Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jim Dine Valentine's Day Lesson

I had something else planned but decided to go with hearts for Valentine's Day, and who better to look to than Jim Dine?
I started with a quick background into the why of pop art - how Expressionism and then Abstract Expressionism had made art into more of an elitist thing. The kids got a kick out of that and compared it to the "Emperor's New Clothes." Might be on to something there. I felt like it was a necessary background into why big paintings of everyday things would be any kind of a big deal. We flipped through some images by Warhol and Lichtenstein and then watched this short video introducing Jim Dine:

With the first group, we drew an outline of the heart with a black oil pastel and then experimented with wet-into-wet technique inside the heart. I love seeing kids experience the fun of that for the first time! Then we did wet-onto-dry outside the heart. It was a fun, laid-back project that they mostly enjoyed. However, next time I wouldn't use liquid watercolors because they got diluted and one student didn't like the loss of color. The same student was disappointed in the results but I tried to stress that today it was the experimenting that was more the focus, not the result. Sadly, some kids'll never buy that. Reminds me of a younger, perfectionist version of myself before painting helped loosen me up a bit!

With the second group, I decided to use this second image as our inspiration instead. We started by drawing the heart in the middle with oil pastels, trying to make it look 3-D with shadows and highlights. Then we painted the background with watercolors. I showed them how they could leave a thin line between the squares if they didn't want them to bleed into each other at all or how they could, using wet-onto-dry, allow them to brush up against each other and blend just slightly. It was fun to see the different results!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Two by two

This may be silly to post but "these things are fun and fun is good" as the Cat in the Hat says. My parents just finished a major remodel and turned an unused office into a playroom. It had a large empty wall that was just begging for something bright and fun. So pink tigers and purple hippos to the rescue! All that time in Noah's ark must've dulled their colors a bit :) It should be said that my daughter is rather upset that a moose made it on but a horse didn't. A MOOSE mom? Really? A MOOSE? Ha!
Obviously not my typical painting but it was still an opportunity to be creative and get my brushes wet!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sunbathing Tulips

FINISHED! I've got a kink in my neck and a severe need for catch-up sleep, but I am proud to say I finished on time! I'm pleased with the results. And so very tired.
Watercolor on paper

Background Time

I love painting the light shining through tulips, but I gotta admit, I also really love greenery. Guess I must be a true Oregonian after all. :) However, it is a bit of a jungle in there under this bunch of growing tulips and it's not the easiest thing to keep straight. Obviously it doesn't have to be exactly like it was in the photograph but it has to make sense and be varied and be colorful but not detract from the tulips too much. All at the same time. Luckily, that's not too much pressure. Ha! 
I love putting the super dark color behind the light tulips. While it doesn't make a ton of sense logically since they're back-lit, it makes for an awesome pop. One more day of painting, and I hope she'll be ready.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

So many tulips

I made a goal to finish all the flowers in my painting tonight so that I had a chance of getting the rest done by my Monday deadline. Which is why I'm posting this at nearly 2 AM! In my defense, do you know what happens when you stare at one thing for too long? Ha! My eyes start to go a little crazy after searching for shapes in the same colors again and again and again. And the paper is so big, that to reach the petals at the top comfortably, I had to turn the paper sideways. Naturally then I turned my image sideways, which means my laptop was propped open on its side. My husband thinks it's hilarious when I do things like that. In theory it could really help me see the shapes instead of the tulips. That might work better when it's not so late and my eyes aren't blurring together!
But goal accomplished! And that's more important than sleep, right? I'll let you know tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Remedy

So we've been having a tad more than our fair share of colds this winter and it'd been making it rather hard to paint. I needed to get inspired. I needed spring. No sign of it (or the sun) outside lately so I decided the best medicine would be another translucent tulip painting. I have a store of photos from going to the Tulip Festival years ago (now that I'm back in Oregon, I can go get new photos this year!!). I wanted to do one again where the light shone through the flower petals, making them looking almost like tissue paper overlapping, but with silky smoothness instead of crumply fragility. It's slow going as there are so many layers to lay down, and I flip back and forth between stepping back and allowing the colors to blend together slowly on the paper, doing marvelous things on their own that are the reason I love watercolor, and then tightly controlling where it does or doesn't flow. So yeah, slow going.
And it's a big piece of paper, but one or two flowers per night, I'll get it done some day. Probably not before the Feb 1st deadline I was shooting for since I needed a new painting to submit by that day. Miracles do happen though, right? 
And if it doesn't this time, well, maybe I should've got going sooner. Like during those 4 bouts of strep throat I've had in the last few months. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The bridge one

So I got frustrated with what I had going, as I mentioned in the last post. Looking back now, I don't think it was as bad as I thought. In frustration, I decided to just go and have fun with the sky. It was fun to swirl the shades of blue all around. And then I felt better. The funny thing is, it's now my least favorite part of the painting. Not sure it fits or that it's complementary to the whole.
In progress:
And finished, I think:
Now what to name it? And how to get my confidence back.