Another blech in the works?


Can you tell it’s wisteria?  I can’t.

I tried a floral painting this time around, but it seems well on the way to another blech rating.  It’s not as bad as the barn painting was, but this one may be destined for the circular file too.  This is the second session for it, but alas, not much improvement has taken place.  It’s not awful, but it’s not very good either.  I am still having trouble with applying the thick bodied acrylic paint.  I have used an extender and a slow drying agent, but I am still feel I am fighting the paint instead of using it.

I am definitely thinking of taking a refresher class for acrylics over the summer.  I feel my problems are more technique related than use of colors or composition and it’s been a looooong time since college.  Not that my college works were any great thing, but I have concentrated most of my efforts in the last 30 years in pen and ink and more recently watercolors and I think I have forgotten a lot in the process.  I think the acrylic animal portraits have been better because the style is looser and less requiring of detail.

I had one last session with the Gizmo pet portrait while doing this and will post the results next time.  I think it turned out okay.

Acrylic #3 – 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.

Dogs and Daisies


She was big and black – and the world’s best dog.  As I was perusing my photos, I came upon Brandy, the dog we had before the kids were born and the first dog that they remember.  Incredibly gentle with our babies and toddlers, she tended to intimidate strangers with her size and deep black color.  I have a picture of our 15 month old eye to eye with her and kissing her nose.  There is also one of the two of them relaxing on the lawn, our daughter resting between her legs.  At close to 80 pounds and sporting double dew claws, we think she was a lab/Great Pyrenees mix.  I have been thinking of doing some pet portraits lately, and thought she would make a great subject.  I used a nib pen to sketch out her basic form and then layered on the watercolors.  She was stone coal black except for one white paw and a white patch on her chest.   The sun would bleach her fur out a little, which accounts for the bits of rusty brown.  I am not sure I am done with her portrait at this point.  I may decide to darken her up a bit but I didn’t want to overdo it just yet.  I welcome your opinion.

Black Eyed Susans

On the flower front, my cone flowers and black eyed Susans have started to be affected by the heat and drought.  The petal arrays on both species are smaller than normal and on the cone flowers the purple color has been seriously bleached out.  You know it’s bad out there when these start to wilt as they are usually pretty hardy.  I picked a few Susans from a shaded area that still looked fairly good and brought them in to paint.

I kept this one simple too, once again outlining the flowers and leaves with the nib pen.  I layered on the yellow for the flowers, following up with yellow ocher, appropriately doctored to a golden orange.  I layered the leaves with skip’s green and then with sap green.  Then I added a little burnt sienna and my purple.  This one seems to have a more illustrative quality to it than most of things I have done but that was intentional for a change.

I think I like both of them.