This is a portrait of my friend, Michael, whom I managed to photograph in a quiet moment last fall. He looked so regal that he reminded me of a saint in a stained-glass window. Since he’s a stained-glass artist himself, it seemed like the photo was screaming to be made into a painting with a stained-glass theme.
This is my most recent finished piece, which I was thrilled to exhibit at the Novah Gallery for International Women’s Day:
This year I’m working on blogging more often, and I thought monthly progress reports might be a good way to do that, if only to document what I’m working on, to help me date my own art later on.
Also, as of yesterday a selection of my paintings is available for sale at North Bay Oddfellows’ store, at 126 McIntyre Street East in North Bay, across from Alger Furniture.
Here are the two pieces I worked on last night:
The Day of the Dead painting is one of the largest ones I’ve painted to date, at about 2 feet by 3 feet. The stitching in the fabric is turning out to be quite a challenge, since I’m used to painting more loosely.
The fighting fish has been interesting, in that I’m using a modelling paste for texture and am having to add the pigment layers on top. If I were to start this one over again, I’d get some cake-decorating nozzles to control the flow a bit better, but overall I’m happy with how this one is coming out.
As of January 1st, I’ve had dedicated studio space for four years. It’s really helped me paint more, and improve my skills. Before, I would paint in a corner of my small living room, and it was a real challenge to keep the space tidy (in case clients dropped in), and to keep my cats out of my supplies.
Going into year 4, my goal is to complete a couple of really large, detailed canvases and to keep working on my realism and general painting skills. Here are a few pieces from the end of 2018 that I’m really proud of:
And this is the piece I started over my holidays, which is the most finicky thing I’ve ever attempted:
Here are a few pieces I’m currently working on. So far this year, I’ve been enjoying the little 8×10 canvases. They’re quick and easy to work on; good for little studies and trying out new techniques.
Oh, So That’s How That Works
I’ve been obsessed with realistic paintings of gems and jewelry for about a year, since I discovered a realist painter whose work I really like. She paints Indian brides, so naturally there’s a lot of shine and bling in her art. I was puzzling for months about how to get my images of gems as realistic as hers, and then I discovered she actually glues glass gemstones onto her canvases; it’s not actually paint.
So in the spirit of being really amused by this, I decided to continue trying to get ultra-realistic gems into my work. I found this cool picture of an Arabic-looking woman online and took a shot at it. It’s not done yet, but I’m learning that a minimal touch seems to be the key for suggesting ornate jewelry.
Might As Well Go For It
I also finally committed to working on the biggest canvas I’ve ever bought. I started out by just filling the entire thing with an improvised abstract, forcing myself past a fear of ruining a beautiful, blank sheet of white potential. Then I went away to Toronto for a few days, came home sick, and had to spend another few days just lying around doing nothing — while contemplating my new abstract.
Today I decided it needed to tell a bit of a story, so I sat down in Photoshop and mocked up this design. I’m looking forward to taking this to the studio and trying to apply it to my big canvas. Not exactly sure how to pull that off yet, since the mockup is quite a bit smaller than the actual surface. But, we’ll get there. I don’t do much freehand drawing these days, so it might be good practice to tackle it that way.
It’s been an odd few months around here; for some reason I’ve barely made it to the studio, and I can’t really put my finger on the reasons for that. I’ve got a bit of a rut going on; but I’ve just set a goal for next year — to do another minimum of 12 paintings, like I did the first year I had the art studio.
I was Skyping with one of my web clients the other day, while sitting on my living room couch, and she commented on how much she loved the paintings hanging behind my head. Hearing an internationally acclaimed artist saying my work was good — that’s motivational!
Anyway, I’m hoping to take a week or so off between Christmas and New Years, and I’m thinking it would be fun to bring a Thermos of hot chocolate to the studio and just hang out for the entire day, more than once.
Meanwhile, here are a few pieces I love, by my friend Lydia Knox. I’m hoping to try a few forests in a similar style to hers at some point. Both these paintings inspire me. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page.