Tag Archives: acrylic painting

Smooth Sailing

I am currently in the process of brushing a thick coat of gesso over an in-progress acrylic painting. I had high hopes when I set sail on this particular piece, but it just wasn’t working.  I loved the subject, composition, and colors, but my lack of control with the medium kept me from capturing the detail I wanted.  I was sailing on rough waters that left me feeling moody, frustrated, and seasick. I had no choice but to head back to port.  Nothing compares to the glorious control I can get from a pencil or watercolor brush, but acrylics give me the bold, vibrant color and texture that I love.  So what’s a girl to do?  I could continue working with my acrylics in an attempt to successfully navigate those waters, but tacking and gybing can be a lot of work. I prefer a cruise ship to a sailboat when I travel on the ocean, so I think I’ll take the easy route and demand vibrancy from my watercolors.  That’s my goal this summer—to create the bluest blues and greenest greens I can from my watercolor tubes and pans. If I can combine bright, bold color with meticulous control, I’ll finally feel like the captain of my ship.  I’m an optimist, so I’m counting on clear skies, calm seas, and smooth sailing. 

“Smooth Sailing”–Prismacolor Colored Pencils on Bristol Board

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Abandon Ship!

 Every seasoned sailor knows when it’s time to abandon ship, and every smart artist knows when it’s time to abandon a project.  “Vintage” looked great in my head, and pretty good on paper, but when the paint hit the canvas, I knew my ship was sinking—fast.  I wanted vintage elegance, but I ended up with graphic boldness—right idea, wrong medium.   Watercolor would give me the softness and fine detail I needed for this particular piece.  An expensive gallery wrapped canvas and a background I loved begged me to abandon my idea and start fresh.  I tossed myself a life ring—in the form of a jar of gesso—and headed for shore.  I have a final project to paint, and I can’t waste time bailing water.  This summer, without the pressure of the semester weighing down my ship, there’s a chance I might explore these waters again, but I can guarantee you I’ll be wearing a life jacket—just in case.

I had my doubts about her sea worthiness, but I decided to set sail.

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Half way through my color study, I could tell she was taking on water…

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I finally sounded the alarm: Abandon Ship!!

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Dress Rehearsal

I love the quote “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal”, but life does call for dress rehearsals—actors rehearse, athletes practice, public speakers address a video camera—anyone who is in the public eye does some sort of rehearsal before show time to catch potential problems and perfect the performance.  An artist’s dress rehearsal can be a color study, a sketch, or a series of photographs.  Sometimes I dive right in and paint, but if I’m doing a really involved piece, you can bet I’m going to have a dress rehearsal first.  I’ve had an idea floating around in my head for a while now, but after the dress rehearsal, I’m not sure if I really want to put on the show…

“Vintage”–a ‘dress rehearsal’ from my sketchbook

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Get Real

All too often, when I create, I find myself choosing unusual colors–pink turtles, blue dogs, an orange octopus, or bejeweled fish.  This week, I decided to get real and try a more perceptual piece.  Even though I limited my palette to earth tones, I did manage to sneak in a little metallic gold.  Creating art is all about showing the world how you see things–and I see bright, vivid, sometimes unconventional, and often ‘metallic’ COLOR!

“Old Salt”–Acrylic on Birchwood

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The Perfect Little Black Hue

As a woman, I am always on the hunt for the perfect  ‘little black dress’—the one that fits like it was made just for me—the one that makes me feel like a million bucks every time I wear it (even if I have to suck in my stomach all night long).

 As an artist, I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect ‘little black hue’ to use in my paintings. While all paint manufacturers produce a black pigment, artists often create their own unique blacks by combining different hues.  I have experimented with a range of colors in multiple mediums in my quest to create a pleasing, interesting black.  For “Light the Way Home” I mixed Golden’s Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, and Napthol Red Medium to create the perfect little black hue.  And for me, it’s just as thrilling as slipping into that perfect little black dress–only I don’t have to suck in my stomach.

“Light the Way Home”–Acrylic on Birchwood

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Go Big or Go Home

Last week, my painting professor assigned a texture study—specifically, a furry dog.  I decided to go big—I chose the furriest dog I could find.  I selected the Pumi—a cattle herding breed from Hungary.  As I worked to paint his curly coat, I couldn’t help but think about the 1980’s—the decade of ‘hair’.   Big hair.  Wild, curly, crazy hair.  It was ‘Go Big or Go Home’.  Though curls run on both sides of my family, the Genetics Fairy gave me straight, fine hair. In order to fit into that big decade, I decided to get a perm.  Actually, I got two perms over a three year period—and that was two too many.  While I think my locks have forgiven me for the cruel chemical assaults, the next time ‘Big Hair’ is in style—and it inevitably will be—I think I’ll ‘Go Home’.

“Pumi”–Acrylic on Birchwood–work in progress

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In The Dark

My Artist’s Journey constantly requires me to make choices about the materials I use.  In the studio, I’m exploring painting on different surfaces.  This week’s experiment was painting on a black canvas.  I have terrible night vision, so it’s no wonder I had trouble painting with dark pigments on an even darker surface.  It was more challenging than I had anticipated, and caused a bit of eye strain, but I’m happy with the results so far.  It’s not always easy to reach a premium destination—especially in the dark—but this time, it was worth all the hard work.

“In The Dark”–Acrylic on Black Canvas–work in progress

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Play Time

I am a firm believer in the theory that states that engaging in playtime is essential to retaining one’s youth.  Dogs seem to know that instinctively.  I love to watch as our Bostons invite each other to play with the introduction of a tennis ball, an enticing bark, or a full-blown play-bow.   No one needs to remind them, or encourage them, to play.

As we age, ‘play’ becomes something for the young.    There is not enough time.  It’s too silly.  There are more important things to do.  I still find time, though.  Whether I’m playfully painting in the impasto style, dressing up in costume for a Star Trek convention, or asking my husband  “Wanna ride bikes?”—I make it a priority to do things that make me laugh, smile, and feel young.  Life can be hectic and crazy, so we should all will take a cue from our dogs and remember to put a little ‘play’ in our day.

“Play Time”–Acrylic on Canvas–4 of 4 from the series “Time”

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“Time”–  Acrylic Series on Canvas

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Treat Time

If bath time is the most loathed time for my canine crew, then treat time is the most beloved.  After a walk, a meal, or a bath, the next stop is always the laundry room where my Bostons sit at attention and gaze up at the treat jar.  Even when they haven’t earned a tidbit, it’s hard for me to say ‘no’ to those big brown eyes.

“Treat Time”–Acrylic on Canvas 3 of 4 from the series “Time”

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Bath Time

Every Sunday is doggie spa day here on Tamberrino Island.  I lovingly lift my dogs into the tub, gently file their nails, brush their teeth with poultry flavored toothpaste, and give them a warm bubbly bath.  What’s not to love?  While my two female Bostons tolerate all the fuss, nothing strikes terror in the heart of my male like the realization that it’s bath time.  I guess some guys just aren’t into the whole spa experience.

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