Fresh batch of Art Supplies-ez

There is nothing quite like receiving an order of fresh art supplies.  I remember when my daughter was young, she would pluralize pluralized words such as school supplies-ez.  Whenever I reference the word in this type of context, my memory takes me back to a young Jenn, who with all the enthusiasm she could possible muster, would begin to insist in early  July that we must, absolutely must venture out to the stores to start to purchase her schools supplies-ez. She would then touch each item as if there were magic.  Or somehow loved her back. IMG_4267

I get it. I love my art supplies-ez. I just recently received an order of Ampersand Claybord, Aquabord and Pastelbord in various smaller sizes that I would normally use.  I am now dreaming of all the possibilities in front of me.  What colors I will use and which texture for which subject.  It is a lot more than I can bear. And Oh, now I can use my beautiful Prismacolors on the pastelbord!  So excited!

And then there is the new, fresh tubes of paint.  Replacement colors, except for the luscious red I could not live without.  There is something delicious about red paint. About finding that tube of pure red, no pink, no blue, pure red! And it is EXPENSIVE!  Such a treat!  As I lovingly held my precious new tubes of color, placing them gently in my storage containers that I  sort by color for easy snatch and grab, I noticed I now have three tubes of  RED????  you got it - I have a few!

Note to self.  Check your stock before you get pulled in by all the delicious colors available on-line!

Stick to your list Helen!

wanna play wanna play

This is a painting of our doggie.  Sadie is a highly spirited border collie lab cross and is always looking for someone to play with or for someone to pay attention to her.  She is very expressive and communicates with us quite clearly - Almost always about attention and/or food or food and/or attention!

She is getting on in years now.  We think she is about eleven - not sure as she was a resuce dog.  Her hair is turning quite white and she has started to slow down some.

This is a mixed watermedia painting on Ampersand Aquabord.  This surface is wonderful for painting textures such as fur and hair.

Whatzthat....Sadie

Sadie

Stormy Sunday and what shall I do. Sounds like the perfect day to lock myself in my studio and paint away.  This is a mixed watermedia piece on Ampersand Aquabord of our dog Sadie.  She is so inquisitive. Either looking for trouble or looking for food.  I could not resist painting her.  This was c ompleted in about five hours - the background gave me trouble. You cannot be in a hurry with this painting surface.    Sadie is a mixed breed - cross between a lab and a border collie - the border collie being dominent.  She has us completely trained!

Backyard Blooms

Backyard Blooms
Back to our yard in the beautiful Kennebecasis Valley in New Brunswick, where the resident white tail deer population regards planters as their own personal salad bowl!   We have a number of wrought iron planter hangers at a variety of heights. Needless to say we have more success with the higher planters.
Red geraniums are a staple in our planters, as are petunias and any daisy like flower I can find. I love the mix of color you can plant together and still have it look good.  I dabbled over the years with backyard color, various monochromatic then whites and on to what ever strikes my fancy at the time.  It almost always comes back to red.  Or Yellow.  Pure happy colors.  And I cannot wait to paint them.
This piece was a bit tricky – tricky to draw out and real tricky to attain depth and contrast while painting with reds.  I worked on this continuously for two days.  When I finally stepped back to scrutinize my work, I was pleased with the effect of painting red on red. It is dimensional and  representational of our back yard basket.
Painted on a 12 x 16 sheet of Ampersand Aquabord with transparent watercolor, sealed with Krylon Acrylic Archival Varnish.

First painting completed in 2011 - "In Full Bloom"

We live in a suburban area.  Which in New Brunswick means we share our property and gardens with a population of white tail deer.  Although beautiful, they are known in our region as “garden rats”.  Almost nothing is sacred.  They eat almost everything! Especially tulips, lilies and hostas.  Apparently tulips and lilies are like candy to them. They wait until the bloom is about to burst open with color and munch them while we are sleeping.
Every now and then I am successful in foiling their snack.  We apply blood meal regularly, especially after each rain – apparently, the deer do not like the smell (I understand, I don’t like it either). 
This grouping of tulips were spared from the ravenous appetites of Bambi and friends.  I photographed them each day – quite a novelty to see open tulips in these parts. I could not wait to start the painting.  (Although I had to finish “Amethyst Lilacs” and the “Quince” paintings first.
So, “In Full Bloom” is my first completed painting in 2011.  Here is hoping for another colorful tulip display this coming spring.
Painted on a 12 x 16 sheet of Ampersand Aquabord with transparent watercolor, sealed with Krylon Acrylic Archival Varnish.

Watercolor painting of Japanese Quince on Ampersand Aquabord

"Quince" Watercolor painting on Aquabord
Mid-spring each year, we have a wonderful quince shrub that presents us with a shock of color.  I am always surprised and pleased with the display.  To the point where we have purchased two more quince shrubs.  Interestingly enough, the colors on the two newer plants are quite different from the older original shrub. 
When we are sitting on the deck and see this blaze of reddish orange at the back of the property, you just have to walk over to admire it up close. Careful not to get too close, it is a thorny shrub.  Also somewhat deer resistant which is another reason we acquired two more.
Last year, I completed a quarter sheet watercolor of the quince.  I love how these “vermillion” blooms are highlighted with yellows and yet are contrasted with deep shades of red and scarlet in the shadows. Especially when it is back lit by the sun.  When the smaller watercolor was completed, I was pleased with the painting but thought I did not achieve the overall effect I was striving for. It needed to be bigger so it would present bolder.
This is the smaller original watercolor on Arches 300lb paper
I drew it out once again on a 22 x 30 sheet of Ampersand Aquabord.  The watercolors seem to be more luminous on this material.  And the scale of the painting is large enough to create the “drama” I was striving for.  So, many weeks later, this is the finished result.

Blue Taffeta

It is always an adventure when you embark to paint a series of related works.  In this case, I am experimenting with the Aquabord watereolor painting surface.  I really like the vibrancy you can achieve once you figure out how to layre  - er, actually, once you realize you have to have patience to let the layres dry completely before you apply the next one.

This is an iris from my garden and one of my favourites.  We grow a number of bearded irises - but thsi one always stops me in my tracks.  The blues are so intense and the white so crisp.

This flower reminds me of a ballgown, hence the neme "Blue Taffeta"

New work - and to think I said no more painting with purples for awhile -oh well!

After finishing the "Amethyst Lilac" painting, I was determined to paint somethig less complex and not purple.  Well, being who I am, gravitating towards complexity in everthing I do, I started this painting on Aquabord.  (This is burgundy with some purple....)

Aquabord is a relatively new hard surface for painting with watercolours.  The beauty of this surface is that the completed piece is sprayed with acrylic Krylon archival varnish when completed and framed without glass.  Thie piece is protected.  As so many people now prefer to purchase paintings with out glass in order to emiminate glare from lighting and windows - this is a nice option.  The main thing is, the work becomes a mixed media piece (remember the acrylic varnish?)  Oh yes, the fraing is also less expensive - less the matting and glass.  Aquabord aslo comes cradled - my next purchase will be cradled - then no framing required at all - just finish the edges!

The surface is tricky, the colour holds well, but a mis placed drop can remove the pigment. Also, when painting wet-in-wet, I find it harder to get an edge than with Arched 300lb paper.  So, I love the surface, nice for a change - but will not be giving up working on paper.

Town Hall Meeting or Gathering of the Flock

This painting is a composite of many photos of pigeons taken the first really cold day in the fall. It is a watercolour painted on aquabord (claybord) and finished with Krylon acrylic archival varnish. I was torn with the title - "Gathering of the Flock" was my other choice. Working on this was pure fun... I delibertly tried not to be as detail oriented and to play with the paint. That is the wonderful thing with claybord - it is forgiving and acts differently from watereolor on paper. I intend to do may more this way. Lets me loosen up some

Feeding Time Yet?

This painting was an experiment with some of the new tools available for watercolors. I admit I am a watercolor purist - and so this was also an exercise in bravery. I purchased a number of clayboard panels while visiting my daughter in Vancouver last year. It has taken me exactly a year to decide to experiment with them. The texture of the clayboard is quite different from paper - at first I was unsure if I liked it or not. After painting for a few minute - i started to get the feel for the material - bottom line. If you have time to play, this is a fun product. I sealed the finished painting with three coats of Krylon spray varnish. I have not decided yet if I am going to apply Golden Polymer Varnish over top or not. I know it will owrk well as I used it on teh Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in my last blog. These goldfish and Koi are family pets - they summer in our pond and winter in a large aquarium in our basement.