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Thursday, December 28, 2006

exotic animals

The Bengal is one I did as a demo at the Oldfield Center during the Western Washington Fair. The lighting where I was working was less than optimal, and I really struggled with the tiny details and getting the color the way I wanted it. I need to practice more at Big Cats.

The kudu I am more happy with. It's amazing how much difference a good light can make in how comfortable you are in working. This one was done as a fundraiser for the District Campership program for the Boy Scouts. Anyone who has been through Wood Badge will quickly recognize the symbols here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

a class with Fred Oldfield

This was a totally new experience for me! I did the mountain scene on 16x20 canvas and solely with a palette knife. I'm a detail freak, so it was hard to keep everything soft. I kept wanting to give more attention to those rocks in the foreground, but Fred would bring them back down again, advising me to "keep 'em soft". Thanks to Fred, I'm beginning to lose my fear of oils. It is my hope to have a couple of canvases worth hanging by the time the October "Celebration of Western and Wildlife Art" show comes around.

Progressions in PNW design

Raven Steals The Sun

I still have much to learn in PNW Flat Design. I have a good teacher in a Kwakiutl chief and master carver down in Southern Washington.

This was done in Micron pen and acrylic paint. My ovoids are still "mushy" as he put it. They need more strength, more tension - in order to be proper. When I get it done right, I want to paint this on a drum. I'm told the style I use is very strongly Tsimshian - having grown up in Ketchikan, I can understand why.

The Standoff

This one was inspired by the company the kids and I receive during our many hikes and picnics up on Mount Rainier.

Of the two, the Grey Jays are most definitely the boldest. They have no hesitations at all in snatching food straight from your hand. After a picnic, they'll often follow you up the trail, watching from the branches above. It's no wonder they're better known as Camp Robbers!

Available, in studio, 8" X 19" framed, $245.00

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Explorations into other outlets

Button Blanket

This is merely the beginning of my borderwork, which contains Heron. The buttons and shaped paua shell ovoid in this photograph are not sewn down, but merely placed to judge their visual merits in a completed design. The red wool applique work, however, is stitched down for the most part - all is hand-sewn with tiny blanket-edge stitches to help bind and define the edges.

This is a full-sized blanket of high quality coating-weight wool. Heron will be in the border on both sides with the larger smoke-colored shell buttons lining the edge of that, and Bear with Cub will be the central figure. She will be outlined with the smaller mother-of-pearl shell buttons seen in the photo. It will take considerable time, probably the remainder of the winter - but it is a welcome break in between painting feathers for the upcoming Home Show in Eugene.

changing mediums, a source of frustration

Yesterday evening after an inordinate amount of time in the studio, I joined my husband in the livingroom. He was watching the television, and I promptly picked up a book.

"What's the matter?" he inquired.
"I suck, I can't paint," I replied, barely looking up from my reading.

Later, I returned to the studio to stare at the canvas some more. He wandered in shortly after, silently standing next to me, staring at the canvas.

"What's the matter with it?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," I replied, arms folded, staring even harder.

He stared a minute or two more, then spoke. "I'm no painter," he said," but I think I know what the problem is."
I perked up. "What?"
"You're used to instantaneous results in acrylics. When I've watched you paint in acrylics on feathers, and the detail happens immediately. With oils on a canvas, you have to work on so many levels, stages, and layers, before you start to see the details and the results you want. It's not instant like acylics, it doesn't behave like acrylics, and it's frustrating you."

Hammer, meet nail.