Saturday, November 28, 2009

pigs are still here

This pig book project stayed around for a long time and I have used it a lot for promotion. I have not had another whimsical illustration project like it in a while. I have often used the dancing girl pig as an icon. I have a thought that it would be fun to put her on a coffee mug using one of those online services like Cafe Press.

Friday, November 27, 2009

not all pigs

Other animals appeared in the pig's world. There was a musical competition which, of course, the pigs won. Three siamese cats and a baboon had a song and dance number.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Free Pigs in town

Here are the Free Pigs in town, enjoying lemonade and sandwiches. I had always wanted to create a imaginary world. I did portray a few people from my life in this painting. My husband the great philosopher expounding at the table, wearing a yellow suit. And my mother-in-law in the center pushing her new grandchild in the stroller. You can see she is happily bragging to anyone who will listen about her grandchildren.
Another great thing about being a free pig is that one can eat all they want of anything that pleases. These pigs are indulging in a child's dream, cavorting in an endless supply of jellybeans.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

pigs that are free

For my Thanksgiving post I will visit a book illustration project that was published some time ago.
I am thankful for this imaginative opportunity that came my way. "The Free Pigs" was published by a small company in Wisconsin. I do not know if it is still available, it never had a large printing or publicity.
The fine fellow pictured here is Polonius the pig, He was the invention of the author, I did not write this book. But I gave him life, visually, borrowing from a painting of one of the Kings of France to pose him.
I used watercolor, over a fine pen line, and some pencil shading. This is just one of the techniques that I have used in illustration, I have changed mediums sometimes just to give a different feel to the project. This was a joyful, exuberant humorous project. It took me most of a year to complete with other jobs going on, and a pregnancy and new baby too.
So I had a good time with this. Here are pigs dancing for joy. I am especially fond of the lady pig in her yellow dress. Maybe she is myself.
And here are pigs eating popcorn and drinking apple cider. Good times.
And some pigs reading in the library. Lots of fun making up the book titles.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

still painting sunflowers

And really enjoying it. Someone said to me, "Aren't you worried that you will only be known for the sunflowers?" Well, for the big show at the Merchandise Mart in December, I will be happy if someone remembers me for anything.
I think that they are very eye-catching. And I have put all my personal joy and hope into them, so I feel good about showing these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why do we take the time

To make value studies and color sketches?
As I teach about the art process to young people, I must constantly explain about the need to plan, to sketch and make studies ahead of the finish.
And also that they must slow down,
take their time and not rush to get the final project done.
I have often watched a student prepare a fairly nice watercolor wash and then ruin it with a hasty blobby brushstroke, just because they wanted to finish fast.
Here are my color studies of the sunflower series that I am working on now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

more sun

Definitely needed now that we are halfway through November.
Still working on the five sunflower paintings.
I work on them simultaneously, because I like going from one to the other surrounded by these big bright faces.
I can correct shapes or edges that look wrong, when I glance back over my shoulder at the work from yesterday.
And part of the fun is the variations I am playing with in the color combinations and backgrounds.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thinking about giclee prints

I have been thinking about having some of my watercolors made into giclee prints.
I have found a very good company that scans original art and makes very fine prints. I looked at their work made from a friend's monoprint and could not tell which was the original.
This is a new venture for me, I have not sold in the fine art market much.
I can't get over the big financial investment I will have to make out of pocket to have the prints made, and then to sell them.
I really hope it is worth it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

red paint

Allow me to explain a little bit about how I work with acrylic paint. This is my method for working on big canvases, I wouldn't use it for everything. I also work with acrylics in a more traditional watercolor approach.
I love red paint. Well, I just love big color anyway. But, to satisfy the love for the red paint, I always start on a background of bright red.
I like to draw these large flower compositions from life, right on the raw canvas, using my contour line method. I'll draw with ink, or paint or a fat marker. This gives me a looseness, a gestural quality, and fresh immediacy.
I often then go over the line with a bolder painted line, here you can see, in a cobalt sort of bright blue. Next step, a coat of bright red.
I like the emotional jolt I get when starting out with the bright red. And then, because acrylics are mostly transparent, I can use the red base to get a depth to my colors. I do a lot of glazing, and scumbling switching back and forth from thin to fat brush strokes.
By the time I move into a final stage of painting, the fresh flower that I started with is long gone, at this point something else switches on in my artist's mind. My final vision for the color and tone of the piece is not usually bright colors. The painting becomes something else, no longer the subject of flowers, but a statement of shapes, flowing forms, more like a landscape from my mind.

Monday, November 9, 2009

working in the sun

I am feeling very warm and sunny in spite of the clocks turned back and the early dark gloomy afternoons.
I am finishing five canvases, 30"by 40" composed of huge sunflowers.
I intend these for my upcoming show in December at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago.
Until I have the entire painting finished, I can only post my scan of a bit and a corner.
When I am finished with all five, I will have them photographed to show the entirety.

Monday, November 2, 2009

marigold yellow

All Soul's Day is traditionally November 2. Also celebrated as El Dia de los Muertos when one of the customs is to decorate graves with lots of marigolds.
My offering today is a bit of a scan of my much larger painting. I am working on a series of sunflowers, with lots of yellows of all varieties.
This painting is in process, lots of work still going into the finish.

ginkgo yellow

Such a gorgeous fall day today. I went for 5 mile run with my faithful studio companion (mentioned in my previous post).

The Ginkgo tree has dropped all,
leaving a pool of melted butter on the ground.