WIP Wednesday: Session 2 Floral Floundering

20180711_135636-01.jpeg

I mean it’s going okay, not great, but not terrible. I have been working on the pink roses and rediscovering all the old problems that made me quit working on it in the first place. One thing I realize I’m doing is I’m treating the under-painting too preciously, so I drenched it in paint. It’s an experiment anyway so why not push it. I added the cool blues and greens like I wanted and I am enjoying the effect, but when it gets more tacky I’m going to need to address the flowers (again).

20180711_133940-01.jpeg

While that dries some I’m going to work on these sunflowers.

20180711_133803-01.jpeg

I drew an outline, prepped a canvas with more gesso, and sanded it smooth. I never tried smoothing a primed canvas before, probably out of laziness, so I’ll see how it goes. I need to trace it to the surface today, and I’m thinking about how I want to lay down color and the underpainting. From working on the roses I’m realizing I really am lacking in the planning and development part of my painting.

20180711_134515-01.jpeg

Planning isn’t the thing I need to work on, I need to refine my set up as well. I don’t feel like I have enough space to mix colors and I don’t like my paint storage system. With every step forward I see how much more I need to learn and do. I have a few ideas I’m trying out and some plans for arranging the space better as well. I will let you know as I tackle it!

20180711_134515-02.jpeg

 

I made the Cover -Art

20180709_115141-01.jpeg

Art by Max Currie, go check out his stuff!

Finally! This post! I mentioned a couple posts back I did a painting for a friend’s book. Well that book happens to be a graphic novel my artist friend Max Currie premiered at Heroes Convention in NC. He and his co-creator Tony Zollo were set up in the Illustrious Indie Island section of the con selling copies of their newly pressed 120+ paged book.

Flag Hunter Volume 1 - with title - watermarked

I am super honored that Max wanted my art for the cover, I have always been a big fan of his work and I really love the story line in “Flag Hunter”. It was a bit of a trial working on it but I really like how it turned out. I’m really not exaggerating about it being a trial: I left myself 24 hours to get it done and fought with my materials every step of the way.

20180607_144904-01.jpeg

Notice the pink coffee mug dangerously close to the art supplies. It did get a paint brush dipped in it.

To start my process I do some rough thumbnails to figure out what image I want to go with then I gather reference images. Jared was very accommodating for the whole process.

I enjoy playing with different levels of opacity in my art and revealing different stages of my process underneath. Normally I do this by doing an under-painting in bright accent colors, and selectively add paint on top with an opaque color in oil paint. With the time crunch I put myself in oil paint dry time was out of the question. 🙃

Resigned to using acrylics, I sketched out my image and traced it onto my final substrate, a leftover piece of watercolor paper. Or so I thought. 🙃🙃 There is a reason for shelling out $$$ for watercolor paper, because its fibers have a special sizing that absorbs liquid in a beautiful and feathery way. The paper I had just traced my sketch and partially inked an under-drawing onto was not absorbing water or color in a beautiful or feathery way. Queue some internal and external screaming. **pro tip lesson learned: label scraps of art paper with some artist tape so you always know what you’re using**

I didn’t have any other watercolor paper that was both large enough and smooth enough to work on. I needed something at least 12×18 for the scanner and with a smoother surface so it would play nice with pen tips. I decided to use a piece of paper from an Arches coldpress (textured)  block I had. Luckily after tearing the sheet out I discovered the back of it was much less rough so I ended up using that. Crisis averted, and I was able to lay in a beautiful ink wash with my Liquitex inks.

20180709_113252-01.jpeg

Just the loveliest.

Next up to give me sh*t was my acrylics 🙃🙃💀. I’m mostly an oil and watercolor painter, using acrylic only to do large washes in under-paintings. I haven’t invested in quality acrylics so the majority of my collection is hand me downs or leftover samplers from employee art competitions from my days working in an art store. -Btws those competitions were always with pretty terrible student grade paint- Suffice to say the struggle was unreal. Between terrible thin texture and exceedingly quick dry times I had a few moments where I wondered if it would even come together.

It did though! And I will definitely get a quality set of acrylics before ever working with them again. I was impressed with the few decent tubes of paint I had. There were a few tubes of Liquitex that belonged to my late grandmother that have to be nearly 30 years old by now and were easily the best paints of my collection. Their feel and texture held up and were a small ray of hope in my caffeine paint fueled haze.

My Tombow Markers were the saving grace of this painting. They had bright punchy colors and actually worked on top of the acrylics as well as under it. It was my first time experimenting with this technique and it’s definitely something I will try again.

So with a little caffeine, a little ingenuity, and healthy amount of panic I finished the painting just in time to scan it in and send it to Max. I learned a lot of helpful things while working on it and honestly I did enjoy the process despite my emphasis on the frustrating parts. Now with that accomplishment I am feeling more confident in attacking new projects, be on the look out for more to come! 

WIP Wednesday

Happy Fourth! I thought I would try a thing. I’ve noticed the balance of art posts to home posts seems a bit tipped towards home things and not art things. Part of the reason for me keeping a blog – and screaming into the internet void – was to give myself some art-making accountability. WIP (Work In Progress) Wednesday will be a brief update on what I’m currently tackling in whatever stage it is in, maybe even if it’s still just an idea or a reference photo. We’ll see. Lets try it out shall we?

20180704_114748-01.jpeg

I started this painting in 2012 and never touched it since. Its a personal piece and is a bit laden with emotional baggage. I love the drips and loose rendering of each flower and the punch of pink color. What I don’t love is the sienna and umber I started to bring in. I didn’t really have a strategy for this piece when I started and it felt empty without some other colors and that is what I chose.

20180704_115230-02.jpeg

Since its not for sale or show I feel more at ease to experiment with it and I would like it to end up in my office (sewing room, framing room, not paint room – it’s still a working title). I’m going to try to incorporate some light blues and mints to cover the brown, and also add some deep navy and maybe dark purple to the very dark parts. I think the addition of cooler tones with help pop the neon pink even better. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Upon Further Inspection

It’s been nearly a month and I have finally started a drawing. I have also cleaned the entire house we rent.

The Den of Leaves

Dining Room Overview

I know I’ve discussed my tendency to use home maintenance as a distraction from my art problems but in this case it was a necessary priority as our leasing company set up a mandatory house inspection. Per the memo, we were to have the property cleaned up, “like you were inviting people for a barbecue ,” so in less than a week we decorated, cleaned, organized, shoved stuff into boxes, and shoved those boxes into closets. All of this literally just in time for the inspection, which turned out to be maybe 15 minutes of someone walking around taking pictures of the property.

Then we threw a party.

The Den of Leaves 2018

DJ Bambi

This has been our first year of cohabitation and we’ve never quite felt settled since our move but now, thanks to surprise inspection, we were finally ready to have our first house warming party. It was a low key get together with a mix of our friends from different parts of our life all of whom seemed to have a pretty great time. I loved making tasty dishes and showing off the space we’ve curated for ourselves.

Den of Leaves

Our den, with a view of our salon style wall of art.

Decorating and arranging are definitely my favorite forms of self expression and it’s always nice to find a way to exercise that creative energy. I’m not 100% certain how it fits in with my art/career but I feel strongly that it will one day. It’s telling that when I’m faced with less than a week to put our entire home in order my approach is to start by decorating: framing and hanging art that has been sitting around forever and tackling several improvement/furniture building projects. Only after that will I finally get around to shoving the rest of our stuff into boxes and then shoving those boxes into closets. It’s not the most practical method – certainly not the most logical – but everything came together beautifully.

Den of Leaves

Mantle detail close up.

I am still figuring out how and what I want to create as an artist. Oddly enough, cleaning house has actually started something for me (and my mental well being) and my studio is one of the rooms that most benefited from the overhaul. I switched up the layout and finally got around to cleaning my palettes and brushes. Now there are fewer hurdles  between me and actually getting started on a piece (not just figurative, but the literal piles of stuff we were trying to sidestep). Being able to spend time in my studio has affected the way I think about making; now I can concentrate on ideas instead of what tasks I must accomplish to get set up. I’m still continuing to tweak bits in the studio but I’m also working on sketches and planning (art) projects. I finally taken the next step and it feels great to be moving forward.

Den of Leaves

View from the den into my studio space.