Thursday, March 27, 2014

4am, isn't anyone ELSE up with a cranky woodstove?

cranky woodstove, dropping temps and wet wood
yup that's me
and here is a half done peek at my latest painting, which i think i messed up totally, as the cardinals are in their environment but not dominating it. they are so shy during nesting, but this is the rhodo out front with the cardinals that nest in it every year
now the deer ate most of the rhodo and almost all the yew bushes so we'll see if the cardinal come back this year
i am hoping to finish this series by mid april
there is one more painting in it and then i need to evaluate it
i know the last painting will have maple leaves...
then i need to decide..... do i do more with the maple leaves... and take the quail nest out of it
or set up a second series and continue with this on my drafting table and do the other series on the small easel...... i would like to have two series going at once, and maybe a blk/wht drawing going too
i just am feeling non-productive lately

i had to put my knitting down for a while, as i'd badly hurt both shoulders, elbows, wrists...... actually we suspect it may be a fibro flare brought on by cold, stress and lack of sleep (and heavy lifting of logs and chopping ice)
i was living on tylenol and what limited mobility i had there i was using for painting, which is another reason why this painting is going so slow....this and the rhodo leaves from hell
the pain is fading now so i can paint longer, and i am getting a bit more sleep.
bernie had me sleep in while he was off for his 'weekend', and that helped
actually he's been trying to make me sleep in during his week too
most often i am getting up at the crack of 11am!
cause the only real sleep i am getting is from 7am to whenever i get up- and as i type this, i am waiting for the wet wood in the stove to catch, there is a LOT of tree bark in there trying to help it.

i know i am not the only one that really hopes this winter is over soon
meanwhile i am continuing this series......planning the next couple of series
and basically waiting for real spring to come

i hope you all are ok out there
and i hope spring comes for you too as well

Sunday, March 23, 2014

cinderella....... yup that's me

well first off.....remember this post HERE
so then.............. we got my chair AND surprise! the money to pay for it!
and....two little fairy godmothers decided that i needed colored pencils...
not just ANY colored pencils mind......
but the ones beyond my wildest dreams.....
 here is the opening of the pencils in photos
i'm still stunned
oh and btw, they are every bit as good as the reviews say they are
maybe better
the packaging is amazing......but the pencils are beyond belief
and the best part is...... they are LIGHT FAST
which is a huge thing for me, everything i do will eventually be sold, most likely in a gallery,...... so it's important to me that who ever does end up with the originals can pass them down as the supplies i use are archival and rated for at least 400 years...... i don't think any artist that is professional should use anything that isn't light fast or that doesn't mean you can hang work in the sun...NOOOOOO and you must keep it framed under UV glass and safe from moisture, excessive heat etc.... but with reasonable care...400 years easy!
now i've got a series of frogs planned.... (it's cooking in the back of my brain right now)

which brings me to my other thought, i got my chair......i got my pencils (gees i love them) i know i am getting a book about one of my favorite male illustrators (rackham) i am sort of seeing my list from the above link come to life in front of my very eyes....... like MAGIC! ...... then my brita pitcher finally shattered beyond repair that is going to be replaced tomorrow..... (did i put 'win the lottery' on that list?)
anyway i really do feel like cinderella....... i'm looking around for a pumpkin and a coupla mice......

Saturday, March 15, 2014

ducks and studio stuff

 first this is a terrible picture of the roughly finished brush holder, with plastic tool clips and paper clip hangie thingies.... i covered it with wrinkled brown paper and i'll wax it with a sienna wax but i've already got it hanging on my light and popped a brush in....yup it works
brushes need to have the hairs down when they dry, (and actually they should be stored hanging like that too, dust is another killer of brushes) yet there aren't too many options..... there is that coil thing but it isn't really secure so i made this for mine
i have a LOT of money in kolinsky brushes.... i'm going to try and keep them as long as i can in the best shape i can the handicapped baby duckling, she is so young she doesn't even have her caruncling in yet! (the red warty stuff around her eyes) anyway, she's doing very well...she can walk, and run..... she can climb in and out of the small black pond thingie.....although it's not as easy for her......she's eating well and pooping well and seems to be starting to catch on.
the others of course are giving her a bit of a hard time so she's sort of with them but protected. the photo you see is her in the bath in the A frame pen -- which i just was able to get open as enough ice melted.
the other pen is still iced in...i hope sometime next week i can get that one opened up-

and third is amelia and prudence in the chicken pen (falstaff is there too but you can't see him)
everyone has a touch of bumble foot from this past nightmare winter, however as much as i can get them out side i will and they will heal up..... we just couldn't keep up with them in the inside pens during this horrible nightmare winter... at one point it was so cold, that everyone was in the main basement and taken out of their crates three times a day to stretch, eat and drink because we had to try and keep everyone from freezing..... we're all enjoying being able to go out again- and once we get the temporary pen defrosted, and the far back pen de-iced.........everyone will go out....including the quail.

i was supposed to get a blue male parakeet to join the flock, however something came up and i can do it. i am very disappointed as i think we need another male in with the budgies... but it's not a good time right now

which brings me to health..... i am starting to get my medical appointments made, and is is none too soon as i am having issues swallowing now. i am also having edema in my arms and hands.....not in my legs (rarely do i have issues with my legs and edema- usually just a tiny bit in the humidity of summer if i've had to sit, like in a car for a long ride) so the edema in my arms is worrisome.
my right arm and shoulder is really bad that's going to be put on the list as well.

meanwhile i am working on the next layout and also planning a second series that i will work on during down time from my main work...the second will be botanicals.... which will do two things,...... 1) teach myself botanical art, and 2) enable me to hopefully double my output of work

so that's pretty much it for now......still waiting on this new storm but it looks like it's going to be south of us and we won't get much out of it .......YEAH!!! cause i really really am sick of the cold this winter, and being up all night with the woodstove

Friday, March 14, 2014

this whole 'waiting for a storm' thing is getting old

however the last storm ended up rain and then wind
and very cold
so we're making progress here towards spring

now i finished that last painting.... or let's just say...i've done all i could with the flowers from hell so i declared it finished and stashed it in the 'to be photographed' box

meanwhile i ordered more paper, on an amazing i need (desperately need) a new chair...this one is causing major pain in my shoulders and arms, as well as tearing up the floor.
things are so bad that i can't even knit right now which seriously sucks
so i am week we're going to have to go and get a chair

in painting news, i am definitely going to have to set up a second paint station- i went through my box of cut water color paper and found all the 8x10 paper put aside for the botanical work
so i am going to start that in addition to my regular work, besides i need the practice ...... and the schooling. and maybe even the discipline of botanical illustration.
and if i am working on that as well as the other stuff.....maybe i can finally get those colored pencils i have been wanting for like........forever?
they were always intended to be gotten for botanical work

ok i'm off to the studio now
just a brief touch base with you all
and now i have to get back to work

Sunday, March 09, 2014

this and that and GREEN GREEN living things!

 this is the current painting in this second nest series... i am thinking of upping the contrast a bit as it is way too quiet a painting (that's what i get for listening to the pachelbel canon while painting)
however i think it works (cause of the maple leaves) with the first one in this series.....but we'll see

i've talked before here about the pigments i use, and why......(i want only lightfast for the durability)
now i am experimenting with darks again.... this painting has selective areas that are layered colors to make a dark dark..
and i think i need to do more of that here with this painting
i do like the nestling..... baby birds are so fragile and transparent looking, that it amazes me to watch them grow up.. they really do look like little aliens when they first hatch
and they are all MOUTH........
anyway, i am always researching pigments, and ways to mix pigments to make darker darks, sometimes even 'black' isn't dark enough. i would rather not use a straight black pigment, so mainly i'm working with blues, greens and reds.... layered as pure pigment as well as mixed first.
i will also tell you...i REALLY need to knuckle down and LOOK at flowers..... i'm just not good at them
anyway, i use 100% cotton acid free internal/external sized paper, and i use permanent lightfast pigments- as long as these paintings don't get wet or stored in a moist environment, they should last a few hundred years with minimal change- that doesn't mean you can throw them in the window facing south in new mexico for ten years- (and you need to frame them with uv glass too) but with reasonable care.... yup 200-400 or more years
eventually when the originals get sold i can feel good about that. (not that it matters but stranger things have happened)

this next photo is a close up of moss......from the deck, it finally thawed enough for me to pry some of it up
i am going to stick it in closed terrariums, i miss GREEN living things so much- that is an extreme close up of the moss.... the really cool thing about this particular moss is those little brown thingies on the upper right.... they are some sort of sensor or seed or something... and they MOVE when you spray them with water....or it rains and the drops hit them....they swing around!
it fascinates me endlessly...
and the moss itself is a spongy soft pillow... so i couldn't resist putting it in terrariums --- besides i had to get it out of the planter it took that is the planter i like to grow lettuce in, so the moss had to sort of go......and i need it in the house to make me happy over the winter ..........i think it's a win win.... right now some of it is sitting on a plastic plate and i've spritz the moss with water, until i get the 5 gallon fish tank up to plant it in....... i may even put a few other odds and end plants in there with it

now this is my birthday month
i am still really hoping for my birthday list..... but i think right now if i can get a new chair i would be ok...... ok not really but it would be a good thing
i am going to start releasing prints soon
so maybe my new chair, and some of the other stuff i need to keep going with this will happen sooner rather then later?

anyway the mountains of snow are slowly S L O W L Y melting
and the iceberg that sunk the titanic is still outside the duckroom door..
i am still waking up in pain (agony really until the tylanol kicks in)....however last night i was able to stay in bed and get up once for the stove.....
i still woke up, i just didn't come down because i knew it was warm enough..... yup it was
at 9am this morning when bernie got home, it was 76 in the things are warming up slowly

how is it by you folks?
spring get to you yet?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

my view of painting

3/4 of painting...(at least for me) is thinking.....
how to lay down the color
WHAT colors to lay down
what is the point of the story of this illustration?
what is the overall color language of this painting..
how does it relate to the rest of the series... does it tell it's own story AND continue the story of the series?
i also like to work from on palette for each series mostly
each palette i have (and i have a LOT of them) has a different range of the same pigments, but mixed differently or different % of those colors
i was working on laying down the first washes for this next painting in this more involved nest series and i realize that this is what i think  about...
while i am laying it out... while i am transferring it
as i sit and look at my drawing ...... my first questions are

what do i want to emphasize with this painting? and how do i use my color now to do that.
i think my most successful paintings not only had a tight layout but a very particular color point of view
at least to my mind

this painting is third in the current series... i went from a very subdued palette with punches of my beloved berry reds
to a very earthy but bright palette
this one is going to be bright and spring like i believe....
with i hope very clear layered washes of pure pigments
i'm working with cobalt right now- and i like how it is working so far
laying in the basis for the darks with it

and listening to the canon......
one of these days i am going to do a video while i work...(it may be a few years or a few months or days....when i have time)
so i can share with all yous

Monday, March 03, 2014

in the middle of the night.............

it's a bit after it's monday morning actually
i'm still up due to the woodstove from hell!
now today.....ummm, ok yesterday.....
i was doing big poultry chores.... i couldn't clean pens as the iceberg out from the duck room door to the end of where the first pen is prevented me from safely getting anywhere
but i did do some housekeeping along with the buckets and pans,
i discovered prudence's secret nest, which i removed her from....she's cooling her heals in a crate next to her sister amelia ...also in a crate
tomorrow i am going to play musical duck pens
my chickens are laying..... i got three eggs, so since the egg carton is full, i ate today's offering

i have to say i'm really exhausted...... i was hoping for a warm up with snow but we are getting that 'polar vortex' thing without snow.
well it's really bernie's friday so tomorrow he'll sleep
tuesday we have wood coming
now while i was downstairs climbing over things to extract my broody duck from her infertile eggs, i found the older kero was an aladdin radiant!
oh honey, i hit the lotto there
and the other one....... could possibly be a corona...... i could not see
so i went online and found out where to get parts for them
and they will be reconditioned and put back into service next winter
(if i have to repaint, i know there is stove/oven paint...... i wonder if i can paint them pink?--- or mix the red with the cream and make my own pink?)
the kero heater has really saved us this past winter
it was brutal here....and having that in the main house helped things a lot
i was inspired when i got that
normally i hem and haw, and research before i spend a dime..... that i jumped on
(and the generator before sandy)...... and it proved i think to be a very wise timely decision.

now in painting news, i am still working on registration files...
plus i started a layout which is not really working at the moment
i really so need that drawing tablet i think.... it will eliminate a lot of extra work
i need to get painting
i watched a documentary on andrew wyeth while waiting on the woodstove....and at one point..... i heard someone say....'there is magic in a paintbrush'
oh boy don't i know that
and i need that magic
at the end wyeth said...... a painting has to build up... until it's ready
and i know that one well too.....
i know where i am going with this series...i just need to lay out the rest

i haven't been NOT working, i just have not been painting
i figured out even more ways to cut water color paper sizes
and drew the diagrams with the measurements..... so this way i don't have to think about it
i also made notes on the paper size that goes with what image size, to be able to have a taping border
(and it makes me miss etching soooooooooooo much as there was an impressed border from the depth of the plate that i loved)
if we do ever build that house i want.... i am going to put an etching press in the studio ....i loved the moodiness of etching and i want to do that again

okey dokey
i am going to put another log on the fire and see if maybe maybe i can get two hours sleep?
i'm running on about 3-4 hours sleep a night now and it's really not enough

Saturday, March 01, 2014

OHOHOH it's my BIRTHDAY month!

now first off as a note to myself....(and anyone needing to know copyright)
this is a tutorial in plain english

THIS is a .gov tutorial 

ok now that is out of the way
on to my birthday month!
first on my birthday list is a few things i would really like from bernie for my birthday

  • a drawing/graphic tablet
  • a new office chair (i got it all picked out)
  • a new desktop computer with duel monitors JUST to deal with the art prints/licensing
  • muck boots
  • the faber castell polychrome colored pencil set
  • OR if he hits the lotto... the caran d'ache luminance colored pencils
  • kitchen counter tops
  • a green house 
  • a cold frame
  • a new brita pitcher (the big one with the spigot) cause bernie broke mine (edited to add this)
  • and a flat file cabinet with at least 5 drawers....... 10 would be better- a vintage tower of them would be freeken amazing! (used is more then fine- especially wooden used ones)
actually with the exception of the desktop (maybe) everything else is pretty inexpensive
however right now if things are sort of tight, i'll settle for him making me a birthday cake!
and help me clean the inside pens
ok i have to wake him....oh MY look at the time!

see you tomorrow