Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the Easel Now

I began a new painting the other day; sometimes everything in the universe aligns just right. It's a portrait painting of an African lion in profile...quite dramatic.

I started by painting the background black, but mixed with alizarin crimson, Prussian blue and raw umber. If I used only black the background would appear flat and two-dimensional. You don't really notice all the other colors in the black but they give a depth that black alone would not. I finished the background by carefully blending with a large, soft brush so that no brush strokes are visible. This gives a soft feeling overall. Then the fun began.

I always start with the eyes when I begin a painting. It's almost ALWAYS the area of focus: aren't you always drawn to the eyes in a picture or a painting? I spent a lot of time (about 40 minutes) detailing the eyes. I wanted to get the sclera--the white of the eye--just right. It actually adds texture and depth to the eye. Then I painted the cornea: that clear bubble that covers the eye. I think I made a good start and there will be very little highlighting to finish it.

After that, I probably worked another 45 minutes on adding the undercoat of facial hair on the lion. I worked out from the eyes toward the nose, down and then back to behind the eyes. At this point the light began to fail and my husband came home. He quickly grabbed his camera and snapped some photos. I'm so glad he did!

This is going to be a fantastic painting; as I make progress on it, I'll post more snapshots of the process. But first I have to finish the three I've already got going.

Oh, have I told you that I'm somewhat of a schizophrenic painter?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dreams of an Artist

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately. For me the artistic process begins in my dreams. I actually see, feel, and smell the paint. I’ve accomplished complete masterpieces. I’ve enjoyed sleeping lately!

My dream paintings are muted, atmospheric, and in a style that in reality I don’t paint. Subconscious yearnings? Hmmm…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Thing

This is weird.

I want you to know I’m being coerced by my evil webmistress (visions of leather, chains, whips, and spiky shoes) to write this blog. Trish, the webmistress, is actually very angelic: sweet, petite, intelligent, and doesn’t go for the vision in black I’ve given of her—but she does enjoy and wear well those spiky shoes! And she’s right. I need to tell you of my journey as an emerging artist.

I say “emerging” not in the sense of becoming a great artist or one who is going to be well-known, but rather as an artist who is phasing from beginner to competent, amateur to professional, a wannabe to “I am an artist!”. I feel so arrogant when people ask me, “What do you do for a living?” and I answer, "I’m an artist." I don’t feel entitled to say that yet but that’s what I definitely want to be when I grow up.

I technically don’t have a job, I help my husband Scott when he needs it in our business. Scott supports me completely in my endeavor to become a painter and needs me less and less in the office.

It’s a conspiracy! I’m going to have to quit whining and get with it. I am an artist, I paint. I love to paint. And it seems I paint wildlife well.