Author: -N-

Stopped by the Plague

Winnedumah Hotel, Independence, CA

We had a 2 week vacation trip planned. And it ended on Day 3. I had thought my sinuses were acting up, but to be careful I decided to have a Covid-19 test. It was a 1-hour quickie. Negative. Okay! Let’s go!

Our first stop was in Independence, CA, along the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, traveling on Hwy. 395. My husband had a cold, mild, some sniffles and a cough. On Day 3, we left Independence, and continued north. Next stop was to be Virginia City, NV. Well, as we moved further north, the air became cloudy and sooty. The smoke from the fires in NoCal was moving east, and I could smell it. So could Tom and Judy, Josh’s parents. Josh couldn’t. We had mints. We could all taste them – except Josh.

And so the decision was made: return home and have tests. It was the ethical thing to do. Josh’s test came back positive; mine was “presumed positive”, and the antigen tests Tom and Judy had came back negative. Ethical decision made, people and places were called, and now we are self-isolating until our next test on 9/13. Test results will be around 9/15.

So, stopped by the plague . . . and ethics. Neither Josh nor I felt sick other than a tad under the weather. Josh has is sense of taste and smell back about 95%.

We have plenty to do, despite being stuck at home. I have a sketchbook, planned to document the vacation, and so the first drawing is the Winnedumah Hotel, built in 1927 for the film industry back in the days when westerns were shot in the Owens Valley.

Late Summer in the Olive Grove

I started this painting a couple of months ago at least, but because of life and cataract surgery, I didn’t finish it until today. There have been several iterations of it. The subject itself was inspired by van Gogh, and I had thought to try to copy his style of painting, but found that it was far more difficult than I anticipated.

The painting itself is done on an 11×14 canvas panel by Arteza I gessoed over its primed surface, in part because I like the process of preparing a surface for a painting, in part because I never like something already prepared by someone else. From there, the surface was neutralized with a pale underpainting of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, very thinly applied.

One of my primary issues in painting of ay type is depth of field. Easy to do in photography, but not in painting! Thus, this was a goal in this painting. In general, I think I made it, but had to work and re-work the surface of the painting. This is the pleasure of acrylic – once dried, I can paint over what I don’t like.

I used a variety of techniques, one being glazing to dull own areas by using a cool glaze, and to bring others forward using a warm glaze. It worked, but I realized I needed to go further by using a dullish grey-green for the tree on the left, and a brighter, warmer green for the olive tree in the foreground.

This is the first painting – artwork of any kind – I have done since I had my cataract surgeries in July and August. With new lenses, in my eyes and in my glasses, my sight is much better. However, I may still need a newer prescription in a month or so as it was hard to see what I was painting with my new glasses. Time will tell with this.

Altogether, I am pleased with this attempt. First, I like the painting. I am going to let it stew a bit before I apply any varnishes. So, letting it sit is “second” – already I can see areas which are a bit illogical. Finally, the entire process was fun to do. Acrylic, as with all media, has its good and bad qualities or frustrations, or whatever, but the simple doing it is delight. Painting just removes the outside world and transports me into another dimension which is pure bliss.

Storm Across the Water

I painted this shortly after doing the “Quiet River” watercolor yesterday. Still in a patient mood, which was good, as this painting, though small, needed a bit of thought and a bit of patience to complete. The effect of rain meant laying in heavy washes on damp paper and letting them run. In other areas, damp color had to dry only so far before a dryer brush could apply color. As you can see, I rather messed up with a second round of wet paint because of the bloom (aka cauliflower) in the middle right. Still, it works, catching the breakthrough of the sun and the scudding quality of a storm on a windy day.

This one pleases me quite a bit!

The Quiet River

This is a week for meeting up with old friends! After working in acrylic for several weeks, having eye surgery, and not doing much artwork of any kind, it felt great to do gouache yesterday, and this morning, watercolor.

It is interesting how some days just push me to the limit in frustration and dissatisfaction with what I do, and other days just move along in a calm and serene way. Why is this? My mood was patient and willing to wait today, whereas on other days, freneticism is the dominant emotion. I think watercolor especially requires a serene approach, more meditative than other media, simply because once the mark is made, it is there. With gouache and acrylic you can hide your messes a bit more easily!

Too Much Lavender Land

Well . . . I haven’t painted in gouache for months, much less painted in weeks, all because I had my first cataract surgery several weeks ago, and my last two days ago. I think my scanner is way off as far as colors go as well as my monitors. This scanned image is not the picture I painted.

I pulled out a camera to take an image, but cannot find my card reader to fetch it. My whole computer needed to be reinstalled because of some bad software.

I suppose the good thing is to get some painting done, but it really feels dreary to look at this abomination. I shall be Scarlett O’Hara now and say, “After all, tomorrow is another day!”

Tanglewood (Acrylic) – the Final Rendition

Here is the finalized rendition of Tanglewood in acrylic. If you look closely, you will see highlights added to the trees on the left nearer the trunks, and along the trunks in the upper area of the painting. I did a few other things, too, but don’t remember.

It is always interesting to see what people think about a painting or drawing. My husband says this version of Tanglewood looks like Mirkwood, from that famous trilogy, and the darkly spotted foliage in the upper right makes him think of lurking goblins. Success? Hmm. But, the photo I used really did make me think of Mirkwood myself, so there ya go!

I always like to have an extra set of eyes for the “final” viewing of a painting before the “final” edition. I am too involved, so another set, or two or three sets, of eyes is a big help. My sister and my teacher both brought up the need to lighten up the trees on the lower left, and to add dappled light on the trunks both high and low.

No goblins were used in the painting of this painting of imaginary goblins.

Tanglewood – Done or Not?

I think I am done with this painting. A few areas stand out in the current scan that I will attend to tomorrow most likely, but by and large, I think it is finished.

A few things, though, I am thinking about that may need more work. First, the two lowest arching trees look like a bridge because of the highlights on their upper surfaces. The second is, should the tree that is in the right crossing over the lowest arching tree correctly placed?

I find scanning a painting gives me a different viewpoint and what I don’t see when it is right in front of me become more apparent when seen on a monitor as a digital image.

Ccoments?

Tanglewood Underpinnings (III) and Tree Removal

Above is where I currently stand with my acrylic version of Tanglewood. I changed the foreground and began adding colors to the leaves, hoping to indicate dappled light. The foreground was similar in texture and appearance to the leaves, so I applied paint and mushed things around.

In looking at it, I thought this was looking okay, but so boring. Teacher and I both agreed the trees were too symmetrical and their pattern to repetitive. Time to fell some trees!

Home, the painting was scanned, and then sent to LR or some other program to remove the center tree. I didn’t even need to get out my saw! This definitely makes the painting better already.

More tree removal, but not as well done as the first one. The hint of the upright remains, but in that glimmer of a tree comes some new ideas.

First, the removal of just one tree is my preferred one of the two. The second one shows that suggestion of an upright, perhaps more subtle (i.e. obscured by foliage) works, too. More upright trees in the background, hidden by foliage, will add to the visual interest of the painting without creating a yawn-worthy one.

So, this is where I am right now. Not finished, but getting close. If you have an opinion, let me know!

Stray

Nothing more appealing (to some) than a sad, stray kitten, abandoned by all. However, this really is not the point of the study!

I tried the Luminance colored pencils, rather than my usual Prismacolor Premier. It is a totally different experience using them, but not better or worse. I decided to just play with the pencils, not aiming for anything other than just experience. I used a grey-brown Mi Teintes paper and a picture from Pixabay. I laid in a number of layers, ending with a brush and Gamsol (odorless mineral spirits), followed by a few quick lines for whiskers.

Poor kitty, but I didn’t stop there, either. After scanning the image, I really didn’t like the roughness of the cat’s fur. In post, I dropped the black a bit and blurred them together. This made the kitten more opaque. I also pushed colors a bit – don’t remember what I did – and ended up with a picture I prefer to the original. The poor kitty also has lopsided eyes – how pathetic is that?

Anyway, original is below. What do you think? Each has its merits, IMHO.