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.

My Photo
Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 24

Shell and Grapes
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00

Here is a more formal setting that I thought was kind of pretty. I found the shell whilst rummaging around in my box of shells, and I found the fake plastic grapes at Michaels Craft store over the weekend. I did say that I liked to paint small, didn't I? Well, both the shell and the spray of grapes are approximately only three inches in length each. They looked so cute together, and the colours so luscious. So inviting to paint... There really is 'something' about arranging the backcloth 'just so', and then placing the objects. Cool.
I used a canvas board tinted with what has become my 'de rigeuer' colour: Burnt Sienna blended with Titanium White and either Tranparent Gold Ochre or a little Cadmium Yellow Light. The palette consisted of: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Sap Green, Alizirin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Light, and Transparent Gold Ochre.

I really enjoyed painting this - a really formal still life 'set up'. Therefore, more than one item to paint. I should try a few more of these.

Meanwhile, see you tomorrow,

Day 23

Rose Sketch
(5x7", Oil) Price: $65.00

I was feeling a bit depleted in energy on Monday after all of the running around dealing with my 'Madame K' painting and getting it to the gallery in time for the show. So, I chose to do paint something quick and sketchy, like this rose. Small board, and size 10 synthetic Filbert. I worked reasonably fast - for me - and it came together quickly. I'd almost call this a 'field sketch', if I had to classify it.

The palette consisted of: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Titanium White, Permanent Rose, Sap Green, and a little Cadmium Yellow Light.

See you tomorrow for something a little more adventurous.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 22

Madame K
(After John Singer Sargent's 'Madame X')
(9x16", Oil) Price: $200.00

Okay, so I painted this yesterday in a mad panic that I wouldn't make the deadline at Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, RI today. Spring Bull holds an annual show each February called "Fabulous Fakes and Forgeries" where the artists paint or sculpt a copy of a famous work, or a parody of one. The choice is up to the artist. I've been planning this one since last year, but time got away on me - I thought I had another week! So, sketched up on Saturday night and painted yesterday. Used probably too much turps in with the medium, but I baked the finished product under two hundred watt lamps, and it was dry this morning when I went to spray retouch varnish on it. Sigh. Framed it and ran it over to Newport. Bob drove. He'd happily finished a nice little homage to one of his own heroes, Albert Bierstadt, yesterday too.

Why was I panicking? Well, last year, people were ringing up from all over the country to get into this show well after the midweek deadline and the show had filled up to capacity. I just squeezed in to that one too - and won a prize to boot. Best Humorous! Yes, I painted a Koala then too. To see that one, go to my Muse du Jour blog (link at left) and go to the New Years day entry. :-D

Meanwhile, I'd better go find something simple to paint this afternoon.
See you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day 21

Rose Heart Box
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00

I got inspired to paint this yesterday! I'd been looking for something, and my eye fell on this. A dear friend sent it to me for Christmas, from Australia. According to the little note inside it, it's a vintage tibetan silver heart jewellry trinket box. Hmm. I thought it was pewter. But no matter, it painted up just lovely. I'm rather pleased with this painting. The box itself is only about two and a half inches across, but I wanted plenty of space for it to react with the red cloth I used as a back drop. Lots of nice juicy reflections.

Only four colours used: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Alizirin Crimson and of course, Titanium White. Brushes were: half inch Flat, Size 6 Filbert, and a very small round - a '0' I think.

Loved painting with such lush colours!
See you tomorrow

Day 20

Sea Stack
(6x8", Oil) Price: $ 80.00

These rock stacks appear off the southern coast of Australia, round the corner and up the coast road a 'bit' from a place called Geelong in Victoria, Australia. This is one of the 'Twelve Apostles' ('cause there were originally 12), but is now just referred to as 'The Apostles'. Some of them have collapsed into the sea. My Grandmother loved these rock formations. Anyway, in looking for something 'simple' to paint late night, I ended up pulling out a photo from when we visited some years ago. I don't paint landscapes very well: something about rocks and trees as a whole - or group - have difficulty when I'm trying to paint them. Fortunately, I got to noodle water in this one, so it doesn't look to bad. I think I have a 'landscape gene' missing from my make up - Bob's probably got it, since he's a masterclass landscape artist.

Anyway, I had to change out my usual French Ultramarine for this painting, because it just wasn't going to cut it for the sky. Yes, Aussie skies are really that Cobalt! So that's what I used - and added Permanent Green Light to help with the water. This was painted with one brush only: a Size 10 Filbert. I wanted to see if the big brush strokes would allow me to loosen the style a bit.

So this is my token landscape, er, seascape.
More tomorrow,

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day 19

(6x8", Oil) Price: $135.00 SOLD

Here is today's flower...a magnolia.

I had to paint rather a 'quickie' - well for me anyway - so I threw up a photo I took in a friends garden in New Jersey several years ago. I love magnolias almost as much as I love roses. That candle-flame elegance of form is just beautiful.

I managed this painting sandwiched between obligations yesterday. Five colour palette: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Light, Titanium White, and Alizirin Crimson.

See you tomorrow.

PS: Life is taking on the seriously frantic pace of what consists of 'normal' for us, and I'm contemplating holding out doing paintings a day for as long as I can, then back pedalling to two or three a week. I know, it's a cop out, but most male artists have wives who take care of the domesticity so that they can paint in peace. Well, my husband who is a professional, does have that: ME. So, I've got to make some choices or go crazy...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 18

Rose Quartz Bear
(5x7", Oil) Price: $85.00

This has posted a little dark, but it still looks as it should. A two and a half inch bear carved out of rose quartz. That is a jade fish in his mouth - and is actually brighter in the painting, than this image.
He's a cutie and I've been wanting to paint him for awhile. I just had to get my druthers up to attempt painting something shiny, let alone translucent. Anyway, the palette consisted of: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Alizirin Crimson, Titanium White and Cadmium Yellow Light.
More tomorrow,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Day 17

Old Fashioned Roses
(5x7", Oil) Price: $75.00

Sorry for the delay. I was waiting for paint to dry...
More roses! I haven't been able to identify these yet, but they looked so pretty climbing up someone's fence, I had to take a photo in passing. They look old-fashioned, because of the multitude of petals and full blooms. Reminds me of Victorian ruffles. However, my knowledge of flowers is patchy at best, so they really could be modern hybrids. But I like my romantic notion better...
Anyway, it was painted with another huge interruption in the middle: we had some friends over and held a model shoot/photography get together - with sushi! Got some nice reference photos for future use, and my husband is now happy that he has a references for a personal work he wants to paint. However, I finished the piece at midnight, and wasn't completely happy with it then. After a good sleep, it looked better in the morning light, I'm happy to say.
The palette was limited to: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Red Deep, and Titanium White.
Must get back to the easel!
See you tomorrow,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day 16

Unicorn Head Study
(5x5", Oil) Price: $65.00 Framed!! SOLD

Last in the current horse theme...

Here is an idealized version of the head of the same toy horse used in the last two days paintings. Only this time, I reveresed it, so we're looking at the other side of the head, and in profile. I added the horn to turn the horse into a unicorn, enlarged the eye slightly, and smoothed the features. The hair in the mane is probably more than what's really there, as well. More fanciful.

I painted on gessoed panel this time, tinted with a blend of Burnt Sienna, Titanium White, and Cadmium Red Light. It shows through a bit, in the horse neck and background. I used a restricted palette again: French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Titanium White, and Cadmium Yellow Light.

I might do some more horse paintings, but not right now. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

See you then,

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day 15

Waverunner Study
(6x8", Oil) Price: $110.00 Framed!! SOLD
Continuing on with the horse theme...

I painted this using the same toy model from Day 14 - Horse Head Study. This time I loosened the rules of strict interpretation and applied imagination to come up with this little painting. Yes, we are allowed to 'interpret' our models as our creative eye sees fit. It all depends on your style of painting and application of paint and/or imaginative expression thereof. In a nutshell, it's commonly called 'artistic license'.

For this painting, I used a reference photo I took of a wave on Naussett Beach at Cape Cod. The breaking wave fit nicely with the angle of the toy horse's head. Without planning too much - explains the slightly unplanned look of the piece - I used big brushes to make sweeping colour curves and curlicues with lots of soft edges to create the wave. I only wanted the impression of water, not an exact replica of the photograph. And as 'whitecaps' only suggest the flying manes and horse heads, I didn't want to overly define the head of the horse itself. It's supposed to be a day dreamy rendition; a fantasy. My only criticism of this effort, is that the 3/4 angle of the head itself lends to a misinterpretation of the horse's noggin being too chunky. Most 'waverunner' horses are usually defined as delicate with thin noses, not with the slightly aquiline bent that this one has.

The palette consisted of: French Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow Light, Transparent Gold Ochre, and Titanium White. The canvas was pre-tinted with a combination of Burnt Sienna, T. White and Cadmium Red Light - dried before using.

Well, there'll be another horsie type tomorrow, in a fresh interpretation.

I'll see you then,

Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 14

Horse Head Study
(4x5", Oil) Price: $65.00 SOLD
I've been gearing myself up to complete some unfinished paintings lurking around the studio. One of them is a 'wave runner' piece containing three white horses as the white caps on ocean waves. It's not that complicated, but I got interrupted by 'business and life stuff' after I started it last year, and it has sat staring at me since then. Well, we're attending a local Science Fiction and Fantasy convention in Boston in February, and I realised that I have very few pieces to put in the art show. So, I'm herding my artistic ducks into a row and getting some pieces together for it. In preparation, I thought that painting a few test horse heads might be a good thing. This is the first study I did, using a toy white horse by the same German company that made the Clydesdale toy horse in Day 6. Palette consisted of the usual suspects.

In the next few days, I'll be doing more fantastical variation studies using the same toy horse in different positions. After all, extrapolation and interpretation are what we artists thrive on. I don't like slavish copying of anything.

See you tomorrow,

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 13

Flamingo 59
(5x7", Oil) Price: $100.00 SOLD
Meet 'Flamingo 59'. He, or she as the case may be, lives at the zoo at Waikiki in Hawaii with lots of other flamingoes. I've called him Flamingo 59 because that is the number on his leg tag, and he posed rather prettily for several photos that I took the day we visited. So beware of at least another flamingo painting or so, down the track.

I'd been finishing up another painting that's been lurking on my easel since late last year, entitled 'Cosmic Greenman'. So I used the left over paint on the palette to paint this chap. It's a bit of a mix of the different blues, greens, sienna, and of course two reds as well as the usual Titanium white. Again, it was a lot of fun smoodging the background water and noodling 'almost reflections'.

You can see the 'Cosmic Greenman' painting on my other blog 'Muse du Jour'. The link for that is in the side bar of this page.

Hope you like this one,
See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Day 12

Tin Toy Robot
(6x8", Oil) Price: $110.00 Framed. SOLD

Yes, it's another toy! I'm surrounded by new and vintage toys, thanks to my husband who is an avid collector. There are also many dinosaur figurines and toys as well. Ditto for dragons...so I hope you don't get sick of them any time soon.

I've been eyeing off this little tin toy robot for some time. Wistfully thinking of the personal works of fellow artist Eric Joyner, I've always wanted to paint one. Eric is a wonderful illustrator, but his personal works involving tin toy robots, spacemen and spaceships, giant attacking donuts, and recently, giant Japanese monster toys are terrifically funny and endearing. You can see more of his work at www.ericjoyner.com. In the meantime, you can view my paltry effort. Sorry about the reflection on the canvas - it was still wet and hard to handle when taking the photo.

It was interesting to paint, I'll give it that. Lots of reflections, reflected colour, and straight lines. Straight lines are a bugger to paint with a big brush, so I used a couple of little ones as well: size 6 filbert and size 2 small synthetic Flat. Palette contained the usual suspects, but with two Cadmium Reds - Dark and Light.

On to the next one!
See you tomorrow,

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 11

Opening Rose Bud
(5x7", Oil) Price: $100.00
Another late night painting! I'm going to have to do something about that time-frame.

Okay, another rose, and rather an awkward angle to paint it from, so it was a bit of a challenge. The bud itself is drooping, and I took the photo looking up into it. Another 'gem' from our friend Nick's garden, and first cousin to the rose in the painting from Day 3 - Ailing Rose. The bud is just starting to unfurl its petals, beginning with those closest to the sun. The petals had a wonderful glow about them, so I tried hard to capture that. I removed the bits of sky that were in the original photo and continued the dark foiliage up into the top of the painting. It makes the rosebud 'pop' much more: because the sky was a distraction, what with all of the little puffy clouds, that would have competed with the focus of the picture - the rosebud. The background was painted wet into wet, with lots of lovely smoodges.

I'm currently sticking with the palette you've become familiar with since I started posting, this time containing Cadmium Red Dark in the array.

Doing this everyday it gruelling stuff! Hope you don't get sick of toys. Tomorrow is a tin-toy robot...

See you tomorrow,

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day 10

Toy Sabertooth Tiger
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00

I'd been fighting to find painting time the day I painted this. I also was feeling a bit disgruntled about having to go out the same evening. So between things, I grabbed yet another toy - this time from one of Bob's paleontology shelves - and feeling a bit under duress, I set to. It's not quite how I expected it to turn out, but in gaining some distance from the day I painted it and the residual emotions, I find it isn't too bad an effort. This image is a little dark, and there is a bit too much red in the shadows, but it's close to the painted result.

The palette is the same as for Day 8 - Bright Spot. I hope you're enjoying this variation on a theme regarding palette choices - or lack thereof.

The weather is playing havoc with the drying times of the oil paint, so I hope you don't mind the odd delay in posting.

See you tomorrow,

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Day 9

Two Rose Study
(5x7", Oil) Price: $100.00
Here are some more roses...

I felt a bit ambivalent about this when I was painting it, but it seems to be growing on me. No pun intended. I took a series of photographs of some flower still-life arrangements at home about 18 months ago - playing with different colour backcloths and rose colours. This combination really didn't appeal to me until I had to translate it into paint. Funny that. You never really look at something until you have to transcribe its features and elements into paint or sculpture. In being forced to look deeper into something, you gain a whole new appreciation for it.

The palette consisted of the same colours as Day 8 - Bright Spot, except that instead of using Alizirin Crimson as the red, I used Cadmium Red Deep.

Anyway, it's late.
See you tomorrow,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Day 8

Bright Spot
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00
We were in Silverton Falls in Oregon just over a year ago, on a much needed weeks vacation. During our travels, we spent several hours exploring the natural crater that contains various waterfalls, rainforest types of vegetation and a visual feast for the senses. I took many photographs, one of which was this spotlit branch high up in a tree. It gives a beautiful sense of serenity when you look at it, so naturally I had to have a go at painting it. The result is this rather impressionistic little daub. I had so much fun painting the background vegetation 'wet into wet' and 'smoodging' happy accidents. One day I might go back and paint a bigger, much tighter version to satisfy the perfectionist in my soul, but at the moment, I am content.

My palette consisted of the usual suspects: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Transparent Gold Ochre, and Cadmium Yellow Light. I was forced to add the tiniest touch of Alizirin Crimson to the array because the tiny pink flower bud needed it.

Hope you like it!
See you tomorrow,

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Day 7

Shy Squid
(5x7", Oil) Price: $100.00 SOLD This little chap has been lingering in the back of my mind for the last year or two, as a subject or centrepiece of a still life project. So I set him up against a blue oceany backcloth and set to work. Since he's only about three inches tall, the painting called for a smaller canvas, hence the 5x7" size. Also, too, the little squid is of a shy nature, so a more intimate size of painting helps to showcase his element.

It didn't help that I had an unexpected three hour interuption in the middle of this work. By the time that was over, I had the unique task of trying to rebond with my subject - took about half an hour of noodling paint around before I hit my stride again. I like the outcome, despite being hit sideways by the interuption. My mother calls it 'character building'; I call it 101 Painting Obstacle Course practice.

Anyway, I used the following limited palette: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Titanium White, and Transparent Gold Ochre. This is the exact same palette as the Gargoyle painting in Day 5, but with a radical different coloured result. You'd be amazed at the array of colours that can be mixed from a limite palette. People are stunned when I admit that I haven't used a tube 'Black' paint in many years. I prefer to mix my blacks - from warm to cool - using only Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna. A little Titanium white added to the mix provides a myriad of grays to play with. Either 'burnt' or 'raw' 'umbers' or siennas' can produce an almost limitless array of deep shadowy darks and 'blacks' - all it requires is a bit of experimentation. And my combination of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna produces a deep velvety black that's difficult to find in a preproduced tube. I just haven't looked lately.

Anyway, see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Day 6

Toy Clydesdale
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00
Well, the Clydesdale is dry at last.

I love the rich warm brown backcloth, so I've been using it a bit, and will probably use it more in the future. It's a perfect accompaniment to still lifes. Anyway, the horse in question is a plastic toy made by a German company, and I kind of liked the way he looked like he was moving. He didn't look static or stiff at all, which means the sculptor of this animal was very gifted. Hopefully, I've translated it fairly well into paint.

I used only four colours for this painting: Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine, Transparent Gold Ochre, and Titanium white. It was a nice exercise in restraint. Two brushes: a small size 6 synthetic Filbert, and the same 1/2" Flat (synthetic) that I used on the Gargoyle painting from Day 5.

One thing about these small canvasses, aside from being oil-painting practice, it proves just how dexterous an artist can be using only minimal tools. One can surpise oneself, if only one will try.

See you tomorrow,

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Day 5

(6x8", Oil) Price: $120.00 Framed!!  SOLD
Here is the Gargoyle! I'm so pleased with how this turned out. Although, it looks dark here, the original looks quite luminous.

6x8" seems to be my size de rigueur lately. It's such a comfortable shape to use when painting small still lifes. Not too big and not too small. Not too wide and not too thin. Well, I limited my palette to only a few colours this time: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Transparent Gold Ochre and Titanium White. The background base was formed using the 'Sienna, Ultramarine, and T. white, and allowed to dry first. You know - all those backgrounds I create using left over paint on the palette? Well, I was starting to run out of them, so I've been happily making more in a variety of sizes after I finish painting each day. I've noticed that a dry oil base allows for less drag on the brushes when laying paint. A smoother tooth, so to speak. I tried using an acrylic tinted canvas as a base for the Pumpkin/Skull painting a few days ago, but I didn't like the feel of the surface beneath the brush. I really like my oil backgrounds!

Oh, and by the by: I only used one brush for this entire painting - a 1/2" Flat (Synthetic).

Hope you like today's result as much as I do.

See you tomorrow

Monday, January 8, 2007

Day 4

Wave Study - Nausset Beach
(4x6", Oil) Price: $75.00
Last year, Bob and I spent three days at a little hotel right on Nausset Beach at Cape Cod. The tourists had left and it was nice to get a bit of peace and quiet, and some peace of mind. Better yet, remnants of a hurricane caused some mighty spectacular waves down on the beach. We scurried down with our gear - me with a sketch book and Bob with his paint box. Okay, I'm inexperienced and nervous at painting in public, but Bob's fearless. He painted two canvasses that day - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. I watched wave patterns and sketched them. I also took lots of photos.

This little study is from one repetitive curlicue wave pattern that I loved. The photo's I took were a great back up to my sketches. Anyway, it's 4x6" and was a joy to paint.

Lessons learned:

1. Paint more water scenes.
2. Big brushes don't always work on teeny canvasses - but Filberts rule!

See you tomorrow,

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Day 3

Ailing Rose
(5x7", Oil) Price: $100.00
I painted this rose from a photo I took in our friend Nick's backyard. It was a well-formed, gorgeous bloom, except for the brown edges and spots that marred its perfection. Hence the title, 'Ailing Rose'.

I love roses, so you'll probably see a fair few of them on this page as time goes by. Elegant, imperious, romantic, and commanding. They have such history, and a history of lore spreading behind them all the way back into antiquity that makes fascinating reading. They appear as symbols in many a heraldic form, religious symbol, and warrior's banner - be it as a symbol of strength or of purity. Both are represented in the Rose's pantheon of symbology. Mind you, it's my birth flower, so I'm partial, I guess.

Anyway, I painted this rose on a 5x7" gessoed panel. The smoother tooth of the panel was a joy to paint on, but the paint itself is still drying four days later. I took it outside in the sun and photographed it - now it's back to the drying shelf for this little daub. Speaking of which, I always have a fun time painting the foliage around the blooms. Even some of the Burnt Sienna based background still shows through in spots.

So far, I seem to limit myself to about 5-8 colours on the palette while I've been painting these, and mixing from those what I need to. Painting time itself, seems to be rounding out to about two hours per painting. I used a size 4 soft Filbert brush, and size 2 Round brush to complete this piece. Filberts are my favourite brushes!

See you tomorrow,

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Day 2

Little Pumpkin and Skull
(6x8", Oil) Price: $75.00
Sorry for the canvas texture on the image, but the scanner insists on highlighting the crossweave, and with the canvas being so small, it's hard to get rid of. I'll work on that. Meanwhile...

I made a mistake with this little chap: I started way too late at night - nearly 10pm - and chose a subject that was something more of a challenge than I realised. I always like to spend quality time painting skulls, if I have to paint them at all, because there's something intrinsic in them that I have trouble translating into paint. Not sure why. This isn't a real skull, anyway. It's a two inch souvenir that my husband picked up when we visited Kents Cavern in Torquay, England last year. Now he really LOVES skulls, and has no trouble painting them at all!

The other problem was the pumpkin. It's one of those mini ones that make great decorations throughout the Fall. However, last year I didn't get to choose the pumpkins myself. So although it's the colour I wanted, the shape wasn't quite 'it'. I persevered until midnight and called it quits because I was getting really sleepy. The painting itself is what I call third-stage-finished - if it had been a real painting created over a few days instead of just a few hours, this would have been the underpainting. An0ther couple of two hour sessions would turn it into a much finer result. However, it's just a sketch, and I'm just getting the hang of this.

Lessons learned:

1. Don't start painting too late in the evening.
2. Don't start painting a complicated subject too late in the evening, unless I'm planning on working on it again the next day.
4. Block off the secondary light source on the other side of the easel, so it doesn't add a backlight to the subject - unless I really intend it to be there, of course.
3. Gesso and sand the canvas supports so they'll be smoother to work on, and to scan.

See you tomorrow,

Friday, January 5, 2007

Day 1

Jaunty Spider Conch
(6x8", Oil) Price: $100.00
Well this is the first of my 'Painting a Day' series. It's a 6x8" oil sketch of a Violet Spider Conch sporting a snipped off peacock feather. I'd had this composition idea for twenty-four hours before I actually set it up to paint - from life. That was a big hurdle for me: steeling myself to do this. It took about two hours of noodling paint around and getting comfortable with it. I deliberately did NOT want to overwork it, so it kind of looks a bit rough. I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out, though. Kind of looks like a lady's spiffy hat, hence the title.
Lessons learned:
1. This can work if I just let myself 'go with it'.
2. Even roughly finished paintings have their charm.
3. Big brushes and little boards can be a lot of fun.

See you tomorrow,

Thursday, January 4, 2007

INTRODUCTION...Painting a day

I’ve been watching my husband, Bob, creating a painting a day now for the last 20 days or so and helping him post them on his new blog – Bob’s ART du Jour. And I’ve been asking myself, ‘why can’t I do that too’? Over the last week I’ve looked at my painting table in the studio and been telling myself that I can produce a painting a day too – just a lot smaller. I’ve had a long-standing fear-hurdle of painting from life, and shied away from working on life studies or still life subjects. With the onset of the New Year, I decided to face down that fear and deal with the fact that whatever I produce might not be polished, but it will help discipline my work routines – or should I say, current lack of.

Fear of ‘the blank page’ or fear of ‘the blank canvas’ is something that causes a lot of creators to falter when starting a new project, quite often not starting at all. ‘It’s too hard’, ‘I’ll fail’, or ‘I’m not good enough and it’ll look terrible’ are among the main barriers that I face. And quite often I won’t start a painting or illustration because there’s a heap of reference to get through or I can’t find the right reference or model photo that’s exactly ‘it’. And too often, ‘Life’ gets in the way. Or I’m interrupted at the height of painting fervour and the painting stays on the easel for months waiting for that last lick of a brush to carry it to the ‘finished’ line. So in the last year, I started experimenting with non-genre subjects on a very small scale. Say, 6x8”, 5x7”, and smaller. Now I intend to amp up the ante and produce one a day.

To get the ball rolling and past the procrastination stage, I spent time using up oil paint left over on the palette by creating ready-made ‘backgrounds’. I take a big brush and daub different colours onto a board until I cover it and get a combination I like, then I take up one of my favourite brushes – a big fluffy blending brush – and whisk it lightly over the surface. This blurs and smudges the paint, and looks mysterious. In doing this, I have a backlog of painting surfaces that I can use as a mid-ground for starting a painting – and not have to face the ‘blank white canvas’ fear. The colour combinations tweak my painting senses and I forge ahead. Quite often the background gets painted over completely, but sometimes I work it in with the colours I’m painting with and the ground colours show through. It creates a depth I’m really happy with, especially when painting foliage.

Which brings me to flowers.

While I will experiment with painting objects from life, I will also work my way through about a zillion photos I took of flowers last year. For some reason, I have found that painting flowers, particularly roses, to be very soothing. I’m not sure why. But I rather enjoy painting ‘wet into wet’ in a single session using flowers as a subject. The painting of the yellow Brandy Tea Roses above was the first I actually painted in this fashion – a year ago. Now I’ll be using that technique to carry on with the current daily project.

So check in occasionally and see what I’ve been up to. You’ll be most welcome.