It’s common to find old implements at yard sales and second hand stores in my area. They can be oil covered or rusty so prep work is required before they can be painted. I bought this saw from a second hand charity shop. It was rusty so I sanded it and applied a coat of Tremclad rust primer to create a sealed base coat. The barn owl is painted in acrylic. It’s a bit stylized which I think is a good approach for a found object painting. To finish I applied a spray coat of Krylon varnish to the blade to protect the painting from scratches. I left the handle alone as I like the worn condition left from actual use. It’s a bit of an odd object to photograph so I opted to hang it on plant hook in my back yard to get a full length picture. I’ve included a closer look below as well with a bit less of the background.
This 12 inch square piece is acrylic on board. I combined imagery sourced from my collection of photographs to create the narrative.
This is the first time I’ve attempted something figurative on such a small scale. I’m not sure if it’s something I will repeat. Because the picture above is a close up cropped image you can get a good sense of the elements but viewing the piece from a distance (as in the un-cropped photo below) I feel like a bit of that is lost because of the size.
That said I don’t feel the piece is unsuccessful. I did establish a solid narrative theme, which was my original intent, as well as learned a bit about the ins and outs of working smaller.
When I was growing up I read a multitude of children’s and young adult books with great illustrations. I continue to find something very appealing about that particular combination of story and imagery. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about interpreting the suggested themes for Inktober is how illustrative the finished drawings feel to me. Though they don’t exist in the context of a story I can see them as such. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part. I only noticed it in hindsight. I suppose everything we do is influenced (in ways too numerous to count or even clearly remember) by all that we’ve been exposed to.
A number of years ago I worked for a giftware company bulk painting folk art items for retail. It was piece work so the more pieces you painted the more money you made. It wasn’t particularly challenging for technique. The pieces had to be simple so they could be mass produced but I did pick up some nifty tricks (floating, double loading, tole patterning) that are fun to revisit every once in awhile. I’m crafty keen about Christmas. I make my own fresh evergreen planters, decorative wreaths, and ornaments.
Ornament creation is a great activity to incorporate some of those folk techniques. I usually use whatever things I have lying around. I work with low viscosity (craft/folk art) paint and I don’t finish varnish. The two ornaments hanging from the lights on either side of the fireplace were made with some old plywood odds and ends. The figures are intended to look as if they’re parachuting down into Christmas.
They’re probably not what you would traditionally think of as ornaments because they’re quite large.
Here’s a closer look at the Jester in a Box whilst hung to provide a better idea of the scale.
I used metallic string to join the two pieces in a fun way.
These ornaments have much more detail than any of the bulk work I did whilst painting giftware.
Looking at the back it’s easier to see just how rough the scrap plywood is (I only sanded the cut sides) but I like that for these pieces. It’s an approach that falls into that homespun handmade feel that I associate with Christmas.
Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. I didn’t make the whole 30 days but an attempt was made. I chose to use an 8 inch by 5.5 inch sketchbook. The sketches were completed using Staedler pigment liners and a Pigma brush pen. I’m still on my first brush pen and I’m enjoying the opportunity to make a broader variety of marks in comparison to the finer tipped pigment liners.
I’ve been experimenting with my printer scanning function trying to create digital copies that are true to the originals. I’m not entirely there yet. All three of these images were scanned using document scan settings (two in B&W and one in colour) instead of photo scan settings. You can see a marked difference in how the printer records the information. The document settings result in less “noise” so the whites are a truer white (not so much a textured grey). There is some loss of mid-tones using the B&W document copy settings. The colour document copy settings accentuate the brush pen marks making them appear more distinct than in the original piece but the colours are closer to that original. I did add watercolour to the third sketch so I don’t know if it truly follows the Inktober parameters. The composition wasn’t going to work without it and I didn’t have any coloured pens.
Sticky, humid, and bug filled days worked as a bit of encouragement to spend more time inside over the summer. This sketchbook selection was sourced from a photograph I took in the spring several years ago. It’s pretty common around here to find Dutchman’s breeches spreading out on the woodland floor pushing aside last year’s fallen leaves. The underlying drawing was created using a Staedler pigment liner and a Pigma Graphic ink pen. I used acrylic paint to finish the piece. Because I was working inside I was able to do a couple of scans of the work in progress.
Pen and ink drawing
Painting in progress
Male slate coloured (dark-eyed) juncos are some of my favourite birds. I think there’s always a bit of a “Wallace and Gromit” charm about them . This rendering is acrylic, water colour pencil, and graphite on Arches cotton rag water colour paper (7.5 x 10 in).
I’m continuing to experiment with my doodles (re: my April 23, 2015 post ).
These 2 are on 8″ x 8″ gessoed hardboard panel. It’s a nice size- not too big and not too small.