Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Uncle Bob" gouache on coated paper

I don't think that I have posted this painting before, but this one I call Uncle Bob. Actually I did this from a photo taken from when I was at the Highland Games in the Loone Mountains in New Hampshire one fall. This is another example of working on gesso-coated paper. This is done in gouache, which is an opaque watercolor and  pronounced "gwash". Most watercolors are painted on watercolor paper, which can be quite absorbent. I find the medium to be very non-forgiving in the first place, meaning you make your mark on the paper....then you have to live with it. The colors can stain the paper and if you are having second thoughts and want to lift off your paint, well, too bad. With gesso-coated paper the paint sits on the surface just waiting to be pushed around. Some staining can occur, especially with thalos. Gouaches give you much more vibrant colors and do not muddy up so much when white is added. I also used a rapidiograph pen for the black. These pens are expensive little suckers that give you a consistent width to your line. No thick then thin line, like with nib pens or even a pencil. And the ink is waterproof so washes can be applied over your line and there will be no running. The problem is that the india ink used has shellac in it, so unless you are obsessed with cleaning your pen every day, and cleaning that little hole where the ink flows out REALLY WELL, you are in for a clogged pen. It's then almost impossible to unclog, especially the really fine ones that make such a thin, fine line.There are less expensive, fine-tipped felt pens that work almost as well and are great for on-the-go drawing, but I still find they run a little if a wash is used over the ink. Bottom line is that with a bit of experimentation with papers and the use of gouache, you can achieve illustration-like results that are not so washed out, which is what I was going for with Uncle Bob. This painting below was also done with gouache, but on a brown paper bag-like paper.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Taking a Break" gouache,oil and colored pencil on coated paper

I love working on gesso-coated paper. The paper I use is Strathmore Bristol 2-ply plate finish. I tack a huge sheet to a piece of plywood, coat with not-too-thick water-based gesso with the brush strokes all going in one direction. I let this dry, then do another coat with the brush strokes going perpendicular to the first coat. I let this dry again, then turn the sheet over, re-tack and do the paint process again on the reverse side. I find that the 2 coats cover quite well and also leaves a wonderful surface, with the gessoed strokes showing through, especially with washes. Gouache can be used under oils. This coated paper is also great to use for straight-up oil painting. The paint stays on the surface and sets up real well....similar to working on masonite.  It sounds like a lot of work to prep for working on paper, but paper needs a preservative if oils are used. The coating is not necessary if you are using water-based paints, but the surface looks interesting, I think.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Pears" oil on linen 10"x 10"

Well, the good news is that I opened my etsy shop today. Here is the link.     I don't see how I can fit my paintings in among the merchandise, though. I know that I should get it in there somehow. Any suggestions....I'm open. When I painted this, I had the pears on the right side of the canvas...totally vertical. But I knew that something looked wrong. So I just tried rotating the picture. Lousy way to save a painting, but I do think that it looks better this way.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Maybelline" pastel

Well, I think I need to spend some time updating my website. I need to add many new pieces. This is a pastel that I really struggled through. Dark to light...or light to dark? Hard pastels first, then the soft? How much layering and blending is right or do you just try to hit the right color first off? Is a finished pastel a drawing or a painting? "Maybelline" is about 16"by 20". A lot of space to burning dollar bills!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Strawberries and Kate" gouache on paper

Working with children presents a big problem like "hope I can remember this 'cause this child is not sitting still for 5 seconds". So, working from a 2 minute pencil sketch with notes on patterns and colors, I painted this at home. With only spending a short amount of time in gouache, an opaque watercolor, I captured the essence of Kate and the colorful, little package she presented. Far from a portrait, but it does look like her!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Scot" oil on linen

I'm working on a cat picture today. This is an oil I did, but today I'm attempting to work in pastels again. Not easy for me at all. I love looking at all the beautiful colors of my pastels in their wooden trays. Using them somewhat successfully is another matter. Someone recently recommended that I keep the sticks in a dish of raw rice to cut down on the dust... and it really works (:

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Slices" 10" x 10" oil on linen

In this painting I was going for making as few marks as possible to say what needed to be said. We don't want to know what happened to this painting the next day):