Recently I saw a picture of a luna moth and I knew I needed to do a painting of one. What a beautiful creature! I've only seen one in my life and that was just a few years ago. It was resting on the side of a building, truly amazing. I was even lucky enough to see a luna catepillar a few years ago too. Wow, it was huge! The luna moth used to be very common but now it is considered endangered in some areas. Did you know that the luna moth doesn't have a mouth? Crazy, isn't it? It's main goal as a moth is to mate and lay eggs, living for about a week.
As I'm typing this, I'm looking out my kitchen window at the icicles hanging off of our apple tree and wondering if spring is ever going to come? We had thunderstorms last night, hail, snow and ice. More snow and ice are in the forecast for tonight into tomorrow. Arrgh!
Some of the migrating birds are back, but it has to warm up more before the sweet little hummingbird returns. I'm wondering if we will skip spring here and it will go straight to summer? Either way I'm ready for sunshine and warm weather.
I actually started this painting at the same time as my "Happy Little Houses" but for some reason I got stuck with this one unlike the other which came about so easily. I just wasn't sure what I wanted out of it. I knew I wanted colorful little houses along the water, but I initially was stuck on them being along a canal of sorts, but I couldn't make it work. I finally decided on how I wanted the houses and just as I was about to glue them down, I realized they looked like they were floating out at sea and I knew that wouldn't work and that they needed to be grounded! The little sailboats were not in the original plan, but I think they really add to the overall painting .
Wouldn't you like to visit this cheerful little place?
A couple of days ago the weather was actually nice enough that I could run outside instead of on the treadmill. While running, I spotted my first robin! Finally! Even though there is still a lot of snow on the ground, it is starting to feel like spring outside. The sun is higher and stronger in the sky, the days are longer and the birds are singing away. That afternoon after my run, I had the strong urge to do a very spring like painting.
I thought I would share with you how I did it. I knew I wanted to do a bird painting, I initially thought pussy willows and gold finch, but as the painting evolved, my painting changed.
Going into the painting I knew what my color palette was going to be: pastel colors: pink, green, yellow, aqua and bits of orange. I started with the pink first, different shades of pink mixed with white.
I then painted different shades of aqua over the pink, making sure to let some pink peek through.(I forgot to take a picture of just the pink and blue) I then used a brayer for the lime green and white, again allowing the other colors to come through.
My next color I wanted was yellow, so I used an old credit card to apply it in various areas.
I then collaged all sorts of bits of paper onto it trying to keep the elements in the palette I wanted, bits of tea bags, old paper doilies, old text, old wrapping paper and books. This is where I added a little bit of orange here and there. This is when I felt it was really starting to come together.
My bird changed from a gold finch to a blue bird! I collaged the little guy out of painted coffee filters. I initially drew him out in my sketchbook and then transferred the drawing onto the painting. With the change of the bird I decided to go with cherry blossoms instead of pussy willows. I thought it brought out the bits of pink from the background. Again these were collaged from painted coffee filters.
Almost done here, the flowers are in place and the branches were cut from tea bags. Very close to being finished, it just needs a few finishing touches to make it "pop".
I'm sitting down with a nice cup of hot tea as I write this, one of my favorite moments of my day. How many times a day do you drink tea? Do you have a ritual or a daily rhythm of tea? One of my favorite tea moments is when I have a hot cup of tea and I'm heading into my studio to sit down and work on my artwork. Unfortunately this doesn't happen every day. My morning tea is more of a welcoming the day tea, warming me up for the start of my day, while my afternoon tea is more about sitting down and having a moment of quiet time(usually in my studio) and my evening tea is a wind down tea from the days events after the kids are tucked into bed. I used to have a cup of black tea in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and herbal in the evening, but now I only drink herbal tea. I thought I would miss the caffeine, but I feel the same without it, so why drink it?
With all this tea drinking it's a good thing that my favorite material to use in my paintings are tea bags. With this painting I wanted a more simple and clean look, so decided I just wanted to do the painting directly on the tea bags. I had 2 large tea bags that I used for the background and left some nice frayed edges that don't go all the way to the sides of the painting. I love the old look that the tea bags give to the painting with all its different tones and shades.
All finished. This one was a lot of fun to paint. It's amazing how much more paint, tea bags, coffee filters and gel medium I went through painting larger. If I painted this big all the time I would definitely be ordering from Dick Blick more than once or twice a year! Both pictures are photos. The colors are off. The blues are more aqua and turquoise like the bottom picture. The painting is too big for my scanner!
I haven't come up with a name for it yet, but in the upper left corner is an old recipe I ripped out of a cookbook and the recipe is called Mandarin Orange Toss Salad, so I just might name this Mandarin Orange Toss. I kind of like the randomness of it.
I was at the library the other day checking out and spotted behind the counter where they display their new books, "Daring Adventures in Paint" by Mati Rose McDonough and snatched it up immediately. It's a beautiful book with gorgeous photography and well laid out techniques with matching photos, the techniques themselves are pretty basic and seem more geared toward a beginner, such as using a brayer, squeegee, and transfer paper. I always like to see how other artists approach their work and find inspiration in this. So while the techniques weren't anything new, the eye popping color, her art work and her words were still inspirational.
My paintings are usually either 8 x 10 or 11 x 14 on watercolor paper. After reading Mati Rose's book, I was inspired to try something different. The only empty canvas I had was a 24 x 30 canvas, much bigger than what I'm used to. I did the background with many of the techniques described in the book, building up layers of paint, brayering, using a squeegee, dry brush and then collage. I'm not even sure what I'm going to paint on it, but it was a lot of fun just doing the background. Very relaxing and freeing to paint bigger and more loose.