Acrylic #3 – Wisteria

Wisteria

Wisteria

I laid down the base paint coat for the wisteria vine flowers acrylic yesterday.  The flowers are lovely variations of light purple surrounded by green leaves.  The detail work will make or break this painting, but I am happy with it so far.

I found something positive to do with that awful first effort. When I did acrylics all those years ago, I never learned I should put a varnish coat over the finished painting.  In doing some research about the acrylic process, I discovered that it is recommended to use several thin coats of a “varnish”  over the end product.  Well, I am using the barn painting to practice/experiment with matte and gloss finishes.  Then I can feel okay that it’s time for the circular file for that one.

Also, yesterday I received a commission for 2 8×10 pen and ink architecturals.  I will be putting this aside for the next couple of weeks to work on them.  I’ve done 2 commissions for her previously so it is nice to hear form her again.

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I think it’s done

Red calf

Red calf

After two more sessions of fiddling around, I think I’m done.  I don’t know if you can see much difference, but I added depth to his coat and changed the background somewhat.  I am much happier with this painting overall than I was with the barn one.  I think I’ll let it sit for a few days, but unlike what often happens after I finish a piece, I actually have liked it better afterwards.

A floral experiment is up next.  I have a photo taken in Atlanta of some purple wisteria which will be fun to experiment with.  I do like working with this 8×10 size right now.  It’s not too big and not too little.  It’s small enough that the detail work is not paramount but not so big that it overwhelms me.

Well, this is better

More on the calf

More paint on the calf

Well, this is turning out better than my first effort with the acrylics.  I admit that first barn effort was discouraging.

I spent several hours yesterday adding color to the calf and I am much more pleased at this stage than I was with the first one.  I just started to add paint and didn’t think to deeply about it.  Sometimes, that is where I get myself into trouble.  LOL  I think I still have another session to go to refine his head and work on the background as I have some canvas still showing through.  He was standing next to the creek where the water has carved out a deep bed for itself, so that is really a dirt wall behind him.  I kind of like the color that I have there as it allows him to be the main focus, but we’ll see what happens.

This one actually might end up being good enough to list in my etsy store.

Preliminary color on the calf

cow_pc_8249I laid down the preliminary paint layer for the reddish brown calf a couple of days ago and am somewhat pleased.  I think he shows a little bit of personality even at this stage. The calves are usually very skittish in the pasture and all of the them looked at us quite intently as we took pictures.  I think you can see a little bit of his leery curiosity here.

I’m at that stage of being afraid of “ruining” the work done so far and have been dithering about how to proceed.  Of course, not having worked with acrylics for 25 years doesn’t help either.   The matte medium seems to be helping somewhat in laying down the paint.  I haven’t tried the newest brush, but I am sure it will come in handy.  I just need to take the plunge and do it.

I have also been working on the cast paper ornaments.  They are small, but the painting is slow going to get all five done.  I’ve been posting almost daily on my instagram account and using up a lot of my older photos.  I’d better get down to work and make a lot more.  It’s very cold outside today and continued into the whole week (wind chills below zero), so I should bury myself in the studio, next to my portable heater of course, and get some serious work done.

Maybe this calf will be easier

A calf, penciled oin

A calf, penciled oin

We have a rather large herd of beef cattle across the road at the bottom of our driveway and one day last summer the cows and calves cooperated in having their pictures taken.  Quite a few of them were lounging by the creek that runs through our property and their pasture and I was able to take a variety of photos.  The coat colors run the gamut from white to red to black and combinations in-between.  This guy is a lovely shade of reddish brown.  Today I will try and lay down the base coat.  I did get another brush and some matte medium to thin the paint a little.  Experimentation is good.

I also sold 5 of my cast paper cookie mold Christmas ornaments in the last month in my etsy store, so interspersed with painting Mr. Calf, I will be working on replacing those.

Well, Blech is about all I can say about this

More color

More color

This is not going as smoothly as I had hoped or remembered it being.  For a change, the photo actually looks better than the real piece of artwork.  I think the only part that is passable is the foreground.  The stonework is sketchy and I haven’t quite figured out how I want to do the metal roof and the door.  I am having trouble making fine details with the thicker acrylic paints and I definitely need a smaller brush. I should get a thinning medium also.  Although I have a drying retardant already, I think I may need something more.  I will consider taking an acrylic class this spring too, just to help me remember what I need to do.
The best thing about this is that it is an experiment. I am free to try whatever I want and if things don’t go well, I can use the circular file. Nine canvases from the package to go.

Back to work in a slightly different direction

Acrylic base coat

Acrylic base coat

Well, after a nice holiday break, I’ve finally gotten back into the studio. I have been watching an interesting British show called “Portrait Artist of the Year” for the last few months (on the Ovation Channel if you get it.)  I really enjoyed seeing all of the different styles and techniques of dozens of artists and judging for myself which I like and which I didn’t.  I know from watching it that I am NOT a portrait painter, but it has inspired me to try my hand at acrylic painting again after about a 25 year layoff.  I had no supplies left of course after all of that time, so I used some of my Christmas commission income for a little bit of judicious buying with Michael’s coupons to help me get restarted.

One thing I have already discovered is that I need to have the right size brushes.  I have a few, but this little painting (8×10) will tell me what I really want to use.  I bought a package of 10 canvases to play with.  I’ll know after that if I want to keep it up or was just feeling inspired to try something new by the tv show.

This is just the base layer for the barn.  I wanted something fairly simple to experiment with and I do love my stone barns, don’t I.  LOL  I sure hope things improve as I add details today.  It’s kind of blah right now.