Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Gif of Gid

I have been practicing alla prima portraiture (although I doubt it's alla prima if done from a photo) on members of my family. Some survive, and some go in the wood stove! All are learning experiences. 
Giffing the process seemed like something I could learn to do, so I decided to scan my current project at various phases in its completion ,and have a cool little "movie-lette" to show for it. But how to scan wet oil paint? Saran wrap!
Maybe Saran wrap isn't the answer. 
But it did make me laugh!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Cassidy is finally dry enough to scan and post!

Windsor and Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Color on panel
Cassidy, from a photo, is the first alla prima portrait (in water soluble oil paints) that I attempted after my alla prima class. I never did post the one I did in class, mainly because I forgot, but also because, since it was a 6 hour pose, the subject was reading, her eyes downcast, and the resulting portrait makes her look asleep. Or dead. Or something.

I enjoy the oil painting alla prima method, but I do think that watercolor "quick and dirty" portraits are more my thing. Or maybe "quick and dirty" is my thing. Cassidy came together rather quickly, and the portraits that I've done since then (and are still wet and not scannable) are belabored and ugh. 

Keep watch for more. I'm heading to the farm for a few days of sap boiling, though, so not much painting will be happening.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stroke of Luck!

The weekend held too much "other" stuff, not enough art time. Handsome and I visited four sap houses and dreamed up plans for expanding our operation, and the second half of Saturday was devoted to the Trout Unlimited Dinner and Auction, to benefit...trout? 

Well, indirectly. As far as I can tell, it's a river conservation and restoration group. 

When we attend an event like this, we purchase some tickets for the bucket raffles, but we don't really stand a chance of winning, seeing that many other attendees buy WAY more tickets than we do. Handsome and I don't stand a chance at the live auction portion of the evening, either, but we watch and are entertained. 

This year, I didn't spread my strip-and-a-half of tickets out among the buckets (too much) because there was one prize there meant for me. Hopefully. But remember, the Trout may be Unlimited, but my pocketbook wasn't. Isn't. Anyhoo...

My number was called! It's mine!

But wait, there's more. Along with this very nice box 
and quite nice Winton paints,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Station Break


(Note: If you're interested in art, sketching, painting, this post will not be interesting in the least!)

Staring at my Last Summer Face on the screen, as I paint my self portrait (over and over--layers scrubbed off and re-laid, sometimes just painted over) puts my thoughts to Sjogren's Syndrome. Yes. The red-rimmed eyes, the small, tight mouth that looks more like a grimace than a smile--Sjogren's. Blech.

I am just a month away from my next two day Rituxan infusion set. Six months ago, I was going to really, really track my improvement/non-improvement from the medication, and I guess I didn't do such a good job of it. Or else it didn't do such a good job on me, because I didn't notice any relief of any symptoms. Joint aches, shortness of breath, dry, dry, dryness, raspy voice, stingy eyes, exhaustion, dry, dryness, right down my throat and into my lungs...all still present, in fact, magnified through the winter cold and flu season (but I managed to escape the flu!) Colds, all winter long. One cannot turn away germs without saliva, tears, and such. I picture little germ beasts adhering to my juice-less mucus membranes and immediately turbocharging through my bloodstream.

Actually, I am not posting these thoughts to be a whiner! I'm just trying to take stock of how the infusion has helped or not helped, and maybe trying to ask for thoughts from other Sjogreneers.

Maybe the tough winter was not due to dryness and not being able to fight germs? Maybe it was due to coming close to the end of the last infusion's effect? Heck. Maybe it was due to the last infusion, itself? Drugs to quash my over-active immune system's desire to fight me probably quashed my immune system's desire to protect me, too?

Hoo Boy. I just don't know.

Now...back to that self-portrait. I almost have the skin tones right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's not that I've been lazy...'s the oil paint, really. Can't slap the piece on the scanner like you can with a watercolor or a drawing. 

About as soon as I got home from my Saturday (last week) Alla Prima Portraits workshop, I set about to practice. I practiced, first, on Cassidy. And the results were not terrible! She is fairly recognizable! 

Then I became very bold, bringing up my fb photo and rendering the beginnings of a self portrait. These lack the "freshness" of a couple of my recent watercolor portraits, but I'll reserve judgment until I've worked more on both techniques.

Before I could finish, I left for the farm, where I spent the very cold weekend. 

And Riley found a favorite spot on the old couch. Is he portrait fodder? Not anytime soon, although I'm sure all that white might be a fun challenge. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Alla Prima Workshop

I spent much of Saturday at a painting workshop! This was a big step for me, because I am so insecure about my abilities. A funny attitude for a teacher to have, right? Because workshops are for learning, and if one already knows how to do it.... Anyway, I will post my alla prima portrait as soon as it's dry enough to slap on the scanner. Our skillful, patient instructor was Corey Pitkin: do check out his website and his work.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Watercolor Portrait

I have decided that it would be a sweet luxury to have a spacious work table in comfortable proximity to a computer monitor. 
oh, dear. wrinkles (of the paper) add the
two parallel shadows that aren't really there.
Handsome was leaving for a few days of syrup-making at the farm, so I snapped a photo before he took off. I painted this while sitting in front of the computer screen, on the very small portion of the old drop leaf table where the keyboard usually rests. Insufficient space for spreading out the paper and the painting paraphernalia!

Not saying that he would have come out better with more space--(he'll come out better with more practice!)--but more space would be nice.

In related news, I am about to leave the house for a six hour "Alla Prima Portraits" workshop at the Saratoga Arts Center. I am severely intimidated. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

watercolor mini #2

This time, my mini-take on a Winslow Homer detail.

...and I see that in my fascination with rendering the plaid shawl, I neglected the poor child's boots. They weren't white.

Monday, March 4, 2013

watercolor mini #1

Liz and Gid gave me the most wonderful gift this Christmas: a very generous Blick certificate! I didn't spend it for a while, because I was having too much fun perusing the catalog and the online catalog, considering what to buy. I made my purchase a week ago, and now I own a Sennelier watercolor pan set (18 colors!) and a small bunch of nice Blick Studio Synthetic brushes.


It's been fun learning my way around these new materials. I haven't jumped into anything serious, but I have made this little sketch of a child from a Sargent painting, among other things.
the haze above her head is the remnant of her pointy conehead

I could do this all day.