Monday, June 13, 2016

"Life finds a way"

I was dying to get painting today. Of course it didn't actually happen until this evening but I kept thinking about doing it! It's just that I first helped my oldest get going on a sewing project, did some laundry, read to the three littles so that they got good mom time before I tried to get them to play without me while I painted, got tiny down for her nap and then cleaned the kitchen because it was killing me. Unfortunately while doing so I watched this great video about needing to take care of yourself so you can be more creative. He was very persuasive. So I made lunch for us all with real food instead of throwing together an array of snacks like usual. And one thing lead to another lead to a softball game in the unseasonably cold weather, led to me not starting until late. Such is life. But I did paint in the end and I'm really pleased with how it's going. 
My landscapes usually take considerable more stress and planning and long pauses where I stare at them without doing a thing. This one is just flowing almost effortlessly. Feels so weird it's almost wrong. Is it the clay board surface instead of paper? Or the preliminary sketches I did, which I don't usually do? Or my new attitude about not having to follow "the rules?" I don't know. But I'll take it!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Finally some time to paint!

As we were driving home from our recent camping trip we kept getting a quick view of this amazing rock. It just went straight up outta nowhere, like somebody had pulled it up out of the ground like taffy. It really was so cool. And as the sun filtered through the trees and the river ran through it it. So inspiring. I could've sat there all day and watched how the gradually moving sun changed the shadows in the trees. But I had 5 kids in the car who were tired of mommy getting out to take pictures of pretty scenes, so I jumped back in of course and we drove off. But I've been thinking of painting it for days now and finally sat down this evening when we didn't have a softball game to be it in what feels like the first time in forever. So I took advantage of the free time. And my husband even made dinner so I could get to painting sooner, meaning I possibly won't even stay up too late!
It started out going very quickly, almost alarmingly so. I think having had the image in my head for days helped me plan all sorts of composition decisions ahead of time and I was just ready to get going. It's not on paper though, it's on Ampersand clayboard. I have never done a painting on it before. Totally new experience here. I can't do wet-into-wet like I usually do because the water doesn't spread and the paint just sits there. But the color is bright and it lifts off like magic whether you want it to or not. Ha. Can't wait to do more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

And Painting-Needs-A-Name is done!

Finished!! And what's even better is that I'm truly happy with it! 
I added large ripple lines to help the reflection read as a reflection, which was a bit terrifying. Before I bit the bullet and did it, I put a piece of tracing paper on top and painting the blue ripples on the tracing paper. I've never tried that trick before but it totally worked! I knew instantly I had to do it. Took a lot of the fear (of ruining the painting) out of the equation, which is always nice. Especially because throughout this painting, I enjoyed a freeing sense, a lack of fear and restraint. Trying to figure out how to work that into the title...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Almost there

After a long weekend of camping, hiking, and waterfall hunting, I was totally inspired and HAD to paint. Natural beauty does that to me. I just can't get enough of it. You should see how many pictures I take! Thanks heavens for digital cameras. I would totally go broke if it was still back in the days of developing film to see what you managed to capture. But before I could start something new, I was ready to tackle this unfinished one with a new eye and enthusiasm.
I like the flow and the softness. I did realize earlier this evening that it was too soft and punched up the colors so that the trees and hills looked more solid. Wish I could finish it now but after three nights on a hard ground in a tent with five children, I gotta catch up on some sleep!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2nd chance WIP

So I had this partially-begun painting hanging on my line of unhappyily unfinished paintings and fairly demanded to be finished. In it's defense, it didn't really seem fair to make it keep waiting while I started something new so I brought it back out for a second go. And I like what happened tonight. It feels kinda soft and dreamy. And instead of stressing as I sometimes do about how to keep my "style" intact while still giving the impression of the reality that inspired the painting, I zoned out singing to Les Mis, reminding myself that "my painting, my rules."
And I even cleaned my art room this weekend!!! Maybe that's why it was easier to relax while painting tonight...

Rule follower by nature

I think I might've had a breakthrough. I brought this painting to a critique group on Friday and one of the ladies said that since I wasn't painting realistically, I didn't have to follow the rules. Since I was creating my own version of reality or my own playful universe, I got to make the rules. See I was struggling with the ocean. Trying to keep it on the same level of that middle ground but if land - the same in lack of detail or sharp edges, the same in intensity of color. But it made the water, which is like a whole third of the painting, into a total blah zone. 
So I deepened the colors and sharpened the lines. And then I played with the sky, trying to tie the circles of the leaves together with the repeated, parallel lines of the ocean rolling in. Sure they weren't really there. But what does that matter when I'm making the rules? I think I'm going to like this game. Now the question is, is it done?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Zigzagging along

So trying to paint when you're watching a very stressful NBA playoff game is unwise. So much tension! I wasn't even really watching. Just listening as my husband did but the stress got to me all the same. But after the Blazers so sadly lost in overtime, I took a few minutes to recover and went back to it and got the middle ground done better than I expected! It's so hard to keep the shape style without being able to add as many layers or use the sharpness and distinction between the shapes.
The only problem is, now that I have that I see that the background strip of land is much too dark. And it's refusing to cooperate. So now I have two options. Add a white haze overtop and be less of a watercolor purist (it'll add a milkiness instead of the transparent quality of water colors that I prefer), or I'll have to darken the middle ground, which will risk making it the same as the foreground. Stay tuned until next time to see which one is the lesser of two evils...