Monday, July 29, 2013

Purple Mountain Majesty

When I posted about reference photos, I included a dusky sunset from Idaho.  I took numerous pics throughout our travels, and many had to do with sky and mountains.  Sometimes there were structures (barns, silos, homes) and sometimes not.  

Here's a trial at a landscape, w/o looking a any reference photos.  You can see that I imagined a house at the top of the middle ridge and then painted it out.  The pencil lines are emphasized in the photo, and not as noticeable otherwise.  The bottom photo gives an idea of what I was riffing from.

I really miss big sky.  The sky in Ohio can be beautiful, but the sky out west is, well majestic.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Hosted Site Experiment

I tried getting fancy.  I though I'd consolidate my work and blog into a web site.  I went right along to and bought a domain and installed wordpress.  I spent 48 h trying different themes and messing around with things, but I never could get something that I either understood or even liked.  To the left is a screen shot of where I left it when I gave up.  (I should mention that despite my frustration, Bluehost was very agreeable and easy to work with):
Right now, I'm using the following sites:

Blogger:  For blogging (which works well and looks great with minimal effort, I have to say).  It was easy to import my posts into wordpress, but I was going to need to go back through and update the media files and links.  I didn't get that far since I never got the wordpress theme to display to my satisfaction.  For consolidated easy access to portfolio display.  I like that I can send people to and then they can get directly here or to Etsy.  However, you need a site to integrate with your portfolio (i.e., photos) and for that I use....

Flickr:  Maybe it should have been instagram, but for right now, flickr works fine.  Here's my flickr photostream.

Mailchimp:  For a newsletter.  Although, I have to confess I've never sent one.  I have very few subscribers, and I don't want to hassle them.  Feel free to sign up--there's a link at the top of the page, or you can sign up here.

Etsy:  For selling.  I have to confess the online selling is hypothetical, but it's always nice to dream.  If you're interested you can look at my shop here.

Finally, I just started using my Facbook Page, which you can visit here.  And sometimes I post to google+, but just to my own personal profile.  

Why all these sites?  Consider that to start a hosted wordpress site, was a couple of hundred dollars up front (although it covered 3 years), and I was still spending a ton of time getting things looking right. These site are all FREE.  Love that.  And, they look reasonably professional with minimal effort on my part.  Love that, too.

I'm sure there are better ways.  It's actually hard for me to keep up.  If there's something that you use to get your work up online, tell me what you think, and why you're using it.  I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When Frustrated, Paint a Tree

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some pictures that I was planning on using as reference photos for paintings.  I decided to start with third picture of the tree because I liked the colors.  What a bust.  I've tried this painting five different times, and every time it comes out a muddy mess.  Is it the orange/rusty background?  The shapes?  I don't know.  All I know is that nothing is working.  In fact, it's so bad, that I'm not going to show you my failures.  

When I start to get frustrated with my paintings, I have to switch to something that's more enjoyable.  Most trees, for example, like so (see here, for another recent example):

Or, an abstract like so:

I'm going to get the original painting organized the way I want.  I'm hoping it doesn't take another five tries, it's almost starting to feel like I'm wasting paper.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reference Photos & Summertime

When I started painting, I painted from still lifes or outside.  Then, I gradually moved to painting from reference photos.  I found that my paintings from photos were looking stilted and fussy (at least for me) since I prefer a really loose style in my watercolors.  Over the last year, I've been working on getting back to a quick, fresh watercolor style by doing abstracts and painting alla prima. 

Now, I'm going to try using some reference photos as a jumping off point to design some paintings.  Why?  Well, we just returned from a western adventure, where the sky is big and the colors are amazing.  I didn't have my paints, but I had my camera.  Here are three photos that I'm planning on using to design paintings:

This is dusk over ID.  That's Idaho, not identification.  The oreground would be a no.  Sky is a yes. 

I like the line of the reflection here, against the line of the waves and the muted colors.

And this a sculpture by Richard Serra called Wake as a backdrop in the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is part of the Seattle Art Museum.  Aren't the colors gorgeous?

The trick will be getting time to paint, since it's busy in the summer!