Thursday, April 29, 2010

Updated Works In Progress

Last week was a total wash as far as getting anything done with having my mom here to take care of and this week has been almost as bad. I tried to work some on the turtles last week- the first photo of it was where it was previous to last weeks work.

I had a hard time trying to get the color corrected as you can see. I think the true color is "somewhere in between" these, although I believe it is closer to the bottom one. I have the sun coming in the window- directly in my eyes. Evening seems to be the only time I really have to do this sort of thing and it's always such a bad time to try and see the color.

I was able to do some painting today. When I go down to the studio I have hopes of getting further than I ever do. Today was no exception. I spent alot more time down there than it looks!!! These miniatures take alot of time to get them "right".
I've been "fighting" with that goose all afternoon, and now the duck has joined the fray! Persistence hopefully will pay off and I'll get them the way I want them!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Palettes for minis & an Interactive Paints WIP

As long as I'm posting I thought I'd also post my WIP here- the goose is started in the new interactive paints. The bg I did with regular acrylics. Not quite finished yet with that but nearly. Wanted a more "fresh spring" quality so trying to use the pretty "Gail" colors (for those who read this from the miniature forum- for other readers she is a friend of mine who also paints miniatures). :-) You can see the purple lavendar area where I "messed about" a bit too much so it is blotchy and will have to be worked on. But it ofcourse is not finished anyway so no big deal...

I thought since I was doing this to try and answer Mona's questions I may as well go a bit more "in depth" on my palettes and experiments. So here is a bit more explanation on them and some photos to help you see them better (I hope!)

This first image is one of my "experimental" palettes. It is a shallow food container with simple paper towels under the palette paper. I've also tried it with sponges cut up to fit. It worked fine- kept the paint moist for days, etc. but I just can't deal with the depth. It is maybe 2-2.5" deep as opposed to the true palettes which are much shallower. So if you want an inexpensive wet palette and can deal with the depth this worked well.

Hopefully you can see and compare the depths on these 2 palettes. That's my finger you can see on the left holding the deeper one so you can get a feel for the size maybe. The one below that is the palette I believe Mona is curious about. My Masterson wet palette is very similar in depth to this one also.

These 3 photos are the palette Mona was asking about- it doesn't need palette paper, acrylics and caseins can be cleaned off easily after drying. If the paint is deep enough you can just peel it off. If you are like me and use it thinly and sparingly and end up with very thin films dried on you can just scrape it off. I happen to have an old "putty knife" type thing that is made of plastic rather than metal so doesn't scratch the palette. It worked very well. Possibly with "elbow grease" you could just scrub it off, but I was too lazy to try that when I had my putty knife! I believe these palettes would be absolutely ideal for water color and gouache. You can see the rubber seal on the lid. I've left one tab open on the photo of the closed palette so you can see it. The 4 sides "snap" into place. A bit tricky at times to get them to stay but they do seal very well. I put cut up household sponges in the little wells and wet them- the paints stay moist very well. I think gouache and wc would stay moist and you then could have your intense colors that you get with them when they first come out of the tube because you wouldn't have to re-wet to activate them. Just a thought.

These last photos are of my Masterson wet palette. These palettes (I have this one small one and several larger ones- I've had one for probably 20 years or more!) are my favorites. My first old one is the best- it is from the period when companies still cared what their customers thought and wanted. Masterson was (at that time) very good, helpful, etc. That first palette has little "hold down" tabs which held the palette paper in place. They would replace them (free!) if you lost them (I never did). They no longer make them with those tabs so the paper curls up unless you buy their more expensive paper (so- what do you do if they go out of business?) It was so much better in its original form. We won't go into my lastest experiences with their customer service- suffice it to say, I no longer think so highly of them. Thus- pennies in the corners to hold down the paper. I've pulled back the paper so you can see the yellow sponge, a very thin sponge. The older one also had a very different type sponge- also much better. These sponges when they dry get all contorted and you can NOT close the lid of the palette. I haven't figured out a way to dry them out and keep them flat, and you certainly don't want to leave them wet constantly. Again- the company doesn't seem to care. Obviously these must be cheaper sponges. But I do like the shape, the choice of sizes, etc. and haven't found another I like as well.

Hopefully this explains all this for you. Again, if you have any questions on anything, paints, brushes, etc.- please feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Richeson 75 Small Works and Miniatures Show

I am very happy to announce that I won second place with my harpy eagle painting- which I believe is a $500 gift certificate for art supplies from Richeson. What an honor and how lucky am I?! I tried to put the announcement here but can't figure out how, so just have a bit of the wording pertaining to the show and my piece.
I can't seem to pull up the harpy photo- for some reason it comes up as other pieces. So you'll just have to go to my website and look in the miniature paintings category, the website for Richeson 75 show or look at my older blogs with the harpy on them. Sorry for the inconvience. I have my website link to the right- you can just link to that, then go into the miniature paintings to see the harpy eagle.

"Awards Jurors for this competition were Terry Howell Stanley, PSA, Richeson 75 Director; Julie Jilek, Richeson Gallery Director, and award winning Artist & Instructor Jeffrey Hargreaves. We are proud to announce the winners of the Richeson 75Small Works 2010 competition!

Second Place: Non-Oils is "Harpy Eagle" by Carol Andre. "This painting is only
3.5"x2.5" and the lifelike qualities of this miniature bird portrait are amazing."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Of Geese and Swans, Grebes and Turtles- a Day of Heaven

What a beautiful day we had yesterday. The sun was out, the ducks and geese and swans were out- it was just heavenly- a bit more wind than I liked but one can't have everything! I thought I'd show you just a bit of what we were able to enjoy- and I hope you enjoy as well... one of those "wish you were here" moments. :-)

We saw bluewing teal and grebes...

...Swans- I need to see if I can figure out if they were trumpeter or tundra swans-

...Canada Geese...

More geese...

...bathing geese...

...after the baths...

...swimming ducks...

...sleeping swans...

...a few of these type shots- don't ya just hate when that happens?!...

Not great, but have you ever tried to photograph a flying teal- they are FAST!!!

Some of my favorites- them little "turtle bumps" on a log...

This fellow was very exciting to see...

...and then there are always the good old mallards and woodies...
My husband and I had an absolutely wonderful time together. What more could you ask of a day than this? Good company, beautiful day, relaxing moments, exciting views, wonderful times in nature. It was a bit of heaven...

Friday, April 16, 2010

My favorites-easel, palettes, brushes, and storage

I thought you might like to see how I modified a very inexpensive small table easel to fit my needs for painting my miniatures and some of my favorite studio items as well.

This first photo is my easel as it looks when I'm painting- you really can't see much. Beneath it you can see my "treat" to myself for losing 18 lbs.- my New Years resolution which I started Jan. 2 and completed a week ago. I am wearing a big grin as I type this! :-D They are a small set of new acrylic paints called "Interactive". They are supposed to act more like oils and be able to be re-worked for several hours. I hope I like them!

These next 3 photos are the easel as it looked (more or less) when it arrived. I did remove the little bottom shelf thingy to fit my homemade tabletop over the easel. I added a little handle (a portion of framing material) to the front of the drawer for easier opening and I also chiseled 2 extra notches so I can lower my top nearly flat as you can see in the last photo. You can see the 2 notches I added by the different color (no finish on them).

This is the tabletop underneath (not very pretty, but you really don't see it) made of 1/4" masonite covered with non-skid material you can get in $ stores or Walmarts, etc. I hot-glued that in place. Then I glued on the little wooden strips to hold the top in place, but it can easily lift off when needed. You can see how it fits over the original top.

These are a few of my many, many brushes (some women like clothes- I happen to have a "thing" for all things "paint"!) My favorites are Qualita brand, (very inexpensive, but they seem to do the trick for me), Loew-Cornelle series 7020, and my absolute very favs are Beste brand. They are sooo fine and hold such a nice point. I do have some larger brushes and even on my minis I do use them occasionally, but mainly I use the small filberts and the liners and script liners from #2- 18/0. I prefer longer bristles (such as the scripts) to shorter ones on the very tiny brushes- they will hold more paint and really aren't difficult to make them do what you want with practice.

These last photos are of a couple of my palettes and some of my storage units. I have some larger palettes but for the miniatures I just don't like a large palette. I love the wet palette styles, but the newer one I am liking fairly well too- you don't need palette paper, the paint comes off when dried fairly easily and the top is air tight so the paint keeps for the days I am painting. I've found the inexpensive little storage units you can buy at Walmart, Target, etc. on rolly wheels work great for me. I store them under my countertop painting area, I can roll them easily around where I need them, use them to hold my palettes, etc.
I hope you find this to be an interesting post and perhaps it will give you simple ideas on how to make your own studio work more easily for you. If you are not an artist you can get a feel for how my studio works for me.