I've loved working in pen and ink wash for a long time now, but am new to using masking fluid. I ordered some stuff called "Incredible White Mask", and tried too my first effort with it as just an experiment. I had special fun with using the mask for all the telephone and electric lines in this sunlight scene.
As usually happens with my pen and inks, the first day had me painting with very light tones, but by the end my darks got very dark (this took me three mornings). I don't plan that; it just seems to happen. I'm hoping there is still a good feeling of backlighting from strong sunlight.
I like using my still life objects as though they have personalities, with feelings and desires. In this still life, everyone is comfortably nesting, as though they are birds resting after a long flight.
Daffodils from Trader Joes (a dozen for $1.79!) and some reflections in my iPad. I'm tried here to not be a slave to what I actually saw, but to experiment a little by emphasizing the negative spaces and keeping the forms simplified, but with clear edges.
I often lug a ton of still life paraphernalia to my painting classes. Last week after I got back to my studio, I hastily took everything back out the bags and lay them on a studio table, where I'd been working on my taxes. Once I finished with my taxes, I put my papers away (which had all been on the front section of the table) and noticed an interesting arrangement.
I like the idea of taking an unplanned arrangement of things and uncovering relationships by emphasizing overall shape over detail.
Here is my 15 year old wire-haired fox terrier on the last day of her life, which was this past Monday.
She had a difficult final year, and so I'm glad her suffering is over- but it's still quite sad. In the end, the only time she seemed content was when I held her in my lap, stroking her. Now I wish I'd done more of that.
I've been working on some larger paintings and experimental stuff, so haven't been posting quite so often. Hope you will bear with me!
When I teach drawing classes, I try and remember to bring along a can of reworkable spray fixitive. Once a student asked me why it's called "reworkable". I wasn't sure, but said that I thought you could "fix" your drawing, then add more marks over that. For the first time that is what I did with this drawing- when I'd almost had enough of it, I sprayed it and then added some additional layers of shadow. Charcoal is such an ephemeral (and sometimes maddening) medium that it was really cool to be able to make it stay in place and continue to work. I think I'll try this again.
I've always found drawing or painting a self-portrait to be monstrously difficult. I can look at other people's faces calmly and somewhat objectively, but I turn into a slithering pile of self-doubt when I contemplate my own.
I think this drawing is passable, plus has a nice searching-in-the-dark quality- a grasping at understanding who I am now, at this middle-aged state of being a 55 year old woman.
As just about every woman past the age of 40 must think, it's awfully difficult to get older and begin to feel relatively invisible. I hope to try many other self-portraits as a way to prove to myself that I'm not invisible at all.
I found some great views of Philadelphia by walking partway across the Ben Franklin Bridge. Here is a section of Old City, contained and wrapped around by the enormous concrete ribbon of the adjoining I-95 highway.
It's been a little over a week since cataract surgery was done on my second eye. Although I'm still adjusting to the changes, the world looks a hundred times more beautiful now.
How I love pen and ink. I like the way I have to incorporate accidents into the overall aim of the drawing- it's difficult to be too perfectionistic with a medium that is unerasable. I always start with a very faint wash, and often end up being surprised at how dark the darks end up being.
This view of Quebec City shows a slice of both the Upper Town (Haute-Ville) and Lower Town (Basse-Ville) as seen from the Saint Lawrence River. You can see here some of the beautifully geometric buildings from the University of Laval's School of Architecture.
At times this was really fun and satisfying to paint, but also very difficult. The patterns in this young woman's hair were wonderful to capture, but overall it sure took a while to get a good balance of light and shadow. The shadowed skin tones needed to be deep enough to keep the backlighting dramatic, but also have a glow from the reflected sun on the waters of the Casco Bay. But now I'm happy with it!
Last month on a business trip, my daughter found this kitten wandering the streets of Atlantic City. I told her that no, he couldn't stay, but since then have become very attached to him. We still haven't named him!
Usually I paint on flat hardboard panels, but this one is on a 3/4" cradled panel, which doesn't necessarily need a frame.
The current theme in my other blog is the cityscape, and posting so many great paintings of various mighty cities has had me eager to paint another city scene. This is a view of the Quebec City neighborhood of Saint-Sauveur, with its church of the same name towering over all.
I like painting interiors that show a peaceful indoor scene as well as a small slice of a wider life glimpsed outside. Here my white studio table and a close up of some Ikea shelving are filled with my ever-present and always patient still life paraphernalia. Out the window is a landscape scene that I tried to make seem as inviting as possible.
I worked on this painting throughout the month of May. At times it was a challenge to keep going, as for a few years now I've been so used to finishing off paintings in 2 or 3 days. I started out feeling so excited, then after a while began to have little dips of boredom, but then would get re-interested. Overall it was much more satisfying for me to work this way.
Of course when a painting takes so long, it's important to spend time carefully planning out the composition. Perhaps next time I'll use fewer horizontals, and I'll spend even more time on preparatory drawings. Here is the sketch I completed before starting the painting: