Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 This painting  ended up being a few inches shy of 3x4 feet after I stretched it.

This one is about half the size of the one above...sorry I didn't make any standard measurements. I get caught up in the process of painting and forget about practical things like documenting the progress or writing down the sizes. 

I'm excited because this is the closest I've come to replicating the look of my business cards in a large scale. I ended up using a lot of gesso and absorbent ground, but these paintings are on canvas, not watercolor paper which means I can blow up the scale even larger- I could go 7' by 12' if I remember my canvas roll sizes correctly. How cool is that??

 I added gold acrylic paint to my usual paint ingredients, so there a subtle luminosity that happens

The usual tools

 The first few layers
 A few progress shots before I got too covered in paint to safely use my camera

I painted my island two different shades of gold. I'm thinking that they will peak through the tape layers I'll be adding to the frame.

 I cut 72 business cards
 ...but I ran out of drafting tape.
 I purchased a different brand of 300lb water color paper, and I found out that even with the drafting tape the paper layers were separating and tearing after taking the tape off. I wasn't expecting that, so I need to revamp my game plan.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter projects

 I've completed my new color chart

...Finished one obsession and started another.
I recently got hooked on Kendama, which is a traditional Japanese game. Learning the tricks is challenging but fun. Plus it makes a really satisfying wooden clink. I've been using it as a focusing tool, and it's improving my hand-eye coordination. 

In less nerdy news, I started prepping some large canvases.
 I didn't have any stretcher bars at my studio at the time, so I just tacked/taped the canvas over some boards. I'm priming them with acrylic gesso (which I haven't used in years) and absorbent ground. I'm hoping the absorbent ground will create a paper like surface- something that my rabbit skin glue paint can stick well to. I had been using 300-400lb water color paper, but it was really expensive and there were size limitations. 
I haven't worked with absorbent ground before, but a former CCA grad student Conrad Ruiz  uses it for his larger than life watercolor paintings, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

The weather has been rainy and cold, so it takes a while for everything to dry. I started playing with some paper scraps I took from a free pile at work while waiting for the layers of gesso to dry.
 At first I was thinking about topography, and building the layers slowly.
Then I figured I could make it function more as a frame. Right now I think of it as an island, and that I'll build the land with layers of my leftover tape. 
I gessoed the surface and painted the base a textured silver. It was fun to make waves with impasto paste. I still have a bunch of layers of absorbent ground to prep, so I'll be jumping between my canvases and my little island for the next few studio sessions.

I wanted to spend the day there today, but last night my back got all out of whack at work, which is alarming because I've spent a small fortune on chiropractic care since it first reared it's ugly painful head in October. Plus I noticed that the bundle of palm muscle between my pinky and wrist on my dominate hand is really sore today, and it hurts to close my fist. I just hope that these things are minor little flareups. I've had to deal with injuries this winter that prevented me from working, and the  depression that feed into it. I really want to make these paintings- I want them to work, I want them to be beautiful but most of all I want one less thing to be frustrated and bummed about. I need to catch a break. Maybe letting you all know this will motivate me to make my own fortune. Send a kind word or thought my way as I get through the next few days. I'm going to spend my birthday on Thursday and Friday in the studio and I'm very excited to have some big chunks of time. Fingers crossed that my body let's these aches go and doesn't start protesting again.