Monday, October 31, 2011

Exploring Line and Form

Bokeh Man
I decided I needed a kick start (again) to get me fully back on the photo wagon.  I feel a bit like I've been sort of bumping along behind lately. 
I signed up to take Susannah Conway's
Photo Meditations
This week we are exploring line and form in photography.  Not just as we all know it - but to look a little deeper and see the shapes, forms and lines that make up what we see through the lens.
Line and texture are two of my favorite things.  This photo was a happy mistake.  I was shooting some fall leaves in manual focus when I saw this opportunity.  I snapped it and realized that the auto focus was off - thought I missed the photo. 
But hey, I like this one better.

Photo Meditations

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Copy Cat

She's a copy..  She isn't really mine, but I painted her.  This is a copy-ish of an amazing painting by Jeff Schaller.
I really don't like to copy.  Yet, sometimes, I think I learn best be copying. 
I learned a lot from this and I think I will find my paintings will be better by having done this study.
Do you ever copy someone else's work in order to learn?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Encaustic on birch panel

New palette, new inspiration.
I switched off the cool palette that I was using (yellow ochre, ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson).  I felt that it was super easy to use, but that the faces were looking too cool and frankly kinda scary. 
So I switched to cadmium red, alizarin crimson, burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, sap green, black and white. 
I threw in some cerulean blue for a little pop at the end.  Not sure that was really the right thing to do, but... oh well, still on the learning curve.
The great news is that each one gets better.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What to do

As I opened the fridge and searched the top shelf... there it was, way in the back.  The can of tomato paste, encased in a plastic zip lock, stood behind the feta cheese container.  When was the last time I used it?  Surely it was OK... well, not so.  I tossed the sad can that had only one tablespoonful scooped from it.  Seems so silly I thought as I opened a new can and yes, scooped just one tablespoon from it.  I always resolve that I will make another dish in time to use the opened remains before they spoil.
But, NO.. usually my good intentions don't pan out.
Well, today I googled the answer.  What to do with the remaining tomato paste.  Place one tablespoon dollops on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet.  Freeze until firm.  Put into a zip lock in the freezer.  So simple and no more tossing cans that are missing only one tablespoon of paste.
Happy Sunday.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More on Portraits

Just finished this one.
I changed from my red head obsession and shifted to blonde.
This is my first free-hand portrait.
The others I have been using a tracing to overlay to check that eyes, ears, noses are all in the right place.
But this one, I just started.  I have been reading that the old draw an oval routine is really not the right way to start a face.  If you do that, the features all get squished in and really aren't proportionally correct.  The much easier way is to start with a line for the eyes and one that extends down the nose.  You then can build from those two lines.
Now, my problem with this is that the noses get way too long and I end up shortening, and shortening again.
In the end I'm not sure all proportions are totally correct.
This painting is  4x4.
I believe that with wax (encaustic) that really working larger is much easier.  There really is no "fine" work with wax that I have stumbled upon yet.  No little tiny brushes to put in fine lines.. by the time the fine brush moves from hot palette to painting, the wax has lost its heat and isn't very fluid anymore.
So this size painting doesn't have the opportunity to be very refined... at least not in my studio.
But what I am finding is that I like the style - this less refined style.
I changed my palette too - yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, black and titanium white.
We'll see where this goes.
How about you?  What discoveries are you making with your work?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


OK, this is hard.. this encaustic portrait thing.  Above is my latest attempt.  I decided to call her done.  I could keep muddling along with her but... done.  Sometimes you just have to call it that way.
She is painted in wax (encaustic) which makes all this doubly hard.  Each layer of wax has to be fused with heat.  I use flame which is lighter and a little easier to control.  However, it does tend to melt the fine features, move features, blur things, blow things out.  UGH!  Its hard.
I am still compelled for some reason to carry on.  
I have found some very helpful things.  For example the books below are great tools.  Especially Suzanne Brooker's book.
These books are for oil painting, so not the same as wax but similar enough that they help.

 I have also found the work of Birgit Huttemann-Holz.  I love her style of portraits.  She is a great inspiration to me as well as a fine teacher with her brilliant work.  You can see her things

Looking in the mirror helps too :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Texture Tuesday - Red Edition

Its' Tuesday - time for some texture fun. 
Red Edition
over at Kim Klassen's place today.
I made an awesome kale and chard salad - these are the stalks
This one is a combo of Word and Life's Good
Happy Tuesday


Monday, October 3, 2011

Goin Blurry

Been playing around with Blur.  Its been a Blurry theme over at Mortal Muses for the past few days. I've gotten to the age where glasses are becoming a needed thing.  However, I'm not quite there yet.  Just got my first pair and still am using them sporadically versus full time.  So, blur seemed a little fitting and I figured I'd play along.

 Blur is so interesting.  I found that the best way was to use the manual focus and adjust the focus and amount of blur that way.  There definitely is a line of where there is too much blur.  However I was really happy with the cool bokeh effects you can get.

 This one is taken through the window screen.  It gave the photo an interesting effect of being on canvas. 

 This one, well happened by accident.  Sometimes really the best blur photos are by accident.

 This one, I moved the camera as I took the photo.

 This one I moved the bowl that held the greens.

This one was taken with my iPhone while experimenting with street photography.  I am too shy to take a photo other than in stealth.  So this one is blurry and off kilter because I was walking and holding my iPhone by my side.  I've saved this one in the archives for some reason.  Its sad, it speaks volumes as to our homeless people in the city.  Yet it makes me smile because you have to hand it to the guy...  its innovative marketing for panhandling.

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