Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Butterfly WIP

I think I might be starting to get the hang of this loosening up thing! Although I used a larger brush and dabbed on the paint fairly recklessly (recklessly for me, anyway), I'm pleased to see that the flowers read as flowers and the butterfly reads as a butterfly. I'm still finding abstract background creation a little awkward, but after many attempts I'm no longer hating what I've done. Maybe, just maybe, I can actually be a painterly painter!

Although I am trying to paint much more loosely I still want my subjects to be recognizable, so here's the ultimate test: if there are any butterfly aficionados out there, can you identify this species?

Stay tuned - I add the antennae next week...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Playing With Paint

In my continuing efforts to loosen up, I've been playing with color and abstract shapes. In this series of self-imposed exercises, I took some of my favorite paintings by other artists that I find inspirational and I reduced them down to some basic shapes and used totally different colors. It was fun and a good opportunity to just play with paint without having to create something "serious", but I have to admit to getting restless with it. I was never very good at practicing scales on the piano as a child either...

 I'm kind of enjoying creating textures with paint.

Can you tell this one might have been a cat?

In other news, we're going to be moving again. And just as I was starting to make good connections and get really familiar with this town. Such is the life of a newly minted PhD and his family - a few years of these one year teaching positions before hopefully finding something a little more permanent. I really don't mind relocating; it's kind of exciting exploring new places. I dread the physical moving part, though. Hiring movers is outrageously expensive and beyond our means, but driving a moving truck yourself any great distance is rather stressful, too. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Froot Loops Is Finished

12x16 acrylic on canvas board

The DH started calling this painting "Froot Loops". It is not my intention to keep that as the official title of this piece, plus Kelloggs would probably consider it a copyright issue, but for now it's fun. 

After staring at the painting for a week, I did decide to do a tiny little bit more to the background; just little hints of foliage and branches with a palette knife (another first for me). I'm pretty pleased with the results and the painting overall. But my open studio mentors have told me I need to bring even bigger brushes next week...

A picture of my charming model from the Pittsburgh Aviary.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Eye of the Beholder

It's not finished yet! The background is giving me fits. In my last post, the background was very fun almost like a children's book illustration, which I like but was not really what I was aiming for with this painting. I then tried to build those fun splotches of color into more foliage-like forms while still keeping it loose and fun. That was not so successful. The background began to have a disconcerting resemblance to camouflage fabric. So I worked away from the blobs and more towards hints of a habitat in the background. I do love the rich greens and moodiness in its current form, but I had hoped for a bit more...something. More abstract and vibrant? More tropical rainforest? More painterly and fun? It is hard to paint a certain way when you can't even put your finger on what it is you are after!

And this is where the eye of the beholder comes in. If I look at this painting as just a painting, I'm very pleased with it. However, if I look at this painting with my original vision for it, I am very frustrated. I showed this latest work to my husband and he argued against doing anything more to the background. He saw it as a portrait and therefore the background should be nebulous. My studio friends are urging me to work the background more. Then again I've heard many people say that the painting will tell you what to do and in this case, it seems the painting wants to be like this. Maybe I am trying to force it to be something it wasn't meant to be. Or maybe I actually need to keep working at it until I get it right. I'm overthinking this. What's your vote?