Friday, October 19, 2012

Where do ideas come from?

One of the hardest parts of being an artist, at least for me, is settling on subject matter to paint. That is not to say there is so little to paint but that there is so much to paint! Every time I visit the produce department at the grocery store I am inspired to paint some beautiful piece of fruit or vegetable. The colors are vibrant, the orderly display looks to be set up for a painting. I have amassed piles of photographs taken to show a specific flower or the way the sun hits the trees in the afternoon. Not enough hours in a day to paint all that needs to be painted! At the moment I am trying to limit my paintings to paintings of cats of my acquaintance, Albert being my primary model. He is quite good at posing in unusual "Albertesk" situations. So recently when I ran across a print I had made quite a few years ago of a collection of cat pillows I immediately thought of putting Albert in amongst the pillows.

Most of my print making was of the intaglio variety, this was a fun way of making a plate to print from. A piece of pantyhose is taped over thick cardboard of the size the prints are to be. The cardboard needs to be waterproofed first with one or two coats of decoupage glue. Once the pantyhose is in place more coats of the glue are painted on where the print is to be white. The more coats of glue the lighter the area will be. Once there enough coats of glue, the plate is ready to be inked, which is applied with a piece of cardboard, then the plate is wiped with a soft cloth to take the ink off the lighter areas. The plate is then placed on an intaglio press, a sheet of damp paper applied on top then the press blanket. Run it through the press and pull the print! The only draw back to this type of plate is that you can only pull a small amount of prints before it looses its crispness of line.
When I start a painting, watercolor or oil, I do a very comprehensive drawing of my composition. I have found that this saves me a lot of time later in fixing any errors that come up with composition. This is the canvas with the drawing on it of Albert and the pillows. As you can see I have changed the arrangement and size of some of the pillows. This was going to be a very fun painting to do!!
The first of the color has been added to the painting. I started with the yellow cats in the back. Usually working from the objects in back to the front helps me work out the color scheme as I work on the painting. Objects that are further back in a composition need to have a softer outline. Sharper lines bring objects to the front and have the effect of flattening the painting.This is also the time when I work out my background color. On this painting I am using a combination of the paynes gray, cad orange, cad yellow light and permanent rose with a touch of buff titanium, all the colors that I have used on the pillows. These colors will be repeated throughout the rest of the painting with the addition of titanium white.
Albert is now finished except for his whiskers and the heart on his collar.  This painting is being done on a gallery wrapped canvas, sixteen inches square by 1-1/2" thick. I really do like painting on the thicker canvas because I then have the fun of continuing the painting along the sides. I will be sure to post a photo showing the sides. I think that this is probably one of the most enjoyable paintings I have done!

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