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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nervous Breakdown! Nervous Breakdown!

Late last night, I realized I still needed to make a painting. I thought this one would be simple, since it was basically rocks, ocean, and some sort of machinery or pipe at the Oceanside Harbor.
This is what happens when I engage in PWT-- Painting While Tired-- it quickly goes from painting while tired to painting while delirious.
"What is That?" 9 x 12 Pastel on paper
I finally thought I had finished the picture, then woke up today and realized it needed work. So tonight, I went through round two of painting while delirious. I almost threw it away a few times because I got so frustrated-- I would lose my lights, lose the edges on the rocks, keep drawing a piece of metal that looked like a giant grasshopper...
Finally, just as I was about to banish this picture to the Epic Fail pile (my art students know all about that pile), I redrew the end of the pipe (?) and simplified the shape.
I guess since the shape of the pipe was what inspired me to take the photo, I should have remembered to keep my focus on that. I'll try to paint earlier tomorrow.
Look on my "Patience" page for this week's collaboration with the little one, and on the Merry Weather page for a pastel of some houses along the canal in Venice, CA.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Use Sparingly...

One of the advantages of uploading artwork on a regular basis is the opportunity to evaluate the way it looks downsized into an image on a screen. When I first took a picture of my "Turtles," I noticed that the black was overpowering the other colors. Normally, I am careful using black in representational pieces. Unfortunately, I got carried away with shadowing the rocks, and the result was this:

I didn't see a problem with it, until I was getting ready to post it. So, today I took another shot at it, adding more neutral and trying to keep the emphasis on the turtles and center rock. I ended up with this:

Turtles (15 x 20 Mixed Media on Paper)


I can't decide which one works better, but I think the turtles and leaf are better emphasized in the second version-- which was the point of subduing the black with more neutral. Anyway, I've gotten a big reminder about being careful with that black pastel. It's a little easier to see the fish in the second picture, now that the picture isn't overwhelmed by all the black.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

While she is sleeping...

I should have titled this blog "While the baby is sleeping," since that seems to be the only time I can work on it...

"Sleeping Baby," 8 1/2 x 11, China Pencil on Paper

After taking a bunch of pictures of completed artwork, I decided that this one is my favorite as of right now:

(Palm Springs Trees, 15 x 20 Mixed Media on Paper)

When I first started taking "real" art classes at UCR extension, I began with pastel. After a year or so, I took an illustration class. The instructor encouraged me to try mixing pastel with water or (gasp) paint, and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. In 2008, I took a more experimental art class, where we were encouraged to just play with different media. Now my kitchen is a mess of jars, sand, paint, pastels, tissue paper, and even some dried out cactus veins.

My most recent "comfort zone" in painting is to make a strong acrylic underpainting and top it off with pastel. The picture above is an example of the result. You can feel the acrylic ridges if you touch it, although you'll end up with a fingerful of pastel if you do.

Is fingerful a word?