Learning through doing

Because I came to this art journey pretty late in my life, I never really learned how to draw so I need to spend time learning. I have a couple of books that I’m going to begin working my way through. But today, I’m in the mood for pastels! I just need to get my hands dusty so I decided to choose a photograph that I’d like to use to practice sketching, drawing, and painting using various mediums, and use it today to get started learning by doing!

The other day a friend, Scott Quimby, posted some pictures on Facebook of his family vacation in Maine. There were some that really stood out as good reference shots. I selected my favorite shot and I’m sure I’ll end up doing it in cold wax & oils and encaustic at some point as well.

I messed with the photograph in Photoshop to produce some helpful printouts for my first small pastel. First I increased the saturation a little bit. Next I grey scaled it then blurred it to make it look a little abstract. Lastly, I posterized it to show the values more distinctly.

I decided to do a small pastel study. It’s 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches on Wallis paper. I began by examining the photograph with the increased saturation and selected the pastels I would be using. I began the painting by doing an underpainting, blocking in the main portions of the painting. Next I used isopropyl rubbing alcohol applied with a brush to wet the underpainting. Once it was dry, I worked the painting.

While it’s obvious that I have much to learn and need lots of practice, I really enjoyed doing this little painting. I need to practice my trees and rocks for sure. I’ll be sketching and drawing this photograph and of course I’ll be painting it again in pastels. I’ll share my progress here.

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Oil & Cold Wax Work in Progress…

Christiane, this is for you!

I am very new to oil & cold wax and am still very much in the early experimenting and learning phase.  I was fortunate to find a wonderful online resource by artist Rebecca Crowell called Oil & Wax.  Rebecca is very generous with her information and this is an excellent site to visit if you’ve got questions about how to get started.  Someday I hope to take one of her workshops.

I thought I’d start with the materials I use.  I have experimented with two brands of cold wax, Dorland’s and Gamblin, as well as some I have made.  I am still figuring out which I prefer.  For this WIP, I’ll be using Gamblin because that is what I have the most of right now.  Recently I have been adding a little bit of Galkyd to the mixture to speed up the drying time.  I use about a 50/50 ratio of paint to cold wax.  I just eyeball it, then add a few drops of the Galkyd and mix it up with a palette knife.

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I use several tools to apply the paint/wax mixture.

3WEB I use a variety of tools to make marks.  Really anything is fair game!  I do make it a point that if I raid the kitchen for something, it then becomes an art supply not suitable for kitchen use.  Safer that way!

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This is going to be an abstract.  I have some ideas in mind, a little bit of a vision, but I find that once I get started, they really take on a life of their own and I let the painting direct my next moves.  It’s on a cradled birch panel, 20 x 20 inches, with a few layers of black gesso. I used a warm white and Payne’s gray for the first layers and applied them with a brayer.  To begin to get some texture, I used waxed paper, crumbled it up, and then laid it out over the painting, and rolled over it with a harder brayer, then lifted the wax paper off.  It leaves really nice marks that are good foundation for further mark making.  Here’s the progression so far, with a close-up of the marks left with the waxed paper.  Please feel free to leave your comments, suggestions or ask any questions.

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On my easel…

After spending much of the day photographing paintings, updating the website, setting up my Red Bubble account and updating my Fine Art America offerings, I’m finally getting to thinking about the next steps on these oil & cold wax paintings I’ve been working on. They all have a few layers on them that have been scraped back and marked with various tools. Oil & cold wax really speaks to my need to create texture and experiment as I go. I do have some ideas in my head where they might end up, but really, once I pick up the paints, everything usually changes! So who knows what the finish will be.  We’ll see!
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So this is my new blog…

Welcome! I have a blog over on Blogger that I’ve been neglecting for several months. I figured since I was creating this new website, it was time to start a new blog. It will probably be mostly art related, but since I’m a committed Christian and political junkie who knows what will show up!

I figure the best place to start is with my early artwork. I started with my art journey late in life. I’ve always been creative, but in other areas. I began with watercolor and eventually moved into acrylics and then pastels.

At one point I saw what was called ‘faux encaustic’ in a book on acrylics. I didn’t know what encaustic was so I looked into it. I messed with the faux techniques a bit, but the more I did, the more I wanted to try real encaustic. I am fortunate enough to live 30 miles from R&F Handmade Paints, a premier manufacturer of encaustic paint and oil sticks. They have wonderful workshops including a mini workshop that is basically an intro to encaustic covering safety issues, how to apply the wax and fuse, etc. I took it and was hooked!

In the summer of 2012 I took a fabulous workshop at R&F with Nancy Natale on Bricolage.  It was an amazing, encouraging time for me and I learned so much. Nancy is extremely generous and didn’t hold back, answering all our questions. I highly recommend her workshops.

I’m loving this journey and am really enjoying exploring, playing and learning. Recently I’ve discovered oil paints and cold wax, but that’s another post!

I’ll end this with a a selection of my early watercolors. I enjoy watercolor but find that my love of fiddling does not work well with them! Much better suited to encaustic or oil & cold wax. Nevertheless here’s what got me started on this art journey of mine!