Painting has commenced... ACK.

Here's a new vow I'm taking... I will never let myself go so long (8 months this time) without painting a portrait.  Holy cow.  Really not smart.  I lose a lot of the progress I had made and then getting started again feels somewhat traumatizing.  *g*  But I have started.  Woo hoo!

Got just an initial layer of paint on; however, there are several more, I'm sure, to be applied.  As you can see, that lovely sap green underpainting is still very much showing through.  Won't be the case when it's done.

I have to work out where the shadows are and get them applied now.  Those dark tones can be a little scary to apply, but they are what really makes the painting.  The base layer of the hair is on, but it will contain more colors, highlights, lowlights, etc.  A lot more definition.  My initial try at a background tonight was a total fail.  I ended up wiping it off.  I need to take a day or two and really think about what to do with it.  Which will be easy because I need to give the current layer of paint a day to dry a bit.  I actually do think I have an idea for the background, but I'm going to ponder it a bit longer.

And yes, I'll post a picture.  I have to give the following caveat: this is only the first layer and, thank God, by the time I finish, this will look a thousand times better.  *g*  At least I'm being positive!  :)

Progress has been made!

I worked on the bird/woman painting tonight!  I got honest with myself and admitted that I was finding other things to do instead of starting on it.  It's been awhile since I've done a portrait and I was getting a wee bit nervous.  But then I was reading the interview I did on Huckleberry Bumpkin's blog and my quote got me:

“When my doubts about my art surface, I can let them paralyze me or I can push past it and continue to create.“

LOL!   Convicted by my own words!  I hate that!  I decided it was time to push past those doubts and fears.  :)  One thing I've found helps me when I get like this is to pick one thing, one tiny, simple thing and do it.  For instance, tonight I decided to mix up the paint for the skin tones.  I have a little recipe from a previous art class that I like and it's all mapped out for me.  I thought that was non-threatening enough yet it was a step forward. 

 


 By the time I finished that, I was feeling good enough that I decided to go ahead and sketch in the painting with the thinned out sap green paint.  



Now all I have to do is wait for her to dry, then I can move ahead and begin the painting!  I'm hoping that will be tomorrow.  The paints are in the freezer, waiting to be applied to the canvas when it's ready.  :)

I'm glad I nipped this in the bud before it got any further.  Not so say there won't be any other moments like this, I know better!  I haven't mentioned this yet on this blog, but the place I work at was picked as one of four organizations to receive donations from a ball and silent auction this fall.  I was asked if I'd be willing to donate a painting for the auction and I readily agreed, as I'd been thinking of volunteering one.  So I'm very aware that I can't afford to let myself procrastinate.  

I've got several ideas of paintings I want to do and I'm not sure which one will work best for the auction.  So I want to finish a few of them.  Any others will be listed on http://juliebehm.boundlessgallery.com.  That's something I had planned on doing anyway.  The last thing I want is to be two weeks away from the auction and rushing to try and finish a painting in time!

Okay, that's it for today.  Got to go get some sleep so I can stay alert and awake at work - things are crazy there right now and will be for some time - and so I can continue work on the painting tomorrow night.  Yeah!


Interview with Huckleberry Bumpkin

It's up!  That's right, the interview on Huckleberry Bumpkin's blog that I talked about in my last entry is up.  If you're interested, you can read it at http://huckleberrybumpkin.blogspot.com/2010/01/expanding-blossom.html.  I highly suggest you read all the interviews on her blog.  There's some awesome talent there!  Also, she has her own Art Fire shop and you can find that at http://www.artfire.com/users/huckleberrybumpkin.

Wish I Were There...

So, I ended up working on a different painting than the woman and bird.  I did get the sketch from the last entry transferred onto the canvas.  I had grand plans to finish the underpainting tonight, but I came home from work and was so tired, I promptly passed out on the couch for over 2 hours and slept hard.  It was one of those days.  :(  I'm just hoping I can fall asleep tonight at a decent hour!  Anyway, maybe I'll get to work on the woman and the bird tomorrow.

Earlier this week, I felt inspired to work on another painting - a 7x5 of a Hawaiian beach.  It was inspired by a photo my sister took, though you'd never be able to tell by comparing the two!  I just wanted to do a very simplified, colorful beach scene.  This is the latest version:



Please forgive the tacky paper towel background.  This puppy is very wet - I got paint all over my hand just taking this picture!

I think this is the finished version (minus an artist's signature on the bottom right, but it needs to dry a bit first) but then, I've thought the same thing two other times.  :)  This one's a little unusual for me, as it has some texture to it.  Normally I don't have much texture - or any at all - in my paintings.  I tend to paint very smoothly, with no visible brushstrokes.  But that just didn't seem to be working for this one.  It was crying out for something different.  Combining that with my desire to experiment and push myself to try new things, I decided to play with it a bit.  Do something I normally wouldn't do.  Hence the criss cross ocean, the dappled sand and the daubed on waves hitting the sand.

I love the colors and just the simpleness of it.  I want to be on that beach, listening to the waves crash and swimming in the gorgeous tuquoise water.  The cool thing is, I will be there in less than two months!  I can hardly wait.  I find being by the ocean to be the most relaxing, peaceful place for me and I just thrive on it.  I'm planning on taking lots of pictures while I'm in Kona and hopefully some of them will eventually become paintings! 

This poor thing is going to need quite a bit of time to dry, but eventually it will be put on http://juliebehm.boundlessgallery.com for sale. 

Btw, I'm thrilled to reveal that I will be featured on Huckleberry Bumpkin's blog this week!  I believe it will be on Thursday, but I will be sure to post a link to it when she posts it.  She's doing a whole series of interviews with various artists and artisans and I highly recommend you read them.  She's found some very talented folk that deserve to be seen.  I'm just honored and thrilled beyond belief that she wanted me to join that group.  You can find her blog at http://huckleberrybumpkin.blogspot.com.  

Off to go try and get some sleep.  I promise to post update pictures of the woman and bird painting (really need a zinger of a title for that painting...  bird and woman painting just isn't cutting it!) when I get some more done on it!

My latest challenge!

Hey all!  Just taking a little break to write an update.  I've been wrestling with financial stuff so that I can file my taxes and boy, has it been a struggle!  I'm having to learn a lot about it, with this being my first year to file taxes for my business.  But I believe that challenges and learning new things are good for us, they make our noggins work and keep them sharp.  :)

I realized the last time I posted an update that most of my posts lately have been about already finished items and not much - especially pictures - of works in progress.  Well, if there's one thing I am not lacking in, it's works in progress!  At last count, I had over ten canvases in various states of progress.  But there's one in particular that is very exciting to me right now, so I wanted to post a little about it.

After half a year, I'm finally delving back into painting with oils.  In addition to acrylics, of course.  Oils just seem to come more naturally to me, much more so than acrylics.  And coming back to them is like seeing my best friend again after a while apart.  We're getting reacquainted but the magic is still there. It's also been about the same time since I've painted a portrait with oils.  Portraits are one of my favorite things to create and I've really missed it.

A few weeks ago, some of my family came over for brunch.  My five year old niece and I were sitting at the dining room table drawing.  She's quite the little artist and we can draw for hours together.  I started a sketch of a woman's profile with very stylized, flowing hair.  I had her with her arms out in front of her, but it just didn't feel quite right, so I set her aside.  I needed a little moodling time to figure out how she should look.

Earlier this week, my brain finally came up with the final version.  I changed the sketch around and finally, at the stroke of midnight, I figured out what the last little piece of the drawing should look like and what additional changes need to be made or added.  Once I finished, I scanned the image.  The sketch itself is 8x10, but when I picked out the canvas, I went for an 18x24.  It's been a while since I've worked on a surface this big and I'm excited!

I uploaded the image to www.blockposters.com, where they will take your image and enlarge it, then create a pdf file of it.  Then you can print it out on multiple pages and tape the pages together to create a large poster.  I didn't want to freehand this drawing on the canvas, so I will be transferring it using this poster.  In preparation, I did an underpainting of sap green oil paint on the canvas.  It is now ready for me to transfer the image onto the canvas and complete the underpainting.  Here's a picture of it so far:





I am SO EXCITED about working on this piece!  When I stumbled across this bird, I just knew he would be perfect for the image and I love how he's just perched on her hand, checking her out.  I've mapped out the colors and am planning it all out in my mind.  I will start painting it this week and will be sure to keep you all update on the progress!

Oh, and by the way, I'm very excited to announce that I am now offering a print of my Rainy Day Owl in my Art Fire shop!  I have more copies on the way, plus an additional print of Purple and Blue Flower that I will be listing soon. 

Okay, enough for tonight.  I hope that all of you are doing well and I look forward to writing again soon with pictures of my latest and newest creations!

Thanks for reading my blog and welcome to the new followers!

Julie

Sneak peek of a new Owl coming out tomorrow!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, I will be listing this adorable little owl tomorrow morning!  She'll be available for purchase in my Etsy shop at http://quirkydame.etsy.com.  I will be doing another Valentine Owl for my Art Fire shop this week, so stay tuned!


Quirky Dame Designs Update!

First piece of good news?   I just placed an order for a sample print for three of my paintings!  I'm nervous, but eager to see how they turn out.  If they turn out well, I will be listing them in both my Art Fire and Etsy shops then ordering more.  If they don't, I'll continue to fiddle around until I get some awesome prints that are sell-worthy.  :)

In other good news, I've listed two new paintings this weekend!  The first one is called Night Owl and he's done on the mini 2.5"x3.5" canvas and comes with the 5" easel shown in the picture.  He's available at http://quirkydame.artfire.com:



The next one was just me fiddling around with another mini canvas and experimenting a bit.  I ended up with Desert Sunset, available at http://juliebehm.boundlessgallery.com




Next on my plate is a mini Valentine's Day owl.  I'm going to sign off now and get started!  Thanks for reading my blog!  :)

New paintings for a new year!

Hello all!  I hope everyone had a wonderful new year.  Mine has been quite productive so far.  Over the holiday weekend, I started excavating and organizing my studio, gessoed two wood panels for new owl paintings, finished two new paintings and worked up sketches for two future paintings! 

Instead of making resolutions, the past three years I've chosen a word of the year.  It's worked much better than resolutions ever did.  It's amazing when you look back at the end of the year and realize just how much that word affected the year.  This year the word I felt called to choose was "Expand."  And I'm already expanding!  I'm looking into prints and may get samples done soon.  This is something I've wanted to do for quite some time.  So I'm busy educating myself about this subject and hope that prints will be available later in the year!

I also opened up a new store - in addition to my ArtFire store - that will feature my paintings only.  I will still list some paintings on ArtFire, along with the note cards, etc.  But I'm exciting to branch out and to have my artwork available at http://jb.boundlessgallery.com/.  Right now I have three paintings there.  Two of them are the new ones I created this weekend.  Here's a sneak peek at them:



Silvery Blue Flowers
2009





Purple and Blue Flower
2010

I also listed a new note card in my shop.  It features the painting that I use as my avatar and ArtFire shop banner called The Odd Couple:





I'm really looking forward to this year and to the fresh, new start.  I'm excited about what life will bring and I hope that it brings all of you much happiness and many wishes come true!  I hope to start a new painting tomorrow.  As soon as possible, I'll post some pictures and update you on the progress. :) 

In the meantime, if you'd like to keep updated on the new items I post to both shops and any sales and promotions, please visit my fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/quirkydamedesigns.  I will be doing a drawing for my fans for a free set of seven note cards on Wednesday.  I'm excited to see who will win!

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