Sunday, August 27, 2006

Beware of the Rocks

I didn't get any artwork done on Saturday, but I did attend the monthly meeting of the West Coast Encaustic Artists. There were some new faces there and we continue to prepare for our inaugural exhibition of encaustic artwork at the O'Hanlon Center in October. There certainly has been a lot of volunteer work people have put in preparing for it! I had a really lovely chat with Cyndy Goldman over hot chocolate after the meeting and we inspired each other with what to work on for our next wax pieces.

On Sunday, I decided to take the logs out of my red barn painting (so it wasn't done after all!). I didn't rendered them very well and they were bothering me and when I had some friends critique the piece, that came up as an issue and that sealed their fate for me. Out they go...

I made a little more progress on my Big Sur seascape oil painting (24x30"). I made the sky more of a sky that has tints of red in the clouds of a setting sky (not dramatic but it gets the point across) and began to model the foreground rocks. Rocks have always been the bane of my existence. I am horrible at them and I keep doing them thinking eventually my relationship to them will become a little less adversarial. So facing down my fear is a significant part of the process when I do rocks. These have a good start to them, so we'll see. Maybe this will be the time that rocks won't trip me up. These will eventually be sitting in the sea water with foamy white stuff.

Then I started the first layer of 6 more miniature oil paintings (4x4"). That will make a total of 24 of them. I still have to do the details on them, but they will be ready for Open Studios and people seem to like these a lot.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Wha? Were You Born in a Barn?

No, but I grew up near a bunch of them in New Jersey. Probably why painting the barns of Northern California bring me such comfort. I finished a painting of an old red barn on Saturday. It's 24x30". It's always a double-edged moment to finish a painting - both a relief that it is finally "done" (I always see more to do but the moment does always come when it feels like its best to say this is when I call it done) and sad because my time of being inside that piece and contemplating that piece and solving problems on that piece and see it emerge in its own way, is now complete.

I've been feeling frustrated and up against a wall of resistance on my encaustics, so on Sunday, I concentrated on working on my autumn vineyard oil piece. Finished the oak trees and continued to build up the autumn colors of the vines in the field. That piece is coming along. I also did some work on my new seascape, working on the foreground rocks.

I went to The Art Store and took advantage of their summer sale on canvases. Got 18 miniature canvases (4x4") for about $1.50 each. They didn't have 24x30 canvases left on sale so I picked up some 24x24" canvases, for like 7 something dollars each. I realized I may come back for some 30x30" canvases because they were only $12 each (70% off) but I wasn't able to carry that many canvases in one trip. I typically add a couple of gesso layers myself to these and they are good to go. These would not be any part of my current goals of what I'm preparing for Open Studios, but will be a good amount of "inventory" to have around at a good price for the rest of the year. And there is something that feels great about having a lot of blank canvases around with so much potential!

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Oil and Wine

Saturday was dedicated to working on my autumn vineyard oil painting. It's got a lot to go but I made some progress on it. I really want to build up the layers of oranges, yellows, reds and browns, but that will need to be done in stages. Here is an in-progress photo shot:

The oak trees are kind of only put in place and will have additional layers and colors to bring them out more. But I got them started.

I also began another 24x30" oil painting, a seascape. I finished the sky and began to work on the foreground rocks when I pooped out for the day. Lately, I've been painting until I drop.

Sunday I spent all day on one encaustic painting that was only 12x12". I sometimes think this should go faster, but then I realize I'm doing the "should" thing and I put my mind on something else. I am making a series of 12x12" abstract encaustics that will be relatively simple and simply play with the horizon line. This one has under-layers of all different kinds of colors and a wash on top of it all of king's blue (a light blue) and then carefully scraped away with a razor blade to reveal the under layers in sections. I laid a portion of twine right in the wax to make the horizon line (and in this one, it goes all curvy and actually terminated within the painting instead of going off both ends of the piece) and then pulled the twine out at the end, leaving a deep channel right down the original layers of clear wax. I'm going to finish the piece by using oil sticks to fill the channel and glaze portions of the surface. Took me all day of putting wax layers down, scraping and fusing to get it to the stage of the oil sticks, which I'll do in another session... because I pooped out again!

But I feel like I made good progress on everything I wanted to this weekend.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

It's Raining Fish

Spent the weekend painting, until I felt burnt out on it. On Saturday, I continued to work on my seven koi painting, this time working on texture. My idea is to make the painting so that when you stand a little back, it looks like you are looking down on the the rain. So far, I don't think I'm successful at this little idea of mine...but of course when painting, what is in my head rarely comes out on canvas just as I see it inside me. But I'm going for it and seeing to what degree I succeed or fail. Here is a close-up of how I am gobbing the paint on and making little "peaks":

I also finished up my 24x30" barn painting, which felt great. I spent a lot of time on the texture of the grassy field, both close-up and further in the distance. I'm not so good at painting grass up close but I wanted to generate a strong feeling within field- the light, the clumps. I think I succeeded and I like it but we'll see how others respond to it. It's in the drying stage now.

I also worked on 6 more miniature oil paintings (4x4" canvases), so it was a FULL day of painting.

Today, Sunday, I was a little fried from painting so long yesterday so I only painted 3 hours. Made some final tweaks to a 24x30" abstract painting, so that is done and in the drying stage now. I like it very much. But mostly I worked on a 24x30" vineyard painting. Made great progress on the field where the vines are, but have not gotten to the layer yet when I paint in the actual vines. This will be a vineyard from Sonoma in the autumn so there will be lots of oranges, browns, and yellows. This one also happens to have a barn in it but the vineyard is the focus. So far so good on this one. Next session will be painting in a large oak tree that sits in the vineyard amongst the vines.

Still haven't made it back to work on my encaustic pieces but I will.

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