Sunday, February 21, 2016

Icarus X

Posted by: Kate

I take my inspiration from the Greats!  Below, Icarus on a Halfshell:

I actually painted this thing standing bent over.  The painting and the props were both resting on top of the crate.

While the wood colour was laid down willy-nilly above, I made sure to clean it up by dragging a textured bristle brush through it in the direction of the grain of the wood before letting it dry (below).

This wood texture was then easy to build up with a combination of semi-transparent scumbles and glazes.

Much easier to paint the text over the wood after letting it dry:

His gams aren't quite as shapely, but he's every bit as sweetly coy.  Available in my store.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Furs, Part III

Posted by: Kate

Hurrah!  Camera back from the repair shop.  At the end of Part II, "Furs" was pretty much finished.  Except for the background, everything had received it's due attention and was done.  But can we all just agree that backgrounds are a painter's punishment for having fun doing everything else?  I overthink mine in a big way.  Below, my first attempt at doing a final (ha!) pass over the background.  I eventually decided it was just too flat and dull.

So late one night I just started mucking around and pushing contrast.

And then, I don't even know what I was thinking, I started doodling an abstract landscape in the background.  I'm not proud of that moment.

I finally snapped out of it.  Two passes later and a month after finishing everything else in the painting, I finally just finished it off.  But not after have to sand the background a bit and correct an accidental halo around her head.  It's amazing how a small element of a painting can cause a disproportionate amount of pain.  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  It's something like, 20% of your painting will make you drink 80% of that bottle of wine.

Let's talk inspiration!  Of course I've always loved this gorgeous painting by Jacob van Oost the Elder, Portrait of a Boy Aged Eleven.  But you know, I'd completely forgotten it existed when I was planning out this painting.  It was obviously stuck in my subconscious.  Isn't it just plain weird how similar they ended up being?  This is a shining example of the futility of trying to be original in art. 

I only just discovered this painting by Francesco Masriera: "Winter 1882."  Isn't the fur just lovely?

One of the reasons Dave and I collect antique garments is because the textures and detail elements are just so lovely to paint.  Nobody wears muffs or ruffs or Victorian blouses with military brass buttons anymore, and it's one of the things that prevents me from painting more contemporary subject matter.  Who wants to paint cotton t-shirts and polyester slacks?

Here are some detail shots:

And finally, the finished painting:

"Furs," 18x26", oil on panel, 2016

"Furs" will be on display at the Art! Vancouver show this spring.  Dave and I will be posting more information soon about all that, but if you're in the Vancouver area, mark off the end of May in your calendars and plan to come by our booth to say "hi!"

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tara I WIP

Posted by: Kate

Here's another little head study I did last year.  2015 was really all about developing my "party trick" skills, specifically, getting proficient at painting quickly on the fly.  Being able to bust out a painting might not be as cool as some party tricks, but it is a little more career advancing.  I decided I wanted to be able to demo in front of an audience at the drop of a hat, so I did a lot of alla prima paintings both from life and from photo references.  The one below is only a few inches tall.

I've been experimenting with all sorts of approaches--drawing outlines and shadow shapes with umber first, and skipping straight to light masses on a dark ground (as above); painting with carefully pre-mixed paints, and painting into the mud (ie, letting my palette turn into a giant slurry of brush mixed tints); changing around which features I start with, the dimensions of my panel, the tone of the panel....etc etc.  Instead of finding a preferred approach, I've discovered that the fun is in mixing things up constantly.

(By the way, I've talked before in other posts about creating a faux linen weave on my panels with criss-crossing brush strokes of acrylic gesso.  I think the painting above really shows off this effect to advantage.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

All About Palettes!

Posted by: Kate

Oh Justin.  You're the best.  Here are two new videos about my palette--both the literal, wooden palette I hold, and the colour palette I use.  Now, scientists confirm I am a chatty Kathy, so even with brutal editing there is a lot of footage.  We broke it into two pieces so you can have a break to apply ointment to your pressure sores.

The large palette is a New Wave Expressionist palette.  I probably would have been happy with an unfinished one, since I redid the finish anyways.  If you're in Canada and bemoaning the death rattle in our dollar, order from ARTiculations in Toronto.  Oh, and let me tell you a story.  ARTiculations opened their doors about five minutes after Dave and I moved from Toronto, and they're located two minutes from our old house.  After I had to spend the prior SIX YEARS busing it to the nearest art supply store over an hour away, usually once a week, for supplies.  *shakes fist at the skies*

This next video is for a handful of people who have asked me a lot of questions about the colours I use, so I don't expect all twenty minutes of it to be universally fascinating.  But if you're interested in launching into Natural Pigments paints or were thinking about buying my paint set, this video will acquaint you with how I prepare my palette.  Many of the colours require some personalization before I use them.  You'll see in the video.

Of course, Dave being Dave, he has to sabotage the photo I took of his palette by sneaking in some lines of calcium carbonate and a razor blade.  Excellent.

So that mixing trick I do with the Lead White #2?  I just showed it to Dave the other day and then he went and painted the best damn satin and embroidery.  Great for flowing impastoes.  Hopefully that slacker posts a WIP of his latest painting soon.  Of course, I'd love to hear how my readers get their imapastoes, in the comments.

Here's the colour list:

Lead White #2
Chrome Yellow Light
Blue Ridge Yellow Ocher
Orange Ocher
Orange Molybdate
Alizarin Crimson
Cyprus Burnt Umber Warm
Cyprus Burnt Umber Dark
Ultramarine Blue
(Roman Black)
Bone Black

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Icarus V Work in Progress

Posted by: Kate

I would love to finally wrap up the third and final installment of my "Furs" WIP, but I've been putzing around with the background endlessly and now my camera's broken.  I've been thinking for a while of making a study of backgrounds.  I want to amass a bunch of images of paintings with my favourite backgrounds and do thumb nail copies--hammer it all into my brain subliminally.  I think that's why I love trompe l'oeil paintings so much--there is no background!  Just more stuff that needs to be painted!

To allay feelings of inadequacy in light of my big blogging goals for 2016, I'm tossing up an old WIP from 2014.  I didn't even realize I had these pictures but I uncovered them today.

Above was as far as I got on day one.  Once dry, I taped off the panel to frame my new cropping and then tossed it on the table saw.  I impastoed white paint on the throat of the bird so that I could glaze a brilliant red over top.  As we all know, you can't raise the value of red by adding white, and adding yellow, which can raise the value, reduces chroma, so that left me with the glazing trick: lay down some thick, brilliant white paint, preferably packed with calcium carbonate, and then glaze the red over top when dry.  It ratchets up the value and chroma slightly.

Above, more work on the wood and the pebbles.  Painted pebbles and rocks always look like the fake styrofoam pebbles and rocks that you'd find in the pot of some motel lobby plant, don't you think?