Above is a scan of the finish of “Wilhelmina, in Reverie.” I learned a lot while working on this painting. I’ve been using walnut oil as a medium for the past few paintings instead of liquin, which is a medium I have always liked and have used for years. I wanted to try it because I thought it would dry less dull than liquin does. (When oil paint dries, depending on what your mediums are, it will dry to a dull finish, so that you can’t really see the true colors/vibrancy of the paint. At which point, to continue painting, you need to “oil out” the area to restore it’s luster, which means you apply more medium to the surface.
I just found walnut oil to be too thick and slow drying. I don’t like using extra sicatives like cobalt dryer to speed up the drying. I’m not a health nut, but it just smells so “chemically” like it will do real harm to your brain. Now that I’ve gone back to liquin for the Chihuahua piece I’m working on, I feel like I’ve been reunited with an old friend! It’s so light and thin and quick drying, and when it’s dry it’s not tacky, so it won’t attract additional dust.
Working full time and painting at night, I need to be able to paint any time I sit down at my easel. And since I’m tired from working all day, if I have ANYTHING to deter me, it will encourage me to be in bed by 10 and I’ll never get anything done! It was good to try something new — I used it for a few paintings, but as of now, I’m officially back to liquin. Although I might try linseed oil again in the future. Matt tells me to try it again (I used it when I first started oil painting in high school). He likes it. We’ll see. Experimenting is always good. But I want to enjoy working with liquin for a while.
Anyway, Wilhelmina will be going to IX10 in October and will be available for sale there.
And now to work on some sketches for a while and off to bed. Have a great weekend!
Happy to share that a couple of my pieces are now available via the IX Gallery Inaugural Show that runs until August 14th. This is a real treat! There’s a lot of beautiful art to choose from if you are so inclined, so check it out!
Featuring over 50 artists and nearly 120 works of art, IX Gallery’s first show is now available for viewing at www.ixgallery.com!
Linda Adair • Samuel Araya • Julie Bell • Shaun Berke • Brom • Armand Cabrera • Jeremy Caniglia • Dan Chudzinski • Kinuko Y. Craft • Felipe Echevarria • Bob Eggleton • Craig Elliott • Jody Fallon • Scott Fischer • Teresa N. Fischer • Marc Fishman • Annie Stegg Gerard • Justin Gerard • Donato Giancola • Lars Grant-West • Rebecca Guay • John Harris • Michael C. Hayes • James Herrmann • Richard Hescox • Stephen Hickman • Greg & Tim Hildebrandt • Greg Hildebrandt • Luke Hillestad • Patrick Jones • Rich Klink • J. Anthony Kosar • Jota Leal • Vanessa Lemen • Don Maitz • Gina Matarazzo • Matt Mrowka • Aaron Nagel • Tran Nguyen • Ryan Pancoast • Lucio Parrillo • Colin & Kristine Poole • Colin Poole • Mark Poole • Rob Rey • Tooba Rezaei • Forest Rogers • Laurence Schwinger • Dave Seeley • Hajime Sorayama • Matthew Stewart • Bryan Mark Taylor • Vince Villafranca • Chet Zar • Dariusz Zawadzki
Here’s a new little painting. “Lady Frances, Bewitched and Bejeweled.”
Being an artist is not quite like I expected, and yet, it’s everything I had hoped for.
When you’re a kid, sometimes you are lucky enough to have an idea of what you want to be when you grow up. Sometimes you agree with that when you do grow up and sometimes you chase the ghost of what you thought you wanted to be when you were a kid. And this ghost chasing can keep you from being happy because you think you “promised” your inner child something and if you don’t honor that, then you can never be truly happy.
Well, I got news folks, that inner child never knew the whole picture. That inner child didn’t know how you’d feel as an adult and he/she didn’t know how you’d feel about a lot of things when you gained real responsibility. Heck, that inner child would probably be stunned and shocked at you to find out that you love vegetables EVEN LIMA BEANS! Things change. You learn and grow. And this includes the things you want to do in life and how you decide to do them when you become an adult. To change your mind or see things differently isn’t a betrayal of that inner child. It’s getting to know the real you behind the instincts.
For example, for years I wanted to work for Disney and be an animator. And when I grew up and went to college, the reality of what that entailed made me change my mind. I knew enough to know that I didn’t want to draw 24 frames per second. That’s a lot of work – and that was back when you had to do it all by hand (OK…I had no idea I could have just worked on backgrounds at the time…which I might have been cool with). But anyway, that wasn’t me betraying my childhood dream, that was me realizing something about my true self. I just didn’t want to work that hard. And knowing that about myself was important. I don’t think that lifestyle would have made me happy.
And as it turns out, the freelance illustration lifestyle didn’t suit me either. (That was my second choice in college). Every time I’d get a freelance job, I couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could work on my own projects. I knew enough to listen to my inner self rather than my inner child. And so I found myself working as a Graphic Designer with full time pay, benefits and a steady paycheck. My inner child didn’t know how much I would grow to love a steady paycheck and the value of health benefits.
And here I am today, loving being a Graphic Designer and loving coming home to work on my own personal artwork. Where will that lead me? I’m not sure. But I know I’m having fun working as an artist and that’s all my inner child ever really wanted.
Here’s a painting I finished a month or so ago:
And I also got news last month that the following painting made it into “Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Vol. 24” (due to be released at the end of this year).
The only real complaint I have is that I’m usually working all the time and I’m exhausted. But I will do that for as long as I am able and enjoy it as long as I’m able. When I can’t do it anymore, then I’ll rest and sleep and read more books and sit on the sofa more.
Did you want to be an artist when you were a kid? Did you become one? Is life an an artist what you expected it to be?
Above is the finished “Fairy Bunny Eve.” It took me much less time to paint than “Tamias Striatus,” which was similar in amount of detail/complication, but I stopped working on it for a week or so to start working on something else and finished it up Memorial Day Weekend. Now all I have to do is frame it. And that’s going to be a little more difficult than usual, as our frame source has ended. MS used to frame everything at the framing store he used to work at years ago, only paying wholesale prices. So now we have to find a new source that isn’t crazy expensive. And I have to stop painting weird sizes.
To remind yourself what the sketch looked like, go here.
Hope you like it! For my next painting, it seems I’m getting adventurous. At first I wanted to get two more paintings done this summer. But then, I thought, what if I did one painting this summer that was the work of two paintings in one? Larger, with more going on… Anyway, that’s the plan. I’m working on roughs now and I hope it doesn’t take me too long to pin it down, because it’s June!! I SAID…IT’S JUNE!!! Ack! The next animal hero will be a wise ol’ fox.
On a side note, because of MS’s old boss selling the shop, we got these wonderful used flat files for the studio! We’ve been wanting these since we each knew flat files existed (which is a pretty darn long time). New ones are crazy expensive and they are heavy and awkward too, so finally the price was right and we had the means of transporting them home. Aren’t they beautiful? It’s always nice to acquire “tools” of our trade that are useful.
Well. That’s all for now! Back to work for me!
Below is a shot of my work in progress. I bet it seemed that I haven’t been doing anything! Lazy girl, you say! Not so, not so! I’ve been plugging away at the new painting a couple hours per day, four or five days a week. It appears I’m working my way from the outside in. It’s kind of a concentric image, so it’s just been kinda happening that way. Also, I like to work on the tedious things first, like the frame, so that when I’m done the rest of the painting, I don’t groan at still having to paint that part! So you can’t see it all (I’m sneaky that way!), but everything around the nest in the middle is painted in. Not that it’s all final just yet, of course. And you can see my inspirational Beatrix Potter reference in the background.
A few weekends ago, we took a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It’s such a beautiful area – part of the Berkshires. Seeing his paintings in person is always such a treat, and this time was no exception. In fact, MS and I noticed a lot more things in his paintings this time. I don’t know if it’s because a different set of paintings were on display than when we were there 10 years ago, or what, but there were little details we never noticed before. For example, if you are familiar with “Art Critic,” you might get a kick out of this photo:
Check out those globs of paint on the palette. That isn’t a rendering of globs of paint, THEY ARE globs of paint! MS and I mused that there’s probably a speck of paint in that massive white glob that may still be wet! I can’t even imagine how he got it to Saturday Evening Post like that! Maybe he had it photographed in his studio? I wonder if anyone at the museum knows.
I remember hearing once that as an illustrator, NR knew that if a job had to get done and he couldn’t possibly meet the deadline, he’d just make sure he got the important parts finished. I had noticed that about some paintings in reproductions, but there were quite a few in person that I never realized had “unfinished” parts. Here’s the full painting of “The Boxer.” Notice the boxer’s robe. It is plain white with the underdrawing lines showing. I never noticed that before! I’m really enjoying looking at paintings more critically again. For so long, I’ve just enjoyed them more as images, but taking a second, third and fourth look to see how they were painted has been very eye opening.
After you see the exhibit, you are invited to walk over to his studio which is on the grounds of the museum. It was moved here from its original location in Stockbridge. Here’s the back view. Quite a nice set up. We both decided we’d take it, if given to us. 😉
Since my Dad has passed away, I’ve noticed a lot of things about death (to say the least). One of which is how until you lose someone very significant in your life, you don’t quite realize how much their presence can be felt without them being here. Sometimes it’s almost as if they are more alive in some way in death than in life. I’m not talking ghostly apparitions or anything. For example, when I hear my Dad’s voice or the sound of his trumpet on a recording, he is SO real to me. In fact, when a song of his pops up in my shuffle, I say “hi” to him in my head. So it wasn’t really surprising when I saw this empty chair in Norman Rockwell’s studio, after seeing so many of his paintings, that it gave me that same feeling. It really felt like he was there. We have been so lucky to have met so many wonderful illustrators over the years in person. I would have LOVED to ask him questions about his work and just jabber over a cup of tea with him. But I’m pretty sure he’d get up pretty soon and tell me he had work to do.
Here’s a couple new animal studies I’ve done lately. I’m liking tiny animal kings, for some reason.
I’ve decided to be a little more proactive about selling some of my artwork. I’ve put some of my original drawings up on Etsy. MS was kind enough to cut me some special custom mats the other day. Check the shop to see the drawings available! I haven’t put all of the available drawings up yet. I plan to do that in the next week, so stop back soon! Lesser expensive prints will be available too.
On a side note, I just can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by! Can you?! Some kids have even started school already! And what with this mild weather we’ve been having, it will be that much more difficult to know when to switch over to the fall clothing!
See you soon!
So, I have actually been busy painting in dribs and drabs. It may not seem like it, but it’s true. Here’s an iphone photo of a work in progress of the Mouse Paradise piece. See…I’m sneaky…only showing you a part of it! I still have to do the flowers, the mice and finish the teapot. I might have to repaint the teacup. Then I’ll do an overall tweaking of everything and softening edges. Let’s just hope it’s tweaking and not a lot of repainting. For a reminder, here’s the sketch.
I don’t think I mentioned it before, but the dribs and drabs are due to me having to do physical therapy and exercise every day. Now that I’m over the hump, I should be able to do more painting. I still have to do the PT and exercise, but now it’s down to only twice a day rather than three times a day. The third was a bitch because I had to fit it in before bedtime. And as some of you know, I tend to not sleep enough, so being tired and having to exercise was a rough combo. Fortunately it is mostly yoga related, so it’s relaxing.
On a side note, I’ve picked my embroidery project back up – the one that’s a replica of the embroidery found in the Monkees’ pad. See it in the background here. It’s gonna take a while. I’m only on the “O” in “Money.” Haha. But now the lines are straight and it will work out nicely. I had stopped working on it because I got the first word done and realized it was all crooked. Really burst my bubble. I’ve been enjoying leisurely embroidering on the porch and listening to the bird and trees. It’s probably the most relaxing thing ever. I don’t know why. Just something about embroidering. AND it somehow jumpstarts my creativity. I think of good ideas while embroidering. So that’s super fantastic!
Enjoy the weekend! See you soon!
I’ve been quiet, but busy. I managed to paint quite a bit over the weekend and I found out I like painting tedious things. I’ve gotten quite a bit done on the border. It’s about 75 percent done. Working on birdies now and will progress to the dress soon. For some reason I’m painting from the top down. (Except for the border).
Here’s a recap of the border:
Border as it is now:
Here’s a peek at the whole thing. Fortunately since it’s not close up, you can’t see the areas I painted and have to re-paint. I just LOVE when I drag my hand through the wet paint (like the hat). Argh. I blame it on being left handed. I’ve got quite a ways to go, but it’s nice that I’m not staring at that blank board anymore. I’ve been trying to use Donato Giancola’s painting medium, but still finding it tricky to use. Either it dries everything out too fast for me, or I feel like I’m painting on too slick of a surface. Just haven’t nailed it down yet.
That’s all for now. Don’t know how far I’ll get this week. Have a pretty busy weekend ahead, including having a yard sale and going to Allentown Art Museum to see this lecture and visit the “At the Edge” exhibit again.
Stay cool, everyone! It’s been hard to do so in this neck of the woods. See you next time!