Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Still Playing With Casein

It's garden season for us and between the cucumbers, green beans, corn and tomatoes, I managed another casein painting.  It was a quickie and it shows but some day soon I hope to fully explore caseins.  I think I'll like them.

Oh, speaking of corn in the garden - do you remember those darling little raccoon babies from last year?  Well, we haven't seen them since but several stalks of corn were uprooted and the corn was eaten so my DH pulled it all.  We still had over 200 ears and even though we gave a lot of it away, it was a marathon day to get it all in the freezer!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Caseins - Another New Medium

Well, I did it.  I finally broke bad and ordered some artist quality casein paints but have not had much of a chance to work with them yet.  I did paint this sunflower on a cradled hardboard but please don't judge too harshly as any painting in a new medium is not the best work that can be produced.

My granddaughter is really into sunflowers and wanted a painting that was looser and maybe a touch different than the way I usually paint but I really don't think this works that well.  She hasn't seen it yet so don't know if it was what she had in mind or not.

I really, really liked the craft casein I used on the cupcake in an earlier post.  It was creamy and easy to work with.  The Richardson/Shiva tube paints that I just got are much denser and very stiff and I have to learn how much water or emulsion should be added to get the consistency I need. 

Also, I've found that different supports make a huge difference in how the paint behaves.  The cradled hardboard used for the sunflower was gessoed and had some colors of the paint beading up on the surface.  It evidently wasn't absorbent enough.  I recently started another painting on 140# watercolor paper and the paint is sucked into the paper almost immediately - it's too absorbent!  It's been hard to spread the paint much at all.  Hopefully, there's a middle of the road support that's perfect.

Another issue that I need to work on is what type of brush to use with the casein paint.  I was told that a decent synthetic was best but I'm finding the ones I have to be difficult to work with, especially on the paper support.

I'm hoping to find both the best brushes and best support for the way I work but it will take some further experimenting.  I do like casein so far and think it may become a favorite medium once I learn to tame its quirks and exploit its good points!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Tufted Titmouse

I've been on something of a bird painting kick lately even though this little Titmouse is the only one I've actually painted!

I'm just enamored of all the cheeky little birds we have here and I want to paint them all. 

The Titmice come to our feeder all winter but I just can't seem to photograph them as they dart in, grab a seed and leave quickly!  A wonderful bird photographer, Bob Vuxinic, gave me permission to use some of his photos for reference and this painting came from one of his photos.  Thanks so much, Bob!

This is gouache on Arches watercolor paper and was mainly painted to get a feel for the 'structure' of the bird.  I hope to paint the Titmouse again soon along with several other bird varieties.

Friday, June 2, 2017

And They All Flew Away

Well the baby wrens flew the nest this morning.  I had just seen one of them during this nesting so I thought all the eggs didn't hatch or something this time but we ended up with four babies flying away shortly after 8 AM.  It was the first time I got to see them all leave the bird house so you can imagine how thrilled I was.

The last one seemed very reluctant to leave and stayed away from the entrance quite a while after it's other siblings had gone.  Finally, it got up the courage to leave but had a very hard landing on our wooden porch floor.  I thought it had broken something and maybe died as it floundered around for a few minutes then lay very still under the bar-b-que grill.  I left it alone as, truth be known, I didn't really want to know if it had died.  A few minutes later I heard the mama bird and looked out to see the little one running all over the porch!  Thank God!  I guess he was just a little stunned after his ordeal but recovered after a few minutes and finally left the porch where he presumably joined the rest of his family.

So, I guess I'll be more productive now that I won't be spending so much time watching the wrens!  Well, at least for a while as I'm sure we'll have new tenants once or twice more before fall!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Milk Paint Cupcake

I've been wanting to try casein paint for some time but just couldn't justify the expense when I have so many different paint media the way it is.  (Those of you who read this blog at all will know that I'm an art supply junkie!) 

Anyway, casein paint is made from milk and is an ancient art medium.  I'm told it behaves very much like gouache which is a favorite medium of mine and of which I have a full set.

Still, I like trying different media so when I saw some 'milk paint' at Hobby Lobby the other day, I had to pick up a bottle.  This paint is by Plaid and is for decorative purposes, not artist quality, so I only got the white color. 

I really enjoyed painting the cupcake above and now would really like some artist quality casein paints.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yep, The Wrens Have Babies!

Well, the Carolina Wrens have been busy for the past few days feeding the latest babies in the birdhouse on the porch.  It's always such a joy for them to nest on the porch where we can watch the goings on and (hopefully) be there when the little ones fly.

I guess you can see the birdhouse that my husband made has been painted - well, that's the primer coat at least!  He got tired of me procrastinating about it and slapped on the primer while he was painting the various bluebird houses we have around this past winter.  I still need to give it the final finish coats but it looks as if it will be a while!  There will probably be one more nesting before fall so I won't disturb it until we're sure there won't be any more need for the house this year.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Those Whites!

I've not been painting a whole lot recently but an art forum I belong to posted a challenge on painting whites. 

Most non-artists think painting white is easy.  Most artists know how difficult it really is!  White contains a myriad of color in varying intensities and it is very, very difficult to get the right balance.  In painting, everything needs to be simplified also so an artist can't really show all the colors they see in a white object or it would look uber strange to the uninitiated.

 Anyway, I tried and don't think I did too badly considering these were done in a very short time period and in my not so favorite medium of watercolor.

Both paintings are about 5X7'' on watercolor paper

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Wrens Are Back In Town!

Most of you know that my favorite bird is the little Carolina Wren.  Over the past couple of years we've had them nest on our covered porch just a foot or so from the kitchen door.  More of my time has been wasted watching these perky little birds than just about anything else I've done. 

Well, we've noticed a pair of them building a nest in the bird house we put up a couple of years ago.  However, the wrens will often build nests that they never use - decoy nests if you will.  Since the building of the nest in our birdhouse, we haven't really seen either of the wrens.  That doesn't mean they aren't using the nest though.  Last year we thought they'd nested somewhere else and it wasn't until the pair started to feed the babies that we realized that they had actually occupied the nest.  Like I said, this was less than 2 feet from our kitchen door which has an all glass storm door and which we keep open to allow light into the kitchen most of the time.

I'm giddy with excitement and will keep you posted on whether we have babies this year or not!  In the mean time, here's a painting I did of one of our fledglings last year.

 Carolina Wren Fledgling

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Pond - A Very Attractive Place

I know the pond looks pretty ragged right now.  My husband planted grass last fall and now it's really growing tall but we want it to so it will develop seed for resowing.  Also the banks look raw and eroded due to all the rain at one time.  And this spring has been the time for planting perennials which will bloom in the future.  Yes, the pond area is looking pretty sad but it's still very attractive to some visitors.

I guess since we've stocked the fish, the herons and the geese and ducks will be visiting more often!  The herons at least will fly fairly quickly if they see us and while the pond is a pretty good distance from the house, they have pretty sharp eyes.  I was only allowed to get this photo by hiding behind a porch pillar and using the zoom on my camera.

Hopefully, the Canada geese are too busy raising their families to realize that the pond now has fish as they're a nuisance that's harder to deter than the heron!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

After Nearly 30 Years

My husband's dream ever since we moved out here was to have a large pond.  It was something of a struggle just getting the pond built between weather and the personal problems of the first contractor we hired to do it.  But now the day has come when he's finally stocking the pond with fish. 

Now to wait another three years to start fishing!  lol

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Untitled Swans

Hello Boys and Girls, long time no post - again!  No excuses for not posting but it seems that I just hibernated this winter and it was only the advent of spring that awakened my creative juices again!  So, with no further ado let me present my first real painting of 2017!!!!!!

Gouache on Canvas

I'm not absolutely sure it's finished though, can't think of a good title and am still trying to figure out what to do with the frame!!!

Any input you can give would be most appreciated!    The frame is the only one I could find to fit  and I'm wondering if it would look better in another color, if so, what color would you suggest?  BTW, the frame is not yet attached to the painting so the horizon isn't as crooked as it looks here!

Now that I've awakened, I have several other paintings in the works so hopefully it won't be so long until my next post!