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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Graphite and Charcoal Figure Portrait - Update #3

I was waiting to hear back from my client before I did any further refinements to this piece as it is much more of a custom piece than I usually do. 

The skin was smoothed out and more highlights were added to create more shape and depth.  Her hair was also filled in more and layers were added and removed to create depth and movement.  I think she is complete now but I will wait to see how she looks with fresh eyes in the morning.

Again I am having a hard time getting a decent photo due to all the white space and my not great studio lighting so I posted a detail photo as well which captures the tonal range a bit better.

Prepping Panels for Painting

I prepped a bunch of smaller panels for painting over the weekend and thought I would share some tips I learned after a lot of panels sliding around, cursing and gesso being splattered all over my clothes and room!  There are probably a ton of ways to do this but this way worked really well for me for the smaller panels.

I grabbed a piece of foam core that I use for packaging but any piece of stiff cardboard will do.  Take each panel and apply a circle of masking tape to the back of the panel & press down on the foam core with the other side of the tape circle. I used two tape circles for each panel just to be safe & then stuck them all on quite closely together so that paint would not drip too much between each panel.  Then I used a roller over the entire surface rather than painting each panel separately, so much faster & cleaner!



This is a photo of my panels attached to the board, six 5x7" panels and two 8x10" panels.  I lightly sanded with 100 grit sandpaper and then wiped with a damp lint free cloth. 

Then I brushed on a layer of GAC 100 to seal the surface.  Once dry I used a small foam roller to paint on the gesso (or oil ground depending on what I am using the panels for - oil or acrylic).  I found with the roller that I got such a smooth surface I did not even need to sand between layers but I am guessing as the roller wears out I will need to again so I will use the 100 grit sandpaper and wipe off the dust between layers. I let each layer dry before adding the next layer of gesso, applying in alternating directions (ie first horizontal, then vertical etc).

I probably did not need to but just to be safe after the final coat of  gesso dried I used a razor to separate the panels. This time around was so much less painful using this method, but honestly, the only part I enjoy about prepping panels is being finished!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Minnekhada Oil Sketch - 5x7" on Panel
Torrit Grey Series 1

This is a 5x7" oil sketch I did yesterday after visiting Minnekhada Lodge over the weekend.  It is so beautiful out there, even with a migraine ;)   The lodge hosting the second annual Art in the Park on the weekend, I will post more photos and info about the event later. 

I have decided to do a monochromatic series of 5x7" oil paintings on panel and this is the first of the series.  I love monochromatic paintings and was planning on mixing up a black and using a tube of white but then realized, duh, why not use some of the beautiful Torrit Grey that I got from Gamblin :)  I have two tubes and each one is uniquely different as they are actually made from the pigments collected from the air filtration system during the paint making process.  What a great way to protect the environment, workers health and as they give the paint away free with a small purchase (to prevent hording - they most know we artists are a little obsessive?).

So as I have had a few shopping trips during the time when they were giving away the paint I have two tubes each slightly different so I may even do two series - one from each tube - just for fun. Yes, I just decided that is what I will do :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Aha Gamblin, you know the way to a girls heart...

...free paint samples! I was looking forward to a full day in the studio all week but instead was flat out on the couch with a migrain all day :( When I did manage to crawl off the couch & check the mail I was very pleasantly surprised to find a unsolicited package from Gamblin in my mail box.  I thought they had sent me two samples in error but much to my delight they sent me a little additional treat of FastMatte paints and a couple small bottles of Galkyd Lite! 

I just used their image as still too sick to bother with the camera (or paint, sigh) but am quite excited to try these new paints for an underpainting.  They sent me Transparent Earth Red, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium white.  I hope to do an underpainting with these shortly as their fast drying times will allow me to glaze over sooner than if I had used the regular gamblin oils.

Forget the flowers, just give me paint!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Butterfly Oil Painting on Panel - Torn Update #3

Oil Painting ButterflyI got a chance to work on this one again tonight as I am alternating working on a couple of graphite and charcoal commissions right now.  It is nice get a fresh look after taking a break!

The photo has a bit of blue glare on the right hand side. It is so cool, or at least I think it is, to see how each layer affects the next with oil paints.  Even though the glazes are thin it seems to be more apparent with oil glazes than with water color which is very rewarding.  I built up the layers of black on the butterfly as well and hopefully the cool layers of color will still show through a little once the value has been built up completely.  Now to let it dry, hard to stop!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Graphite and Charcoal Figure Portrait - Update #2

Sometimes I feel like I spent more time trying to get a decent photo of my artwork than I do drawing!  Oh well, this photo is not too bad - sad thing is I know it is not the camera that is the problem...

The paper is a creamy off white and with graphite the transitions always appear much rougher in photos and darker than in the original piece.

I have added most of the highlights and will do a bit more blending of the darks tomorrow.  I may also darken the bottom area of her clothing to add more contrast with the top but will decide in the morning. I am quite happy with the way this is turning out though as she has a really nice peaceful feeling about her which I am after.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Graphite and Charcoal Figure Portrait - Update #1

I am pleased with the progress so far today but much more to go!  Most of the darkest darks have been laid in and will continue to be shaped and softened, building up the layers slowly.  Highlights will also be added as the drawing progresses.

Graphite and Charcoal Figure Portrait - Rough Sketch


This is a rough sketch of a graphite and charcoal figure commission that I started today.  I did several rough sketches in charcoal first but this is the rough sketch on the arches paper.  The photo is very tricky as the lines are so light and all the white space messes up the balance but the next update should have a better photo as there will be more graphite on the paper.  The full portrait size is 16x30".

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Is it sad to get so excited at the hardware store?!??!

Not when you find great deals on art supplies it isn't!   I found great palettes made out of thick rounded glass for under $5 (around $40 at the art stores) so of course I grabbed a couple.  They do not fit perfectly inside my stay wet palette but good enough so that I can leave my oil paints mixed on the palette for several days without them drying out or getting dust in them. 

I also found a great razor scraper, much better then try to use my metal palette knives and a regular razor.  Plus it has a safety cap, which if you know me, is a really good thing!  Last but not least, I found some nice metal scrapers to play with my acrylics with, and maybe my oils too.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Quick Charcoal Sketch

This is a sketch I did tonight, similar to the last charcoal sketch I posted.  I am doing some practice sketches for a commission that I have which is in a totally different style from my usual commissions so it is a big learning curve, but I am learning, albeit in baby steps ;)  It is surprising how much the mind takes over and tries to control things when you don't want it to.  I am trying to keep the sketch really loose but I keep sneaking in details somehow.  I think this one turned out as a pretty good compromise but will keep playing :)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Butterfly Oil Painting on Panel - Torn Update #2

Oil Painting of Butterfly - Torn
I slowly building up the depth in the leaves and the butterfly and am quite happy with the progress so far.  I really need to stop sticking my fingers in the paint though! I am going to make myself an awl stick but just have not gotten around to it as I would rather be drawing and painting ;)  I have been using a stretcher bar in the interim which when I remember to use it works quite nicely :)

I still have many more layers to go as I am using very thin glazes but am I really enjoying see the layers build up.  I am finding this painting very much like my watercolor painting process but without having to rush as with watercolor you have to be pretty quick with getting the layers down before things go south ;)  Now I have to wait for this layer to dry before moving onto the next, that is the only part of oils I do not like so far but definitely a small price to pay ;)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Poster for my Drawing Realistic Portraits Workshop
Oct 16-17, 2010


Just got a sample of the poster for my upcoming drawing workshop on Oct 16 & 17.  Very cool :) The poster will be sent out to over 60 galleries in the lower mainland as well as being in the Port Coquitlam Leisure Guide.

Ok, now I am officially getting excited!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Charcoal & Sanguine Sketch

I have been playing around with charcoal & sanguine the past couple of nights and thought I would post a little sketch, well actually it is 8x30", that I worked on tonight.

I am really liking the way the charcoal and sanguine blend together even on this really crappy paper, newsprint I think.  I can't take the heat in my studio any longer though so I am off for a cool beer after I clean all this soot off of my hands, face, arms...geez how did I get it on my toes?!?!?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Abstract Workshop

Just a quick update from the abstract workshop on the weekend.  It was really fun, paint was flying everywhere, plastic everywhere, Dexter would have been proud!

This is one piece I worked on but I still want to apply a few more layers.  It is 18x24" acrylic on canvas.  I have wanted to do paintings like this for awhile now and plan to do more in the future.  I love how the layers dry so clear, like stained glass on canvas, very cool :)