Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 19, And The Beat Goes On

January 19, 30 Paintings in 30 Days hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 19: 3.5 hours, Monthly Total: 52.5 hours

It's slow going, but it's coming along. I'm struggling with the roses or bit, or maybe it's that there are 13 of them in all. 

Work in Progress
Alcohol Inks

Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 16, a Morning At Katie's Cup

January 16, 30 Paintings in 30 Days Hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 16: 3.5 hours, Monthly Total: 45.5 Hours

Had a wonderful morning a Katie's Cup in Rockford. I go there twice a month to paint. Sometimes I have people join me, sometimes not. Today I was alone. It was pretty slippery out there on the roads. No problem, I just get out my earplugs and get lost in my painting and the music. This is a piece I was working on for a home painting party Friday night.

For more info on hosting your own painting party Click Here

 A Morning at Katie's Cup
Alcohol Inks and Pen
8" x 8"

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 14, A Lesson in Golden Mediums, Pastes and Gels

January 14, 30 Paintings in 30 Days Hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 14: 6 hours, Monthly Total: 42

Yesterday, I went to a wonderful workshop
 given by a Golden Representative.

It was an opportunity to explore some of the Golden mediums, pastes and paints. Sandy, was full of information and ideas.


Our first experience was to experiment with molding pastes.
Sandy presented us with boards that had regular molding paste (smooth) on one side and coarse molding past on the other. We painted them with Fluid paints. The Fluids are good because you can see the textures below. We wet down the boards with water before we applied the paints.

The coarse is on the right with the smooth being of the left.
I've used the smooth before to paint with alcohol inks. I have to say I didn't notice a big difference when I painted on canvas - but there was some. It becomes more important if you want the paints to rest on the surface and react to each other instead on soaking in. Both pastes will accept watercolors and the coarse is good for pencils and pastels. I really enjoyed the Fluid colors. You don't need much pigment as these are very strong. They're a bit pricey too. You can make them last longer by adding Golden's Regular Gel to them; 70% gel to 30% paint.

Then we wet the smooth side down and added a layer of Golden's Open Paints to it. Using the eraser side of a pencil we scratched away the paint while it was wet to reveal the bottom colors.

Course Molding paste peaked with a palette knife.

You can also use a plastic bag to get the peaks. Lightly dry brush paint over the peaks. This piece has a bit of everything  - metallic paint, interference paint and fluids.

Coarse Pumice Gel

This was my favorite. It reminds me of a painting I grew up with that my mother used to call the mustard painting (due to the colors used). I have always loved this texture. The paint is the Fluids with a lot of water. The pigment goes in the groves and mixes the the joining colors while exposing he peaks.

Interference, Metallic and Fluids on black paper.
Don't forget you can also mix the interference and metallic with other colors for different effects.

Tybek Paper

Usually used as house wrap. It won't let water through but it will let vapors out. What a wonderful surface to paint on. Such a strong paper, yet the light will shine through it and you can see the threads going through it. It made for a wonderful background.

We painted with Open paints which are more like oils. It has a longer dry time but not quite as long as oils. It has a nice thick quality to it. Don't use water as a thinner, use a polymer medium .

I had bought a Golden sampler a few years back and I didn't really understand what everything was for so I brought it to ask.
I finally learned what the Silverpoint Drawing Ground was for.  How was it that I missed this in all my years? Just spread this out on a board, let dry and then go ahead and scratch the surface with anything metal. I used a paperclip. Some of my favorite drawing were drawn by the Masters using this method and I never knew it. What fun!

I was interested in Self Leveling gels which will be wonderful over some of the collage work I'm hoping to do in the future.

Our last project was to paint a portrait using Williamsburg Oil paints and a palette knife. I love palette knives but I was a bit out of my comfort zone. Instead of linseed oil we used Galkyd Lite to decrease the dry time. It was very nice but I missed the smell and creaminess of Linseed.

All in all, a great way to spend  a Saturday.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 13, a Lesson in Scheduling

January 13, 30 in30 hosted by Leslie Saeta

Day 13: 3 hours, Monthly Total: 36 hours.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone. When I was a little girl I asked my Father if Friday the 13th was a good day or a bad day. My Dad's reply was, "Well, I was born on Friday the 13th so I'd say it was a pretty lucky day for me." So I have always like Friday the 13th. I hope yours was equally as lucky.

We are almost to the half way point of this 30 in 30 challenge and I have been learning a lot.  A lot about my schedule. I can say that with classes, marketing and whatever, I have not been painting 100 hours a month. I assume not even 70. This is a problem for a number of reasons, most importantly because you only get better by painting. But how do you fit it all in: 2 hours a day marketing, classes, meetings, laundry, bookkeeping, bill paying, exercise time, shopping, cleaning etc? 

One of the mistakes I have made in the past was to 
create a schedule that was inflexible.
3 hours painting starting at 9am. I tend to an all or nothing type of a person. This can be a problem. What happening if something comes up and you need to change your plan? Your schedule is tossed out faster than a New Year's resolution. I am playing with a schedule which just states how many hours a week I want to paint, for marketing, for emails, for personal chores. Over the weekends I usually make out my to do list along with meals and grocery list. Now, I'm trying to schedule my days one week at a time. If a friend comes to spend the day, that's just fine I switch my days around. I'll let you know how it goes in the in a few weeks.

The point is that this 30 in 30 shouldn't be such a challenge. 
It should be business as usual.

I've been enjoying this painting. Here is an additional 8 hours. Gosh, can you even tell? I've struggled with the blue flowers on the right side of the painting. This painting seems very similar to putting together a puzzle. Work on the spots I know then come back to the more difficult pieces. I've found painting the surround area of the difficult part helpful as it will define the outline, the value, of the pieces you're having a hard time with.

Work in Progress
Alcohol Ink 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Day 10, Back to the Alcohol Inks

January 10, 30 Paintings in 30 Days hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 10: 3.5 hours, Monthly Total:28 hours 

I'm back to alcohol inks today as I continued on the Rockford Art Museum's Show piece, Art In Bloom. I'm working on some areas that are hard for me to understand, the purple spike flowers, the blue flowers all the way to the right. I do what I can in these areas then I concentrate on the surrounding areas. they give me clues as to the shapes and shades of the difficult areas. The green piece was just fun.

Work in Progress
Alcohol Inks

Monday, January 9, 2017

Day 9, An Update of Flowers and Studios

Day 9, 30 Paintings in 30 Days hosted by Leslie Saeta.

January 9: 2.5 hours
             8:  3 hours
             7: 2.5 hours, Monthly Total:23.75 hours

I know it looks like I'm falling behind because I'm not posting every day, but I'm still here. This weekend I spent some more time with my RAM flowers in alcohol inks. There's a part that really has me stumped. I'm probably over thinking it too much. It's been very helpful to jump around the painting, working on different flowers depending on how comfortable I feel with them at a given time.

I got the opportunity to pull out the watercolors, my first love. Well no, oils were my first love, but I do love watercolors. Anyway, I have a commission involving flowers in watercolors. My client has asked me not to post my work on Facebook and I will respect her wish. But, I did get permission to post some preliminary sketches that I have been working on.

I'm enjoying this 30 in 30. No real pressure, let's just get some work done. I want to spend more time in my studio. I'm not feeling pressured with having to produce a finished piece. Nor do I feel the pressure of is this "good " enough to sell? There is pressure to post something each day and I have fallen behind in that a bit. Since I don't have much to post by way of these flowers - and I will have several more days of them - I will spend some time giving you an update on my studio.

Many of you know that Mark and I purchased a building in downtown Rockton last July that we will transform into my studio.  Last Fall there was such a push to finish the 160 year old house that Mark was rehabbing that we haven't had much time to work on this building. As we find ourselves short of the funds, and as the temperatures are low, 29 degrees, our progress is slow. We are planning on starting with a small build out so I can open my studio and begin working there soon. It's a challenge. The building has no heat nor water currently and heating the 4000 square space is out of the question at this time. We are at the planning stage. Such an exciting time.

The 170 year old building is such a gem! It's a mess and disaster, but it has so much potential! It has a basement that housed a cooler. It's kinda a homemade cooler that isn't original to the basement. But it has an incredible door that appears to be from the 1910's. It would be an incredible piece to refinish and use upstairs.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 6, Mc Kee House

January 6, 30 paintings in 30 days hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 6: 3 hours Monthly Total: 18.5 hours

I'm still not done with this commission but feel as if I need to back away from it and "live with it" awhile. I'll go back to it and add more to the trees and shadows in the building. It was wonderful going back to the watercolors and I plan on doing several more hours in that medium before this 30 in 30 is done.

My current commission, the McKee House was built in 1936 by the WPA (Work progress Administration). All the bricks are Naperville Firestone, hand chiseled by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The building served as the headquarters and superintendent's residence for the DuPage County Forest Preserve from 1936 to 1982. Robert L. McKee was the 1st superintendent of the Forest Preserve. He is responsible for acquiring large parts of the current preserve, planting thousands of trees, speaking out against water pollution. He worked on battling Dutch Elm Disease and was instrumental in the preservation of the Graw Mill at Fullersburg Woods.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency deemed the house and its outbuildings as likely candidates to be included on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.  In 2013 a study was commissioned by the Preserve to decide the cost of bring back the building from its current state of disrepair. The cost was well over $4 million so this beautiful building was at risk of being torn down.

The McKee House Coalition is fighting to stabilize the condition of the house with a new roof and other improvements. They'd like to see the home used by county residents as a multi purpose facility.

For more information see the McKee House Facebook Page click here

The McKee House
Work in Progress
Watercolor and Pen

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day 5, a Great Thing

January 5, 30 paintings in 30 days hosted by Leslie Saeta

Day 5, 3 hours, Monthly Total 13.5 Hours.

A great thing about alcohol inks is that you can go back into an area that has already been worked and paint on it just as if you never left the painting. I'm enjoying working on this painting, bit by bit. It's getting there.

And a great thing about painting at home is I can do it in my jammies! It's 7 degrees out. A great day to stay in, be comfortable and paint away the day. Time for some hot chocolate.

Work in Progress

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Day 4, Put it in Perspective

January 4, 30 Paintings in 30 Days hosted by Leslie Saeta

Day 4: 2 hours, Monthly Total 12.5 hours

Today's post comes with a bit of  a confession. I don't like to pre-plan my paintings very much. I get too excited and have little patience for preliminary work. That's why I can't premix my colors or do a quick study. I can't. I just want to dive in and paint... NOW! My motto is, figure it out when you get there".

Perspective is one of those things I'm too impatient 
about to do very well.
 In school my professors used to tell me to watch my perspective and I'd answer back, "I'm marring an architect. Isn't that enough perspective?" My teachers never really knew how to answer that one. But through the years my husband, Mark, who is supper sensitive to perspective, has tried to teach it to me. I've improved a bit.

Today, I approached him with my commissioned drawing
 of the McKee House in Glen Ellyn. 
I knew I was a bit off in the windows and I felt totally overwhelmed by the bricks and the shingles. Well, Mark can't stand perspective that's so off. It was all those years of drafting. He was trained in the days before Autocad. He's explained 2 point perspective many times and even drawn out the lines for me but he's never shown me the nail trick before today.

He quickly pushed all his work aside and asked me to find a large board. I used a box from a Dick Blick paper order. We taped down my drawing and found the vanishing points on each side. Then he stuck a nail in each point so he could pivot a ruler off of it to draw the lines for the tiles and bricks. What a great trick! Why haven't I seen it before? I guess after 34 years of marriage he still has some tricks I've never seen.

He introduced me to a parallel ruler. Who knew? What a great tool! I need one of theses.

 So here is my drawing. Ready to be painted then inked. ( I initially was going to ink it before I put watercolor on it but, decide against it as I will use color to define the bricks and want to see how that goes before I add dark lines.)

The McKee House
Work in Progress
11" x 14"

I'll write about the McKee house next time I post it - a very beautiful and interesting home.

Thanks Honey, for all your help today.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Day 3, How Long Did it Take You to Paint This?

January 3rd, 30 Paintings in 30 Days hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 3: 5 hours, Monthly Total: 10.5 hours

"How long did it take for you to paint this?" 
It's a question most artists dread. Maybe because it implies that artists should charge by the hour. Maybe it implies the question, "It took you THAT long to just do that little ole thing?" Maybe it's because we honestly can't remember how long a painting takes. We don't normally time our art.

This month I'm timing my art. I'm not concerning myself with how much I produce but by the amount of time I spend painting. I'm just enjoying myself.

I look at my painting after working on it for 5 hours today
 and think, I sure paint slow!  

It's okay. I'm getting some much needed work done and I'm happy with my results, except for the two large pink flowers. (I'll get back to them later.) For now, I'm enjoying basking in the detail of the painting. There's so much going on - even in the dark shadows. Some of the flowers I have no idea how to paint, but I just take it slow and pay attention to the lights and darks. If I just do that, my painting usually will emerge.

Work In Progress

Monday, January 2, 2017

Day 2, One of my favorite Things

Jan 2, 30 in 30 hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 2: 2 hours,  Monthly Total: 5.5 hours

One of My Favorite Things.
About two years ago I started painting at a local coffee shop in Rockford. Actually, I have to give Leslie Saeta credit for this one. I was listening to her weekly podcast show, AHA, Artists helping Artists and she suggested painting in public. I decided that I would do this in connection with my local art guild as a social program.  So every first and third Monday I'm down at Katie's Cup sipping tea and painting.
My thank you to Katie's. It now has a home by the fireplace.

Open studio at Katie's Cup was started as a service but I quickly found the benefits. It took awhile for it to catch on. Sometimes I sat there and painted alone. But, I instantly loved it. There was always someone who would approach me and ask me about my work. Not only was I learning to paint in front of people but I was learning how to talk about my art. Slowly, I started having people show up with whatever they were working on and join me. This is one way that I began getting to know my fellow art people better. This is were some wonderful friendships were built. 

I've learned that art is not only about creating work and hoping someone likes it well enough that they buy it allowing  you to paint another day. There's many components to art. One is of sharing.... sharing your time, your opinion, your friendship, your skills.

Open studio is so important to me that I plan to 
keep it going after I open my own studio in Rockton.

Today, I had plans. I needed a few friends to try out  a design for a class I'm doing at 317 Studio & Gallery  on January 26th. Sign up here 

 Winter Visitor
Alcohol Ink and Pen
6 x 6

When we got to Katie's it was closed.( Honestly, Dee and I asked two weeks ago to see if they'd be open.) We went to Mary's Market instead. Who know it was BOGO day on breakfast entries. (Thanks for the yummy quiche Laura.) We had a great time talking, laughing and painting.

I got just what I needed, some tips for my class and a great morning with friends. Isn't art wonderful?




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Day 1, For the Love of Painting

Jan 1, Happy New Years, 30 in 30, hosted by Leslie Saeta.

Day 1: 3.5 hours, monthly total 3.5.

And Now For Something Totally Different... Or at least it is from my previous 30 in 30's. This time I'm going for hours painted in the month of January, not by the number of paintings I produce. My goal is to paint 100 hours this month.  I have loved producing 30 - 8" x 10" each January and September but I feel I currently need bigger, more substantial pieces. The piece I worked on today is something I've been carrying on with for months...  or maybe I should say ignoring for months. In fact, I was afraid I had lost this painting. It felt good to work on it today. My plan is to get it done in time for the Nicholas Show in February.

I have a lot of large paintings that are not getting done along with a few new ones I need to start.  I'm also hoping to get to some "bad" art this month. Which is just my way of freeing myself up to explore without the pressure to produce something to sell. There are two commissions that I seem to be putting off for some reason which will make an appearance this month.

The goal this month isn't to feel pressure to produce
 but to work for the love of painting.

Work In Progress

This a floral design from the Rockford Art Museum's
 "In Bloom" show.

I fell in love with this piece and sought out the designer to get permission to paint it. She was thrilled. I, on the other hand, can not find her card with her name on it. I seemed very discombobulated today in that I had a hard time finding many things, photo, earphones, camera etc. (I will find her name before the month is over.)

I paint very slowly, as you can see from the above piece. It took me three and a half hours. This is a large alcohol ink. One of the largest I've done.

This is the piece with the painting which inspired it behind it. I'm attracted to the colors, the textures and the pieces complexity. it reminds me of a grand finale at a fireworks show.