Friday, June 29, 2012

Painting Supplies

Yesterday I took the bus to Curry's to pick up the gel medium that I needed. Of course, there was no way I was coming out of the shop with ONLY medium - I also snagged some paint, a brush and some black India ink. When I mentioned my haul to my friend Angie, she suggested that I post about it here, which I thought was a great idea. So here's a look at my growing collection of painting supplies:

I really love Golden products. The gesso and regular gel medium (semi-gloss) are almost finished, I use them a lot. The gesso is perfect for priming and white-washing and mixing with paint. The gel medium is perfect for mixing paint - it really helps extend the life of my pigments since it takes on the colour with barely any fading. It works great as an adhesive too. The molding paste equals texture. The giant container of matte gel medium is what I just picked up - I would have gone with semi-gloss if they'd had a bigger jar but I thought I'd try the matte for a change. I think I prefer the look of the gloss though, especially for the water I'm painting at the moment. In the middle is liquid acrylic gloss medium - I prefer the gel medium because it's easier to control, but this works well for certain things.
This is the set of paint I started with a couple years ago. They're small tubes, but like I said, the acrylic media helps to stretch the pigments. I prefer these heavy body acrylics to the fluid ones, again, because of greater control.
Yesterday, I picked up this trial size of uncommon blues (from left: anthraquinone blue, smalt hue and cerulean blue deep). I thought they'd be fun to try and perfect for the water I'm painting.
I also grabbed two larger tubes of yellow and magenta. I mix my own colours, so the basics are essential.
Here's what I use for mixing: a plastic "palette" tray thing from Wal-Mart and a small bowl from IKEA (for larger volumes). The creamer in my vintage dishes pattern is for water (a friend sent me this, and since I already had one, I thought it would be perfect to keep on my craft desk).
Occasionally I use watercolours - I mix my colours using these primary pigments.
India ink in violet, brown, orange (top) and black (bottom right) - black Plaka - and some metallic silver paint - I've experimented with these mostly in my sketchbooks.
Lastly, my brushes. Nothing too fancy or expensive, but they do the job. I like the ones with the synthetic white bristles, but I haven't tried many other kinds. I have a few that dried hard by mistake, so I use those to mix. I recently fell for the filbert brushes (bottom) - the slightly rounded tip and flat shape are ideal for me.

All of these supplies (excluding the mixing bowls/palette) came from either Michael's, Curry's or Mixed Media (a small shop on James North in Hamilton) - oh, except for the bamboo brush holder and a fan-shaped brush (second from the left in the top photo), which my mom got for me in a small shop in Montreal.

What are your favourite painting supplies?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Creative Space

I was planning on this being another update to the 30-day journal challenge, but it seems as though I haven't added any new pages since the last one! Oops! I'll catch up eventually, though probably not before July starts...

Instead, I've been working on a series of three paintings. My sister-in-law posted two photos on Facebook over the weekend, showing one of my nephews in the river and my niece jumping off the dock. The quality of the phone pictures wasn't the greatest, but the composition was awesome. Plus, I've been wanting to try my hand at painting water ever since seeing a bunch of awesome examples at the art galleries. I chose a random photo of my other nephew and "placed" him in the water to make this a sort of impressionistic summer swimming triptych. If they turn out how they look in my head, then I'll be gifting these to my sister-in-law for her birthday next month.

Here's my progress so far:

Step 1: pencil sketches (I haven't sketched out my oldest nephew just yet.)

Step 2: gesso then a watercolour wash in blue/green (I completed step 3 on the first two pieces before choosing a photo of my oldest nephew, so his turned out more green.)
Step 3: molding paste "waves" for awesome texture

Step 4: sky and horizon on my niece's portrait

Step 5: first layer of "water"

Step 6: second layer of "water"

My next three or four steps will be more layers of "water" - so far I only have the darkest layer down. Layers, layers, layers are key for adding depth, interest and texture! I'm pretty nervous about painting my subjects though - I want them to be recognizable but still impressionistic. 

First though, I need to make a run to Curry's to pick up some more gel medium! The fluid medium I have is ok for the water, but I need a bit more control for my people and the final layers.

You can find more photos in my Flickr photostream and more Creative Spaces here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mosaic Monday

It's Mosaic Monday! I hope you'll join us - it's really easy! Just make a photo mosaic - you can use whatever photo editing software you like, or a website such as the mosaic maker and photos from Flickr - then post it on your blog. Go ahead and pick a theme if you want, but don't feel like you have to. Have fun with it!

Make sure to include a link back to my blog so that everyone can participate. Then come back here and submit a link to your blog post (using the "add your link" button at the bottom). I'll be looking and commenting on each one!

Here's mine for this week: Group of Seven. We went to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection yesterday, in the quaint town of Kleinburg - the gallery is dedicated mostly to Canadian art, especially the Group of Seven - it was amazing! I particularly enjoyed recognizing Emily Carr's pieces among the rest of them. Lawren Harris was probably my favourite out of the Seven - such inspiring work!

Here's the list of mosaics for this week. Once you've blogged, click the button below to add your blog post link.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Seven

Here are a few things I'm grateful for this week:

Sunday: hiking new trails and finding wild raspberry ripe for picking 
Monday: doodling in my sketchbook
Tuesday: a great day: good news for a friend, followed by shopping and frozen lemonades
Wednesday: T-bone steaks (too bad we don't have a BBQ, but they were still tasty)
Thursday: unexpected phone interview
Friday: new books
Saturday: visiting family  

What are you thankful for this week?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Project 52 - 25/52

Week 25 - here's my photo:
I spotted these bright orange leaves on one of our recent hikes. The colour of them was shockingly bright - they look fake. I thought it was strange that they were so orange at the beginning of the summer, in the shade... and it was only this one little bush.

I'd love it if you'd participate with me in this challenge! The rules are simple - take 1 photo a week, for 52 weeks. No theme, just a photo of something that sparked your interest during the week. Feel free to use my Project 52 banner as well. Either right click on the image above and save it on your computer, or follow this link and download it from Flickr.

Once you've taken your photo, post it online somewhere and add your link in the submission box below.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Recommend: The Forest Lover

A few weeks ago, I looked up the AGH (Art Gallery of Hamilton) to see what was new: I love wandering through the galleries and discovering new artists. This month, an Emily Carr exhibit was opening and sounded interesting. I made a note of it to check out at some point this summer.

About a week later, I was browsing my bookshelves for a new novel to start (I own so many I still have yet to read!) and pulled out The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. This was one of the books my supervisor / advisor gave me when he was purging his own overflowing bookshelves....

A novel about Emily Carr! What are the odds? I knew her name had sounded familiar for more than one reason! I quickly devoured the novel and took myself on a date to the AGH as soon as I finished.

First - the book. I highly recommend it for all artists, especially Canadians and women. It was very well written - a great summer read. Vreeland nicely illustrated the battle female artists went through at the beginning of the 20th century for recognition as serious artists. It also detailed Carr's struggle to find her muse and, once found, her quest to develop her painting techniques to reflect what she was feeling instead of simply reproducing what she was seeing. It's a very compelling and inspiring read.

Next - the exhibit. Oh gosh! This was one of my favourite exhibits I've seen at the AGH - I highly recommend it! There were three whole rooms filled with Carr's paintings, and it was really neat to see some of the ones I'd just read about. I also really enjoyed experiencing the progression of her art as she matured into a more expressive style.

I brought my sketchbook along (instead of Pat or a friend) because I knew I'd want to jot down some things while I was there. Here's what I came home with:
As you can see in the first photo, I started by sketching some African carved wooden masks. I was initially a little intimidated to pull out my sketchbook - it was the first time I'd done so in public, and I was the only one sketching there. But this African exhibit was upstairs (a free one) and pretty empty, so that's where I worked up my nerve. It was really this mask that did it:
The long skinny face and nose were interesting, but it was the pouty lips that really got me! I really like this motherly one too - her headpiece was so intricate:
What struck me most about this African exhibit was the strong parallels to the Native Canadian imagery in Carr's work. The wood carvings had a very similar feel to the totem poles - primitive and yet sophisticated in their own way. They tell a story of spirits and community.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Creative Space

Here are my next six pages in the 30 Day Journal Challenge - prompts 14-19. I've fallen a bit behind, but I hope to catch up in the next few days!

Prompt #14: my roles

Here are the two pages (including Lestat) side by side:
Prompts #13 + #14

Prompt #15: I will not be defined by...

Prompt #16: imagine

Prompt #17: my dad
I love the background for this page: it's similar to my love languages page.

Prompt #18: copy a photo multiple times and doodle over them

And here are those two pages side by side:

Prompts #17 + #18

Prompt #19: I should be...
Another page I'm really happy with, mostly because I'm using different supplies (paint, security envelopes, accounting graph paper) and because some of the items are "should be," some are "want to be" and some are both!

If you'd like to see more photos of these pages, check out my Flickr folder. I also highly recommend checking out the Run With Scissors Flickr group, where all the participants are posting pages from their 30 Day Journal Challenge. Lastly, you can find more creative spaces here.