Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back to oils

This past week a pack of canvases I had ordered finally arrived, and over the weekend I started on a new oil painting.  I have been concentrating on pastels lately and neglecting oils, but it felt good to get back into them.  Seeing swaths of color spreading loosely over a larger area is quite satisfying.  I find that pastels work well for me when I want to paint an object or place in careful detail.  Perhaps it's because I feel like I can have more control when holding the pastel directly in my hand as opposed to paint at the end of a brush.  It's not that a pastel painting can't be rendered loosely, or an oil tightly, but they just seem to lend themselves to me in different ways.

The biggest issue I have with oils is waiting for them to dry so that I can get on to the next step!  Using oil sticks helps a bit with that as they often dry by the next day, but since the colors can't be squeezed out onto a palatte, blending must be done on the canvas.  As a result I often find that I combine tube and stick paints.  It extends the drying time a bit, but with a stack of canvases at hand, I can work on more than one painting at once.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Up the Road

About a mile up the road from me is one of many barns in the area, this one a bit overgrown and neglected.    I'm not even sure if it's being used any more since there are a number of holes in the roof.  Combined with the abandonded pasture, I've found it's rustic charm quite compelling.  After passing by for the last three years, I finally got around to painting it last week.  I found a pad of canvas with minimal texture and coated it with pastel primer before starting.  It seems to work pretty well, buckling less than watercolor paper when I applied an acrylic underpainting.  The photographs I worked from where taken on a rather dull autumn day, but the painting turned out to be bright late summer day.  I think my instinctive reaction is to make the weather better than it is currently, and after nearly 2 feet of snow over the last two weeks a hot summer sky seems quite appealing.

Also, a quick update:  none of my pieces were accepted into the Rosewood Works on Paper show.  It's the third failed attempt.  I don't think I will try again as they seem to prefer much more contemporary works.  But the Randolf County show is still on.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Two shows

Every year the Rosewood Gallery in Kettering has a show titled "Dayton Area Works on Paper". It's a good show, and one that I have yet to be accepted into. I'm going to try again this year, with "Spider Plant" and "Blue Vase" and possibly a third one as well. Most of the pieces accepted are very contemporary which probably explains my difficulties. There are always a few more traditional pieces however, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Later in the month is the dropoff for another show, this one in Union City, which straddles the Ohio-Indiana border. It's a smaller show in a small town, with a more traditional bent. This one I have no trouble getting into. I'll wait and see what (if anything) is accepted into the Works on Paper before deciding what to take. After that, spring shows come up in rapid succession, and I hope to have a lot of good quality pieces for multiple entries.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Finished pastels

Although I'm continuing to work on the roses mentioned earlier, they continue to be incredibly time consuming. I think this is a piece I will have to work on a little bit at a time. I did manage to finish two other pastels in the month of January. The first is an image of Chateau Eza, near Monaco in the South of France. I've never been there myself, but apparently my parentswere in the mid 90s, and I based my painting on one of their photos. It's the first time I've done a painting of a place I've never been to. I think it turned out pretty well, and hopefully the "artistic license" I took wasn't too much.

I was also inspired by a copy of the Pastel Journal purchased recently which included a series of winter scenes. We've had a few snowfalls in January, so I decided to give it a try. The neighbor's barn, which I can see from our front windows, seemed like as good a subject matter as any. And building thick layers of pastel to represent the layers of snow seemed an appropriate technique.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Online Contest

In a previous post I mentioned an online art contest I was thinking of entering, and asked for opinions on which painting I should use. The feedback was interesting, as a number of you chose pieces I really wasn't expecting and the choices were all over the map. After a lot of thought I finally narrowed it down to one and entered last night, just making the end-of-the-month deadline for January. Turned out waiting to last minute was not a bad thing, as my piece is on the first page of entries.

There were several reasons I chose Lingering Clouds at Sunset. First, a few different people said they liked it. Also, it is a fairly recent piece, unlike a few of the others. Also, when I read the fine print I realized a signature had to be visible somewhere in the image. Careful inspection of a few of the others revealed this wasn't always the case. It's something I'll need to correct when I get the chance. There's also the fact that I really like this one. The sky is one of my favorite subjects - when you live in the country it is often the most dominant thing in the landscape, particularly at dawn and dusk.

I'm not sure when the awards will be announced. It appears there are over 700 entries, so imagine it will take awhile to sort through them all. I will let everyone know the results as soon as I get them. Thanks to everyone for the help!