Thursday, March 27, 2014

Paintings, Sketching and Pretty Scenery

Penny Planted Poppies
5 x 7 inch papers, gel, acrylic, ink, oil pastel, colored pencil
on 5 x 7 inch paper mounted to hardboard
 I have been raking leaves.  Actually what I mean to say is boy howdy, have I been raking leaves!  
And I'm still not done.  But that's boring.  Who cares?
Here's my art.  :)  

Country Blue
6 x 8 inch papers, gel, acrylic, ink, colored pencil, oil pastel on cardboard
available on Etsy
 I painted on another piece of cardboard (the painting above).  Call me frugal.  

charcoal and graphite in a 4 x 6 inch sketchbook
 I did this sketch using one of the old photos gifted to me.  It doesn't look anything like her, but that's not what I was trying to do.  I just wanted to capture the essence of her, that's all. I really enjoy drawing portraits with charcoal, but it is so much easier in the 8 1/2 x 11 inch sketchbook I have.  The thing is, I like the way drawings look in a small book.  Well, I like the way art looks in a small book...period.  That's why I always do those  tiny sketchbook sweeties in the pocket sized moleskin.  Which, by the way,  I have not done for a while.  It's because of all those darn leaves.

The Arkansas River at Oak Park
This is Riverside...a lovely area that I love taking walks in.  The river is actually the Arkansas.  It's pronounced "AR-KAN-SAS" in these parts.  I used this wonderful photo editor called Snapseed on my iPhone.  I love this program.  It made those trees look painted I think.  

Well I'm off to rake more leaves...I filled 22 bags so far.  Yikes.
Thank you for visiting.  I really love it when you do!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sketchbook Peek and Around Here Lately

acrylic, colored pencil, papers, gel, ink, oil pastel
in 8 1/2 x 11" inch sketchbook
 There hasn't been a whole lot of painting going on except for some sketchbook work...

acrylic, colored pencil and oil pastel in
8 1/2 x 11" sketchbook

and painting on cardboard...

Blue Makes it Different
acrylic, graphite, colored pencil and ink
on 5 x 7" cardboard
available on Etsy

and straightening up my studio which was getting impossible to work in...

it's time to paint that red wall, don't you think?

and taking walks with Hurley...

Hurley on the Arkansas river

and raking leaves.

bags of leaves
Would you believe I'm not even half finished?  Fourteen bags so far!

How was your weekend?
What are you doing this week?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Panel Boards and Paper and the Paintings that are on Them

Henry is Late Again
12 x 16" mixed media on canvas panel

 Panels made with canvas, panels made with hardboard, plain watercolor's difficult to decide which is best.  They all have good things about them.  They all make the art look different.  They also feel different as you work on them.  

 Mrs. Baker on a Sunday Afternoon
5 x 7 inch oil on hardboard

It is impossible to decide which is best.

Promise and Her Pocket Full of Flowers
4 x 6 inch mixed media on watercolor paper

So I will just keep painting on all of them.

I really am going to rake leaves today.  Really I am.

Oh, and guess mother saw her cardiologist yesterday and her heart is unchanged which is great news.  It has been two years since her life-pivoting heart attack full of dreadful diagnosis' and we are all still marveling that she is still here with us, still living independently and doing so well.  She even danced a little this passed weekend.  She turns 80 in May so we are planning a big birthday party for her.  

I hope your day is full of joy.

♥ Lisa

Friday, March 14, 2014

Three Small Paintings, Ampersand Hardbords and a Missing Cat

5 x 7 inch oil on paper mounted to hardbord
 I have been painting smaller works in between the larger ones, the larger intended mostly for the gallery I am in right now and the smaller ones are stocking the shelves of my Etsy shop.  I honestly love both sizes.  The smaller ones feel intimate and the larger works are a playground for greater things (and sometimes not such great things).  In art, you never know.

Gracie May
4 x 6 inch mixed media on paper...not mounted
available on Etsy

Vienna was straight from the imagination and Gracie May was from one of the gifted vintage photos I recently received.

The Reservoir on a Cloudy Day
6 x 8 inch oil on linen mounted to harbord
available on Etsy
The reservoir painting was from a photo I took while in New York City in December with my sister.  Oh how I love that city.  And once in a while I just have to paint buildings only.  New York City makes a great subject...almost as much as Kansas.  :)

Back of Ampersand Hardbord
I have seen a few artists that mount their works on linen, canvas and paper to these Ampersand Hardbords.   So I bought some small ones for my own art and I really love them.  They are extremely rigid and the art lays so wonderfully flat on surface without any bowing.  I use gel medium to glue it down. Plus you can gesso them and paint directly on them.  They look and feel so professional and I think the cost is reasonable.

Our cat Bean disappeared over a week ago.  We are now thinking he is lost forever...I have checked the shelter, made flyers and everything...still no sign of him.  He was 12 years old and a really great cat with a ton of personality and he could make anyone fond of him.  Even people that don't like cats liked Bean.  We miss him a lot.  Our other cat and our dog have been hanging around each other a lot, which they normally don't do.  I think they are comforting each other.  
I am sorry to add on a sad note like that. We're okay...just miss our sweet kitty.

 I hope you have a great weekend!!

♥ Lisa

Monday, March 10, 2014

Grandmother's Garden

Grandmother's Garden
mixed media on 24 x 24 inch wood

Not too long ago, a very generous and thoughtful person contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in taking some vintage photos off of her hands.  She said she had quite a collection, but would never be able to use them all and wanted to find good homes for them.  I had no idea I would receive so many and I teared up looking at many past, women, children, families...and no one knows who they are anymore.  These photos are a treasure and I can't thank this person enough for thinking of me as a recipient.

For those who are interested in the process for this piece, read on...otherwise just skip to bottom of this post to see the photo that inspired this painting.

So about the process...

For this larger painting I wanted to try a combination of all the different techniques that have worked well in the past.  These are techniques that I love and frequently use, but not necessarily all at once.  I wanted to be sure to use all my favorite mediums.

Here is the shopping list:

24 x 24 inch wood 1/4 inch thick (cut by Home Depot)
white gesso - 1 thick coat
acrylic paints
oil paints
matte gel medium
scrapbook papers
acrylic ink
glazing medium
oil pastel
colored pencils
palette knives
flat brushes
detail brushes

putting it together
The wood was primed with white gesso first and allowed to dry for at least 24 hours. I then painted the entire surface with acrylic just to get the wood covered in color.  I blocked in the buildings, ground, sky, tree and figure, and then started the face, chest and arms also with acrylic paint.  I picked my basic color theme ahead of time.  It changed some as the painting progressed, but stayed pretty close to how it started out.

I cut long strips of paper for the buildings...the shed papers being skinnier than the house papers.  I also designed her dress with various papers.   I had to use tracing paper to help me get the size of her dress correct (lay tracing paper over the figure, draw the dress onto the tracing paper, cut it out and then use that shape to help you cut the scrapbook paper).  There may be an easier way, but this is all I know.

 All of this...buildings and  her dress were laid out while the board was flat.  This way I could stand over it and decide if the composition worked or not before gluing it down.

Just FYI:  Did you know that there are copyright laws for scrapbook paper?  The papers I use in my art come from large pads manufactured by Michael's Arts and Crafts and Hobby Lobby.  I checked with them a long time ago and they said that their paper is okay to use in art that will be sold...but you can't reproduce the paper to sell.  However, a lot of the singular sheets and other books of paper you buy have a copyright and you cannot use those in art that you sell unless they give you permission.

Back to the painting...over time I have decided that painting faces with oil is easiest because it can be blended so smoothly.  Plus I just love the way it soft.  Her face, neck, chest and arms are all finished in oil, but underneath is acrylic.  Her hair is in oil too.  I smeared in on with a palette knife and then slice into it creating a more stranded look.  Her hair bows are in oil also...those were the very last thing I added.

The grass is layers and layers and layers of acrylic paint and I had to get it right before the big white flowers were added.  Again, the shed is cut strips of paper.  I glazed over the buildings with a sheer earthy orange-brown.  The roof of the shed was painted and sanded, painted and sanded.  Sanding is a great way to add light to an area.  I also painted the table and chairs and added a few dots of different greens to make it look like a vine...keeping it very simple.

I lucked out with the paper for the is a wood grain pattern and as I laid glazes over it, it looked more and more like wood.  I kept spaces in between the strips of paper and this really added depth to the house.  When I first put the strips down, I put them against each other, but it didn't look right.  That's why you want to check your composition before gluing down the paper.  It takes time to get it to look right.  (I used the gel medium as my glue.) The windows are painted, there is no cut paper there.  

The most tedious part was cutting all these little leaves with an X-ACTO knife and then gluing them down.  I was going to paint the leaves, but the cut paper leaves seem to add to the depth and tie in with the buildings really well, giving the whole work a new cohesiveness.  I went over and over these little papers with the matte gel medium and also transparent green glazes so those little pieces won't come off.

I rubbed a thin layer of brown acrylic ink over her dress which gave it an antique look.  This is one of my favorite things to do to my art.  I learned this trick from Jane Spakowsky's class two years ago and I use it often.

The hardest part of this whole painting were those darn white flowers.  I have so much trouble painting flowers that look good.  I was finally happy with them after tracing the acrylic petals with oil pastel and going over stems and leaves with colored pencil.  That seem to do the trick by adding light to good places, but let me tell you they were tough to do because once they were down, it was a commitment since the rest of the painting was already finished. I think my heart skipped some beats prior to making that first mark of the petal...I was so afraid of ruining what was already done!

Thankfully it all worked out!

the muse
And here she is...the soul that inspired this piece.  Isn't that the sweetest smile?  I wonder who she was and where she is here and who took her picture.  Don't you?

More photo-inspired paintings to come.

♥ Lisa

PS:  Vic and I are celebrating 24 years of marriage today!