Monthly Archives: November 2018

Finished At Last!

Still LIfe With Hydrangea No. 1 and No. 2

The oil on canvas version of Still Life with Hydrangea (on the right) that I started back in mid-summer is finally finished.  It just needs some drying time and a coat of varnish.  The acrylic version on the left was finished last month, but I thought I’d wait until both were done to “unveil” them.

I started with oil paints that are water-miscible (water-mixable or water soluble — all three mean the same).  I determined that they weren’t all they were marketed to be.  Some colors/brands mix with water better than others.  Some mix better with turpentine substitute (mineral spirits).  Some don’t mix very well with either.  Most colors got gummy at some point and resisted spreading.   I ended up giving in and buying a bottle of Turpenoid® and a set of inexpensive conventional oil paints — the supposedly noxious chemicals that I’d been avoiding all my life for fear that they were dangerous to work with.

I found that I had been silly to wait so long to try oils.  I had always assumed that oil painting required a big bucket of solvent. For that I blame Bob Ross and The Joy of Painting… also my unpleasant experiences with oil-based house paint.  I bought a nifty little stainless steel cup with a spill-proof lid and a grate inside for rubbing the brushes against to clean them.  It only needs a few ounces of solvent and it can be reused over and over again before needing to clean the cup and change the solvent, because the paint solids sink to the bottom under the grate. I can’t believe in all my years of making art, I never learned about this.

I’m sure you knew all about this and you’re shaking your head at my ignorance.  Anyway, I’m very happy with how both paintings turned out and I will be posting them for sale shortly — the oil version will need to dry first.  And I’ll need to keep my fingers out of the paint while it does.  I seem to be getting better at that.

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October Update

BestOfInktober2018

Here’s an update on the art I’ve been creating for the past month.  It’s been a month for drawing practice.  A painting doesn’t get very far if the artist’s drawing skills aren’t up to the job, and really painting is just drawing in color anyway.  Above are a few of the ink drawings I completed this month for the Inktober 2018 challenge.  I did them all in my miniature sketchbook that I carry around with me in my purse, so most of them are only about 3″ x 3 1/2 inches.

I’ve done other challenges — National Novel Writing Month (50,000 words of fiction in 30 days) for November and the National Poetry Month poem-a-day challenge for April — and those were interesting and fun, but also frustrating.  I think that’s because I write well, but I LOVE drawing and painting.  It’s my gift.  Also, because I’d never heard of it until November 1st and I jumped in on a whim, I didn’t feel guilty when, about two-thirds of the way through the month and I stopped and only did two more for the rest of October.  I just didn’t want to do any more.  It was a liberating thing, actually, to abandon it, because it was good practice for a time but was no longer of benefit to me.  Never keep doing something just because it’s what you’ve been doing.

Still Life With Gourds SMALL

Old man sketch SMALL

I did these two drawings in an art group that I meet with at our church.  The group leader stopped at a roadside produce stand to get the props to set up the still life.  The drawing of the old man was from a photo she clipped from a magazine, and the rest of the page was cut away, so I don’t have the information to properly cite the photographer.  I am particularly pleased with the hands, which are much harder to draw accurately than faces.

I finished two paintings in October too.  The first was the acrylic version of that still life.  I’ll share a picture when I finish the oil version, so I can unveil them together.  The other was the abstract below titled “Vineyard” which started out as just a loosening-up exercise, but it went well enough that I refined and finished it so it’s ready for framing.  I plan to paint three companion pieces in the near future titled “Orchard,” “Field,” and “Garden.”  If you are interested in purchasing “Vineyard,” see my gallery page for more information.

Vinyard SMALL