There are many busy artists out there this week furiously getting ready for the next seasonal art and craft show and I, for one, am feeling a mixture of excitement and frazzle. Continue reading
I picked a big bouquet of flowers and set them up outside, where I prefer to paint. Fortunately there were two essential ingredients on that hot, humid day. The first was the shade of a cherry tree to cool the air, and the second was a breeze to discourage the mosquitoes. Continue reading
There is nothing so representative of this province in June as wild lupin flowers! They grow everywhere here – in ditches and in fields. Continue reading
I paint because I’m in love with my subject and I am delighted by the process of applying colour to a blank surface.
In the book Art and Fear the writers suggest that the observers who admire the finished piece of work have no interest in the artist’s process:
MAKING ART AND VIEWING ART ARE DIFFERENT AT THEIR CORE. To all reviewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork…In fact there’s generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist’s work. The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars. One of the basic and difficult lessons every artist must learn is that even the failed pieces are essential.
Step into my studio and let me show you an easy way to create a new painting using collage and paint. Text of the tutorial follows. Continue reading
Right now, I’m headed outside to paint iris and lupins. Here is a repost of a blog I made in 2010 about painting at this time of year. I will try today to express the emotional connection I feel for iris as I did in this painting.
There were gorgeous, large bearded irises in my grandmother’s garden over 50 years ago. My mother transplanted some to her garden and eventually I had them in my garden. They moved ½ way across the continent with us when we came to Nova Scotia and are blooming like never before.
I know my mom and my grandmother would have loved the yellow variety that I’ve added to the ancestral iris. And I know they would have loved the wild purple, pink and white lupins that grow like weeds here and especially at our place.
I want to show you how I painted and drew these flowers using fluid acrylics over a base of wet matt medium and I’ve made a tutorial for you about this. Enjoy!
I paint from life and in early June, the lupins and iris are in bloom here in Nova Scotia. I brought some into the studio and placed them in wine bottles so that I could have good close-up examples of the lupin in the distance. Although I prefer to paint on location, at this time of year the black flies are biting, so I paint inside.
I started this painting applying watered-down acrylic on a primed canvas. I wanted to achieve a soft, wet in wet watercolour effect.
When that dried, I applied a thick coating of matt medium over the entire canvas and then painted into it with my fluid acrylic paints. I keep them in sealed plastic containers in a muffin tin. That way they are always ready to use.
I try to limit my palette to five colours or fewer because it creates a better colour harmony in the painting. I paint with nylon brushes and I also use a rubber-tipped scraper to draw shapes into the painting.
I dip the scraper into my paint and draw with it much like dipping a pen into ink. I like the calligraphy effects that I can get by pushing the paint away and creating a line and a texture.
If the medium gets too tacky, I moisten it with a spray of water. The water also makes the paint run which adds an interesting softening effect to the work.
As long as the medium is moist, the painting can be worked on and the scraping will reveal the colours underneath.
I love iris and I deliberately choose purple and yellow because they are complementary colours and they make the painting vibrate.
Although I have an easel, I painted this on the floor because otherwise the entire painting would drip and run if I placed it upright. That’s because I have a coating of wet matt medium on the canvas and that is the tip or secret that I am sharing with you.
I came across this quite by accident and now I almost always paint with acrylic this way. For one, it delays the drying period, which I like; but the biggest advantage is that I can create all kinds of textures and linear marks in the painting by pushing away the colour with a scraping tool and revealing the layer of colour or canvas underneath.
I bought a gorgeous yellow iris at a plant sale this spring and I wanted to make it the focal point in this painting. Unfortunately, by the time I painted this, it had finished blooming, but I used my huge purple bearded iris as reference. That’s the beauty of being the painter. You can change the colours of anything in your painting to suit your mood!
Check list for this painting:
Golden fluid acrylics
Rubber tipped scraper
Spray water bottle
Over a year ago I was invited to participate in a new comprehensive book–Painting in Acrylics – the Indispensable Guide. The publisher emailed to ask if they could feature a couple of images of paintings from my website to illustrate the chapter on sgraffito painting.
The artist-author Lorena Kloosterboer lived in Belgium and the editor in England. The book would be published in the UK and the US.
In return for my images I would be given credit in the book, my website would be mentioned and I would receive a copy of the finished book.
I have to admit that my 1st reaction was skepticism. Like many visual artists I’ve been invited to publish my work in the past–but at a cost of hundreds of dollars in ‘books’ that would only be distributed to the participating artists.
So how did this opportunity come about? The author found my website in an internet search. I had tagged some of the paintings as sgraffito . She was looking for samples of that style.
So if you are an artist, let this blog post be a reminder to you to include detailed descriptions of your artwork and your methods on your website so that search engines–and publishers–can find you.
It has taken years for this book to go from concept to publication. 12 months ago I submitted many images of my paintings, my studio, and my painting setup to Quarto. I sent high resolution jpegs to the publisher through the free version of Dropbox. It is a server ‘in the cloud’. I uploaded the large images required for printing, shared the password, and Quarto downloaded them. I didn’t have to make a DVD or snail mail anything.
Just before Christmas I received my very own copy of Painting in Acrylics – the Indispensable Guide.
I am so thrilled that my paintings are part of this international book. There are many painters included whose work I admire.
This is the most comprehensive acrylic guide I have ever seen with extensive information about acrylic painting–styles, materials, color theory and so much more.
There are paintings from over 90 artists all over the world.
Artist – author Lorena Kloosterboer writes clearly and is generous with her step-by-step descriptions of her own high realism painting process.
I love experimenting with art materials and this book will show me new ways of working with this versatile medium. I highly recommend this book for artists at all levels. I know that for me, getting my hands on it is a great way to start 2015!
If you want to take a closer look at the book, click on this link to view it and my current favorite art-related books.
There were years and years when I believed that all abstract work was bourgeois and decadent and wasn’t actually art. The shift in my thinking has been gradual and unexpected. All I can say for sure is that the more I paint, the more I feel drawn to the work of abstract artists. I notice this when I view art exhibitions or when I look at online works. The bold colorful paintings of abstract expressionists past and present excite and move me.
And yet what I paint still remains literal… That is, the viewer knows exactly what they’re looking at. Even when I try to paint in a non-representational way it gradually morphs into a flower painting or landscape. I can’t seem to help myself.
So I decided to create a series of works that would challenge my way of approaching a painting.
This series that I created for my October 2014 show in Annapolis Royal is my way of abstracting flowers. Instead of painting live flowers, I painted from sketches of mine of live flowers. The “big deal” for me was to use a previous drawing as a point of reference rather than the actual plant or flower.
The original drawings are ink and ink stick on watercolor paper. I cropped them that I would be forced to paint a larger-than-life version of the flower which is also not my usual way of painting.
20″ x 20″
The finished paintings are one painting removed from the original subject and have morphed into an abstracted painting that suggests a floral theme. I would like to experiment by cropping these paintings and developing new and changed versions of them.
It’s like playing “broken telephone” with the brush.
I’ve very excited to explore a new approach to a favorite subject and I can’t wait to hang these in a couple of days at my show in Annapolis Royal. Please come, if you have the chance!