Sunday, August 12, 2018

Failed Paintings

Pushing Through a Failed Painting

The first attempt was BLAH, but there seemed to be something there. Could I find it? Could I express it?

It started from an old drawing I did for a graphics art class while in college. I found it in one of my portfolios in the attic. The original drawing is from a photo (probably a magazine). It was simplified to just essential b/w. That left a mysterious, alluring, woman.



When I found it I thought maybe I can do something with it. At that time my intent was to reproduce the image and add some colorful background. 




"Flirt"
My attempt as you can see was blah. 

After another attempt to spiffy up the background I almost gessoed it over. I left in alone for several weeks.
From "Flirt" to "Unapproachable" to  "Queen of Diamonds"
When I came back to it I decided I wanted to go for an emotional impact. (I had listened to a podcast and got inspired). The execution of the painting was no longer important, just the evoking of emotions and responses.
As the painting progressed the name changed. "Flirt", "Unapproachable", "Queen of Diamonds", "In Diamonds She Trust". These names probably say more about me than Her.
I intentionally left her eyes blank. I didn't want the viewer to see into her that way. I kept her skin tones cool and her surroundings dark. She is not a warm, cuddly girl. She wants to be in the shadows. I made a hot area behind her that pushes her toward the viewer. I wanted the viewer to feel something, to question "her" and my intention.

I got some great responses from FaceBook. I'm glad I gave this a second chance. I sincerely appreciate the views, LIKEs and comments.

" I think what is needed is more eye detail to get the personality of this person."

"I feel an enforced darkness and sadness in this piece with the warmth in the middle trying to fight back through the despair."

"It makes me feel sad for her.. she looks like she is really down and out."

"you have portrayed a women that has suffered beyond imagination, she looks almost unfeeling.."

"she is determined and looking ahead."

"Revenge!"

"The model evokes such sadness but at the same time there is strength, perseverance in the stare"

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Artist Block

I can't ART....

Dear art friends, I have been in a serious art block for several weeks. Not only could I not get inspired, I didn't want to and when I did try to do something I couldn't. Getting together with Guild members last week was a help. Another big help was painting with my "Painting Partner" Kim Ferguson. We painted two days this week. I didn't start anything new, but I did attempt to finish a piece I started last month. 

Last night the Block seemed to lift. I started doing some technique studies for a subject I've wanted to paint.

I'm trying ink on watercolor paper and on mineral paper. Also, trying gouache, water soluble graphite, carbon pencil, and pastel pencils.


I like this as a photo, but wasn't sure about it as a painting. I finally decided for the studies to concentrate on the pup.
 I took the photo at Myrtle Beach last November. 

First I tried India Ink onto wet watercolor paper....
India Ink on wet w/c paper (gouache wash)


There were some interesting effects..looks promising. I learned to brush in the already diluted ink. I tried a dip pen (dark line on back). I also tried spritzing with water mist.

India Ink on mineral paper
Then I tried India Ink on Mineral Paper. What you see here is the 3rd or 4th generation of that attempt. It is not the best. I kept experimenting just to see what it would do. I learned it has to be worked fast. Once the ink begins to dry....

I was spritzing, wiping, lifting, brushing...you've got to try a lot of things to get to know the process.

On my next attempt I used Mineral Paper but this time with gouache, water soluble graphite pencil, carbon pencil, and pastel pencils. Since I had a better feel for what I was doing I tried a more accurate drawing. This little painting is larger than the others, about 7x9".  There was a good bit of spritzing and tilting the paper at the beginning. I let it dry before coming back with pastels. I think this is a technique that suits my style. I will continue to develop it, especially for smaller pieces.

Gouache, pencil, pastels


Monday, March 19, 2018

Art and Current Events


When we start a new project we usually have an emotion to convey. The influence of a sunlit scene might be in our subconscious even though we are painting a still life indoors, an imagined scene or abstract. That brightness or warmth may show up in the colors we select for our palette.

Besides imagery there are other influences that get channeled to our canvas. Here is an example of how one of my projects was influenced by current events.
Last year I was experimenting with some plastic netting and spray paints. I made several 9x12” sheets of patterns. I had no purpose in mind. Just letting it happen. 

Although I was intrigued with the results I didn’t know what to do with these patterns, so I just stashed them.
Last month I decided to try a collage. I didn’t have an image in mind, but I was thinking of a floral theme. As I looked through sketchbooks and other materials in the studio for ideas I came across my netting experiments. Ahha, a use for these…


As I cut shapes from these pages I was thinking of my typical blue, yellow, sienna color as glazes over the net patterns.

I tried many, many layouts and
 configurations of the materials. 
Pictured are some of the later ones. 

By this stage I was getting focused, but that was as far as I got before it was time for me to leave. I was away for a week. I was anxious to get back and complete my project.


Back in the studio I was starting to paste down some of the cut outs…still thinking blue, pale yellow, sienna…then an alert on my phone caught my attention. A school shooting in Florida, multiple deaths. I just saw the headline. I didn’t read the news post. The phone screen faded to black.

I went back to work, cutting and pasting. I entered the zone where the creative flow takes over….but things had changed. Shapes and images took another direction; colors went neutral and darker.



Dark Heart

I was surprised by the result. Just the headline of a tragedy totally changed my painting….