Bridge With Waterfall / oil

bridge with waterfall

I started working on this painting a few weeks ago. I think I have about 30 hours in it but I didn’t keep track of time. I can concentrate for 2 or 3 hours a day, so I just have to keep going back. It’s a slow process, but it has it’s advantages working like this.

1st and most important is, I have a good excuse to go there every day and hang around in the beauty. It’s good for your health.

The other thing that I like about this way of painting by building up layers of glazes is that I can make corrections easily for different painting problems. If I get home and look at it and think, it’s not good, I have 2 choices.  I can use a little turp on a paper towel and wipe it right off without destroying my layers underneath, because when you paint in the couch with Maroger Medium it dries enough overnight that it is only tacky the next day. The medium makes the paint slide so nicely on the canvas. Painting in the couch is when you 1st paint a layer of medium over your dry glaze from the day before. Then, paint into the layer of plain medium with your color. You can go thick or thin.

The other way to fix a mistake is to wait till it dries a little and paint on top with the color you want. That’s the great thing about oil paint. It’s very forgiving. So why not take advantage of the nature of the medium? This is how they taught us to paint at York Academy of Art. I remember they told us NOT to even try to paint wet in wet, as they called it back then. Now they call it “ala prima”.  So I guess I’ll stick to my academic classical training.

Painting water is always a challenge. I never know exactly how to do it, so I just give it a try and if I don’t like it, I’ll try again and go over it again and again. This time I only painted the water once. First I had to paint the rock wall and then I went back the next day and thinned down white and light gray to paint my skinny lines of water. When you paint in the couch with Maroger Medium, it’s easy to paint detail because the paint flows better than painting on a dry canvas, or painting on top of wet paint. The medium is the exact right texture to paint on. I hope you can see what I’m saying.

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Japanese Garden at Maymont / oil

I took this painting to a critique .....

I took this painting to a critique …..

I like that gallery in Mechanicsville, the Windemere. They have a nice place out there. The critique thing, I wasn’t so sure about, but I thought if I want to show my art there I should give it a try. And it was better than I anticipated.

When Shelby and I were young chicks in art school at York Academy of Art, we had to endure some harsh critiques from teachers that didn’t care if they hurt the student’s feelings. Fortunately for that experience, it’s impossible for an art critic to hurt my feelings.  But you learn so much from a real critique, and I think modern art students never hear it from their teachers these days. I still think no one outside of the academy can critique beyond, “I like it.” or “I don’t like it.”  OK. Everyone’s a critic including me.

What I was glad to learn today is that piece of architecture I painted in the foreground is a Japanese Lantern! I always imagined they were duck houses! hahahah I know if I was a duck, I’d move in to it.

Also, I got an idea of how to paint another duck house so it might come out a little better next time. ( I mean lantern )

Japanese Garden at Maymont / charcoal

This is my 2nd try sketching the pagoda and pond.

This is my 2nd try sketching the pagoda and pond.

I love the Japanese garden at Maymont and wanted to paint there for a few years. The thing that stopped me is the long hill to climb in and out of there. I guess the exercise won’t hurt me. I’m going to get a workout lugging my gear.

When I was down there drawing today, I met a few other artists drawing. It wasn’t a class, they are friends out casually drawing. One lady told me, “They tell you to draw without erasing.” That sounds funny to me because I erase all the time. They looked like VCU students., so I thought, maybe their teacher doesn’t know how to draw. hahahhahahah Drawing without erasing wasn’t on our list of drawing exercises from York Academy of Art. YAA was a school that pushed the students to try to draw and paint in the classical tradition. They don’t follow that path in art school these days.

Wait a minute. Is that a pagoda or a gazebo?

Japanese Garden @ Lewis Ginter Botanical / oil

japanese gardenWhen I started this painting the tree on the left had a few red leaves hanging on the lower branches. I knew they would drop soon so I had to work fast. By the time I had the background finished and ready to paint the tree the leaves were all down but I saved a space in the underpainting for them and mixed my colors in advance.

For the tall grass I mixed colors and blobbed runny paint on then scratched through it with the back end of my paintbrush to make a texture like grass without painting skinny lines.

Sleeping Lion @ Maymont / Japanese Garden

I pasted the fence onto the acrylic wash background. And worked on the bamboo leaves. I still want to add more leaves, so I didn’t glue all the leaves down.

The lion is taped on so I can plan the pedestal. That’s my start on his pedestal on the left. It looke like a celtic floral design carved into the stone. I roughed in some stones, but I couldn’t make a better arrangement, so I’m drawing it the way it looks .

I’m also planning the stone wall behind the lion and his base . That burnt umber and grey acrylic scribble on the bottom of the picture will be covered with stones and ivy.

When I work on a picture, I make 1000 decisions.  I look at what I just did and decide if I want to continue, or change that part. some times it takes me days , weeks , months to get a difficult question worked out. It’s important not to rush so there’s a better chance my choices will work out. But I’m almost finished with this collage now.