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Updated 3/29/12

The Daily Paintings and Postcard-Sized Sketches in Oils and Acrylics

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July 2007


1 I'm still working on the acrylic DVD, and coming to the part where I show some "slides" of some of my work. This "Fabricritter" called "Lila-cat" came to light as one example of what the possibilities are for using a collage-type application with pieces of upholstery fabric. The cat has pieces of fabric throughout the body, painted and glazed over with acrylic colors and gel mediums. The flowers in the whiskey barrel are all fabric, with only a few embellishments! And there are pieces of fabric creating the background and wall, too. 18 x 24 inches
Robert Genn in his bi-weekly email touts acrylics on June 28. He doesn't have it posted on his web site yet, but the quote I like came from the second paragraph: "Acrylic facilitates experimentation and gives new ability to process ideas. Faster and fresher, the journey becomes less arduous--and in many ways, more fun." I sure agree with that!

Congratulations to new collector Betty Dawson of Dallas, Texas, on her purchase of "Rose" from my ebay store.
2

Sometimes there are just those few brush strokes that need to be added to make a good painting into something really special. I spent about an hour today on "The Quest", the advanced/intermediate lesson painting in the Acrylics Fast and Loose DVD, and those few brush strokes take that painting to a new level. If you'll compare this one with the one on the blog from a few days ago, you just might notice a wee tad difference.
Today I also worked on the inside front cover ad I submit to Horses in Art magazine. I do these in Photoshop, and wanted especially to include this painting. Double motivation!

Now, those of you with a pocket full of design, take a look at the ad and see if you can spot the underlying structure of the arrow point that goes through all three paintings. Intentionally unifies the whole page... and that cover for the new DVD "just happens" to be bright red....


Happy almost Fourth to our US contingent!

3

This painting is one of the Fabricritter series I did several years ago, along with Lila-cat and Shelf Life, another of the four. This was the last one, and I really pulled out the stops on it. Almost 90% of the canvas is made up of applied fabric swatches, over which I glazed acrylic color and medium to seal the swatches down. This is especially evident in the background.

The painting is a stretched canvas, and the flexibility of the fabric matches the canvas, plus the medium and paint are also flexible. Painting details such as the eye was just so much "eye candy!"


In this closeup of the head, you can see the fabric pieces that make up the background as well as the detail pieces on the bridle. What is really fascinating, though, is this detail of the mane just behind the ears... take a look at how the texture of the white calico cloth mimics the variations in a horse's mane coloration! I painted darker swatches of color over the fabric to make it look more like mane, using Payne's gray and other variations on the background colors. I'd love to do some more of these, but what do you call 'em? Paintings, assemblages, or craft? Dilemma!

4

After yesterday's carrousel horse, I received this informative email from one of East Coast friends that I thought you'd enjoy: "Oddly enough, not beyond belief and fitting to my propensity for useless detail, I know a great deal about the designing and construction of the early carousels. When I was taking care of one of the Smithsonian off site storage facilities, I had the complete carousel animal collection in one of my bays. Most of them were in open storage crates and available to me to me in making some detail drawings. A lot of the carousels were built in Philadelphia because of the furniture industry. Carousel animals were carved from the furniture off cuts, "chunks" as they were known in the trade. The "chunks" were glued and literally spiked together. The most elaborately carved horse on any carousel was known as the "lead' or "king" horse. The outside horses were the largest and the fanciest carved. Most of the carvers came from Europe with only the clothes on their back and a satchel of tools. It was a common practice that the apprentices carved the animal bodies and the heads were carved by masters. As a side line, a lot of church statuary were carved by these men."

So to follow up on the continuing saga of the Fabricritters, here is the largest of the four pieces, never shown before. This measures 30 x 40 inches, and is called "Calicoal" I hope you enjoy this one! It was the first that I created, and as it seems to be of interest to many of you who have your hands in quilting and other fabric arts, somewhat fitting. Here's a closeup of the head, where you can see the paint work, and then an image of the head and shoulder, showing the transition to the fabric. Acrylics are wonderful for applying with collage materials.


I've considered selling these four pieces... (oh, you haven't seen the fourth one! Well, that's tomorrow.) But whoever whould buy them, well it will take a very special person, is all.

5

The last of the Fabricritters for your pleasure and enjoyment, this one with the canning jars (just fabric collaged onto the canvas and then painted to LOOK like glass jars!!) and the box of Oat Bran reminding us to be sure to have enough fiber in our diets. I think with all our cat hair from Pesto and Bats, we get enough!

I've attached a close-up of the cat and one jar to show you how it all blends together into a painting. I especially like how "glassy" the fabric swatches are in this smaller detail view. Enjoy!

6

I've now returned to working on the three-dog commission of the wonderfully gentle natures of these canines. More details and a couple more possibilities off my pencil tonight. When I do commissions like this, it is my utmost desire to capture the nature of the animal, and a composite of their expressions, without losing the specific "look" of the dog. There is no substitute for good reference images to reach that goal, and I have some good ones. But to make a composition with three dogs, and none of the reference images are consistent in lighting or perspective, makes for quite a challenge. I'm ready for it, though, as the acrylic DVD winds down--I need a new puzzle!!
On another note, Alberto has been busy putting over one hundred of my paintings into my ebay store where it is easy to search for a painting by category or title.

Congratulations to Charlotte McDavid of Birmingham, Alabama, on the addition of "Kentucky River" to her collection of "Elin" paintings!

7

Come with me to the Way-Back Machine, and I'll show you a work from the early 1980s. It's a 24 x 30 oil, done from material I took at the Bishop Mule Days, and this was before I was doing acrylics, and it shows you all where I was at the time. Nothing wrong with looking back over old work--it can show you where you were on your painting journey, and revisiting these elder stepping stones can teach in unusual ways.
For example, here I see I had no understanding of how color behaves in light and shadow. And I did the usual mistake of making things lighter by adding white to them, creating a chalking overview. I didn't know how to make things recede into space yet, but I sure was in love with blue shadows! I also hadn't figured out how to make my brush marks convey space. OK, enough bashing. It is well drawn.

An interesting side note, look at the signature. It is the earliest version of my trademark "Elin", and includes my maiden name!

8

Re-showing the Fabricritters from the past few days has brought out some fun expressive paintings today! I did two cat paintings fresh off the easel, and share with you this first one, called "The Light Side". It is a sweet domestic shorthair kitty, like my Pesto in one of her playful moods when she holds onto somethimg with her paws.

But take a closer look! There is more than paint here, and it is such FUN to do this with art--stepping out of the box a bit and adding fun things like glitter and sequin-type things to the image. I've attached an enlargement of the left-side eye for you to see the glitter embedded in the acrylics! Ha!

On a more serious note, when I sit and ponder the vast variety of people who have kindly let me into their "in" boxes with my daily journeys into and through paintings, I am overwhelmed with the kindness people have shown to my work. Art is a journey, and this one is so much richer for your company!

"The Light Side" will be followed by "The Dark Side" tomorrow. This one is immediately available through my ebay store.

9

The other side of the family! Here's the acylic collage of the darker side of things--loosely based upon our own Bats cat, but a domestic longhair instead! This one, as yesterday's, is full of additives that make it sparkle and shine.
I hope you enjoy it!

10

On July 21, I will be enjoying some premier country music under the oak trees at Liberty Oaks Ranch up in Tenaja, along with many others who are interested in supporting the education program for the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve. The Foundation brings hundreds of third graders each school year for field trips to learn about the habitat of early California, and the pressures on current wildlife. For many of these 8-year-olds, it is the first time they've been outside a city park! I support it avidly, and will be set up to present my western work the sales of which will benefit this program. One night only--magic music and poetry!

Here is a 12 x 9 acrylic painted specifically for the event, and hopefully it will sell that night. Called "Trail Time" I present it hoping for a good percentage of sales benefiting those kids. I have good hopes.

On another note, the Acrylic DVD is finished, but I have too much footage!! I want to share so much, and have about 6.5 gigabytes to fit on a 4.7 gigabyte master. So now instead of editing for content, I'm cutting clips and resizing the lessons to fit into that 4.7 gig format. Three, no four, complete paintings done in lessons, a slide show, outtakes, supplies for both beginning and advanced... whew! There's just SO much on it. But it WILL be out!

12

&

13

This painting is an acrylic, 20 x 20 inches on 2" gallery wrap bars (no frame) and what you see on the left is the original that I painted on location some time ago. It has always lacked that "spark" that catches a viewer's eye, and so tonight I decided to work it over and bring a newer, more contrasted image to you.

One of the most powerful strengths of the Renaissance art world was the use of value as a design element--taking the range of values through their paces in works such as Nicolas Poussin's "Holy Family on the Steps". By taking the balance of value from a master work like this and applying it to one of my own works, I end up with the changes below:



I only changed the painting by the addition of a few layers of glazes, using acrylics' incredible versatility to accomplish the value changes necessary to help this painting come to life.

Although I did not follow Proussin's "diagonal of light/dark", I was brought to the thinking point of making these changes because of viewing his work.

Tomorrow, I head to San Diego and Balboa Park to lead a field trip with my Art Appreciation summer students! A day in museums! Wowza!

14

This is the way my studio space (the main studio) looks when I'm working on "ordinary" work--the Hughes easel is in place, the taboret is to the right with whichever side facing me depending upon the medium (it wass set for acrylics), and there's my constant companion "Q" in her bed on the left. I share this with you to compare with the next image, which is my studio for the next days and perhaps weeks as I work on this overside (38x50 inch) commission of three dogs.

Below is the setup and canvas mounted on the wall for the beginnings of the dog painting. I do have to share with you something ingenious--along the bottom of the canvas are hung "D" cell batteries, taped and then clipped to the linen canvas. This weight holds the canvas taut, as linen (the best canvas) is notorious for stretching and bagging while it is worked on. This setup gives me the spring and bounce of a stretched canvas without the labor of stretching it. Stretching will be done by the recipient's framer down the road a way. Oh, the camera on the left? I'm doing a sped-up version of the entire painting process for YouTube. Fun!

Note the SimpleHuman trash bag holder on the taboret. Stinky solvent towels go in there and are covered by the lid. Using plastic grocery bags means quick turnover.

15

I took a long look at yesterday's work and said, "I can do better" and opened up those pill boxes and went to work again. I pushed the values a bit further, deepening those in the foreground and lightening areas on the mountains. Seeing the Bierstadt painting in the San Diego Museum of Art helped! In addition, I added clouds to the sky--since we are seeing the tail edge of a rainy "monsoon" season that hasn't given us any moisture. I can hope with my brushes!

Yesterday's work is shown to the left, in smaller format, and today's painting is below. So you get two for one again, sort of!

I thoroughly enjoyed Balboa Park, took my plein air acrylic set up with me for that beautiful scene near the botanical gardens that has asked me to paint it for several years. I saw a Joaquin Sorolla that almost had me weeping... it is the image on the cover of the museum book I have of his work. To see it in front of me was just breathtaking. I firmly believe everyone needs to go to museums and see the art therein. So much to see and learn!

The BEST news is that I will hand over the master DVDs of the Acrylic Painting - Fast and Loose to the duplication service on Monday! I will be shipping orders on Thursday at the latest, and thank you to the many who have ordered their copy. It is JAM PACKED--I delicately edited out to the most essential messages, and there is just a ton of work in it--FOUR paintings and a slide show!



I only changed the painting by the addition of a few layers of glazes, using acrylics' incredible versatility to accomplish the value changes necessary to help this painting come to life.

Although I did not follow Proussin's "diagonal of light/dark", I was brought to the thinking point of making these changes because of viewing his work.

Tomorrow, I head to San Diego and Balboa Park to lead a field trip with my Art Appreciation summer students! A day in museums! Wowza!

16

Here's the first pass on the 38 x 50 inch oil on linen commission of three dogs, lab and golden retrievers, that shows the owners the placement and basic overall high key color scheme that is coming into play. As I don't begin with my focal points, but paint TO them, subordinating the colors and edges as I paint to the crescendo of the three dogs' faces. (Dogs have faces... no argument there!). Richard Schmid constantly maintains that the focal point be the highest contrast and the sharpest edge, and there is tremendous validity in that phrase.

Hmmm, I just noticed that I mis-sent a couple of posts, the 14th with my studio pics went out after the 15th's desert revision. Must be senior moments, eh? Well, they are in order on the blog in any event, and in the scheme of things it is small potatoes.

17

As I start to cover this 38 x 50 inch canvas, I'm doing what I can to keep the values light and bright, (high key) so that the collectors needs will be met. It is coming along well now, almost ready to drop into the "Uglies". Those of you familiar with my DVDs will laugh along with me when I say that, because "we" know that every painting goes deep into the "Uglies" before coming out the other side!

The 8 x 10 reference photographs are mounted on each side of the painting hung next to the wall to show you the five images from which I am taking my inspiration at this time. Each dog has a characteristic "look" to it, and no two dogs are the same--thus the specificity of dog portraits, and the general blanket acceptance of cat images. I'm quite pleased with the colors and developing atmosphere right now, and will begin to tighten down and detail out after I finish the underlayment on the upper right corner. It's all being caught on digital video, too! (However, I am not talking!!!)

18

I'm pulling work out of the racks and making selections for the show up in Tenaja, for the Cowboy Jubilee. It's fun to look once again at some of my earlier pieces, and this one needed a "bit of a jolt". Used for the invitation for one of the summer art shows at the Visitor's Center, This 24 x 30 acrylic was painted on location and shows Rancho California Road heading toward Tenaja. I was in the Sylvan Meadows parking area.
I tweaked it a bit, brightening up the foreground and unifying the sky into more closely related values. My goal was to have the feeling of passing cloud shadows throughout.
Getting ready for a show when I haven't done an outdoor venue in a while is interesting--I have to find and put together my "kit bag" of tools, and think about the whole presentation with groups of art. Sigh.
In between that I'm shipping Acrylic Painting - Fast and Loose! DVDs. Retired? HAHAHA!

19

Fun again! Acrylics and layers and texture and brushwork! I love acrylics! A painting that is dry and ready to go for Saturday, and one of the subjects I love--solo Coastal Live Oak tree and coastal fog. I wanted something smaller featuring an oak tree to bring to the Jubilee, since the attendees are supporters of the Santa Rosa Ecological Preserve (as I am) and painting subjjects that have meaning for them is also meaningful for me.
The dog commission is on hold for a few days--I was hoping to get it well in hand before leaving for Maine next week, but things always go the way they are supposed to, so I do hope you enjoy this detour into acrylics!

20-22

23 Nobody asked where I was, so you must all be busy as well. Two days and no Daily Painting?

I had that Cowboy Jubilee yesterday and that kept me out past midnight. A good evening all around, and great music and cowboy poetry. I saw collectors and made a couple new ones with a good evening for my art as well. However, the planning and logistics for another outdoor show precluded me from getting near the easel.

I've been rethinking the daily painting thing as well. In 2005 when I started, few artists were doing daily paintings and I was on the lead edge of a new movement, but now hundreds of artists are chugging along, bringing ideas and work to the public. I've been doing it since October of 2005, and I have to admit, I'm getting tired. It was creative in the beginning, and yet now the spark of it is gone. My dailies have been morphing into lesson paintings, and many of you tell me how much you enjoy that. Now I believe I need time to work on larger pieces, without scrutiny, and to be more able to choose the story and subject without a feeling of pressure to perform.

I will still do the lesson paintings, but not on a daily basis. I will still send out new, finished work, just not every day.

So with a great deal of thought, I've decided to cease the daily paintings and move on to other ways of connecting and keeping in touch with you all. I won't lose you, nor you me if you'll allow it. I'll continue to send out lessons and updates on new work via this mode.

As the "old horse" on the team of daily painters, I need to let folks with more time and perhaps less vision take over. Never one to follow in a pack, I need time and room for my new ideas to come out.

24 I'll continue to post, just less frequently.

Next post is August 1.