Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

Many people are kicking around the 'whatcha doing New Year's?' question.    So I'll just put it out here.  

First, I really don't make any plans, and staying home is just a fine idea.    And with no plan, that's usually the way it goes.  

One of my personal highlights on this night home is oiling my easel.  Oh, the excitement you say!    Ok, its not the crazy party of my past, but somehow its a thing that has evolved into a tradition for me and it makes me happy.   Starting a new year with my equipment ready says I am planning to be painting and working on my art.   Some years I even did a painting as well, what a wild night!
  Pretty simple really.   My plan for this new year isn't much different than last year's, just that I want to do more of it....and by it, I mean art and riding both.  
I have gotten a couple new books on drawing, as I would like to use these cold winter days for study, and improve my skills.   I plan to do lots of exercises, so I had the local print shop bind up some big newsprint pads into smaller, more useable sizes.  The first book I'm working on is by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade.   (took forever to find an affordable one!)  I must say, wow, this book is fantastic!   Highly suggested, full of good stuff.

So I guess that's as far as I've gotten.   Not any big wild party or major happening, but it makes me happy, and that's what counts, right!?  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

on a roll with Tootsie

Now that the paintings have all been gifted, I can show them here.   This first is Tootsie, an elderly mare who was dearly loved.  Sadly she had to be put down this fall due to her failing health, but first I was asked to take photos for a painting.   This old gal did not want me around, no way, no how!   But I got in enough photos to work with, and with a couple from her younger days, was able to complete the portrait.    Once I started the painting I just couldn't put it down, and stayed up half the night, I was on a (Tootsie) roll!  
Tootsie, 18x24 pastel on uart600.    
Here is the start, you can sort of make out that Tootsie had some old-horse saggy lips, which I 'fixed'.   she also had some loss of muscle tone, also fixed.    I put in the darks first, and washed them in with alcohol.  
Now I started adding local color.   I use all manner of pastels, really couldn't say exactly which were used.    I do have that black tape on the paper, to keep me blocked in, else I wander too much.    And this is where I got so involved, I simply forgot everything and just painted til the painting was done, and I was burned out.  

I hope this little demo has at least been interesting if not helpful!  If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm so tired of painting....

Hmm, maybe I better clarify this.   I am sick and tired of this kind of painting...
One more corner to prime and paint

ugh, the dust and clutter are everywhere!
I should've waited til the trim was on!    Its not as yellow in real life, either, but as least now its so cheerful and bright!   Much more energy from this color.
I don't think I'll ever tire of THIS kind tho!.......
River Ridge Trail   9x12 pastel on PastelMat paper.   $165

I had a few days that I could finally devote to repainting that dull grey in the studio, to a light, pale, sunny yellow.   This has taken so long as I can only do one area at a time due to all the 'stuff'.   But it'll be finished today, and then a New Year can begin with a spiffy studio.    Here's one corner, with a vintage hutch added to display my handmade goat's milk soaps, note cards and mini paintings....

The painting in this post was done on my wall-painting break.   It's a place I rode my horse several times this past summer-- a pickup trail that is at the top ridge of the west side of Missouri River.   The families who own the land graciously let me ride there any time, and its just such a pretty place.  One of my favorite rides.    More paintings will come from that area, no doubt!   I didn't make good time on those rides due to gawking around at how amazing that place is!

Also for this painting, I wanted to try out the new pastel surface, PastelMat.   This was done on a deep gold color from a 9x12 pad.     Its a nice paper, didn't seem to eat up pastels, and did take plenty of layers.   I did seem to feel it didn't do as well using harder pastels, I found using softer types like Unison and Ludwig worked better for me on this.   I think I am somewhat heavy handed if that makes any difference.    I would certainly use it again, but I think I will be happier to continue using my sanded surfaces .  

Our holiday was nice, we didn't go far from home and its most certainly white!    Got in a freezing cold bareback ride with Daughter, visited some friends, had supper with the family which now include 2 of the cutest sweet baby boys ever known!!    With some chocolates and the time for some art, I'd call that a well done holiday!   Wishing the best for you as well!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

mounting pastel paper

Hello!   I am not able to show what I'm working on, as they are Christmas gifts and I'm not going to be the one who blows the surprise!   But, I thought today would be a good time to post how I mount sanded paper to a support board. 

Mounting it isn't something that has to be done, as sanded papers are usually heavy enough to stand alone.  I get mine in rolls, which lead to the problem of curled paper.  Not good!   I am currently using UART in 600 grit, and I very much like this paper.  Has lots of grit but doesn't seem to eat my pastels as badly as papers with heavier grit.   It handles wet underpainting well and getting a roll was more economical than sheets.   And, its just fun to have a half acre of paper, just waiting for me! 

First, figure out what you want to mount to.  I won't use products that aren't acid free, so I won't mention that at every turn today, just know, its all acid free.   So that said, you can use foam board, mat board, or mount board.   I chose foam board today.   I also chose to use grafix double tack film.   I also got my brayer and some black tape.

This piece will be 16x20, so I cut my UART to a size a bit larger, so I have space to scribble, try out colors, edges of sticks, etc.  I must have scribble space!   Then I cut the tack film to size of the UART, and the foam board is a tad larger on all sides.    I start by making pencil lines where the paper will go, then peel up one corner of the tack film, (its got slick papers on either side of the film). and smooth-smooth-smooth all the way across the foam board, rubbing with my hand, only peeling as much as I can smooth at one time.   At this point, I have a foam board with a tacky sheet on it, with a slick sheet still on top.   I now peel the top slick sheet, just a corner, and line up the UART and start peeling and rubbing down just like before.   Ta-da!   A mounted piece of sanded paper.

Next, I have started using that black tape to mark my borders.   It makes it easier for me to judge the composition this way, otherwise I seem to just keep going, then when I trim the paper to frame later, sometimes the design suffers as I now have cut off part of the painting.    This black tape fixes that problem.   I can take it off or leave it as its acid free.   (yes, I said it again!)   I run the tape about 1/4 inch outside my border.   
Ready to paint!    I put it on my main easel, using some cheapo (not acid free!) wide masking tape at the top corners, and a small clamp at the bottom.   The large white board is my drawing board, I made that with foam board on top of luan board, then painted it with floor finish poly so tape won't rip it.   I did this so I dont' have to keep adjusting my easel height--now I just tape/clip where I want the paper.  and sometimes I work big enough to cover that whole drawing board.   I also like my little quotes where I can see them.    Have a Great week!