Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slow Going

Hmm. I thought once I painted in the first columns, the rest would go quickly. The colors are mixed so it is just painting them on. Trouble is I keep getting lost from the palette to the painting. My line drawing is down and like usual I add no shading at that stage. That means I have these wonderful guide lines but don't readily see as I am working if the line represents background, column shading, or column hightlighting. I have to keep referring to my reference photos then back to the painting.
One little distraction and once again I forget where I was.

Monday, February 27, 2012

In Progress

I am starting to see the forms take shape. Adding burnt sienna and varying shades of blues to the columns will help the highlights sparkle. I'll wait and add the highlights at a much later stage.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A little Stretching

While painting wildlife is my passion, it is good for me to branch out and stretch my brushes. This is something completely new for me and I'll be showing you the piece in progress.
Unlike most of my pieces where I work background to foreground, top to bottom, I decided to start on the left side instead. I think establishing this area with the most contrast will help me throughout the painting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Painting during shows

Moonlight Paint
15" X 23"
Original Oil

I like to paint during shows if I have the space. There are usually a couple shows a year where I can set-up my easel and a small desk area for my paints and brushes and a director's chair. Often I choose a busy-work painting, one whose subject matter has a lot feathers and where the constant interruptions (for questions and sales) are most welcome.

Poor choices would be any painting with a lot of water. While I love to paint water, I need large steady blocks of time for the critical blending. Without it, water passages can look flat and dry. Once I sprained my ankle coming down my studio stairs for a quick break about 10pm. I was working on water. Hobbling (hopping) to the house and putting ice on my foot and resting was not an option. So, I crawled back upstairs to the studio, hopped over to the freezer and found what I needed. A hunk of frozen elk meat. I wrapped it in a towel, propped up my leg and began blending the oils on my board to make it look like water. I don't remember which painting it was, but I do know the water came out well.

Obviously, another poor choice for a subject matter to paint at a show is one that requires a lot of concentration or planning. Ooops. I brought this piece to Safari Club International. While this piece may not look like it needs studied attention, I was using reference I had taken during the day. All the colors had to be transposed in my head to night time. And making a painting feel like night, or with moonlight, isn't just putting a blue filter on it. Contrast has to be reduced, whites still have to glow but with more color. The last thing I want is my painting to look like a 1950's TV western that you know was filmed in the middle of the day but they are trying to convince you it is night.

Well, I sit at my easel the first day of the show (surrounded it seems by spotlights everywhere) and have to "think night." What does rust brown look like at night? Not really, but how would it look in a painting for the brain to think it was night? What "color" is black or white? I started with the angled horizon line and by the end of the 4-day show, the top third was almost finished, except for the far left and far right horses. Back in its transport box for the trip home.

Fortunately, when I was back in my studio and opened the box, the colors seemed to be going in the right direction. The center horse is the main focus and the colors have to be "on" to make the painting read well. Ultramarine blue, veridian, and cerulean blue help pull the colors together. (they may be hard to see in the above image as they are subtle notes in the coat.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Show Season

For many artists, this time of year begins a busy show season. I am no exception. My first show of 2012 is my biggest one of the year - Safari Club International.

At SCI I have a 10' X 40' booth and we set it up so I have 75 linear feet of wall space. A lot to fill! I usually have two show-stoppers (large pieces to grab attendees attention) and a variety of other sizes. There are about 70 artist exhibitors out of the approximately 1200 exhibitors. Estimates of 18,000 - 20,000 attendees make for four busy show days. You can understand why I prepare all year for this event.

My framer, Holly at Pacific Flyway works for weeks to have my pieces ready to go. (Thanks Holly!!!) My husband packs our Suburban with all the show panels, the lights, the paintings, the prints, the tables, the easel, the desk shelves, 2 boxes of supplies and paperwork, light bars, a dolly, and our suitcases. ( have no idea how he fits it all in!) Fellow Artist Terry Lee from Coeur d'Alene, ID takes some additional donation artwork and some large painting boxes for me in his trailer to ease our weight.

A 16.5 hour drive to the show, set-up (my husband and I have 3 days to put the final touches on the booth), 4 show days, and take-down. There were eight of us for take-down and thanks to Greg, Jim, Greg and Jan, Dean and Denise for their help. Then a 16.5 hour drive home and we unpack all the panels, paintings, etc. Next, days of writing thank you notes to my collectors (old and new) and packing and mailing their original oil paintings. (Just about all the attendees are out of town and need to have their purchases shipped.)

And the result? I had a good show. Quite good. Though it started off slowly on Wednesday with only one original sold, by Friday I had people waiting to purchase while I was writing up other sales. It's exciting when someone is moved by your work. I paint to share my experiences. When someone wants to take that story home, I feel I did justice to the moment I tried to capture.

Stay tuned for my next blog. I started a painting at SCI which I am just finishing.