Sunday, November 15, 2009

Updates on My Paintings

From the beginning I was not happy with the dark overtones of my first painting which I called "Luminous" . I tried again to lighten it and was much happier with the results. The photos do not represent the paintings as well as I might like but with practice I hope to get better.
The painting called "Whitecaps From the West" looked better in my opinion but the way the background behind the tree looked bothered me. I did some improvements on that too by feathering in some of the new background colors and the result looks less phony to me.
The one with the face started out as a perfect circle and was to be a moon study, behind clouds, but the face materialized and I decided to call that one "Storm Watcher". I deliberately left the background without defining a horizon so the viewers can interpret it any way they want.
I discovered that faces in acrylic are no more difficult than in the more familiar mediums (to me), so I plan to do more, as faces are one of my original passions.
Many of the shots I upload here end up being works in progress, as I'm teaching myself as I go.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another New Painting and Another Changed Work

The painting "Whitecaps From the West" looked so dark to me so I decided to lighten up the sky and the reflected water. I may have lost the effect somewhat but this is just for myself anyway so I decided to post it and let my readers decide. I'm not sure if it is now hideous or lovely. It's hard to be objective about my own work.
The monochromatic one is based on mental images of lakes I've been to when the sky is lowering with clouds and both the sky and water look like polished steel. That was the effect I was going for so I left it rather stark to prevent visual distraction from the effect.
I adore painting lakes and ocean scenes and this is just the beginning.
I love to depict the raw power of rock too and combined with the wind and the steely water, to me it denotes a feeling of movement and the power of the elements.
The pattern that sometimes shows up on the canvas is the reflection of the weave of cloth in the sheer curtain I use to diffuse the light. I wondered about this and realized that's what causes that effect, not the grain of the canvas which is much finer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two New Paintings and One Corrected

I've been continuing having fun with acrylics and in one of my latest works I re-discovered wet-on-wet and plan to stick to that tried and true method from now on. The "Luminous" painting in the previous post bothered me because the sunset had the look of an explosion or maybe a raging fire, which was not what I was looking for. I added shots of blue and in my opinion the later one looks a little more natural to me. I also lightened the grass a bit but have discovered that once a dark background is in place, it is amazingly difficult to lighten.
The painting with the vivid orange sunset behind the wind-driven whitecaps is called "Whitecaps From the West" and is based on all the images of the Canadian Shield, in my heart, where I have spent so much of my time, both back east where I was born and in later years, in the Whiteshell park which to me is a second home. My husband, son, and I used to wilderness camp on a lovely little lake called Bedford Lake and this picture of the rocks, trees and lake could come from there.
The seascape with the pink sunset, done with the wet-on-wet technique, is based on breathtaking scenery from a remake of "Lord of the Flies" which was on TV the other night. As I watched I stored up a number of mental snap shots of lovely transparent turquoise waters, sunsets and the gnarled tree which was on the beach. The painting was drawn from my memory of those scenes and, to me, painting scenes takes me there in my mind in a most absorbing way, and is a wonderful escape into beauty!
One thing I have to work on is photographing my paintings. Whitecaps from the West is 16x20 inches and the other two are 11x14, so even if I wanted to, they're too big to scan. With time and practice I'm sure I'll improve, but in the mean time this is a handy way to show my family and friends what I'm up to.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Study in Perspective, Done in Acrylic

I haven't painted with oils or acrylic for a long time and have re-discovered acrylic. One of the things I love about acrylic is the fast drying time. I also love that the clean-up can be done with warm water and a little soap which is so much more convenient than the methods for cleaning up after oil painting. Both oils and acrylic offer the added dimension of texture, which is so fun to play with and can be very effective.
I haven't done much work in either medium, but I plan to get more into actual painting. I find that doing a scene is very meditative and I like to create scenes of places where I want to be.
The picture here is a sunset and I wanted to re-create the luminous effect of the setting sun reflected on the surrounding landscape and the main tree. I call this painting "Luminous". It measures 11x14 inches so I had to photograph it and the tree, being painted in shiny acrylic, shows up less black than it actually is. Otherwise the colors are pretty well duplicated in this photo so I decided to upload it anyway.
This my first painted scene and I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Still Playing With Pen and Ink

I've been exploring ways to use pen and ink and I love the different effects which can be obtained. I also find that the stark black and white of India ink and pen makes a bold and powerful statement, no matter what the subject matter. For the rest of my life I will now be working in pen and ink as well as the other mediums I've worked with before, (of course).
The ability to capture the finest detail as well as such varied textures are qualities of pen and ink that I am continually amazed by. All of the pictures you see, unless otherwise stated, are directly out of my imagination which, to me is really the most fun to work from and throughout my life has been the main source of my images.
These pictures as well as many of the previous shots were taken with my Nikon Coolpix rather than scanned in. The 9x12 paper is a bit big for the scanner and the software that came with my all-in-one is a labor intensive kludge, which although does give a better quality end result, takes several minutes as opposed to the few seconds it takes to take and upload the camera shots. I would use the scanner for marketing purposes but for now I decided to take the shortcut.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Work in Pen and Ink Both Bizarre and Traditional

I've really been enjoying drawing with pen and ink. I love the way the detail can be achieved because of the fine point of the nib I've been using. I use India ink and an old fashioned stick pen with a very fine detachable nib.
In the rather bizarre pen and ink drawing here I continued on with my obsession with drawing eyes and delighted in the way the lines in each iris can be defined in pen. I also love the way bark can be textured and detailed in pen and ink to look truly three dimensional. I called this one "The Growth of Vision".
I rounded out the spheres with graphite which I shaded with a tortillion. The character of gnarly trees lends itself to this medium and I'm at present working on a new one with real (sort of ) branches. I love creating this kind of "far out" abstract and the potential to include eyes (my ultimate favorite feature to draw) in surrealistic art is infinite.
The drawing of the cat is supposed to represent a white cat. My cat Asha is the model for this one, but in the end it ended up a fusion of Asha and Bud her late brother who had more of the Persian evident in him, especially the smaller ears and wider muzzle. To me it looks more like a silver haired cat but I'm still reasonably happy with this first portrait in pen and ink. For a long time I've been studying the shapes that comprise the face in a cat and I hope to get it right one day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Work and Some Changes

I've been continuing on my drawing and painting kick lately and made some changes to one of my works, "Kitty in the Garden", and did a new "In the Gloaming" picture without the "critters".
I've also been working more with pen and ink and teaching myself to draw birds from life. The colored bird picture here is based on a picture in my "Birds of North America" book. My goal is to draw birds with the correct markings from life. Difficult to achieve because photographing wary birds like the English sparrow is tricky. I look out my window to do my real life sketching because if I'm outside and get close enough to really see them, they fly away immediately as soon as I make a move with the pencil.
The Indigo Bunting in the colored bird picture (which I have also seen in real life) started out as a black and white pen and ink drawing, but buntings are one of the most colorful birds and this one cried out for color. I used colored pencil over the pen and ink for the bird and leaves, and chalk pastel for the background.
I did another abstract eye picture with ball point pen and ended up coloring it with colored pencils too. These were done on a left over pad from one of my tech courses, on the blank backs of the pages.
I decided to upload some of my( very rough) learning sketches of birds too, done in pencil first and highlighted with ball point pen after. These were done very quickly as birds are constantly in motion. I've been feeding them for years and find them adorable, in all their ways. That includes all the birds I see in my yard, from the common English sparrow to the exotic warblers and colorful finches and blue jays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More Fun With Color

I've been on a drawing kick lately and have been experimenting with many different ways to apply color. In the photos above, I've used everything from India ink and pen (the old fashioned nib right out of the late 1800's), colored pencils both watercolor and standard. Soft pastels are also great for background and in the one I called "In the Gloaming" the pastel background has a luminous effect in real life. The scanner does a poor job of capturing the color exactly but we get the general idea. The creatures in "In the Gloaming" are not named yet and only appear at dusk in this magical land.
The "Kitty in the Garden" is mainly in watercolor pencils and pen and ink highlights. I did use some acrylic craft paint for the flowers too, because of the opacity and it seems to work well too.
I've always loved the word "gloaming" and in the perspective sunset with the strange creatures, I had the perfect excuse to finally use it.
The titles are self evident. Hope you enjoy my latest fun with color, and how to apply it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trippy Art

This is some of my latest work. The woman with "the eyes" is done in Prismacolor pencils and some chalk pastel in the background. I call it "Mother Nature Raining Down a Watchful Eye"
The landscape with the surreal aspect is called "Eyes Above the Ground".
I love to let my imagination run wild and of all the things I love to draw, eyes are one of my favorites.
I get a kick out of combining aspects of both realism and abstract and to me the effect is most interesting and has endless potential to tickle the imagination.
The landscape picture is done in Prismacolor Watercolor pencils which are very intriguing to work with. This is my first attempt using this medium and I love it. You get all the effect watercolors with the ability to add sharp deliniations as well. I'm going to have a lot of fun learning all the ways these can be used.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Some of My Other Art

I've been drawing since I could pick up a crayon and have never gone more than a couple of months without at least trying to draw something. Faces and animals have been my main focus. Horses were the first animal that I fell in love with as a baby apparently.
When I was born we lived in a city called Hull, now called Gatineau, located just across the river from Ottawa. The milk wagons at the time were still drawn by horses and that was what prompted my very first words "pretty doggy", at only 9 months, according to my Mom. So horses, naturally, were my first subject. I also saw the movie "Bambi" when very small and deer with long eyelashes were another of my favorites.
None of my art has ever been viewed by anyone other than my family and I decided to show some of it here. I'm contemplating changing my inventory in my Etsy store to mainly original art and/or prints of my originals instead of jewelry. In the mean time I'm working on perfecting my techniques and doing research on what types of art are the most popular. In the mean time, here are some examples.
My little teapot was drawn from life in Corel Procreate Painter, the eagle is a charcoal drawing I did years ago to hang over my husband's dresser, and the horse pictures are from the latest pastel drawing I did, from a photo in a book on horses. I scanned the original while in progress and the finished work. The original butterfly I drew in Photoshop using the pencil and brush tools mainly and the grass was a special brush type. It was based on a photo.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Breathtaking Beauty Minutes from Home

For the last couple of weeks my Mom and I have been making tentative plans to visit the English Gardens in Assinaboine Park, which offer sweeping vistas of flowers in a joyous riot of color. I am fortunate enough to live only a few miles from the park and I love that such beauty as well as a large urban forest are so close to home. I especially enjoy visiting the park with another avid gardener. I get my love of gardening from my mother who has had plants and gardens as long as I can remember.
The weather finally cooperated today and since the flowers were late this year they are still in very good shape and we were busy taking pictures the whole time. I was lucky enough to see the beautiful Brugmansia with huge trumbet shaped downward hanging blooms in several places and will include some shots of them. I also took shots of huge dalias 'Dinnerplate' sized but called different names. Here are some of the shots I took on our lovely outing.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Store is on Hiatus but not my work

I've decided to take a short break from running an online store, as a seller at least, and I'm using the time to concentrate on learning new techniques and creating new pieces.
I really love chainmaille and want to get more into sterling silver pieces. I just finished a new sterling bib necklace in a loose chunky weave that is so comfortable that the other night I fell asleep wearing it. The links are large and bold and create a 3D effect against the wearer.
Today was cool and cloudy and I did some more fusing and tumbled my latest links and my newest necklaces, the one mentioned first and a long chain that I made using some of my existing chainmaille links from a previous post, new oval links and double heart links.
Above are some shots of my latest pieces.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Teaching myself how to create fused silver links

I've finally learned some of the basics of fusing .999 fine silver. A while back I got a small butane torch and some fine silver with which to practice fusing and I'm finally getting the knack of it. I love the convenience of fusing the silver without needing all the extra items like pickle, flux and solder and having to go the hassle of cleaning off firescale, a discoloration which is a by product of heating regular.925 sterling silver. The biggest challenge for me in the learning process is learning just how far to hold the torch from the silver. When the right distance is achieved the process is quick, easy and quite fun. I love the heat that reflects off the firebrick too. It's a lovely warm hobby.
I make sure the window is open and the room is well ventilated, but at least with the little torch and the short time it's burning, the fumes are way less of a problem than when using MAPP gas, for example, which is what I bought to use for making glass beads.
Once the rings are fused they can then be shaped and for my first design I made a number of ovals and hammered, and textured some of them. Here are a couple of shots of my first successful attempt to make a number of fused rings in one session. I finished this piece, which I won't part with, with lovely Hill Tribe silver charms which were a sweet gift from my sister once she found out I was into making jewelry. My goal is to master different shapes of fused rings and creating whole chains, with all the rings fused. Chain making is really one of my favorite activities when making jewelry, both using fused rings and chainmaille which uses mainly open rings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Removed my resin bracelets from my store

I made the discovery that resin bracelets made with Easy Cast Epoxy resin become really soft in the sun so it's back to the drawing board. I plan to figure out a way to make the ones I have already made more sturdy, which will be a challenge. Really, nothing beats glass for shine, transparency and durability. Resin is great for figurines to be displayed indoors I guess, but in this context, in my opinion, is not suitable for jewelry unless maybe poured into a rigid bezel.
I re-opened my store today but no resin bracelets will be featured unless I include a disclaimer that they soften in the sun, which to me renders them unsuitable.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Latest Labour of Love

I had a wonderful time designing the necklace in the above photos. It too is based on one of April's lovely sets of beads and this time I went for the bling and was generous with the sterling silver both in the heavy 18 gauge .999 silver S links and the other embellishments. These beads, like all of my previous sets, can be used in designs using very little else in the way of decoration but I wanted to pull out the stops anyway and feel that the embellishments in this case don't conflict with the detail on the beads. I used black high quality faux pearls in the pendant detail and was pleased with the black on the silver. This will be my newest addition to my collection of designs based on April's exquisite lampwork beads, to be added to my Etsy store.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Necklace Listed Just the Way I Made It

I ended up not changing anything on the lovely necklace using the black crystals and the plunged lampwork beads. I started adding embellishments and, in the end I kept it simple yet elegant. Sometimes less is more and in this case I found it to be true. It is the second necklace in the photos below. The one using the set with the .999 silver decorations is one I had planned for myself from the first, and I'm totally pleased with the result. In the future I will probably design one much like this for my Etsy shop too, because, much to my delight April does custom work and I could re-order this set in the future. I still have one more set to make up into a piece for my shop so it won't be long before I have another original piece of art jewelry designed around stunning original lampwork beads.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Lampwork Necklaces, One for me One for Etsy

I just finished two new pieces, one for me and one designated for my Etsy store. The necklace I made for myself was built on the foundation of an absolutely lovely set of beads I knew I had to have,the first time I visited April's Etsy shop. I'm really happy with it too. The lampwork beads are so detailed and elegant that they need little else in the way of embellisments. You will see that this evident in the following photos. The one with the S links in mine with the cool little dots of fine silver adorning both the focal and two of the other beads.
The second necklace which I plan to list soon, was planned around the lovely green tinted lampwork beads sporting facinating depth in the plunged circles with the little entrapped bubbles. I love that effect which is seen in encased florals as well. This necklace was designed for everyday wear or more formal wear. It's simple enough to look great with denim but would also look great in an office setting.
I love the black crystals with the lovely lampwork, one of the few times I felt I could include crystals in the necklace portion without it fighting with the exquisite detail on the beads, and it worked. I may add a couple more little decorations near the pendant portion before I list it that's why I'm waiting until tomorrow to make sure I'm totally happy with it as it is. The beads are from Sharpline Designs, the name of April's shop. I just couldn't wait to take the shots and post my results so far. I forgot to shoot the copper prototype I had created, but it is quite busy, takes yards of sterling silver and might be too much for the beads.

Another thing I found out just lately is that seven feet of silver doesn't make a very long chainmaille piece, as in the project I had described in a previous post. I got another one and a half inch link and saw immediately that I would have to make quite a few more rings to complete just one other length like the first one. Wow lots of silver. But I probably will go for it eventually because the weight, drape, shine, and feel are totally elegant and I want one. A heavy silver choker. Then I'll make one to sell sometime. These take many hours to construct so a necklace of sterling in chainmaille like that would command a premium price. The thing I love about the pieces I create is that they are all made of very good to excellent materials, and won't wear out, fall apart, or irritate the skin. I have sensitive skin, (like all redheads) and get a rash from any cheap metal. I can wear copper, therefore I sell it with a clear conscience. The photos above show both necklaces as they are right now.