Friday, December 09, 2011

Mare's Tails

 Mare's Tails
8 x 10

I did a demo of clouds at a recent art class using acrylics.  I haven't used acrylic paint for awhile and getting used to the quick drying again took a little adjusting from the oils I'd been accustomed to using.

Clouds, I find, are best created with a very dry brush with a minute amount of pigment on it.  Building layer over layer gives some structure to the cloud amd I've found that using a Q-Tip end is perfect for feathering out edges of the cloud into those transparent, wispy edges.

These clouds are cirrus and one of the most abundant.  The wind teases them out into streamers and thin layers and usually indicate a change in weather within 24 hours, often fine weather.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Snowflake Man

 Plate XIX of "Studies among the Snow Crystals ... " by Wilson Bentley 1902
Wikipedia commons - Public domain
I have been doing some research for an etching and wanted to try a snowflake.  In looking for images, I came across The Snowflake Man.  Wilson Bentley, a Vermont farmer, was obsessed with the structure of snow crystals and learned to photograph individual flakes, through a microscope and bellows camera,  creating an amazing series of hundreds of separate images.

No two snow flakes are ever alike.  Wilson Bentley indeed proved this back in the late 1800s.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Cold Storyteller - in progress

I've neglected my water pieces for awhile and really need to concentrate on them again.  It was one of my goals this year, to produce a body of work in water.  Since the beginning of the year I've produced probably half the pieces with water as a subject that I should have.  Not a body of work, so I need to buckle down and concentrate instead of getting sidetracked down rabbit holes.

Of course there will always be other subject matter, but to become really proficient, repetitive work has to take place until water almost forms itself without a lot of thought from me.

This is the first few layers of a new piece, 11" x 14" in oils.  The surface of water can be so rich in movement and colour and texture.  There is so much symbolism in a painting of just water, with no reference to land or person or plant.

My daily work deals with death and life and water is a strong element in both.  I know it intimately in many ways and see many things in a water surface.  Water is a cold storyteller, and holds a hundred thousand stories, not all of them pleasant.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Kewpie doll - complete

Kewpie dolls go back to 1909, based on a comic strip-like illustration by Rosie O'Neill which appeared in Ladies Home Journal.

Their name, often shortened to "Kewpies", is derived from "cupid", the Roman god of beauty and – as Eros is the Greek version of Cupid – erotic love. The early dolls, especially signed or bisque, are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World's Fair contained a Kewpie doll. The term "Kewpie doll" is sometimes mistakenly applied to the troll doll.

This particular style of doll was awarded as a carnival prize and often collected and this is where my memory of them lies.  They were a constant at the annual Regatta and I recall coming home with one attached to a stick from many of these events.

This is the completed painting in oils on 8" x 16" canvas panel.  The underpainting was started a few days ago and left to dry before adding the final layers of paint.