Friday, August 28, 2009

Mixed Media Madness

Check out the featured painting above. Flow is a combination of watercolor, acrylic and pastel on watercolor paper.
I love it when a painting takes on a mind of its own and goes somewhere I hadn't planned! This one was going to be much more realistic as a river scene. I even planned a raft of people shooting the rapids. But, when it got going, the painting Gods took over and the whole thing went a different direction.
I really like playing with layering different media together. This painting started out very "soft" with a first layer or two of watercolor. It was. . . OK. . . but not special; and I'd had mixed media in mind anyway. So, on to the acrylics, then the pastel, some fixative for safety and some more acrylic, then a final bit of pastel. None of it "planned". Yep, it's fun.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More playing with pastels

So, effort # 1 at a landscape. This is when I learned that I need loads and loads of colors. I simply don't have enough shades of orange to make the California poppies look right. I tried and tried using oranges, reds and yellows, but mixing didn't work. Darn. This one will either get re-worked when I get more pastels, or it will get tossed.

Then I moved on to # 2 in what I guess I could call the meadows series. Still wishing I had more pastels, and I'll be ordering some soon; but the purples, etc., weren't as bad as the oranges. Indian Paintbrush is one of my very favorite wildflowers. Throw in the lupine, and it's very colorful!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Working in Pastel

I'm trying to work with pastels, a totally new medium for me. I had to cancel a trip to Creede, CO the first weekend in September for a 3 day workshop with my good friend, Jan Thompson. She is an amazing pastel artist. So, I subbed in a little 3 hour session close to home. Didn't really learn a lot other than what kind of pastels and what kind of paper. OK. So, it's back to being "self taught" for the moment.

My first effort was with a subject that I've worked to death in other media - old barns. I love their character and history. I'm not wild about the result - maybe a B- on this effort - but I learned a lot. I'm debating whether to offer it for sale really inexpensively - maybe $35 - and see what happens.

My next effort was a total flop. Then I decided to play with putting other media on top in the "nothing to lose" vein. I added acrylics first. Now, that is a challenge! Adding a wet medium on top of pastel is a trick requiring lots and lots of brush rinsing as the brush picks up the pastel beneath. Charcoal went on top of that in places. Funny thing is, I rather like the effect! The paint brought a sheen to the painting, and the charcoal added some dark definition.

I have two more to put up here, maybe this afternoon. Both are meadow scenes with wildflowers. I'm not a landscape painter and don't want to be one, but it is an easy practice in learning pastels - lots of colors, lots of depth to work within.

I've never understood calling pastels "painting" - it seems like drawing to me - but it has opened a new dimension for me. I don't see myself becoming a pastel artist; however, using it as part of mixed media very much appeals to me. I told Scottie a day or so ago that we need to get the windshield on the Scion replaced - there is a big crack - and that I want the old glass. He replied something like, "of course you do," and gave me a very strange look. The thing is, there is a mixed media piece stuck in my brain that cries out for sparkly safety glass.

On that topic, am I the only one that gets stuff like that stuck in their brain? It's like having a bit of an old song that won't go away swirling around in your head. I'm guessing it happens to all creative types. It will drive me nuts until I DO IT. Keep watching this space.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Failure - Of the good kind.

Failure. My latest painting that is. And, ya know what, that's OK with me. I've been in a frame of mind to experiment with taking my art in different direction(s). That leads to some wonderful successes, and some spectacular failures; and without the failures I'd be certain I wasn't really taking any chances or achieving any growth. So, I'm pleased with my latest failure. And, I know where I want to go with it now, at least for it's next "trial".

Another piece of breaking news: I just bought a painting! Aranga Firstman's Sector 33.3_19.7. I absolutely love it and can't wait to frame it and hang it. I know exactly where it's going. You can see it at: which is Aranga's blog. Aranga does the type of work that just draws me in. This piece is deceptively simple; way more complex the longer I look at it. So, thanks my friend!