Thursday, August 16, 2018

Dock and brushes

This is how Marlene's Dock began
This morning was much cooler and overcast setting the subdued mood (no bright sunshine, no sparkly water or bright highlights) for painting our neighbor's old dock plein air. I started with a gessoed panel that had been toned with acrylic. Yes, you CAN paint oil over acrylic but NOT acrylic over oil.
Marlene's Dock, plein air, oil with acrylic underpainting.
6x8 inches ©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

I've been painting for months with Rosemary & Co. Ivory brushes which are new to me this year but I've been thinking about mark-making and how these brushes differ from the marks made by hog bristle. I already have too many brushes so today I sorted them to see what I have before I order more.

My favorites: Assorted hog bristle, Rosemary & Co. Ivory, Rosemary & Co. Shiraz and Princeton Umbria 6200 Series.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

28 minutes - August Sunrise II

August 8, 2018. August Sunrise II, oil, 6x8 inches, Plein Air

Started before 6AM with very little color in the sky.
Painting fast because 28 minutes later it was all over.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Painting our lake

August 1, 2018 Lake Sawyer wc
August 2, 2018 Lake Sawyer wc
August 3, 2018 Lake Sawyer wc
During the first 3 days of August I painted our lake plein air with watercolor each day. Those days produced pretty bad paintings and I was reminded that I hate wet wavy paper (need some 300lb) and how much more I enjoy watercolor in the Studio, painting nearly flat.

On the 4th day I considered why I was painting in wc: mostly ease of cleanup. So I switched to oil but used water-soluble oils for easy cleanup and now I'm having fun. It is obvious that I need to get up earlier for different light on the lake.

August 4, 2018 August Lake, 6x8 ws Oil
August 5, 2018 Boat House, 6x8 ws Oil
August 6, 2018 Lake Sawyer, 6x8 ws Oil

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Oil over acrylic foundation - figurative

Best summer in recent weather by the lake, lunches with good friends, my Critique Group for the Fourth Annual overnight here, our To Family gathering complete, good health, my new kayak. I'll also remember 2018 as the summer I went back to working with the figure, this time my two grandsons in oil. The oldest will be leaving for college soon and family dynamics will change so I wanted to capture this sweet moment of camaraderie between two brothers.

Clear gessoed birch panel and acrylic paint
Blocking in the shapes with acrylic

Acrylic underpainting complete

Now the fun part...oil. This is about 80% complete.  Stay tuned.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Watercolor Plein Air - my August challenge

Every time I post in yet another medium on this blog, I lose subscribers. I wonder if my pastel followers are still around? I like to experiment and will eventually get back to the medium you were interested in when you subscribed. Thanks for those who hang in there with me through my journey.

Yesterday I became interested in painting plein air with watercolor. Hahha. Watercolor was difficult enough for me many years ago in a controlled studio atmosphere so now I've decided to try it plein air? I actually had fun with it years ago and even taught workshops then decided I that at my age I wouldn't live long enough to learn all it has to offer so I moved on. My admiration to all watercolorists. However, now that I have forgotten all I ever knew about it, I'm back at least for the month of August and am not concerned about in-depth study of the medium. I don't care which colors are transparent, translucent, staining, etc. In fact, when I found this lidded palette in my Studio I wonder if it is even mine? I don't know what these colors are but I painted with it yesterday, 8-1 on a little block of cold press.

8-1-18 in progress. Well, actually done because I didn't finish it. I started painting in the cloudy morning and didn't have a chance to photograph it until sunny afternoon.

8-2-18 lake again. Pretty cold and gray today. I added Neutral Tint, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue to an additional palette and began painting on 140 lb taped down. My HUGE annoyance is wavy paper so I will definitely order some 300 lb. because I don't want to stretch the 140 lb.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Every Child

I imagine you are as tired of this one as I am but I'm finally happy with it. I had to rearrange my studio to finish it because wet oil paint reflects light and in the afternoon, the light is in my studio is too strong even with the blinds closed. I moved my easel so it doesn't not face the light. This also allowed me to place my old iMac beside the easel to bring up the reference photo.

You may notice that I have reworked the child's hair, added white to the fork, his shirt and to great grandmother's blouse. I have decided the child in this painting is every child my sister has held and comforted...her children, her grand children and now her great grandchild. 

Great Grandparents, oil, 20x20 inches (Version 7-24-18)
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Sunday, July 22, 2018

High Heels

Earlier today, when I thought I was done painting on this, I had a nice long phone conversation with a good friend and while chatting I saw five things that needed changing. When the phone call was over, I printed a small image of the painting and marked it up with the changes. Went back to the easel with the change sheet in hand and made corrections. Now, I think I'm done except it is such a bright day in Seattle I may have to reshoot this when it is cloudy and overcast for correct color and contrast.

High Heels, oil, 20 x 16 inches
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Acrylic Underpainting for High Heels

Friday, July 20, 2018

My memory problem

I have long been an advocate of painting landscapes from memory. My theory is that by a certain age one has many "memorable" scenes in their mind. I've gone through periods of painting this way and it has been fun to see what happens.

For the past couple weeks I've been working on a figurative painting from a family photo of my sister, her husband and their great grandson. My goal was to NOT create a likeness of the specific people but a more abstracted approach. However, when a likeness of my sister (the great grandmother) appeared, I felt the need to get a likeness of the great grandfather too. On to the child and my memory problem.

I was a teenager when my sister married and began having babies, two girls then a boy. I spent a lot of time with those little kids. They grew up and had children of their own. Then those children grew up and along came this child I'm trying to paint. I am not well acquainted with this little boy but I do have the reference photo. However, for the past week I found myself painting a face with the likeness of the child's great aunt (the second born of my sisters two girls). Yesterday, I had a moment of painting the child's grandmother's face as I remembered her as a toddler. Aaargh. I just want to paint what I see in the reference photo but apparently I have visual memories of his relatives that have been in my mind for 60 years. Hmmm....this is a problem.  Going back to it this morning to try again.

One hour later and I'm walking away. It isn't anyone I recognize from my memory so I'm trusting that it is the great grandchild I intended it to be. *Note: Fine tuned this and reposted 7-24-18

Great Grandparents, oil, 20x20 inches
©2018 Barbara Benedetti Newton

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Progress on Great Grandparents

Yay! I survived the acrylic underpainting stage (seen in my last post) and spent an hour yesterday morning with oil. Considering the many hours I spent getting a likeness of the child's face, obliterating it was a pleasure. I am after mood, play of light, color and shape relationships and edges, both lost and found.

Worked on this again today. Took the great grandfather's face farther than I will want it to be in the finished painting. Once again, my need to see a likeness before I paint over him.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Dreaming of bread...

I have spent most waking hours of several days working on the figurative piece shown as a line drawing in my last post. I had, what I thought was a good idea: to paint an acrylic underpainting and then work in oil on top but I have run into a big problem (besides my negative attitude about acrylic).

The reference photo is my sister and her great grandson. The likeness of my sister looks GREAT. Her grandson does not. I am determined to get his little face right but it is taking many days of starting over and over...and over.

I am more challenged than I have been in a long time. It is exhausting. You may remember one of my posts that included a recipe for overnight Artisan bread. I mentioned eating the whole loaf if your painting wasn't going well. I love bread. It is one of my comfort foods. Last night I dreamed of carrying a huge stack of warm bread, taller than I am,  and eating those that touched my mouth. Very delicious and comforting.

I figure these are my options: 
1. Stop and declare defeat (that's not going to happen).
2. Blame it on acrylic (I might do that but I'm not there yet).
3. Put the grandchild to sleep as I did in the last photo so I don't have to deal with his eye and what he is thinking. (Hmmm...)

The story of this painting hasn't been painted yet. It is about the plate of food on the table. My sister was in mid-bite (food on fork on the plate) when apparently it became necessary to pick up and hold her great grandson. Aha! I just had an idea. I will call my sister and ask what was was going on. 
....One hour later....she says she always stops mid-bite if something comes up that she would rather be doing. She remembers the child walking over to her so she picked him up. Back to it...

...Five hours later...
I think I can sleep tonight without dreaming of bread. I have been painting with my most student-grade acrylics. I got so desperate that I brought out my professional acrylics and gave the medium some respect. So, basically, I changed my attitude yet again. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Am I living the art-life I intended?

Coming full circle back to figurative work? I'm thinking about this.

I just posted a lot of words on my Golden Years Blog about living the life I intended. Click here if you want to read them.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Back in the Studio today

Ah....s u m m e r!
My main focus has been the gardens and I am starting to miss my Studio time. Yesterday, for a  short time I put on my favorite painting apron and varnished a couple oil paintings. I am pondering a new painting series (that is why I have been awake since 3 AM today) and hope to get started soon. I hope you are having a relaxing summer.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sunday Miracle completed

ACRYLIC! On the 11th of June I posted the beginning of this painting. Since then I switched out the round vase for a square one and worked on the background. I tried to leave the flowers alone but admit to tweaking them a little. Every year I experiment with acrylic and give myself yet another attitude adjustment. Hmmm... I'm pleasantly surprised this year.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

30% off all my paintings on Etsy

Hi Everyone,

I almost forgot to post about this! I'm participating in the Etsy Anniversary Sale. All work in my Etsy Shop, BBNewtonArt is 30% off through June 22nd. Take a look!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sunday Miracle

I feel obligated to paint my beautiful peonies that are now in bloom so I arranged a bouquet, pulled out a Venetian Red gessoed cradled panel and I began, thinking I would use acrylic for the underpainting as I have done in the past with pastel and with oil. I began with my usual negative attitude about acrylic. I am a fan of nuance and acrylic is not an easy fit for nuance.

Grumble grumble about how BLATANT acrylic is - completely lacking in subtlety.

But, I just kept piling the paint on and fortunately made some appropriate choices about color, value and temperature that actually created SUBTLETY! In this step I added the darker value on the left.

I honestly did not know I could achieve this look with acrylic because the vast majority of work I see in acrylic is a perfect fit for the medium. It is bold and punchy and primary. That was the artist's intent for their art and the medium suited the intent. 

So why do I keep trying to use an unsubtle medium for nuanced work? 

Because I have a large collection of acrylic paint and because I don't have to frame acrylics under glass! For those reasons, I have tried every year to bond (no pun intended) with the medium. This year I am more hopeful than ever before that I can adjust my attitude about this medium to appreciate it's attributes.

Here are some examples of how I have used acrylic in the past. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bowl of Beauty Oh Oh

About a week ago I completed a 40 minutes oil block-in with a #14 Short Flat of my next painting. I was happy because I had manages to keep it loose and simple.

The next morning I was excited to start painting on it again. I put my apron and gloves on, refreshed my palette and began. Then I started getting confused. The set-up didn't look the same. It took me a little while to figure out what was wrong. The bud in the front of the bouquet had bloomed! What I learned: Try to paint cut peonies alla prima!

Bowl of Beauty, oil, 14x11 inches ©2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Percy Wiseman

I can't paint another minute on this rhododendron. Percy Wiseman, oil, 24x24 inches.