Friday, March 23, 2012


First rule of paint mixing: Make more than you think you will use, then make more. I do not always subscribe to this rule because normally I have an infallible talent for color matching. However! That was back in high school. And the first time it happened was a battle between logic and inspiration; the instructor and me. And since I was doing water with lots of breaks and reflections I knew I was not going to need a lot of any ONE color let a lone ALL of them. Plus, God and I both knew I was being made an example AGAIN. And we (God, Fate & I) decided to stick it to her. But I still, until about 5 years ago had an Uncanny X-man power. But I digress...

This time, because I knew I did not want to run short of the blue like I did the violet purple for the Boss Lady's sign, I made tons! So what do you do with the leftovers?

Rescue a canvas from the Set It & Forget It Pile. I decided three fruits instead of four in the p series and had a 4x4 left over. So slap on two shades of blue, clean the brown brush off in the corner and across the top voila! A vibrant jewel tone piece of love.

And I  still have tons! But I can adjust shades and do some layering with more stencils when I figure out what the heck to do on this. But I kinda love it as is. Ran the leftover brown through a stencil and hit it with some brush handle dots to get this layer. Of course the stencil work across the top is sloppy. It's sloppier than I would like it to be, so that will get a layer of blue. And nothing feels quite right if it doesn't have words on it since I am such a font geek. But I really like how this is starting out.

oh and it needs a shot of something metallic. I am trying not to over do since it is a small canvas. But the funny thing is somehow this color is making my heart sing. Not Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music sing. But like electricity humming through a line sing. Well maybe zing. It is energizing and I just want to run. Not sure what the artistic procedural equivalent is, but I kinda feel like running through a field of poppies while flying a kite in Summer with big poofy clouds until I'm out of breath. Usually I feel that way when I see what Michelle is doing (especially the new stencils. swoon!). Normally I do not do this to myself. I think if I can hit those notes inside me then I will invalidate the last post and stay excited about stuff.

The second rule of paint mixing:(for those of you playing along at home who thought I would gloss over the numbers) is to keep track of your mixes so you can duplicate the process. I know how smart that is because I keep getting told so. Since my Uncanny Ability is fading like I've been shot with the mutant solution I really need to discipline myself to do that. But it is also a visually stunning thing to do, like doodles in the margins of a notebook.

Since I did not do that. I will have to make a note of it. So, again, for those of you playing along at home.

DWK Blue Bold = Brilliant Blue (Artist's Loft) + Phthalo Green (Artist's Loft)
DWK Blue Light= Brilliant Blue (same) + Phthalo green (same) + Titanium White

DWK Chocolate Dark= Brilliant Red (same) + Pyrrole Carmine (Liquitex) + Phthalo Green (same)

Why two shades of red in the mix? Well, for one, I have discovered with a lot of trial + error that the red is really what makes the browns brown. If you mix a warm red and a warm green you get a boring brown. If you mix a cool red with a cool green you get a matte brown. Both boring and matte are dull. Especially when they are with other colors. So you need to add the opposite temperature red. It's like adding cumin to chili powder for a sauce. Without the cumin its just kinda meh. In this case, because I used the Phthalo to make the blue I used just a dash of the Pyrrole to cool off the chocolate and tie the blue and brown together.

WARNING: Do not mix warm and cool reds in even amounts! That just makes mud. For a more milk chocolate brown start with a big gob of the warm red tone and add bits of the cool red. The more cool red the darker the chocolate color. This brown looks like about 80% cacao.

The other thing about using swatches as you mix is that you can remember which formulas hit the mark and eliminate the ones that didn't work in the future.

Crap! I just realized (AGAIN) there really is math in art. But of course, eyeballing it works too. Eyeballing it in art is less detrimental than eyeballing it in the checkbook. :)

Past Time

I've been sitting in limbo for months trying to fix a few things that have gotten out of hand. It looks like that is going well. It is not a perfect solution. But it is a solution. And so... it is beyond time to move forward. I need to be prepared for what comes next. But I also need to be prepared to seize opportunities. That can not happen if I an hunkered down under the covers. Yes. I've made signs. Yes I've done some painting.

But I am not doing it every day. And I need to. I see so many wonderful new products that my friend has designed and my fingers itch. I keep trying to temper that with "Wait Wait" but they itch. I need to make things. I'm excited and scared at the same time. But I am getting hung up o nthe fear. I do not like that. The dormant period has to end. How long can you mull things over?

I probably distract myself with too much that isn't art. And I know that I can not do all that much with the rambunctious Picaso (I changed her name. Not that she ever listened to me anyway) running willy nilly over my table and leaving footy prints...

hang on: phone

of course if work would quit begging me to bail people out all the time. And If I knew how to say no. I might get stuff done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I know you will ask. So...

40.00 Signage

If you were to measure everything in money terms when it comes to your art work then this sign when done would cost 40.00 [4 hours @10.00/hr].

It's two by three feet on brown kraft paper & painted with acrylics. [Yes. i do see that bare spot in the foot of the "a". And as this goes to post it has been corrected.] Hand mixed color and aa double loaded brush. Any high school kid with tempera paint ahead of a homecoming event could do the same thing.

So as a professional artist would you charge 40.00 for such a thing just because you are an artist? No. And if you think like everyone else who is not an artist, or who likes to capitalize on art itself, the question then becomes what is the point?

Our Executive Housekeeper took maternity leave and got a sign. Her reaction was priceless... according to the photos. I wasn't there for the reveal. But that was back in December and it is still in her office. We all wanted to tell her how much we missed her. Did I miss her enough to merit 40.00? You bet. Did I have anything to buy her a gift with? No.

Our Maintenance Man [MM] has been off for surgery. Is he worth 40.00? I sure do miss him being around as he is a sympathetic lot & shares some of my daily frustrations. And he's not the kind of guy you give gifts without making him really uncomfortable. But the look on his face when he sees everyone has signed it will be priceless.

I have always taken issue with those who think you shouldn't do anything if you don't get something out of it. I might not get any money from this. But I do get other things: for one more practice at mixing paint, composing signage and manipulating letterforms and, I get more confidence in presenting art work. I can crank it out for myself. But I still an not good with presenting it. Of course I won't be there when he sees his sign. But I will see how everyone else reacts to it when they sign.

And in that sense it is worth far more than 40.00.

In another sense it is priceless. This one was a collaboration... with the cat. Yep. The second I unrolled the kraft paper she was all over the table. With a few periodic strolls across the paint she did manage to step in a wet spot. Which meant a dip in the water to get the paint off her toes before she decided to clean herself. Not a happy kitty. And when she got banished to the windowsill for sticking her nose in the chocolate brown she was not happy either. I didn't think that I was gonna keep her out of the paints, or the brushes, or paper towel. So I started calling her Picaso.

I think I like that better than Precious.
It is at least more accurate.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art v. Artifice

Since I am contemplating updating my blogs to a new blogger platform which will really only work with a lot of photos to illustrate the posts, I am tryingto take more illustrative photos than portraits of my artwork.

For my Geekdom post today I needed something to harken back to highschool. One of the nice things about tradition is that traditional tools make it easy to fudge things. This photo is artifice. It was taken today.

I wrote that today to reflect the school experience & honor my favorite English teacher. Simple paper, ink pen and the desk in the background could be a library table at school... could be taken today. Could have been taken 25 years ago.

The art is that it is still an illustration.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mutant Orchid

One of the things that one should not attempt after several days of painkillers and muscle relaxers is painting. Why? Perception. While I was sketching I thought that the proportions were right between the top petals and the bottom. So I happily started slopping paint around the palette and then the paper. Yes... I know it isn't sloppy. But if anyone remembers that OS episode of Star Trek where the crew was loopy as shit... that is how I wanted to paint. It took 70% of my concentration to NOT act like a sweaty Sulu brandishing a sword. And 30% of my concentration to aim the paint where I wanted it. When I got myself settled down I felt like I was cruising along sucessfully.

Then I got really sleepy. The painting dried over night and I sobered up. And this is what I found....

That bottom petal is HUGE! It is more than just exaggerated. It is grotesquely misproportioned. And you know what really sucks about that? I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the redviolets blended at the base. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE how the dark violet under the stamen makes it stand straight up out of the middle of the petal.

But I can not make up for the poor execution in the original drawing so I will have to start over again. And I think I will have to find another way to compose this one. I like how the gold bottom layer of the frame has spread itself out. But I think I want to go with a circle.

And I have a different background in mind anyway. So I am going to try a blocking technique. I'll draw the whole thing out. But I will cover the orchid and focus solely on the background. I find I get really distracted by the middle stages if I am doing the whole comp. I guess that is  the main difference between acrylic and watercolor. You really can not go on to the next step until the current one is dry.

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