Saturday, December 26, 2015

Painting Workshop

When I began painting around three years ago, I had the benefit of my landscape architecture background to help me understand issues like design, composition and perspective.
I did not have the benefit of understanding some of the painting basics like canvas preparation, color mixing and techniques of developing an atmospheric image.
Classes and workshops at Wayne Art Center have helped me to find a painterly voice.

I am definitely one of those who benefits from watching somebody paint as they explain the why and what of their methods.
I was very fortunate to be part of a recent workshop with Stanley Bielen, a favorite whose classes always have wait lists of those hoping to get one of the valuable studio spots.
When this most recent workshop was announced, it filled within hours and I happened to get one of the last spaces before the wait list began.
I appreciate the unique opportunity that a demonstration gives, allowing me to absorb information that will then inform my own decisions.

My Easel Day One:

My Easel Day Two Morning:

My Easel Day Two Afternoon:

When I look back at what I painted three years ago, 
I can see that I've improved
and know that I have much room for continued improvement.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Samara Texturing

I was doing the final raking of leaves last week when I focused on the abundance of samaras from the Japanese maple in my front yard.
These winged seeds are quite lovely...
and I thought that they might be a good rolling mill candidate.

Because it's inexpensive, I do all texture testing with copper.
Two small pieces of copper were cut and annealed.
I arranged a selection of samaras on one piece...
which was then covered by the other copper piece before using the mill.
I had hoped that the entire samara would be able to pass through the mill, but I learned that a samara seed is just too tough of a nut to crack under pressure.
I couldn't advance the mill while maintaining enough pressure to capture an impression of the wing portion of the samara.

A little surgery with my X-acto knife removed the seeds
and I was able to crank the assemblage though the rolling mill with no difficulty.
After cleaning the copper, it was soaked in a liver of sulfur bath, turning the metal black with instant patina.
I'm liking the delicate texture and now think I have to get out and collect more of the samaras before the first hard frost.