Thursday, January 1, 2009

What I do... SOLD

This painting of David riding his catch in his swimming pool was a commission. I've done portraits like these - one a year for about ten years - for a local charitable foundation. This time I tried a new approach. I used a sharpie on newsprint to get the drawing the way I wanted it; using white acrylic to change things. Then I traced it onto the watercolor paper with the blue pastel chalk that I usually do this kind of painting with. After the blue line is drawn I seal it with clear acrylic matte medium.

This "Blue Line" series, as I call it, started when the twins were touching my oil paintings and I needed paint with something they could touch without changing the painting too drastically...or at all! I started using the blue chalk to draw like a three year old draws. I like the simplicity of a child's drawing. I also wanted to color my paintings by scribbling - to release some of my pent up madness.

When I colored I used the pastel -Newpastel; which is a hard pastel- and then sealed each layer of color with the matte medium. Now I just use acrylic paint. I use Nova Color acrylic. Google that name. You'll like the paint if you don't use tube paint.

I used to mix up a batch of colors in baby food jars when I worked with oils; just so I could have nice liquid/slurpy paint. So, in 1980, when I found Nova Colors while working with a company that builds saloons and omelet parlors; Grand American Fare, I became comfortable with acrylic for the first time.

As I continue to work in acrylic, but am determined that I will become as familiar with oils. I have a way to go, but I feel like I've broken through major barriers. I've tried glazing, wet-on-wet, straight from the tube, pallet and paint knife. If I could become comfortable with what I paint with the knife I'd stay there because of the clean-up! But I love the brush work in a painting.

In October of 2008 I had a commission to paint an African scene. That's when I had to buy a big roll of canvas from Jerry's Artarama. (I bought a roll from him once before when I had a different commission to paint five large paintings) So, anyway, I got Jerry's catalog and somehow that connected me with their web page. I had already gone on line to the site to purchase the canvas, but it was the paper catalog that got me to go to the site to explore.

I wasn't exploring for materials. I was looking for instruction. I found Mike Rooney's free art lessons. Wow! They're short and sweet, but I got a lot out of them. He paints plain air (pleine air?) painting. I've tried that (once, maybe twice) and loved it, but can't seem to get myself to go out again. I'm inspired again....but I live in Nebraska, and it's cold out there! And then it gets hot...and there's bugs....and...and.

For years I've painted murals outside; no problem---but can I set an easel outside and paint? NO!! I feel such a spectacle! and what I really want to do is just paint from life, not put on a show. So, that's where I am on that subject right now; but I think that's going to change, thanks to Mr. Rooney.

In 1970 at Nebraska Wesleyan University I began working in acrylic - hard edge style. Thought Ellsworth Kelly's was an easy style to copy, but found out it wasn't that easy to get consistent surfaces and opacity. Kept painting; tried oils straight from the tube. Didn't use pallete. Went back to acrylic when the twins were three in '88.

Painted signs for about ten years.

Now I paint murals in residential and commercial settings as well as paint oils and acrylics in the studio. Portraits, landscapes, flowers, whimsy....

With all that experience I'm still not satisfied that I know what I'm doing as a painter.

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