Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tinkering in the Studio

If you have followed me much here, you might notice I seem to tinker with artist gear more than painting! I like tinkering and building things. Recently I was, again, attempting to learn how to use gouache (opaque watercolor) paint. It seemed like the gear should have been simpler, but it wasn't, so I played around to make it more user friendly.

Although I have built many different setups from wood, I didn't feel like reinventing the wheel this time. I have an older EasyL brand painting box that I love. It's been all over the world with me. They don't make this model anymore.

But newer shiny painting boxes have come on the market over the years since I bought this little box. I've bought and sold numerous brands and models for different reasons or mediums. I think I own about 10 different models right now. They all have their uses, but this little one sat on the shelf. So I decided to make it work for an exclusive gouache painting box. I work very small with gouache because of the fast drying time making it difficult to paint larger than 6x8 (in my opinion!).

The gouache I was using is the Caran d'Ache pan set which is contained in a nice metal box, but that makes it heavy. The little pans of each color pop out easy enough so I found an empty metal watercolor box that they all fit into. Perfect fit!!

To make it convenient when painting, I needed to organize the inside the wooden box. I took a piece of HDPE 1/8" plastic sheet and cut it to size. This material is a hard plastic which I use in several of my other painting boxes as the palette where I mix paint. It can be cut with a utility knife and holes can be drilled with a cordless drill. The micro magnets are powerful little things that many artists use to keep things steady on their gear. Because the plastic is a tiny bit flexible, the magnets popped into the holes I drilled and stayed fine without glue. They are the little rounds things shown in the plastic below.
I am left handed, so I arranged the locations of the magnets in a way that worked best for me. They hold onto the metal box with the pan paints, a metal tray for water to clean brush (top left), and a tiny jar to hold clean water (to use to dip the end of the brush to help the paint flow). I added a little magnetic clip to the metal tray which holds a folded paper towel that will be wet (to place any tube paint to keep it from drying too fast). The setup works well on its own on a tabletop. The extra open white area of the HDPE will serve as an additional paint mixing area.
Once popped into the box, it makes a neat little package! The sketchbook or paper fits nicely in the upper area. The wood box has an additional side wing that attaches to the left side of the box with space to lay my brushes and tubes of paint. The box is fitted on the bottom with a tripod nut and will be attached to my travel tripod when I am painting standing outside.
My small gouache painting with credit to Jim Glover for use of his photo reference
Seems like a pretty good setup! Now I need to get better with these paints!! ;-)

I've Retired!!

I recently retired! YAY! I'd worked in the engineering field for over 30 years and was lucky to have been employed by a great company for the last 21 1/2 yrs, with great benefits including a real pension in addition to a 401k with an 8% match.

So on my 62nd birthday I retired! Now I am a lady of leisure doing whatever I feel like!!! Maybe that will include more time to post on the blog again. I got so lazy by just posting on Instagram which posts automatically on my Facebook artist page. Hopefully I can now do both the blog and social media!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Brown County Indiana Retreat

Since I seem to be forgetting to post anything on this blog, I will share with you my friend, travel and painting buddy's blog post of our recent trip to historic Brown County Indiana at the retreat led by my other friend Michael Chesley Johnson! She also links to Michael's blog with his report on the retreat. Click on the link below:

I knew only a tiny bit about Brown County and always wanted to learn more. I asked Michael to figure out a retreat there, since he knew a local painter, Douglas Runyon, an expert on the area. It was really great to have a retreat with Michael that didn't involve airline travel! This area was about 3 1/2 hrs from home. Douglas was a wealth of information, and certainly the only way we could have had access to the best parts of this area!

Although it was considered a painting retreat, I couldn't seem to get in the groove to paint (but that is ok, as I needed a vacation one way or another!). Also, because of the late, late spring in Ohio, I had only been able to paint outside once before heading west. I tried to do a couple pastels and oils, but wasn't happy with my work. The only piece I ended up with was from a photograph taken in Brown County State Park. I painted a 6x8 pastel at the table of our cabin one afternoon. These pics are from two different cellphones. The top pic shows my cellphone with photo, the value sketch (trying to do this for all paintings!), and the final painting (which is a bit washed out in this photo).

 Below is another photo, but still doesn't show it true. But I am happy with how this painting came out.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Some More Small Paintings

I did a few more paintings and needed to get them posted for you to see! I've sure had a good run this winter - as they say - you have to put in the time to get the results. I've got some other things to attend to now, so it may be a few weeks for something new. Hope you enjoy viewing my art!
"Egg with Red Striped Towel", 6x6", oil on panel

"Clementine Dreams of Marmalade", 6x8", oil on panel

"Big Dreams", 6x8", oil on panel

"Almost a Fit", 6x8", oil on panel

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Year Look Back

I usually take a tally on last year's art, sales, and events at the end of the year. But when I looked back on my notebook, I hadn't added any notes since my trip to Florida last winter!

I do know that I was very lucky to have sold 4 paintings last year, enjoyed painting with my Plein air pals and doing a little bit of traveling. I really should keep an art journal this year.

I believe 2018 holds much fun and adventure!!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Busy painter on this mini-vacation!

I keep rolling along and have painted a few more. All are 6x8" oil on Gessobord.
An Artist's Breakfast


Summer on the Porch

Monday, December 18, 2017

More Small Paintings

Here's a few more paintings! I'm having lots of fun!
More Guacamole!, 6x8 oil on board

Gingko Leaf with Pots, 6x8 oil on board

Apples, 6x8 oil on board (applied with painting knife)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

New Exhibit - 3 Points in Time, McConnell Arts Center

I was recently accepted into an exhibit opening January 4th at the McConnell Art Center, Worthington Ohio. The theme is interesting - 3 points in time on an artist's journey. 37 artists submitted 52 sets (set = 3 items) of work (some submitted more than one set). 20 artists were accepted.

The reception will be open to the public on Thursday, January 11, 6:30-8pm in the main gallery. If you are in the area, please come! The exhibit will hang until March 18.

Below is a snapshot of my three pieces. (They may be hung differently at the gallery.) We were required to send 5 sentences that describe what led us to changes between the 3 pieces.

McConnell Arts Center
777 Evening Street
Thursday, January 11, 6:30-8:00 (main gallery)
Brian Johnston (judge for awards)

MAC hours
Tues-Thur 10am- 9pm
Friday- Sat 10am-5pm
Sun 12pm-5pm

Kitchen Art and More Still Life

Going along with the recent flow of painting, here are a couple more still life! Having great fun with these small paintings. I've taken lots of photos for more paintings.

But first, I want to share something I painted specifically for my kitchen wall. I recently painted over the "builder beige" walls with a lighter warm taupe. I needed something on the only open wall in that area. Below you'll see my collection of 1/2 pint latex "oops" paint. I pick these up at the hardware store paint department. These "oops - wrong color" pots sell for a buck or two. I've used these along with some tube artist acrylic paint on stretched canvas. I don't usually use stretched canvas, but wanted something larger and these were affordable. I used brushes and palette knife.

 Here's the winner on my wall! I wanted something subtle and soft. PERFECT.
Next, I tried a different palette, but this is too bright for my kitchen. It looks pretty good hanging in my studio though!
Here are the newest 6x8" oils on Ampersand Gessobord.

 And this shows the giant piece of 1/4" acrylic I was given. I use it as my mixing palette.

Friday, December 01, 2017

New Studio Work!

YAY! Back in the studio again! I tried to paint from life in the studio, but my schedule works better to paint from photographs. I project the photos from a thumb drive to my studio TV. Much better than trying to print them out. In addition to the paintings below I've shot a few more photos that might make good paintings, so check back soon!

I'm pretty happy with these two paintings! Both are oil on gessobord.

The first one is a 6x6". This is a little pot thrown by my friend Karen Lohr. If you look closely in the first photo - to the right on the table you can see the pot shown in the photo and painting. Love this little pot!

"Lemons with Karen's Pottery", 6x6", oil on panel
This next one is a 6x8". I've seen many paintings posted online of eggs. I thought I'd give it a try, using my cobalt blue pot and plate.

"Blue Plate Special", 6x8" oil on panel

UPDATE!!! Ohio Pastel Artists League Exhibit and Sale

UPDATE! I won an Honorable Mention for the middle pastel painting below! YAY!!!

These three paintings will be available at the Ohio Pastel Artists League show, opening on December 9th at the Sunbear Studio in Alexandria, Ohio. The artists’ reception is 11-2, with awards given at 1pm. That day is a special sale day! 20% off everything in the gallery. Sunbear always offers lots of lovely art and fine crafts. Finish your holiday shopping! The exhibit will be up until January 19th.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thrift Stores and Turtles

I love a good thrift store. I am always looking for items for my art - either items to use in still life, or items I can reuse for a studio or plein air gear purpose. The key is to not go into a thrift store with only one item in mind. You have to be open minded and think outside the box! Sometimes I feel I enjoy tinkering for gear more than painting!

I have found good use of a couple office supply items. One is the metal paper sorter bin. These brand new would cost in the $35 range. So far, I have collected at least 5 of these "vintage era" models at thrift stores with prices ranging from $3-6 each. You can find something similar in a horizontal version, but this vertical style works really well for painting panel storage - either unpainted or finished paintings. I put a different size or style stack in each slot. I think I have enough of these bins, but each time I see one I can't pass it up! This one was at Goodwill for $3 just yesterday.

 Here's my supply closet with four different bins. I think I still have room for the newest one!:
 See how easy it is to find the panel you want without unstacking a horizontal pile?
Another item I always look for is a copy holder. Brand new, these can run between $13-35. You can find them used in plastic or metal for less than $5. These are nice for holding a reference photo, or even the board you are painting on - if you like to work sitting down like I do.

These are the metal pair I found this earlier last week. The smaller one on the left doesn't fold down and is very sturdy, so I decided to try this for a painting easel for small hardboard panels.
Here you can see I added some HandiTAK reusable adhesive putty. This stuff is useful for many things.
 I pressed this 6x6 gessobord onto it and it stayed put throughout my painting!
Another great find were these old stereo speaker stands. A pair for only $3!! What did I have in mind? Why an adjustable still life stand, that's what!

 Here I used an older 9x12 cradled board clamped into the jaws of the speaker stand for my platform.
Then I use a simple still life light box to set on top. (This is a small version, while I have a more complex model for bigger setups). I make a lot of stuff out of foam core board. Super easy to work with - this box is 3 sides and a bottom, glued together. I usually don't worry too much about it getting knocked over, but could clamp it down easy enough.

For a backdrop, I added a sheet of scrap booking paper. I buy this paper in a big book that gives me lots of options of colors or textures.

If I want a colored "floor" I could add another color of paper, add some fabric, or just leave it dark. On the left photo below, I have added a piece of white foam core board, and put a piece of styrene down so I would have clearer reflections of the objects. On the right, I added a loose piece of black foam core board to block some of the light from my overhead lighting. Easy to move around to cover as needed.
I used the second speaker stand for holding some light fixtures. I play around with different light bulbs with different hues or intensity. This view shows I used a piece of white foam core for the lid to reflect a bit more light into the setup from below.
And who is that little guy in the spotlight? Well, I call him the Goofy Turtle! Look at that cute little face!! A friend gave him to me a couple years ago. I was in the mood to paint something fun yesterday. It was a bit tricky capturing the glaze colors and shine though.

"Goofy Turtle", 6x6, oil on gessobord.