Current Painting

“Quirky Animals”

 

Someone said to me the other day, “I love your animal paintings. They are so cute and quirky.” Funny, this is not the first time I have heard my animals described as quirky. I have often thought it myself. I am not really sure what gives them that quality. Is it the eyes, the poses, the proportions, the palette? Is it because I paint these critters from my head, with very little help (if any) from reference photos? Truth be told, probably all of those reasons. I’ll never know for sure, but they sure are fun to paint.  🙂     ps-You think my animals are quirky, wait until you see my people…

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“Cairo”

The Thieves of Tangiers

Undetected

“Undetected”

Pippa's Pony

“Pippa’s Pony”

Rainbow Trout at Rocky Fork

Rainbow Trout at Rocky Fork

This tiny ACEO Original (2.5″ x 3.5″) Acrylic Raccoon Painting is currently listed on eBay.

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Dabbling in Real People!

Twenty One

Twenty One

I don’t usually paint real people. Dogs, on occasion, but people, no. Then, something happened last month. A big event. No, wait. I need to get this right. A HUGE event. My beautiful niece was turning Twenty One! What to get her? That was the question. Hm… I decided to try my hand at a portrait. I felt compelled to capture, in paint, this pivotal moment in her life. I figured, geez, if I can paint a dog portrait, how hard could a person be? I found out in a hurry… HARD. I was happy though, when it turned out to be a pretty good likeness of her. A few quirks, but she loved it! I felt encouraged…

Brandon with Cigar

Brandon with Cigar

So, the next thing I know, a photo of my nephew pops up on Facebook. Oh my gosh! How perfect this photo. From the color of his shirt, to the brick wall, to the look on his face, a really fine photograph. With a few background tweaks, clutter removal, so to speak, I could dabble in people portraits yet again. Yeh… I had had HAD to paint it and I did. Oh, it has its quirks too, or maybe they are Tammyisms, but not bad! I am learning as I go.

I was going to mail it to him as a surprise, but I changed my mind and had a little fun on Facebook. I posted the painting and said, “If this painting resembles you, you may want to check your mail in a few days!” Of course, he was tickled, as was I…

"Far Away Gaze" Portrait of Artist  Frida Kahlo

“Far Away Gaze”
Portrait of Artist
Frida Kahlo

Now, for my current portrait. A little game, you could say. I double dog dared myself to try someone famous, recognizable, revered by many in the art world. I decided on Frida Kahlo. Let me say, I am not a big fan of ‘celebrity’ paintings (I use the term loosely). Really, who wants a painting of Rick (don’t know his actual name) from the Walking Dead hanging on their wall? I guess there are some.  Frida is different somehow. She herself might have appreciated my attempt, as she painted over fifty self portraits. So, I found a wonderful black and white photograph of her, flowers in her hair, cigarette in her hand. It was the inspiration for my painting titled “Far Away Gaze”. A few days of paints flying, hair pulling, hubby’s critical eye, monkey tweaking, and viola! Pulled it off! Surprised myself… 🙂

Now for the big wrap up, my conclusion on painting real people (notice I don’t call it painting realism, obviously not even close). It really is quite a challenge. I enjoy painting from fabulous photos. There has to be something about the photo that speaks to me, colors, a look, the pose. I prefer painting people over animals, though I prefer the company of animals over most people. Don’t ask me to paint Brian Cranston. Ain’t happening. And I really don’t want to paint your mom either. I’m one of those that only want to paint what I want to paint when I want to paint it. Seems like lately it’s been a couple special kids and Frida Kahlo! Go figure…

Grandma’s Watch

 

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Grandma’s Watch

I see the field of daisies in the morning light, the old button jar, her favorite blue teacup and her precious watch, the back engraved, “To J with all my love P / 9.28.1931”. Their memory perhaps, frozen in time…

 

Calico Cat and the Rainbow Trout

Calico Cat and the Rainbow Trout

Calico Cat and the Rainbow Trout

Last week dogs. This week cats. I do enjoy painting quirky critters!

I have recently started using Ampersand ‘hardbord’ as the base for all my paintings. It has taken some getting used to, but I love the smooth surface for painting. I previously painted on stretched canvas or linen board, both beautiful surfaces, but the texture is a fight at times when painting on a small scale. Here’s the lowdown on preparing a board for paint…

Basically, Ampersand ‘hardbord’ is an artist quality pre-cut 1/8 inch thick Masonite panel. With a little preparation, they work really well. The key is to start with a little light sanding with a 220 grit sand paper. I lightly sand the surface and wipe off the residue with a damp towel. This gives the board a little tooth for the gesso to adhere to. Now I  begin the gesso process. I tend to prep six boards at a time. My first of several coats is the plain white thick bodied gesso, straight out of the jar.  It must dry between coats. Sometimes I help the drying time along with a hair dryer, but if I am prepping multiples, and taking my time to minimize strokes, they tend to be ready for coat two when I get back around.

After the base coat, I tint a liquid gesso with acrylic paint, usually a brown or grey, and apply in thin even coats, of course, allowing it to dry before applying the next coat. I apply three or four tinted coats, using horizontal strokes for one layer, then vertical strokes for the next, and so on to ensure smooth even coverage. When I am happy with the way they look, I allow to cure for at least 24 hours. This is an important step. Trust me on this, if the gesso isn’t properly cured, you run the risk pulling it off with too much fiddling in one spot, or watery paint. Dang. Been there, done that…

Now you know the full story. Underneath Calico Cat and the Rainbow Trout are its guts, layers of ugly muddy brown paint and gesso slathered lovingly on Ampersand ‘hardbord’!

 

This painting is currently listed on eBay.

The Dog Walker

 

The Dog Walker

It’s official… I have finally gone to the dogs! Actually, that happened a long time ago, but I digress. 🙂

I do not live in a city, nor have I ever, though my nephew moved to New York City almost a year ago, and thus, a fascination. I love hearing his stories. It seems like a foreign country; groceries delivered to your door, shuttles and trains to work, dog walkers. Of course, my country life would feel as foreign to those who have known only the city; Martin’s Grocery Store, a tractor ride to the neighbors, goat walker.

 

This painting is currently listed on eBay.

A Tryst with the Elder

 

A Tryst with the Elder

A Tryst with the Elder

I spent the month of March playing in a Facebook group which was practicing full body poses through sketching, painting, or any other media.  I found it very entertaining, even though it took me a little outside of my comfort zone. It got me back into pencil sketching, something I haven’t fooled with in a very long time. It made me sketch poses I had never considered, and before I knew it, I was painting them. “Doors” was the first painting done from one of these sketches.

There are wonderful places on the internet to get artistic poses. One very cool site is called “Quickposes”, and several of my sketches, including the one for “Doors” came from poses in their data base. Another suggestion made in the group was to study the works of famous artists. Hm… That sounded like a great idea.  I got out an old Art History book, blew the dust off, and started reading.  Jeez. So many wonderful painters. Eye candy through the ages. I was enthralled and spent a couple of days just admiring all the amazing work and not doing any of my own.

Around c. 1530 or so, I found Lucas Cranach the Elder. I was blown away, totally blown away. Why had I never seen this man’s Art? Truth be told,  I probably had, but because I was in college and found Renaissance paintings old and stuffy, I simply didn’t care to remember. Funny how thirty some years tends to change one’s perception. His work is brilliant. Full of dark humor, exotic beauty, fine detail. What’s not to love about someone holding a severed head on a platter? I’ve painted one myself! His nudes are glorious, with a totally modern feel. They have that “What…Ever” stance, unashamed, slouchy, can’t be bothered, wearing chunky neck chains, a sheer translucent drape, set against an intricate landscape. They seem to  have a twinkle in their eye and mischievous spirit. Ah, but to paint like Cranach the Elder (a brief pause to consider the what ifs)… (and I’m back)… I kind of don’t think it’ll happen, pure Gulat here, but I can still learn a thing or two from him!  I am glad to have found Lucas Cranach the Elder inside my musty old book, the inspiration for “A Tryst with the Elder”.

I guess the moral of this story is, unlike dogs, we are never too old to try new things. -OR- Just like dogs we should revisit the old to discover the new. Okay. I’m confused…

This painting is currently listed on eBay.

The Fledgling

 

The Fledgling

He spreads his wings and shrieks, filled with both fear and excitement, he soars into the unknown. 

You won’t find this charming fellow in your bird books. He lives only in my imagination! A friend called him “a baby Phoenix, bringing the memory of warmth”. Sounds like I’m not the only one craving sunshine…

This painting is currently listed on eBay.

Doors

"Doors" 3.20.2014

“Doors”
3.20.2014

“I once dreamed of doors…”

Nibblefest is a themed monthly art contest on eBay. The premise of Nibblefest is, Artists list at Auction one to three pieces of their Art for seven, five, or three days (starts on the 20th, ends on the 27th).  All of the Auctions start at just $0.99.  Whomever has the greatest number of people bid on their listing wins. You don’t count bids.  You count bidders.

I was feeling kind of blah about this month’s theme ‘doors’, until the wheels started turning inside my head. Bit by bit an idea began taking shape, and then the painting. At first all I had was the nude (a recent pencil sketch of a pose I adore), the stone wall, an orange door, and the full moon. The row of fairly symmetrical trees were added to frame the orange door and keep your eye drawn to it. The AHA moment came when I thought to myself, “wouldn’t she look cool laying on an old door?” Well yeah. Duh. Who doesn’t look cool laying on an old door? Old green door? Blue door? Purple door? All of the above! Ooh… How about a black panther on the wall? Nah… How about a cheetah?.. Big cheetah in the foreground?.. Two big cheetahs! Yes. More symmetry. Tweak it for a day or so, and Viola! Done! My painting titled “Doors”…

UPDATE:

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Thank you eBay Bidders for making “Doors” a winner!!!