Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Patch It Up...

Not too long ago, I got Lilla Rogers' book I Just Like To Make Things. In it, she had a few creativity exercises, and I fell in love with this patchwork looking one! She had us pick several of our favorite colors and then fill in the squares with them. I was so ecstatic with the results, I wanted to use the idea in a real painting.

So I divided a 16"x20" wood panel into 4"x4" squares and went to town. I wanted to keep the colors a bit more muted, so that whatever (or whoever) I painted over top would stand out.

I used the same techniques from my last painting... only this time I used my dominant hand (Spoiler Alert! I actually liked the left handed one better!) But the very dry brush strokes and multiple layers still came through and I love all the scritchy-scratchy detail that produces.

I decided to make her dress black so that it would pop over the pastel background. It worked!

And I ended up giving her a black mouse-eared hat just to balance things out. Of course once I made the hat, it felt like too much black.... and so I emblazoned it with my own little pink mouseketeer logo to create some visual distraction.

Typically when I think I'm done, I'll prop my painting up on the living room couch — opposite where I sit to watch TV. I'll glance over at it every once in awhile to see what I like and what I don't. So after staring at it for hours, I went back and added some shadows, and lightened some areas too. It was still a little scary as the Recovering Perfectionist in me didn't want to mess it up.

But the longer I stared at it, the more I saw things I wanted to change. So if it's a choice between leaving it as is (and not being happy), or trying something else to improve it (even if I don't like it)... why not just continue to improve it? And even though she's done... I still see things I'm going to change... and I'm not scared to do it!

Talk about patching things up!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Left-Handed Pinky...

Sometimes I get a creative idea in my head and I must execute it immediately! And such is the case with a recent painting of mine... featuring this adorable little girl I named Pinky.  You see... I wanted to loosen up my style a bit and so I decided to do an entire painting left-handed! I wanted a real folk art feel, so I took several approaches for this personal assignment...

Starting with my usual techniques, I began to create lots and lots of layers. Lots! It's actually pretty funny (and a little scary!) to see where the face begins in this process. It actually looks like a psychopathic fluorescent baby panda, right?

Ahhhhh... a little better with more layers, but still kind of scary without the eyeballs! But I knew in my head where the piece was going, so I let myself trust the process and let it unfold with my non-dominant hand.

For this painting, I used a very, very, very dry brush for all of the strokes. After I put the paint on the brush, I wiped it almost completely dry onto a paper towel. When I changed colors, I didn't re-use that wet brush... I used another dry brush.

It took a long time and required much patience, especially doing it awkwardly left-handed... but the effect was worth it. Lots and lots of yummy layers of colors that highlighted the paintstrokes beneath.

Layers covered. Layers uncovered. Adding more over top. It really was a deliciously delightful process!

The last thing I did was add the polka dots to the background... because I'm an ass-backwards kind of gal... and because I thought it needed a little something subtle. But when I stepped back... I fell in love with her immediately! She was everything I had hoped for in my mind, before I started to paint. And when that actually happens — besides being a miracle in and of itself — I start to believe in myself as an artist. I start to believe that maybe I really can make the things that I see in my head. And I start to want to create more things because I trust myself.

Now that's one left-handed compliment!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fishing With Love...

When you are fishing with love... you can catch whatever you wish! And so catching a few hours of paint time this weekend was exactly what I was fishing for. After all, if I don't love myself enough to let myself play every once in awhile... who will? So I gave my permission!

I couldn't wait to get started! I had these oddly rectangular canvasses for awhile and wanted to do something interesting with them. A whimsical fisher-girl seemed like just the right subject for this substrate. I began with a bluish-greenish monochromatic palette and let it fade into the background, so the girl and fish would stand out!

I'm not sure why I made her eyes so big! They looked a little more proportional in the sketch... but I went with it... chalking it up to a bit of whimsy. Whimsy never hurt anyone!

The pops of color were exactly what I was looking for, and the fish turned out even sweeter than I thought he would. I must confess though... that I drew him on a separate piece of tracing paper until I liked him. This little goldfishie is the 3rd iteration of my original attempt, and a sweetly creative expression of exactly what I was fishing for (with love)! You see... I'm trying to discover my own personal style. And like any good fisherwoman...patience and perseverence is what I need!