Saturday, March 30, 2013

We'll Just Have Salad

How important is the title?

I've gotten good advice from people who sell a lot of paintings about naming pieces.  I understand that the goal is to get your art seen.  I understand that when people go to Google they type in Cow Painting or whatever subject they're looking for.  I understand that my pieces would probably be seen more and sell more quickly if I'd give them titles to sell. 
Oh, but how I love to choose the just-right title!  Sometimes I know the title before I begin.  Sometimes I try out several throughout the process of painting.  Sometimes I get it about the time I sign my name in the bottom corner.  This time... nothing stuck... Two Cows... Black and Brown Cows... Flossy and Bossy... After I'd finished and was cleaning my brushes, my husband got his first look and said, "Wow!  I love it.  I love the grass hanging out of their mouths.  It's like they're out to lunch and you've bothered them. 'We'll just have the salad, thanks.'" And just like that "Two Cows" had a title that I loved!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

River of Dreams

Does it make sense now?

This painting went through a major transformation after it was finished the first time.  

My friend and I went to Painting with a Twist where they give you exactly what paint you'll need, tell you which brushes you'll need, and show you every stroke to place on the canvas.  It's lots of fun to go with a group, especially when most of those participating
 are non-painters who are thrilled to leave with a finished painting.  

They don't mind if you stray from their instructions, so right away Jolene and I decided to lose the rainbow in the background.  Besides that, we both tried to be good students and follow directions.  But as we were finishing, we both had the feeling that something wasn't right. The painting didn't make sense.  The tree took over everything even on the opposite side... the bridge didn't lead anywhere and it wasn't even a bridge since it was only one-sided... The water just stopped at the sky...

So we both went home and reworked what we'd done.  (Jolene went first because she's probably braver! Here is her finished-revised-finished again piece.  Love her new colorful trees lining the riverbank!) It was hard for me because, first of all, it's acrylic which is not the medium I'm used to.  Second, I had nothing to look at... YIKES!  That's when I was reminded that I had learned the skills of painting... I wasn't born with that artistic way of thinking.  (It's back to that skill vs talent debate.)  Being reminded keeps me humble. :)

First I simply blacked out the bridge and took the rainbow hump out of the sky strokes. Next I used some green on the bottom of the sky to create a horizon. Then I skinny-ed up the water and gave it a path to follow and added some more grasses on the other side of the canvas.  I like it now... maybe not realistic, but kind of dreamy.  

There was a lot of Billy Joel music playing while I was painting this, so "River of Dreams" seemed an appropriate name. 

 Acrylic Painting on 16x 20" Wrapped Canvas

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal

How long does it take to get rusty?

I haven't been able to paint for a while; sometimes life just gets in the way. Once things slowed down, I found myself putting off getting back to it.  When I finally sat down in front of a canvas, it was hard... hard to get it right.

I suppose painting is no different than any other skill; you have to practice to stay in shape.

We have the most wonderful cardinals that splash their red color onto the dreary, wintry landscape behind our house.  They flit and play and watch closely for me to come around with my camera so that they can quickly fly away!  

One day I was determined to be still long enough to capture them in a few photos.  I really wanted to get the male and female together - preferably on a pretty branch posed perfectly, but this was a close as they would get to that.   

I'd originally thought it would be neat to paint them on a tall thin canvas like they actually were, but it looked odd.  Also I decided to use my license, my artistic license, to give a little more color and a little less twigs to their background.