Wednesday, June 27, 2007

First stage painting on pumpkins and gourds completed

I was able to complete all the first stage painting on the front of the box today. It is coming along nicely. The next step is to give everything a couple of days to dry and then move on to the detail work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Big project begun--finally!

After finishing the two practice projects in water mixable oils, I finally was able to start on the wheel barrow box today. Actually, the box has been ready to go for a couple of weeks, but the time to start on the design work wasn't there.

The outside of the box is stained with DecoArt Americana Dark Chocolate acrylic paint. The inside of the box is painted solidly with the same color. The top edge is painted with DecoArt Patio Paint in Copper metallic.

After all the basecoating work was completed, I used a chalk pencil to draw the pumpkin design on the sides of the box. The design on the front is much more complicated. I first traced it onto clear acetate and then transferred it to the surface using white transfer paper. the design on the front is a collection of pumpkins and gourds with a sign that will read "Pumpkins For Sale". In order to make the original design fit on the front of the box, I needed to make it wider. I mirror-imaged the two pumpkins in front of the sign and placed them at the far left of the design. At that point the piece was ready for the design painting.

Tonight I completed stage 1 on the sides of the box. I started the stage 1 work on two elements on the front of the box as well. The work plan is to complete stage 1 on the front tomorrow. It may take until Thursday to complete. Once the stage 1 work on the front is completed, the sides should be ready for the stage 2 painting. The piece should be totally completed by next week so that it will have plenty of time to dry before it will need to be delivered.


Left Side

Right Side

Monday, June 18, 2007

Painting rescued!

On Saturday we finished up our yard sale, and again, I worked on a pastel painting during the down time. Surprisingly, there was more down time on Saturday than on Friday. When we were all finished, we sorted through the remains and made a trash pile, a pile for things we would take back home and think about, and a pile to give to the Humane Society Thrift Shop. We went immediately to the Thrift Shop to get there before they closed and my husband unloaded all the boxes into their holding room.

Later Saturday night, I went looking for my pastel only to find out that he had given that box (one we were supposed to keep) to the Thrift Shop. It was too late to do anything about it then and they are closed on Sunday, so this morning I went down and hoped that they had not gone through the boxes and sold or tossed my painting. Fortunately, everything was right where we left it on Saturday and I was able to retrieve the painting, my towel, and a painted apron from the box. I decided to let them have the rest. How embarrassing! They said it happens more often than you might think.

So here is my third ever pastel. It still needs a bit of work, but I am starting to get the hang of using them.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Portable Art

Today we had a yard sale. For some reason where we live people start yard sales on Friday, so we decided to follow the local custom. We actually had more business than we expected and the weekend promises to be a lucrative one. In any event, when you are having a yard sale, you have to sit with your "stuff" and be available to your customers but there is down time. It is a good opportunity to practice a little art. This was especially true today because the yard sale was not in our yard. We carried everything to a friend's yard where there is better parking, better visibility, and more traffic.

So, what do you take when your resources are somewhat limited? I thought about watercolors, but I didn't want to have to mess with water containers while I was also handling "merchandise" because people are not always careful about where they set things down. Genesis presents a drying problem to say nothing of the mess of having wet paint on a palette. Oils present a similar problem. I decided on my chalk pastels and it turned out to be a good decision. You need very few supplies: paper clipped to a support, pastels, Q-tips and stumps for blending, a terry towel to put under your support, and baby wipes to clean your hands. I have been looking for an opportunity to work with pastels again and today presented the perfect excuse.

Here is the piece I worked on. It is the second pastel painting I have ever done. It is done on MiTientes paper in a grey tone. I forgot that MiTientes has two different surfaces and I used the rough side. This piece really should have been done on the smooth side and it has a bit more visual texture than it should as a result. I need to work the background a bit more and I need to fix the shape of the lemon on the right side. Overall, though, I am pleased with the result given that it is a new medium for me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pumpkin Lazy Susan is finished!!!

Today I was finally able to finish my practice pumpkins on the lazy susan. The paint was actually dry enough to work on yesterday, but life got in the way and I could not get back to it until today. I am actually pretty pleased with the results and feel pretty confident about starting on the big project--the wheel barrow box. If you are interested in working with water mixable oils, here are a few things I have learned through trial and error (there wasn't really anybody to guide me with this product). These observations apply specifically to the Holbein product and may or may not be the same for other brands.

1. Even though the Holbein Duo Aqua says it will dry in as little as 24 hours, don't believe it. You need to allow at least two days and three may be better. My piece did not have heavy layers of paint on it and it took three days.

2. Using water as a solvent to create glazes was very unsatisfactory. It simply made runny paint that did not glaze over the surface.

3. Water soluble linseed oil DOES make a good medium for creating glazes. I bought a bottle of the Winsor and Newton brand from their water soluble oil product line. I was able to get a good shadow glaze by mixing Black + Ultramarine Blue and then brush mixing the linseed oil in it as I worked.

4. The brushes clean up beautifully with soap and water. Actually, I used some of my brush cleaners and they did not work as well as my Melaleuca Naturals Hand Soap.

5. I will not give up my Genesis Heat-Set Oils in favor of the water mixable, but I am certainly glad I tried them. I now have a product that I can use when Genesis is not an option.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Watercolor Demo

Saturday I spent a couple of hours at the Pat Catan's store in Hermitage, PA, doing a watercolor demonstration. Pat Catan's is a regional art and craft chain with stores in Ohio and Southwestern Pennsylvania. I will begin teaching watercolor classes there on June 18. There were a couple of people who not only stopped to see what I was doing, but also expressed an interest in taking the classes. These will be weekly classes lasting 3 hours each Monday. My plan is to teach from now until sometime in October and then take a break until sometime in March. That way I don't have to worry about the winter weather issues. Here is the piece I painted during the demo. I think you may recognize the rose. This version is painted on a 4"x5" sheet of 200-pound watercolor paper.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Moving on to oil project #2

Today I started on the second project using the water mixable oils. This one is adapted from a book by Kerry Smith, MDA. It is part of the design that will go on the wheelbarrow box. I am painting on a tag sale lazy susan. I'm not sure what it is made of, It looks a little like MDF, although it could be some other sort of synthetic wood. It was the very devil to clean up, but we finally managed. I applied a coat of a high adhesive primer and then base coated the surface with DecoArt Americana Dark Chocolate. It took three coats to get opaque coverage. The directions said to spray with a Krylon product before painting. Since I don't spray anything, I applied one coat of Final Coat wipe-on varnish assuming that it would do the same thing. This surface is more slippery than the key box was--probably because of the primer and then the varnish. I think a little more drag on the surface might make applying the paint easier. I am going to have to wait until Sunday afternoon or Monday before continuing. I am finding that the paint does not dry as quickly as the informational materials said it would. I may have to repaint the first stage painting so that it looks a bit less transparent and then wait again for it to dry before moving on to stage two. I am not sure that I am cut out to paint with traditional-type oils--no patience for the drying process.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Stage 2--completed key box

Today I finished up the key box. I was a little disappointed in the way the glazing worked with the oils paints. I ended up rouging on color instead of using the glazes I had mixed with water. (remember, these are water-soluble/mixable oils) Everything I read told me the paints dried in as little as 24 hours. This turned out to be partially true. Some areas of the painting were dry, others were not. The thinnest applications of paint were the areas that were pretty dry. The leaves were still quite wet. Fortunately, the work I needed to do was on the rose and then painting the "gold" lettering on the background. For future projects I will have to allow more drying time between stages. I certainly will not abandon my Genesis Heat-Set Oils in favor of the water mixable. I have been spoiled by the fact that in 10 minutes, the Genesis is chemically dry and I can move on tot he next stage of the painting as soon as the piece is cool.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A New Medium

Today I tried out water mixable oils for the first time. While I love my Genesis Heat-Set oils, there are some surfaces that simply won't work with them. I have a large project that I have been asked to paint for the Town and Country Decorative Painters for the large raffle item for this year. It is an open wooden box that sits on a metal frame shaped like a wheelbarrow. Sadly, it is a hair too large for my oven and I don't like drying Genesis with a heat gun. So, I ordered some water mixable oils. I ordered Holbein's Duo Aqua in the colors I need for the design I am painting. They arrived yesterday. I had already basecoated a key box and a lazy susan to use for practice pieces before I tackle the box.

I started with the key box. You will recognize the design. It is the same rose as the pink Genesis rose I posted last week, just a little more of it. The paints are creamy right out of the tube. They mix nicely, although I need to get used to these colors so that I get clearer mixes. There is a bit of an odor. It is not as much as regular oils, but they are not odor-free like Genesis. So far, I would say I will use them again, but only for surfaces that are not suitable for Genesis. So , here is stage 1 of the rose on my key box. Tomorrow it should be dry enough to add glazes and adjust values.