Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Horse with No Name...more with the limited palette

A Horse with No Name
original oil, 6 x 8 inch, unframed, make an offer
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

This is another small study using the limited palette. This seems to be working for me...not many choices so that I must focus on what is necessary. I did this study fairly quick and I was going to leave it and do some more work on it tomorrow. However, I am putting it aside as it is. There is a quality about it that I like and I don't want to lose it so....just leave it for now.

Basically, I am really enjoying this palette. For the most part it is a red-green palette and I am sure this could be done with other complimentary colors. However, for me I just like what is happening with the palette. Depending on the subject, it might be necessary to change it a little, but for now I am just having fun with it.

There are three work horses that live along the road to my house. They are beautiful animals. I have never seen them actually do any work....unlike the workhorses that I saw while living in Colorado. They actually were used to bring hay out to cattle in the fields during the winter using a sled. Since this is mostly farm country, there aren't many cattle here. I do enjoy checking the three of them out though each time I drive into town.

The Mystery Man with Hat and Sunglasses

Mystery Man with Hat and Sunglasses
original oil, 14 x 11, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

This morning I did some more work on the portrait and I feel that it is finished. There are things that I would like to try, but I feel that it is best to do it on the next one. This was a fun one to do and things just seemed to fit together when I was doing it. I like keeping a very simple palette and then adding a few colors later on. It seems to help with my problem of always overworking things.

So for this painting I actually began with pthalo turquoise (I thought it was blue, but it wasn't), indian red and with those two colors I actually did the initial drawing or painting layout. After that I used a little indian red mixed with rembrandt red and then another mixture of indian red and alizarin crimson. I needed a bit of yellow tone so I actually mixed cad yellow light with some indian red and of course, I used white to make different values of each of those colors. I am going to try this again just to see where it takes me.

Rembrandt's palette of six colors

Here is the section from the book, History of Color in Painting by Faber Birren (copyright is 1965). This is a wonderful book that I found a few years back in a used book store. The price was right and it is full of great info on color used by great artists.

As I read through this book I will share other bits of info that I am finding. What a great resource it is!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Painting a Portrait

Hat and Sunglasses - WIP (work in progress)
original oil painting, 14 x 11 inch, unframed
copyright 2008 MaryAnn Cleary

The last couple of days, I have been reading up on the color palettes of the some of the Masters, especially Rembrandt. Rembrandt actually used a very limited palette. From what I can tell, it looks to be around six different colors with most of them being golden or warm tones - more on what I found in a later post. I will try to photograph the colors in the old book that I found a few years back.

With this portrait, I started off using two different colors - indian red and pthalo blue. Both are pretty intense just by themselves. Today I decided to add a few by mixing a little rembrandt red with the indian red and then a little alizarin crimson with indian red. I also added a yellow....cad yellow light and mixed this with a little indian red. From there I also mixed white with these to finish up the portrait. For now, I am letting the painting sit for a few days before doing anything else to it. There are a few things that I may change, but for now it is best just to put it aside.

I also will be starting another portrait for a project with Different Strokes for Different Folks. This painting project will entail using a photo of someone else in the group and doing an interpretation of that photo into a portrait. I thought that it would be best to practice a couple first before jumping in like I usually do. I do enjoy doing portraits and I forgot how much fun they are. I knew that this is the direction that I should be going after starting the latest portrait and then dreaming about the best way to finish it. That is a sure sign that I am enjoying what I am doing versus wondering what I should paint next. I also believe limiting my palette helped me immensely.

For now, I need to sleep on this one again and look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. I will probably do more with the background....but first set it aside.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Little Surprise from My Daughter

Precious Moments
original charcoal on Rives paper, 16 x 16 inch
copyright MaryAnn Cleary 2008

This morning as I was going through email, I do my usual checking on the latest post at Making a Mark. Earlier this month, I had mentioned to my daughter, Julie, of The Peaceful Peacock that Katherine Tyrrell, the owner of Making a Mark, would be setting up a contest of sorts for portraits. This morning I was completely surprised to see a portrait that I had done of her and Nico, my grandson, while they were visiting last summer. Wow!

If you are so inclined, please check out all of the fantastic portrait artists at Making a Mark and vote for your favorite!

Thank you, Julie, for thinking of me!!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trying a New Painting Method

The Mischievious One
original oil, 8 x 8 inch, unframed, $45
copyright MaryAnn Cleary 2008

Goodness the weather is cold here! I am wondering if it is going to stay like this the entire winter. If it does, I may just need to hole-up in my little log house with the wood stove blazing away.

While I was enjoying the warm weather of Cabo San Lucas, I did do some reading about different artists. In one article that I read, an artist had done a painting that was done using burnt sienna and maybe something to darken it. This got me thinking about using two of my favorite colors, an Indian red and a pthalo blue. They are complimentary to one another and fun to use for painting. For this painting, initially I put a wash of the blue on the canvas and then began drawing using both the blue and Indian red. When I wanted to darken an area, using both of the paints mixed together did the job nicely. Then when I wanted to add highlights, I either pulled the paint off of the canvas or added white to the blue or red. It really added a nice touch.

In the future, I plan on doing more with this technique. It is nice to limit the palette and see how far one can take the painting. I enjoy using the paint transparently and seeing the canvas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reality Shock.....

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Area near my Home in Minnesota

The past two weeks were spent in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas. This was my very first visit there and I feel so fortunate to have been asked by a friend who has a place there. What a fabulous treat!!! I have been snorkeling, watching whales, sail boating on an America Cup sailboat, swimming, walking along the beach, watching fabulous sunsets, and taking a sunset boat ride along the famous arch of Cabo.

Reality set in though with the all day trip home...going from weather in the 60s and 70s to -9 below. What a shocker!! The good thing is that my car started with the first try when I got home. The bad thing is that the idiots on Continental would not transfer our luggage after going through customs and immigration in Houston. Continental and Northwest are supposed to have an agreement, but even after showing the person on the luggage dropoff the tag for the luggage check. He STILL refused to take it. If anyone has been to Houston, one knows that the international flights typically are land in terminal E and Northwest flights leave on terminal A. We had a Continental/Northwest flight from Mexico to Houston. After that we were supposed to fly a Northwest flight to Minneapolis. Having little time between flights and also having to drag almost 100 pounds plus of luggage from one end of the airport to the other due to some personnel at Continental left us feeling extremely frustrated.

Once finally arriving to the other side of the airport - with our luggage - the attendant said that Continental definitely screwed up and that this was not the first time. They should have and were supposed to check our luggage right outside of the customs office. Unfortunately, because of the extra time needed to drag luggage from one terminal to the other via elevators that stopped at every darn level before reaching the one needed, and then going on the slowest shuttle ever...even stopping at a stop that was totally out-of-service and then saying that the place was out of service, we missed our flight. Both of us had also been upgraded to first class on the flight we missed. Of course, we missed that option, too. I guess the good thing is that we were able to get a Continental flight to Minneapolis, but of course, it was at the other end of the terminal with no upgrade to first class. Also, we did not receive any sort of compensation coupon for the terrible inconvenience due to Continental's refusal to take ticketed and checked luggage!!

What fun! Upon arriving home, the temps were minus below. The good thing is that the shuttle driver from the airport to the place where I had my car parked was "Minnesota Nice". He offered to help me jumper my car if it would not start and then he scraped off the six-ten inches of ice stuck on my hood and windshield. Next the drive home was slow....lots of black ice and very slick and slippery roads. Finally, I came home to a very cool house at 1 am, started a nice warm fire in my wood stove and poured myself a glass of wine. Home at last.

My mind has been filled with ideas for painting and drawing and I can hardly wait to get started. I also am doing the next challenge at Different Strokes for Different Folks this month as well as complete the last one with old shoes. I also have some wonderful reference photos that I took while staying in Mexico and Cabo. Lots of things to paint from as well as some quick sketches. Look for more to come and some different and interesting ideas that I plan on trying out.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More Sun and Fun

Whale Tail
a quick sketch done in color pencil of yesterday´s experience
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

The sun has been great and it has given me an opportunity to think about where I would like to go with my artwork. When I get back home, I plan on trying a couple of new ideas to see how they work. I love doing portraits and I am thinking of maintaining a prime focus on that segment of my work along with trying out a new technique that I want to attempt. It should be interesting and fun.

Today....a massage.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Where or Where Is This Sunny Place?

That past few days I have been lounging around a place a little South of my home. I thought that I might post a photo so that everyone might guess at where this place is. There is ocean, sunny skies, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, and of course, I am trying to get a little sketching in while here. Yesterday I even saw a whale spray and then flip its tail as it went back into the where am I??

Tomorrow I can give another hint......