Self portrait practice #3

I’ve sketched out my face with lights and darks marked. I’ve used sanded paper. I’m looking forward to getting at it tomorrow, so long as school isn’t canceled. We’re getting rain and it’s supposed to get very cold tonight. I’ll just play it by ear

My next collection

My son and I love the movie, Encanto. He’s requested a painting of a capybara, one of the animals that came to Antonio’s room. This prompted me to make a collection of animals that are native to Colombia. I’ve been sourcing images of some of my favorite animals.

Almost all the canvases are prepared so it was time to prepare my paint palette. Sometimes when painting I do well using colors that I pick instinctively, in the moment. But, most of the time I create a more cohesive and successful painting when I develop my pallete ahead of time.

I learned about this general idea from a few artists that I follow but, Amanda Evanston shared the idea of finding images from advertising that speak to you and pull out the colors. So I rummaged through pages that I’ve turn out of magazines. I decided to use the colors from a blanket that was on a magazine page.

I spend 15-20 minutes mixing colors in my paint box to come up with the colors I wanted. I have written how to mix the colors on page in my watercolor sketchbook from Arteza. I’ll refer to this page over and over until I finish the painting. I may still pick one accent color to add for pizzazz but that remains to be seen.

Self-portrait progress

Well, I’m still working on my self portrait. I decided for my second practice piece I would do if slightly bigger, 12 x 16 inches. I used the grid method to draw my face but I didn’t put in all the details. By details, I mean the markings to indicate the different values.

Ugh… 2nd attempt

The mouth just ruins this whole attempt. It looks scary and it’s not the right shape. I do like the amount of color I got into the painting – and I’m using unsanded paper, so there’s a limit to how much pastel I can apply – but I’m just gutted over how the mouth looks so wrong.

That being said, I am not giving up. I realize I need to make my marks to indicate each value so that I can paint it better. And I know I can do better. And I will do better! Just probably not today.

Working on some art for me!

We have a soon-to-be blank spot on our wall and I decided to paint a beautiful heart painting for our home.

I painted over a painting that failed to inspire me and then added collage hearts. This morning I painted more hearts on it.

When the paint is dry I’ll be adding more hearts with acrylic ink markers and maybe even some soft pastel. I can’t wait to see it vintage and hanging on my wall!

Still resting but check out my art haul

You may recall I went to Jerry’s warehouse in Greensboro a few days ago. Well, I’m happy to share with you the goodies that I bought.

I purchased a couple of the portfolio folders, 5×7 inch and 14×17 inch. I needed somewhere to put my soft pastel paintings that are 12×16 inches. I do have an 11×14 inch portfolio (which is too small) but I can’t seem to find it. I need to clean up a couple corners in my art space to see if I can find it. I also will probably pick up a 9×12 inch one the next time I go because I have a lot of 8×12 inch paper.

I also have been following Sandi Hester lately and she has inspired me to go big with sketches. I already knew I didn’t like small sketchbooks given how many are sitting around with only a few pages used. So, I picked up a couple of 11×14 inch sketchbooks. I have an even larger one I bought from Blicks and I plan on sketching with paint in all three of them. I want at least 3 so I can move on to another ones while paint is drying in the first one.

The last item in this pic is Art Graf. I have the carbon black Art Graf block but decided to pick up the primary set because I’ve think it might be fun to use in my new sketchbooks.

Oil sticks

I can’t remember if I shared that I am starting to learn about oil painting but I knew that I would want some way to make chunky marks on the top later so I got the 24 count set of mini oil sticks from Sennelier. I have only peeled of the coating on a couple sticks but I love the feel of them already. I can’t wait to dive in to oils and really get my hands dirty playing with them.

I hope to get feeling better tomorrow so that I can actually make art again. Until then, hope you have a great day!

Practice makes progress

It’s that time of year when I start to think about painting my self-portrait again. This year I’m thinking of painting it in soft pastels and I had sketched it out on some inexpensive unsanded pastel paper.

This morning I started my practice piece. It turned out ok, but I realized that I neglected to include the part of my face that was in the deep shadows. I didn’t notice it until I went in with pastel pencils to add some details. It’s ok. I’ve learned a lot and will be doing this again on a bigger sheet of paper so I can get ask the details using the pastel sticks instead of needing pencils.

Top: my finished practice piece, Botton: my portrait sets of soft pastels

My plans are to sketch on the grid again for the bigger piece but try and remember to erase the grid lines once the sketch is in place. They blended into the background in a bunch of places but not on the face itself.

Funeral cake?

Have you seen the Facebook post with the recipe for an easy cake recipe. Apparently it was something easy to make to take to a funeral ceremony.

I started feeling noshy earlier this morning and decided to make this recipe because I had all the ingredients. It’s egg free and dairy free, similar to the depression chocolate cake recipe except for a bigger cake pan. My son is severely allergic to egg and nuts and I am trying to avoid dairy and gluten, as it seems I am sensitive to them. I substitute King Arthur Cup- for- cup gluten free flour. I tasted the batter and it was delicious; o haven’t tried the cooked cake yet because I just took it out of the oven

I have also started to take steps in my self-portrait that I will be entering into the Jerry’s Arterama self-portrait competition this year.

I decided to attempt my self-portrait in soft pastels. I don’t use them often but I just love them so much. If I had a way to store them in a way to see them too I’d be so happy! Right now, they are in wooden trays that get pushed under a shelf when not in use.

First step… make it green!

I’ve read the using a green underpainting for portraits makes the skin look more natural so observe – the paper is green. The lighter color is for where my face will be and the darker area is for the dark area in the reference photo. Stay tuned as I make next steps.

Up next, set up an A4 page of lined paper in photoshop. Should be pretty easy now that I’ve done it successfully yesterday!

I achieved my goal for the day!

As part of my creative outlet, I’ve decided to start creating stationary as a digital download. I am looking forward to creating small paintings to use as the design for multiple sets of stationery that people would download from Etsy and use as we try to revive snail mail – let’s rebrand it as happy mail 🙂

documented proof of lined paper!

The first step I needed to achieve was how to create lined paper in Photoshop. After watching a video (about 20 times) and reading suggestions on the Adobe forum I have finally done it. I’ve made lined paper. (It doesn’t sound so impressive as I say it out loud, but this occupied about an hour of my day yesterday and about 20 min today. But, I persevered and finally figured it out.

My idea for creating the stationary is to have lined and unlined versions of it. It will come in 8.5 x 11 size and A4 size that can be printed for the full sheet or the end-user can print 2 pages per sheet. I will also create a template for a coordinating envelope that can be printed, cut out, and then glued/taped – then everything will coordinate.

What do you think? Do you think snail mail is dead or can we revive it with easy to obtain creative stationary?

DaVinci watercolor paints

Have any of you tried DaVinci watercolor paints? I have purchased some watercolors in the past (Denise’s 24 earth friendly set and a couple individual tubes.) I have enjoyed them all. So, when I saw DaVinci was offering up to 60% off around Thanksgiving, I decided to splurge and purchase more.

I picked up the Mother green 11 color palette and a tube of thioindigo. What beautiful colors! I am loving thioindigo – it’s absolutely gorgeous. I made a very messy swatch, so I think I’ll refine it and update with a pic.

I also purchased a slew of fluid acrylic paints but I’ll share those another day.

So, do you have a favorite color by DaVinci? Let me know, so I can add to my wish list for the next sale 🙂

Custom Christmas ornaments

I was so pleased when a friend of mine, who has purchased several pieces of my art, asked me to create her custom Christmas ornaments to give to her family. I jumped at the chance… And then I sat and didn’t do anything.

I had originally wanted to gelli print them, because I love the look you get from transferring the shape of the actual item (in this case, holly.) But, I couldn’t find holly of a size that would fit the size of the wooden discs.

After a bunch of “hemming and hawing,” I decided to just paint the holly and add some berries. In a short couple of hours the ornaments were all done, complete with a custom message to her family on the back.

I’m pleased with how they turned out and she is too, which is what matters most.