Monday, January 30, 2017

Day 30 - All the Paintings

The Collection

Some are incomplete but still quite interesting.  Seeing them all together, there is a lot of cohesion because of the repeating colors as well as multiple paintings with drip lines and scales patterns.

Through this month I have learned so much about my preference to work on several pieces at one time.  Being able to set aside a piece and come back to it later helps me to really see the piece better.  Multiple photo images during the process help me see the challenges with a painting and help guide me to the next step.  Taking photos and checking them in black-and-white helps me to see if there is enough contrast for visual interest.

Working on several pieces at one time also reduces the pressure I put on myself to finish a painting before walking away.  I don't feel the need to dedicate several hours at a time in the studio.  I can pop down for 15 minutes and still make progress.

 That was critical for me this month.

My month began very quietly, as January often does.  Then all h#ll broke loose.  It always does.  What is UP with January, anyway?  My time in the studio is limited because of a full time job unrelated to art.  I knew I was starting a new semester at college on the 19th so the paintings needed to be mostly done and posts needed to be mostly written by that time.  My husband got very ill and was in the hospital for 6 days then promptly got the stomach flu when he came home.  My daughter got the stomach bug about a week later.  Both of them are feeling much better now, thank goodness!  But you can see how this impacted my possible time in the studio.

My math professor at college has given us a task of filling out a schedule sheet so she can see exactly how long each day we intend to dedicate to math work.  I am definitely scheduling time for art and plan to sneak in the studio whenever I can.

At the beginning of the month I read a book called, "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert and one of the things she mentions about making time for creativity is treating it like a love affair.  If you were having a love affair, the rest of your life would not stop.  You would find time to sneak away and be with your lover.  Stolen moments, so to speak.  Art is my passion and I need to give it attention.  Sneaking away from the rest of life to be with my art sounds wonderful.  Thinking about it being a secret rendezvous makes it so enticing!

I am so thankful to everyone who visited this month.  Your comments have encouraged me immeasurably.  I hope you will come back and visit from time to time.  I doubt I will continue posting every day but with my new practice of sharing my process, I feel at ease with doing just that, rather than only posting when a painting is finished.  Some of my paintings will be for sale on Etsy and I will post when they are there.  You can also follow me on Instagram.  I'm karimelenartist.

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Day 29 - Several Beginnings

Ending the 30-in-30 with more beginnings gives me a lot of inspiration and it reminds me that my painting is NOT done for the year.  I don't know where to store all of these giants but I had a blast painting them and I'm so so glad that I resisted the urge to paint small and try to just finish each day.  I have enjoyed sharing my process with you and I hope that you enjoyed the journey.  I have a few new friends to follow from this challenge and I'm excited to see where they go from here.

This is going to be another dark serpent painting.

Light grey is added to the top one third, then deep and light sap green are added to the lower two thirds.

This is the yellow-only painting I was stuck on for some days.  I was inspired by a lot of other paintings I've seen recently that featured circles.

Medium grey and light blue-grey are splattered, sprayed with water, and then circles are drawn to give the feeling of movement.

Going back to the neutrals and violet scales with this one.  I'm going to keep it very light and airy, to contrast with the one with dramatic maroon.

Burnt Umber is washed on in a wave shape.  Violet scales are added with the stencils I created, then medium grey and light blue-grey are added to the upper kidney shape.  I also added some light spritzes of water here and there.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Painting Two Needs a Name


I wanted to reveal the final painting near the end of the challenge.  The creature has no visible legs, and we're not quite sure where he ends as he curls around a large, blue egg that could be his sibling.

Mythical creatures have long been a fascination for me and this painting was wonderfully fun to create.  I have more creatures to spur your imagination (nightmares?) coming soon.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Painting Twelve -- Tectonic

Part One

Lots of drama with this painting.  I love these deep, rich colors and I intend to keep this one very dark.

Maroon, varying shades of deep turquoise, and black are applied with a palette knife.

Part Two

I kind of knew where I was going with this painting from the beginning but as I went, it really screamed lava meets water and I added bits of steam to accentuate that feeling.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Beginning Eleven

Part One

I wanted something a little different with this painting so I began by drawing some large shapes on the canvas with a colored pencil.  Charcoal smears, but colored pencil disappears quite easily under the acrylic.

I like the colors of it already so think I will keep this painting rather light and use a lot of blending techniques for a soft, flowy feel.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Painting Seven Changes

Part Three

Adding some drama and mystery to this painting, I have painted black and maroon around the edges to help reveal and fade out the edges of the Serpent.  I have a few more adjustments to this one before it's complete, but it's very close now.

Several thin layers of black and maroon are added with a dry brush technique.  This adds texture and visual depth.

Previous posts of this painting are here and here.

Part One:
 Part Two:

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Painting Eight - Love You FIVE-ever

Part Three

My daughter uses the expression "five-ever" to mean even more than forever.

The last touch ups here are the addition of some bold maroon at left, a wash of very light black at the center (black vs. grey here because the white is opaque and will totally cover over the detail underneath), a small amount of gold paint at the top and right and white to emphasize the main 5.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Painting Ten - Diamondback

Part Two

Nearing the end of the challenge so I'm trying to finish up as many paintings as possible.  This painting is part of the Serpent series.

The previous version of this was very light and I wanted to really add some drama with lots of maroon and a few touches of gold and darker purple.

Not a lot of changes here, just a few small touch ups with black paint marker and a bit of splashed paint for interest.

Because the difference is so dramatic, I thought I'd show Part One of this painting.
See the beginning of this painting here.

The more I watched the video and looked at the beginning stages of this painting, the more I liked it in the earlier stages.  I still love the drama of it with maroon but the lightness of this earlier version is also lovely.  I decided to do another painting with a similar beginning stage and keep it in the lighter tones.  Look for that soon.

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Painting Eight Continues

Part Two

This painting needs a more defined focal point so that will be the next step.  I don't want to lose all of the bold lines but I will have to decide how to draw the eye to one area more than the others.  I have a good start with the transparent red and gold.

Crimson is mixed with Burnt Umber and lots of water.  No Matte Medium is used here so the paint stays transparent.  Cadmium Yellow Medium is mixed with Burnt Umber, again without Matte Medium.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Painting Seven Continues

Part Two

Trying to keep this one from getting too busy but looking at it here I see I definitely need to edit this one.

Orange was added around the scales to suggest movement and the scales were painted with light and dark blue for contrast with the orange.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Painting Six -- Fascinator

Part Three

I wanted to keep this a monochrome painting and I'm happy with this result.  I didn't add a lot from the previous painting.

Liquid white and liquid black (black that I mixed from Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, and Crimson, blended with Matte Medium and water) were splattered on with various palette knives.

See The beginning of this painting here, and the mid-stage here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beginning Ten

Part One

Another in the series using scales stencils.  I did a time lapse video of this painting and posted on Instagram.  (You'll have to tell me if you can view that.  I have no idea if the link will work.)
I think the fact that almost everything is neutral color keeps this from looking too busy.

A light wash of Burnt Umber is applied and allowed to dry.  Purple scales are added with a large stencil then warm grey is used for the smaller scales stencil.  Black marker for the marks along the right and left edges, then light grey is washed over much of the painting.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Beginning Nine

Part One

Beginning Nine is not speaking to me at all.  This is where it started and this is where it still is after several days.

I sprayed the canvas lightly with water and dribbled on paint that is antique gold in color.  That's it.  I'm not coming up with anything for this one... maybe later.

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Beginning Eight

Part One

Sometimes an artist uses art to work through a problem she is having with some other part of her life.  The number 5 and I have a love-hate relationship.  I won't get too existential talking about my relationship with numbers.  The shape of the number 5 just doesn't always compute in my brain.  A bit of dyslexia with that particular number, I guess.  I just have to stop and think before I write it,,, every time!  That is why the 5s here are all directions, swirling around with lots of confusion.

I started with a large black paint marker for hand writing the marks and some of the 5s.  I also used several stencils with paint, and a gold paint marker.  After all the marks were dry, I sprayed the painting with a clear coat to set everything because I was afraid that subsequent paint would lift off the markers and make mud.  It may not, but I didn't want to take the risk of losing all the bold lines.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Beginning Seven

Part One

This painting will be the second for the series using scales stencils.  The first of that series is becoming a bit more complicated than I wanted so this painting will be very simple -- just shapes and patterns.

Going back to using some stencils I made.  I started with very thin Burnt Umber as the first layer then violet scales pattern and a splash of green/turquoise.  I used canned air to spray the green after it was applied and I like the effect however, the canned air scared me a little bit.  As I sprayed, the can got freezing cold and actually froze the paint in a couple of areas.  It didn't seem to damage the paint or the canvas at all but I certainly didn't expect that to happen!  So in the future I'll know... short bursts of canned air ONLY!

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Painting Six Continues

Part Two

Half way!  I can't believe I am half way through this challenge.  This is the furthest I have made it in the challenge for some time.  Life just always seems to get in the way and I feel a lot of pressure to complete a painting each day.  Giving myself the freedom to just work on art and share my process has made this challenge work much better for me.  A friend asked me what I wanted to accomplish through the challenge and my answer was simply to paint more.  I actually did very few paintings last year and maybe that was because I felt too much pressure to complete... but completing wasn't actually the issue.  The issue was not starting.

Liquid white and liquid black are added for interest.  I was thinking I wanted a bit of a monochrome painting this time and I like the lightness of the background but I may have to visit this painting one more time before it is complete.

I haven't talked much about the sizes of the paintings I have been working on this month but all of them have been either 24" x 24" or 18" x 24".  Large paintings compared to those I have done during previous challenges and I have enjoyed these larger works, however I'm running out of storage space for these guys!  Ha!

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Painting Five Continues

Part Two

The streaky areas of blue and grey have blended together here and virtually disappeared.  It wasn't the effect I was after but I still like it.

Liquid white and liquid black are splattered and allowed to somewhat blend together.  Crimson accents are added for interest.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Painting Four Continues

Part Two

Sometimes I want art to be gorgeous and sometimes I want it to be creepy.  This one is kind of creepy and I like it.  I haven't decided yet if it's finished or not.

A bit of Burnt Umber in the lower right with lots of water.  Then streaks of Crimson are added.

Stepping back it looks a bit like a scary yellow and white cat is thinking about doing bad things while you are sleeping.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Beginning Six

Part One

Pretty soon it will be no secret how much I like turquoise and grey.

I started with a very light wash of warm grey around the edges and in the darkest area and then allowed that to dry.
Light grey, black, and turquoise are applied in patches with a palette knife and blended with a dry brush.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Painting One Needs A Name

Part Four

Wrapping up Painting One.  When I'm driving to work pre-dawn, I listen to music and just kind of let my mind wander.  Sometimes song lyrics catch my attention and I note them for painting names.  Here are a couple of possibilities:
"Don't Expect an Easy Answer"
"Burn Out Bright"
...Or maybe you have a suitable name.  Let's hear it.

Black was dry brushed over the area left to bring out the texture from the fork marks.  Then liquid black was added around the areas of white for visual interest.

See the beginning of this painting here.  And some mid-stages here and here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Painting One Continues

Part Three

I was really having too much fun with the Pipettes here and the effect is getting rather chaotic.

I give more "breathing room" to the painting by adding warm grey to about two thirds of the painting.

When I added the grey, I accentuated some texture areas by using a squeegee to remove some of the grey, which also helped to bring a muted version of the original color back so the whole painting was not just one grey mass.  You can see the area of dark purple/grey that had fork marks previously is now very obscured and nearly disappears.

Adding back some blockier shapes for more interest and setting up for the center of interest.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Painting Two Continues

Part Three

Adding dimension through the use of the same stencils I started with, simply rotating them for interest.  Red is added to the background and over some of the stencil marks.  Some of the stencil marks are painted individually, using marks already on the canvas as a guide.

I keep hoping the painting fairies will come and finish this painting for me while I'm asleep but the painting fairies want me to do this work, I guess.  The progress is slowww with this one.  I feel like every mark on the canvas is thoughtful and maybe it's too thoughtful.  I have some way to go before I can think about finishing and trying to not get frustrated that it isn't easier.

Adding more background texture, being mindful to not let it get too busy and distracting.

See the beginning of this painting here.  And some mid-stage work here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Beginning Five

Part One

This painting began with the upper third a light tan and the lower two thirds a green that was somewhere between an olive and a fern.

This current look was achieved by dribbling paint along the top edge and adding lots and lots of water and letting the paint cascade down.  The black was added via Pipette and allowed to run in a couple directions before lying flat.

There is some light glare here and I may use these shapes as inspiration later.

30 in 30 Blog.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Beginning Four

Part One

I really enjoyed how quickly the previous painting came together.  I wanted it simple and was very satisfied with the result.  I'll try again to keep the design simple here.

Yellow, medium tan and light tan are applied with a large brush.

30 in 30 Blog.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Painting Three -- The Fox

Part Two

I wanted to keep this painting very simple.  I didn't start out with the intention for this to be a definable shape but I see a fox so that is what it will be.

Red is added along with dark brown to create the center of interest.  I may go back and make the light tan area in the upper left a bit less distracting.

See the beginning of this painting here.

30 in 30 Blog.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Painting Two

Part Two

Texture and movement are the basis for this painting.

Very dark red-violet and lighter red-violet begin to show the circular movement of the background.  Green patterning is made using a stencil I created.

30 in 30 Blog.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Painting One

Part Two

Back to Painting One to try a new technique.  I thought it would be fun to create some texture with this one and see how that played out.  Painting is fun.  I take my work seriously but it should also be fun.  I try new things to see how they work.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes not.  All of it is totally fine.  Sometimes a technique that doesn't work will lead me to an idea that does work and that's really magic.

Warm grey was spread on the left and a dry brush used to make the cloudy fluff in the lower left.  Then I used a plastic fork to make horizontal marks.  The fork was fun to use but the paint wasn't quite thick enough to really make a visual impact and you'll see later, the texture of the marks from the fork get lost pretty quickly with subsequent layers of paint.

More texture is added using dry brush, water spritzing, and here is one of the Pipettes in the foreground.

Drying between layers.  I could use a hair dryer, but since I'm working on other paintings at the same time, there is plenty of time for a slower dry.

30 in 30 Blog.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Beginning Three

Trying To Keep It Simple

Constantly telling myself to back up, take a breath, and keep it simple.  This painting was an attempt to really hold back from the very beginning.  I wanted to keep it really light and not have to edit it too much after I started, in an attempt to keep the colors very fresh.

I started with a wash of medium tan and lots of water.  I let that thin layer of paint dry before adding very light tan.  I used the same technique as the black of Painting 1: Yogurt consistency paint applied with a plastic Pipette, then a couple of good whacks on the sides to sort of flatten it out.  The light tan in the upper left was spritzed lightly with water to allow it to spread, then I let it dry so it is a bit fuzzy as opposed the blocky look of the light tan on the right.  Warm grey and light turquoise were mixed on the canvas with a palette knife, then sprayed with water and allowed to run.

30 in 30 Blog.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Beginning Two

Working in Tandem

Embracing my ADHD tendencies when it comes to art, I prefer to work on several projects at one time.  I find that moving around the studio from one project to the next helps to keep my work loose because I'm constantly backing up, focusing on something else, and then coming back with fresh eyes.  When I have a new idea, I just start a new painting and I don't feel pressured to finish before I capture that next idea.

This painting is the beginning of what I hope will be a series.  I'll be using lots of texture techniques so what you will see will be close-up shots with lots of detail.  The area of small circles was created by first painting yellow, allowing it to dry, then painting green. While the green paint was still wet, I used a rubber tip tool to remove the wet paint, leaving the pattern.

30 in 30 Blog

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Challenge 2017

Happy New Year everyone!

No Resolutions for me this year since I already have so many fantastic things in the works and ways that I improved last year that I simply want to continue on with the current rollercoaster ride.  I know the best is yet to come.

30 Paintings in 30 Days

...sort of.  The last few times I tried the challenge, I was very gung-ho in the beginning.  Painting a lot prior to the challenge and trying to be very organized and methodic.  I find that nice and orderly does not describe me AT ALL.  I do like finishing a lot of paintings in a one-month period of time but the paintings are not always great.  Typically, about a third of the paintings are pretty good.  One or two are really good and I'm quite proud of the work in them.  Of course I want more successes.  The challenge then should be to paint more successes.

Just Too Busy

That is one of my mother's favorite phrases to describe me and my life.  She says it with a lot of emphasis and she means it.  My life is packed full just about every minute.  Sometimes I use lists and calendars (I love the old fashioned paper kind and I have a big, erasable type on the side of my refrigerator!) and reminders on my phone to help me keep up with everything.  I never realized how much "free" time I have until I started back at college last Fall when every moment of every day was truly packed to the gills and I didn't have time for family or even cooking for myself.  I certainly had no time for art or anything enjoyable and that kind of schedule doesn't work for me.  I did well in my classes but that was the only thing I did well.  All this to say, I needed a different approach this time to the challenge.  Classes are starting again soon (I cut back to just one class) and I have work and family so the art has to still fit in to that schedule.

How To Have It All

Say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  My schedule will still have to fit everything else and somehow fit in a bit of art.  My approach to the Challenge then is to work at the paintings in short bursts.  I have been trying this idea for a couple of weeks already and I'm really liking the results.  Paintings get attention.  My soul gets time for creativity.  The rest of life gets accomplished.  Win.  Win.  Win.

How Many Paintings??

The number actually doesn't matter to me.  The point is to keep working.  As I said yesterday, I will be working on several paintings at a time and sharing the progress photos here and on Instagram.

Beginning at the Beginning

I painted the whole canvas with a very light tan color so I don't have to worry about getting color to the edges later on.  A light red-violet was applied with a flexible plastic tool that was originally for cake decorating.  I'm not decorating many cakes these days so the tool now lives in the studio.  Water was spritzed on and the color allowed to run.  Some of the edges were smudged with a paper towel.
I mixed "black" from Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, and Alizarin Crimson and this was thinned with Matte Medium and water, then applied with a plastic Pipette.  Pipettes are my newest find and I absolutely love the control I have with them.  The consistency of the black was like yogurt so it's thin enough to go in the Pipette, but thick enough that it holds without running.  Then I gave the canvas a couple of whacks on the side which created this sort of blocky effect on the black.

Wish me luck!

If you are new here, I'd love to hear from you.  Say "hi" in the comments and tell me where you are from.  Just the state is fine, if you want.

30 Paintings blog