Friday, February 27, 2015

Color and Light for Nigel, Sketches and Studio Scenes

WIP detail
 This week I have continued on my quest to paint light in the Nigel painting and it is coming along slow, but sure.  I am trying to paint light coming from the lamp on the nightstand as seen above.  There will also be light coming from the hallway fixture as seen below.

WIP detail

My art instructor helped me in class this week and this morning I began reading a chapter about color and light in Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima.  I purchased it two years ago even though it was kind of expensive.  It probably appeals more to classically trained painters, but I knew it would be a go-to resource for me over the years, which it has been.

Color and Light chapter in Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima

 In the photo below you can see I shortened the arched doorway after my instructor suggested it, and now the parent figures stand in the boy's room rather than being detached (see previous post).  I am not sure I like it this way because I originally wanted the parents to be outside Nigel's door vs inside.  However, now it makes more sense as far as drawing purposes go.  From the beginning I have struggled with how to arrange this scene so that the parents are equally as important as the sleeping boy, but have it also make sense architecturally.

There is still much to do.   There are more shadows and light and fine details to come.  I am using glazes and cold wax, which means it has required a lot of time to dry in between sessions.

WIP 20 x 16  inch oil on cradled board

So while the painting is drying I have been doing things like straightening up my studio...


sketchbook sweeties

and sketching in my tiny sketchbook.

sketchbook sweetie
graphite and pastel

sketchbook sweetie
graphite and charcoal

I hope you have a beautiful weekend.
Thank you for following.
♥ Lisa

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Painting in Progress and the Song That Inspired It

oil on cradled wood 20 x 16 inch

This past summer while cooking dinner, I was listening to the Nina Simone station on Pandora like I usually do, and the song "Making Plans for Nigel" ( the Nouvelle Vague version) came on.  I swayed and twirled and cooked and listened, and as I did a vision of a young boy and his parents came to mind.  I saw basically what you see here in the beginnings of this painting...the boy in his bed with the covers pulled over his head...a tuft of hair sticking up (eventually)... and his parents standing outside his door discussing his future.  Nigel has hopes and dreams of his own, but his parents know what's best, don't they? Or do they? I sketched this scene out that evening and the ideas of painting it have been dancing in my head ever since.  I'm excited to finally be working on it.

I don't believe this is the true meaning of this song, but it is what I saw when I heard it.  My challenge for this piece...the challenge I am giving to paint light.  I see light coming down from the hallway light, onto the parents heads and faces, and spilling into the room.  The relation of the doorway and the room of course isn't right, but it's the only way I could get this down with my limited drawing skill.  It's the light, the characters and the overall atmosphere I care about.  I am not sure I can succeed with painting light, but I am going to give it a try.

Wish me luck.

Below is the Youtube video of the song.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rebirthings and Some Thoughts on Being in Class

mixed media on canvas
11 x 14 inch

Last week in painting class, I dived right into this work...and I mean dived in...sleeves rolled up, head down...and not a word as I worked.  I cannot talk and paint at the same time.  Luckily my friends in class are forgiving of my silence.  It is good to be among other artists on a weekly basis who get it about the need for concentration and having a block of uninterrupted time to paint so that ideas can flow smoothly.  

My friend Julie Ford Oliver has mentioned the difficulty of talking while painting before on her it challenges her while demonstrating in her classroom and on her teaching videos.  I understand fully what she meant now that I am in a classroom setting.  But I would not trade my classroom time now that I've experienced it.  It is so valuable because I not only get to hang with other artists for three hours a week, but I get the privileges of having a teacher (Brian Hinkle) to ask a variety of questions about mediums, techniques, and all things art.   It is truly a blessing.

Anyhow, about the painting:  I started with scrapbook paper that covered the entire surface of the canvas and painted on top of that.  I prefer a smooth surface most of the time, especially when there are small details, and the paper provides that in an interesting way.  I worked pretty fast and you can see in the photo below where I left off at the end of class last week.  I then pecked at it all week and finished it last night.

Rebirthings in progress

The figures slowly emerged and the details were a mix of accidents and purposeful marks.  Once the blackbirds appeared in the sky, it seemed placing one in the child's arms would be a nice touch.  After I finished last night, I stared and stared at it trying to come up with a title.  I looked up blackbirds, ravens and crows online to get some help.  The word rebirth was repetitive among the three bird types, however "rebirth" sounded boring.  In art, we can make up our stories and our own words.  Lucky us!

The story here is for your interpretation as I had no agenda.

Here are some closeups.

Happy week to you my friends...until next time.

♥ Lisa

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Share Sunday: The Art of Karen Divine

Small Amount of Courage
book by Karen Divine
I stumbled upon a beautiful image one day on Facebook and it was the work of Karen Divine.  She does magical things with her iPhone and this is her new book that came out not too long ago.  I purchased a copy and the colors and images in it are stunning and inspiring. Her words are also thought-provoking and beautiful.  I love to look at it and every time I do, I discover something new in her haunting images that I did not see before.  What I love most about these images is that many of them look like paintings.  Absolutely wonderful work.  I hope you will have a look.

Work by Karen Divine from her book Small Amount of Courage

Her book is available on her website or on Amazon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


oil on linen
mounted to hardboard 6 x 8 inch

Sage got her name because there is a lot of green in this painting.  I would have named her Olive, but that just didn't seem to fit.  Nothing against Olives...I happen to love them.

I hope you are having a great week.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sleeplessness and Birthday Sales

sketchbook 8 1/2 x 11 inch
acrylic and ink

I have had a hard time sleeping these days and this sketch I suppose depicts that.  Our minds can remain so active once we try to shut down and rest.

 February to me means Spring is around the corner and the birds are singing their happy tunes every day.  We have a lot of trees and we had a lot of trees at our old house as well, but for some reason there seems to be a lot more bird song in the air in our new neighborhood.  I LOVE it!

February is also birthday month in our family...many members including our sons and my own.
To celebrate I am having a 20% off sale on my art in my Etsy shop for the rest of the month.  Link is to the right or above in tabs. Use the coupon code FEB20 when checking out.

Happy Weekend and Happy February!

♥ Lisa

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Chair Painting, Sketchbooks, and Photos

Chair With a Delicate Seat
acrylic, cold wax and oil on panel
5 x 7 inch

This little painting took quite a bit of time to do for many reasons.  The drawing changed a few times, there are lots of layers and the titanium white oil paint took forever to dry.  But here it is, wonderfully textured in a way I was aiming for.  I wanted the resemblance of an encaustic painting without the work of a true encaustic, if that makes any sense.

In a nutshell:  I painted and scratched, painted and scratched in acrylic, smeared cold wax over the entire surface, scratched in some more, let it dry and then topped it with oil everywhere using a palette knife. 

 rough sketch of our street
acrylic in 8 1/2 x 11 inch sketchbook

 acrylic sketch of an area in Riverside using one of my photos

This past week I have also worked in my sketchbooks.  I am playing with ideas for a large painting of Riverside that I plan to do for our home.  I don't know whether or not there will be any figures in it. Right now, I am just exploring ideas on composition and colors...waiting until that ah-ha moment comes...if it comes.

 acrylic, ink and oil pastel in 4 x 6" sketchbook

I started to miss doing faces.  This is a portrait inspired by an old photo of an elderly woman.  I like to think this is what she looked like in her youth with smoother skin and chubby cheeks. 

 me at the art table

Above is on a typical evening in my studio with lights on and shades drawn.  My table is always a mess like this.  I always wear that green Starbucks apron that my sister bought me years ago from eBay when I paint.

the studio at Sunset

I am getting used to the lighting in this room.  It is very different from my old house.  I really love this room.

acrylic and ink in 4 x 6 inch sketchbook
inspired after hearing beautiful music of Agnes Obel

bald eagle in our neighborhood

There has been a Bald Eagle hanging around our neighborhood lately.  I watched it one day perched high in a tree and then it flew away.  This was a lucky shot and I edited the photo in DistressedFX with my iPhone.  What a majestic creature!

more photo editing with various apps

A wonderful thing about photo edits are that if the colors of winter become too drab, you can always spice them up.  These types of photos have become great sources of inspiration for my paintings.
 Of course I often want to place figures in them...perhaps someone walking below the full moon?

I hope your week is full of everything good.
♥ Lisa