Monday, 11 April 2016

2013 Oil Paintings

A LOT of paintings for me this year! Quite a nice steady flow of them.
I managed to create fourteen oil paintings in total in 2013 so yes this will be a fairly long entry. Feel free to skip past the text and just look at the pictures if it pleases you :)
The first two I made were created early on in January and March while the rest were completed later in the year.

Sunlit Woods – 8 x 10” Oil on stretched canvas.

First painting made in January this year - the above was created on a gifted canvas that already had yellow and copper streaks painted on it as a background when I received it. Since the background was set I tried to imagine what kind of subject would sit well on top. I rarely paint impressionistic landscapes but decided to let the brush strokes speak for me; bending loose trees, plant dots and dappled shadows seemed fitting.
It turned into an interested piece that has an iridescent sheen in all the right places when the light hits it. Of course it is nigh impossible to scan or capture iridescent reflections in a photograph. Still it was a good experiment that got me out of my comfort zone.

Red Lion Fish - 8 x 10” Oil on cradle board

Call this experiment number two for this year. Not very much iridescent so this one doesn’t shimmer in any light but instead is translucence in places. I created the blue background first using thin layers of oil to allow some of the wood grain to show through and create natural patterning. Painting the fish turned out to be a rather delicate procedure of layering very thin washes. Now I work flat and in thin layers to begin with so trying to make those layers even thinner to make translucency was no easy task! Still I think I achieved my goal in capturing the ghost-like appearance of a see-through fish.

Cherry Blossom -  8 x 10” Oil on stretched canvas.

The above was an unusual and specific commission that took longer than I expected. I walked the buyer through every stage of the painting to ask what they wanted. They sent me several random photographs of blossom and we outsourced what type of bench should be presented. I sent the composition before paint was applied and then kept them up to date until we reached a point we were both happy with. It certainly taught me a few things! I think it turned out rather lovely even though this isn’t an atypical subject for me to paint. The best news is that it was a gift for someone other than my client and the report back was that the new owner loved it :D

Young Snow Leopard – 16 x 18” Oil on stretched canvas

Well the beauty above spent many years as a WIP waiting in the wings. I started this painting in 2011 and by 2013 I pulled the confidence to finish. Yes, that’s quite a long time to leave a piece sitting unfinished, it even travelled all the way from England to Canada in its raw unfinished state! Still it ended up being a great finish. I guess good things are worth waiting for after all.
As always there are many things I want to change but I was so relieved I managed to get it down and that the cool colour balance I planned from the start actually worked!
I put the green plant on last and I recall I was so afraid I might mess up those slender lines and have to try and fix the background my hand was shaking!! Painted those plant lines about three times to try and shade them and phew what a relief I didn’t have to correct any shaky hand errors. ^_^
For comparison below is a blurry photograph of the 2011 version I worked into for those of you who like WIPs (stop giggling at the pun you!!)

Next up in order of creation date we have a piece I titled Courage.

Courage – 12 x 9” Oil on canvas board

The above is one piece of art I love and hate simultaneously. If 2013 taught me anything it is that I really dislike working on canvas boards and that purple is the worst colour to try and mix from your basic set of colours. I painted the rocks here with relative ease but that pretty flower took more than a few re-paintings and I ended up having to borrow a purple from someone else because I just couldn’t get the shade I wanted from mixing.
I have since purchased Dioxazine purple for my paint set and even named a purple-haired character Dioxa in honour of my struggle.
On the plus my persistence paid off since many people seem to really enjoy this image and I was personally pleased with the final too. This painting has also served me well in various print formats so I’d call that a big win :)
Below is another example of me not quite learning my lesson when it comes to canvas boards and flowers.

Valentines in October – 12 x 9” Oil on canvas board.

This was a hugely experimental piece for me and aptly named because I literally painted the dead flowers that my husband gave me in February in October. I seem to have a thing for dead flowers, I really love the way they curl up and preserve. Those interesting shapes were the reason I kept the flowers for so long and why I wanted to try and paint them. Adding my new knowledge of translucency, I thought I could apply it to the glass vase and the faded flowers.
As usual I made the background first and was enamored with the idea of the dripping paint look. Sadly, I forgot to realise than chucking a whole lot of water onto something that is essentially cardboard beneath the canvas might have a negative outcome. So yes the board warped under the amount of water I used to get the stressed drippy background – gah!
Some acid free paper (to protect the art) a heavy book and a wet cloth are required to unwarp it.
I was aiming for delicate again but different and decided to have the vase ‘float’ rather than have a hard surface for it to sit on. I also wanted to aim for a watercolour look.
As read I probably should have known better, last time I tried to paint dead daffodils I ended up with two perspectives in one image – now that is a feat I couldn’t do again if I tried!
Moving onward then, I had several of those canvas boards left that I wanted to put to use.
A glutton for punishment maybe but I had also been working on some ACEOs (small art cards 2.5 x 3.5” for those that don’t know – and yes that will be my next blog post shhh don’t tell) based on a starlight theme. Since I enjoyed doing the smaller set of star-scapes I decided to create larger versions.

Orion – 9 x 12” Oil on canvas board

Orion will always be my favourite go-to choice of constellation. It reminds me of home because in a soft romantic Disney-esq type of storytelling ‘I can always look up and know that my friends and family can see the same constellation, no matter how far apart we might be.’
It’s a very easily recognised constellation that also happened to be the one I could see from my bedroom window as a child.
Well of course I had to attempt this in oils. I used a wet-on-wet technique for the darker foreground and again tried to let my brushes make the marks of the silhouetted trees.
The next two I will put in tandem follow this theme of star-scapes.

Northern Starlight – 9 x 12” Oil on canvas board

I love the idea of the aurora and made a pretty good smaller piece based on this.
I don’t personally think the above painting captured what I wanted to show but I’m glad I tried and it also shows my love of reflections. Reflections or mirrors in still water is a theme I am still working on. Speaking of reflections in still water:

Another Starry Night – 12 x 9” Oil on canvas board

The third in this set was just that; a mirror of sky and silhouette.

After such a foray into landscapes and sky I decided I should do a little fantasy.

Serv Eye – 6 x 6” Oil on cradle board

The above piece sold – woo – hoo! It is named ‘Serv Eye’ because this is one breed of dragon in….yeah you guessed it, my story. I based this painting on earlier drawings of one dragon in particular. This wonderful and huge dragon was named Fao. Write his name backwards and be amazed at my literary skills when it comes to names :P

Back again then to more ‘serious’ paintings I give you my second large piece of the year.

First Autumn – 16 x 20” Oil on stretched canvas

This was difficult in terms of pose and colour. It’s much easier to work in one colour theme and much harder trying to make those complimentary shades match. Also pointillism isn’t a technique I was familiar with so it took me a long time to try and ‘pointillism’ the grass backdrop with my brush.

A much smaller piece below that involved ink and paint.

Ivory – 3 x 4” Oil and ink on cradle board

I’d call this one a study. It also involves those reflections I seem to be inclined toward.
I stained the wood block using ink and then added the painted skull and candles. It was interesting to see how the two mediums worked together. Also without sounding too morbid I really enjoy sketching/painting animal skulls.

Last two oils for this year were both animals.

Autumn Wolf – 10 x 8” Oil on stretched canvas

 This was great because I got to throw ‘all the colours’ at the backdrop and then make them muddy. I also very much enjoyed making a different type of grey for those rocks. I should have written down the combination I used to make that one.

Tiger Eye – 8 x 6” Oil on stretched canvas

The above tiger eye is another piece that found itself a new home – hooray!

The best part about this one for me was the unusual cropping. Seems I really do like cutting my pieces in odd ways. I guess if it works then don’t knock it!

Well that's all for this round. Catch you on the next post ^_^

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