Friday, 28 February 2014

Getting Stuck, and Unstuck.

I have been painting almost every day this month, and usually for hours at a time, yet I have posted very little. I have at least a half a dozen paintings in various states of completion - left for a variety of reasons. The subject matter is not new, but a continuation of familiar themes - water reflections, palm trees, the landscape and still life. In each case I started with lots of enthusiasm, solid compositional ideas, a sense of what I wanted to do, and a willingness to respond to whatever happened on the canvas. The going was good until it was not. When I reached a point that I thought some out-of-sight-thinking time was necessary I would put the canvas aside, and start another. When I did return to them I tended to over-paint and lose what I had. Some of these paintings have been wiped out and some remain a challenge for another day. All very frustrating to say the least.

How to get unstuck and back in a good painting groove? Trying something different often helps and so a week  ago I went to an open life studio session and spent 3 hours drawing the model. And here is what I came home with - essentially blind contour figure drawings using marker on acrylic paper (18" x 24"). I did them on the acrylic paper so that if inspired later at home I could paint them. But how......another creative challenge for another day!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Colour Story

Colour Story
24" x 24"  - acrylic on canvas

I know this looks rather neon, even florescent - and magenta pink and lime green are the dominant hues - but in reality it is not quite as insanely red as what you see here. I find that reds are very hard to reproduce accurately. But having said that - it is a colourful painting - and hopefully a good visual tonic for a cold and colourless winter day. 

I painted this same view (based on an extremely boring photo I snapped in Haliburton - see below) a year ago, and really wanted to try it again, but larger. The palette is essentially the same as before - but the brushstrokes are  much looser.  

Wherever you are I hope your day is full of colour - cheers!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Finishing the Outdoor Mosaic Floor

I did, finally, finish (grouting) the outdoor mosaic floor in front of the Florida house, and it looks wonderful! See for yourself......

It was part of a larger landscaping and home improvement plan, which is ongoing - but here is the way the entry area now looks......

Eventually the plants will fill in and hide the mulch, and the pathway still needs work, and so it continues......

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mosaic done, almost

Yes, I did complete the floor mosiac outside my front door - except for the grouting - which my husband tells me will be challenging because of the uneven tile surfaces and varying spaces between and around the small tile pieces.   But that's ok - I will just take my time, and eventually it will be done. I have to say that it looks fabulous at this point. When the gardens are completely finished (soon) I will post the before and after photos too. Cheers!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Miss Emmy Lou

Miss Emmy Lou
12" x 12" acrylic on canvas
Some friends asked me to paint a portrait of their spaniel which I was happy to do as she is a sweet little dog with very attractive markings that I thought would be fun to work with. I took lots of pictures of her, selected one and began to paint, using a palette that featured purple, magenta and some pthalo blue, on a red ground. The painting looked good initially, but I overworked it and lost the resemblance and finally decided that I needed a different pose. So I took more pictures - however Miss Emmy Lou was not thrilled with another photo shoot - turning her head away every time I snapped the shutter, or sticking out her tongue - and I eventually went back to the first group of photos and found one that looked fine. My husband suggested I stick with her natural colouring, for a change, and I thought why not, though I did give her a few pink hair streaks on the ears. This one came together quickly and successfully. Now I can get back to finishing the mosaic floor.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Laying Down the (first) Fish Mosaic

My porch has become a 'mosaic studio', having all the flat surfaces covered with tiling paraphernalia, and the only way to re-claim that space was to move my tile-covered fish templates outside and begin laying them down. The Home Depot staff advised certain adhesive and grouting materials and after a lesson from my husband in mixing the non-sanded adhesive goop, we began. I say 'we' because even though I thought I could do it all myself, I really did need the assistance of my wonderful, more experienced life-partner. So we worked together - it was like doing a jig-saw puzzle, but somewhat more stressful. It took longer than I thought it would (about 2 hours), but fortunately the adhesive mixture did not dry as quickly as I had thought it would when we began. Enough adhesive had been mixed to cover about a third of the 5 foot square pad, and that is how much we filled in. My husband skimmed on the adhesive goop, then I laid down the border tiles. After that I lightly scratched the shape of the fish into the goop, and then we both began to fill it in, removing the tiles from the cardboard template but improvising too. Once the fish was filled in, I then put down the dark blue glass tiles (wave lines) and then we added the water/background tiles around the fish. It was a physically exhausting process (as awkward the kneeling-body positioning was required), but the results so far, are worth it. What do you think?

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Painting with Mosaic Tiles - just for fun


We are doing some front yard landscaping here in Florida, and re-inventing our front door entrance and walkway. This is what it looked like a few days ago. As you can see there are gardens on either side of the door into the porch. Those hideous pink stepping stones will disappear and the pathway will be re-configured into an S curve. BUT it's the concrete 5' square pad in front of the door, that was calling to me. The simplest thing to do would be tile with a nice porcelain tile it, but that seemed too boring and I wanted to try something else. Why not a floor mosaic picture instead? Of course I have never done, let alone tiling work, before, but, thankfully, my patient and clever husband (the original DIY-selfer extraordinaire) has. I decided on an underwater scene of fish - the blue colours fit with my interior design palette of whites, blues and greens, and my husband loves to fish.  Here is my design.......

We went shopping and found lots of small decorative tile items on sale, bought a selection, brought them home and then I began to play. In starting I divided the tiles into piles, one for each fish, like this......  


 Then I began to lay out each pile of tiles in patterns on the cardboard fish templates I had cut to scale. As in painting, you start with one idea and it evolves, and so here too. I began with the top/biggest fish and soon realized that I would not be able to stick to my earlier pile tile decisions, but that was ok. After several hours this is what I had. Now I just have to start!