Saturday, March 29, 2014

Studio Work - River Snag

If you read the last post, you saw a hint of what I was working on. After the experiment with the thinned gesso on the UArt paper, I started on the larger painting. My photo was taken recently along the Scioto river near Hayden Falls. The falls weren't as picturesque as the river that day, but I liked this photo of the river.

I am partial to odd shaped frames so decided to use this photo to paint something to fit a 8x28 frame. Below are process shots. In the photo below on the left, the UArt 400 grit paper has the basic drawing, with the cropped photo to the right of it. The right photo shows the completed painting with the 'mini' trial painting in the middle and the photo on the right side:

Here are four process shots. The left hand view shows the UArt after I have added some of the thinned black gesso in the dark areas, and the thinned white gesso in a few places to brighten up the tan colored UArt. The final painting is on the right.
Here's the finished painting in the frame. There is a bit of glare in the glass.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Experiments - Adding Acrylics to Sanded Pastel Papers

If you are a pastel painter and enjoy using sanded paper, you are undoubtedly mourning the unavailable Wallis papers. Production issues have caused a worldwide disappearance of this popular paper. Lots of pastel painters love the special edition color of Belgium Mist Wallis. Lots are trying to find a substitution and some are trying to use some type of paint to match this color on other papers.

I am lucky to have a small stash of this paper and I thought I'd try to find a paint to match too. I have several of the "Oops" paint samples from Home Depot and a few of these seem fairly close in value to Belgium Mist but not in color. I attempted to adjust these colors with some tubed acrylic paints, then thinned them with water. I wanted the paint to be thin enough to not affect the grit of the sanded paper. I got 'sorta' close in color and painted on a piece of UArt 400 and a piece of Canson Touch White.

Shown in the photo below, you also see the Belgium Mist and a small piece of Pastelmat dark grey. The Pastelmat is really close but the paper is not sanded (although it is a favorite paper of mine). After the UArt and Canson painted papers dried, I tried out the feel with some hard pastel sticks. I didn't like the texture on the Canson, but the UArt felt pretty nice. I am not sure I would bother to paint a large sheet of UArt this way, but it might be good for smaller paintings. I'm not certain that the exact color is important, but the value of the Belgium Mist is probably what makes it so popular, as it works so well as a background to both dark and light pastel applications.
I was also trying out a sample pastel painting in preparation for a larger piece. I've followed Barbara Benedetti Newton for awhile and have been intrigued by her use of black or white acrylic paint to 'rescue' a failed painting or to prepare a paper with a suggestion of the darks and lights.

Because I wanted to use UArt sanded paper for my next project, and I wanted to underpaint some areas with a dark wash, I decided to try her technique for "scene suggestion". I cut a small (3"x10") piece of UArt in roughly the shape I plan for the larger painting. (I found a thin shaped frame at the thrift shop I wanted to use for a painting.)

I did a quick pencil sketch, fixed that, and then used black and white acrylic gesso thinned down (instead of acrylic tube paint) to paint in the major lights/darks. I setup the painted paper to take a photo and the white ran a bit! But it really didn't matter. I then quickly filled in some of the color with hard pastels. I think this will work quite nicely for the larger piece - you've got a sneak peek to a suggestion of that painting!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paintin' with my Peeps at the MAC

I got up early enough today to join my buddies painting at the MAC.

I had a sheet of Pastelmat in the soft warm gray already mounted to go and just took some charcoal pencils and Conte crayons. (The photos don't show the correct color of the paper.) We had a complicated pile of grapes to paint today. It was tough trying to find my way through all the individual grapes. I got lost a few times! I decided to have the left middle of the painting be the focal point and left much of the middle and right side very loose.

I took a couple shots to decide on a composition and did one shot in black and white.

I got started:

This photo shows the correct colors
I'm pretty happy with the end result and will leave it as is:
"Many Grapes and One Orange", 11x14, charcoal and conte crayon on PastelMat

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Cows with Big Ears and Funny Legs

I got back into painting with oils this week. I spent today finishing up a painting of cattle. I took the photo last fall at the Stratford Ecological Farm at their Harvest Festival. Loved the looks and composition of these guys/gals! But when I went to paint them, I noticed how BIG their ears are and how funny cow legs are shaped!
I was hoping to catch the effect of the left most cow's breath in the morning air, but it was hard to capture.

Along the way, I took a few photos with my iPad but I am still trying to figure the best way of getting true colors (warm/cool) and the correct contrast. I have tried to edit them in the iPhoto app, but to me, they are still off. I guess it doesn't matter too much because everyone viewing these has a different monitor. I've tried to use my Canon camera for most and the final photo is from that. Process shots follow:

(iPad photo)

(iPad photo)

"You Looking at Us?", 8x10, oil on hardboard