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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Introducing Purdy

I Give You Purdy

Purdy

Is one of my cats I have been able to tame down.

All my cats are outside cats and all but their mother have been wild as hairs.

Somehow I was able to tame several of them down,
one by one.

All of my other cats have very thick coats, but they are sleek,
then up shows Miss Purdy in the middle of a litter of calicos with all this fabulous fur.  
She's a show off.

She would not come anywhere near anyone, then one day she decided to take a chance on me.
She let me get just close enough, but no touching.
Each day she got a little braver, until finally, she let me pet her.
Now I can't go outside without her walking between my legs, rubbing all over me.
If I sit down, she's going to be right there.  
She's hilarious.    

I've been working on learning how to paint cats and dogs.
and this is my first painting
  of my first subject I've been happy with.   

I did another of Miss Purdy, (I call her that because she's so pretty), but she looked like more like a lion than a cat.

This one definitely is not perfect,
but I think I'm on my way.   


Here's the real thing.
I don't think I did too bad.  
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Creativity = Learning Experience

Creativity is a Learning Experience

To create something, anything,
a potholder,
a pillow,
a dress,
plant a garden,
make a bookshelf,
sculpt,
make jewelry,
paint,
it's all creative and it's always a learning experience.

Is there ever a point where you know it all?

I'd have to say no.

There is so much to learn and there are always new materials,
new brushes, 
new fabrics,
once you think you've got it, something changes,
you change,
you progress 
and then you find there is something new to learn.

In my quest to have my own in studio art school with me as the student,
I'm learning so much and always finding more things I don't know.

I've been working on animals and I painted my cat Purdy.
The painting is not very purdy, so you won't be seeing it.

Then I worked on tweaking another painting I did last year.

The reference for this barn is somewhere in Logan County, OH.

This barn is not quite abandoned, but almost.
It's an interesting structure and it was a frigid day when I was there and took this photo.

The painting is dark and foreboding.

It's a little 5" x 7" acrylic on a board and again I wasn't really happy with it,
so, I can't really say I tweaked it.  I basically started over with it leaving in the barn.
But of course I had to change the barn, at least warm it up a little.

It still looks old and cold 
but a little warmer.

As I said, I basically started over, but I learned so much about warming up snow.

Doesn't that sound weird.

Today I warmed up snow.

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From Point A to Point B

Improvements

After the first of the year, many of us are thinking about making improvements in our lives.

A lot of that going on here in Kentucky.

I'm working on improving how I look,
how my house looks,
and how my art looks.

I did a painting from a photograph I took years ago at General Butler State Park,
here in Carroll County, KY.

I was never happy with it.

This is where I started.

Not enough definition,
not enough highlights and shadows,
just not enough.

So after my online pet painting lesson I pulled it out and made some changes.

 Toned down the background undergrowth,
livened up the left side of all trees,
Deepened the right side of all trees,
Added me highlights and shadows to the main trunks,
Added more twigs and branches in the undergrowth.

And I'm happy.

Walk With the General
20" X 16" unframed acrylic on stretched canvas
$200 + $20 shipping 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Practice Practice

I'm not a musician but I was a dancer growing up
and if there's anything I know about, it's practice.
Painting is no different.  Many of my artists friends say you have to put miles on your brush.
So I will be practicing on these subjects for a while until I get comfortable.
That oughtta only take a year or two.  

If you've been following my blog recently you know I'm trying to improve my drawing
and learn to paint animals.

I have a lot of animals here on the farm and I want to get better at painting them.

I'm currently working on cats and dogs.

My cats and a dearly departed dog, Bailey.

My husband really misses him cause he was kind of a crazy lovable guy.

Today I watched several segments of an online pet painting class I've been taking,
and then had to pick up my brush.

I don't have a face frontal picture of Bailey,
so I'm using that as  my excuse as to why it is so hard. 
Also he's a black and white dog,
 but you know there's all kinds of colors hiding in the black and white.    

Another difficult feat.

This was when I thought I was finished.

But what happens a lot of times, is you take the picture
and then you see the problems.
I kept thinking he looked like a weasel instead of a dog.

Then I saw the problem with the nose.

So I had to make a "slight correction".

You can see I straightened out his nose a little bit.  When I did that I had to add a little more black to the middle.  I tweaked a little on the neck also.  
 It's hard to make yourself put your brush away.     

So, here is today's version of a "slightly corrected" Bailey.

I can't show you any more of him,
because that part of the painting is horrible,
but I'm fairly happy with this part.

Rest in peace friend Bailey.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pet Portrait Learning Curve

Learning Curve

It's always fun to learn something new
and this is definitely new for me.  
I'm taking an online class on painting pet portraits because I need to improve on drawing and painting animals.  I thought this would be a good way to go.  I can stop the class at any time, back up and start over or just watch a portion of the class at any time.

Sounds good, doesn't it.
Well, it's pretty much working out just like that,
but as students we always seem to forget the teacher has been at this a while,
so mine don't look as good as hers, but I'm satisfied with them.

All Good!

Here's my motivation.

Hopefully my family will recognize this as our dearly departed dog Bailey.
He died a year ago and he is missed.

Through the class I have learned how to draw him and other dogs with relative accuracy. 

This was sort of a quick study but I am happy with it.

The next part of the class was painting the eye of a cat and a dog so these two paintings just have a portion of a face and are painted on scrap matt board.


Anyway, here is the practice of a cat eye 


     
And here is the dog eye practice.

Now, it's on to a real dog and cat and then hopefully on to my dog and cats.

Yes, I have multiple cats.

I'm like that crazy ol lady.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pet portrait class

Pet Portrait

I'll bet you're thinking,
Sharon and pet portraits?

Are you kidding me.

She's terrified of dogs!!!

But I can use a photo of a dog to paint a pet portrait.

I'm taking an online class on drawing and painting pet portraits.

Today we were working on values and different ways to draw a dog.
We worked on cats yesterday but I don't really have anything worth posting.

OK, so that's not a cat or a dog.

You're so quick.

It's a ribbon value, learning how to add value and shape to an animal.

Now for a dog.

This is about a 10 minute study of a photo I was working from.

Having fun with this and will be working on my own cats and dog maybe later today.

I know, you're shocked I have owned a dog.
Actually we've had several dogs over the years.
They've all been very special because they figured out pretty early on I was afraid of them and they each adapted pretty quickly.

Anyway, this has been fun.      

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Flowers

Thinking Flowers 
for Valentine's Day?

The big day is almost here.

Are your ducks in a row?

Are your flowers ordered?

As a former florist, Valentine's Day is the hardest day of the year.
Pressure, pressure and more pressure.

People calling at the last minute.

People wanting things delivered all over the world,
NOW!!

People calling at the last minute.

Flowers not coming in.

Flowers coming in in poor shape.

People calling at the last minute.

Delivery driver's who can't find the address.

People calling at the last minute.

Can I have fries with those roses?

You get the picture.

Here's a look into my cooler,
without the cooler, the raised prices, or a limited shelf life.

Most even have FREE shipping from this post.

  You Can Go Traditional roses.
7" x 5" unframed acrylic on a panel
$35 + $6 Shipping


You can think spring.
Aren't we all thinking spring?

7" x 5" unframed oil on canvas panel.
Grape Hyacinths
$50 w free shipping


Something a Little Different

Purple Rain
10" x 8" unframed acrylic on a panel.
$50 w/free shipping.
 



You can get a whole vase full of flowers.

10" x 8" unframed acrylic on a panel
$50 w/free shipping


A great framed piece that can hang, stand on its own, or on an easel, (not included).

Garden Variety

6" X 6" Oil painting in a 7" x 7" wood shadow box frame

$100 w/free shipping


There are lots of other floral paintings on my website at
www.finenatureartbyslgraves.com

Or maybe you're thinking the beach. . .

Monday, February 10, 2014

Functional Art

I Thought This Was an Art Blog
Well it is an art blog,
And to me, This is functional art.
If you know me, you know I don't like wasting anything.
I had some pillows that were not exactly my style so I decided to make them my style.
My living room is pretty rustic and the pillow were contemporary.
I'm not contemporary.
I also had a lot of blue jeans my husband had worn out.
Can you see what's going to happen here.
Like any woman who sews, I have lots of fabric.\
Yards.
Fat quarters.
Scraps.
Inches.
Threads.
I can't seem to throw any of it away.
So I decided I would take the blue jean pants and make the backs of the pillows,
And take scraps of the curtains I made in the living room and
 other projects and make the fronts. 

So here is my pillow art project for today.


They're all different patterns and designs.
That's what I liked about making them.
My curtains are that red and blue plaid you see on each pillow.
I made pillow forms out of scrap muslin I had and took the stuffing out of the contemporary pillows and stuffed the pillow forms with it.

I cut and patched the blue jeans leaving on the hammer straps and 
using the pockets to hold remote controls.
I put in zippers to get the pillow forms in an out easier for washing.


I love how these pillows brighten up my living room and make it
look so homey and cozy.
And a little on the artsy side too.
 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Finishing and Photographing a Painting

Finishing and Photographing a Painting

Painting is problematic enough without having to deal with the intricacies of photographing it, with all that entails.  It is sometimes bizarre if not frustrating and maddening the results we get and are forced to live with once the painting is completed.

That brings up a whole nother (I know that's not a word) topic.
Is a painting ever really finished?

If you like it, it's probably finished.
But, if you've never really been happy with it,
then, you can bet it's not really finished.
In fact, it may never be finished.

I struggled with these two issues on this particular painting.
Is it finished
and
getting a good photograph of it if it is finished.


This is a 20" x 16" acrylic on a canvas.
I completed at least a year ago, but was never really happy with it.

I took this photograph in natural light and it is a fair representation.

This month I'm working on my own art education so I'm taking several online or DVD classes at home and if I have time re-working some paintings I'm not happy with. 

This one was OK, but I just wasn't pleased.

So I reworked it and now I want to show you how we artists suffer for our art,
(are you crying yet)?


This was taken in natural light.
I like the painting better after a few tweaks, but the photograph doesn't really represent the actual colors in the painting.


I broke every rule in the "photographing your lovely painting book",
yet, it is much closer to the actual painting.
I used artificial light (I know you're gasping),
I had light coming from every direction, (you're feeling whoozy)
it's on an easel so it's not exactly straight up and down,
(please don't faint).

But here it is looking much more like the real painting.

I know lots of you struggle with getting a good photograph of your paintings,
(I'm not talking to you Meredith)
but this just goes to show you, that even if you do all the right things, some times the wrong things work out better in the end.

Mountain Path 
20" x 16" unframed acrylic on a canvas panel
$200 + $15 shipping


Now just in case you're still with me, here's how I tweaked the painting.

Starting with the mountains, I warmed them up.  Using a mix of every warm color on my palette and some white to opaque it, I reshaped the tops of all those small rocks on the right and added some of the same mix without the white on the front sides of  some of the rocks in the back and almost all the rocks in front.  I also added more of a mix of dioxazine purple, ultramarine blue and burnt sienna in the cracks and creases to give better depth.

I completely re-worked the dead tree in the foreground making it about the twice the size it was and warming up the front and add more shadow on the back side.

I  added one more pass of highlight on the fir tree in the foreground on the right and the one on the left closest to the dead tree.  I also highlighted the spruce on the right again.

Finally, I took pure color to jazz up the flowers along the path and in the corners.\

Don't know about you, but I'm much happier now. (You want me happy!).
It only took about an hour.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What's Next?

You May be Asking,
What's Next.

Or have you fallen off the planet?

No!

I'm actually encased in ice right now.

I put on my carharts and took my camera with the really long lense
and tromped around in the ice crusted snow to take a few pics. 


One of the many cardinals waiting in line for a spot at the feeder.


Branches are encased in ice,
just like me.
 

This is my lavender plants.
Wonder if they will survive?


 Here's my little house in the snow.

Frozen pipes?

Well, I'm back in the house right now and this month I'm working on my own art education.
I'll be working on improving my drawing skills, watching some videos I've purchased,
and some online videos.

Today I worked on drawing.

  Started this the other day but refined and finished it today.

It's about a 7" x 5"  graphite on paper.

I always enjoy painting and now drawing trees.

Hope the weather is good for you!

About Me

My photo
Ghent, Kentucky, United States
I'm a nature artist and I love to paint old barns, rivers and lakes, trees and fence rows. I work almost daily trying to improve my art and all that entails. I try to learn all I can from others and from the earth itself by being aware of all God has created and its beauty. You can purchase paintings by contacting me at slgraves6@gmail.com. You can also purchase through my gallery website at www.riverrungallery.com . Thank you so much for stopping by.