Second painting session

Second sitting

Second sitting

Well, so far it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s going well enough that now I am concerned about “ruining” it.  As typical for me, it is better on the board than it shows up here, with the colors being somewhat softer and better blended.  I need to consider how detailed to get, especially for the eyes and mouth.  The eyes are a little bit off and I have to figure out the teeth, but it is an acceptable start.

I chose a mossy green background and I think it goes well with my brown hair.  Better than the car seatback, don’t you think?  My top was a floral print that kind of matched my skin tone and I think I’ll keep it for now.  The flowers are pastellish so they won’t compete much with the overall painting.

It has sat for a day or two, so now I can see it with fresh eyes.  Still okay, but I need to get my courage up and get on with the painting.

And now for something completely different……

Pencil-up of the portrait

Pencil-up of the portrait

Several months ago, as you know, I decided to work again with the acrylic paints after a break of probably 25 years.  I had been thinking about it for some time earlier, but watching the British show “Portrait Artist of the Year” really inspired me to take the next step.  After the first set if paintings I have chronicled – both successful and unsuccessful – the thought came to me that perhaps I should attempt my own self portrait.  This is not as easy as it might seem, regardless of whether the portrait will be good or not, because I take terrible pictures when I know the camera is on me.  I sifted through decades of photos for which, unfortunately, I am the major photographer and therefore not in.  And the ones I am in rarely do me any kind of justice.  In fact, they are usually pretty awful.

Preliminary underpainting

Preliminary underpainting

Finally I settle on one from my wedding day.  It’s a fairly simple, candid shot of me looking over my shoulder as we drive away in my little silver pinto.  I like the picture because I am not looking directly at the camera, but just over my shoulder.  Time will tell how it turns out, but I already know the mouth is going to be hard.

Mr. Turtle is back

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

With all of the warm weather lately, I have been spending some of my mornings in the flowerbeds.  The nice temperatures and intermittent rains have started the morning weeding chores.  I had just finished one of the lower beds to the side of my studio and when I got up, there was Mr. Turtle almost beside me in the grass.  He was trucking right along (for a turtle, anyway) to the beds next to the gazebo.  I had been concerned about him after the sticky paper incident last fall because I hadn’t seen him after we cleaned and then freed him, so this was so wonderful for me to see.

I raced back into the house to get my camera.  By the time I got back he had moved under the edge of the evergreen shrubs where I had been weeding.  Much to his dismay, I plucked him up and set him down a few feet away so I could take his picture.  Shortly thereafter he continued on his journey.  I hope to see him often over the summer.  We’re kind of like pals after all of these years.

Calf character

Calf portrait

Calf portrait

It has been quite warm this week and I have started to work some outside.  The weeds seem to have started up more than my flowers and I am trying to get a head start, especially on the dandelions.  Show me your yellow flower, and you’re gone! They are easy to spot right now and with the rain we had last week, I can pull most weeds up with the help of my hand trowel.  I have already pulled 2 wheelbarrows full so I’m feeling pretty good about that.  Not too much too soon or my hands will let me know about it.

In the meantime, I have pretty well finished up the watercolor calf.  I’ve deepened his coloring and added more to the background.  Although this is the same calf I did the acrylic head shot of a while back, the tone is a little bit less personal, I think.  Farther away, he doesn’t look quite so curious – more like he is staring hard, deciding if he should stay or run.  I’ll probably list him in my etsy store this week.

How now brown cow

Brown watercolor calf

Brown watercolor calf

I am so ready for nice weather.  March was on the warm side, but April has been quite the roller coaster – pleasantly warm and then nights of mid 20’s with cold, windy days.  I hope this week is starting a consistent spring trend.  I always get worried if it gets too warm too early and the early emergers get burned by frost.

I finally set myself down at the drafting table and decided to go back to the watercolors for a bit.  I went through my cattle photos again and liked this one.  I think it is the same calf that I did the close-up head shot of with the acrylics.  He’s a photogenic kind of guy, isn’t he.  After I did the preliminary inking, I loosely applied the first layer of paint.  His coat color has bled into the background some, but I’m not concerned.  I’ll use it to add depth and just be a little more careful in the next phase.

I have made 4 sales in my etsy store so far this month, a record for me.  Spring is starting out with a bang.  I’ll have to get this guy listed as soon as I have finished.

Charming charms for purse pulls

Charming charms

Charming charms

I had a little bit different project than painting for this week.  Back in the 60’s-70’s I had two charm bracelets started for me, one silver and one gold toned.  It was the thing to do back then and I had charms I was given and charms I bought. Some I know the origin of and some I have no idea why I have.

But you know, I haven’t looked at, much less worn, the bracelets in over 4 decades.  I decided that something useful might done with them.  No one I knew was interested in them as wearable bracelets, so I got the bright idea to take the charms off and make some zipper pull fobs from them.

Side one of an unknown ccharm

Side one of an unknown ccharm

Side 2

Side 2

I went to the box store and got some lobster clips to attach to the charms and started the project.  Some were more difficult than others to add the clips to.  I don’t really have the proper equipment to separate the coil on the split rings so I had to use my thumb nails.  After doing over a dozen, all I can say is ouch, and I’m not finished yet.  Two to go, one silver and one gold toned.  I hope what thumb nails I have left will be able to handle it.

City landmark?

City landmark?

I have a quick question for anyone out there who might help me identify these last two charms.  As you can see, the gold one is architectural in its decoration, with a Parthenon style building on one side and a lighthouse or silo with a wheel shaped object behind and water in front on the other side.  I have absolutely no idea where I got it, just a thought that I might have bought it on my high school senior trip to Washington DC, way back when.  I can’t imagine buying it any later than the early 70’s and there is nothing else I can connect it to.

The silver one should be more straight forward.  It is obviously some city landmark but I can’t place it.  My first thought (and the thought of anyone I have asked) was the space needle in Seattle.  However, the space needle top is more like a flying saucer rather than the ball here.  I thought about the Montreal Expo too, but no go there either.  And the Epcot center in Florida is set lower to the ground.

As an aside, our internet has been out since yesterday.  Talk about withdrawal and then trying to catch up.  It’s been a busy afternoon.

Aha!! One mystery solved.  The silver one is the sun sphere from the 1982 Knoxville TN World’s Fair.  We were there!

As for the gold one, it is definitely the Parthenon.  I have found several charms almost exactly like the front side, but nothing with the reverse.  I must have gotten it either in DC on the high school trip or at Centennial Park, Nashville TN, in the 90’s where there is a reproduction of the Greek Parthenon.  A google image search hasn’t turned up anything yet, but I’ll keep looking.  I’ll just keep it in my personal stash right now.

 

 

Polar bear finished

Polar bear

Polar bear

Here is the third and final post for Mr. Polar Bear.  I think he is pretty much finished now.  I worked mostly on the base area where he is walking and softened the sky on the upper right.  He didn’t seem grounded quite enough  and I just didn’t like the sky area.  I toned down some of the colors across the whole painting, but especially on his body shadows.  When I put the gloss sealer on in a week or two, it should brighten it up a bit and deepen the colors some, but not too much.  I thought it was just fine on the calf the first time I used it, so I expect it to be okay.  Any more changes and I think I might be just fiddling around with not much to show for it.

It has been cooler the last few days around here – back down into the 30’s and 40’s, but this week brings back the 50’s and 60’s.  My daffodils are still blooming and I have brought a nice bunch inside.  The scent of the doubles is just wonderful.  Yippee for spring!

 

 

 

 

 

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