Sunday, January 25, 2015

Patterns and Grids | On and on and on...

4th spread in my "Patterns and Grids" workbook... almost looks like an arial
view, or a map of some sort.
I noted in last weeks entry that I never use pink. Since I'm in experimentation mode, I figured, why not? So, with a full jar of magenta paint, I went about trying to create something in pink. I actually didn't have a clue where to start. What colours work with pink??? The final product is actually leaning a bit toward purple, but that's ok... that's not a colour I use much either.

It's not horrible... I got some interesting textures in areas, and I like the magenta with the green, though it would probably be a bit more interesting if I brought out the yellow bits a bit more. I shuffled through a pile of 9x12" pieces on paper I had started but never gotten around to finishing, and found one with some purple and yellow in it, and went on from there. I think this one is more successful. The blocks aren't quite so blocky, which gives it a looser feel. And there is more variation in the shapes, giving a cityscape kind of look. Put on a white matte, this one actually looks pretty good. Well, whadya know.....

"The View from Here"  9x12" Acrylic on paper.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Patterns and Grids | Continuing on a theme

I'm continuing to work in my "Patterns and Grids" workbook. I decided to add in another challenge by working in a dominant colour I never use. I had a full jar of primary yellow I had bought for a class and never even opened....mainly because I think it's an ugly colour. Bright, acidic yellow.  Reminds me of antifreeze. Maybe if I just add in a bit of magenta (another colour I rarely use. Not a pink kind of person)..... Yep, that works....

3rd spread in my Patterns and Grids book. For my pattern I used black paint on a piece of bubble wrap. I used the same thing on my blue pages, but by the time I was finished it was completely obscured. I like that this one was lighter in value.... most things I paint tend to be oppressively dark. It's hard for me to get away from that. 
Oddly enough, I think this one is quite a bit more successful than my last couple. Maybe I'm getting the hang of the whole grid thing... or maybe just not thinking of it quite so rigidly.

My 2015 entry to the Twitter Art Exhibit
I had a fair bit of paint leftover, so I took a postcard size piece and painted a little abstracted landscape using the same colour combo. I think I will send this one in for the Twitter Art Exhibit... I had wanted to do something for that, but had forgotten about it until I got a little reminder from organizer David Sandum. A note to artists: if you haven't participated in this event before, read through the call and consider it. Proceeds always support a good cause, your work gets shared globally across social networking sites, and the show/sale itself is a well attended event. It isn't an auction and the works sell for a set price, so it doesn't devalue the work the way many charity events do. It's worth looking into.


For those that missed it, I was a guest on "Talking Art" this week, the live Google+ hangout hosted by +Arizona Lowe and +Tammy Cook. I haven't watched the replay yet... I trust someone would have told me if I had stopped making sense somewhere along the line. I was tired, and it had been a very long day. Really nice people, and they seem to have a lot of fun on their show. It was lovely to be asked to join them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Patterns and Grids | Part 2

Second entry in my "Patterns and Grids" workbook. Better than the first... I'm curious to see where this is going....

My second foray into the world of patterns and grids was a bit more successful than my first. I tried to remember the basic principles I had learned in the non-objective workshops I took last year…. big shapes, balanced division of space, neutralizing the color scheme… seems to have worked to an extent. This spread I am actually happy with. While it doesn't necessarily "feel" like my work, it is more painterly than what I managed to produce last week. Progress.

This is where I started off... Funny how everything I
do seems to end up dark. Maybe I need to start with
white and go from there...
I didn't want to start with too much of a plan… this is a "sketchbook", after all (and planning is really not my thing). I did a rough breakdown of the space and got out the paint. I used bubble wrap for my patterned area, but by the end I had painted over it. If you look closely you can still kind of see it. 

Looking at my finished product, I may have to rethink going on to a painting after only doing the 6 spreads in this book. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this… focus on texture maybe or figuring out some other angle. This doesn't seem like I could make it interesting enough to be 40" wide. Maybe I'll get out my pen and my (other) sketchbook and see what other ideas I can come up with.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Confessions of an Art Supply Hoarder

Artists are hoarders.

Every artist I know has a stash of stuff.... be it papers, paint, brushes, collage papers, markers, crayons, other drawing tools, books, pastels, texture mediums.... We love art supply stores. We buy stuff not having the slightest idea how we're going to use it. I myself have a sizable stash, though not nearly as large as some other people I know.  Still, I will struggle to do something on cheap paper that falls apart, when there are sheets of heavy cold-press paper I've had for 5 years and not used. It's silly.

Only a small sampling of my art gear...
When I was cleaning up my studio recently, I came across a few small books I had made out of watercolour paper with the intention of using them as art journals. But I didn't know how to art journal, so instead of actually using them, I figured I'd get something cheap and learn how first, and THEN I'd use them. So I went to my local Goodwill and picked up a few kids board books, which I've been using ever since. My lovely hand-made "journals" never got used. I also have a pile of blank 30x40" canvases leaning up against a wall in my studio. I bought them on sale for a fantastic price, but I thought I'd save them for when my work was better, and could do something awesome on them. They've been sitting there over a year. At this rate, I'll be 90 before I think I'm good enough to do something that large. Silly.

I got a book for Christmas by Sue Bleiweiss called "The Sketchbook Challenge". It is a part of an online project that includes a blog, and provides themes to inspire your creativity. As usual, I'm late to the party... seems the blog ran for a few years but is no longer going to be active. Still, there are a couple years worth of monthly themes to work from... certainly enough to keep anyone going for a while. I've never really been one to keep a sketchbook... I get a new one every year and use it mainly when I travel. Pen and ink doodles, notes, quick line drawings of compositions I see that strike me. Mine are not these lovely moleskin books filled with beautiful drawings like you see online. I think of myself primarily as a painter, and most sketchbooks don't have heavy enough paper to paint in. Even after using gesso on the pages they still tend to fall apart when subjected to my abuse. But wait... I've got those watercolour books.....

As part of my one and only 2015 resolution to USE UP THE STASH, I chose a theme from the book that is out of my usual realm, got out one of my books and did my first pages. The two pages together are roughly the same proportions as my large canvas, so my plan is to work the 6 spreads in the book on the theme, choose one that works for me, and use it to create a large painting. The theme I chose is PATTERNS AND GRIDS... completely out of my comfort zone. I found this theme incredibly difficult to paint... and I find sharing this difficult,  mainly because I think it's crap. But the thing about art... you have to do the crap to get to the good stuff. I'll keep going, it's not that big a commitment. And I have my Cab Calloway painting in progress to go to when I need a break from all this uncomfortable stuff.

First spread in my Patterns and Grids workbook. The "pattern" is a stamp I carved years ago... probably too big for this size painting. The "grid" thing is too rigid for me, but hey, it's my book so I can use it as I see fit, right? Maybe I can do more a series of overlapping blocks... anyway, I'll think about it and make it work somehow....