Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Work in Progress - Part 4

I did some work on this painting over the past few days. I have now completed part of the brooch in the bottom left. I also continued to work on the brooch in the bottom right. I have defined some of the filigree work. Over all, I am pleased with how this it turning out.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Videos on the Internet

I have recently been introduced to videos available for free through such sites as YouTube. So why haven’t I heard of this before? I knew YouTube existed, but I thought that was just a place for your vacation videos and stuff. I never even thought that they had educational videos available. I never even thought that you could view free art videos in the comfort of your own home, over the Internet!

So that led me to do a search through my browser. There are lots of art videos out there. Some are really good and some not so good. You depend on the ability of the artist making the video, the quality of the video itself, the quality of the audio both during recording and over your own speakers. Professionals make some of the videos some are made by amateurs.

Here are some of the sites that I liked:

There are lots more out there. Go check some of them out.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Greek Pottery

Two postings in one day! A first for me!

I just finished a painting and wanted to share. In my drawing group Trafalgar-Square we had an email about the pottery Krater c515BC, was being returned to Italy. One of our moderators challenged us to do a drawing based on the Krater (thanks Nick). I got out my “Art of the Western World” book and found a photo of the Krater and three Greek pots.

This is a mixed media using three types of paper and acrylic paint. Below is my inspiration and my interpretation.

Review of Goals

My blog is a month old! And 2008 is almost a month old! Time does fly.

Anyway, it is time to review my blog goals.
Goal 1 - was to have my have my blog listed as a “signature” to all my emails. This part of goal 1 has been done. The second part of goal 1 was to have my blogs URL listed on all my marketing material by January 15. This has been done on all but one piece. So I will move my due date for that one piece to February 15.
Goal 2 - I will start to post more Works in Progress. I have met this goal although not to the degree that I wanted. I worded the goal vaguely. I will post “more” Works in Projects. Well at the time I wrote this goal all I had to do was post one work in progress and that qualified as “more”.
So, I am rewording my goal number 2.
New goal: I will post 1 Work in Progress a month and I will follow it through to completion within 30 days. Notice, I said I will complete it within 30 days. That does not necessarily mean that I will complete it within the month it was posted. I will know this has been done by checking the dates on what was posted and the date on which I finished the Work in Progress.
Goal 3 - So OK, I’m still a bit anal. I can live with that. I did say I would post at least 3 times a month-which I exceeded that!

As for my other art goals.

I worked on my website yesterday. Here is a screen print of the first page. I decided to mimic my blog site.

I also spent some time cleaning my studio. I had to. I couldn’t see my desk top any more. Here is a photo of half the room clean and half the room not clean.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Design & Composition - A Book Review

I borrowed Design and Composition Secrets of Professional Artists from the library and I’m glad I did! It is composed of a series of essays written by 16 different professional artists (including Robert Bateman). Reading how these professional artists design the composition of their works helped me to understand the thought process involved before even starting a painting.

Each of their composition process is as unique as they are. They provide suggestions and encouragement, and they share their knowledge. One artist even provides various checklists she uses while composing and executing a painting.

It is well worth the read. What makes this special for me is that the artists are either Canadian or they are living in Canada!

Design and Composition Secrets of Professional Artists
Copyright 2001
From the editors of International Artist magazine
North Light Books an imprint of F+W Publications
ISBN 1-929834-09-8
CDN $38.99 (US $24.99)

Monday, 14 January 2008

New Yahoo Group on drawing

I’ve joined another Yahoo group. This one is called “Trafalgar-Square”. As per their words on their home page ”This is working art group created in the same hope as those real art groups where one meets other artists to stretch, draw and better your eye.”

Daily prompts are provided for either drawing or collage work. I have been focusing on the drawing aspect. I have been letting that part of my artwork slide, and these prompts are bringing me back on track.

Some of the prompts are draw a snowflake, a tea bag, a windowpane, a cup with something in it, and draw a pencil. It’s nice to see all the variations.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Work in Progress - Copper Jar

Here is a thumbnail sketch of my next painting. I will be using some of the techniques I experimented with a few days ago. I plan to use conté with tissue paper. Currently I am debating the size and support of the painting. It will be either 300lb rough watercolour paper or canvas. If I go with watercolour paper it will be a half sheet; the canvas will likely be 24 x 30. I need to see how the conté will handle on these supports.

The blue in the sketch I see as being metallic.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Watercolour Jewels Part 3

I did a little more painting on my watercolour jewels. I finished the necklace in the upper right hand corner, worked a little on the brooch in the lower left and darkened the background. I like the darker background; it allows the jewels to stand out. The negative painting I did earlier with the holes in the brooch on the lower right really shows the detail in that brooch well. Next I will be finishing the brooch on the lower left and then concentrate on the large brooch. It has the most colours with the lights reflecting.

This one is coming along well and I’m looking forward to seeing the end result

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Experiments with Pastel and Conté Sticks

This morning, while my three-year-old grandson was playing games on the computer, I was playing with my art supplies. I did a small series of experiments based loosely on a technique I read about. The article was in the March 1997 edition of the American Artist. I kept the article because I was intrigued with the technique and wanted to try it. So eleven years later….I finally gave it a try (sort of).

The artist Jan Kirkpatrick uses 260 – 300 lb watercolour paper; pastels and washi paper. She soaked the paper, put down the matte medium, coloured with pastels and then put down the washi paper. While the paper was still wet, she washed on watercolour. Her paintings are wonderful landscapes, full of texture. Her website is

I used 3.5 x 5-inch 60lb sketch paper (it was in my bag); pastel and conté sticks; and 1-ply paper towels.

For my first experiment, I put down a thick layer of matte medium. I then used a pastel and coloured over the medium. I repeated this using the conté stick. I really didn’t like this, as I had to keep cleaning off the pastel and conté sticks. The colours were also very washed out.

The second experiment I did the same thing using a thin layer of the matte medium instead of a thick layer. The colours were more intense than those done with the thick medium, but I still had to clean off the pastel and conté sticks, although not as often.

For the third experiment, I coloured blocks of both the pastel and conté sticks and then brushed on a thin layer of the matte medium. I was pleased with this effect, even though while I was brushing on the matte medium, some of the pastel (more so than the conté) came off.

I repeated the third experiment using the coloured blocks with the thin layer of matte medium. I then added the paper towel and put a topcoat of matte medium on it.

To see how the matte medium affected the colours of the pastel and conté stick, I coloured blocks of both and then brushed on a thin layer of the matte medium over only half of the blocks. The medium darkened the colours slightly.

I like the effect that I got with my experiments number 3 and 4. I feel that I can use this technique in a painting. Once I work up some sketches, I will develop the painting on my blog as a Work in Progress.


Experiment 1

Experiment 2

Experiment 3

Experiment 4

Experiment 5

Monday, 7 January 2008

Watercolour Jewels Part 2

I had trouble sleeping tonight, so I spent the past hour putting holes in my painting. I think the painting is starting to take shape.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

A Tale of Two Sunflowers

I had to develop a painting for a class I was offering on Mixed Media. I wanted it to be simple and easy to do. I had worked with painting with tissue paper before and thought that would be an easy class. I first took sand and sprinkled it on the centre of the sunflowers and then using watercolour I painted the browns. I then painted white tissue paper yellow and orange of the petals. After gluing them down, I started on the background. I just tore and scrunched the tissue and glued it down in sections. I then painted the paper.

I like the result, but this isn’t the one I used for my class. The glue took a long time to dry and the total time to create this painting took way longer than the two hours I had planned for. So I was back to the beginning.

I still liked the tissue paper idea and I liked the composition of the sunflowers. My second piece was a lot faster to create. This time, I used acrylics for the sunflowers only the rest is just the colour of the tissue paper used.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Acrylic Revolution - A Book Review

I was first introduced to this book when I joined the Yahoo group Acrylic Artists back in September. We are currently working our way through the techniques included in the book.

Acrylic Revolution: new tricks & techniques for working with the world’s most versatile medium, written by Nancy Reyner is full of techniques in using acrylic paints and mediums. It covers a gambit of information starting with the basics of the materials used (brushes, paints, palettes, knives and equipment set up) through preserving, varnishing and caring for your work.

Ms. Reyner has included over 100 techniques. The techniques are grouped together under various categories and are geared for any level of artist. Attempt these techniques in the order provided or as they appeal to you. Whichever way you do, you will gain the experience of using the materials and expand your knowledge of how the acrylic paints work.

This book includes a Table of Content, Glossary and an Index. Also included is a Gallery of selected artists works in full colour. Very inspiring!

The book does rely heavily on Golden products, as that is what Ms. Reyner favours. She does however suggest that you try other brands to find the one that suits your style of painting. The binding is concealed coil wire, which allows for the pages to lay flat. This book is worth the time to read and work through the exercises of your choice.

Acrylic Revolution, new tricks and techniques for working with the world’s most versatile medium
Copyright 2007
Written by Nancy Reyner
Published by: North Light Books an imprint of F+W Publications Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1-58180-804-9
ISBM-10: 1-58180-804-9
CDN $34.99 (US $27.99)

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Watercolour Jewels

I have been working on this painting for a couple of years now and decided that this is the one I will work through with you. I’m sure to finish it! It is one of my Family Jewels series. These pieces of jewellery were my grandmother’s.

To start with, I scanned the pieces I wanted to paint and then made a small thumbnail sketch. On 140 cold press watercolour paper, I painted a wet-in-wet background. I then transferred my sketch to the paper. I started painting the necklace in the corner.

This is as far as I have done on the painting in the past two years. Other than the background the size of brushes I am using are 2/0, 3/0, 5/0 and 6/0. Each facet of the necklace is painted individually in a mix of wet-in-wet and lost and found edges.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Goals for 2008

As I mentioned in my first post, I don’t do resolutions well. They tend to die an early death. I can set myself some goal with deadlines and for the most part, I get those done.
So here it is January 1 and I am now setting my goals for the new year.
My art goals are to:

  1. Increase readership in my blog. I have started to have my blog's URL listed as a “signature” to all my emails. I will also start to include my blog site on my marketing material for my classes. The marketing material will be changed to include this URL by January 15.
    I have bought a digital camera and as my internet friends have suggested, I will start to post more works in progress on my blog and I won’t be so anal about posting on a regular basis. I will attempt to post at least 3 times a month.
  2. I will get a website up and running by the end of June 2008. This website will be linked to my blog, added as a signature to my emails and added on all my marketing material within 1 week of the website being completed.
  3. My art studio/computer room is a mess! It is always a mess. So my first goal will be to clean/tidy it up on the first weekend of every month. To accomplish this goal, I set reminders to get this job done on my calendar. To check to see if this goal is a success, I have taken a before picture and follow up picture every month. Another good test is that I would be able to find my three pairs of scissors without moving stacks of stuff!