Sunday, July 22, 2007

Painting a Day - 15

Tech Farm Road
6"x 8"
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

The color is off and I'm not sure why. Oh well. I think I got the values right. Had to do a bit of adjusting.

Other than that I just realized that I hadn't done any landscapes. This one is not done in the Zorn Palette but I kinda wish I would have tried it that way, with a different yellow. But I like it! Still got my looser style that I've been working with, and the colors aren't bad in the original. I'm happy!

Hay bales and red dirt roads. They are everywhere I live.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Painting a Day - 14

The End of Childhood
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

I just made it huh? I woke up late since I was reading all night and then I didn't feel like doing anything, and I wasn't even on the news and I waited all day to see and then I didn't feel like painting, but I did anyway.

I'm glad I did. It looks pretty cool No rotten strawberries (They're so gone I couldn't paint them) but I like books and this one turned out pretty well. I like having artwork in paintings. Seeing it as we see the objects that we turn into artwork.I was glad I was able to do this one in the zorn palette. I had my reservations because Marie Grand Pre has those wonderful colors and that soft geometry style going for her, but I think I managed to work it out well. I might do some more stuff to the lettering. It starts to slant a bit wrongly on the 'ter', but nothing I can't fix.

I am not sure if I can sell this piece. *looks around* So... right now it's NFS.

If you noticed I redid some things on the blog, and moved all my "what's up" and random stuff to my other blog: This ones purely going to be for articles and painting a day and other artworks I do. I hope y'all don't mind that. It's now less cluttered, so I like it already! Though I was happy being closer to fifty posts than I am now. Back to less than thirty. Sigh.

I'll be able to paint tomorrow, and I won't do something extremely... pop culture. I just had to. I mean, I grew up with him!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chibi Fish?!

It's a doodle of a chibi fish!

See what work I have for sale!

Painting a Day - 13

Still Life with Fork
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

I didn't post a painting yesterday because I went ahead and published the article, and then before I finished setting up the still life my heart started to go about 130bpm and I had to go to bed before I passed out.

Now I'm better so all is well.

The idea for this one is just I have yet to do a fork. I've done a spoon and a knife, but no fork. And as there was always something red, I added the cup because the other tomato got eaten and the strawberries were rotten. There were some cool colors in the rotten strawberries, They might be even cooler tomorrow!

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to go back and fix some problems with the background, and I added much warmer highlights than were there. It was way too cold. I might do a rotten strawberry in north light. This whole west light thing isn't working out.

I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Article: Zorn Palette

Self Portrait in Red Coat
Anders Zorn

For about three months now, I have been working with a limited palette my painting teacher refers to as the Zorn Palette. For about as long, the only thing I knew about Zorn or the Palette were the colors that were used: White, Ivory black, Yellow Ocher, and either Vermilion or Cadmium Red Light or Med. I had never even seen a painting by Zorn, or if I had, I had not recognized it for what it was.

Anders Zorn was a Swedish painter, famous for his portraits of people of Delarna, Sweden and his nude figures in nature. Though what I am using is referred to as the Zorn Palette, his work is not limited to just those four colors though you can see how the palette gets its name. The high chroma reds and the low chroma blue grays all cooled by yellow and white show a mastery that most artists cannot get even with tubes of forty modern colors at their disposal. To see more of his work, I'd suggest here and here. And, as I knew next to nothing about him or his personal life until about a week ago, I'm not going to try and do his history justice. I'm just going to tell you to do some reading. It's quite interesting.

Now, using this palette is what I do. It may seem at first that yellow, red, black and white can't get you a wide range of colors, but it can. The Palette, as I have said, consists of just four colors and is based on a Red, Yellow and Blue scheme. The red is bright, warm Vermilion or Cad Red Lt. It can be cooled with white or tempered with black down to a wooden brown. The yellow is yellow ocher and this cool, muted yellow is perhaps the most important color for portrait painting I can think of. It can be enlivened by white, and turned into a green by black. Yellow ocher and the Cad Red Lt. can make oranges that can be turned into beautiful skin tones in light with white. Ivory black and white create the softest low chroma blue tones that are absolutely beautiful. Add a bit of vermilion to the mixture for a smoky purple, or yellow for an even lighter, cooler green. There you have it, a range of color from warm red to cool purple and a range of value from white to black.

But that isn't really what makes this palette special. You have to know about color theory to mix the colors that you need, but you also need to know enough color theory to know what colors to put next to each other. Simultaneous contrast is an effect that results in the complementary of a color being generated spontaneously. What this means is, if you take a gray square and place it in a yellow field, the gray square will take on a purple cast. If it's in an orange field, it will look blue, and in red, it will look green. And vice a versa for all of these. If you mix a bit of blue in with the gray, and then put it on an orange field, it will look a lot more blue! By contrast, adding orange to your gray will almost negate the simultaneous contrast and turn your gray lifeless and dull if put on the exact same orange field.

Knowing this is crucial if you want to use this palette. Yes, black and white does make a gray with a slightly blue cast. If you put this in a field of orange, or say, Cad Red Light, it will look even more blue, and give you even more of the color you want. If you want the smoky purple to look more purple, a field of yellow ocher will make the color purple pop!

This is also important when it comes to value. If you want to have a very white highlight, make sure the area around it is dark enough so the highlight stands out, if there is a shadowy area, keep the chroma low, and, while it's good to find darks within darks, make sure they are dark! Don't go too light! Save that for the lighted areas of your subject!

Another thing I've found is that knowing about optical blending is important. What is that you ask? Think of Seurat and Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grande Jatte. By using dots of pure yellow and blue pigment next to each other, Seurat tricks our eye into seeing green. With small dots of red and orange, the green is muted even with these high key colors. This helps when I want a more intense green in this palette. By using dots of pure blue and yellow ocher inlaid with my yellow/black green, the green looks brighter. And, if you put that green next to cad red light... or a brown if your green is lighter... wow! It's amazing what it can look like. I did this in my Chakra Stone picture. The green moss agate is blue and yellow ocher and green, with a bit of cad red in the yellow stone right next to it. Plus it's on that yellow red card. I slightly modified the colors around each of the stones. While it looks mostly like a solid color, it is anything but!

The best thing about this palette is that it's perfect for figure work from life. I like it because I don't have to remember a bunch of reds and yellows and their properties and what happens if I mix this red with white, or this red, or this black or this color and so on. There are four tubes of paint, and it isn't an earth tone palette without a strong color. I can get amazing results and respond almost immediately to my subject. It is also easy for me to carry around. I like being able to pull out four tubes of paint, a metal can of odorless spirits and a shellacked card and painting straight from life just about anywhere. Of course I could just do everything the normal way and carry around watercolors. This palette also makes you think. Painting under the worst of circumstances is still an act of thought, but this really helps to internalize color theory and makes you stretch to solve problems.

The obvious problem is that there is no blue. It's possible to do a landscape, but it is hard with this palette. I modify this palette slightly when I have high keyed blue objects or a spring landscape in front of me. I might also switch my ocher with a more modern zinc yellow. The greens I can mix with that and black are perfect for landscape.

While the lack of certain colors can be seen as a problem, the ease with which the palette can be modified by a sensitive artist really makes up for this slight flaw. The only other flaw is that none of the colors are good for glazing. The red, yellow, and white are opaque and horrible glazing colors and black would just serve to give a Caravaggio like effect, but wouldn't be good for helping with warm/cool color modulation. I've seen people go back in with burnt sienna and glaze that way, and it really is very beautiful. I'm still working with wet into wet ideas, but I love what can be done.

If you have any questions, or would like to post a link to a piece you've done with this palette, or another similar one, please do! I've just started working with it and I'd love conversation on it, or examples of what can be done, or to see your process and answer whatever questions I can.

Also, I've been selling some of my paintings on eBay, please see which paintings I have for sale here!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Painting a Day - 12

Glass Swan
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

Well, I say for fifteen minutes this isn't bad at all. I was thinking it was looking pretty bad while I was doing it, so I didn't really worry with it to much, but now that I see it more objectively, I have to say I kind of like it and wish I would have dealt with the edges some more. I'll probably revisit the swan tomorrow.

I mean, it kinda does look like glass! Well, I think so anyway.

I've been gone all day, so I didn't work on that article. Been thinking about it, though I know that doesn't count for much.

Oh! And also in the news, I got a job as well! I'm now a framer at Hobby Lobby! I plan to do better than the framer who decided to staple through the painting I was having them frame. I'm so excited! I start training Tuesday! Woo!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Painting a Day - 11

Pitcher Fish
Oil on Shellacked Mat board

Well, I did this one quickly. And I really like it! I wanted to do my other pets, two betta fish, but I didn't want them to be painted together. I chose this one because his house is cooler looking. The other one is a basic 2 gallon bowl thingy. I might paint them flaring, but I don't want them to attack the sides of the glass for over twenty minutes and get hurt... I might do 'em with something between them, then take it away to let them flare for the bit it takes me to paint 'em.

Zorn Palette once again. I got my little article on how I use the palette outlined, and I'll type it up soon. And I have a website in the works so it's not just a blog and it's easier to navigate. I'll also add an artist statement.

Well, leave a comment, tell me what you'd like to see, or not see, or... well... just to let me know that you have seen!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Painting a Day - 10

Chakra Stones
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

I wasn't sure what to paint, and I'm out of the groove thanks to camp, but I found this sack of stones (I'm sorry Shakespeare readers and scholars) that were a gift and I decided to paint them. They are shiny! I might do them again, but really focus on the stones.

I used a modified Zorn palette, I added permanent blue for one of the stones. I think I'm going to try and do it without blue because I did the green stone without a special green. I do need to work on the purple amethyst and the tigers eye. It doesn't look like it should at all. Oh well.

I'm actually pretty happy with it considering how long I've been away. And I'm extremely happy with the colors I've managed to get. All except with the large blue stone was done without blue. I'm happy!

Since I've been talking about the Zorn Palette, I'll do an article on it and how I use it. I don't know much about the history, or who used it, or any kind of fun info like that. But, I do use it, and I can at least explain what little I do know.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sketches: Camp Kids

Ok, these are small sketches and you have to realize that the kids did not know they were being sketched and all three happened in under 2 minutes. They were moving and talking and actually doing stuff. The first is a picture of all the girls in our cabin during devotion time. The second is a girl who was working on a drawing/poster thingy... I missed what it was about. The third actually did realize he was being drawn, but was one of the most fidgety people... with friends that kept 'helping.'

I did other sketches, but most of them were to amuse the children, or teach them something. Do you know how hard it is to teach the concept of Giacometti sketches to a ten year old? Really helps you think about what you're teaching though. And with all the questions they ask as well...

Oh well, thought I'd show what I have been doing, since I haven't had time to paint.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Craft: Camp Project 2

Alice in Wonderland Magnet
.75" ish
Glass, paper, glue, modge podge, super glue, magnets

It's hard to get pictures of these little things!! Oh well. I didn't do a painting a day today because I've been working on getting a bunch of craft things together for camp. I have to have a few examples ready. So I've been working on this, and a bottle I'm decorating. I'm not going to have a cheesecloth angel done, but the kids are just going to have to deal and use their imaginations. It'll be friggin' wonderful for them.

Tonight I have to pack, pack the craft supplies, maker sure I have the paper cut out for book binding, scrape all the labels off all the bottles, and then load everything into my car.

And then drive to where there will be no internet for five days. Whoopee. But, I'm bringing all my painting supplies, so I should have some work for when I get back! And I might escape long enough to find an internet cafe someplace. Doubtful, but I TOLD them I wasn't going to be a freaking councilor. The kids would be scared for life! And they didn't listen to me so they are going to have to put up with me.

Wow, I sound like a real witch.

Anyway, I don't like kids and putting off painting and not getting any sleep. I'm just grumpy! See you in a week!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Painting a Day - 9

Portrait of Spot
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

Isn't he CUTE?! It's my little kitten (uh, big cat?) SPOT! You can see I put a photograph of him up as well... he moved... a lot. I wish I wouldn't have been able to paint the spot... ah well. I guess I should add more darks as well, but I didn't really like how that looked. He's supposed to be light and fluffy!!

So I'm actually quite happy with it. I like it!

I'll be doing another one. This is kinda yesterdays. I like doing 'em early when the light's good, but mom doesn't like painting too early. So I might be doing two a day. I don't know thought... just depends I guess.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Book: The Art of Looking Sideways

I suppose I should have checked the price on Amazon before I grabbed the book off the shelves at Books a Million, but once it was in my hands I couldn't let it go. But the good news is it was worth every bit of forty dollars and I probably would have bought it if it was sixty.

Now, to say what this book is about is impossible. The book IS design. The book does not tell someone how to become more creative, or how to design a book, or how to look at something differently. The book is creativity and is a look at the world differently. I told my boyfriend that I wish I would have done a book like this first, because it was exactly how I envisioned what I wanted to put together. Too bad I never got as far as a scrapbook.

I'm reading it all the way through, but I also can't help picking it up and savoring each page at random. It's the kind of book you can do that with.

Look it up on Amazon! You can find it used for about $16.00 last time I looked.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Painting a Day - 8

Portrait - Justin Reading Philosophy
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

Mom was out enjoying the fireworks, so I tried a harder subject. I know I promised something uber special, and while I like this, I was hoping for me, my mom, and my grandma to all paint together. But it didn't happen. Rats.

So Justin was here and it hit me that I have yet to paint him... ever. So I told him to sit down, read his new book, and try not to move so much.

So about a hour into it he started fidgeting and I wrapped it up, threw in a... well... I guess I could call that a background, and decided it looks just like him. I really had to work fast on this one. But I love the painterly style I get. Hopefully mom and I will start painting together again soon.


P.S. Tune in tomorrow where I review a book. Kinda.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Painting a Day - 7

Oil on Shellacked Mat Board

I left the crop to show that it is, indeed my picture taking skills that have skewed the image, not my painting job. I swear it's straight on the board. And I took it miserably in all 10 shots. I am a horrid photographer.

I am happy because this is the first one that has taken less than half an hour. All the others took two. This one took about 21 minutes. It had to with the ice. You can kinda see where the ice is melting and forming a fog. So I'm happy considering the amount of time.

Why didn't it take too long? It couldn't. I just got back from Transformers, and being the first Transformers /anything/ I've see, I was mildly surprised at how enjoyable it was. I could have done without the scatological humor during the one scene, and I still can't imagine making out /in/ a sentient being... or on one... But it didn't seem to bug my boyfriend or his brother (geeks). I can understand why Bay gets his reputation. Those fight scenes could have been more enjoyable if they could have been seen. The lights?! What the hell? But besides those things, it was really fast paced and I enjoyed it.

I forgot what it's like to get hit on by... uh... fan boys to be nice. While waiting for my boyfriend and his brother while they were at the concession stand, I had three boys (uh, men) ask me (hopefully) if I was there to see the movie alone. Because I guess most girls wouldn't? I don't know. It was kinda creepy, actually.

Oh well. I got home, and got to painting. I might try it again. Can't get any worse :P


P.S. Mom's not here because she's watching Rat A 2 E with Sam and Dad. But tomorrow I should have a real treat!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Painting a Day - 6

Still Life with Thrown Bowl
Oil on Shellacked Mat Board
Top piece has been sold

Yesh, I feel bad about missing yesterday, so I worked pretty hard on this one. At least time I can say it's my ceramic throwing that's lopsided and not my painting. My bowl is really thick, and though this is the most circular of my bowls... it really isn't. I got that bowl painted right, yo. Actually, I'm happy with everything, surprisingly enough.

Mom really hates her spoon, but I really think she is getting better. I've decided we're going to be doing fruit. Lots of fruit. Maybe a landscape just to see if she likes that. I keep throwing things in there to challenge her and see what she does with 'em. I don't think she's doing bad at all. I'll let her paint fruit so she can see she is definitely getting better.

Well, that's all I can think to say. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I will have a job framing, so keep your fingers crossed!