Saturday, March 28, 2015

Where the Wild Mustangs Roam WIP

I think I'm off to a good start for once! I like the sky and think that this composition is going to lend itself more to keeping the foreground loose enough to match the style. I'll just have to keep reminding myself to not get carried away in the details. Also, is it just me or does anyone else crave chocolate while painting?

North Dakota Traffic Jam Finished!

So many bison behinds to paint! And so hard to give those huge, dark masses some definition so they don't just look like huge, dark masses. 
Wow. Ok, so the lighting on these two pictures is way different. I think this second one is closer to reality. But the main difference between them is I fixed the trees! I've redone them or at least their highlights at least half a dozen times. However, I think I might have overdone it on the details. I'm worried it all ends up a bit spotty. Do you think it's done?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

North Dakota traffic jam commencing

I like the addition of the bison. They just took so dang long! At first I made the one in front way too small. Had to add to his fro a bit. Still is probably a tad small. And who would think that it would take so dang long to paint a buffalo's behind? Hopefully I'll get an earlier start tomorrow (I had to plan my sons preschool class before I could start painting) and get the rest of the bison in there. Oh and I did lighten the sagebrush a bit but I'm going to have to do something about those blobs that are supposed to be trees. And possibly the shadows on the road. They look a bit too much like stiff kelp.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cluttered traffic jam WIP

Hard going tonight. Some of the shadows are good but I think I've overdone it and lost sight a bit of the blocks-of-color style I was going for. And you can't tell the trees from the brush. Have I lived in North Dakota so long that I've forgotten how to paint trees ;) 
Tomorrow I think I'll glaze over some areas to connect them more and add the bison. Then I'll see about fixing those poor trees.

Monday, March 23, 2015

North Dakota Traffic Jam WIP

I love painting with watercolors. Historically it's such an under-appreciated medium - never being taken as seriously as oil and acrylic. Today it still sells for less, although that is partially because modern tastes prefer to not have glass separating them from their artwork. And I get that. Unless you get the super-expensive, high-quality museum glass, there are annoying glares and reflections with glass. But watercolor is so much lighter. It's got soul. And it is so much more fun to paint with! That said, ever year or so I decide I should try to get back into acrylics and buy some canvases on sale and then forget that I did that and so a year later, I buy some more. I have a collection! Since I'm going to have to frame 10+ paintings, which includes mats, glass, and frames when it comes to watercolors, I was trying to figure out a way to save a little money. Long story short (too late), using up some of those canvases that don't even need to be framed would do the trick. If only I knew how to paint with acrylics...
And yet, I am just that ambitious, cheap, and overly-confident that I'll give it a try despite being on a tight deadline. Not the smartest move when I don't have any time for flops but here goes! This is what I've got so far:

Day 1: The Sky
Day 2: The Background
Day 3: Filling in
It's a scene from the North Dakota Badlands in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is basically down the road from us. My 3-year old daughter thinks it's "boodiful." My son just wants to know why there aren't any buffalo yet. I love my critique group!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pink Cascade

So I went with the dark background. Not 100% sure about it. I've never done a background so dark but I was hoping it would help the flower pop even more. The background scenery in the photo would've just distracted and I wanted this prima donna to be the star of the show. But it changed the feel a bit so I'm not sure if it worked. Hmmm...
I have a confession to make. I LOVE the movie Notting Hill. Now I know that probably sounds totally random but there's this scene where he's asking his friends if he made a good decision when he rejected the famous actress. And they all support him with fabulous lines like "Absolutely. All actresses are mad as snakes." I feel like I need my group of friends hanging out in an empty restaurant to tell me if I've made a good decision or if I messed up finishing this one. My husband's snoring on the couch though so instead I'm just quoting the lines to a marginally relevant movie to myself when I really should be sleeping. I guess I'll have to wait until morning. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pretty, Pretty Pink

1st night:
I nearly stopped after the first four petals I hated it so much. I don't know how to work with pink having never really don't so before. I love oranges, reds, and yellows but pink kinda isn't me. Maybe it's because I have four daughters running around in pink tutus and tiaras everyday, but it just doesn't seem serious somehow. So I had no clue how to do shadows and depth with this new pink tube of paint. Intimidating. 
2nd night:
After glancing at it throughout the next day, I decided it wasn't so bad after all. I liked the cascade of colors, how they kinda drip into the next layer. Only problem was I didn't get around to painting until nearly 10 PM so I had to stop after less than an hour because I'm trying really hard to be better about getting enough sleep. However, then I lay in bed thinking because I'd left just as I really got going. Boo.
3rd night:
I couldn't make the same mistake so I kept pushing through way past when I should've gone to bed. And I really should've gone to bed. Not only am I exhausted, this was crazy difficult to paint! I'd been scared of the middle. There's so much tiny detail in there, and it's so different than the rest, and it's where the eye is going to go! And there's so much less color there yet there needs to be definition. I went back to hating it again. Reminded me of a student I had once that said her paintings go through like 10 different stages of ugly before she's done. Ha! This was a serious struggle. I was certain I was ruining it. There's more defining to do, while still walking that ever-constant battle of balance to not over-work it. My plan all along is just to have a deep, dark purplish background. I think that's still what I'll do. I wasn't sure if I was going to leave the white lines between the petals - I often blur those out but I think it adds to the stylistic feel. My husband really loves it. One more night of painting and it should be done. Fingers crossed that I don't ruin it! ;)