thick mix of mineral violet. the cracks and such were painted with a #4 round using ivory black and the edges catching the light were scraped white with a single edged razor blade.  that about finished that one off and i posted it to wet canvas about a month late!