Daub du Jour

My name is Marianne Plumridge. I am an artist of mythic fantasy works and fine art images. More of which can be seen at my website, 'MariannePlumridge.com', and also my main Blog, 'Muse du Jour'. These sites are in the links section of this page. This site began life as a painting a day blog in 2007. However that project has now passed, but I still find myself painting in that way. So this site will now be the showcase my new paintings as inspired by those previous efforts.

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Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Feathered Kaiju....

Rainbow Mothra: Wave Hopping
(16x20", Oil on Stretched Canvas)  Price: $800.00

It's been nearly thirteen years since I last painted Mothra. Mothra is a Japanese 'monster' or kaiju from the original Godzilla canon. Since then, Mothra was given its own three-movie series during the late 90s/early 2000s, collectively called REBIRTH OF MOTHRA I, II, and III. During the multiple metamorphoses Mothra goes through, one of them is the gorgeously coloured 'Rainbow Mothra'. At the beginning of the third movie installment, Mothra is seen zooming across the oceans with dolphins in the water below. That image resonated with me and I painted 'Rainbow Mothra: Racing with the Dolphins' back in 2000. Since it's Godzilla's 60th anniversary/birthday this year, I thought I'd dip my creative toe back in the kaiju universe and paint Mothra once again.

This is the original design sketch. I had a lot of fun doodling Mothra, but it wasn't until I started painting it, did I notice that during the sketch process, I had made its upper wing fuller than the source photo, and the head is tucked in a little more.

Painting process has well and truly begun by the time I got around to taking process photos. The background went in in one sitting with lots of big brushes and noodling of paint. I tackled painting in all of the black bits during the second session and let them dry so that when I began laying in colour, they wouldn't get lost.  I started applying colour to the wings during the third session. And you can notice here how much fuller the wing is than the source photo. I kind of liked how it worked out.

Bottom wing is accomplished and the white bits have started to be brushed in. This Mothra was VERY furry and fluffy, with furry legs as well. Lots of nice smooshing work.

Here is my painting table during the process. 

This is the last easel photo....with the painting finally complete. The dolphins came out a little impressionistic, but they seem to suit their environment very well.

I'm rather pleased with the finished painting. My palette contained the usual suspects: Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Lemon, Viridian, Titanium White, Cadmium Orange Hue, and a tiny bit of Aliziran Crimson. Big brushes to begin with, then some smaller rounds: Size 2, 5, and 1.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Early Birds...of the New Year

"Second Story"
(6x8", Oil on Stretched Linen) 
Price:  $200.00     SOLD

Well, it's the beginning of a new year again and I'm caught short of new art work to display for a convention in Boston this weekend. So I spent the last two weeks painting little bird paintings to supplement my art show panel. These bird paintings got a little more involved than I was planning, but I'm pleased with how they turned out anyway. Since I didn't have time to paint full blown robot and bird paintings, I settled for rusty gears as perches for two tiny, chubby Boreal Chickadees. I used an entry from my sketchbook as the basis of the composition...

"Pit Stop"
(5x7", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $200.00

Since this one was going to be a very close focus image, I used the face of one of my previous robots as the perch for this little Red-Breasted Nuthatch. And I swiped a recent bird drawing from my sketchbook as the birdie subject. He's alighted on the eye-ledge of the robot for a quick pit stop amid his foraging for nuts and seeds.

The usual palette was used again: Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Lemon, Sap Green, Chromium Green, Cerulean Blue, and Yellow Ochre. Brushes included a few small Filberts, and a 1/2" Angle brush, and a #0 Fine Round, and a #4 Round.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Another Robby...

(15x30", Oil on Stretched Canvas)       Price:  $1200.00

 There was always going to be another painting of Robby the Robot...just not so soon, or so I thought. You know what they say about the best laid plans...  Well, I realised somewhere around mid December that I only had one new painting for the first show of the year in Boston in January. And then I tried not to panic about it. While I was pondering what to do about that, a memory stirred somewhere in the back of my brain about a hummingbird. Well, back in 1985 I was still in the air force and working at a swank joint forces library. The library itself was on the second floor and we had a good view of our surrounds. My car was parked below us and I happened to look out one sunny afternoon and spotted something buzzing about my drivers side mirror. It was hummingbird fluttering away at his own reflection. It was the cutest thing. And anyway, I remember painting the reflective surfaces on Robby's head dome during while working on BIRD FEEDER and thinking that a hummingbird would LOVE the shiny bits. So, I took my Robby toy on down to the basement for a photoshoot and proceeded to draw up the results. Then I found the perfect shot of a hummingbird in flight and voila! Instant painting idea. And it was an idea that virtually resonated in its simplicity...a far removal from the complex composition of BIRD FEEDER. AND it brought me back to the 'close focus' compositions that I am so fond of. Below, is the sketch for SHINY....

Here is the first easel shot I took when I started laying in the background. That took a good four hours of laying and layering paint, whisking through with a soft fluffy blending brush, and tweaking it all. I am very pleased with the amount of depth that I managed to achieve in spite of doing it all in one sitting. Got lots of nice lost edges and 'distance' and 'shadow' effects in the process.

Here, I am beginning to block in Robby's head dome. I forgot to take a progress photo of the rest of the background. Sorry about that. Painting Robby's head was just as difficult and exacting as painting almost all of him in BIRD FEEDER. I was going back and forth between two photos and held the actual toy in my left hand while I painted, again. Having the physical subject to hand for comparison is priceless for doing shadow and detail. Photos lose so much in detail, and the colours are so varied.

Here is Robby, complete, on the easel for the last time... I just love how the hummingbird turned out. He looks like he's just hanging there in space. I am rather pleased with that accomplishment.

 It took me a while to figure out what to call this painting, as the initial idea didn't come with a working title, for once. I tried out various lengthy captions along the lines of what the bird might actually be doing: challenging a rival, courting, flirting, being fascinated by another bird, etc. In the end, I concluded that the bird might just be attracted to Robby's head because it was shiny...hence, simply SHINY became the title. And the viewer is left to make up the rest of the story...

The painting looks almost photographic from a distance, and in small photos like this. But the brushstrokes are surprisingly broad. My palette consisted of: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Sap Green, Chromium Oxide Green, Permanent Rose, and Cadmium Orange Hue. Brushes involved 1" and 1/2" Filberts, a 1/2" Angle Flat, #6 Round, #4 Round, and briefly, a #0 Round, and of course the BIG FLUFFY BLENDING BRUSHES, and a small ragged round for fine blending.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like my paintings and will stop by again. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rover Helping Out...

Illuxcon 7 Student Scholarship

Every year the professional art convention, Illuxcon (initially at Altoona, now at Allentown PA), has a charity fundraiser to raise money for 3-5 scholarships to send art students from around the globe to Illuxcon the following year. One of the ways of raising funds is rather unique. Artists, quite often regular attendees and exhibitors of Illuxcon create small paintings that become a part of a displayable personal 'art show' in the form of a specially designed and created QUILT. The artisan who creates this mini 'art show' is LizAnn Lizotte...a longtime active supporter and collector of the art of the fantastic, and supporter of Illuxcon. This year, I finally got around to having a go. And this little painting is the result. How could it have been anything other than Rover, my usual good will ambassador in paint... 

First up is the design drawing. At first, my idea was to be a simple one...like one of my Rover snapshots of previous efforts. However, like most Rover paintings, they take on a life of their own.
 I gessoed the pre-washed squares of linen supplied by LizAnn, both sides to seal the fabric for oil paint. Then I bonded the primed linen to a piece of white Foamcore board with art tape and started to paint. However, the cloth wasn't completely sealed and seemed to suck up the paint as soon as it was applied. It wasn't a very forgiving surface to paint on...as probably many of my artist predecessors have found out. Still, I persevered and a nice little painting was starting to come together. Here is my easel with all of the initial references pinned all over the place.

Here's a bit closer view of the painting...

In this view, you can easily see the pencil lines on the linen. I did trace the design down from a photocopy of the drawing...but found I had to redraw a lot of it actually on the linen to make it sharper and easier to see when first coats of paint were applied.

A whole session was devoted to painting Rover. Every spot and highlight had to be in the right place.

Here's a closeup of Rover completed. The bird was always going to be painted last, but Rover is the anchor of the piece and contained a lot of detail. I suppose I should be used to painting him now. 

See how the references have changed for this part of the painting. Bird details only since I have finished Rover. Rover's reference photo is actually behind the painting, since I frequently picked up the linen topped board and turn it about to get a good angle to apply paint. The painting surface is actually 6x6", while the whole board was only 8" square...easy to get a grasp on.

Here is the finished painting...FALL FRIENDS. Signed, too. Once the paint is completely dry, I'll apply several spray coats of Kamar Varnish. Once those are dry, I'll pack up my little painting and send it off to LizAnn to stitched into the Illuxcon Quilt. I can't wait to see how it looks in situ.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by,
See you next time for a new rocket or even some experimental figure studies...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


"Bird Feeder"
(aka: Feeding Miss Altaira's Little Friends)
(16x20", Oil on Stretched Canvas, Framed)
Price: $1200.00  SOLD
 My BIRDS 'N' BOTS paintings have been getting a bit more ambitious of late. I paint close focus moments in time of most of my robots and their bird companions, but every so often I break out into something more complicated like SLEEPERS, or my new painting....BIRD FEEDER. I bought a couple of new robots to add to my small but select collection...and then had a paw through Bob's stash up in the studio toy room. Of the three massive ideas I had this summer, two got painted, and a ringer 'instant idea' using Rover (MAKING FRIENDS) supplanted one of those initial ideas that hasn't finished developing in the dark room of my brain just yet. The other ideas were completely formed in my mind, so I borrowed Robby (largish remote control variety) and my new High Wheel Robot (aka Sparky) and had a little photo shoot. For Robby, I made a hanging bird feeder using some of my craft jewelry findings, a fancy button and some earth coloured seed beads. I'm rather proud of how it turned out and Robby is STILL wearing it. The platter in Robby's other hand was a large metal token I found in a drawer in the studio kitchen. For the birds, I raided my stash of bird photos at hand and in my growing collection of bird books, and also did copious searches on the internet. They had to have the right flight and sitting/standing attitudes to fit my concept of Robby being mobbed by greedy songbirds. The whole premise is that Robby is somewhat put upon to retrieve the bird feeders from the residence garden on Altair 4, refill them and put them back. Here, in my painting, Robby has just refilled the feeders and is returning them to their homes, but is literally mobbed by tiny birds. Well, someone has to do it whilst Miss Altaira is busy, off smooching spacemen and designing dresses... I have ever loved the movie FORBIDDEN PLANET, and this painting is like a love-letter to that imaginative time and place.

I tried very hard to convey the colours and form of Altaira's garden without painting every little detail. To do so would detract from the busy lines of the birds and Robby. All of my robot and bird paintings deliberately have nebulous backgrounds so they don't compete, but enhance the hard-edged lines of the robots.

Drawing up the final design for BIRD FEEDER was time consuming to say the least. I'll confess that I did trace his outline from one of my photo shoot photos, but ended up painstakingly drawing in most of the detail by comparing the actual toy robot and secondary photos just to make sure that I didn't miss anything important. It took me an hour or so to draw down the design on to the canvas, using an enlarged photocopy dusted with graphite powder on the back. I'm sorry, I'm not one of these artists who have a copy center photocopy a drawing onto canvas or watercolour paper, then seal it with resin varnish or Liquin before painting over it in oil or acrylic paint. I like to FEEL the raw drawing beneath my brushes...but I do set it first with a faint mist of Workable Fixative spray before laying paint. And if I haven't mentioned it before, I prefer working on canvas, stretched or backed onto board, rather than masonite or birch panel. I've worked on gessoed masonite over the years and have often found it 'unforgiving' for some reason. I'm not sure why, though. Perhaps I inherently prefer the 'tooth' of a nice fine canvas...usually after a few extra coats of gesso and gently sanded back.

When I was painting BIRD FEEDER, I ended up holding the toy in my left hand and paintbrush in my right hand when painting his head gears and other subtle detail. Photos are alright for design, but it's best to rely on the actual subject/object for intrinsic detail, textures and surfaces, etc. when you can. Funnily enough, one of the birds ended up getting left out of the final design drawing, and only came to light when I was counting beaks and painting them in. Can you see which one is missing? I had to sketch him in with a fine brush and fill in the rest as I normally do when painting birds; wet in wet. Lots of nice smooshes to create feathers and depth...

 Here's an easel shot of Robby half finished. Note the drawing and two cobbled together composition photos, neither with perfect coloration I might add. The toy, which stands about 8" tall is off camera to the right. Gotta keep your references handy when undertaking fine detail. I had my nose about a couple of inches from the canvas when painting the birds...all 18 of the little buggers. I need new glasses, and when painting fine detail I like to eyeball what I'm doing up close and personal. The glasses get in the way, sometimes, or my eyes react badly to that close up work whilst wearing them.
 Here I am at Illuxcon 6, at the Allentown Museum of Art, Allentown, Pennsylvania two weeks ago, showing off my painting amid my husband's display... Robby has now gone to his new forever home. I guess I'll have to paint another Robby painting of sorts to fill the gap...as I didn't get a lot of time to bond with BIRD FEEDER.

Most of the usual suspects reigned on my palette: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Titanium White, Sap Green, Terre Verte, Cadmium Orange Hue, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Cadmium Lemon and Yellow Ochre. Note again, how there is never any tube of black paint anywhere on my palette: I threw them away years ago. All of Robby's glossy black body is painted using Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine - warm black through cool black. That's a trick I learned from Tim Hildebrandt and it has ever stood me in good stead when painting. Brushes were from broad 1" Flats, Filberts, and Angle brushes for the background, and Size 6 Filberts and Flats for the filling in work on Robby, and very fine Size 0 and 1 Rounds for the fine detail and birds. Surprisingly, my big fluffy blending brushes weren't required much. Most of the background soft depths were created 'wet in wet' with the paint brushes specified. I LOVE painting wet in wet...so many happy accidents to be had.

Anyway, that's it for now.
Thanks for stopping by...

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Making Friends
(8x8", Oil on Stretched Canvas, Framed)
Price: $350.00    SOLD

This little painting wasn't planned at all. I thought that I might use up some more of my little 6x6" stretched linens by painting more 'Rover Snapshots' for Illuxcon next week. I pulled out my photos of Rover and my sketchbook with some new bird sketches that I'd done in previous months. What resulted was a drawing more complicated than I was anticipating. So I hauled out a larger canvas and made it a more involved painting. The result is kind of cute. Rover just LOVES making friends...and is very cute in doing so. The Blue Jay is kind of ignoring him right at first...

This is the drawing... Who can resist that puppy enthusiasm expression?

Here is a shot of my brand new floor easel sporting the painting and all of my references. To the right is Rover himself peeking around the edge.

I had everything set up ready to begin laying paint when I couldn't find my tube of Cadmium Red Light - Rover's true colour. Found it in the end, after a near heart attack with looking for it. Got my usual palette together: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Sap Green, Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Yellow Hue, and Titanium White. Remember? I mix my range of blacks with the Sienna and Ultramarine...and it still serves me well.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by again...

A Different Robot Point of View...

Private Audience
(12x12", Oil on stretched canvas, Framed)  
Price: $600.00  SOLD
Things have been incredibly busy this year, and this is the first painting for the year. And I find it almost embarrassing that it's September already. To bring some new inspiration, I bought myself a few new friends. Sparky here, is one of them. I'd been looking for a robot to bring this idea to life and Sparky proved the winner. Unfortunately, this photo doesn't do the original painting justice...and has lost some of its luminosity. However, I love the result just the same.

I did not stray far from my regular palette. Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Lemon, a tiny touch of Cobalt Blue, and the usual suspects of Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, and Burnt Sienna.

I have the feeling that Sparky will appear in future paintings, but for the moment, this is his grand debut.

Thanks for stopping by,