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

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rocket Doodle RAWR!!

It's been a mad dash to get paintings done for Boskone this year, among them a plethora of small rocket doodle paintings with inspiration borrowed from legendary space artists John Berkey, John Harris, and Chesley Bonestall. Here's the spread of the small ones so far.  There may be time yet for one more big one, and maybe a couple of small ones... My new painting space has been brilliant to work in.

Shrouded Moon
(10x10", Oils on Canvas board)  Price:  SOLD

This one came out of nowhere, really. I'd had this board drawn up with a circle and a rocket crossing it for about the last six or seven years. I'd put it aside all that time ago when, either I lost the original inspiration or got distracted. I nearly threw the board out when I unearthed it recently, but thought 'what the hell' and started lashing paint on it in an effort to bust my painting block and get the creative juices flowing. It worked!! Kind of love how this turned out. It was inspired by a tiny moon in a much larger John Berkey painting in an old catalog I've got lying around. The inspirational bit of that picture was less than one inch square. Things don't have to be big to inspire big ideas. I've also found a new favourite paint: Buff Titanium/Bleached Titanium...just the thing to add that touch of nostalgic aged tint to what are ostensibly nostalgic paintings.

(5x7", Oils on Canvas board)   Price: SOLD
Not wanting to waste the left over paint on my palette, I grabbed another board to 'destroy'. I've had a bunch of small canvases since around 2007 when I was doing the painting a day project. All of them have been tinted with various colours for backgrounds. I nearly threw those out, too, but like the first painting in this post, I chucked caution to the wind and started experimenting again. Not a bad little piece for a quickly drawn up world and space station. Lots of smooshing with paint, and happy accidents.

Cloud Drifting
(9x12", Oils on Linen Board)  Price: SOLD
Yeah, been watching Star Wars again and am still absolutely in love with the idea of cloud cities. You may have noticed... Had a lot of fun with this one.

Cloud Station
(5x7", Oils on Canvas Board)  Price: SOLD
Got a bit of John Harris, crossed with John Berkey into this one. Another one of those pre-tinted boards I nearly chucked. When I'm working on a bigger work, and waiting for paint to dry on them, swinging into working on one of these mini space epics is kind of 'freeing', creatively. The photos never do them justice, either, sad to say. Really love the happy accidents in this one.

Skirting the Sea of Moons
(9x12", Oils on Linen)  Price: TBA
Definitely a bit of John Berkey influence in this one. Loved the cool versus warm and the vintage rocket shape. Had a bit of fun with a different colour scheme than the muted tones of the previous paintings.

Scenic Route
(5x7", Oils on Stretched canvas)  Price: SOLD 

This was my initial rocket painting of the current crop. I wanted to paint space without using any black. I think I succeeded. The shadows are actually created from French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. It's kind of cute and pretty, but I've having all sorts of experimental painting fun since this one.

Some studio shots of my new painting space....

There are more paintings to come...some more space epics, larger ones, and a couple of new Rover paintings as well. Thanks for dropping by, come back soon.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Otherworldly Portraiture

"Elfin Jen"
 (16 x 20", Oils on Linen)  Price: TBA

We made some lifestyle changes last year, selling the family house that had served as our studio for nearly nine years and purchasing a second condo/apartment near ours to compensate. We pushed our personal effects across the corridor to the lovely new living space and used our old beloved condo as our new studio. It needs a LOT of renovation, so getting paint smeared and a bit battered won't be a problem. My husband uses our old bedroom, with its cathedral ceiling and exquisite northern light as his new painting loft, while I have my own relatively spacious painting space just below, on the first level. There is still that northern light to play with, places to put all of my art stuff, computer, three easels (floor, table, and mini), table, storage, files....and a wall for my reference library. We will still be converting space and finding places for things for the next six months or so, but meanwhile, I have had to paint like the wind. By the time all of the real estate shell game was done and the big shows and holidays were upon us, I found that I had not painted since January of 2017... AND, I had two major shows pending: my Artist Guest of Honor stint at Boskone in Boston this month which requires a LOT of art to show; closely followed by my first major gallery show, shared with my husband, Bob Eggleton at Dryden Galleries in Providence beginning 24 March 2018. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The panic is this: I have only two current pieces of art, THE MODERN ATHENA and VICTORIANA, available to show. Everything else of note that's been painted in recent years has found an owner and loving homes. It took me two weeks to carve out space from the melee and make my space to paint in, in December. Then I started to panic about what to paint and how to start cold from not having painted in so long. I am slow to start, but once I get going, can power along with familiar subjects. Portraits require time, careful application, love, and finding 'the zone'... Space paintings just require inspiration and enthusiasm, Space Rover requires a few ideas and me and Rover and a few other tin toy robots in a photoshoot (even the blurry photos are considered usable), and lastly, the fine art robot epics require equal inspiration and diligence as a portrait does. Currently, I'm going with the space paintings and Rover romps because I am not usually at a loss for ideas for them and I can paint them fairly quickly. That being said, I decided to christen my new space in December by beginning what I thought might be an easy portrait to paint.

Around Halloween, my friend and fellow artist Jen Waldon posted a few 'selfies' of herself in full blown elf ears and make up, with the declaration that she '...didn't want to look just pretty, but wanted to look otherworldly...". I looked at her photos and landed on the reference used for this one and mentally said... "I could do that". My comment on her Facebook post was 'Challenge accepted'. Might have inadvertently been a little more difficult than I expected, but I persevered.

Here is a shot of my easel when I drew up the canvas. No presketching this time, and the linen stretched canvas had been tinted with colour from a few years previously for another project that never eventuated. I used white chalk pencil to draw in the initial lines. After that, it was all go on the painting. Unfortunately I didn't take any more process shots of it, and changed my mind on background and colours a few times, trying to settle into the painting zone. It was a challenge. 

This photo shows one of my space magazines out for inspiration for the initial go at a background I was contemplating. The first paint in ended up being all nebulous purples and pales, and me not sure where I was going with it. The second iteration was tending towards a full 'otherworldly' space background which I was increasingly reluctant to paint. ME, reluctant to paint floofy 'space'. Never thought I'd think that. As it was, the last space reference I had out for the second iteration was various pictures of my beloved Orion Nebula. And as I was painting that in, Jen's face and hair began to sink into it. I instinctively knew it was wrong for this portrait. Sigh. This was in December. At that time, I was being distracted by holiday things and I needed to think about it a bit more. Just after Christmas, I decided that I needed to return to my original portrait practices of the face being the foremost, unchallenged element of the painting. And I concluded that 'otherworldly' didn't have to mean an otherworldly placement or space background. Jen's face said it all, with the two point key lighting aspects and her make up and strength of gaze. Took me awhile to figure out, and I hope in time that she will. There is a fine tensile strength in her regal gaze. Seeing this in some of my subjects and bringing out qualities for others to see in a positive light is one of the reasons I have tentatively returned to portraiture. So long as I can choose my subjects, I am good with it. Forcing me to paint what I don't want to paint is disastrous. Probably why I don't take commissions per se. As you can see, I settled on a dark green, almost black in parts, nebulous 'foresty' background, happily noodled with big brushes and a floofy blending brush. Jen's face and hair 'pop' right out and I am very happy with the result. I considered creating a 'crown' of sorts to top her hair with, which explains the space above her head. However, after many tries a designing such, I thought it would end up as overkill. My design eye felt it needed 'something', though. So, I created a braid behind her upswept long bangs and added a flower/leaf silver white clasp to it to catch the back light and sparkle. Simple, clean...otherworldly, even. Thank you, Jen, for being my muse today...

You can see more about Jen's work at  https://www.artstation.com/works_of_jenius

Thanks for stopping by. I have much more art to post here in the next week or so. So, come on back and have a look.



Friday, May 26, 2017

Steampunk Sarah...

(Oils, 14x18")   Price:  TBA

Last year, at Illuxcon IX in Reading, PA I had a chance to do something that has been close to my creative heart for several years. Moving the annual mecca gathering of artists, collectors, students and fans of the art of the fantastic to its new, bigger location, I finally got to produce the Illuxcon Costume Salon and Sketch Lab on the top floor of the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. It was a four day dedicated work space for artists to collaborate with volunteer models and a mass of loaned costume pieces and props, and watch daily demonstrations about working with models, creating costumes to enhance ideas, photograph them in a professionally lit space, and also to sketch them. It was a fantastic experience for one and all, and so many of us exhibiting artists were torn between manning our tables and running upstairs to create and play. I personally took over 350 photos, sometimes on the fly as one of our costume clad volunteers was escorted to a perfect place to be sketched or photographed by an entranced gaggle of spectators and participants. We learned a lot last year, and will be applying that new knowledge to this years efforts of the Costume Salon and Sketch Lab. Meanwhile, of the many, many inspirational photos I took, one group stood out and I just had to take brush to canvas to capture my version of it. Sarah, who graciously hosted the four day event, and patiently wrangled not only costumes but enthusiastic artists and models with panache and aplomb, also became the model for my painting 'Victoriana'.

On the Saturday of the workshop, I had left my table in the hands of my husband and darted upstairs to the Salon to see what was happening. Sarah was modeling her authentically made reproduction Civil War ballgown, complete with hoop, petticoats, hair and makeup, and other essential accoutrements. I arrived just as her session on stage ended and she headed over to where fellow artist, Ruth Sanderson was standing with her camera in hand. Sarah announced that it was time to change things up and she wanted to 'steampunk' up her ball gown. Mair and I looked at each other and went 'suuuuuuure' and swung into action. Out came the hoop skirt and petticoats, in went a ruffled and upswept new petticoat. Sarah chose a leather vest and belt off the tables, and a little 'fascinator' top hat affair that she perched at a jaunty angle on her  head, leather gauntlets, etc. The sunlight streamed through the nearby window, and when it fell on Sarah in her costume, I just knew magic was in the air. I took soooo many photos of that particular set up, and eventually returned to my table and art very much inspired. Below, are a very few of the photos I took that day. The last one is what served as the basis for my painting.

Following on from my last painting and wanting to test myself, I decided to start Victoriana 'cold'. I did not do ANY pre-sketching. Instead, I scrubbed Burnt Umber oil paint into a canvas board, covering it, and scrapped off the excess...giving it an aged look. When it dried, I took a fine liner brush and drew basic lines and compositional elements on the canvas in freehand. It was a concerted effort to get the oil sketch correct, but I did make an initial error in the model's right arm. It was fixed while painting sometime later in the process. The goal this time was to be able to create a full painted figure using only my eye, my instincts and experience, and my love of the painting process. This was a follow on from painting 'Jeannie' freehand. I reached my goal and was rather pleased with the outcome.

Sarah in her Civil War ballgown.

After we added and subtracted a few things...

A fine closeup of the finished effect, and ready to be used as basic reference for a painting...

And this is the photo that inspired me to paint 'Victoriana'. Isn't that a glorious lighting?

Anyway, there are sooo many more things to paint from the reference photos that I took at the Salon...and so many more memories and creative situations to make at the upcoming Illuxcon Costume Salon and Sketch Lab this coming November. I'm really looking forward meeting up with everybody again, costumes and props in hand, and making magic...

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Recent Space Epics

Broken Sky
(16x20", Oils on Stretched Canvas)  Price: $650.00 SOLD
This started out as something different...something that wasn't coming together as I saw it in minds eye. The color scheme was putting me off, so I decided to change things up a bit. The pastel colors turned darker, more dramatic, and suddenly the imagined ringed giant became a broken moon. The cloud city stayed the same amidst the wispy underlay. Lots of nice brushy work that I really enjoyed.

 Descent From Phobos Base
(6x9", Oils on Canvas Board)   Price:  $160.00  SOLD
Small rocket doodle with a nostalgic Mars and small base on Phobos moon. 

Trail Chaser
(6x8", Oils on Canvas Board)  Price: $160.00 SOLD
Another small rocket doodle of Saturn.

More soon, thanks for stopping by...

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Little Kaiju Spot

(8x10", Oil on Stretched Linen)
Price: $300.00

 (8x10", Oil on Stretched Linen)
Price: $300.00    SOLD

 (8x10", Oil on Canvas Board)
Price: $300.00    SOLD

I haven't had a lot of time for painting the last six months, and the few major attempts that I began have stalled for the time being. Meanwhile, as our annual visit to Chicago for the Godzilla convention, G-Fest was fast approaching, I made my usual resolve to try and paint something new to show people. It's only this last two years that I've actually been able to do so. Self-sabotage when you're trying to be creative is an evil thing and all too common for artists with conflicting demands on their time and inspiration. Still, I really surprised myself this year. I set out to doodle some design ideas from one of my favourite kaiju (Japanese for 'giant monster') series: The Rebirth of Mothra: I, II, and III. These three movies are such a visual feast and have quite a range of Mothra incarnations that include: Armored Mothra, Aqua Mothra, Rainbow Mothra, Eternal Mothra, Larval Mothra, etcetera, beginning with the original coloured Mothra which features in these three little colour sketches. I had such fun painting these with my usual limited palette. They got a lot of love at the convention as well. Currently they are adding their jewel-like colours to my study wall along with my other new paintings from this year. Below are the 6x8" design sketches that began each painting...now gone from my traveling sketchbook, as someone bought all three at the convention. I will just have to draw up some more. After all, there are lots more versions of Mothra to paint...

I was asked once, why I don't paint the other monsters in the Godzilla canon. Well, the answer to that is that my husband paints all of them, including original Mothra with such brilliance and creative dexterity that I just shrug and say: I love them all, but I'm just not interested in trying to paint them. Mothra, however, seems to touch something inside of me that responds with instinctive inspiration. These are little paintings that were done off the cuff and I had fun with. The only other two times I painted Mothra were created sixteen years apart. I thought it was high time to get inspired again, and reach for paint and brushes. The difference in my skill in that sixteen year hiatus is staggering.

Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by. I'll try to post something new soon. After all, Illuxcon is just around the corner...


Friday, February 12, 2016

Little Songbirds...

Little Chickadee
(5x7", Oils on Stretched Linen)   PRICE:  $ 170.00  SOLD

Fairy Wren
(5x7", Oils on Stretched Linen)  PRICE: $170.00

These are my first pure bird paintings in some time. And you have no idea how much I enjoyed painting them. No robots, goddesses, or other dominant features in sight: just birds. The first one is a Black Capped Chickadee...one of my favourite little birds to paint. The second is an Australian native species, a Fairy Wren. There are many variants in the Fairy Wren family, and this is just one of them. I noted, after I finished the painting that my painted bird was a bit bigger than a real Fairy Wren...they are generally very tiny and rather gorgeously coloured in jewel tones.

Included on the palette were: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Yellow Ochre, Sap Green, Permanent Light Green, Cadmium Orange Hue, and Cobalt Blue.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by,

Friday, January 29, 2016

Reconnecting with Portraiture...

(16 x 20", Oil on Stretched Canvas)  SOLD
For the last several years, I have been wanting to revisit painting the figure after a more than ten year hiatus...and that includes reconnecting with painting portraits. I've had some recent success with the latest paintings, so I thought I'd get a bit more ambitious in two ways: paint a definitive portrait of someone I know personally, and do it without any pre-sketching or planning. The result is "Jeannie". And you have no idea how scary as all get out that was to accomplish... I stopped painting portraits around 20 years ago for a couple of reasons, but mainly because, as an empath/intuitive I learned far more about the subject person than I perhaps wanted to know. It becomes personal when an artist deliberates and defines the planes, lines, and eyes in a subject's face, seeking an internal spark to bring their work to life...and sometimes that intimacy connects a bit too much, or becomes a biting frustration because no matter how you try, the person's closed mind won't allow their spark to shine forth. Then again, there are dark places within the human spirit that no matter how beautiful the person is, you just don't want to paint them. Any one or group of reasons is why I stopped painting people, let alone taking commissions...I sort of stopped dealing with people on an artistic level, and it has taken me a very long time to reconnect them to my art. Also, I have matured as an artist, and my technique has blossomed into what I hoped it might be all those years ago...

So, I've had photos of Jeannie on file for some years, both candid shots of her and borrowed photos from her husband's (Patrick) archive. He is a gifted amateur photographer, and she, a brilliant and willing muse. Together, they created and have run 'Illuxcon' - the annual art expo in Pennsylvania for the last eight years that brings together artists, students and collectors from all over the world to learn, teach, buy, sell, and generally celebrate 'The Art of the Fantastic'. Since the beginning, they have become dear friends treasured confidantes. Is it any wonder that I decided to borrow Pat's muse to paint?

Taking a deep breath and a gessoed and sanded stretched canvas, I put it up on my easel. I started with one of Pat's photos of Jeannie as a guide off to my left, and laid out paint to my right. Using a clean rag and a little Drying Linseed Oil mixed with Raw Umber oil paint, I scrubbed the color into the canvas to create a mid-value base tint to work on. Using a Size 6 Round brush, I sketched in the basic lines that formed the face and hand, and quick strokes to get the shape of the hair blocked in. Adding Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine to the palette, I used a 1/2" Angle Flat brush to start blocking in the deeper shadows. And with Yellow Ochre, Titanium White, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red Light, and Sap Green, , and Size 6 Filbert Brush to start laying skin tones. Notice how scrubby the non-background is. I hadn't fully decided where I was going with this painting yet, so I left it for the time being.

Upon impulse, I used a lot of left over Cobalt and French Ultramarine Blues to smoosh into the background...still not sure where I was going with it all. A simple portrait of Jeannie was starting to take on deeper dimensions, so I just decided to go with the flow. Being a bit out of practice with just painting directly onto the canvas as I was, I thought I suffered the usual amateur problem of having my subject situated too low (or any other compositional problem, really) in the canvas. So I thought about it for awhile, and came to the conclusion that the composition was just to plain for a personality as bright as Jeannie's. Off to the computer to troll through photos.... There, I remembered that fellow Illuxcon Alumni, the accomplished artist from the Netherlands, Iris Compiet had once created a gorgeous headdress for Jeannie and that many photos had been taken of Jeannie wearing it. Voila! All of Jeannie's whimsy and personality began to shine the moment I decided to paint it...and of course, the allowance above her head in the composition was actually perfect. Problem solved, so back to painting...

Here, the first blocking of the headband, blue flowers and nebulous feathers are blocked in in their basic colors. When that layer dried, I went back in with very loose brushstrokes and completed a truncated version of Iris' elaborate concoction that frames Jeannie's face rather nicely, without obscuring it. I worked on finalizing the hair at this point, and employed the addition of Cobalt Violet and Alizarin Crimson to Yellow Ochre to create Jeannie's distinctive red hair color. To break up the sharp lines, I took a fine liner brush and pulled wispy bits of painted hair down to wrap around her wrist and flow outward a bit. Still, there was still something intrinsically  missing...

Here is the completed portrait, sitting on my easel. Another piece of Jeannie's personality is her passion for elephants, so I created a loose wrap bracelet in 'silver' with an elephant charm on it. Largely signifying that she wears her love for those lovely beasts literally on her sleeve.

There is a poem by William Wordsworth that was ascribed to me by a dear friend on my 21st birthday many years ago...and it comes back to me every now and then, to bemuse and humble me. I'm not sure I ever was that sylph described in the text, but for some reason, in the back of my mind, it comes very close to describing my friend, Jeannie. Thank you for sharing this journey, my dear...  xxoo to you and Patrick.

She Was a Phantom of Delight

By William Wordsworth
She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin-liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A Being breathing thoughtful breath,
A Traveller between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for my next adventure in paint...