Monday, January 9, 2017

process- anatomy of a valentine

i've been thinking about how to keep making art and where to go with it. i want to get back to consistently making bigger pieces and i want to have a place to show them. until my job situation is known, it's hard to say how much time i will have to devote to my art practice, beyond the daily drawing and studio sundays that kept me going in 2016.

one possibility is small works on paper when i travel- daily drawing outside the journal. another is to continue to work toward a show with bigger pieces. we are scheduled for a first thursday in march at sola salons which gives me a goal.

in the meantime, i looked at the calendar on saturday and realized that i will be in town a grand total of 9 days before the annual donation for valentine for aids is due on january 27. decided i'd better get it done this weekend. between shoveling and keeping the floods at bay.

below is the background on 16x12 board. map, mythical creatures, a love song and a warning- seems about right. but where to go from here? i didn't lay this out with thought as to what was going over it- i never do. that meant that i needed to find a vertical image that fit among the bigger elements. i also wanted the background to harmonize better, rather than seeing blocks of brown or white which are visible here.


i added layers of gesso, titanium buff, filled in with markers and used a stencil to bring the background together. then i rubbed it off with alcohol to knock it back some. dug through my photos looking for the right focal piece. googled symbols of love, animal symbols for love, birds symbolizing love. swans and doves. looked through my photos. found one mourning dove and several swans but nothing that worked.

decided that the raven, symbolizing mystery and creation works. plus, with limited time, it's good to be in familiar territory. searched for the original raven photo of the commission i completed a few weeks ago and finally found it. while searching symbols, i came upon apple in one of the lists, symbolizing temptation. perfect.

below, work in progress-


and with the raven added in. raven done using pitt markets, acrylic paint and a white gel pen. the apple is primarily bombay ink but also incorporates pitt makers, paint & stabilo pencils. the pitt markers are india ink, so they are workable when applied but dry permanent, which is great. as for the rest layers of spray varnish will keep things in place.


wanting more unification in the background and a warmer look, i added a later of quinacridone nickel azo gold. better.



after looking at that for a bit, i decided i wanted to bring some of the background elements up a bit and gave her a scrub with rubbing alcohol. and here we are: love and mercy, my 2017 valentine for aids.



last year's donation, all you need, generated $225 for snap. my goal each year has been to raise more money. here's hoping that love & mercy can do that-



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

mixing media- or i'm all over the place

as we enter 2017, i am, as usual, all over the place. i have a new camera and lens for wildlife photography and have been getting out with it in preparation for a trip to california in a few weeks. i'm going to love it. one goal for this year is to do something with the photos i take besides paint from them. not sure what that looks like- it may be checking into stock photo sites or looking for a way to sell them online.


i have had the luxury of studio time, as traveling was curtailed the last few weeks. finished this mixed media commission- acrylic paint, marker, pen on board.


another for the totem series- the pelican is also marker and acrylic paint, work in progress. i am using the same media as i did with the raven above. i'm finding that i like the control i get by drawing- using a marker, pen or oil bar.  


another raven, this is oil on an acrylic background. i was struggling with her until i got the oil bars back out, then she started coming together.


back to playing with oil bar. and doing a landscape, which i haven't done in quite a while. i love using these- it's like finger painting and i love the blendability. bought some larger canvasses so i can experiment with drawing with the bars instead of using a brush and painting with them. the burrowing owl is the first trial- and i did enjoy sketching her out so we'll see where this goes.


lastly, playing with watermedia on paper. don't love this, but learned a few things and maybe if i brighten the eyes it will be better. i'm wanting to do some works on paper to sell unframed as an affordable alternative. i would like this better had i done the outline in pencil, it's a learner.


looking at these together, i see that the thing that unites them (other than that they're bird images) is that i am actually enjoying the drawing aspect of the work. my daily drawing practice has paid off and i am much more confident in my ability- to the point where i'm having fun with it. i always drew with my paintbrush but used to grid or trace the image- except for landscapes, where i was freer. it's nice to have the confidence and ability to start with a drawing. 

lots rolling around in my brain. it will be interesting to see where 2017 takes me. i do plan to do more shows and get my work back out there, trying to figure out how to do that. should be a fun year :)