Sunday 29 January 2012

Saturday 28 January 2012

A study in orange

The colour for January for the Creative Colour Challenge is orange, and we're supposed to create something using only this colour. I decided to do a little colour study, mixing different oranges, and creating a whole page of orange, including some information about this colour.

According to the  book on colour in which I looked up orange, it is the least favourite colour after brown. Now while I wouldn't really want to wear anything orange, I've always quite liked the colour, especially for painting. It is so vibrant, and strong, and juicy, and it can make bright and happy colour accents.

Orange is between yellow and red, it's complementary colour is blue. Its geometric form is the pentagon, its position on the spectrum lies between 600nm (yellow orange) and 650nm (red orange). It is a modern colour, up till the end of the Middle Ages, pure orange was not used in European painting. It was regarded as a poor and unsuccessful form of red, and therefore avoided. It is named after the orange fruit in most languages.

It's connotations are: youth, courage, warmth, sun, extraversion, warning, caution, sunset, sociability, sympathy, compassion, health, desire, lust, willingness to make sacrifices, autumn. Orange is radiant, bright, loud, glaring, garish, bold, striking, noticable, cheap, purging. Orange is the colour of health, it is purifying and is good for one's nerves. Hyperactive, nervours and choleric persons should avoid the colour. Orange is an "opening" colour, it promotes the capacity for enthusiasm and releases blockades.

Friday 27 January 2012

Paint Party 46*4 ~ turning into a fairy tale

It's Friday, and therefore time for the Paint Party! I haven't got anything new yet for this week, still working on my tree landscape, which seems to be turning into some kind of fairy tale scene. Not yet quite sure where it is going, and if it will work. It definitely needs a lot more work. But I'm quite enjoying the silly patterns and details at the moment :).

My red flower meadow definitely needs some more work, though - at the moment, it looks more like a blood soaked battle field than a lovely field of flowers. And a blood soaked battle field is definitely not what I want on my living room wall.

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Thursday 26 January 2012

On my palette ~ green, green, green

I read about the Palette & Paint Blog Party last week, on Tracey Fletcher King's blog, and I thought it just sounded marvelous. Palette & Paint is hosted by Tracey Grgig Potter (don't miss visiting he blogs of both Traceys, they're fabulous!) and the idea is to share one's palette and paint. It's always interesting to see how others work, what paints, colours, techniques, materials are used, it's so inspiring.

I'm still working on my "landscape with trees" painting, and therefore the greens dominate my palette at the moment. Green is one of my favourite colours. It has a wonderful feel of calm, comfort and nature. It's a happy colour.

I'm playing around with different kinds of greens, such as Olive green, Olive green deep, Olive green light (I like my olive greens...), Chromium oxide green, Perylene green, Permanent sap green. But also some basic Cyan blue and Lemon yellow to mix some more greens. And some Titanium white, of course, can't do without that. And last but not least, some Cadmium red deep hue to add some colour and contrast.

I didn't manage to take a new picture of my painting last night to go with these, so for this post, I'm afraid, it's just my paint and palette. But I hope to manage to post one tomorrow, for Paint Part Friday, and do a bit better for next week's P&P.

Hop over to the Paint & Palette Blog Party to see what others have on their palette!

Monday 23 January 2012

Winter light

It's week 48 of Picture Inspiration already, and this week's prompt is "Winter Light". I had taken these pictures on the Sunday before, actually, but "winter light" was exactly what I had in mind on that early (well not that early, really) Sunday morning walk.

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us. (Ashley Montagu)

So, four weeks left to go. Taking a look at the statistics in the classroom gallery, I managed to take/post a total of 29 pictures for 25 of the prompts, and the last one I posted was in week 40 (two months ago? Really??). That makes it just slightly more than half of the prompts. It's more than I thought, actually, but much less than I intended. But I'm really really determined now to complete the last 4 prompts now.

Friday 20 January 2012

If you don't like it, just start again // Paint Party Friday 45*3

There really is no point in going on with a painting when everything tells you it's just not going to work. And there's also no point in keeping half painted canvases, or even finished ones, stacked away somewhere, taking up space and gathering dust, when you simply don't like them at all and know that you'll never ever fnish them. There really is just one thing to do - paint over it and start again. Which is exactly what I did last Sunday.

So far, it's only  a rough sketch, the first layer of (possible) colours. But  already, I like it a lot better than the first one, underneath. I love the colour green, and I love going for walks in the woods and country side. Nature is so inspiring. So I wanted to bring some of that into my home. I've also been thinking a lot about dreams and wishes these past few weeks and months, and especially now, with the beginning of a new year. The shape I associate with dreams and wishes is round - circles, bubbles, polka dots. But I also like lines, which give direction, point the way, lead you on on your journey through life, or just on your Sunday walk through the local woods.

There is of course still a lot to with this one, and I'll just have to see how it comes along. I hope to spend most of Sunday working on it. And if I don't like it at all, well, I'll just paint over it, and start again ;)

I'm so delighted with this green glass jar I bought in a second hand/thrift shop yesterday. There were two of them, and I just wish I had bought the other one too...

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Portrait #4

Finished portrait #4 last night, using some charcoal sticks I bought earlier. I bought them because I liked the fact that the box contained a range of grey tones in addition to white and black. But  I wasn't  too happy with them, though. The consistency reminded me more of those chalks used on blackboards, and they're very dusty.

At the moment, the portraits seem to develop a "life" of their own, with me having only limited influence in the process. I use pictures in magazines as a reference, but I'm not too bothered about producing any real likeness. It's the pose, the angle, the proportions, the highlights and shadows I'm interested in, and I just add layer after layer, wondering how she will turn out, what kind of emotion, mood will emerge. Here, I think it's a kind of pain or distress. Maybe she's having a slight headache, or remembering/thinking about something unpleasant. I'm quite enjyoing this rather intuitive process at the moment.

After I took the photo, I actually worked some more on her, I just couldn't stop. Maybe I'll replace the photo later on with the finished version.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Winter's beauty

Nature creating the most exquisite art on some car windows. There's nothing like winter :)

Sunday 15 January 2012

#3 is finished

I finished portrait #3 yesterday last night. I'm quite pleased with how she turned out. Of course, there are still 100 things that could be improved, corrected, made better. Especially on the cheek, which looks a bit flat. I also planned to add a background at first, but I'm going to leave her like this, at least for the moment :)

And now, on to #4 :)

Saturday 14 January 2012

Some more thoughts on the 100 portraits project

On Wednesday, I talked about my 100 portraits project I was planning to do this year, in order to improve my drawing skills. The idea was to use my sketchbook to draw in, and the "100" wasn't so much a definite number, but more meant as "a lot", or "as many as possible". But I have now decided to really try and do 100 portraits this year, and not just into my sketchbook, but instead 100 individual portraits. Right now, I'm working on 40x40cm sketching paper, and this suits me very well. I want to use different paint mediums as well, but for the moment, I think I'll stick to the pastels for a little while. I really don't know why I haven't used these pastels more often before. I've used them only for sketching on to a canvas, really, but never on their own as such. But just love them!!!. And I think they work so well for portraits. :).

The good thing with my 100 portraits project is that it not only won't give me a lot of practice, it also means that I will have a perfect stock of reference images for all kinds of poses, postures, moods, and characters, etc. which I will be able to use for my paintings. And I just really enjoy spending some evenings doing them, and that, really, is already reason enough to continue.

This is portrait #3 I'm working on at the moment. Still lot of work to do on her, but I quite like her, and I just hope I won't spoil her.

Friday 13 January 2012

Paint Party Friday 44*2 ~two little robins

It's not only Friday, but also Paint Party Friday, on top of it, Friday the 13th! It's my second Paint Party Friday, and I really enjoyed it last week. It is such an inspiring community of talented artists! Make sure to check it out if you don't know it yet!

I saw this sweet little robin wile going for a walk in the local wildlife park. He kept sitting there for quite some time, allowing me to takes pictures in different poses. I wanted to visit the moose, and I thought the two of them, the small robin and the big moose, looked just too charming.

I wanted to do a little painting of the robin, further exploring the colour orange for the Creative Colour Challenge. So this week, I added it, or rather two of them, on to the background I had prepared last week.

Not quite sure yet what to think of it. I'm not entirely happy with the result. But for the moment, it'll do.

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Thursday 12 January 2012

I think I'm really going to enjoy this portrait thing!

Working on an other portrait tonight, and I'm am really beginning to enjoy taking my time to complete a drawing, working on the shading, blending and highlights. I was a bit sceptical about the attempting portraits, but I think I'm going to like it a lot. I'm usually too tired to take out my paints and stuff by the time I finally get home in the evening. But a bit of pencil or charcoal drawing, that is manageable. And so relaxing and satisfying.

This is a charcoal and pastel work in progress. I can't wait to continue working on it tomorrow!

Wednesday 11 January 2012

100 portraits: exercises in drawing

Drawing and sketching is something I've always rather neglected. For me, (rough) sketching mainly served the purpose to outline a subject on a canvas, and no great attention was needed to be given to details, as it was going to be painted over anyway. Even during Art Every Day Month in November, when I started to draw and sketch more, I never took more time than 5, 10 minutes for a drawing. But this year, I want to dedicate more time to the fine art of drawing, and improve my skills. So I went and bought a new sketchbook (it's always good to have an excuse to buy a new sketchbook :) ) and got the basic tools out - pencils, blenders and erasers.

When looking through all my sketchbooks, paintings, and even photographs, I noticed that there weren't many people in them. So this year, I want to focus more on people. There are many photographers on Flickr , for erxample, who are doing great projects like "100 strangers" - taking portraits of strangers in the street. While I'm not planning to ask strangers in the streets to model for a sketch or drawing (not even for a photograph, to be honest), I want to try and draw 100 portraits. Or at least a whole lot, exploring different techniques and mediums. At the end, it doesn't really matter if it's a 100, or less, or even more. The main thing is to practise as much as possible. The new sketchbook will be for people only, and I hope that by the end of the year, it will be filled with them from cover to cover.

So yesterday evening, and the day before, I sat down at my desk and started with the basics. Basic shapes, and some simple faces. I didn't work from a photograph, or anything, just trying to get the basic shapes of the eyes (by way the hardest part!), the nose, the lips, and taking my time to blend, blend, blend. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the results weren't always satisfying (yet). I think it should be a bit easier to use photographs, pictures in newspapers, magazines etc., or even life models, to work with, rather than trying to figure out the exact shapes, shadows and highlights in my head. I will make and take time to seriously practise drawing, especially portrait drawing, this year - along with all the other things. Sketching, drawing, acrylic painting, watercolour painting, photography.... Oh, I just wish I had more time!

Saturday 7 January 2012

Focus52 ~ Something New

Last night, I was thinking that I should get some kind of basket to put the rolls of paper into. I kept moving them from one place to another, because somehow, they were always in the way and didn't really have a place to live. I looked around at home if I had a basket or something I could use, but the only thing I found was a green plastic bucket. Not really something I wanted standing around in my "studio".

This morning, when I went out to do the shopping, thinking that I might see if they had some kind of decent waste paper basket I could use at the supermarket, I walked past the "Brockenstübli" (a sort of second hand/thrift shop) around the corner, and what did I see, standing outside? A basket, about 40cm, which was just perfect. And at a bargain as well.

And it was also perfect for this week's prompt, New, for Focus52, another challenge I decided to try and do this year. I've been thinking the whole week about what photo I could possibly take for the prompt (you don't have to use the prompt, but I wanted to).

So here it is, my new, perfect basket. Isn't it funny how sometimes things just work out like this?

Friday 6 January 2012

My first Paint Party Friday check-in

Paint Party Friday is another project I want to take part in this year (I started working on a post about all my projects/challenges for this year, which I meant to post earlier this week, but then work got in the way - and unfortunately, I don't mean the creative kind of work...). Well, with the first week back at work at the library after the Christmas break, my creative work has rather slowed down, and I didn't really have the time and/or energy to continue working on the painting I started on Monday (see my last pots).

But I didn't want to already miss my first Paint Party Friday, so last night, I took out my watercolours. It's actually the first time since my painting holiday in Salzburg in mid-December that I did some watercolour painting. Somehow, I just needed a little break from them... (But I'm not giving up on them - yet :) ).

I was quite frustrated, last night. The colours were again doing what they wanted, and all my layers, shadings and details had comletely disappeared once the colour was dry. But after putting it all aside for a day, and then adding some additional layers and details on top tonight when I got back from work, the colours fnally started to behave themselves...

I'm planning to spend quite some time painting this weekend, so hopefully, next Friday I'll have a bit more to show than just a couple of oranges, but I'm happy I actually did manage to do them :)

And now I think I need some vitamin C... and to tidy up my workspace...

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Wednesday 4 January 2012

A little bit of orange

I started working on a little painting on Monday, the last day of my Christmas break.  A new painting, the first in the new year ("new" is the January theme for both the Creative Every Day Challenge and Focus52, which I signed up for in order to try and keep up the creative habit more regularly. I hope to incorporate the themes a bit more creatively in the future...). I wanted to incorporate some orange, start working with that colour, as it is the colour for January in the Creative Colour Challenge (more about this, and my other projects/challenges for this year, later). I love textures and structure, building it up layer after layer on the canvas.

I quite like how it turned out so far. If it was a lager canvas, I might even be tempted to just leave it like this. But it's only a 24x30cm canvas, so the effect isn't quite the sames. And I have an idea in mind that I'd like to try out. Something keeping with the orange theme.

So this is only the background. And it's ready to be painted on to. But before I go on adding my little idea, I first have to do some sketches and exercises in my sketchbook. Try the idea out to get it right when adding it on to the canvas.

But first, I think I'll have a little tea break, if you don't mind. After all, there's no hurry :)

Sunday 1 January 2012

All set for the journey

At the end of last year I came across the idea to pick a certain word for the new year, as a sort of guideline to focus on. I liked the idea a lot, and also signed up for the One Little World class. The class wasn't really successful for me, for various reasons, but that was okay, because I found so much inspiration (my word for 2011) everywhere, and I was getting back into the habit of being creative, painting a lot again, beginning to draw and sketch more, and even learning a whole range of new skills and techniques. I was embracing my word fully.

During the last few weeks of the old year, I've been thinking a lot about a new word for 2012. I made a list of possible words, and although all really appealed to me, none was screaming out to me. Then I read something in a book, and suddenly, I had my word: journey. It seemed perfect because it includes so many of the words I had written down. It's all about change, progress, a little bit of adventure thrown in, being open to new things, growth, forward, action, experience, development, discovery, etc. It's about being in a different place (literally and/or metaphorically) at the end of the journey, in some way or other.

I've also decided to sign up for the One Little Word class again. I'd really like to focus more consciously on my word this year. Last year's inspiration had a more passive quality. Letting things happen, follow the flow. It was a year of searching. This year's journey is more active. It's about doing things, making them happen, focusing on and working with them. I don't know how far I'll come with the class this year, but at the end, it doesn't really matter, as long as I make 2012 a journey of some kind, and finding myself in a different, better place at the end of it, in whatever way that might be.

The journey will not be going straight all the time, I'm sure. There'll probably be obstacles, diversions, detours, straying, many steps backwards, bends, twists and deadends, stages of draught and crossroads. But I'm sure there'll also be progress, smooth parts, many steps forward, short cuts, places to rest and revive, and stages of plenty and anbundance. And I'm sure the inspiration I found during the course of the last year will accompany me, such as the wonderful song of Darrell Scott, which I first heard in one of the inspiring classes I took, and which fits quite well.