Friday, July 20, 2007

Painting Children - More tips

I recieved another set of tips for painting children so I thought I'd share them here:

1. Don't paint babies if what you want is THEIR portrait. They don't have their personality yet so wait until they develop one. Babies almost always look like any other baby.

2. If you shoot photos outside in the sunshine, don't shoot them at midday because it will give you dark shadows under their noses and rings under their eyes.

3. If you are shooting photos for reference have them dressed in clothes they normally wear. You don't want an uncomfortable child. Let them pose for you if they are posers but try to use the photos you take that are natural poses. Give them their favorite toy, pet or let them play with something new you've brought along.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What to do with an ugly painting

I’m sure that most of us have paintings that fall into the categories of good, bad and ugly. I’m finding that to have a painting that I really think is better than good tends to run the course of about one out of three. So that leaves me with at least one painting in the bad or ugly category and I have to decide what to do with it.

The first thing I remind myself is that all art is a great experiment. I don’t care how long you have been painting or how accomplished you are, each time you create a work of art, you are experimenting and each experiment will turn out differently. Have you ever tried to paint the same painting? Did it turn out the same? Some of us have track records that turn out successful paintings all the time, but even if you are this kind of artist, you are still a student for we all learn every day from each painting we do.

The second thing I remind myself of is that an old ugly painting doesn’t have to go to the landfill gallery unless I just give up and I shouldn’t give up without trying to save it at least one time. There are some things that can help me make a clean start or work-over my painting that I’ve used successfully before so I run down my list and see if I can salvage my painting by using one of these (choose the one that fit your medium).

· Spray it with oven cleaner and take off all the old oil paint
· Sand the oil or acrylic paint off and reapply gesso
· Cut it up and use it in a collage
· Soak the paper in a tub of water and rub pigment off gently with hands
· Cut the canvas or paper into strips to be used as bookmarks
· Use a product called sansodor which is a W&N solvent for oils
· Try reapplying a sanded surface when working with pastel papers
· Crop the ugly parts and reframe

. Take the canvas off and save the stretcher bars for new canvas
· Turn it into an abstract
· Flip it and paint a different painting with the old painting as a ground
· Try glazing
· Turn it into a mixed medium painting using inks, casein, egg tempera or gouache

I’m sure that you could add more ways. Make your own list and the next time to are ready to make a donation to the landfill, remember you can try one of the things on your list to save that painting. If all else fails and you don’t want to try anything new, you can go ahead and make that trash donation and still call yourself successful because you have just cleaned and organized your studio.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Carly Ann's portrait is finished

Click any image to see an enlarged view.

I'm finished!

I can't say I am totally happy, but I think I should leave this as it is and move on to the next challenge. I feel good about everything I've learned and I thank everyone for help and support.

These images are taken from my old camera which only is only 1.3 mega pixcels. I can't believe how much technology has improved since I bought this camera in 2000. The camera I use today takes images at 8.0! I wonder what we will be doing five years from now.

I'll take better pictures tomorrow when I can take them outside and use my newer camera which is on batter charge at the moment. I did take a B&W just to see my values.

I'm ready for my critique. Please do not hold anything back. I need and want to learn as much as I can from this piece and trust that all of you will be honest with me. If you want to wait until tomorrow for better pictures, I'll understand. Most things did not change from last image, but I did finish up the shoes and of course, you'll notice I made the bush big again. (sigh)

Thanks again for all the emails with advice and support.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hanging paintings

I didn't paint today but instead brought the painting of Carley Ann into the house so I can see how it will look hanging. I can't decide where I want it to be but I'm glad I brought it in. Paintings look so different when you hang them on the wall and lighting is so important. I think I'm going to hang it in the blue room which is actually a sitting room right across from the dinning room. When it's done and has found it's place on my walls, I'll take a picture and post the image here. Here's saving a spot for it.

Click any image to see an enlarged view.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Next project - Inventory Storage

Click any image to see an enlarged view.

I'm working on getting my studio cleaned up and organized. I know this sounds like a broken record, but get the studio organized is taking me more thought than I anticipated.

The first problem I have is finding space to store the finished paintings that are not hanging in the gallery. Then there is the problem with storing paintings that I want to revisit and maybe finish up. Most of these are plein air studies. I want a quick way to identify them without having to pull them all out to find the one painting I want to work on that I've identified by looking thru my inventory book.

My inventory book is of the loose leaf variety. The pages have all the necessary information on them along with a photograph of the painting. I have my paintings tagged with the inventory tag number and try to store the paintings with the tag visible. My inventory tag system is based on the date I finish the painting or stop working on the painting and photograph it for the first time. I name my image file the same as the inventory tag which looks like this example using todays date: 070407 and if I have more than one painting, the tag would look like 070407a etc.

Sometimes the tag is just written on the side of the canvas, other times it's on the clear bag cover of panels. This works pretty good but I'm always on the look out for an easier way to sort and store the paintings for easy access.

I'll keep you posted if I find any interesting ways beyond the usual. When I get mine done, I'll photograph it and let you see my progress with that too.