Another blech in the works?

Wisteria?

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.

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Playing hooky

New aceos

New aceos

I must admit to playing hooky over the last week.  The weather has been warming up and while I had to dodge some rain, I was able to do my “fall cleanup” for a few days.  The flower beds are ready for spring weeding and as soon as it dries up some, I’ll be out there pulling grass, dandelions, and other assorted weeds that have already sprung up.  The redbuds are fully blooming and the dogwoods are coming on.  My red dogwood survived the winter cold and the deer with most of the flowers intact. so I am happy about that.  The daffodils are almost done though.  I have been picking them to put in the kitchen, but they haven’t lasted over long.  It is still early to buy any flowers for planting, but I’m getting the urge to.  We are having a high deer fence put around our garden this spring because we are tired of the deer, raccoons, rabbits, possums, etc. eating up everything including the fruit trees.  I might as well just been giving the wildlife the money the last few years.  LOL

I did spend some time making some new aceo/gift tags.  I have my next project in mind, but I have to do some photo research before I can start.  Here’s a peek at the aceos.  I’ll be listing some of them in the next few days.

Success

Aceo blanks 2

Aceo blanks 2

The latest sheet of watercolor for the aeco/gift tags backgrounds turned out fine. I don’t know if it was the different soaking brush, the different colored paper, or a combination of the two, but the colors lay down nicely and I am pleased with the results. Perhaps I was somehow scarring up the paper with the other brush or removing some surface finish, but this time around there was no precipitation of the paint.  I now have way too many blanks, but they do make an easy project for a fill in. I will probably list a few of these this week.  Valentine’s Day is coming up for the heart ones and I also don’t have a lot of blue things in my shop.  The worst part is taking all of the photos.  I end up sifting through about 12 photos to get the three I need for each listing.  It is necessary, but time consuming. Then I’ll have to figure out a real project to work on.

Hydrangea linocut

Hydrangea spike

Hydrangea spike

I have two beautiful hydrangea paniculata trees (pinky winky variety if you can believe it)  flanking my front door. I had never heard of them before the landscaper put them in, but now I think they are quite lovely. They flower late summer with a large spike at the end of a branch. Unlike the blue and pink hydrangeas that we are most are familiar with, the spike doesn’t fully flower out – I would say less than 10%. There are lots of seedy looking buds that never open. The ones that do are a soft pink and beige color. I clipped off a dozen branches last fall to dry and decided to use them as a linocut inspiration.

 

Colored hydrangea linocut

Colored hydrangea linocut

I like the linocut itself, but I am not sure I like the green ink.  I wanted to use something other than the black, but I am feeling rather so-so about this color.  Unfortunately, my inking palette is rather limited in this regard.

Red dogwoods

Really red dogwood flowers

Really red dogwood flowers

Thursday, I printed up the dogwood linocut with my red ink. If you remember, I considered adding some white to the red to vary the color. However, that would require that I had some white.  I thought I did, but I did’t.  So much for that idea.  Anyway, I am not unhappy with the solid red.  It is quite vibrant in its own right.  I am thinking of making a companion print for this since I don’t think I’ll make one with the added watercolors.  I’ll have to think about another red flower to use.  Or maybe I’ll print up the dragon in red. Take a peek at my etsy store linocuts and please make a suggestion for a different color for the black ones.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/ruthsartwork?section_id=12221408&ref=shopsection_leftnav_9

 

Spring flowers

Dogwood block

Dogwood block

In the blush of the first warm temperatures of the season, my daffodils have finally started to bloom.  We are in for a lot of rain over the next couple of days, so I expect that the under story in the woods and  the rest of the wild flowers will burst onto the scene very quickly.  It is already late into spring for most of them to make their appearances.  Right now it is thundering outside  and the rain is sheeting down.  With the droughts of the last several years, I am not going to complain.  Any rain is good rain for us.

I decided to make a dogwood linocut today, in honor of my mangled little red dogwood tree.  One of the deer thought that all of the flower buds on it, except for one, would make for a nice snack.  Alas, it will be next year before I can see the red blooms again.  I have had quite a hard time keeping a red dogwood alive and growing in this particular spot.

I am thinking that I will print this in reds and pinks with the variation directly on the brayer.  I’ve only tried that once before with some green and yellow inks.  This one might be a good one to try it again.  I don’t plan to make one to watercolor then unless I decide a green background would add to it.  I think I need to see it first.

Printed and colored

Black and white

Black and white

Stuck in the house after yet another snowfall and extra cold days, I printed and then watercolored the daisy floral linocut from the last post.  I use the slicker side of a thin printmaking paper for the black one.  After mistakenly using that side for prints a few months ago, I decided I like the way it turned much better than the rougher side. Directions said either side could be used, but naturally I chose the rougher texture that I was more familiar with.  As it turns out, it is a little bit easier to get a smooth even print on the slick side.  I have a heavier, more watercolor weight paper for the colored one.  It only took one experiment to tell me that the thin paper buckles badly and doesn’t look very good. However it is much harder to get an even print on the thicker paper and sometimes I have to print several to get what I need.  I have decided to get another brayer.  Mine has to be close to 40 years old as I bought it for a college class.  I’m checking into what to get so if anyone has a suggestion, I’d appreciate information.

Colored daisies

Colored daisies

I decided to make the colored flowers hues close to the the real ones.  I don’t know what species they are, but they grow prolifically on the road side in late summer and are a deep gold/yellow.  They actually make a rather nice bouquet.

Our mac is temporarily down and in the shop for a virus check so I haven’t been surfing through other blogs very much. Hopefully, I’ll get it back in a few days and be able to visit everyone more often.

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