Jan 28, 2011

Fun-a-Day paintings from the last week

My Fun-a-Day paintings for the Providence exhibit are still coming along - only three more days to go! Here's my progress over the last week.

Day 22 - bright shining like the sun!

Day 22 - Twenty-two is another important number for me, and so it was the larger format painting in this series. Twenty-two is the date of my husband's birthday. As I looked at the grid so far and the other large pieces, I thought that this one could use a warm, bright color. So this one I made a yellow, thinking of my husband's influence in my life. My husband is one of those people who are always looking for something to be engaged in - he gets excited about ideas and learning, and he throws himself into hobbies and experiments with a passion. He reminds me to have a sense of humor, and to enjoy our lives. He truly does burn brightly like the sun.

Day 23 - winter birch trees

Day 23 - Here is another large format number, the last one in the series, and was chosen for that format because of the positioning in the grid. Twenty-three isn't a significant number for me, so I was able to add whatever imagery came to mind. We've been having lots of snow out here in Massachusetts, and whenever I look out my bathroom window I see a group of white birch trees by the house and the landscape of our yard beyond them. It's a really nice view, with lots of privacy, and I want to make some larger paintings based on that view of the birch. But for now, I put down on paper my impression of the birches in the cold twilight.

back to the little paintings

more little paintings

Days 24 through 28 were back to the smaller format, with simple two inch square paintings. Several of them are painted using metallic inks. I'm thinking I should get my MDF board measured and cut soon so that I can start mounting the numbers to it. It's going to be interesting to see all the other artists' work in February. :-)


Jan 23, 2011

Transformation (in Grey) - commissioned painting

Transformation in Grey  11"x14" acrylic 

Just finished this baby last night. I had showed the original version of Transformation to a friend, who requested a similar painting in black and white with the yellow butterfly. The original painting was an exercise for my art group in which we created a concept for the phrase "what if?". At the time I thought, "what if I were a tree?", hence the painting. But I also was still exploring the butterfly/chrysalis analogy and transforming myself and my life into one that I wanted. Note that while the figures in each painting are stylized (and idealized), they have hips and belly - because I appreciate that, being a curvy girl myself. Anywhoo...

Original painting, Transformation  11"x14" acrylic

For this new version, I used Adobe Photoshop Elements to paint up a digital version first. Once everything was designed and approved, I projected the sketch onto a canvas and outlined the main elements in pencil.

Tree branches being painted

Since the background colors were already painted in, I added the tree nymph next. Maybe the right term for her would be dryad. Either way, she's the spirit of growth and transformation in this piece. I drybrushed some shading into the trunk to add form, but didn't want to get too bogged down in that until more of the overall painting was complete. Back to that later.

Adding leaves

Next, I added all the leaves and corrected some of the branch shapes. You can see some of the penciled-in sketch in the image above, where the butterfly would go after the grey paint is complete.

Cleaning up around the roots, and adding the chrysalis

The roots area is next - I cleaned up the edges there and then added the chrysalis in grey with a bit of color on top. While this is meant to have color, to connect the chrysalis (contemplation) to butterfly (transformation), I kept this softer and more subtle.

Our dryad in the trunk of the tree

Now that most of the painting is done, I went back to polish up the central figure. Most of the details in her form are drybrushed light over dark. I also added a glow about her as in the original piece.

The butterfly really pops with the golden yellow

The last element I painted was the butterfly. As you can see, with the soft shades of grey in the rest of the painting, it really stands out.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process behind this painting. It's a bit different than my landscapes for sure! But most of my narrative work is loaded with symbolism and tends to be illustrative. I've got more paintings in the works, with another one for a customer and also for the Heart Art project coming soon.


Jan 21, 2011

Fun-a-Day paintings from this week

In the midst of some other projects this past week, I've managed to get my Fun-a-Day paintings done, but not gotten them up on the blog. So here's a catch-up on what I've made for the last week.

Just a few smaller sized numbers for these three days - nothing too crazy.

For day eighteen I had another large painting to do. In this case, the number does not have a special meaning for me, but had to be a larger format to fit within the grid design. So I just freehanded the number and let it guide me. Drawing the infinity shape for the eight made me think about recurrence, and life. So I added in the eighteen leaves.

Days nineteen through today, back to the small format numbers. Simple designs with some fun markings.

Here are the numbers so far, arranged as they will be for the grid. The overall pattern in coming together. As I've been working through the project, I've been trying to alternate the colors and styles so that there's no exact repetition in adjacent blocks. Overall, the colors are staying bright and punchy. When I cover them with encaustic medium in the final piece, the colors should darken a bit but be a little more saturated.


Jan 17, 2011

Joyful series

Joyful Trio  mixed-media  4"x5"

I've been experimenting with a new technique so that I won't have to frame some of these pastels - It's not that I can't do the framing, but I wouldn't say that I enjoy it particularly. Also the whole tactile quality of pastel that I love gets lost to be when the work is behind glass. Maybe I'll eventually reconcile my feelings about framing, but for now, I thought I would try working around that.

Joyful  mixed-media  4"x3 1/2"

So after more than a few experiments, I have this new series of mixed-media pieces. I created a large version of the poppies for an art group project, and now that I have gotten a system down, here are four finished paintings. I love the color combination, and the intense yellow background, and the palette seems very upbeat to me - joyful to execute. So that's what the series will be named - Joyful.

Joyful Friends  mixed-media  4"x5"

These four paintings are on the small side, each are just a hair under our inches in height. I'll be continuing the series with larger works 9"x12".

Joyful Twins  mixed-media  4"x3 1/2"


Jan 14, 2011

Fun-a-Day paintings day 13 and 14

So - back to the Fun-Day paintings! I'm just about halfway through the project. Here are the mini-paintings from yesterday and today. More small numbers for the next few days.


Jan 13, 2011

Fun-a-Day painting day 12

FAD number twelve - watercolor and pastel

I'm still working through the Fun-a-Day painting series, and so here is yesterday's artwork. I thought the twelve needed some extra love, so I added the happy rays of light.


Jan 12, 2011

Fun-a-Day painting day 11

Well I got this little number (get it? HA!) done last night, but most of today was eaten up by ridiculous amounts of snow removal. Living in New England brings you the joy of the 'Noreaster and some crazy snowfall - we woke up this morning to fourteen inches (all in about seven hours) and by now we have up around twenty. Plus it's still snowing. Our driveway is crazy crooked and somewhat lengthy, so the truck (with personal plow) got stuck twice and had to be dug out. Ah, the joys of snow! So I'm just now getting back to the blog.

Eleven is another special number in my life. My birthday is on the eleventh, as well as my Father's and Grandmother's birthdays. Actually, both my Father and Grandmother were born in November, so they were both 11-11 birthdays. To top it all off, it's 2011, so that a LOT of elevenage in my life.

For this artwork I originally just had the number with a triangle shape in the background - three points for the three birthdays shared on the eleventh. But this piece needed some pizazz, so I came up with the lotus flower motif to represent birth/rebirth. Much better!

For all you New Englanders (and other snow bunnies) out there, good luck with the snow, and stay warm!

Jan 11, 2011

Fun-a-Day paintings from the weekend

I've been continuing on my Fun-a-Day project each day, so here's a recap of the last few days work!

My Fun-a-Day paintings for the last four days

Day seven was another large piece. Seven is for the day I was married to my awesome hubby, Brian. We had an interfaith minister marry us, and she helped us pick a lovely passage for out ceremony. I incorporated as much of the text as I could write within the painting, overlaying a calligraphic numeral seven. It is referred to as the Hands Ceremony. There are several versions of the ceremony, but here is the one I transcribed in the art:

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.
These are the hands that will work along side yours as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Are you crying yet? Ha! The other numbers, eight through ten are the smaller format, and are a little simpler. I'm working on number eleven right now - another big number for me. But more on that tomorrow!


Jan 10, 2011

Winter wildlife

Oooooh, shadowy.

We had a decent coating of snow up here in Douglas, and I noticed some tracks in the back yard outside my studio window. Hubby and I decided to wander the property and see who's been visiting us.

Little buggers should be paying me rent!

The ones I could see from my desk look to be mice - close to the house as they are hiding under the hot tub to stay warm. There are delicate little lines of these tracks all over the yard, sometimes crossing each other, and occasionally beating down a major path (around our stone wall and into the woods). I've bumped into a family of  mice living in the shed outside (I got a nasty surprise when I opened up an old drawer in the screw cabinet) and I see the cats haven't gotten rid of them yet.

Uh oh - look out kitty! My Spidercat will kick your butt!

Speaking of cats, I caught a glimpse of a big orange tabby crossing the lawn today - these tracks look to be from him.

OMG OMG run run STOP! Pivot, run run run!

I also see some rabbit tracks outside the studio - this guy made his way around the shed and for some reason stopped, took a breather and doubled back.

Bring back that big toy!! We want to play chase!!

While we roamed the property, our dogs followed us around to see what we were up to. Lots of excited barking. Just before we had the new snow, we had a couple of deer on the property and they happened to be in the yard right when Brian let the dogs out for a run in the paddock. The dogs took off like lightning after the deer, and it doesn't look like they've ventured back around yet. (Damn! No deer tracks) After all that excitement, the dogs are hoping for another go with the local wildlife. I'm pretty such they'd be terrified if anything turned around and chased them back. Until that happens, they will consider it the BEST. GAME. EVER!


The stone wall that divides our property is a haven for rodents - some little guy snuck out in  the snow to nibble on the grass over here before running back home. We also found more tracks of something smallish that vanished under the greenhouse - probably the same creature that got in there during the summer and ate our birds. More cat tracks and a mystery dog down by the lower paddock. Lots of action here in the last 24 hours!

Jan 7, 2011

Yesterday's Fun-a-Day (day six)

I was in the studio working on several pastel pieces, so this little mini didn't get done until late last night. It's another mixed-media (watercolor, metallic ink and pastel). Just some little butterflies to make it interesting!


Jan 6, 2011

Great post about life.

I was just checking out some of my Google Reader feeds, when I came across a great guest post on Maria Brophy's licensing blog. It just puts into perspective that in life you never get anywhere by giving up after trying something once and just giving up. Like a baby taking his first steps, we should expect to fall down and keep on trying until we get where we want to go. Of course, Christine Kane's writing is much more entertaining than mine (I'll have to work on that in 2011) so you might want to check out the original post. With all my struggling, awkward, weak and inexperienced steps toward a full-time art career, I think I am actually making progress. I feel better already!


Jan 5, 2011

Fun-a-Day painting Day Five

Just finished today's Fun-a-Day painting! As referenced in this post, I am creating a mini-numerical painting for each day this month. Today's painting is one of the larger (double-sized) formats. Five is a significant number - my Mother's birthday is in May, and it is the month I was married. In our wedding invitations I painted some little cherry blossoms, so they showed up here in number five as well. They were mostly painted free-form here, with watercolor and pastel.


Fun-a-Day Providence

My sketches and Fun-a-Day paintings days one through four

My friend and fellow artist Liz Talbot clued me in about this creative event in Providence. Fun-a-Day is a month-long community art project. Participants create something (anything!) every day for a month and then display their efforts. The Providence Fun-a-Day 2011 event will be shown on Friday February 11th and Saturday February 12th at the West Broadway Neighborhood Association on Westminster in Providence.

So lately I've been playing the lottery a bit, dreaming of the freedom that comes with instant cash (or imaginary spending) and I try to select numbers that have meaning to me - birthdays, anniversaries and such. Because numbers have been on my mind, I thought I'd do a daily numerical painting, making small square pieces seating them into a grid. I wanted to keep the final piece square, so my grid will be larger than 31 squares, with some of them being double size to fill in the extra space. I chose significant numbers for the large squares when possible, similar to my lottery plan-of-action.

I have mini-paintings for the first four days, and today am working on a larger one for day five. I will try to post as I create new artwork each day this month. Should be a fun challenge!