Tag Archives: plan

fish print experiments continued

This is my rainy weather project. I wanted to try different kinds of paper for my prints so I bought some sparkle foam like sheets and some multi colored card stock. I applied the paint thicker to my wax paper to try to make my fish more solid looking but I want some of the green sparkle to show too when I cut these out for the collage.

You can’t see the sparkle as well in the photo I took looking down on the paper but when I take the shot at an angle you can see the sparkle and the fish don’t show up as well.

These are a second pull off my wax paper plates onto blue card stock. Now I think I have enough fish. The next step is to get a background ready and do some mono prints of kelp. I tried to paint kelp about 6 months ago for this project but then put it aside because I couldn’t get my plan worked out or visualize the mermaid that goes with the fish and the kelp. I’m going to toss that first kelp attempt and try again.

These are my wax paper printing plates that I smeared some acrylic on with a palette knife in a rough fish shape then turned it over on the sparkle paper or card stock and pressed down to make the prints.

I came to an executive decision here about the mermaid. I decided to do her in pieces to make it easier for myself. I’ll have to try to do head, hair, torso, fin, arms the same way I tried to make fish and when I get something that looks ok assemble it. Also, I decided to make her G rated because now I have a granddaughter. (no nudity) This might take some time, like, till next year.

unfinished swamp painting update

There’s a slight glare on the painting because my Maroger medium makes it a little shiny. I tilted it forward and that helps but the glare is still showing on the left.

I’m excited about the progress I made in the past few days and it still needs a lot more work on the bottom of the canvas. There’s a bush on the left that I tried to sketch in a couple times already but then painted over because it wasn’t working. It has yellow leaves on thin black branches and some of the leaves cover the main cypress branch. I hope I can paint that in tomorrow. It could add some brightness to the left.

One thing about painting in plein air that most people don’t know is that you have to pick where you want your sunlight to show up and where you want shadows. So many artists think they have to paint fast so they can capture the changing light but it doesn’t have to be a rush rush thing. If I hang around there for 2 hours because that’s how long my concentration lasts, then it’s time for lunch or something, the light changes a lot over that time. Sometimes the light is perfect on the branch. Then it’s perfect on the Spanish moss or another part of the painting. When you keep going back to the same location day after day you get to know when the light is best for a certain part of the scene. Then you can plan how to use the light to create your focal points where you want them. The artist has to decide. If you’re copying a photo you don’t get those choices. The art viewer will never know part of it was painted at 9 and part was painted at 11.

I tried twice to start painting the water with reflections at home and both times it was so not good. I just can’t mix the right colors if I’m not there. This close up shows my 3rd try from today and I think this will work because I did it from life not from memory.

I was very excited to get that shiny wet mud painted in. I did that mess with my palette knife, scrumbling off white and a couple shades and tints of burnt umber in with it.

I hope the sun comes out again tomorrow so I can continue the beams of light over the water. My water should be dry enough tomorrow that I can put a layer of Maroger medium on top of it without smearing the reflections I painted today. The plan is to do a real thin glaze of white on top of the water going out on the same angle as the shadows from the trees. If I can make the glaze thin enough so that some of the reflections show through maybe I can make the effect of sunlight on water. If it works it will be an accomplishment for me.

After I’m all finished with the water I’ll have to continue the cypress branch sticks all the way down to the bottom of the canvas with bright orange foliage over the water. Then I have to do the Spanish moss last. So, maybe next week I can finish this. It depends on the weather. They’re calling for rain on Mon.

plan of the day / fish mono prints

Not a mono print

Is it art? I don’t know. This is my palette for acrylics, a plastic lid. This is a close up. I could cut it down and enter it in a small works show. No one would know it’s a messed up plastic lid. They might think it’s abstract modern art if it was framed. They might love it! But I’ll never enter it because if I put my name on it they’d reject it if they knew it was mine. For real. They know who I am and how much I h8 the art world. hahahah

This is why I need to find a partner in crime, some guy that could flirt with the old white girls in charge of the art world. he could get sales for me and prizes. Together we could get rich. oh well, that’s a pipe dream.

This is a background for fish prints.

I’d really rather work on my big new swamp painting but it’s not in the cards today because of rain. Tomorrow it’s going to be too windy to take the big canvas out to paint in plein air. Yesterday it was cloudy. Also, I don’t want to take the overlook on the weekends because people don’t want to come out on it when I’m there with all my stuff. I tell them to come on down when they stop half way but a lot of people turn around.

I’d rather paint in plein air than paint at home so I can compare what I’m doing to real life. The swamp painting will have to wait.

This is a watercolor background for my mono print fishies. I used ultra marine blue and cerulean blue and splashed some alcohol on the paper which makes the paint separate a little and gives a watery look.

I have only one important thing to do today and that’s grocery shopping. Then I’ll try to do some fish on these papers. I’m not crazy about the blue watercolor. I might see if I can find a brighter blue paper to work on. But this might be better than the black paper I used before. It’ll be ok to mess around with and try to make some mono prints that look like fish. If I get something that works I’ll cut them out and save them for a collage.

E.T.s come to Richmond / monoprints and story

As soon as they stepped through that bright light portal people loved them. They looked like a delicious tossed salad and smelled so fresh. They communicated through mental telepathy that they were here in peace and said,”Take me to your leader.”

The governor rushed right over to meet them and they promised that they could increase our crop yield 1000%. Imagine getting a real ton of tomatoes from each plant, 50 foot tall corn stalks with 100 ears on each, pumpkins large enough to be made into housing! They could do all that because they are actually vegetables themselves and they want to put down roots in Virginia.

The governor gave them the key to the city. Then the next day they were shopping downtown and some kids started chasing them with bottles of ranch dressing and forks. Suddenly the portal reappeared and they vanished.

I hope you enjoyed the story. If the mono prints look like something else other than aliens tell me what you see!

It’s raining and I had some fun with these prints but I’m not finished with them. I want to do a larger collage using them and make something deep with layers of paint. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to do that. I’ll have to wait a few days for this to dry then I might cut these and rearrange them.

cypress limb with Spanish moss / charcoal and chalk

This is a quick sketch that I did so I could decide what size canvas to buy for the painting. I scouted the scene yesterday. It’s a nice wooden overlook over the swamp off a side path with less foot traffic. I took a whole sheet of charcoal paper on my drawing board because I knew I want to go large with the painting. 18″x24″ isn’t big enough. I bought a 30″ x 30″ canvas for it.

The Spanish moss is pretty with the sunlight shining through it. I drew all of it with chalk but it’s not all lit at once by the spotty light coming through. The treetops are getting some fall color. We didn’t have frost yet. I hope the cypress trees get orange.

Once I was driving down a country road close to Claremont looking for a place to park next to the road with a view of the swamp and there were no parking places. I was kind of lost and found myself on Burnt Cypress Road and I’m saying to myself, “Where are the burnt cypress trees?” Then I went around a curve and there next to the swamp with a dark hill behind them were the brightest red trees I ever saw. The trunks and foliage all looked like they were on fire! I was there on the right day at the right time to see it. I stopped and looked but didn’t take a picture and couldn’t paint it. I want to go back some time.

Anyway, I’m going to go whole hog on this painting. It could take a while. People already think I’m nuts out there all alone painting. Most plein air painters work small and in groups but I’ll be going with the large canvas and haul my art supplies in my beach cart. I like to take a lot of stuff out with me when I paint. Most plein air artists only take a few colors and brushes and I don’t know if a pochade box will hold a 30 x 30 canvas, I doubt it. Whole hog means I’m not going to skip steps. I’m following the old tradition for this one. Except I want to take my yardsticks and tape my brushes to them like Matisse, because that’s fun. That might make the painting have a more modern look.

Most people seem afraid to go out on the overlook when they see me there. Today I was taking a break and I saw a family come down and stop half way. I said, “You can come on down, I had my shots.” So they did. Sometimes people see I’m left handed and avoid me, I think. That’s a sure sign that I’m crazy and unpredictable, right? Since when did I care what people think? So, yardsticks with brushes taped on. I’m going for it.

Oh yeah, I’m sane though. 100%

wind swept trees second sketch

This time I had a larger paper and liked my sketch more than the first try. I might be able to use this one for a painting since my tree feels less squished and more more wind blown.

There was a nice breeze and a few guys kite surfing. They’re just tiny tiny figures out there. I was thinking about putting a kite in the painting. I’ll have to move him in more off the edge of the scene. He’s so small on the paper I’m not sure I could paint him with Inktense pencils or watercolor. I might use oils for this.

There are some buildings in the background on the left. This photo cuts off the buildings a little. It also cuts off some dune foliage that is in the tall grass. I was thinking of leaving the buildings and other foliage out of the picture, move the tree a little to the left so the kite surfer has more room. The dune grass blowing in the wind is shiny and soft looking, so that will make a nice contrast in color and texture to the pine tree. You can see a little of the sandy beach in the background too.

I need to get out there a little earlier if I use oil paints because it could take some time to mix colors. I’ll do an underpainting, maybe start tomorrow.

That’s my plan, all worked out and ready to start on the painting. I had to do the second sketch to make those decisions.

kelp forest for a background

I looked at some photos of kelp and then winged it with my palette knife. This is my background for a mermaid. It might take a couple days to dry but I don’t have the plan worked out exactly, so that’s ok.

Yesterday was too hot for me to enjoy drawing in plein air and tomorrow is the start of a big weekend here. Traffic might get bad. And there is a chance of rain this weekend which isn’t good because so many people are vacationing at the beach after being locked down last year at this time. It will be a busy summer season here. It has been dry though, so if it rains it’s ok with me.

Last year when I didn’t have an apartment for a week or so, I stayed at a hotel at the oceanfront. I thought it was a strange twist of fate that when we were told to lock down I was at a place that I could enjoy for a while. I couldn’t call myself homeless because the homeless are broke, it was only a weird moving experience. A lot of my art got stolen while I was moving into the new apartment and I cancelled the lease and put my stuff in storage for around 10 days because I wanted to not rush into making another bad decision on an apartment. Then a guy returned my stolen art. How often does that happen?! So finally I moved in here, but when I left the oceanfront I bought this plaster mermaid for a souvenir from one of the stores on Atlantic Ave. that was open. I thought she was the prettiest mermaid and wanted to draw her. Statues are my favorite kind of models.

I don’t like her tail. I guess they made it like this so the figure would fit in a certain size mold but the tail looks weak. How can she swim with a floppy tail?! I’ll think of a better way to draw it but I didn’t try yet. I’m not sure about the sea shell bra either, or what she should be holding. Should I give her a crab to hold? When I bought this I thought it would be fun to put a little cactus on that plate.

Now I need to decide, do I want to try to do a mermaid mono print or do the fun painting style of Matisse where you tape your brushes onto yard sticks, or possibly continue with the palette knife.

I’m open to suggestions. Maybe I can make these decisions when I’m sketching her.

sweet wildflowers on my path

Last week I didn’t see these flowers on my walk. Today they’re all over the path making it smell so good! I need to mark the date so next year I can be ready when they bloom. I’d like to use them in a still life with some other local objects, maybe seashells or something. I have a fish shaped dish that could be in a still life and a little vase for the flowers.

I can’t do it this year because I’m into a difficult painting right now, the azaleas. I don’t know if I can make the azaleas painting work out as planned but it will take some time to tell. I need to make more progress on it.

It’s not unusual for me to save an inspiration for a year or more before I get into the project. You know me, slow living. haha. Like my daughter says, “live fast die young, live slow die later.”

new azalea sketches and painting plan

As I’m sketching the flowers, I pick up information that a photo won’t give you. It’s not always easy to see the petals as separate shapes. I’m sure a camera would blend them together. I might be the only one interested in drawing petals separately but it could help me decide which direction to drag my brush on the painting, where the edges are if I want to keep edges. I’ll probably simplify the painting but I need detailed drawings.

Another thing a photo won’t make you aware of is that the buds and flowers come in groups of three. The stems are in threes too. The stems don’t go straight vertical but have some curve. Some of the petals have smooth edges and some have zig zag edges.

Now I realize that other plein air artists don’t care about separate petals. They’d go to the garden and start right in with slapping down some paint and finish the painting in a day or maybe less. I need the sketching time to figure out a plan.

The more flowers I sketch the easier it gets. I might need more flower sketches but maybe these are enough.

The two big azalea bushes I was standing between are in a kind of U shape where I can step off the path and stand between the bushes to sketch. These are on the shady side. I looked at the sunny side of the bushes and the sun was too bright on my white paper. It was blinding! I use the white paper last because it’s not great for sketching in plein air. Also when looking at the side in the direct sun all the flowers were lit equally bright. When I sketched the shady side it was easier on the eyes. I didn’t feel like going back to the car for my sunglasses.

As I was standing there for around an hour and a half to fill each of these papers with flowers, some spotty light fell on a few flowers at a time and it was much nicer to see than the bright glare of direct light. I decided to do my painting with spotty light. I’ll have to fake it on the sunlight if I paint this at home, but that means I can put as much sunlight in as I want to, because if I go back to the garden to paint the flowers will be different and I don’t know exactly what time the sun fell on any flower to catch it at it’s best.

So, yeah, and hour and a half on each sketch paper. That means I have around six hours in it so far and haven’t started painting yet. That’s one reason I can’t get in with a plein air group. Also, I don’t want to pay to join a group, I mean $35 to get your name on an email list? But they don’t like this approach to painting. They don’t want to go back day after day and do a bunch of sketches. But it’s a whole different process and if I ever sell a painting I’ll ask a lot more for it than their fast one day paintings would go for. They want their art openings to be “cohesive” which means the artists must conform. If all the paintings for sale are asking $300 and someone enters a painting and they want $1000 for it, the juror would reject it because they don’t want an artist to think their painting is worth so much more that any of the others.

I traced my flowers from the sketch papers and cut them out to arrange them on the paper I tinted for this painting. This step will help me decide if I need to draw more flowers or if this is enough. I want to have some flowers in the background too. If I can come up with a good arrangement then I’ll try to decide how much sunlight to put into the painting and where. I decided I want the spotty light to make the composition more than the flower shapes. If I can make a good composition with the flowers and light, I hope the viewer’s eye will move around the whole painting.

trees about to bloom soon

not a redbud

I’m not sure but it might be a dogwood.

a redbud for sure

Both trees are showing signs of life with tiny buds except the buds aren’t the same on both trees.

I only sketched the main branches for these trees but there are a lot of tiny branches with buds. First I need to paint the background and I’m not crazy about the background that’s there in real life. It’s part of the children’s garden with more trees, a pond, paths, mulch, some grass and then some big magnolias which are green, and brown trees that have no leaves yet. That’s too complicated for this painting.

We have had some nice weather and it might not be bad tomorrow either but cooler. Then clouds and rain are coming in this week. I can get started on these two tree paintings at home. I don’t know if it will take 1 or 2 or 3 weeks for them to bloom. Things change fast at this time of year. I’ll have to keep checking up on them.