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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Latest finished painting

Well, I thought it wouldn't be that hard to finish a painting. I worked on this one the past couple of weeks, making changes, some major, a lot minor, stepping back often to assess the composition, color, clouds, etc. Finally saying to myself---you're thru! Stop! So I did.

After 4 layers of diluted pva size sprayed on, letting it air dry slowly between layers, then 2 layers of UV glossy spray, I realized the UV spray was leaving nasty glossy stripes---not going on evenly like I'd hoped! Dang-it... That set me back a few days, as I tried to figure how to save the painting (usually when I was trying to go to sleep of course...).

I decided to try sanding the painting, lightly with 400 grit fine sandpaper. That seemed to remove the glossy stripes, but now I needed to paint some more with pastel to darken areas that had lightened from the sanding. Happy again with the finished painting, I once more layered pva size, ending with a non-glossy matte finish acrylic spray this time.

While it was propped up in the backyard drying, the wind decided to knock it off its perch! Dang-it again!! It crashed forward, leaving a slight dent in the canvas & some tiny scratches!! I was really beginning to question whether this painting was meant to be finished!!

I took it inside & sprayed the back of the canvas dent with water, "ironing" it flat with my hands, hoping it'd shrink up & disappear. Happily it did! Next I lightly sanded the scratches, put more pastel over, carefully matching the colors, taking into consideration the slight darkening from the spray, covering them up, and once more spraying w/pva, then lastly with the acrylic spray, making sure no way could it be knocked off, blown over, or otherwise tipped as it dried!

Yes!! Success! I then put another coat of black paint on the canvas edges, carefully blending it into the front of the canvas, wiping where the edges met (the paint was satin, w/slight gloss, the face of the canvas---no gloss). This dried overnight and today I went to work taking photos of the finished painting on the front porch.

Balancing the tripod on the steps of the porch so I could prop the painting against the door & back up far enough to get it all in, I began to take my pics. Suddenly the wind came & flipped the painting right off it's perch again!! NO WAY!?! Carefully I peeled myself away from the camera tripod, not wanting to leap & knock it backwards, & picked up the painting to see what damage I now had to repair!! I didn't see any scratches on the face of it, and just noticed the tiniest glimmer of white at the top right corner---easily repaired by dipping my finger in the "frame" paint & dabbing it away...

Once again, I set up my "photo studio", this time using masking tape to secure the painting against the door frame... Finished?! I sure hope so!! (Although I do still have to attach eye screws to the back & hanging wire---wish me luck!!)

What do you think?!

Here's a close-up of the buildings:

And lastly, a couple shots of the first layers---for some reason, I love this raw, sketchy look---

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oregon Country Fair

Yesterday we adventured to the Oregon Country Fair for the first time in about 5 years I think--http://www.oregoncountryfair.org/ We used to be regulars, going every year, but as the kids grew, we became busy with their events, sports and all those things kids and parents get involved with. Since our daughter was working the fair with her boyfriend's family this year, we thought it'd be fun to visit again, to see her, meet her boyfriend's parents for the first time, and discover what was new.

This isn't your typical fair---no pigs, cows, or tractors---it's probably the biggest hippie fest this side of Burning Man. Along with craft booths, there is an energy park, community village, food booths and about 20 different stages where vaudeville, music, acrobatics, juggling, speakers, & other productions are presented. This all takes place on property the Oregon Country Fair has purchased, so the booths and stages have been built into the winding paths, tucked amongst the branches of a wonderful deciduous forest. After 39 years, these booths are homes away from home for the vendors with lofts built on top for sleeping, kitchen areas behind, and just about all the comforts of home under the dappled sunlit branches.

It's only open through tomorrow, so if you want to go, buy your tickets ahead of time---they do not sell tickets at the fair anymore. Check the website for more information.

Here's some of our favorite photos from yesterday:

This fella was playing this sculpture which was a stringed instrument with a bow---amazing ethereal sound!

Of course we had to have a few photos of signs...

The costumes of the performers and a lot of other visitors are worth the ticket price alone!

Loved his shoes......

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Illustration Friday---Sour

Sour, yep, that's what these were! Their juice now rests sourly in the freezer, waiting to be added to a gin & tonic, margarita, daiquiri, marinade or some limeade. They're pastel painted on board---3 separate paintings---available individually or all 3 if you'd like!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Another day, another plein air painting

This week we headed south to a wildlife refuge. I've been there many times with the plein air group, in the past choosing to paint a grassy hill with white oaks. This time, I ventured off towards a beautiful lake, with lovely reflections, and a squawking heron. I wandered that area, shooting multiple photos, with a hazy sun blasting down, no breeze to speak of, and nowhere in the shade to paint from. By the time I returned to get my things at the car, I was overheated, and it was pushing 10:30. If I wanted to show anything at the 12:30 critique session more than just a preliminary sketch, I realized I needed to look for a spot closer to where I was parked.

At 9:00 that morning we had a lesson by one of the plein air artists about what goes into a painting---First there's technique, knowledge of your chosen materials, etc. Secondly design---color choices, composition, and so on. Lastly, which is often forgotten about, there's the need to put the artist into the artwork! What was the artist feeling while they paint? Why did they choose that particular view (and not just because of the lighting, or because it was in the shade!) After this interesting challenge to not just paint what I see, but to paint how I feel and to think about how to put myself into the painting, I stood by the car, hot, hurried, and looked around the headquarters of the wildlife refuge. At once a tall, strong, old, stately locust tree caught my eye. That was what I chose to paint. As I settled in the shade just 4 feet away from the car, I thought of how I felt----HOT! So, as I began to sketch out the tree, I decided to use hot colors to paint this image---and being happy with finding this scene so close by the car & in the shade too, I used colors that felt light and happy to me!

Here's the tree---underneath where we met earlier for the lesson, and at 12:30 for lunch and the critique.

My preliminary sketch on primed, smooth sanded canvas.

The first layers of pastel.

And here's the almost finished painting. Any suggestions? Critiques? Ideas? I have a few things still to do, like refine the foliage a bit more, and work on the shadow side of the tree.

Oh, I haven't forgotten about the poppy from the previous post---I worked on it last Friday, but it's still not quiet finished. I'll post a photo of it when I get it all completed.