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

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Rocket Doodles...

Stormwatch Station
(10 x 17.5", Oils on canvas board)   Price: $350.00

 I needed some extra small paintings to fill out my art panel at Boskone in Boston this month, but it was going to be a bit hard since I hadn't painted in four months and it is always difficult starting something cold. I tried working up one idea in paint, but the oil medium I use, Drying Linseed Oil had been compromised in the bottle and was difficult to manipulate with any of its regular fluidity. So I put aside that canvas and chucked that bottle of oil, then opened a new bottle and put up a fresh canvas on the easel. I had an odd sized black frame that had been lying around the studio for quite a while, and the two times I'd attempted to paint something to go in it, both paintings failed or just failed to inspire me to finish them. So I pulled out the frame again to look at...and had a sudden urge to paint an asteroid space station in stationary orbit near Jupiter's centuries-old storm. I even got a bit more interest with the inner moon and its shadow against the ever-changing gas bands. The dark shadow of the moon offsets and compliments the dark bulk of the asteroid station, giving the composition balance. I rather like this idea and resultant image. It harkens back to my childhood, and looking out into space and space stories, and wondering "what if...?"

Beacon Point
(10 x 10", Oils on Canvas Board)    Price: $200.00  SOLD
Strangely enough, this painting was started for use in the frame mentioned above. However, upon mooching paint around for some time and getting a bunch of detail in, the painting no longer felt right, so I put it aside a year ago. When I was rummaging around near my easel, looking for inspiration and my errant muse, I found this half painted board again. I also had pulled out a 10 x10" square frame. With a long pause for consideration and perfect positioning inside the new frame, I cut down the canvas to fit it. Suddenly, it seemed to work again. So, out came the paints to noodle some of the foreground clouds and paint in the rocket. Lots of happy accidents. But, I felt like the painted story needed some added definition and some visual 'weight', so I painted a cloud bound space station near the bottom. I finally liked it again. I wonder what life would be like on a station situated among the clouds of a gas giant or moon. Magnificent vistas and gut-wrenching storms, I expect. :-D

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I started a new painting of my Rover space dog and a bunch of Fairy Wren birds (Australian native birds) as a live painting demo at Boskone last Saturday. Come back and visit in a week or two to see how that turned out.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy New Year!

Dancing Baby Groot
(11x14", Oils on Stretched Canvas)    
Price: $450.00  SOLD

So, the New Year is usually portrayed as an infant....I decided to paint Baby Groot from the movie 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. Groot as an adult is equally endearing as a badass adult tree person as he is a swiftly growing twiglet and baby tree. Many artists have depicted Groot since the movie came out, and I couldn't help but join the bandwagon. So here is my New Year infant: a rather impressionistic version of 'dancing baby Groot' who happens to have supplied his own disco lights, ie. glowing seed pods while he bops away to Peter's 'Awesome Mix No. 2' cassette...

The usual palette and brushes were involved...and no trees were hurt in the making of this painting, although Baby Groot got a little ticklish when I was painting his tummy... Ahem.

Hope your 2015 is bright with promise and prosperity, love and goodwill.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Rocket Doodle Evolution....

 My little painted pointy rocket ships originally began as tiny quick color sketches on small canvases, intending to use up leftover paint on my palette when I was painting larger works. They have evolved quite considerably since then. Observers may have noticed that my rockets are always in flight...traveling over great distances and to a variety of planets and nebula. They represent an ongoing journey of 'self'. One may have also noticed that I like painting the planet Saturn quite a lot, too. Blame the English legendary science fiction artist John Harris. He makes any planet look sexy, and his individual painting style adds a visual glamour that expresses exactly how I feel about 'space'. At least how the child I once was dreamed of it being. Lost edges, depth, application of colours that somehow depict space without ever using black. My husband, Bob Eggleton paints space with the same imaginative and colourful vibe, but with different technique. Both are a huge influence on the type of fluffy space opera that I paint. They paint science fiction as epic, realistic, imaginative magnificence: I paint emotionally with colour and angles and the 'what ifs' of whatever whimsy comes to mind at the time of painting. The eternally flying rockets represent the child that I was who wanted to go off into outer space, have adventures there, see what was behind the next planet, star gaze at nebulae, and generally do a grand tour of the glowing spectacle that is out there in the massive darknesses between worlds... these paintings represent the last six months of work and a part of that journey...

(14x18", Oils on canvas)
Price: $600.00  SOLD
"Inferno" was painted as a commission to become a poster for a science fiction film festival in San Francisco. The commissioner wanted to use one of my other rocket doodles for the poster, but they were too small to be enlarged for that kind of use. So he said 'just paint me a large rocket doodle and allow some space for type, etcetera...' Design was left up to me. I decided to lash out and have some fun with a more complicated composition. The idea of a devastated world and lonely passing rocket rather appealed to me. I always wanted to investigate ruins of old civilizations and such....even better if they were on other worlds.  Blame those visions on old 1950s and 60s science fiction movies and 'Golden Age SF' books where the imagination and visions of the future, any future, were boundless and epic. Unfortunately, the photo does not do this painting justice. Photographing reds in all of their glory has become something of a hit and miss these days.

"Blue Saturn Flyby"
(3x3", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $65.00  SOLD

"Red Saturn Flyby"
(3x3", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $65.00  SOLD

These two tiny epics are the smallest rocket doodles I have ever painted. They were created as entries for an art challenge called "Tiny Treasures" for The Art Order blog/website run by art director Jon Schindehette this year. Notice that they both borrow heavily from "Inferno" above. I had a little bit of fun with the repetition...and wondered how one of the efforts would look in lush blues and cyans. I was rather proud of them both, and they both quickly soared off to new homes.

Necessity dictated my next rocket doodle paintings. I had a very busy few months over this summer and quickly realised that I had a real dearth of finished artwork to display at the swiftly approaching art expo, Illuxcon 8...and little time to paint anything complicated. I had some frames in storage and a selection of canvases to play with, so I got out my sketchbook and started drawing up ideas to paint. Since I had been using Saturn a lot in recent paintings, I decided that I wanted to lash out and paint a destroyed moon and rocket scape in entirely different colours than I was used to. A type of personal art challenge to get out of my comfort zone. So I flicked through the art books of John Berkey, John Harris, among others, and my copy of the early groundbreaking science fiction art book, "Tomorrow and Beyond" by Ian Summers, trying to recapture the dreamy speculations of my childhood. I think I made the leap to the next painting rather well, as I'm quite proud of this unusual step...

"Damage Patrol"
(14x18", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $680.00  SOLD
This is also a variation on the "Inferno" composition. And I fell in love with the purple/magenta/orange combination so much that I used it again in a smaller pulpish painting to use up the rest of the paint on the palette. Hence a real, original 'rocket doodle' that became the next offering below.

"Purple Pulp Rocket"
(5x7", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $150.00  SOLD
This was kind of fun because we visited the home and totally magnificent art collection of friends in Chicago this summer, and their masses of brilliant pulp and science fiction artwork were inspiring beyond belief. I suppose that it is only right that this little painting has gone to sit humbly amongst that bright galaxy of eminent works.

(11x14", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $580.00  SOLD
Yeah, I know: Saturn and that angle again...another repetition from "Inferno". However, the reds are very textured with other colours, but those subtleties are lost in the photographic process. Which explains WHY art collectors buy original art: no facsimile, print or digital, will ever capture the true luminosity of an original painting. In this painting, the rocket is inbound to an asteroid space station....something I've ALWAYS wanted to paint. It seemed a likely time to try it out. I added the tiny receding 'space buoys' leading into the station as well. I was rather happy with the outcome of this painting and very proud of my first little asteroid space station. What you can't see here it the minutiae of brushed detail there is in it. Simple dash here and smudge there, and the whole thing looks detailed and complete when you step back from the painting.

(14x18", Oils on Stretched Canvas)
Price: $480.00  SOLD
This is currently the last of the current crop of 'rocket doodles' and is something of a departure from my normal colours and composition...which must be nice to look at after the previous repetitions. I was floundering a bit, trying to find one last inspiration for one more painting when I happened across a magazine with this view of Saturn on the cover. I looked at it for awhile and then something in the back of my mind stirred with interest. Green space...another asteroid space station.... egress of a pointy rocket ship...coloured bands and moons...a different aspect. Yes, that's what I was looking for in this latest painting... a different aspect. Or at least, a different perspective. The green has lost some of its luminosity in this photo, and again, the subtlety has been lost all over, but the overall effect is close to the original painting. This asteroid space station has a docking stalk below it. One rocket remains docked and in partial shadow, whilst its companion has used maneuvering rockets to push loose from the dock before igniting its main engines and soaring out of orbit across the face of Saturn. The storytelling of these 'rocket doodles' has become more intricate over time, to become a catalyst for the viewer to ask the age old questions.... why?...how?...what if? My husband walked behind me when I was painting this and paused to say, "That's a bit out of your regular colour range for these, isn't it? It looks wonderful, by the way..." before passing on to his own easel.

All of these paintings were painted in two stages...a rocket doodle is usually completed in a single sitting, painted wet in wet. MOST of each painting was put together in the space of two to four hours and allowed to dry overnight before finishing painting rockets, space stations, contrails, and being signed. The second sessions usually comprised one to two hours. I have enjoyed my usual techniques of wet in wet build up of paint and blending brushes, and smoothing and 'sculpting' of the paint beneath my brushes. My regular limited palette included the usual suspects and a couple of ringers that only come out when I'm painting something specific. These were: Titanium White, Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Sap Green, Viridian, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, and Magenta. Not ALL of the colours were used in every painting. My brushes were the sames ones I always use.

Anyway, I hope you like where the 'rocket doodles' are heading, and don't mind that they are evolving from what they originally started out as several years ago. They are finding their own adventures...I just paint them.

Thanks for stopping by,


PS: Here are some of the thumbnail ideas and design drawings that became these paintings.... except for DAMAGE PATROL and INFERNO, both of which I drew freehand straight onto the canvas:

 The thumbnail design for the 3x3" Red Saturn Flyby....

Design drawing for Inbound ...

Sketchbook thumbnails for Damage Patrol and 
Blue Saturn Flyby

Design drawing for Outbound...

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...