Sunday, December 31, 2017

Christmas Elf

Well, here is another "long pose" from the last Friday session before Christmas. Since we are still in the "holiday season", I thought I could still post a pastel of an elf. Again, this is my multi-media process that I am working on - first the sketch in one colour of hard pastel on watercolour paper.  Then colour washes with three primaries in acrylic. Blow-dryer--- then apply acrylic pastel ground medium... this is quite gritty. Blow dry again -- then work in pastels. Each time is a little different - not just the model and the pose, but also how I mix and blend the paint layer. The pastels are different on a coloured surface, of course, and different as the under-colours vary. I'm enjoying trying out different effects each time. I'm not sure where I am going with this, but I just got some more watercolour paper and I intend to keep working on more figure drawings with this technique. Another bonus is that sheets of paper don't take up a lot of room.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Lots of red!

     Well, here is the painting with the most red I have ever put into a painting! On the other hand, I have never painted a poinsettia before. This all started as I was mulling  over what paintings to use on my Christmas card. When I was given a poinsettia, it seemed a natural to have it for the cover painting- the only problem was that the painting had not been painted. I also had the inspiration of two trial tubes of "cadmium red medium" from Liquitex. They were just marked "1" and "2" and one was truly cadmium-based but the other is a new development that eliminated the toxic cadmium and was said to be a very durable replacement. I tried out the two and got some friends to try too - and we could not tell any difference in how the paint handled. This is a terrific step forward for good opaque reds, orange, and yellows in eliminating toxins. Paint manufacturers are always working for improvements. When Van Gogh painted his yellows, they were not permanent and dis-coloured over the years. Cadmiums were a "permanent" replacement but now they will be replaced too. This has happened with many colours over the years- arsenic is no longer used in greens and expensive lapis-lazuli was no longer needed when ultramarine blue was developed. Liquitex, interestingly enough, was the first developer of acrylic paint for fine arts. It was developed after latex paints came into use for house paints... and that, of course, was so toxic lead could be eliminated from house paints. So, bit by bit, some toxins are being eliminated.
     So I'm late with snail-mailing cards but it was fun to do this painting.
    ArtRich is on display in Richmond Art Gallery until the end of the month. I have "Sandpiper Time" on show as it was accepted into this exhibit. The red in it is just a very little bit- the Canadian flag and its reflection.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What I'm reading now...

At first glance, Cast looks like one of those coffee table books-  large and beautiful but not much more. However, Cast goes far beyond being beautiful to being totally interesting and informative. I'm a fast reader usually, but I've enjoyed slowing down, lingering over illustrations and thinking about casts in a way I've never thought before. The book covers both fine arts and every day life. The art of casting, pouring material into a mold, dates back to antiquity but modern manufacturing casting has changed our lives- toilets for modern sanitation, bricks for construction,  mass-produced plastic toys- these only touch castings influences. Beautiful photos illustrate ancient and modern masterpieces. A chapter on jewellery illustrates pieces far beyond what the reader is likely to see in ordinary circles-"from wearable to conceptual". This is the first-ever in-depth resource about casting- truly a book to enjoy over time. Back in my fabric-art and doll-making days, I did a little casting- but the authors tell us that if we have ever made ice-cubes, jello or muffins, we've all done casting. I took the above photos, but you can see more about this book at  I certainly recommend this as a real treasure.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

ArtRich 2017

ArtRich has opened in Richmond Art Gallery and will be on display throughout December. There are 40 pieces on display, juried from 120 entries. It is the final local celebration of Canada's 150th and the themes were Environment, Diversity and Reconciliation. My "Sandpiper Time- Britannia Heritage
Shipyard" was selected. We were asked to write statements for a binder so that people can see where the paintings fits into the celebration of Canada's 150th. This is my statement for this painting " "Sandpiper Time" is about what changes and what endures. Every September, the sandpipers come to Britannia and here they sit on a floating log and on a piling. They were here long before settlers and the great salmon runs of the past - for which the remains of the piers are a mute testimony. Will we protect the environment so that they can always return?" I made a point of making the paint thicker on the pilings above the waterline while the reflections are thinner paint. I think the dimensionality adds to the interest of the painting.