Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mixing it up

Folks ask me which medium I enjoy the most, and I have to say, the one I am working in at the moment.  To be sure, I find painting with acrylics exciting and forgiving, and I have said it before, acrylics make me smile.

But I so enjoy doing watercolors when I am doing them.  I love the way colors mingle and surprise me, and the way happy accidents [hackneyed phrase but true] can also make me smile.  I have to admit, as much fun as I have painting with watercolors, I do find myself stressing more with them than acrylics. 

In any case, because I will be doing classes in both this "semester" at the Senior Centers, I felt I'd better get back in the groove.  So I did the figure below from a photo I took at a fair a while ago, and I am relatively pleased with the results.  Not perfect, but not terrible, I think. 

Am trying so hard to keep paintings fresh and not too overworked, so I limited the time I would spend on this to get a finished piece.  When I do that, I can live up to the credo I try to impart of painting "fast and loose," not laboring for weeks at a time on one painting in class.  I get bored too easily, and I am sure that would show in my class, if we worked that way.

So, different strokes ... and an attempt to stay fast and loose.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking my own advice

Well, I'm really taking the advice of all who know, and tell us to check values and to not be a slave to the source.  When I first painted a little series of poppies from my garden with acrylics, I was relatively pleased, because they were MY poppies, in MY garden.  But, I wasn't really thrilled with the paintings.

First one

So, lately, I have been observing and advising students and painting friends at critiques [when asked!], that values are so important, and the colors used are not necessarily as important, when I finally "listened" to myself, and took another look at my little poppy paintings.  Yuck!  No value change at all.  I took a dab of dioxizine purple and deepened the values around my poppy, which, I think helped a lot.  What do you think?

Today's effort

Thanks to Nick for my Geishas

I so enjoyed workshop with Nicholas Simmons at Kanuga Watercolors Workshop in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in April, that I wanted to do more.  I've been teaching both watercolors and acrylics at the local Senior Centers, and shared my experience of Nick's workshop with my students.  Nick showed us that these geishas [and his process] could be done in both watercolors and acrylics. Pouring,throwing, masking and layers were involved ...  Sometimes, I forget which medium was used on which painting.  At the workshop, Nick did his demo geisha with fluid acrylics, all while keeping a watercolor-like transparency in his painting.  The point was well taken that indeed acrylics can be transparent.

I did the first geisha here in watercolors only, for my watercolor class, and the second one is done in acrylics, both using Nick's pouring, throwing, masking processes.  I was pleased and surprised at the results of both.  The classes enjoyed doing them, too. 

The third in the series is an attempt to integrate yet another experiement of doing a quick acylic "sketch" of three geisha heads on a piece of scrap while I was preparing for class, and believing it turned out to be kind of fun, I fiddled some more, creating an acrylic background on a gessoed "bad" watercolor painting from my closet.  I attached the sketch to the background, applied a bit of modeling paste around its edges, then stamped and etched in a few spirals in the paste.   When it was dry [it seemed to take forever], I applied some gold fluid acrylic to the "ridges," then went over that with a bit of quinachidone gold and quinachridone burnt orange.

All of it was fun, and I felt as if I were evolving, blending lessons from Nick's workshop, with some ideas of my own.  Isn't that the way? That we learn from extremely talented artists in workshops, classes, books, etc., who share insights, techniques, style, and then integrate what we learn from them into our own creativity and style, then go on to teach and share with others.  Paying it forward, yes?