Saturday, June 26, 2010

Take two on the oak branches

Actually this is the third painting/collage I’ve done of this subject, but this one is based on the same photograph (cropped down) as this first version so it seems like #2, even if it isn’t really. It’s engrossing to test out various ways to depict these trees. While not 100% satisfied yet, I don’t hate these tryouts, which is a refreshing experience. Often In the past when painting, my reaction after a few hours of labor has been a strong desire to throw the canvas in a nice hot bonfire.
This version is less stylized than the first one and incorporates more paper than fabric in the collage part. Also, it has something ripped out of an old National Geographic. It’s current title is Splendorous, based on one of the torn-out words. I can’t recall seeing that word in print before, love it. Who knew how fun it would be to add some text to the image? Here’s a detail shot:
So here’s the question, dear readers... Is it finished? The in-process photo below shows the Spanish moss I was originally thinking of adding. 
The clumps of moss aren’t all in the exact spots where they would go, but hopefully this gives you an idea. Yes, no, doesn’t matter? Thanks for any opinions!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Critter sighting

Hmmm, what is that in the backyard? A pushmi-pullyu?
Nope, just adorable twin fawns. They wandered around nibbling here and there (please, help yourself to the grape vines, guys!) I never did see a doe, although a buck with velvet-encased antlers ate his way along the side of the house. The twins settled down near the pond as twilight came. I assume later they went into a more hidden spot, but didn’t want to disturb them by shining a flashlight around, you know?
Oddly, the deer like to eat citrus tree leaves, so we hang bars of soap in the branches which sort of discourages them. They keep out of sight when anyone is outside but sometimes when we walk around the yard, there’s a big crash in the palmettos when we’ve spooked one. It would be fun to use them in some artwork, wouldn’t it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Branching out

Sorry, couldn’t resist! My husband Andy and I recently took a little trip to visit several Florida state parks, including Big and Little Talbot Islands. I shot quite a few photos looking up into tree canopies, mostly oak and pine trees. The twisting branches of live oaks are amazing, like a bonsai that just kept growing.
The shot above is the cropped photo that I used as the basis for the artwork. While I’ve worked mostly in soft fiber art mode in recent years, I wanted to try “hard” collage using acrylics for this piece.
First I sketched the image onto a 12" X 12" hardboard (an Ampersand pastel panel that was hanging around), then painted the basic shapes with black, lavender, and white. After drying, it was time to add...
...some pieces of fabric from my stash. I set up the easel to lay flat so quite a few pieces could be laid out before being stuck down. The adhesive is Clear Tar Gel gloss by Golden, but other reasonably thick gels also work. 

Hmmm... a problem became evident about midway through. I take photos along the way, which has become vital to my process. For some reason I can see things in the little display of my camera that are not apparent in the artwork right in front of me! The lavender was too similar in value to the green leaves, which made the image lack contrast. So, I painted over most of the lavender with white acrylic, though it still shows through.
More fabric pieces were added plus some tiny bits of painted papers. Though perhaps a few things here and there could be changed next time around, I like how it turned out. 

This is becoming a bit of a roll, because the wolf from a couple of weeks ago was also satisfactory. While that may not sound overly enthusiastic, if I am not happy with artwork-in-progress my reaction is along the lines of YUCK, THIS IS AWFUL!!!! Having created over the years more than a few pieces of artwork that “went ugly” and couldn’t be rescued, this is a nice change!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Reading Rockets 2010 Big Summer Read

How nice to find out that The Shocking Truth about Energy is on the list for 6-9 year olds recommended by Reading Rockets. The entire list of about 20 titles is here online and there’s a PDF if you’d like to print out the list to take to the bookstore. 

Other titles on the list include: 
Face to Face with Manatees by Brian Skerry
She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader, by J. G. Annino
Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

The Reading Rockets web site is full of excellent resources to help encourage kids to read.

I created an e-card for them a few years ago, which can be found on this page along with several more by various illustrators such as Robert Sabuda, Marc Brown, and Betsy Lewin. The idea is to send them to your favorite little reader to give them a little extra motivation throughout the year.

So, here’s to happy reading, all summer long!