Search This Blog

Monday, August 27, 2012

Oceanside Summer

"Harbor Alley"
14 x22 Mixed Media on Paper
Click here to purchase or view large
This piece took a while, as it was a bit of an experiment but turned into quite an exercise.

We've had some great weather over the summer down at Oceanside Harbor, so I've been wanting to capture some of those bright days in my artwork.  I started with a palette knife painting using blue acrylic and gesso, laying in the values and basic composition before I broke out the chalk.

I ended up layering chalk over acrylic, then more paint over the chalk again to bring back some of those deep blues and bright whites.  The goal of the painting was not to show what the actual boats looked like, but the patterns of horizontal and vertical shapes highlighted by the bright sun and set against the darker water.

In the spirit of summer and great beach weather, I also did a pastel painting of my daughter as she looked last year:
"Little Chunky Thighs on the Beach"
9 x 12 Chalk pastel on paper
Original not for sale
Using chalk pastel on yellow-toned Canson Mi-Teintes paper, I thought I would pay tribute to my little girl's toddler shape since she's now outgrown the chubby legs stage.  She's looking forward to going with her soon to arrive baby brother down to the beach.

There are lots of nice beaches down here in San Diego County, but Oceanside is a favorite because we can walk around and see the boats and hit the ice cream shop before we head for home.

"Harbor Reflections"
Click here to view large or purchase
Stop by and visit my Nautical and Beach gallery!  Don't forget that shipping is free through summer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rescuing a Painting

"Pangaea" 14 x 18 in.
Acrylic and oil pastel on flat canvas
Click here to purchase (or see large)
Some months back, I began a painting with acrylic (using a palette knife) on some flat canvas.  I blocked in the large forms and basic lights and darks with the knife, and liked the simplicity of the first stage.

I tried some chalk pastel over the acrylic, to highlight the thick textures and brighten the piece.  I had put a great deal of yellow chalk over the paint, liking the brightness but unsure that it felt right.

Then I got sick.  Brutally, miserably sick with nausea for a couple of months.  Every time I looked at the painting, I didn't like the color choices I had made (all that yellow began to take on a sickly feel with the green and purple).  Finally, I put it away, because looking at it reminded me of how sick I had gotten when I was in the middle of working on it.

I didn't forget about it though.  I knew it had started off strong, and that it just needed a fresh take and a different direction.  So, this week I removed all of the chalk from the piece and started over with the acrylic base.  I opted for oil pastel this time, and what a difference!  I also decided to get rid of most of the yellow, and go for more harmonious greens and blues.  A touch of some hot red-orange gave a little contrast, and the piece was quickly finished.

Now, I'm happy to look at it.  It reminds me that although I've had a lot of setbacks in painting these last months, I can still go back to a piece and give it the treatment it deserves.  The inspiration to paint is what starts the process, but it's ultimately the willingness to dig in your heels and bring a piece to the desired result that makes an artist successful.

Thanks to two weeks of high humidity and temperatures and a kid with the flu (not to mention being barely able to waddle around as I hit the third trimester of pregnancy), I'm still in baby-step mode when it comes to getting any painting done.  Hopefully the worst of summer is over and fall will soon be on its way.

If you like this painting, check out my land and seascapes gallery on my website!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Slow and Steady

"How 'bout a Hug"
9 x 12 Chalk pastel on paper
Click here to purchase
Caught these two turtles in a cute moment at the duck pond in Temecula...

Not feeling well really puts a damper on the creative process!  I painted this piece mostly in one session, then had a rough few days where I didn't feel well enough to finish it up.  It's easy to start panicking when periods of time like that set in, but I've learned a trick as I've gotten older and more patient: even baby steps will eventually get you where you need to go.

If I felt good enough to sit up and work, I added a little touch here and there to get the piece done: a bit of shading on the shell, more depth in the water, or light smears on the rock.  Having been used to completing five or more paintings a week, finishing just one doesn't sound like much.  It's better than not painting at all, or trying to push out a lot of paintings that end up in the failure pile.  I try to remember that as long as I'm getting something accomplished, I'm on the right track. 

So, if you're having trouble finishing a painting, try to take little steps as you get time and energy.  Eventually, you'll end up with a finished piece!  This method also works for household chores, by the way.

Stop by my new website and check out my summer shipping special!