New Year’s Resolution: Paint More!

Gladioli - Acrylic on Canvas - 8 x 11.5 inches
Gladioli – Acrylic on Canvas – 8 x 11.5 inches

I’ve been working on this painting since Boxing Day and have just finished it.  This isn’t the best photo as the light is rather dim outside, but I wanted to post this as it is officially my last painting of the year.

This is one of my reference photos for inspiration:

???????????????????????????????As you can see, I took some liberties.  I have been wanting to paint these for ages.  I still have some leftover paint and will be using this to try some different techniques.  If it took so long for me to paint this, it was because I mainly used a size 0 script brush.  I also painted the background in Paynes Grey.  I had to use a white pastel pencil to transfer my drawing onto the canvas and then paint the outline in white.  There are many layers of paint on this canvas as it took me awhile to get the purples to look the way I wanted.  Painting on a very dark background is not my favorite.  In any event, it was a learning curve and it meant that painting the orange flowers didn’t take nearly as long to do.

I enjoyed painting the details and found it quite therapeutic.  I use Picasa as my photo editor and used the zoom feature to really get close up on the petals.  I decided to paint the buds more loosely while focusing more on the open blooms.  Once the flowers were finished, I went back to the background and repainted it with Paynes Grey mixed with a little Ultramarine Blue.  However, I still found the background needed something.  I cut out my template and placed it on the flowers and then got a toothbrush and splattered some of the purple and orange paint on.  Remember to move your laptop when you do this!

Gladioli - Acrylic on Canvas - 8 x 11.5 inches

I am as happy with this painting as I ever will be.  I am most likely my harshest critic.  In fact, the paintings I prefer are painted more loosely and will be something I will be working on in 2015.  Paint loose and paint more!  Not a bad resolution to start the New Year with!  Have a great 2015!

Flowers from a book

Lily - Acrylic on Canvas - 8x8"
Lily – Acrylic on Canvas – 8×8″

Determined not to let a book beat me, I tried another flower lesson.  In fact, I did two.  As usual, I followed the lesson as close as possible, but I also added a little of what I have learned along the way.  As I have a lot of acrylic paint that is not artist’s quality, I am trying to use them up by using them as a colored ground or as undercoats and using the Artist’s quality paints for the main part of my paintings.  I hate seeing paint go to waste.  If I am not happy with the above painting, it is because I feel that it would look better on a smaller canvas.  A lesson learned for the future:  when painting a single flower, either make it very big to fill up the canvas and not have so much background, or make it small.  I still have issues with the book on how the colors look when mixed up.  They do not come out the same as in the book and I feel that is an issue with publishing.  I had to make up some of my own green as I did not have the color needed to mix the green that was recommended, but all in all, I am generally happy with it.   I painted all around the edge in black and it does make the colors stand out.

As I had a lot of purples and greens left over, I decided to use them in another lesson.  Waste not, want not.

Bird of Paradise - Acrylic on canvas - 6x6"
Bird of Paradise – Acrylic on canvas – 6×6″

Firstly, no matter how hard I tried, I cannot get the camera to accurately reproduce the colors for this painting.  The blue should in fact be a purple color, as in the painting of the Lily.  In any case, I had a small canvas where I started a still life that I was not happy with.  I painted over it with a couple of coats of gesso.  When it dried, I painted a lilac ground.  Although you could still see some texture of the previous painting, because it was going to be painted over, it didn’t matter and I think makes the painting more interesting.  I used the hairdryer to dry the paint and this created a few more cracks.  Then I drew on the flower and painted it in.  All I had to do was modify some of the purples and greens and make up a red mixture.  I took the background all around the canvas.

IMG_0498These paintings now live in my bedroom.  They go with the color scheme, which is lavender.  The shelf my paintings are sitting on used to be painted turquoise and lived in the bathroom.  When my husband installed the new shower, the shelf didn’t fit in the space anymore, so I painted over it and now use it to hang my necklaces from.  I found some cheap frames from The Range, took out the glass, and popped in my paintings done on 5×7″ canvas boards.  The pictures hanging on the left are made by my children.

I painted these flower paintings a couple of weeks ago and have only managed to photograph them now.  The weather hasn’t been great with the light and being busy with the run up to Christmas, well, you know how it is.  I have been working flat out on another temp assignment and will get to have a break over Christmas and the New Year, so I am hoping to get some painting in every day as I know that it will be difficult once I return to work in January.  My eyes can’t cope painting in dim light and I get home when it is dark, so I only paint on the weekends or when I have time off.  I would be interested to hear how others get around this problem.  I may have to invest in a daylight bulb.

Thank you all for reading my blog and hopefully I will have inspired someone to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.  Practice makes perfect and I can see I have improved since I first started a couple of years ago.  So, if I can do it, I am sure anyone can.

Have a great holiday period, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, and all that jazz!  See you in the New Year!