March 17, 2014

After a lot of shades of blue, I am now working with orange paint. My string was based on Cadmium Orange, with Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White at the lighter end, and Prussian Blue and Burnt Umber at the dark end. The results are pretty good, but I found the process harder than when I was painting the pears – this session took me almost four hours, and two of the hours were spent readjusting the form and then evening out the gradient.

I think the next one will go smoother if I paint with finer gradient steps and I get the initial placement of the paint more accurate. One thing that slowed me down was that I made the darker regions too wide and this caused me to adjust and readjust the gradient many times over. If I had painted the dark regions in the right place, at the right size, the first time, I would only have had to smooth the gradient once.

The other thing I want to improve is subtlety of the transition between the body of the Mineola and the lump where the stem attaches. In the picture, below, the transitional region is too dark.


Norman Lundin

Saw this interesting palette while visiting Norman Lundin’s studio. Norman is a fascinating guy who has been making art and teaching artists since before I was born. During the visit, we had this wonderful, wide-ranging conversation which I’d love to recount, but I couldn’t possibly do it justice in a blog post.

Suffice it to say, that Norman is as interesting as his palette. I highly recommend dropping by his gallery, Prographica.

Extending a Painting

What do you do if you start painting and part way through find that your subject matter doesn’t fit your canvas? You can always start over, but this can be discouraging. Another option, if you are painting on panel, is to extend the panel by bolting on another section.

One of my classmates had exactly this problem and Gary thought it would be a teachable moment, so I volunteered to help make and attach a custom cradled panel section.

Making the miter cuts for the corners of the frame.

Clamps hold the frame true and flat as the glue dries. I used Gorilla Glue and made sure to drill and countersink the mounting screws before assembly.

Here’s a view of the back side of the finished frame. The new section is visible on the left side. I was happy that I was able to get a good strong joint that yielded a rigid and almost seamless painting surface.

Here’s the finished frame, awaiting paint. The crack on the front is very small and will hopefully disappear as layers of paint are applied.

February 11, 2014

Today I blocked in the last of the four paintings and then started on the shadows and background gradient for the largest painting, which is 10″ x 20″. The large size and late hour conspired to keep me from working on the other three paintings. My hope is that in the next session, I will be able to do the shadows and backgrounds on the other three.

Starting Four New Paintings

This may seem crazy, but in the spirit of quantity over perfection, I am starting four new paintings. I’ve found that I’m pretty good at coming up with designs, waiting for my paint to thaw, mixing the colors I need, and washing brushes. The area where I need practice is paint handling – the myriad ways of applying paint to canvas – from smooth gradients to thick palette knife impasto, to soft edges. The way I figure it, if I work on multiple paintings simultaneously, I can amortize the design, thawing, mixing, and cleanup over more hours of paint application. That’s the theory anyway.

Originally, I was going to try three paintings based on two tableau, but I added in a fourth, 8″ x 8″ painting for the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council’s Ten-Twenty-Forty fundraiser.