Update from the art studio

I’ve been spending my leisure time painting this week and sharing my updates on Facebook. It all began as I was organizing the supply closet and pulled out an acrylic painting I’d begun several years ago.  A car accident whacked my paws and halted the project in 2000 and I never got back to it. I had the idea to pull out my acrylic paints and finish it up.  That led to my former dining room becoming the art studio and the igniting of my renewed interest in painting.  While I had a supply of good acrylic paints, I was missing a selection of portraiture hues, so I bought a set remarkably cheap online.  It was a set of 48 Liquitex Basic acrylics.  I had a few canvasses but Michael’s had a sale, so I bought a dozen more. Ok, maybe I got a little carried away. My mission had been to do whatever was necessary so I could finish the faces in the one acrylic painting. Now I’ve got a dozen canvases to fill and new paints to do it with. And here I’d been wanting to play in watercolors…  

When the creative impulse flows, I follow it and I was happy to be painting again.  I fell into familiar routines and time at the easel sped by.  I have 3 easels set up, since in acrylics I wait for paint to dry. I went though old sketch books and pulled out items I wanted to paint, and I posted the evolution of them on Facebook. I’d take photos at each stage.  Then I discovered I could take the photograph of a painting into Photoshop and I could finish the painting electronically.  Wow! My world just changed!  Ok, maybe graphic artists everywhere have known that for decades but I was just discovering it. I’m self taught; I have no formal training in art or graphics or for that matter, writing and publishing. So sometimes I reinvent the wheel until I happen upon the better way.

I begin each painting or sketch with an idea in mind but it soon begins morphing from one idea to the next.  I go with the flow. I take pics during the process because I like to be reminded of the transformation.  It’s been years since I’ve painted with acrylics, so I’m not as fluid and subtle as I like with the brush yet.  It’ll come back.

I love that YouTube is filled with drawing and painting tutorials and I’ve been studying everything I wanted to study in art school: light, perspective, shading in folds, hands, feet, ears, portraiture and proportion.  The bff has an old edition of The Cartoonist’s Workbook by Robin Hall and it gave me a better understanding of how to draw hands. Mine now are either drawn gigantic or look like animal paws. Which is fine with me. I would never have picked up a cartooning book had he not handed it to me. What a cool wealth of info for my art practice! I heart the bf, he’s one tuned in cat and full of helpful info.

Perfect end to the art update, I just received in today’s mail my copy of Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery: Solutions for drawing the clothed figure by Burne Hogarth, as well as Faith Nolton’s Gardens of the Soul: Making sacred and shamanic art.  Ah, the new dilemma: read first, or paint?

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