Adding some illusion

Background wash with detailed rendering of lily pads.

Sky Pads 13, second pass with a few ripples and reflections

 

So, seriously, I am making a huge effort to keep this painting transparent and simple. This is not the final version, just one of a few more intermediate steps.

 

I was unsure how I wanted to accomplish the ripple pattern, but fortunately I had noticed a few weeks back when ice was melting on the pond behind my house that it was melting in some interesting horizontal patterns therefore took a few obligatory photos. So I superimposed a semi-transparent layer of the ice on top of my background wash photo and adjusted it till I got something I liked. After printing it out, the painting part became easy.

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The (temporarily) abandoned baby

Background pour for #13

So who remembers this one–from almost a month ago??!! I didn’t completely forget about it; it was staring at me from my work table every day. But as I produce more and more of these the challenge increases to find somewhat of a different take on the subject matter. Which in turn opens the door to some rather long-term procrastination. I mustered the courage to at least add in the forms of the lily pads…

 

 

 

Background wash with detailed rendering of lily pads.

Now I am contemplating some steps backward toward the more ethereal quality of Sky Pads 11. Don’t know if I will be able to pull it off because I have this frustrating tendency to make the subsequent washes of paint too thick. Will attempt to restrain myself to something approaching a lemonade consistency…and hopefully we will still be able to see the pads through the next layers of paint.

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A Saturday date with Charm

This past Saturday I took temporary leave of my senses and rode Charm in the first of Karin Bielefeld’s two annual spring dressage clinics at Willow Tree. These events are valuable because they give you practice riding with an audience (something you need in order to be successful at a show), they illustrate how difficult it is to transfer what you do easily any time it doesn’t count to the situation where it does count, and it gives your horse an opportunity to go ppppfftttt in your face (to repay you for all the hard work you’ve made her do).

Here, then, are 45 minutes condensed into about 1 minute 14 seconds. I have included music and subtitles to keep you entertained while you try to figure out exactly what it is we’re trying to accomplish. Don’t worry if you feel left behind, just look at my mare’s luxurious mane and tail and covet all that gorgeous red hair for yourself. She certainly has enough to share, although I doubt she will give any of it up easily.

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Lucky 13 on the Ides of March?

Background pour for Sky Pads #13, with lines drawn in for the pads.

I am so-o-o waiting for spring (or at least spring-“like”) weather so I can quit pouring turpentine-loaded paint in my basement and just let all the intoxicating fumes float to heaven outside. A lot of it found its way outside anyway because I left the sliding glass door open all day in 30°F weather. Which meant only my cat appreciated being in the basement since he could sit looking through the screen door.

Why not just take the canvas outside, you say? 1) It’s too cold for sissy me to work out there; and 2) the paint is poured on like water and I want it to stay where it landed. The canvas is too big to fit through the door without tilting, which would make the paint run again to places I don’t want it to be. So it sits inside until it’s dry enough to relocate safely. It doesn’t really matter if it’s in freezing temps later. I’ve never seen any damaging effects from letting it sit in bitter cold.

Maybe we should rename this the “freeze-dried” series?

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You win some, you lose some

Preliminary results are in from Harbor Shores–

Downstairs lobby with watercolors. The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting,

The watercolor below the large oil was a study for the larger painting, and it’s sold. The second one from the left is on hold, waiting for pickup.

News from Harbor Shores, a couple of sales and a nice artist’s reception! The crowd was really great, and I truly love talking to people who want to know about my art. I was in a busy “professor/demonstrator” mode for almost the entire time (had to sneak my wine in between guest chats). Only got this sort of goofy-looking photo of me to prove I was actually there–

I look kind of dorky, but the paintings are nice

I look kind of short and dorky, but the paintings are nice

The exhibit depicted fall and winter scenes, and even though there was still a February cold wind/nip in the air nobody seemed to complain. Maybe feeding them helped?

A hall of fall

A hall of fall

Enjoying wine and some pretty good little shish-ka-bob-y things (cheese, salami, tomatoes)

Enjoying wine and some pretty good little shish-ka-bob-y things (cheese, salami, tomatoes)

As for my trip to LowellArts, well, as Mr. Trump might say, “LOSER!!”. Both my entries were rejected. You just never know what the judges may be looking for. Probably not something quite as abstract as Sky Pads. However, I did get my wish, which was to have both accepted or both rejected–did not want to make two more 200-mile round trips!

Not to worry. Plenty of other opportunities out there!

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Suddenly salad…I mean…Sky Pads 12

Mixed salad? With a dollop of dressing?

Mixed salad? With a dollop of dressing?

Yes, all those carefully crafted lily pads are still underneath the top coats, but you do have to look for them. I’m just enjoying the color layers and the depth of this painting, so I hope you do too. It’s somewhat large, another 3′ x 4′ canvas, so it of course looks a bit more dramatic in real life.

There are probably about five layers over the last version you saw, but I didn’t take intermediate in-progress photos because I truly had no idea where I was headed and the in-between versions did not speak to me till almost the end. This one really demanded that I push through it to get somewhere I liked. So this is, as they used to say on TV, the final answer.

Artist’s reception for Retro♦Spect is tonight at Harbor Shores in St. Joseph, MI. More on that next time. I also hoofed it (well, drove, actually) about 100 miles north to deliver two Sky Pads (#6 & #11) to Lowell, MI, just outside Grand Rapids. The Lowell Art Center is hosting a regional competition for western Michigan artists, and are judging by my favorite method–the actual artwork. More on that when I hear back from them.

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Sky Pads continues

Background pour with pads almost done

Background pour with pads almost done

Working on Sky Pads 12. This photo shows the background pour, which I did late last year and then got sidetracked with holidays and a bunch of other excuses. The past couple of weeks I’ve been painting the leaves (the yellow-ish ones aren’t finished yet), much stronger in this image than in all of the previous paintings except its immediate predecessor, number 11. Don’t place your bets too soon, however. The leaves (I predict) will soon be sheltered under many thin overcoats of paint to come, just like the other members of the group yet somehow always a bit different.

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