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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

White clouds

Crab Apples in Bloom, 11.75 x 8.25" Oil Pastel on paper

A bit of departure from my other work of late... but, kinda back to some things I used to do more often. This landscape is done in oil pastel... and it is based on the crab apple bloom that happens every year about this time. The trees are absolutely covered in blossoms - so much so that they do resemble clouds - and it is often difficult to see where the tree stops and the sky starts. The clouds of crab apples are accompanied with a smell that is indescribable... even sweeter, I think, in the evening. The style I've used is rather impressionistic, and the technique is a building of layers of color to a thick application. It is then sprayed with fixative.
I really enjoy landscapes, especially when I can play with and push the colors a little bit, as I've done here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dancing Hearts

Bleeding Hearts, 5x7" Oil on Canvas


This is the time of year (for just a few weeks) that the beautiful Bleeding Heart Plant blooms. The small bright pink flowers look like little ballerinas hanging from a long stem, dancing in the breeze... But, when you look closely - you see something more. They appear to be heart shaped puffed pillows, which have split open in the lowest point and are dripping out a white teardrop. (Thus, the name, I suppose.) They are very delicate - very beautiful!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Finally finished

Red Poppies, 8x8" Oil/gold leaf on canvas

Here is the final version. The colors are pretty right in the flowers and below the flowers... the photography looses some of the color definitions above the flower and in the gold leaf at the upper right. I'm especially unhappy with the glare in and above the left flower... very tricky photographing these with the reflective gold leaf! The painting is done, except for some varnish which will not be applied for several months. I did go back and coat some of the more vulnerable looking areas with liquin. It may be a good idea to do that before applying any paint! This has been a fun experiment ... I hope to do more with this idea.

For more information on the availability of this painting, please click here

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Guarding the Innocent

Guard Duty, 4.25 x 5.5" watercolor and ink

I haven't been completely idle here! But it has been awhile since I've been able to post.... there have been some other things - including family and preparing for another exhibit - on the front burner. Also, it is the end of the school year, which of course means that everything is crazy as we get things finished up! Well, here is another cat picture - the 8th now - in an apparent series! I hope that within the next few weeks, things will be back to some semblance of order and normalcy!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The work continues:

Red Poppies on Gold - still in process
8x8" Oil on canvas w/gold leaf
(color differences between this image and the earlier image are due to digital photography - earlier - and
scanning this time. The color is redder and more vibrant than it appears here.)

I'm progressing on this small painting - and think that it is nearly finished. I see a few more areas that need a bit of alteration... and it needs to dry thoroughly. I think it will also be very important to varnish this painting before handling too much. It seems to me that the gold leaf creates a more delicate painting, with possibilities for chipping and peeling than just an oil on canvas painting. (You can tell, I'm learning and thinking as I go on this!)

The gold leaf is still visible, but toned down quite a bit - however, when viewed from an angle, still very clearly metallic. Also, this painting is a deep gallery wrap canvas, meaning the canvas extends around the sides by about 1.5". For this one, I've painted it around the sides, so that the poppies and stems and greenery continue. No need for framing with such a painting!
I hope by mid week to have its final version posted.

As I've mentioned before, I'm working on ideas for a series of paintings now - botanical/floral in theme... (which is something I've always been interested in) ... and with the Matthew 6 verse as its motivation, "Consider the lilies of the field....if God cares so wonderfully for them, will he also not care for you?" For me, this is such a central theme to my own life. I see how the hand of God has stretched over my circumstances and situations in a very personal way - to provide, to gift, to touch! I want to portray that through an image that is understandable and in some ways quite common - but painted in an uncommon way!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New materials in the studio

Still in process - Red Poppies
8x8" Oil on canvas with gold leaf

Here is a glimpse of something new I'm working with, experimenting with, learning about in my studio. You can see it to some extent, but the background is gold leafed and the poppies and green background are painted with oil. The whole thing is a complete experiment for me - I've heard about artists using gold leaf with oils - painting right on that surface ... but I've never tried it before. There isn't a whole lot of information available, so I'm following my own trail here. So far, I'm happy with the outcomes - and yet - I realize there may be a lot that I need to refine.

You may notice that the gold leaf isn't perfectly smooth... in fact, it is rather textured. This is because the under surface was rather textured. I wasn't sure if I'd like it with that bumpiness, but it seems to add an interesting dimension.

Well, I'll be posting the finished (or maybe nearly finished) painting in a few days. I hope to continue learning about this - and trying new ways of using this material. I have some ideas for where I'd like to go with this.... more on that later, though!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More sunflowers!

2 more 8" painted bowls

Also 2 commissions completed this past busy week! It seems to have been a week of sunflowers!

Friday, May 2, 2008

4 small commissions

A closer view of 1 of the 4 shown below.

4 ~ 8" painted wooden bowls

It may seem as if things have been quiet here - not much going on ... the reality is, however, that I've been busy all week! I've been working on these 4 small commissions and 2 others, which aren't shown here. And ... it has been an extraordinarily busy week at work. This week we are putting together our 35th Annual Student Art Show at school ... the entire school library is closed down - cleared out except for the book stacks - peg board is installed - art work from several hundred students (matted and tagged) is hung - awards are presented - and finally, the whole thing needs to be supervised with several thousand students viewing it during the school day and then about 1,000 visitors in the evening (tonight) and the afternoon tomorrow...
whew... need I say more? It is heavy and physical work - but very worthwhile to see the students glow with pride over their exhibit. Of course, I am only 1 of 5 art teachers at our school - and we don't do this every year without a lot of student help ... but.... nevertheless, it is an exhausting week!

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