Beach in Fog

Hello everyone, I hope you have been well. I have been busy tending to everyday life with all its ebbs and flows and didn’t post as frequently as I normally do. I try to post on a regular schedule but I’ve decided that it’s OK if I have intermittent breaks.

A while back, I did a painting a for a dear friend’s birthday but I didn’t post it because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. Now the painting has been given, so here it is:

IMG_4575 “Brady’s Beach in Fog”, Oil on Birch Panel, 5″x7″

This painting was done after a photograph I took a few years ago. I was vacationing with friends and family near beautiful Bamfield, BC. I took this photo on my the first day spent on Brady’s Beach. The days that followed where bright and sunny and like most people, I love bright and sunny days but I also love the fog.

There’s something so quiet and comforting about fog. I makes me feel so insulated and safe. Harsh sounds feel muffled, the cold of winds kept at bay and one’s field of vision is enveloped in soft white. The fog seems to make the hard edges of everyday life, soften.

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Study After Bielen No. 6

Hello everyone, I hope all is going well. Below is a final Bielen study (I think):

IMG_4622Study After Bielen No. 6, Oil on Birch, 5″x7″

Where I live, there are quite a few cherry blossoms come spring. This Bielen study features the blossoms so nicely. This piece gave me some problems mainly with the “under paint”. You can see the golden/mustardy colour peaking through. This effect was in the original painting. When I tried to replicate it, I put on too thick a layer, so I had to wipe it all off and reapply a thinner layer. The layer of golden paint had to be really thin and I had to wait for it to “set” before I put paint over it. This way, the golden “under paint” wouldn’t lift off or muddy the colour of the paint on top.

I think I’m winding down on doing Bielen studies. I have a couple of other paintings on the go but they’re on hold. Sometimes, I get stuck or don’t want to work on a particular painting so I paint something else. I may try to finish the ones on hold or start some other studies. I think I’m OK as long as I’m painting something 😊.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I really appreciate all the likes and positive comments.

I hope you have a great weekend,

 

Jeannette

Study After Bielen No. 5

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well. To those of you who celebrated Valentine’s yesterday, I hope it was a good one!

Below is another Bielen study:

IMG_4619 Study After Bielen, Oil on Birch Panel, 6″x6″

I wanted to do a floral still life with yellow as the focal colour. So I chose to do a simple one above which looks to be one of a daffodil. I’m finding that I like more abstracted florals within the Bielen studies. While I am painting these studies, they don’t really look like anything. After I’m finished painting it and look from a greater distance, the image comes together.

One of my favorite things about Bielen’s florals is the way that the clear glass vase is rendered by what surrounds it rather than the vase itself. For example, most of the glass vases in his paintings are delineated by the green foliage and matter contained within it and the background outside of it. I really enjoy this part of his paintings. I hope this makes some kind of sense to you.

Bielen also paints solid vases as well as floral still lifes with almost black backgrounds. However, I find his bright higher key paintings more appealing. They are so happy looking – and right now, I’m all about bright and happy to offset with the dreary winter. I hope the rest of your week goes well.

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Happy Family Day!

Here in BC Canada, it’s Family Day. So I thought it appropriate to paint a rose; the universal symbol for love. A rose is also appropriate since it’s Valentines Day tomorrow as well. I hope you will be able to connect and celebrate with the ones you love.

IMG_4615Study After Bielen No. 4, Oil on Birch Panel, 5″x7″

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Study After Bielen No. 3

Hi everyone, I hope your week has been productive and you have been healthy. I have been struggling with remnants of a cold/sinus headache all week😠.

I find that the Bielen studies have been cheering me up a bit. It’s always nice to have live flowers in the house, but if you don’t a painting of one helps. It’s nice to see flowers in all its different colours. Here’s one in violet:

IMG_4611Study After Bielen No. 3, Oil on Baltic Birch Panel, 5″x7″

This painting is another exercise in painting loose. I used the knife as well as the brush in this one. The violet colour reminds me of Crocuses and Irises, which in turn reminds me of spring. Here’s to wishful thinking😊.

Wishing you a lovely weekend,

Jeannette

Study After Bielen No. 2

Hello everyone, I hope your week is going well. I’m still feeling out of sorts with the unusual weather we are having in the Pacific Northwest. I know It goes without saying, that it could always be worse. Nevertheless, I hope weather has been more pleasant where you are.

I decided to do another Bielen study and I probably will until I feel I’ve done enough for a while. I know it probably would take a great while before I can feel some sort of mastery of his style and technique 😆.

IMG_4604Study After Bielen No.2, Oil on Birch Panel, 6″x6″

I don’t know about you but I have always felt that the colour orange is so cheerful. I guess that’s why I decided on painting orange flowers; it brightens up the wintry days we’ve been having lately. I’m still trying to get used to palette knife painting imparting impasto texture. I normally use a thinner application of paint leaving minimal brush strokes. But I do like the instant colour payoff you get with the knife.

I don’t know if you can see it in this picture, but one of the things I’m happy with is the subtle shade differences in the background. The white of the background was painted with a warmer white on the left and a cooler shade of white on the right. I love subtle effects of the light in all paintings. I also really like the reflective light casting orange on the bottom left. The patchy texture of the background is interesting and I like the overall looseness of the painting.

I don’t know exactly why I’m trying to paint out of character other than just trying something different and learning new techniques. It feels like I’m looking for something but I don’t know what. Hopefully, it’ll dawn on me one day. Meanwhile, I find that studying a work of a favorite artist is a great way to really appreciate their work.

I hope you like the painting, thanks for visiting,

Jeannette

Varnishing

Hello everybody, I hope you had a great weekend. It’s been unusually snowy in my neck of the woods, so I stayed in mostly. I decided it was time to do some varnishing of my previous paintings.

I’m sure there are varying opinions when it comes to vanishing paintings. Some say that you don’t need to and some swear by it. In my work, I noticed some paintings need it more than others. But, I am all for maximum protection when it comes to paintings and any other works of art. In addition to the protection that varnish provides, is its ability to re-saturate the colours, even out the painting and provide a way remove it for cleaning in the future. The varnish is removable with odorless mineral spirits.

I have varnished acrylic works before but never oils. So I was apprehensive when it came to varnishing oils, just because my lack of experience. After much research online, I decided to try it out. Traditional oil varnishes, (usually Damar) should be put on after the painting has been oxidizing of 6-12 months or more. So we are lucky that we have picture varnishes such as Gamblin’s Gamvar that you can varnish after the painting is touch dry. I decided to wait over a month anyway to make sure.

Below is one of my paintings before and after the varnish. On the left, you can clearly see the difference after the painting has “dried” some parts have sunken in and uneven levels of haze and gloss. On the right, after the painting has been varnished, the colours are resaturated, painting is more uniform and overall clarity is restored.
IMG_4595I used the gloss version of the varnish but there are different finishes as matte and satin as well. The varnish is touch dry in a couple of hours but totally tack-free in 24 hours. I think the trick is to get it on as thinly as possible. After doing a few, I think I’m getting the hang of it.  The worst thing about the whole procedure is avoiding dust and loose brush hairs.

I hope this has been informative to those who are interested.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by,

Jeannette

 

 

Studies after Artists

Hello everyone, YAY it’s Friday! I hope your week went relatively well and you are looking forward to some rest and relaxation on the weekend.

I’ve come to realize that there are so many contemporary artists that I admire and most of them are still alive! This is a revelation for me, coming from an Art History background. Most of my studying in the past have been master artists throughout history, that have long been deceased. I must admit I have had the attitude of “everything has been done already” so why bother. Yes, many things have been done and greatness achieved, but there is more.

One of the reasons that there is more is because of the changes in the viewer. Our tastes change over the years. But it’s also worth pointing out that sometimes, our level of perception changes. This has been the case with myself and Still Life painting.

In the past, the Still Life genre for me was the typical Old Master style, you know the ones, dark background, glowing light, realistically rendered with so many objects in an ensemble (which I call, “the kitchen sink”). Although they were and are masterworks of excellent technique, composition etc.., I personally did not like this style.

Now, I have seen many Still Lifes done by contemporary painters that focus on a single or small group of subject matter. These paintings resonate with me so much for these seasons:

-they do not focus on artist’s agenda (political world views etc..)
-they are simple
-emphasis on quality of light
-the beauty and importance of mundane objects, nature
-able to convey mood without a figure
-silent quality that encourages quiet contemplation

Some of the artists that convey the qualities mentioned above in still lifes are Abby Ryan, Douane Keiser, Neil Nelson, Stanley Bielen and Diarmuid Kelley. Diarmuid Kelley also paints incredible figurative works. In my attempt to celebrate these artists as well as learn from them, I decided to do some studies after them.

Here is a Study after Stanley Bielen:

IMG_4588
Oil on Baltic Birch Panel, 8″x10″

I chose to do this study because I don’t normally paint flowers. This piece is also mostly done with a palette knife, which I don’t normally use either. I guess I’m trying to expand my comfort zone and try new things.

I will probably do more studies after these and other artists and I wanted to let you know what my motivations were behind them.

Thanks for visiting, have a great weekend.

Jeannette

Snob Paints (Williamsburg pt.2)

Hello everybody, I hope your week is going well. I wanted to finish up my swatch-fest for now with the rest of Williamsburg paints. I have a few more brands but maybe I’ll save them for later. I can’t assume everyone is an art materials geek like me 🙃. Below are the swatches:

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler (Again, sorry about the quality of pictures).

IMG_4545

Cadmium Red Light (fine)
This beautiful opaque red leans orange and can be tinted to an orange without the addition of yellow if you are in a pinch.

Cadmium Red Medium (fine)
A true medium red without being too orange or blue. A little oilier than cadmium red light or deep.

Cadmium Red Deep (fine)
This is the first Williamsburg colour I fell for. An intense deep, opaque bluish-red. I found the texture really unique: kind of mousse-like, not oily or runny but not pasty either. Really nice to work with.

Italian Pompeii Red (medium)
A natural earth colour with noticeable texture. It is semi-opaque but it can be painted almost transparently with some skill.

Permanent Crimson (very fine)
I got this colour to replace true Alizarin Crimson because of its lightfastness issues. You can see that it’s luscious and gorgeous, look at the pinks you can get! I’ll have to see if it really replaces true Alizarin but so far, it looks good.

 

IMG_4551

Cinnabar Green Light (very fine)
This is a convenience colour with a Good lightfastness rating. I can see its use in a modern palette but I will pass on any convenience colour without Excellent lightfastness unless I’m nuts about the colour. In this case, I am not.

Viridian (fine)
I never used an oil-based Viridian before. This is a beautiful transparent deep green with many nuances.

Green Gold (very fine)
Gorgeous translucent olive-green with Excellent lightfastness.

Courbet Green (very fine)
This is a convenience mixture with Excellent lightfastness and very handy for using in foliage, forest, shadows and useful for mixing.

My general impression of Williamsburg is very good so far. Their Cadmium Reds are outstanding and there are some colours like Prussian Blue (not on the swatch chart) that is really unique. But I think like any good brand, you tend to have favorite colours. The individual characteristics of the paint colours is what will keep you. For me the difference in texture of these paints is really noticeable when dealing with pigments that are milled to medium consistency and larger. The artistry of the manufacturer is in bringing these characteristics to light by their skill in combining pigment, binder and milling for the artist to appreciate.

One great thing about Williamsburg is that it is owned by Golden, so support and communication from the company is upfront and open. Even before I started using Williamsburg, I always had good communication with Golden and now it’s the same for Williamsburg. They are always willing to answer any question and are helpful. Having said all this about Williamsburg, the paints themselves are not cheap. It is up to the individual to decide if it’s worth it or not. I personally, have always found better materials always to be worth it.

Thanks for visiting my blog,

Jeannette

Snob Paints (Williamsburg pt.1)

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a good start to your week. I have been sick with a cold that did a number on my sinuses. Thankfully, I’m getting better.

Continuing on with paint swatches, I am showing Williamsburg paints. Williamsburg is a company based in the U.S that has been bought by Golden paints. Golden is a very reputable company known for their acrylic paints.

I had a few of their paints already and really liked them. I was interested in more of their paints but after some research in art forums, I found that there was talk about the consistency in the paint “grind” (for the lack of a better word ). So I contacted Williamsburg and corresponded with Sarah Sands, who is the Senior Technical Specialist for Golden Paints. I found her to be very informative and gracious to deal with. Sarah Sands is also a major contributing writer for JustPaint (blog/newsletter for Golden Paints), which contains very useful technical information about art materials and best practices.

After my correspondence with Williamsburg/Golden, I learned that their paints are offered in four different “grinds”. The grind or milling of the pigment in the binder produces different effects in the final paint product. These effects may be in the form of texture, transparency, colour and general feel of the paint. Williamsburg strives to offer the different characteristics of these paints to the artist. In order to exemplify the diversity in the milling, I was sent samples of their paint. I will break up the paint swatches into 2 posts.

Format:
The left column shows the paint as they were squeezed from the tube labeled with the paint colour.

The right part of the picture is the paint tinted to increasing degrees with M. Graham’s Titanium White Alkyd paint. Please note that Titanium White does skew the colours a little cooler (Again, sorry about the quality of pictures).

Williamsburg

IMG_4543

Zinc Buff (very fine)
This is a gorgeous light colour with excellent lightfastness. Especially good for skin tones and any subtle light passage. The only concern with this colour for me is the Zinc content. I am trying to stay away from zinc for the brittleness that can cause cracking and adhesion problems. I have not found out yet whether zinc under certain percentages are safe or not.

Brilliant Yellow Pale (very fine)
Is a beautiful pale yellow that is a mixture of pigments so it results in a convenience colour. The lightfastness rating is Good but not Excellent.

Cadmium Yellow Medium (fine)
This is a good warm medium yellow with the opacity you’ve come to expect from a cadmium.

Italian Lemon Ochre (medium)
I love this colour. It’s an Italian earth colour with noticeable “grit” or texture. You can get some beautiful clean, subtle and nuanced light ochres with this.

Yellow Ochre Domestic (fine)
This is a good example of a solid yellow ochre, stronger than the Italian Lemon.

IMG_4544

Stil de Grain (coarse)
This is a lovely synthetic earth colour with a surprising coarse texture.

Cobalt Violet Light (very fine)
This is a beautiful transparent violet that is not a strong tinter. I don’t really like super loud violets but this one even in masstone is gorgeous.

Cerulean Genuine (fine)
This is a good cerulean blue as you would expect cerulean (an opaque greenish/grayish blue) to be.

Persian Rose (very fine)
This is a nice enough opaque convenience colour with Good lightfastness rating but I personally am not a fan of it.

Sevres Blue (very fine)
Another convenience colour that is brighter than Cerulean blue and has Excellent lightfastness rating but I’m not crazy about it.

These are my first impressions of these paints and my opinions might change with use. I will post the next batch of Williamsburg paints in my post to follow. I hope these swatches are helpful to you. If you are interested in more information about the individual paints like pigment information, drying time and texture of the paints, Williamsburg lists this information on their website.

Thanks for visiting,

Jeannette