Sunday, March 31, 2013

Experimenting With Hydrangeas

No, I'm not a mad scientist.  I actually experimented with a painting of hydrangeas.  About four years ago I painted a large still life of hydrangeas in a cobalt vase.  It was okay at the time, but I've learned quite a bit since then and realized the painting had some things that were not quite right.

Original Hydrangeas  

The problem with this original version is that I really liked the top half (the flowers), but was less than thrilled with the bottom.  The white cloth was just not right and the background didn't come down far enough, which made the top plane of the table seem a little off.

However, when I painted this I thought it was fine and I varnished it as soon as it dried.  This is where the experimenting came in.  I had always been under the impression that once something is varnished, there was nothing more you could do with it.  Luckily for me, I use Gamblin Gamvar varnish and it can be removed without damaging the painting.  

I checked the Gamblin website and found out that you could remove the varnish using odorless mineral spirits. They recommend their Gamsol brand, but all I had around was Turpenoid so I crossed my fingers and proceeded to rub down the painting.

 After the Turpenoid rub down

I was quite happy to discover that while the varnish came off, the paint did not.  I then repainted the background, the top plane and the vase.  I tried a few different ways to make the white cloth work, but it just wasn't happening.  Finally I decided to eliminate it all together.

When the cloth had been covered over, I repainted the vase to get all the white reflections out of it and tweaked the leaves underneath the flowers a little bit.

Final Result

This is the finished painting.  Please excuse the iPhone photo.  The light had just about gone when I finished up, but I will have a proper photo taken and posted soon.  I'm very happy with how this whole project turned out.  I have updated and repainted old paintings before, but never something that had been varnished.  I will be doing another next week.  It's very exciting to be able to fix up paintings as you learn new skills.  Next up, an early figure painting that could use a little tweaking.


*Just a note,  I am not compensated in any way by the products I mentioned.  I'm just a satisfied customer.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find, You Get What You Need

Yes, Mick and Keith had it right.  After months of looking for studio space and a few disappointments, I found a great place and now have my own workspace!  I can't tell you how happy I am with this development.  Not having my own space to paint was really becoming a problem and I'm so grateful to have found a nice place that faces north.

The space did, however, need a little love.  Luckily for me, Mr. NYCPainter is very handy and fixed the place up nicely.  

These were the walls before the patch and paint job.

My north facing window! (Yes, artists get very excited about things like that).

There was a huge crack in the wall that had to be repaired as well as a bunch of holes from the previous artist displaying his work.

The walls were then painted Benjamin Moore Ivory White.  This is not my ideal color for the walls.  That would be Benjamin Moore Country Life, a dark grayish green.  This is the color my teacher uses in his studio but as I am sharing I had to stick to a lighter palette.  The ivory white is working well so far.  Because it is not a stark white, there is not too much light bouncing around.

It is hard to see in these photos (it was pouring rain both days we were getting the walls in shape) but here they are fixed up and painted.

Next, drying racks were hung as well as a shelf for still life arrangements.  We also brought over all my equipment.  So nice to get my big easel out of my bedroom!

After we finished setting up, I finished up a painting that had been sitting around for a few weeks and needed some tweaking.

Sorry about the iphone photo.  I intended to go back and photograph the finished studio and the painting with my good camera but there is a furnace problem in the building, and with our perpetual thirty degree weather, it's a little La Boheme in there right now.  I'll be back there Wednesday to take  photos of the finished studio and the painting.

My new walls and window

I also brought over some glass vases and props for still life setups and picked up some new fabrics to use for backgrounds.  Now I'm on the hunt for some colorful and interesting pottery.  It is so much fun to be able to use my own props and make my own arrangements.

I hope you enjoyed this look at how my studio came together.  I will show it to you all finished as soon as the heat is back on!


Friday, March 22, 2013

More Paintings

Hi Everyone,

I'm still a bit under the weather, but am starting to feel better.  As I mentioned in my last post, I did manage to get all of my paintings photographed.  Here are some new ones - a few portraits and a landscape.  I originally had a few landscapes to show, but I decided that my big 18x24 needed some more work after seeing the photograph.  Isn't is funny how that happens?  It's like when you go out  thinking you looked fabulous and then see a photo of yourself and think how did I ever leave the house wearing that??  Same thing with paintings.

So without any further ado, here they are...

Portrait of Rochelle

Last spring I was very lucky to have the beautiful Rochelle pose for me.  I'm hoping to have her back some time soon.

Portrait of Donna

Lady in Red


Here she is in real life, the gorgeous Faith.  Beautiful and a great model.

Lemons and Grapes, oil, 11x14

This is one of my smaller still life paintings.  The next is a bit bigger at 14x18.  Not a size I usually do, but I had a frame so I got a canvas to match.

The Green  Bottle, oil, 14x18

That's it for today.  I don't want to get too photo heavy.  I'll be back tomorrow with a big announcement.  Stay tuned!