Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm up for the challenge ...

I am up for the challenge ....  Leslie Saeta's  '30 paintings in 30 days' challenge that is.  Leslie says  "I am starting a 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge on January 2nd. I think this is a great way to kick off the New Year and I invite you all to join me. It's very simple and easy ... all you need to do is paint 30 paintings in 30 days."  

I've often admired those many artists who have become 'daily painters' and the commitment it requires. Its a great way to get a lot of painting done and become a more skilled painter ...  and today after much thought I've decided to give her challenge a try.   

Back in June I started this painting and after the block-in was doubtful of how it would turn out and put it on a shelf.  Today while thinking about the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge I decided to try and finish the painting.  
Mail Call, 8" x 10" oil on panel, © Nancy Van Blaricom

The reference photo for this painting was taken a few years ago when we were in Canada and a float plane flew into the small port to deliver mail.  A familiar sight in some remote areas.

Mail Call, 8" x 10" oil on panel, © Nancy Van Blaricom

I'm very happy with this one.  I think I captured the sun glistening on the water and also the look of the plane.  Calling this painting a success I'm feeling more confident in my commitment to 30 paintings in 30 days.  Wish me luck and check in often to see how my challenge is going.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

When you can't find anything else to sketch ...

Hubby's Shoes as he naps in the recliner, pen & watercolor, 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom

There are times when I want to sketch but I struggle to find something interesting near-by. More often than not my husband is near-by either reading or napping and that always gives me a perfect subject to sketch.

In the above photo you see my husbands shoes as he naps in his recliner.

 Hubby Reading, PilotP-500 extra fine pen, 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom

This above sketch was pretty easy because even though he was awake he was so engrossed in his book that he had no idea he was being watched closely.  My model doesn't do much moving around if he has his head in a book.

Nap Taking, ball point pen, 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom

The above sketch is dated 2010 but I don't remember much about it. It looks as if I had started out with something in mind then changed it and decided to sketch my husband napping instead.  Above the cuff of his sleeve, on the back of his hand, it looks like I was beginning to sketch some eye glasses, then the line comes down and goes back up....   Looking at the sketch I can see I glued the paper into my sketchbook, so I'm guessing that I sketched this on the only piece of paper I had at the time.

Give this a try, sketch your spouse when they have no idea you are stalking them *wink.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

Repetition ...

Because I sketch each day I can find it daunting to come up with a subject at hand while I sit at my desk each morning.

9 Days of Clam Shell Sketches, B & N  6" x 9", 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom

When I am having a hard time finding something to sketch I will sometimes just repeat what ever I drew the day before.  I had a small clam shell on my desk that I used for a small shell painting and for nine days I sketched a single shell in a different pose.

Film Canisters, 6" x 9" B & N sketchbook, 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom 

In the above photo I sketched a film canister ... for four days I sketched the same canister in either a different light or angle, or with a different pencil.

Blow Dryer, 6" x 9" B & N sketchbook, 2012 © Nancy Van Blaricom
A blow dryer I use for drying watercolor paintings ... sketched three day's in a row.

I like the looks of these sketches when they cover a full page in my sketchbook don't you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree ...

This was a fun and fast oil painting and my intent was to do the whole painting with a palette knife and then part way through I changed my mind. 
 Oh Christmas Tree, 8" x 6" Oil on Panel, 2012, ©Nancy Van Blaricom

Back in November I introduced you to this little tree in a sketch.

Some years I put tiny white lights on it, but, this year I used it as a table decoration at the Holiday House Bazaar and I didn't think it needed anything else.  Plain and simple, straight forward with a touch of elegance with the gold pot. 

                                                      Oh Christmas Tree, 8" x 6" Oil on Panel framed, 2012, ©Nancy Van Blaricom

Even though the paint was still wet I wanted to see how it looked framed so stuck it in a black frame with the tree near-by.

I'm thinking I might add something in the lower right corner to add some balance ... or I might try painting this one again in a more serious manner ... then again maybe not and just move on the next painting.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

There are times when all I put in my sketchbook is studies of design and compositions

Its fun to explore when I sketch, trying to keep in mind that I can find different angles, divisions, and positive and negative space.  Sometimes I like to experiment with the elements of composition to find what might work best for a particular painting.
Basic design study, large sketchbook, 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

In the above photo I'm trying to learn more about design with a variety in size, shapes, values and textures. Each sketch is only about 2" x 3" and doesn't take very long to sketch yet gives me a great idea as to what is the best design for my still-life arrangement

Basic space and depth study, large sketchbook, 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

 The middle photo I'm concentrating on space and depth. These are about the same size as the sketches in the above photo.

Basic picture divisions, large sketchbook, 2012 Nancy Van Blaricom

In the last photo I used a marker to help learn the basic design foundations of most pictures.

Working on design and composition like this gives me a break from my daily sketches where I concentrate on a certain likeness, plus, I feel I gain so much from his kind of study.  

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Art of a Sketchbook

 Spoons ... simple enough in design, yet, to sketch / draw the spoon takes some real concentration at best if you want to do a good job.

Single Spoon Sketch- graphite, 6" x 9" sketchbook, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

I sketched this spoon on September 13th, 2012 and although it was ok I thought I should have done some warm-ups first.

Gesture sketch of spoons- graphite, 6" x 9" sketchbook, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

So, the next day on the 14th I decided to do some gesture sketches of the spoon.

I think by doing some gesture sketches you really get to know and understand what you are looking at. When you gesture draw / sketch, you capture the character of the shape of the object, the feel of the subject ... my physical response.  Also you help develop eye-hand coordination by keeping your eye on the subject.

I should have sketched the single spoon after I did the gesture drawings.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Hot Cup O' Cocoa - Collage

I am the host for this months local Art Talk Group meeting and I chose the word Winter for our theme.

In trying to think of what I'd like to paint or create I knew I didn't want to do a typical winter oil painting of our normal rainy winter, but thought more along the lines of something more comforting ... like a nice Hot Cup O' Cocoa, with whipped cream on top.

Hot Cup O' Cocoa, 9" x 9" x 3/8" collage on hardwood, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

I'm not sure I will always do a collage for our theme word but I certainly did enjoy working, once again, in collage.

Side view of Hot Cup O' Cocoa9" x 9"x 3/8" collage on hardwood, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

The 9" x 9" x 3/8" board I was working on was already primed for an oil painting but I don't think it would have needed to be primed, it was just something I had laying around waiting to be used.

The above photo shows how it looks from an angle showing the small collage wrapped area.
Close up of Hot Cup O' Cocoa9" x 9" x 3/8" collage on hardwood, ©2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

Above a more detailed shot of the scene.  Don't ya love the reflected handle of the cup ... diamonds no less.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Its All About the Hat ...

I'll admit I'm not particularly fond of painting people. I'm sure it's my lack of experience.  

Despite some issues I had with this small painting I find there are a number of areas I am really happy with.
 Its About the Hat, 6" x 6" oil on panel, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

I wanted some warmth showing through the greens and blues so I primed this small 6" x 6" panel with a yellow gold.  I had a happy surprise when I saw the warmth that shines through his arms and his shirt.  It just glows.  Also, I like how I captured the way you can tell its a bright sunny day.

Mahogany framed, Its About the Hat, 6" x 6" oil on panel, © 2012, Nancy Van Blaricom

We talked with this man a few years ago in Canada and enjoyed our conversation about his hat.  He told us that this particular hat was made just for him. He looked great in it and was proud to be wearing it.    

Although I didn't capture his bright cheerful smile I'm reminded of it when I look at this painting.