Friday, November 27, 2015

Bruce County Farm House

My friend Krystle lives in an amazing old 19th century farmhouse. I am completely enamoured of it. The last time I was out there I took some pictures because I was bound and determined I was going to paint this place.

The day I took the pictures was gorgeous spring day.

Acrylic 12x12 gallery canvas

I don't have a lot to say about this painting, except that I am so, so very happy with the final result, especially since I stepped away from it for a few months and for a while it looked like I wasn't going to finished.  I had screwed up on perspective, and couldn't seem to get the color of the bricks and the grass looked like astroturf and et cetera, et cetera.

So I put it aside for a while as I finished other project, and this week came back to it with a vengeance. I think I've spent about 6-7 hours total on this piece and every minute of it was worth it.

Fun technical tidbit:

I don't have a scanner, so I have to use a camera to take these pictures.  I don't have a good set-up so I have to try really hard to face the image dead-on.  This doesn't always work and I end up cropping out bits of the corner that didn't fit right into a square or rectangle.  I've found a tool in Digikam that will let me slightly alter the perspective without too much distortion in the image, so I can make it a perfect, all-90-degree angle square or rectangle before cropping.

Fun other stuff:

I've started my page at DeviantArt back up again so if you're interested in buying prints or just adding me to your watch list, please feel free. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Police and The Private - Redux

The other night I found myself with the urge to paint, but not really wanting to get into anything too involved. I have one current work in progress that I could have worked on, but frankly, right now it's intimidating the hell out of me, so I decided to revisit a piece that I had done years ago, but never really liked.

It's a piece that was inspired by Metric's "The Police and The Private" which, in my interpretation, is the story of a woman caught up in some sort of prostitution and/or smuggling ring, in an attempt to provide for her estranged child.

That's just my interpretation.

I always envisioned the train that the protagonist waits for as a subway train, rather than the more traditional type train.  I wanted to make a station that's kind of dirty and gritty.  I left the station name cut off so it was somewhat ambigious in its locale; that is, it could be Queens, NY, or it could be Queen's Park in Toronto.

(Does Queens, NY have a subway station?)

The canvas this was done on is probably the cheapest of the cheap dollar-store canvases, and I may have gone the lazy route and not actually primed the canvas before I began painting it.  I also may or may not have still been using student grade (and possibly even Crafter's) acrylics, so the coverage was not at all smooth, and left everything looking pretty shabby.

My main goal when I decided to give this piece another shot was to make the colors and detail sharper, and the woman in the foreground more person-looking and less amorphous-blob looking.

I did not, however, intend for her legs to look like she's trying real hard not to pee herself.  Which I'm not happy with. I am, however, happy that our protagonist now has a face.  So, that's something. I added some extra shading, and a back to the bench in the foreground.

I also moved the lettering on the back wall up further.  In a happy accident, I didn't quite cover the old lettering, which actually gives the impression that the paint on the actual wall may have been re-painted at some point.

Overall, I'm still not super-impressed with this piece, but I do think it's a massive improvement over my original.

Fatty Floats

I came to the realization this summer that I am ridiculously buoyant. It could be a result of the extra 65ish lbs that I carry around, but suffice it to say, when we went on a cruise a couple of weeks ago, I knew that if the boat sank, I was in no danger of drowning.  I might have died of exposure or got eaten by sharks, but I definitely wasn't going to drown, because in total honesty, I can probably float for days, with little to no effort.

During the summer my family and I would go swimming at a nearby beach.  Most days the water there is clear enough that you can see 10+ feet down, and while some days can bring huge waves, this day the water was almost as still as glass.

I laid back and closed my eyes and for several minutes, just floated. It had been about 10-15 minutes when I heard splashing nearby.  Figuring it was the boyfriend, I chuckled "I hear you....!".  Between gasps and the occasional sputter came the response, "Really? Do you? Because you sure didn't hear me when I was yelling your name to come back to shore!"

Opening my eyes, I realized I was about a quarter of a kilometre down the beach and a couple hundred feet out further than I had started.  Despite the stillness of the water, there was still enough of a current that I had figured that I would be pushed towards shore.

I was wrong.

The gentleman friend had called my name numerous times and finally swam out to let me know I was floating toward the opposite shore.

Acrylic on 8x10 wood panel


This is a self-portrait of sorts, but mostly I wanted to capture the calmness of floating on still water.  I used a lot of glazing in order to give the impression of being just slightly submerged in water.  My least favourite parts were the arms, which I feel a just a bit too long.  I'm happy with the bathing suit, I was trying to give a shiny, reflective, wet look.  I also like the shading on the thighs and the one leg that is completely submerged.

I did a bit too much hair. I found this the hardest part, making the hair stream out just the right way.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Streetlight in Winter - or - Hasn't Hit Me Yet

As you may have already guessed, I get a lot of inspiration from songs and books.  In a lot of cases, I just name the piece after the song that inspired the piece.

At other times, the song title and the subject matter are so far removed from each other that they become a non sequitor.  So, that being said, this piece, which was inspired by a couple of lines from Blue Rodeo's mid-90's classic "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" (seriously, go listen. This damn song gets me every time),is mostly untitled, since I felt like without the actual context of the lyrics, the title made no sense with regard to the subject matter.

So for now, I'll just call it as it is. 

Acrylic on 3x12 canvas
I did toy with the idea of calling it "Harbinger of Things to Come" since it is November here and we're just starting to get our first bit of snow (ugh).

I used mostly fluid acrylics in whites, blacks, and grey's over a yellow underpainting, as I was trying to catch the idea of that orangey-yellow that you get from sodium lights.  There was a bit of a struggle with the yellow reflection on the snow, as at first it just looked like the place had been visited by a large dog with a severe urination problem.

I used a paint-spattering method for the snowflakes, and broke then handle on one of my brushes in the process.  I also went over some of the finer details with a heavier-bodied acrylic.  Overall, I'm not unhappy with the final piece, although I was hoping to achieve a more directly over-head perspective, which didn't happen.  I do like the character in the centre of the image, the highlights in his hair and the shadow stretched out before him.