Seahorses on the Way

I’m sorry for the delay in posting.  I have been focusing on finally getting the website up and running.

Currently, I am working on a triptych of seahorses.  Two paintings I have done at the same time, but three is a new thing for me.  This is only the first layer, and my goal is to have each of these paintings stand on their own or as a part of the set.  I’m “deep in the uglies” as I like to call it, and I can see glimmers of where this will go when I’m done.  The theory is, by working on all three paintings at the same time, I can keep the style the same throughout.  If I completed one painting at a time, it is likely that my style or choice of painting methods would change, and end up not working as well together.

I have been working on these at my weekly “paint at the farm” events on Tuesdays.  Names for the paintings haven’t come to me yet.  They will as the personality develops.

Thank you for looking!

Dreaming of Home Complete!

Dreaming of Home, oil on canvas 24″ x 30″

 

This is my first painting from working under the tutelage of Rose Adare.  I have learned so much, and I have so far to go!  There is so much I love about this painting.  Papa goose looks toward Maui, as though he longs to go home.  Mama is keeping an eye on us, protective of her goslings, and the two babies mirror their parent’s poses as children do.  The name of the painting came to me long before the mountains appeared in the background.  I didn’t know why, but that was the name of this painting, Dreaming of Home.

A Moment in Time

I have had people ask me, what draws you to a subject?  Why do you paint what you do?  What inspires you?

As an introvert, I think on these questions often, and sometimes the answer changes.  Sometimes it is a vision I’ve seen in my mind that needs to be expressed.  Sometimes an image in real life when I’m shaking my head and saying, “No one would ever believe this is real if I painted it…”

Most often though, what I paint is an expression of the ephemeral qualities of life, a moment in time.  The drawing above is a prime example.  I sat on this photograph for years.  I knew I wanted to draw him, and I also knew that I didn’t have the skills at that point in time.  So what I did, is to draw my way through 4 drawing books, 3 by Andrew Loomis and another fellow (I’ll have to look it up since it isn’t coming to me at the moment) until I felt comfortable approaching this image.

To me, this photograph of a man was a window into his soul.  I didn’t want to do the drawing until I knew I could do it justice, and express what I saw there.  The most amazing thing to me about this whole thing is that I thought I could do it!

Finish or Not?

The first caveat is, paintings are never done. Every painting I’ve “finished” could have used more work in my opinion.  A week, a month, or a year later, I’ll figure out how to fix something that was nagging me, or finally understand what bothered me about a painting, and I have to let it go.  Every painting I have finished that I didn’t like, has found a buyer, and usually quicker than I ever imagined.  There is a serious lesson in that statement.  Just because I’m not happy with it, doesn’t mean someone else won’t fall in love with it.  I’ve heard about artists destroying paintings they have done that they didn’t like. They didn’t want it to be part of their legacy, because it wasn’t good enough. So I did that, with one painting that I never even finished, and I still regret it.

The way I see it, all the paintings I’ve done helped me to develop into the artist I am today.  I destroyed one thing so far, and it was years later that I wish I hadn’t. Looking at that painting in progress taught me about mass in painting, and the folly of painting what you think is there. There may be times when you want to do that, don’t get me wrong, that’s about style, and about a conscious choice in breaking “the rules”.   However, when it is an isolated component of the painting, (and not what you intended) then it doesn’t work.

 

I fell in love with the stonework in this wall, and spent lavish care on each rock. Only when I stepped back after hours of work, did I realize that the entire wall didn’t fit in the painting. I had outlined each stone in black.  Now, I know I should have given it a chance rather than seeing it as a failure. Now I look at this and I see multiple ways I could have finished this painting and made it work, so much so that I’m thinking of painting this again.  This is a rock wall in Kainaliu that was destroyed during an earthquake.

How did I get where I am today with my artwork?  Each painting teaches me something.  Every painting is a success because any painting I do propels me forward in my craft.  The more painting I do, the better craftsman I become.  I would be the last to put myself on a pedestal.  I don’t belong there, any more than anyone else.  I’m mostly self-taught, and these paintings are all a record of my journey.  This is why I still have my flickr site.  It keeps me humble!  Almost everything I have ever done since I started painting is on that site, and as I find missing pieces, I add them.  No, flickr doesn’t go back to my childhood, just to when I began my art journey.

Dreaming of Home

As I work on paintings, they get working titles.  This gives me something to file them under besides “current painting”.  Sometimes the titles stick, and sometimes they don’t.  This painting is about a family of Nene with the father looking out to sea while the mother keeps an eye on the observer.  The babies mimic their parents’ poses.  I’m still roughing in the basic colors of the painting, so please be patient with me.

Often I combine elements of different photographs to create the vision I’m looking for.

What do you get for the person that has everything?

I often run across this issue, and I understand it so much better now that I am in my 50s.  What do I want?  Youth, happiness, time to paint, and various art supplies.  Other than that, most of the things I want are things I can only give myself.  What do I do for others who are in the same boat?

For Scott, I personalized a notebook.  He is a huge fan of The Time Machine, a movie made in 1960, so I painted it on the cover.  This was the first time I had used acrylics in a long time…

Blank notebook with personalized cover

For Lili, I painted a bookmark on some leftover canvas that I had, and she used it for years.  Regretfully, I don’t have a picture.

 

Happy Birthday to my Sister!

My sister is 5 years older than I am.  She bore the brunt of my machinations through middle school.  She bought a LOT of my clothes once she started working.  She has always been there for me when I needed her.  She more than anyone else has inherited little bits of me through the years.  When I went through a stained-glass stage, I gave her a box.  When I did pottery, she received a bowl.  When I began painting, she received one of my first.

It is one of my first paintings so it was just on a piece of canvas.  I didn’t think I was good enough to use a stretched canvas.  Its still one of my favorites, as is she.

Glass Palettes

There is a lot of talk lately about using “neutral” palettes to mix paint, that somehow it helps you get your colors closer to what you want them to be.  Most of us start with a white palette to mix our paints on. I tried something different. Since I was looking for specific colors to make my fish become part of the background of the painting, I printed out a copy of the picture I was using for the images and put it behind my glass palette. By the way, I always use a piece of glass for my palette, that way I can just scrape it clean with a razor blade.

This is a clear glass palette with a sheet of white paper underneath.
Color is relative. The mixed yellows and greens would look normal on a white background, but when you put the blue background behind them they become glaringly bright. The yellow is out of place, and the green becomes yellow!
This is what the finished area looks like in relation to the rest of the painting. The fish become a small highlight in the background rather than a major feature like the main whale.
Moorish Idols have both yellow and white in the lighter colored stripes. Underwater, the white disappears in blues and greens.

If you look at the white palette, that blue color is an attempt at what would be “white” under water and a longer way away. When you look at the same color on top of the photograph, it is almost a perfect match for “white”! For the record, white, is almost never white. In fact, all colors are relative to the colors they are beside.

Finally, here’s a picture of some of the fish I finally painted: As crazy as it seems, they may still be too bright. I’ll have to wait until I add more to make that determination.

The Three Kings

This year, I wanted to paint something new for a Christmas card, and this was the result.  Oil on canvas, 16 x 20, and already sold!  I will have prints available soon, and the Christmas card packs are popular at the farm stand.  This painting was spoken for before even before I varnished it.  I wanted to experiment with “mood” painting, and it turned out well!

 

Three Kings web

Kilauea- Work in Progress

I have 3 paintings that are in progress right now, and only time to photograph one of them this morning before I head to the bakery.

This is Kilauea, and I’m getting close. I still have to add features to the sky (read clouds) and now is the time to tweak what I need to tweak. As part of that, here is the painting in color, and another copy as a tonal picture:

My goal in looking at the black and white picture is to not be distracted by the color. Does the painting flow? Is there enough contrast to be interesting?