A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

WIP Day 5: Ricefields on the Ashley 7"13

You are now looking at a photo of the finished painting: "Rice Fields on the Ashely".

"My Grocking" is done! This morning. I differentiated the bushy  foliage on the lower right of the foreground so that the willow is distinguishable form the tree behind it.  I also,  adjusted the saturation of the yellows in the middle ground (rice  fields grasses have more cad-yellows than before), and added a touch of blue to the sky just above the tree line on the horizon.  I even signed it (after I took the photo). At this point I consider the painting process complete.

The next step is to  wait until it is dry enough to have a professional photo taken of it*, then varnish and frame it,

* Note All of the photos for these mini lesson  posts were taken with a hand-held camera, under my studios ceiling lights, while the canvas was still wet..  The professional photos will  use a spots to give an even lighting over the entire painting, and a polarizing filter to ensure there is no reflective glare from those lights

See all four earlier posts of this process beginning with the post on July 16th

Friday, July 19, 2013

WIP Day 4 Foreground of Rice- fields on the Ashley 7'13

Today I finished the grasses and water in the foreground and foreground tree, widened the waterways in the middle-ground of the Rice fields so that they function more as  lines of direction in the painting.  At this point  all of the colors and values are as I want them.  You can clearly see the contribution of the red underground in the sky and the marsh.  It is what makes the sky appear purplish in the upper left corner,and the underside of the cumulus-nimbus clouds  warm ; it is also what adds the warm glow under the distant grasses in the middle ground of the rice-field. the clouds  All of this was achieved  by applying a thin glaze of color over the red ground rather than a thick layer which would cover it.

 I am still deciding whether I want to pull out the small  tree in the right lower corner more or leave it less defined.  .  That is where staring at it while it is sitting on the easel  in my living room comes in.  My husband calls this process "grocking". (Apparently that is a term used in some sci-fi book for which means "to deeply study an object  so as to fully know its nature")..  Sounds like a pretty  good description of what I will do next to me.
See all three earlier posts  in in this process beginning with the first on July 16th

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WIP- Day 3 Middleground of "Ricefields on the Ashley" 7"13

Sorry about how dark this photo came out.  The foreground tree is really is very dark in value, butit also has a lot  more variation in the foliage colors than you can see in this picture.  Today I focused on correcting the values and shapes within the clouds and the  middle ground of the ricefields.  Tomorrow I will work on the foreground near the bottom of the picture,  making the sky-holes in the foreground tree a bit more realistic, and adding any finishing touches I think are needed.  
See the two  earlier posts  in in this process beginning with the first on July 16th

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WIP-Day2 - Adding Greens to "Ricefields on the Ashley" 7 ' 13

Monday's value undercoating was dry enough for me to  mix and apply a layer of green hues this morning.  The darkest greens on the tree on the left were mixed from mixtures of undiluted Gamblin Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Blue, and Perm Green.  The layers within the  rice fields used the same hues, mixed in varying amounts with Cad YellowDark, and / or Gamblin Portland Cool White.  All were applied in very thin layers to allow the red ground to peek through.  Future steps, which will make the ground  less obvious, will have to wait for the current layer to dry..
See the first post in this process which began on July 16th

Gamblin Solvent Free Gell Review 7 '13

As most of you know, Gamblin Oil Paints are my brand of choice. I love their thick pigment, but sometimes their density is a bit too much of a  good thing. I had been successfully using Walnut Alkyd oil as a solvent to dilute the paint when I needed it a bit thinner for the initial layers, or for glazing.  But one day I knocked the bottle over and  most of the bottle spilled out all over my palette.  While looking to purchase a replacement, I stumbled upon Gamblin's Solvent Free Gel and decided to give it a try.

I must say, I am very impressed.
I've been using Gamblin's new Solvent-Free Gel for about a week now. And love it.  For one thing it comes in a tube so it is easy to squeeze out just the amount I need.  For another, unlike oil, the gel stays in a  neat pile so I can scoop off small amounts to add to the paint until I get the paint to just to the right consistency.  The creamy textured gel  blends easily even to the densest of my Gamblin oil  paints, and adds to the workability.  Like my Walnut Oil it contains a alkyd so it helps speed the drying process; that's a big plus for someone as impatient as I am.  

I can definitely endorse this product.

For another  review of Gamblin's new Solvent-Free Gel from painter Sue Favinger Smith as she puts this medium side-by-side traditional Maroger. http://ancientartist.typepad.com/ancient_artist_developing/2013/06/the-partners-we-want.html.
Sue also has some other great tips about artists tools on her blog .

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WIP Day 1 The beginning steps for "Ricefields on the Ashley" 7 ' 13

Remember those reference  photos  I took  when I visited Magnolia Plantation on  July 6th? 
I started working on a new painting based upon one of the photos and a quick sketch I made at the time.
This is  how I painted the first pass.  I've put down a thin wash of Golden CAD Red Acrylic Ground atop a 16" x 20" Raymar panel.  This will add warmth and sparkle to the predominately cool hues of the final painting,  Next I used some Gamblin Ultramarine Blue Sketching oils to outline the shapes.  Then I filled the tree  shape with a thin wash of Ultra-marine Blue Sketching  Oil, and the ricefields with Gamblin's Red Earth Oxide Fast Matte Oil Paint.  For the Sky shapes I used Gamblin's Fast Matte mixed with the new Gamblin Portland Cool White.  At this point I have the basic shapes and values  and temperatures roughed out.  Now I have to wait awhile before I can start adding the local color atop the value map. That shouldn't take too long as all the paints I used are either thinned or have alkyds to speed the drying process.

More to follow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

MY new wall at CAG 7 '13

Yesterday was Changeout Day at the Charleston Artist Guild. All 70 + artists brought in their new artwork. I was happy to find that I had been assigned to a large stand alone wall space. It was perfect for displaying the two large State Park Series paintings I had brought in.  Drop by today and be amongst the first see all of our new artwork

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CAG Changeout day 7 '13

July 14th  was Changeout Day at the Charleston Artists Guild Gallery. All 70 + exhibiting  artists took down their art from the wall-space where they had been hanging on for the last quarter, moved the hanging equipment to their new assigned locations, then put up all new artwork.   It took a rocket scientist to figure out the logistics behind this move, and even so it is quite a huge challenge to get it all done in one day.   But by 6pm, everyone's artwork was hung, and the gallery looks brand new. 
If you are in the Charleston area, be sure to drop by the gallery to see all of our  the beautiful new artwork.

CAG Changeout Date

All the Exhibitors in the Charleston Artists Gallery (at 160 East Bay, Charleston) will be bringing in new their artwork today (July  14th) AND, Artist, Cecelia Campbell will be  in the CAG Gallery  from 11-6pm.  Good time to drop by to say "Hi" and to see all the beautiful new artwork the gallery that is going on display!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Keowee-Toxaway Shores 7/13

This afternoon, I finally finished my  painting of Keowee-Toxaway  Shores (from my SC Parks  Series).  I had blocked in the composition about three weeks ago but "other stuff"kept me from working on it .e.g.  this morning's  top priority tasks were getting the other 12 finished paintings in the State Park Series photographed,  framed, and  gallery ready.   When I finally got back to my easel this afternoon, I wasn't even sure if  I could remember the scene.   After 10 minutes of watching the video clips I took on site, the excitement I felt when I was when I was first seeing the scene came flooding back .  I love technology!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

In Appreciation 7 "13

Boy did I get a pleasant surprise at the July 7th SAG General Membership Meeting. Our President, Woody Bower presented  out-going SAG Board Members, Eugenia Tribett  and myself each with a Certificate of Appreciation in expression of the Guild’s  appreciation for all of the hard work, long hours and late nights we put in to  making out Guild a success.  

My new handmade pot. 7'13

This morning, I bought this beautiful little Green Glazed stoneware bowl from potter Bill Maurer who was showing at the SAG tent sale outside of Applewoods.  I love the color and all the incising on the side.
I should visit these tent sales more often.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

CAG at Magnolia Plantation 7' 13

Spent a wonderful day exhibiting at Magnolia Gardens History Fair with the Charleston Artists Guild

Photograghy at Margnolia Plantation and Gardens 7'13

One of the benefits of being a member of Charleston Artists Guild  is free admission to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.  As a result, I have been there many times.  Yesterday, however was my first in mid-summer.  I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is at this time of year.
When I wasn't hanging out at the CAG exhibit booth, I spent much of my free time in areas of the Plantation I had not visited before, like the Audubon Swamp Garden.
  You can get really close to the raucous juveniles and the rookery on the boardwalk through the swamp so it was not too late in the season to get some interesting bird photos.
 I also followed the bike path along the river and through the rice fields.
 The views along  that path were  spectacular as well.  Pretty sure some of these reference photos will become paintings as well

Come on Down 7 '13

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (Charleston, SC) is a short detour off Highway 17 - so if you're a history buff, you should check out their History Fair scheduled for 6 July 2013. I'll be there with the Charleston Artist Guild. Look forward to seeing y'all. It looks wonderful! For more information: http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/history_fair.html

Monday, July 1, 2013

Staging for a gallery exhibit 7 '13

Initial layout for the SAG at TMC Gallery

I thought I'd show you how plan the layout for how I'll hang my art in a limited wall-space  gallery.
 The first thing I do is find out what the dimensions are  of the wall space where  I will  be hanging my work.  Sometimes the gallery director can give me an exact description.  More often I  make a trip to the gallery to  measure and photogragh the area.  This also gives me a feeling for what else is in the vicinity which might effect the look of my work ( like windows). 

 Then I ask the gallery director what their rules are for hanging in the space that will be assigned to me.  e.g. how many pieces may I hang, outer dimension limitations, space between each piece of art, labeling requirements etc.

Armed with that information, I measure our the exact dimensions of the wall-space on a area of my living room floor and run painters tape around each edge to denote the edges of usable wall.

Layout  for the SAG Gallery at Applewoods
If the assigned space is a small sometimes I can get away with using the floor and furnishings inside my house to help with the layout without tape.  For example in the photo above, the lower carpet is exactly 6' long  wide, and the distance  between the two carpets is 4  which was perfect for laying out  the artwork which will be going into the SAG Gallery at Applewoods.   Trust me, I'll take a few hours of clutter in my living room in exchange for being able to work in the comfort of a climate controlled space during  the summer months. (See Photo at top of post)

If the assigned wall space is too large to measure off on the floorspace inside my house,  I put down large piece of cardboard  on the garage floor and measure it off with painters tape.

Once the usable space is resolved I begin putting down the artwork within it.  That is usually a matter of finding a satisfactory visual arrangement between the various sizes and colors of the artwork. There are no fixed rules for how to do this.  As a generality I start by  put the largest and heaviest and the darkest in values near the bottom, and the smallest and lightest near the top of the space.  Then move the paintings around until I find a pleasing arrangement.   My husband often has a lot of input into this process and the final arrangement may or may not look like the starting point.  It is purely a matter of personal taste. 

Once I have the paintings arranged to my satisfaction, I document the layout with  a photo of the arrangement on the floor.  I then diagram it out onto a sheet of 8.5" x 11" white paper.  The outer dimensions of the wallspace are noted along with any required inset, then squares are put in for each painting with their title /price and notes on how far apart they are from each othe,r and measurements to easily identifiable points on the wall.  For example the large rectangular painting going into The SAG Gallery at Applewoods was to be centered in the space and its bottom edge was to be 2 inches above the lower edge of the wall-space.  The top edge bottom two paintings on either side were to line up with the top of the long rectangular painting and their respective left/right  side were to line up with the left/right outsides of the  wall space.  This diagram and the photo become my guide for hanging the artwork at the gallery.

Final Arrangement at The Seacoast Artists Gallery at The Market Common
What sort of assistance the gallery provides, varies with each organization.  In Charleston four push pins are temporarily placed on the outer corner limits of one's  space for the artist to use as a guide, and a professional hanging system makes alignment  easy.  At Applewood's small lines on the wood moulding below the space shows exhibitors  where one wall  space stops and another begins.  At the Seacoast Gallery at The Market Common, the Volunteer Staff puts temporary strips of painter's tape on the walls  to separate the space for artists on Change out Day.  In all cases it is best to plan ahead and document well if you want to insure a pleasing layout.

My Paintings are now in the SAG Applewoods Gallery 7'13

July 1st was art change-out day at the SAG Gallery at Applewoods. Applewood's owner, Amy Vlahos, is a great supporter of local artists, and has provided wall-space for thirteen of SAG's artists. I replenished my wall space with lots of paintings of local landmarks.