Still Making Art

Life Gets Better as I Get Older


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New Day 29 – A Little Humor

Or…what to do when you don’t have a big enough vase.

IMG_9500

I am always on the lookout for interesting greens to use in a still life. Yesterday I was meeting a friend in Peterborough for coffee, and parked in front of a public building of some sort – perhaps private, I’m not sure. I really wasn’t looking at the building. What I saw was two large piles of greenery. The two bushes that had been growing on the front lawn had been cut down to the ground. Their beautiful limbs lay in two heaps. For a moment I was a bit stunned at the butchery. And then I was attracted to the beautiful gnarly branches and budding greens. I went over and helped myself. They seemed so alive and healthy, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would have cut them down.

I’m not sure what it is, but I think it’s boxwood, or a relative.

I popped it in my car and went off to meet my friend.

It’s funny how the size of things is dwarfed by the big outdoors. When I got the branch home I needed to put it in water because I’m not ready to set up a still life yet and I want it to stay as alive looking as possible. I dug out my biggest vase, but as you can imagine, it was not going to do. So…after considering my canning pot (still too small), the light bulb went off.

The trick now is to remember, before I point a visitor to the bathroom, that it’s occupied.

But don’t you agree that it’s a really lovely branch?

I’m not sure how I’m going to incorporate it into a still life – it being so tall and all. I suppose I could just paint it all by itself. I can see a nice tall painting.

Of course I could paint it as it is, residing in its current receptacle. But that doesn’t really appeal to me, though given the way art is these days, it might sell well! When I sent the above photo to my daughter, her fiance remarked, “It’s art!”

 

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New Day 27 – It’s Coming Along

I seem to be able to paint a little faster these days. Plus, not having a day job helps!

Here’s my current progress.

Progress 2-14-18

You’ll notice that the “white” table cloth so far has not a spot of plain old white. There’s a mix here of blues, yellows, greens, off whites, purples etc. It’s just magic. I have always loved snow scenes where this amazing mix of colors say “snow”. If I were a landscape painter, I’d be doing snow scenes all the time.

I still do struggle though, and these mushrooms got wiped off in full before I finally trusted the process and kept on putting colors down in the hopes that they’d start looking like mushrooms eventually.

Here’s a closeup of what I see when I’m perched close to the canvas. You can imagine how one can only see a mess, and have doubts that one has got it right.

close up

Getting the right colors can be a real challenge as well. Just look at all the different colors in that one mushroom. If you painted the whole thing just one or two colors or tones, it would never look like a real mushroom. One has to fight all the time with the mind that says something is green when it’s more grey and purple and many different tones to boot.

I’m working with the limited drawmixpaint palette, which really teaches you to see. When I started out, and before I found Mark Carder, I had tubes of just about every color there is – well at least twenty or so. Because I wasn’t able at first to really see the color properly, I wasted so much paint mixing and mixing trying to get what I thought I saw. [Anyone want a lot of oil paints? (Mostly Windsor&Newton artist’s oils.) Let me know! I’ll give you a good deal.]

I should be done in a day or two.

 

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New Day 23 – No Luck With Loose Painting

Here’s what’s happened on my canvas over the last few days.

Jan 30 progress

As you can probably tell, I was not successful with my plan to use a larger brush and create a looser looking painting. My mind just doesn’t seem able to go there. When I hold a larger brush, I cannot conceive of how I would make the greenery, with all it’s fine sprigs, with larger blobs of paint. I just can’t do it. In fact, I painted all the greenery with a 00 brush – the smallest I have. The back ground was done with an 8 which is just a tad larger than the brushes most oil painters use for the whole thing. I just don’t get it. But I know the great painters wouldn’t paint it this way.

Mostly I’m just getting in the colors and some shapes at this point. I’ll have lots of adjustments to make once I get more of the greenery filled in. I needed to get some of the black background done in order to gauge my colors and tone.

So far I’ve only wiped off a few spots, and am holding out hope that it will all come together in the end.

I’m a slow painter, and I have to get up and take a break after 20 minutes or so.

Here are my brushes.

my brushes

More to come.


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Day 19 – Painting Nuts is NUTS!

Do yourself a favor and do NOT put a bowl of nuts in your still life. I spent hours – and I mean many hours – painting these dumb nuts in my still life. I still haven’t captured them to my liking, but I’m moving on to the cookie jar.

One reason I shouldn’t do this is that I have all the browns already on my palette, and should probably paint the single ones on the table top before I move on, but I can’t bear it at the moment. What will happen is that when I do get around to painting them I won’t remember where the blotches are that I used for the nuts before, or I will have mixed them into something else when I get there. Still – I will do the cookie jar in the interests of  painting sanity.

Messy Palette

This is my messy palette. You can see there’s not much room for mixing new colors, so those browns will morph into something else. Either that or I’ll wipe the whole thing clean and start over, which I’ve already done several times on this painting.

I have never been able to keep a tidy palette. For me it’s like what they say about a desk, a messy desk is a sign of intelligence. It is true, however that the messier the palette, the harder it is to find the blotch you just used. Okay…so where was that spot I was using?

I am really happy with the blue bottle.

Before I began painting in oils, I thought it would be nearly impossible to paint glass, but in fact glass is one of the easiest things to paint. The blotches of light reflections instantly turn the opaque image into transparent glass. It’s just a matter of getting the colors and tones right, and then add the dots of light reflection, and presto – magic!

This is what I love about painting – the magic of it all.

I’ve taken to getting up around 4:30 am on the days when I work full time, to get some good hours in painting. My job isn’t terribly demanding on my left brain, so I get through the day on the job pretty well. Then I come home, feed me and my animals, and then off to bed with a book. I usually fall asleep before I’ve read one page – LOL.

Yesterday I picked up my book and found I just couldn’t remember who one of the characters was. I had to flip back through to sort out who was who. The hazards of getting up at 4: am.

So…here’s where I am at the moment.

Two Candles 5-8-17


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Day 18 – A Lot of Painting and a Lot of Wiping Off

Whew! I did a lot of painting these past few days. I have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off from work. I find having a nice stretch of free time is my best time for painting. So…I worked away.

This was a difficult section for me. I often find that the shadows on cloth are the hardest for me to get the color and the tone right. I did a ton of wiping off and doing over, and lots of using my color checker (see drawmixpaint.com). Usually I’m off because my tone is way too light. And for a cloth that’s basically yellow, the dark shadows are primarily green! And..there’s a lot of subtle colors based on the cool light that’s coming in from the left. In the end I solved my problem when I realized I needed a touch of veridian. The white looks off because the rest of the painting isn’t there yet. Of course I could end up having to tone it down – you never really know if it right until you get the neighboring paint down. But I think I’ve got the hardest bits done now.

FYI – I’ve opened a very basic website – primarily just a gallery – which is, if you are interested: julietbellart.com.

Here’s my progress to date.

Two Candles - 5-3-17