Saturday, November 26, 2016

Haying or a Small Bit-o-History

Haying 8x10 inches acrylic paint
This time around I'm showing a small painting I did a few years ago. The painting is based on an old family photo showing how hay for livestock was handled in the 1930s. Hay was cut, left out to dry and then raked up with a “dump rake” into huge piles. Those huge piles were scooped up by the pitchfork full, into a wagon. Which was transported from the hayfield to a barn via a mule drawn wagon, then scooped up, by a hay fork (think a huge double arm scoop, sorta like what you use in a mechanical arcade game machine with crane claw). It was swung into the barn where it was stored. You can see the opening in the top of the barn where the hay fork came out to scoop the hay up in the loft. Then in the winter it was doled out, again by the pitchfork full, fed from hay racks on the ground floor of the barn. All this was by hand, mind you!

I've always been fascinated by the older black and white photos.....they usually have such a wealth of can see almost every blade of grass! Every time I see a really neat old photo, I always want to “see” it in colour. Since I tend to solve a lotta of my desires with paint.....I will often take an old black and white photo and bring it up to colour. It's a nice challenge to see if I can get the black and white values correct.....while still injecting what I feel would be the right colours to fit the scene.

But bringing an old black and white photo into colour, offers another neat opportunity.....a chance to learn about the circumstances that the photo is presenting. In this case, it's revisiting a vanished farming era. Other times, painting someone's family member from an old faded black and white photo, lets me learn more about that person in the photo......and how the person commissioning my painting really “saw” that family member. I always learn SO much!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red Vase or Mostly, Some and a Bit in Red

Red Vase - Acrylic - 8x10 inches
This time around I've got another of the small 8x10 canvases that I wanted to do a small still life idea that doesn't really rate a full size canvas. A summer or two ago I'd taken a lotta flower photos in various “antique store finds” vases. This vivid red vase just seemed to beg for the flashy white peonies that had just a hint of the same red in their centers. I positioned it for a back lite “pose” and this one was my fav.

I sketched the photo onto the canvas and started painting. I laid in the bare bones of the painting in the first session:

The next session I did some glazes with different reds on the translucent red glass vase. Using three different red glazes really intensified the red of the vase. Since the red vase was the star of this painting, I wanted to paint it first and let everything else literally “pale down” beside it.

I continued on painting till I felt satisfied with the values of the different flower petals and the other background elements. I was especially pleased that I could contrast the petals on the left against the curtains in shadows. I also like these smaller canvases as they wrap the canvas all the way around the sides to allow me to paint them with a continuation of the painting itself. 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

How I Spent my Saturday....or Christmas Ornaments at the Library

 Last Saturday our local library invited me to do a mini program on Christmas Ornament making. I had been making a bunch of Christmas ornaments while watching nite time TV. After the program director saw some of my designs, she asked me to share some of the techniques I'd been practicing for Christmas ornament making.


I had a box full of cloth scraps from loooooong ago, along with a bunch of embroidery thread in lotsa colours. So's I came up with some designs for Christmas ornaments, using cloth scraps, and threads covering styrofoam balls.

A while back I'd gotten interested in temari ball making.....a Japanese needlework technique also using stryofoam balls and threads. Of course, being me, a lotta colour was involved in the I was a happy camper. I'd made some ornaments using the traditional Japanese methods.......


but wanted to do some simpler ornaments using Christmas themed cloth and coloured threads. These are the kind of ornaments we worked on at the library program.


A few lovely ladies joined me at the library on Saturday, and we had a ball (pun intended!) covering stryofoam balls with with fabrics and stitching red and green threads around the centers. We added some hand made cording and hand made tassles and viola! We all had lovely Christmas ornaments to start off the holiday season.

Thanks so much to the Logan County Library for suggesting this event and all the lovely folks who turned out to have a bit-o-holiday crafting fun and share some laughs.