Posts tagged ‘cat’

Working, Procrastinating, and Working at Procrastinating

So one thing I know for sure is that I am not one of those artists who spends endless hours in the studio. In fact, if I’m in my workspace all day, then it’s clear that I’m working  under a major time crunch.

Every weekend is filled with good intentions when it comes to making art and this past weekend was no different. First thing in the morning  I tell myself that I am going to get started as soon as I finish making my coffee.  After sitting on the front porch and draining my two cups however, something changes.  Instead, I get on the computer and look at Facebook and surf the Internet.  Then I write my “morning pages,” a la Julia Cameron, author of The Artists Way.  For those who don’t know what morning pages are, think of it as journaling, where you are writing three pages of streamed consciousness.   It’s supposed to be handwritten but I don’t have the patience for that so I type it out on my laptop in a large font that mimics handwriting.

Then while I’m on the computer I realize that I had better go to Trader Joe’s for groceries.  A girl’s gotta eat, right?  This past weekend there was an art fair taking place just up the street from Trader Joe’s, so I figured I would check that out right before grocery shopping.  Believe me, if there was no fair I’d be somewhere else, perhaps at a nearby park rollerblading or running.

I return home a few hours later and it’s after 2:00,  the hour when no matter where I am or what I am doing, I am compelled to take a nap.  I do this on the couch while the TV is still on Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” (I kid you not), with my cat (who honestly has one paw in Hell and one out of Hell), sleeping on my lap.

After that nice little nap, I pick up my phone and fart around with this cool app that I downloaded from Facebook called “Colorized.”  So I crank out tons of little random thumbnail sketches on my phone and post some on Facebook.    Here are some of them.

IMG_0088  IMG_0108 IMG_0089

Not exactly Leonard Di Vinci but hey, good enough since I’m practically finger painting.   At least I was applying my drawing skills somewhere, except that I was not applying them to “Tree Dreams” my latest piece that is in desperate need of attention.  I know it’s because I’m apprehensive about adding color and I don’t want to draw those friggin’ houses in the background either.

Eventually I go upstairs and start working on the piece but it’s after 6:00 and I hadn’t had any supper.

Pitiful, I know, but I did make some progress on “Tree Dreams” before the end of the weekend.    I drew the tree in black chalk pastel and added gray to the background behind it.  It scared me at first but I think I am headed in the right direction.


Again, I wish I was one of those artists who could spend a day cranking out art but alas, I am not. Honestly I think it’s because I’m afraid that while I’m in the studio/office, I’m gonna miss something  like sunny weather, some lame Facebook post, special event, or TV show.   I’m sure I’m not the only artist out there who is like this but you better believe that while I’m away, my art isn’t gonna draw itself!

Playing With Acrylics

So in my previous post I wrote about creating a series of works in black, white and red; AND that I was going to  attempt this using acrylics on canvas.  This is a bit of a challenge having done this only once.  That was several years ago when my sister and I completed a painting project together for our mom that proved to be unsuccessful, although not for lack of trying.

I’m actually having a good time with acrylics and have started my first piece in the series. My little gray muse in the photograph below was the perfect model for “Chat Noir.”

Here is the prototype painting that was going to be the final except for the fact that I made too many mistakes.  I experimented with the curtain pattern giving each curtain panel a different design so I could determine the one that I wanted to use.  Then I created the gray for the wall at the bottom.  Yes, I know gray is a new color however, the loophole in my little rulebook  is that it’s made from black and white.

The second piece is a little cleaner although I think I drew the cat’s anatomy better  in the first one.   I do like the definition and the outline of the head better here.   I tried retracing the image from the first drawing but that didn’t transfer well from the tracing paper to canvas, so I had to redo it.  For the straight edges I used masking tape this time.  I  also lowered the curtains to hide more of the white space from the window.

I hope to complete this piece by the weekend.  I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible.   I’m not ready to produce anything with a lot of detail right now.

Here’s  what I like about so far about painting on canvas:

The coverage.  You can cover a lot of area on canvas by spreading the color around with a paintbrush versus coloring feverishly on paper with pencils.

The colors are vibrant.  Acrylics make the work look bolder, something that I haven’t been able to accomplish with water color pencils.

The canvas is ready to hang without having to be framed. This is a plus because framing is still a pain in the rear even if some frames are easy to assemble.  It’s just another expense that eats away at your profit margin.  Canvas is also much lighter too.

It’s easier to correct mistakes than I thought.  Some of my straight edges have bled  a little bit.  After my “mistake” dried I dabbed some white paint over it and all was well with the world.

Durability.  Acrylics are less likely to fade then water colors or water color pencils.

And what I don’t like:

The mess.  To my credit I’ve managed to not get paint all over myself or other areas.  Cleaning brushes gets old though.

Working the color into the canvas.  Yes, you can cover more area with color when you paint but still you have to continuously apply that color to the canvas in order to capture a rich, even tone.  This may mean mixing more water with your paint to achieve the right consistency.   Now I know why large, detailed paintings on canvas are expensive.

Trying to determine the right brushes to use.  A while back I did some research on the proper brushes but again, that was a while.  There are so many types of brushes to use, it’s kind of overwhelming.  I discovered that the medium-sized round brush is my friend.  It’s like an over-sized version of my brush ink pen.  I like the pointy tip to achieve the finer lines or flattening it out for more coverage.  A large flat brush is good for covering large areas.

Straight lines are harder to paint than curved lines.  Painting that ball of yarn was easy. Painting the window panes and the ledge, not so much. You would think it would be the opposite.  I had to keep my wrist steady as I painted  even after I taped along the lines to maintain the straight edges.

I’m looking forward to completing “Chat Noir” this weekend and then onto the next project and blog post!

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