Friday, September 26, 2008

Golden Open Acrylic

I've been holding back on sharing my newest art product. Earlier this month I got some of Golden's new Open Acrylic. My first reaction: love at first brush stroke.
The creamy paint was marvelous to work with.
For several years I worked in transparent watercolors. A couple years ago I started working with acrylics because I wanted to experiment with textures and mixed media. I also just wanted to push around lots of paint! While I enjoy traditional acrylic, I had to learn new ways to handle the paint because it doesn't have the wetting and lifting qualities of watercolor. The biggest frustration for me has been working on subtle transitions of color. It can be done with the traditional acrylics, but it requires vigilance and much practice.
So far, the greatest joy for me with Open is the ability to paint in a more relaxed manner. I also love that the paint stays workable on the palette for hours. The creamy quality can be maintained by adding a bit of the Open Thinner, because the paint does get a bit sticky as it stays on the palette for long periods of time.

This study was done on 8"x8" Crescent illustration board that I had prepared with gesso. (I keep a stack of these on hand.) The rest is all done with Golden Open Acrylics. I purchased the 2 starter sets - modern pigments and traditional pigments. You'll want the Open Thinner. I also got some Open gloss medium, but did not use it on this piece.

After studying my scanned image, I see a couple adjustments I'd like to make, but this painting is just about done. I'll let it cure about 4 weeks, and then seal it.

Have you tried Open? What did you think?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"Because I am the loved creation of so great a maker,
I cannot help but be a person of great worth."

This is a favorite quote that I copied onto card stock to use as a bookmark in my Bible. The quote came from a Bible study written by Beth Moore. Her commitment and passion to and for God are evident in her teaching.
This week a group from my church started Beth's study, "A Woman's Heart." I am looking forward to growing in my relationship with God, to learning, and spending time with the women in our group.

One thing that Beth very clearly points out is how the Bible assures us of how precious and loved by God that we all are. He created us. He cares about us each personally... not in some generic, universal sense.

I have peace and joy knowing that I always was and always will be loved.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 NIV

As for this 5"x7" mixed media piece, I built up the background using stamps and inks on bristol board. The woman was painted with Liquitex acrylics and accented with Caran d'Ache Neocolors II. The verse was printed on text weight paper. The technique for this piece was inspired by the art of Paulette Insall.
Drawing and painting people is still pretty new to me, so this was a challenging project. She was drawn partly from imagination and partly influenced by photographs. [It's a great cop-out when you've intentionally NOT tried to make a face look like someone. ;) ] I've been holding on to this image for a few weeks, still feeling shy about going "public" with it. I brushed a layer of gloss medium over it to seal it, but I should have spray sealed it first. The Neocolor II bled a bit and I lost some of the details.

Another reason I have been holding off posting this was not being sure how to share the inspiration behind the piece. It's hard for me to put into just a few words the significance of what having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ has been. Being confident of His love for me has change my life.

SO. Here's just a little piece of why I am SO GRATEFUL.
I am loved just because I'm me.
-Not because I did something nice today.
--Not because I worked hard at my job today.
---Not because I had a healthy lunch.
If it were left up to me, I'd never be good enough to be loved completely for always. The good news is that there is nothing I can do to make God love me more than He already does.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! "
I John 3:1 NIV
Thanks to Lucy whose post prompted me to "just move forward" and post this entry.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Glowing Sunflowers

Here's another example of what can be done with Photoshop Elements. This is a very simple procedure.

After some minor tweaking of the lighting balance and color saturation, I applied the glowing edges filter to my photo. Easy peasy. The image I started with is below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Great Egret Acrylic Study

This is a study I did last week which was inspired by a photograph taken by Lowell Washburn who is with the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources. Mr. Washburn was gracious in giving me permission to use his photo for a reference.
Other than the egret and the general coloration of the water, the rest of the painting came from my imagination. His image was cropped much closer to the bird and with very limited background. I decided I wanted more space and sense of place. I'd like to do a larger version and maybe use watercolors or my NEW Golden Open Acrylics.
This version evolved from one of my "frugal papers". The previous week I took left-over green and purple paints from my palette and smeared them across this linen textured paper with a palette knife. As I stood at my art table late one evening - wanting to just "play" a bit before going to bed - the reference picture caught my attention. Then I realized the colors on the paper would probably make a good foundation for a study of the egret. I think this was successful. I like the mood created by the purple and green.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Tribute for a Cause

Fannie Narte creates art quilts that she donates to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) , an Internet-driven, grassroots, volunteer effort to raise awareness and fund research through art. Please check out this worthy cause.
Earlier this summer I sent Fannie some information about who my Dad was when she asked if she could make a quilt in his memory. Today she posted the wonderful quilt she made in tribute to Dad. It is inspired. I feel loved and comforted by a beautiful friend I have yet to meet. You must visit Fannie's blog, Imagine, Create, Inspire to see the quilt and learn more about the AAQI.

When I started this blog just over a year ago, I had no idea that I would make such blessed connections. I am grateful.

Today's image was taken at the farm where I grew up. Dad loved the farm. He taught me to appreciate so much of what God created on the farm. I remember being with him and taking in gorgeous sunsets like this with the jet trails crossing the sky.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Acrylic Abstraction

This is a painting that I did in July. I've been contemplating on whether or not it's done the past several weeks and concluded that it is. Last week I showed it to my painting group. We had a lot of fun looking at it in all orientations and pointing out the images they would see. It reminded me of being a kid lying on the ground with my sisters and seeing pictures in the clouds.

The painting is done in acrylic on 6 x12 gallery wrapped (1.5" deep) canvas. The painting continues around all edges. There's a smattering of irridescence on the painting, but it's very subtle and doesn't show in the photograph. The painting is matte - not shiny at all. I used strips of cheesecloth to help apply some of the paint, using it somewhat as a stencil.

I hesitate to name this painting, because I'd like the viewer to not be influenced by a title.

What do you see?

Do you prefer one orientation over the other? I only posted it in a horizontal format, because none of us like it in the vertical.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pink Peony Play

I've been browsing my picture files looking for inspiration for my next painting(s) and came upon some shots I took at my niece's graduation party back in June. Her neighbor had provided lovely cut flowers for table decorations. I played with the image in PS Elements, although it was very nice without the tweeking.

Have a great weekend!