I worked all darned summer on this thing! Here it is! Here’s a refresher on its history here. It’s a large size for me, so it took me quite a while, chipping at it a few hours per day about five days a week. Funny how painting traditionally again, I realize how great it is to have something to see and hold that’s an object as opposed to digital illustration which is an elusive art form, what with being digital and all, but it sure stinks when you scan a painting in and then have to take days to clean the darned thing up (removing dust particles and reflections of EVERY SINGLE SHINY BUMP AND BRUSHSTROKE) to make a presentable image to show online. AND all of that and it isn’t quite accurate at all! Kind of like the difference between watching a performance of a play on TV and actually seeing a performance live, on stage. So, please go see art in person when the mood strikes you! You might forget how different the original art is in person.
Speaking of seeing art in person, “The Familiar” and many more of my paintings will be on display at the Showcase at IX8 in Allentown, PA this year in a couple weeks. I’m super excited and panicked at the same time. I still have so much to do to get ready! I don’t know how artists do multiple shows per year. It’s exhausting!
Wish me luck!
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!
Finally, our King Birdy has his Queen…
Don’t they look happy together? Well, they are keeping up appearances of civility, I suppose. Now that I post this, I think it would be funny to paint a third painting of their heirs…but I need to move on from this! Haha. My natural tendency is to come up with ideas that are a bit humorous and cute, but I have been trying portray a more understated humor in my new work. I often find myself dialing things down a bit. Humorous–but not too funny! Cute–but not too cute!
Oh and in other news…if you didn’t notice, I added an Instagram feed on my blog. I often post in progress shots of what I’m working on that I never publish on the blog, so feel free to follow me there for all the sneak peeks! I tend to tease with Instagram and publish final work on the blog. It just seems to be easier that way.
See you soon! Enjoy your week!
Finally finished this thing. If any of you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you were seeing sneaky peeky iPhone photos with glare on them. So here’s the final scan with no glare! Imagine, I thought this frame was a lot of detail to paint. Wait until you see the final drawing for the new painting next week! What am I thinking?!
On a side note, I’ve been super stoked about my new studio space. Early August, I got the urge to move stuff around so I can use my space more efficiently, utilizing my computer as an aid for painting and drawing instead of struggling with my phone and printing out reference photos. This make for piles and piles of paper all over the place and it was hard to keep everything organized. Now, when I find photo reference, I can keep it right on the computer and open it up in photoshop and zoom in/compare/contrast, flip things. It’s really silly that I waited so long. MS always bragged about how he liked having his computer so close to his easel. So now I have everything at my disposal. I can turn one way and draw at my drawing desk and turn the other way to paint. And what’s very nice is I can now look out my window too! Much better than the view of the railing and the air conditioner. Doing this freed up a lot of the space and now there’s more room for the printer and scanner and the peripherals are hidden behind my computer. The only flaw is that there is a drawer in my main desk…but I forgot and it’s against the wall now. Ha! There isn’t much in there, but there are some drawings. Ooops! But anyway, it’s so much better. And now it’s like…my stuff/MS’s stuff. Rather than my stuff, his stuff, my stuff, his stuff. If you get the picture.
So, this is an excellent time to take a break while we go back to the Norman Rockwell Museum tomorrow. We decided in July that we’d go back in October, and so off we go! We hope to do some hiking in the peak of Autumn in the Berkshires, weather permitting, and soak up some fun vibes at a Fall Festival and recharge. I don’t know about you, but I am still in disbelief that summer is over. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in front of the easel.
See you next time!
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!
Here she is, finally finished. Oil on clayboard, 18″ x 21″. She finally has a name too: “Lady Isabella of Seville.”
Working traditionally in oils again always makes me think about the funny and ironic differences between digital and traditional paint. On the one hand, there’s nothing quite like having a real painting. But on the other hand, it’s tough to get a good digital file of it. It’s just never the same after you scan or take a photo of it. Sure, digital has no “original” piece of art, but you know what you’re getting digitally when you create it. But then, that doesn’t really matter anyway, because you can’t control how your digital art looks on someone else’s computer anyway. So…essentially, nobody wins, really. But I like doing both for different reasons. All fun, just different fun.
This is just an excuse to remind everyone to go see original art in person whenever you get the chance. Such as the show that’s wrapping up in Allentown, PA: “At the Edge: Art of the Fantastic.” One week left!
See you next time! 🙂
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!
I took last Friday off from work to spend the day painting. I don’t remember the last time I was able to spend the better part of my waking hours painting. I got a whole 10 hours in. That’s a big difference when you’re used to dragging yourself up to the studio to work on personal work after spending 8 plus hours a day at the day job. As much as I want to work when I get home, because it’s more enjoyable work, often I’m battling with my psyche about being tired from working all day, so I really want to rest…but I want to work on my own work. Not to mention then there’s the whole logistical problem of figuring out what I can accomplish at one sitting versus how tired I might be. You know, oil paint doesn’t dry quickly, but with certain mediums you mix with oils there is still only a window of how long you have to paint. Pretty much have to accomplish something at one sitting at night, because by the time I’m back at my desk it will have dried enough to not be “workable” anymore. I spent much of the weekend painting and managed to get a great head start on the underpainting for the frame as you can see. Everything is “there” now. Just need to work it up in oils. I really dig doing the underpainting in acrylics since they dry so quickly, but it would have been nice to have a slowing medium to smooth things out better. I used one before a long time ago and completely forgot about it. Note to self: Purchase said medium. Not a big deal because I’ll be painting over everything, but it would have been nice to have that as an option.
I worked on the tapestry background some and tomorrow will work on the drapery in the background. Basically I’m just doing all the boring stuff first and leaving the fun stuff for last…which is, of course, Madame Bear.
On a side note, not only did I spend another week on color studies, but you might have noticed I changed the background some. Sometimes something is bothering me about a piece and I just can’t put my finger on it. I think the reason I went through so many color studies was not because of the color so much as I was not happy with the background. As you’ll see here, I only had tapestry in the background. After looking at so many 18th century portraits, for inspiration, I felt like it really needed something. So I added the drapery and reduced the size of the tapestry pattern. I felt like the size of the pattern was competing too much with the pattern in her dress.
Anyway, so I plod on.
See you next time! Hope everyone is well!