Thursday, December 26, 2013

Recycling Bad Paintings

I'm experimenting with recycling some of my older bad oil paintings which are on hardboard into pastel surfaces. I decided to try covering up the paintings with my homemade pastel grit recipe. I had enough of my clear recipe and the black recipe to coat two boards with two layers.

I covered the lower left with the black and the right hand panel with the clear.

Here is the clear panel (upside down), along side a thumbnail. The thumbnail is older and I really don't remember what the reference was. So since I was experimenting, I thought this would be a good beginning for this pastel painting.
 Work in progress:

 Here is the palette I used:
And the final painting - I'm not sure I liked the feeling of this recipe on this hard surface. Soon, I will try the black panel for another painting and will post it here then.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Paint and Pizza

Today our painting group got together for painting and a pizza party to celebrate the holidays. I had stopped at the thrift store this week, looking for some interesting things to add to our still life. I found a couple brass pieces - a teapot and Turkish coffee ladle (cezve). The cezve is to the left of the pot below. I didn't add it to my painting though. I brought a piece of batik fabric also.
We got started a bit later than normal as the art center guy was late opening the door, and I was in charge of ordering/serving the pizzas, so I didn't spend too much time on my painting.
"Brass Teapot",  6x9, pastel on Belgium mist Wallis sanded paper

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cabin Fever Remedy

It's been COLD and SNOWY in Ohio for several weeks, much like the rest of the country. I've been hurrying home from work each night and hunkering down in front of the TV. Generally in the winter, I don't like to get up early on Saturday to meet the group at the arts center for the morning painting session, but this week, I'd had enough of being home and decided to go. We had several inches of snow in the morning and the forecast was for either more snow or rain. Luckily, by the time we finished, it was just rain.

We either work from our own photos or someone sets up a still life. I decided to bring simple tools today and work on my drawing skills. I brought some tan paper and a tiny box of Conte crayons. This was fun and was nice to be with my artist friends again.

 Here is mine:
 And some of the group and their pieces:

I had the funniest dream this morning. I dreamed it was the first day in spring of the plein air season! I was very unorganized and couldn't find all my gear. I couldn't find any painting panels and my oil painting brushes were stiff with paint from last year! One of the gals said, "Come on! We have to hurry, the light is changing!" I messed around for over an hour and a half. Finally, someone had setup my easel and told me to work on the painting that was there. I did not recognize it at all, but was told to finish it! By the time I was finished I had transformed it from a landscape to an interior view of an old parlor! - ha!

Yes, I have some complex dreams often. I think after that dream, I decided I needed to work simply today!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How Do You Decide on a Tripod for Your Painting Box?

I have linked a blog post below from Thomas Jefferson Kitts on his recommendations for tripods for the plein air painter. 

It’s a very good article, but I think his prices may be over-inflated. For less than half what he spent on his one tripod setup, I was able to get 2 tripods and accessories, although I opted not to spend the extra money on carbon fiber. I generally don’t hike much more than a ½ mile to a painting site, and although the lighter weight would be nice, I would prefer to spend less money.

So I thought some of you may be interested in what I researched and purchased this year. I spend WAY too much time online in general, and when I am researching a purchase, I spend even more time. I like to compare prices on eBay and Amazon, and also a couple good online photo supply stores – Adorama and B&H Photo. I purchased my tripod stuff from all of these. It pays to check around, especially this time of year when you might get holiday deals and/or free shipping.  I would also consider buying used from some of these sites, but this year, I found deals on brand new.  After researching, I decided that I really liked the features and reviews of Manfrotto tripods, and kept my research to this brand.

When I purchased my new Heilman pastel plein air box this year, I wanted a very sturdy tripod for that which would fit into my checked bag for a trip out west. Because I planned on using this one primarily for the Heilman, I didn’t want a ball head that would tilt.

I was able to find a great deal on Manfrotto 190XB Tripod Legs, which has a 11.02 lb load capacity – nice and sturdy for my fully loaded Heilman back pack box. This folds down to 22 inches. This can retail from $110 to close to $200, but I found a great deal on eBay for $93 with free shipping.

But keep in mind, this was just the tripod legs. Because there are many different heads which can be mounted on Manfrotto tripod legs, the tripod is normally sold without. So I searched for a quick release adapter with plate. This makes it easy to leave the plate on the painting box and quickly hook it up to the tripod.  After looking around for a head, I decided on the Manfrotto 625 Quick Release Adapter with 030-14 Plate. I think I purchased this at B&H Photo or Adorama for about  $60.  I also purchased an additional plate so that I could leave this one on my EasyL 11x14 painting box. The additional plate was about $22 bucks, but worth it for the convenience.This whole system works very well for me.

A few months later, I decided I wanted a lighter weight setup for my smaller painting boxes, which I may use if I know I will be working farther away from the car.  I have a smaller EasyL “ProChade” for up to 8x10 paintings, which is very compact and light. I also have a Judson’s Pocket Box for 5x7 paintings. The other tripod would work of course, but I wanted lighter.  On this one, I did want a ball head that would tilt, along with the quick release option. I found a Manfrotto 7322YB M-Y Aluminum Tripod with a RC2 Ball Head and quick release adapter with plate (4.4 lb load capacity) as a set on eBay for a really good price of $65 plus shipping. I also bought an additional plate for this one at about $18 so I could leave one on both painting boxes.

I also bought “stone bags” for each tripod. This is a sling you attach to the legs of the tripod. Most people use this to add to weight to the open tripod for stability, by adding some rocks or bottled water on top of the sling (it also gives you a place to put some supplies, or cellphone, etc.). I found these for about $10 each at Adorama.

So in the end, I bought TWO complete tripod setups with extra plates and stone bags, and shipping for well under $300 compared to Tom’s estimate of $400-500 for ONE setup. I do agree with him about looking for 3-section legs, the multiple leg angles, and the center hook or ring (where you can hang your backpack for extra stability to the tripod). It just takes some time and effort to research what you need and find a good price. Hopefully the work I did for myself will be useful for your plein air gear search.

Your local photo equipment place can be helpful and may have better deals, but that takes time to visit them. I find it easier to research online. Check out Amazon and eBay, along with these places if you want to research or purchase tripod equipment:

It’s been a very expensive year for me with purchasing a lot of extra gear, painting boxes, a big trip out west, a painting retreat, several local workshops, many tubes of paint, lots of new pastels, etc… but I really enjoy my time painting, so it is money well spent. Although I do plan on 2014 being a year of saving some money back for future painting adventures! Hopefully I can sell a bunch of paintings to help fill the coffers! All my artwork is for sale, so if you see something you love, please email me for a price.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Find a Unique Gift for that Special Person, This Sunday at the MAC

I will be selling affordable, matted and bagged, original artwork this coming Sunday at the MAC - come out and get one (or more) for that special person(s) who deserves something unique!

Sunday, December 8, 2013    12:00pm until 4:00pm

Join the MAC for the annual “Wrap-It Up” event, it is a wonderful opportunity to raise understanding and awareness of the local arts community, while spending a great afternoon with your family. The “Wrap-It Up” event has continuously been popular with our guests over the years and we hope to make it another success this year.

A very popular event, we look forward to another great holiday season making gifts this weekend!

Find affordable, artful gifts that will delight family and friends. Ceramics, jewelry, scarves, cards, ornaments and more.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

What Do You Do with Workshop Paintings?

Back into the studio this morning. I wasn't sure what I wanted to work on, but saw some of my paintings completed in a workshop this fall taped to a board in the corner of the studio. Most of my paintings showed my own style and design, but one was definitely based on the instructor's vision. What do you do with workshop paintings? I don't generally frame paintings that look like the instructor's work, so I decided to re-use the paper.  This painting was on Wallis Belgium Mist paper.
I found my own reference photo of the Galena Mud Flats area. It was a good fit to repaint this. I was fairly happy with the sky portion, but added a few more clouds. I knew the landscape area was too specific to the instructor, so I brushed out most of the pastel in that area to start over.

Below are process shots and the finished painting;