Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Music Hall...Playing on a Mixed Media Theme

Music Hall 16 x 20 inches
Acrylic, Watercolours, and Colored Pencils on watercolor board

This painting is another entry in my ongoing play with different media, in this case using acrylic paints and clear gels, watercolours and some colored pencils. 

I got the idea for this violinist from an old 1920s family photo. Apparently this ancestress played the fiddle in a band in the 1920s. I had another photo of her in this glam dress from the same era. So I took yet another photo of an un-related girl playing her fiddle.....and combined them all together.....taking great liberties with the features and background. I envisioned the young lady playing her fiddle in a 1920s era “music hall” or pub. 

My other motivation for this painting was to play with a technique I discovered a while back. I wanted to do a mullioned stained glass window......but without having to do all that pesky lead work for the design. So I started out taping off my window and glazing it with a couple of watercolour washes to show the evening lights coming thru the stained glass....

After the watercolour was totally dry, I laided a plastic stencil over the watercolour wash and brushed a clear acrylic glaze over the entire wash area.....

You can see here how the clear acrylic glaze seals the watercolour wash under the “glass” pieces.....but NOT where the stencil covered what will be the leaded strips.

Then I took some watercolor darks....browns, blacks, blues......and washed them OVER the entire window square, excluding the music hall lettering. The watercolours sank into the un-glazed portions of the window leading.....but was easily wiped off from the clear acrylic glazed window panes! Instant window leading.

I continued with the rest of the painting, using watercolors, coloured pencils and some acrylics. I used watercolours where I wanted an “organic” graduated wash, like the dress silhouette and the wall. I used coloured pencils for the violin, window sash and lettering since I needed the preciseness of the pencil tips. I finally used acrylics for her arms and face and for texture in the wall.

And this is the outcome.......hung on a wall in an art show.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Garden Party-Chairs...or How I got out of a Compositional Corner

Garden Party-Chairs
10 x 20 inches acrylic painting on gallery wrapped canvas

This week's painting was a “twice-finished” painting. I “thought” I'd finished this painting last year.....but after a while of walking past it again and again I felt that I hadn't quite finished it. Here's what it looked like:

As you can see most of the main elements of the painting have been done, but it somehow lacked cohesion. This is one of those paintings that I started out thinking I had a plan.....but really didn't. I wanted the story in the painting to “read” left to right.....just like you read a book. The composition was horizontal, to fit with the shape of the canvas. But there were gaps in the flow of the action.

So I went back to one of my painting technique books, and found a solution. A lot of paintings' composition can be roughly compared to letters in the alphabet. Some paintings have a “C” type of composition, others more like a “L”.....and I decided that my painting needed to be shaped more like a “T”. To that end, I added in more chairs to the center of the painting, to lead the eye into the painting.
I added another small figure in the background to help balance the new larger female figure looking off to the right. I also added a small poochie running after the little rascal that caused the boy to upend his chair along with his hamburger. Both these characters are being egged on in the chase, by their dad who is laughing.......
This doesn't seem to bother the young courting couple in the center left......

or the father and son (in matching outfits and red glasses) on the far left. They don't seem to be bothered by the uproar at all, if the little boy with his two hot dogs and huge piece of cake is any judge.

And if this isn't enough....I added a bit of whimsy on either end of the gallery wrapped canvas.
On the right side I have the little girl scampering away, giggling, after she goosed the boy and made him overturn his chair and chase her.

While on the left hand side I added a puppy licking his chops eyeing the dropped hamburger, while he plots how best to steal it.

Sometimes too much in a painting can add up to being just enough!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Before the March – Clarksville Suffragists

Before The March
11x14 inch acrylic painting on gallery wrapped canvas

This blog post is starting off an occasional series of paintings featuring my take on the local suffragist movement to pass the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. I want to highlight local women's contribution to that cause. In researching the suffragist movement, I found a lovely photo on the Clarksville Arts and Heritage website.....

Clarksvillian Constance Rudolph (first row, center) is only one identified, date unknown.
(photo courtesy of the Montgomery County Archives)

Seeing all the lovely young ladies in white, being shepherded by two women leaders in dark suits and bowler hats......I couldn't help but wonder what the scene might have looked like as they were gathering together before their march. I love imagining what might have happened before/after a photograph was taken.

So I began to design a composition.....

I settled on a sunlit bit of grass for the suffragists to gather together into their march formation. I really wanted to highlight the young ladies white dresses and straw hats or “boaters” against the contrast of the shadowed trees. I also wanted to add in, in the background, a few male onlookers scoffing at the gathering. The symbolism of the gentlemen in dark suits and hats, lurking in the shadows of the trees against the white of the sunlit young women's dresses was a compositional perk not to be wasted. I also liked the “messaging” of the two march leaders.....dressed in “serious” dark dresses and suit coats with the “take charge” bowler hats....usually only worn by men. I did want to note that there was in the photograph, a couple of men in the group....whether sweethearts, brothers, or “suffra-gents”. To add this note, I added one young gentleman talking to the standard bearer on the right.

Here I've gotten the composition firmed up and gotten the basic colours set in. I had added in some white marking a a design feature. I wanted to draw attention to the urban setting for the march and as visual “pointer” to an out of sight young lady rushing to join her friends in the group. In the finished version I put the young lady running towards the group in the main front view to connect the curb and the background hecklers. This is done on a deep gallery wrapped she is finished out “around the corner” so to speak.

I've had a blast painting this subject, and even more fun researching the stories about this movement. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

2018 US Bank Celebration of the Arts Open Art Exhibition


This is a bitty-bitty blog post just to let ya'll know about the 2018 US Bank Celebration of the Arts Open Art Exhibition, at the Kentucky Museum March 3-April 7- Monday thru Saturday 9-4 in Bowling Green Kentucky.

We got to visit the art show last week and took our annual photos of our artwork at the show. Frank and I both had two pieces of artwork in the show. We did have to search through over 400 other pieces of artwork displayed in five different parts of the Museum! I believe that that is a record number of entries for this keeps growing each year.

There were artwork pieces of every kind of description.....anything from a group of kids (of the young goat variety) escaping their leash to ceramic castles with fully furnished interiors! So many artists with such a variety of artistic visions.

Frank had his Teacher and Firebird displayed in two different rooms. I've linked to my blog posts for each sculpture. I had Garden Party and a new piece called Music Hall.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Frank and Alison at Downing Museum

Frank  with his sculpture Firebird

Alison with Garden Party

This is just a quick update post showing our artwork on display at the Downing Museum in the 25th Jack Lunt Memorial Juried Art Exhibition.  
It's a lovely art exhibit, in a beautiful gallery setting, with a wide variety of styles and artwork. We were delighted to be juried in the show.

You can read more about it at

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Garden Party - The Big Finish

Garden Party
Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas

From my last blog post,Garden Party-The Big Picture,  I continued painting with opaque slow drying paints, each bunch of figures. As I finished I checked my composition and found that I had indeed kept with the “rule of three” guiding lines for important points in the painting. But I also found triangles! 

I am really proud of the individual sets of characters in this painting. I tried to have the most detail in the man taking the photo, less in the posing couple.....even less in the family with two toddlers and group of talking folks in center stage. I wanted to highlight the little girl on the right, walking and texting, perfectly happy interacting with her phone. This piece ended up being a bit of commentary on how folks of different generations interact with each other. Going from the person to person chatting of the older folks thru the younger folks using their phone camera to post images to social media to the young girl in her own internet world.

Garden Party - Detail

Garden Party - Detail

Garden Party - Detail

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Firebird by Frank Lyne

Firebird by Frank Lyne


Accepted in the Downing Museum's 25th Jack Lunt Memorial Juried Art Exhibition