Friday, October 28, 2011

5 things to try when a painting isn't working

When something is bothering you with a painting and you just can't put your finger on what it is......
What do you do?
Well, these are some of the things I do...

1.  Look at the painting in a mirror. It's amazing how all of a sudden the 'errors of your ways' becomes apparent.

2.  Look at your painting upside down... and if you are working with a reference image, turn that upside down too. BINGO!  Your inaccuracy's are somehow easier to spot in the "inverted position". (nod to Top Gun)

3.  Take a digital photo and look at it on the computer... I don't know why this works... but I can't tell you the number of times I go to post an image, and whoa... I can spot an error or area of a painting that needs a bit more work before posting.

4.  Once you have the image on the computer... If you have any photo editing software... play around with your wacky ideas on the virtual painting... This method is especially helpful for me if I have a lot of hours into a piece...You can be very bold and try all those "what if's" without actually touching the painting. Some very creative solutions can happen this way.

5.  Start a critique group.... This is a group of artists (not necessarily all painters) that schedule meetings to do a sort of "show and tell." If you're stuck... Your critique group friends will help you sort out what's wrong. They also cheer you on, and motivate you with their efforts.  I really miss my critique buddies since we've moved.  sniff sniff. But this is such a valuable group (both personally and professionally) that I'll be sure to find like minded peeps here in northern MI.  It's a goal.

This photo has nothing to do with the article I just posted... but the berries this year are glorious and I wanted to share. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Midnight Bouquet

I had started this one as a demo for my Acrylic 101 class at Crystal Lake Art Center... and finished it last week. Kind of a fun color combo. The painting started on a purple and magenta background, and I think that's why the colors seem to glow. I just put this one up for sale on Etsy if you're interested.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gouache Ink Resist... Peterson Road Beach

And here's the newest gouache ink resist painting..."Peterson Beach." 
This beach is a nice 40 minute walk from our house over to Lake Michigan...My plan for these gouache ink resist pieces, is to offer prints and cards, giving a portion of the money to HARP. (Honor Area Restoration Project) I'll be sure to let you know all about it as the series unfolds. :)

Color Inspiration...


On Friday's I'm going to publish some of the "idea sparklers" from my weekly newsletter. These are painting ideas for you to use in your own work. Happy Friday!
From August 2010 newsletter....

"Today's Idea spark-ler is from a blog post I wrote last summer...I'm inspired by my surroundings, and think that this is a fun way to decide your palette for a painting session....Here's an excerpt from the post:"On my walk yesterday morning, I found this gorgeous lichen (see photo below) growing on a branch that fell into the driveway. I just loved the colors of it and decided that I wanted to use those colors for this painting... So my palette was chosen by nature.... so far.I try not to box myself in with these early  decisions....It's a starting point. If the painting works within this palette, great! But if I decide to go in a different color direction, that's OK too....The main thing is to just start somewhere! Put that brush to paper and GO!"

keep climbing in progress

Fast Forward almost a year... I really loved that 'start' from last year (pictured above)... and arguably could have stopped there...But it wasn't meant to be... Here's where I ended up with it. And since it won an honorable mention in the ArtCenter of Traverse City's "It's not just material" show last month...It was meant to be re-worked. :) hehehe"

Keep Climbing

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Fun... groceries are not just for eating

I'm starting a new thing... On Friday's I'm going to publish some of the "idea sparklers" from my weekly newsletter. These are painting ideas for you to use in your own work. Happy Friday! 

Groceries are not just for eating.... (published November 2010)
There is a terrific small seasonal market about 15 minutes from the house called The Market Basket. (Right next door to the Cherry Hut) There's always bushels of seasonal fruit and veggies outside the store to entice you to stop. (They also happen to have the best shortcake biscuits)
I stopped yesterday to check out their selection of gourds and pum
pkins and I wasn't disappointed. I also got a couple branches of bittersweet! Beautiful stuff.

So last night, in my sketchbook... I decided to lay out some compositions using my purchased bounty.

This first one, I began with a red pencil and did a
blind contour drawing, then corrected the wonky lines and filled in with my small watercolor kit and more colored pencil work. Kind of fun... just a warm up, and the yellow gourd looks like a pear. oops.
blind contour sketch

In sketch #2 I've adjusted the arrangement and added a crow. I've never painted a crow, and will have to look at some reference images to make it more crow-like, but this is just a sketch. I'm just trying play around with placement and composition and brain storming.

I like this idea a bit better... Not the colors... but the idea.  Note that I've grown the yellow "pear" gourd a little larger. I think I'll run with this idea in an acrylic painting or acrylic collage. It just might be the painting for next week!

So, have a good look at your groceries when you bring them home. Even if you didn't purchase just for painting, like I did... You might find some interesting still life subjects.

Now, I'm off to look for crows....


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