Saturday, February 23, 2013

Indiegogo project

I've taken the plunge and have launched an Indiegogo project to fund  my printmaking project Fishy Bits! in 2013.  Funding will help provide me with an entry level printing press as well as professional carving tools and supplies.

I'd be grateful if you could share this information with your networks.  The more people exposed to the message, the better chance I have of achieving my goal.  And of course, there are perks for contributions!  Contribution levels are available to suit every budget and if you can't contribute financially, sharing information on this project is as good as any contribution.  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, your website...anywhere!

Meanwhile, the March fish print has been carved and will be released on March 15th.  The January and February prints are completed and available from my website.  Happy fishing!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reality and fantasy

So many beginning artists believe that fantasy work is all in your head. Its quite the opposite in fact, with reality front and centre.  The concept comes from within, but the creation is based on real objects and people.  The skill is in composition, and morphing real  into the unreal, which is still based on reality, if that makes sense.  For instance, a rabbit would never wear a jacket in reality, so my research is based on two images:  the first of a rabbit, the second of someone in that particular pose wearing a jacket.  Merging the two becomes simple once the idea is in place of putting an animal into a human pose.  Little touches of whimsy are added on as the piece progresses and my mind wanders.

My art group has been tossing around ideas for a new project that may or may not get off the ground - a Newfoundlandized version the classic story, Alice in Wonderland.  This is the thumbnail sketch of the Mad Hatter's tea party, or my version, in its infancy.  Of course in Newfoundland the best party always seems to gravitate to the kitchen, so of course, that is where the tea party would have to take place. I've been compiling little sketches here and there over a few weeks to see what ideas gel and how much complexity to put into something.  Even if they never make it into full paintings, the process gives a lot of food for thought and a lot of good practice on drawing and composition skills.

The beauty of creating something out of nothing is that it allows your mind to pull up memories, then flesh them out with solid research for forms. While very time consuming in terms of researching and drawing, the results prove quite interesting. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fractured duck

Duck Bucket 2

                                               Duck Bucket

                                                            5 x 7   oil

No, no don’t report me for duck abuse!  Its only the paint I fractured, not the duck!

I had downloaded a Artbyte tutorial on Daily Paintworks by Julie Ford Oliver on using fracturing in painting (thank you Julie!) and because I get side tracked easily from my main painting tasks, I thought I’d try it out using this image of one of my ducks from a few years back.   Also check out Celeste Bergin’s experiments with fracturing paint too  here and here.  Love that red chair!

I didn’t have the scraper tool that Julie adapted, so substituted a Catalyst rubber blade made by Princeton which was flexible and about an inch broad, but likely need to adapt a scraper to fit the bill.

I think my piece is more palette knife than paint fracturing, but it was fun to do and I may try again with a more refined technique instead of slapping on paint quite so lavishly.

The duck story?  I had quite a few ducks a number of years ago, and the white Pekins were one of my favourite.  Chatty, busy birds that made a line around the farm and laid lots of eggs as well as cleaning up grubs from the grass. They always  seems to be looking for something in the grass and if an inanimate object was found, they would “wash” it in their water bowl and there it would stay.

Pekin ducks LOVE water.  And yes, you say, ducks do.  But not all ducks do.  My Muscovy ducks didn’t like water much and BD, who I still have, really, really dislikes water except on days so hot he needs to cool down.  However, Pekin ducks make a beeline for any water.  A red bucket of water had been put out for them and a few minutes later I could hear scrabbling and quacking and went to investigate.   This duck got too excited and climbed into the bucket then, of course, couldn’t get out and had to be rescued.  Its a bit like having toddlers around.  You need eyes in the back of your head!

Never a dull moment around here!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The fall back

When inspiration isn't high or other things are on my schedule, I have a fall back.  Its me.  Or more precise, self portraits. They help me work out solutions, experiment with mediums and techniques and there's never much complaint from the model or any fees to pay.

The comfort level comes from familiarity.  After all these years, I know my face, good and bad, well.  I have the ability to see skin tones in an instant, adjust lighting to suit my needs and tweak without protest.  Self portraiture creates a historical record of features at a specific point in time. Not that future generations or public will hold me up as a celebrity, but they may be curious about the time or person that connects in some way to themselves.

When I think of generations long gone, I would love if they had recorded themselves in words and paintings for me to see and get a glimpse into their life, whether real or imagined.

I enjoy using watercolours for portraits.  They give a soft but strong impact and work so well for skin tones and eyes. I love seeing features appear out of the white paper as if by magic. This seems to happen more with watercolour for me than oils where I block in more colour at the start.  Of course I could do the same with watercolour, but I go with the eyes first then work my way out from there. I drew this out yesterday between bouts of doing other administrative tasks and started adding some colour today, again, between tasks.

Its not really a work in progress though you will see more complete versions appear in the future, provided the muse doesn't push me into another direction before that happens.

What's your fall back subject?