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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slowly Clearing

The shadow box layer of gel is nearly clear, which it will be when it is dry. If I want to pursue this line of enquiry, I will have to do a good number of these in sequence, pouring new ones while the older ones dry and cure. I want it to be multi-layered, but I have to let each layer cure. An exercise in patience, a virtue I definitely lack. Maybe this will develop it!

A Puddle

This is an attempt to corral self-leveling gel by putting lines of clear tar gel down first, and it is probably failing. It will most likely end up as a fairly round puddle, which will then become a circle of clear acrylic. I will be able to use it, but the concentric circle idea needs work.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fun with Gels ...

Suspended Wing

In the middle of the night, I woke with the definite idea of using a clear gel acrylic skin as a support for painting. Then all sorts of ideas began popping into my head. I wrote them down in Evernote. Then I used push pins to tack a clear gel skin I had already prepared onto the front of a cradled wood panel, using it as a sort of shadow box. I laid one of the older skins, from my attempts at making wings for Osprey, on top. I like it, but it is not interesting enough. In my woolgathering I imagined tiny lights inside the box, but that is probably not going to be my direction with this.

Today I did a set of concentric circles in clear tar gel (left). They will be "dams" between which I will pour self-leveling gel, to see if I can get a subtle differentiation between all the clear lines and areas between them. If they just meld completely, I will simply have a circle of clear gel to work on.

Then  I placed some of the other acrylic skins that were possible wings in the bottom of the wood panel shadow box (right). I poured self-leveling gel over the skins, and now it will dry for at least a day. Then I hope I can suspend more skins on that layer and continue on in that way until the box is full. It may be interesting or it may just be another dead end. We shall see.

I also took the canvas off the painting of Osprey's face with the clear gel experiment on top of it (far left, under palette), but I saved it. It may be used in another piece in some manner. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ugly Pugly!


If you look closely, you can see Osprey's hairline on the upper left. Her shirt was yellow and that is visible as well. I will never use this technique again. It is not suited to my process at all. The gel becomes this thick heavy layer of plastic that is cumbersome, and painting into it (at least at the recommended thickness of 1/4") is weird at best. This vile thing will be scrapped. I will save the stretcher bars for another stretched canvas to use later.

Today's Work So Far

Oregon Coast II
Added a layer of color. The waves are roughed in, as is the sky, and the land.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oregon Coast II Underpainting

I think I will have to set my studio up as an assembly line to produce more paintings. Doing them one at a time, I have lots of drying time in between, so maybe if I can choose several images at once, I can do all the tinting of the support, then all the underpainting, then continue doing each layer on each painting at around the same time. I have never done that sort of thing, so I don't have things set up correctly, but that can be changed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lone Pine, Lake Yellowstone

8"x10" Acrylic on gessobord
Just a couple of minor changes, but I think it is finished now.

Lone Pine, Lake Yellowstone

8"H x 10"W Acrylic on gessobord
I think this is finished, but I will continue to gaze at it for a while before I post it on Etsy as a finished product. Sometimes glaring problems elude me at first.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lone Pine in Natural Light

My work light is supposedly color corrected, but it really warms these tones a lot. I have to shoot in natural light whenever possible!

Lone Pine, Lake Yellowstone New Passage

That is more like it ...
Now I am closer to the colors in the printout of the photo ... several steps removed from the moment when I took the photo. Sometimes the worst photos are the best for me to work from, because I am not caught up in reproducing nature. Nature is constantly producing wonders, and my paintings are not meant to capture Her. I can only use Her shapes and daub my mud on them.

Simplification, or The Coloring Book School of Art

Which Twin is the Photo?
In order to make the painting less complex, and less realistic, I have taken out the extraneous trees. This is about the big tree and the clouds, and how their shapes reflect one another, so that is my focus.

I like to do an outline of the shapes and then fill them in with a brush that is really a bit too large for the shapes, so that I do not get all fussy with the details. Another artist might want to get into every little thing, but my style is loose; representational but not realistic. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lone Pine, Lake Yellowstone

Mixing Chart, my Photo, Color Star, 8" x 10" gessobord Panel
This image called for a lot of blues, so my choice is a split split-complementary (if that is actually a term?). Yellow-orange with Blue-Green, Blue, Violet, and Blue Violet. I did a new mixing chart for the piece today. The mixtures look dark, and they are closely related, but with the addition some white, the tints will play nicely together.

I have tinted the panel yellow-orange, because there are so many cool colors that I want some underlying brightness, which will peek through in spots.

Production Hiatus ...

My painting schedule was derailed by having to apply for Medicare Part B and Supplemental Insurance, each of which took hours and hours. Bleach.

Astral City!

FINALLY, I found the movie I have been searching for for months. I saw it after Osprey recommended it, and since she died in December of 2013, it has been a while. I could not recall the name for the life of me, but I knew it was Latin American, and about reincarnation. Well, the title is "Astral City". The graphics are airy-fairy, but the ideas are interesting.

My Job as an Artist

Earth Talisman, copper sheet and wire

These are parts of my job as an artist:

  1. Design, color, drawing, composition
  2. My particular medium and its uses (acrylic, gouache, watercolor, oil, charcoal, pastel, etc.), and the supports I prefer (canvas, wood panel, paper, for example)
  3. My subject matter
  4. Capturing images in whatever way I choose (some choose plain air, others images from the newspaper, old photos, the flotsam and jetsam of the internet, and on and on)
  5. Completing a painting, including signing and framing
  6. Visiting art museums and galleries to see what others are doing or have done and letting those images enter my subconscious mind, to percolate there and subliminally or directly affect my imagery or process
  7. Entering juried shows on a regular basis, following the rules of each show, being on time with entry, delivery, and pickup
  8. Networking with other arts, and attending their individual shows, and signing their guest books
  9. Promoting my work and finding venues to sell it
  10. Shipping sold pieces so that they are well protected in transit and therefore intact on arrival 
  11. Keeping track of expenses and income for tax purposes, and to ensure I understand how much, if anything, I am making on my work. In the past, my painting has paid for my materials, tools and supplies. For taxes, materials are considered part of the piece, and tools and materials like brushes, palettes, and so on, are prorated over their lifetime. They are overhead. A home studio must not be used for any purpose other than art. 

The reality is that, as I was told in art school, "only paint if you have to". It is not a career, with a clear path upward to success. It is a vocation, and each artist has to decide how to support their painting habit. Some have other jobs to make ends meet. Some make a living. Some become famous. Some give up. Some just keep on doing it because it is so fulfilling. 

Each painting I do is more than the sum of my work, design choices, and materials. It responds to my efforts, and suggests direction that I do not plan in advance. Each finished piece feeds my soul. Some are simple images that give back a sense of the place I visited and shot with my camera, others have something extra that the camera simply could never have captured. That something does not come from my conscious mind. Wherever it comes from, it shines back a light of sorts into my heart and soul. I am grateful for my aptitude, and the people who have supported and nurtured my work. It is a journey of the soul.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Peach Creek

Peach Creek
Here is another 6"x6" painting, acrylic on gessobord, bamboo frame, $60.00 plus shipping, to be sold on Etsy.

In the Tiny Forest

Lake Houston Wilderness Park - Peach Creek
Ooh I love this. So bright it kicks you in the eyeballs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Starting Off in the Horrible Gear

Peach Creek, Houston Wilderness Park
The underpainting of this one looks like it was done in some kindergarten area of hell.

Stay Wet Palette Experiment

Because my newest paintings are very small, I do not use a lot of paint, but I still have to let each layer dry between sessions, so yesterday I got a stay-wet palette for the main pigments. Then I use disposable peel-off paper palettes for the mixtures I make. I have used this kind of wet palette before, but did not find it all that useful. Maybe in this situation it will make more sense.

Pines, Armand Bayou

Pines, Armand Bayou
I had to replace one of the frames that Blick shipped to me because it had a scratch on one of the miter seams, so this is the replacement frame, which is black. I am now uploading it to Etsy, where it will sell for $75+ shipping.

Studio Visit - Margaret Smithers-Crump

In Silence


"Time Released" - Margaret Smithers-Crump
Yesterday I explored the Houston museum district and in the evening I attended a Women in the Visual and Literary Arts meeting, which was held at the studio of Margaret Smithers-Crump. She works in acrylic sheets, also known as Plexiglas or Lexan. Her work includes paintings and sculptural pieces. These amazing and mysterious works are labor-intensive and take months to complete. Visit Margaret's website here.

An Afternoon at the Museum

I have decided I need exposure to the rest of the local art world, so I have declared every other Tuesday my Art Day. Yesterday I visited the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

Triumph of the Eucharist
Currently they have a show of restored Rubens paintings and gigantic tapestries based upon those paintings. There are videos showing the process of restoration, and one of the highlights of the video I saw was seeing varnish applied to the restored painting. The shining veil brings the color back to life in what seems like a miraculous way.
Visit page.

Similar necklace to the one in the collection.
Another exhibition is selections from the Al-Sabah collection of Islamic art. There was an alembic and an astrolabe, which are fascinating objects and quite beautiful to view, as well as many woven pieces and spectacular jewelry, some carved with calligraphic writings.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Yet Another Mixing Chart! W00t!

Mixing Chart, printout of my photo, The Color Star combination
I may have many more mixing charts to go, but I like making them. Each combination of colors shows me all sorts of mixtures I may never have tried before, and they play well together.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another Little Guy for the Etsy Shop

Creek, Jackson, Wyoming

This painting is now live on the Etsy shop for $60.00 plus shipping.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Step by Step, Inch by Inch ...

Messy but Kinda Kewt
I think a painting a day may not be possible for me at this time. Even a 6" x 6" takes a couple of days at least. Maybe I need to simplify the imagery?

Shaping Up, So To Speak ...

Correcting the Drawing

Friday, March 13, 2015

Funky Little Underpainting

Swirly Landscape

Mixing Chart for Another Set of Two Complementaries

So Bright I Have to Wear Shades
It was difficult to work out what color combination to use for this image. Another set of two complementaries. It took some time to analyze the subtle yellow-oranges and yellowish greens in the grasses.

Storm Point I Painting Framed

Storm Point I
I have listed this for sale on Easy for $75 plus shipping. With the frame it is 14" x14" x 2" or so.

ElleCoyote on Etsy

Today I created an Easy shop to sell small paintings. I named it ElleCoyote to link it with my blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Log Touched Up

A Shot in the Dark

The log seems to be flat in the back and I added a little more shading. Now it looks cylindrical! Yay!

The Product

Fallen Log 6x6" Painting Framed

Fallen Log, Bridge Bay, Yellowstone

Fallen Log
Palette, Painting, Printout of my Photo

Today's Work So Far


Going in the right direction

My First 6"x6" Painting

The Alchemical Laboratory
As I intended, I began my tiny painting of the fallen log today. I colored the gessobord with red-violet, because the main color in the painting will be its complement, yellow-green. This gives the outer color solidity and when bits of the complement are visible, the painting has a sense of life. Then I put in the upper section of yellow-orange and the lower yellow-green. I did not make it very yellow, because starting with a medium value, mid-hue will give me a base for the intense yellows in the grasses later on in the process. I have a bamboo frame ready for this painting, which I hope will look good with my color choices. It is a renewable/sustainable frame choice.

Drying and Curing of Acrylic Paints

According to Golden Paints, a leading manufacturer of acrylic paints and mediums:

"The Two Drying Stages of Acrylics
The drying of acrylic paints occurs in two very different stages, hence drying times must be thought of in two different time frames. The first stage, a relatively short period of time, results in the formation of a skin over the surface of the paint. This is the time that it takes for acrylics to "dry to the touch". At this point, the flow of water towards the surface is no longer sufficient to keep the paint film wet. Very thin films can feel dry within seconds, while thick films may take a full day or more to skin over.
The second stage of drying is the time for the entire thickness of the film to be thoroughly dry. That is, the time required for all of the water and solvent (used as freeze-thaw stabilizer and coalescent) to evaporate and leave the film. This is a most crucial time frame, as the ultimate physical properties, such as adhesion, hardness and clarity, do not fully develop until the film is near complete dryness. For very thin films, this time may be a few days, while films of 1/4 inch thickness or more will take months and even years to be completely dry."
To read the entire article copy the following link:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Fallen Log, Bridge Bay, Yellowstone

Bridge Bay, Lake Yellowstone 2014
Two Complementaries
Mixing Chart

This will be my next 8x8" painting. I have never used this particular color combination, so I had to do a new mixing chart for it. I plan to start the painting tomorrow. 


Oregon Coast I
This painting is 16"H x 20" wide. I finally got my other supports and frames. I do not have a frame for this painting. It will be signed and varnished before it gets framed.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Making Progress

"Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things" - Horse With No Name, America  (well, no birds, but still ...)

I worked on the  sand, the grasses, the bluff on the right, and the creeping plant life on the left. Progress... still much to be done. Waiting for the paint to dry again. 

Yesterday's Work

Easel with Painting, Palette Chart, Image Printout

Again, it is clear I cannot do a painting every day unless I stick to a very small format. This 16"x20" painting is moving along, but not quickly. I have supports and frames ordered for smaller formats, including 6"x6", 8"x10", and 11"x14". Once they arrive I will experiment to see what sizes are appropriate for producing a painting per day. Meanwhile, I will continue to work on this one.

My "day job" is cooking for my husband and myself, and caring for our two dogs. Currently my schedule is to do household chores in the mornings, and paint in the afternoons. 

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Oh Boy. Homework.

I often make color mixing charts to remind myself of the range that can be had from a selected palette. In this case, Orange is the warm color, with double split complementaries opposite. In other words, the complementary color for orange is blue, but it is absent. Instead there are two colors on either side of blue, Blue-Green and Green on one side, and Blue-Violet and Violet on the other. Here they are shown mixed with one another, and with white and black.

When I started this painting I was thinking it was blue green with warm colors, but then I realized that would not give me nearly the range of blues, violets and greens that I need for this subject. So I switched it up. And voila! I have about 4 other palette mixing charts in my notebook. This homework serves me well when I am casting about for a color that can work in a painting. It saves a lot of time, paint, and frustration. The actual palette choices are made using the Color Star of Johannes Itten.

Itten's Color Star
Color Star with Overlay I am using

Friday, March 06, 2015

Bit Off Too Much for One Day

Oregon Beach 16x20
I am tired and going to bed. This is as far as I got today. I think the size makes a big difference. I would rather not rush, so smaller than 16x20" is better for a One A Day Painting. I have a few sizes ordered, and I think 9x12" should be doable in one day, but I will have to see how that goes.I think this one is moving in a good direction, but it will take me a few more hours to finish.