Friday, January 28, 2011

Sorrento, Italy- Watercolor

Taking a break from my batch of oil paintings- I finished up a watercolor that has been in the "almost finished" pile for a while. This painting was done from a good supply of photos from our trip to Italy. We stayed at a beautiful hotel - Bellevue Syrene overlooking the Gulf of Naples, with a view of Mt. Vesuvius from our balcony. Needless to say, we took lots of pictures! I have painted it several times, and have a 48"X60" canvas on one of my easels that is just begging me to finish my oil painting of the view. It is maybe half way done and has been that way for quite some time! Sometimes for whatever reason, I am distracted before finishing a painting and it seems so difficult to get back to it. Anyway- I am happy to have this watercolor completed so I can frame it and enjoy it.
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seashell Trio- oils on canvas

I am finishing, one at a time, the oil paintings that I started earlier this week. Sometimes I find I get more done by starting a batch of paintings at once. If I prime multiple canvases, they are then ready to go and easy to start. No excuses. Painting on these small canvases is so fun, too!

The dark still life starts out on a canvas covered in dark (usually black) acrylic paint. It is faster and uses less of my more expensive oil paint. Then, I can mix my darks for the background- usually alizarin crimson, burnt umber, and ultramarine blue. For the beach/sand paintings, I usually start with a raw sienna mix. Then come the grains of sand, then the shells and beach glass. Some of my shells and fruits (cherries, pomegranates, etc.) get a pure black background to make them really stand out.

Time to go paint- I have more than a few paintings waiting in my studio!
Thanks for visiting-

Monday, January 24, 2011

Works in Progress X 12 - OR Complete Lack of Artistic Focus!

This last week has been a good one- at least in the area of my painting! For starters, I sold one of my watercolors- wish I could say that happened every week! Also, I finished some watercolors that I actually LIKED when they were done, and at this moment I have 12 small oil paintings in progress. The frosting on the cake- I woke up today to find one of my watercolors in a wonderful Etsy treasury!

First, I want to explain the multitude of wet canvases in front of me. I love to paint in oils, but once you get to a certain point in the painting- you need to sometimes let some paint set before putting more layers (shadows for instance) over the first layers. It is also a good way for me to concentrate on certain aspects of my painting that I think may need more work (practice, practice). Some of these are on canvas, some are on masonite and they are in various sizes- all fairly small. I don't tend to start watercolors the same way- just a few at a time at most!
Thanks for looking- I hope to have some finished oil paintings to post soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Finishing Watercolors

I am finishing up some watercolors that have been on my table for a few days. The Mason jar with Tootsie Pops is done, I think. Painting a jar, or anything glass, has its set of problems- but a jar with something inside is a whole new problem. Hopefully, I got the highlights right so it looks like glass and just enough of the aqua color without too much! Sometimes I just like a white background on my still life paintings. Also, if I keep working at it- I will just overdo it and not like it. I am also finishing up a watercolor for my mom. Her house was broken into last summer, and one of the things they took was her set of sterling- and her mom's set that was the same pattern. She had a few cocktail forks that weren't put away in the box, so she still has them. She isn't replacing the silver since it is ridiculously expensive now, but I wanted her to have something to remember it by. I started drawing the fork, and knew it wasn't enough - that is where the strawberry comes in. Her silver pattern is beautiful- Towle Old Colonial- and you will be able to see the whole piece when I post it.
I should be done with that one in the next day or so- next time I sit down to paint. Today is stained glass and tomorrow is oil painting day. Hopefully I should be able to post it soon.
Thanks for looking!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tootsie Pops and Painting Ideas

This week, I was having trouble coming up with new painting ideas. That is when I start looking around my studio at things on my shelves. I have a supply of Tootsie Pops- a sand pail full and a mason jar full, to be exact. They are great little sugar fixes while painting- no hands required after unwrapping and only 2 points on WW (used to be only 1 point, but I will deal with it). So, I decided to do a 20 minute challenge with a Tootsie Pop. I kept painting for longer than the 20 minutes because I got caught up in the little wrapper details, but it was fun. Next, I am working on a watercolor of the Mason jar with Tootsie Pops inside- plenty of interest for me with the colorful wrappers and the shininess of the jar surface.

I came up with a lot of new still life ideas also, so hope to get some reference photos taken this weekend for at least a few. I spend so much time trying to think of what to paint- even though I have lists of ideas. So much painting time gets wasted. I hope if I have some good still life ideas ready to go, I will just sit down and paint. Then, I think I will paint at least some of these still life paintings two ways- in oils AND in watercolors. One of my other problems is deciding which medium to go with. I really enjoy both and some paintings are an easy decision. Beaches, and garden types are watercolors to me- but I love still life and there my decision can go either way. If I plan to paint a still life both ways, I won't waste the time choosing a medium PLUS I will have 2 paintings and I am bound to like at least one of them! I know, I know- most of this dilemma could be solved by just being a more decisive person, but that will never happen to me.

Any other of my artist friends have these problems in their studios?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mason Jar Madness

One of my favorite ways to spend time with my mom is looking through antique stores. Let me correct that- I use the term "antique" loosely- JUNK stores are more our specialty. The scary thing about these stores is that along with seeing things my mom grew up with, we also see things I happen to have in my house (such as wedding china). We both love antique mason (canning) jars. I think I just love the history that comes with old items. My mom has collected them for years, and I was actually stopping to buy some (for my mom) that a farmer in Rhode Island had put out at the roadside for sale. That was when I decided that I wanted some- even though my mom DID get the ones I found for her. Now, when we are in an antique/junk store, its every collector for herself! The artist in me loves the shades of aquas to ceruleans, and of course, the bubbles in the old glass. There is actually a book that lists types and makers of these old jars, so we can get an idea of how old they are and - even though I can't say this with a straight face- how much they are worth. My husband and sons have had fun with this for years. The fact that we will pay $10 for a jar that someone threw away many years ago is amazing to them. I like to put tags on the jars that show where we found them, just because it reminds me of the places we visited and the fun we had that day. I like to justify my obsession for these old jars by using them to hold anything from seashells and beach glass (other little obsessions we will talk about another time) to buttons, corks, candy, whatever! I also paint them often, which in itself is a good reason to have them.

Do you have something you like to collect? I love to hear about other people's favorite things!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Watercolor- Miner's Hat Drive-In

The Miner's Hat Drive-In opened in Kellogg, Idaho in 1941 (according to my Google sources). It was originally a small drive-in restaurant shaped like a giant miner's hard hat- complete with huge carbide mining lamp. It closed in 1962, and I don't remember ever eating there- but it was an important landmark to us anyway. Both of my parents came from small mining towns in northern Idaho and we spent many summer and Christmas vacations there. We drove to Kellogg annually, to see our grandparents and that over-sized miner's hat was our sign that we were almost there. It also meant one less "Are we there yet?" from the back seat.
After The Miner's Hat closed, it became a real estate office (around 1967), but changed very little in appearance. I love to look at old postcards, and came across one from around 1955 showing the little roadside restaurant in action- and decided it would make a fun painting subject. I forgot to take a photos of my progress, so no step-by-step on this watercolor. Sometimes I am in such a hurry to start painting that I just forget.
Thanks for looking!