Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gold in my Back Yard

Isn't this amazing!?  The artist is Akycha Surette and it is a large Raku mural - raku-fired ceramics, 22" wide by 14.25 high. I am in awe. The artist is represented by Petroff Gallery here in Toronto (you're welcome) and I just had to post this piece. It's fine subtlety, exquisite execution, harmonious colour composition, I mean, this artist is a master in their field, of that there is no doubt.

I never thought of hanging a ceramic painting, if you will, on my wall before. Now I know it's beautifully possible.

Here's the link if you want to see more of this artist's beautiful work.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bigger, Brighter, Better!

In case you're getting a feeling of deja vu, yes I did do a small 5" x 7" original oil that I titled "Joyburst", see below

But I wanted to do it in a larger format and in acrylics so I set about painting it on an 11" x 14" stretched canvas and was, well, seldom I say this but I was VERY happy with how it turned out.

When you compare the two paintings you'll see they are somewhat different. I kept the composition similar but had to make some additions as the 11" x 14" format meant I had to make adjustments to the design accordingly. When you design a well-working painting, if you change just one element, EVERYTHING changes and it can be a big headache, but I was able to adjust it without too much trouble. Can you pick out the difference? It's kind of like "where's Waldo".

One of the strengths of acrylic is the colors just POP! One of my friends and fans said it looked just like summer sherbet, good enough to lick! Hah! I loved that one. Yes, it's like being a kid again without any knowledge of anything really bad, just swinging on a swing with an ice cream (or sherbet) ice cream cone running down your hand and you don't even care. It's summer and the world is yours to play with! 
Sigh, yep, that's how this painting makes me feel and I hope it makes you feel that carefree too!

Friday, February 4, 2011

As Promised, a How-To on painting the "Rabbit Pointing at the Moon"

Here is where it started, an idea. With the Year of the Rabbit  here it was a perfect excuse to paint a wise wabbit. I love rabbits, what can I say. It's Bugs Bunny meets Zen.  And then there's the moon, a full moon, water, mountains in the background. Let the magic begin! 

So I quickly sketched it out, on notebook paper (okay, it was the closest paper and when an idea strikes you just gotta get it down). It needed to be enlarged, slightly. For this I scanned it then increased the size in photoshop then output it from my printer. 

I then conte the back of the image I am going to transfer onto the gessoed hard panel. I want to illustrate this image without a canvas texture behind it.

Here's the panel sans canvas. Quadruple gessoed hard board. Like snow on an open field, just smaller.

I tape the image over the panel, making sure it is centered properly.

Here I have traced over the image with an HB sharp pencil. I realized I had forgotten to place a shadow in front of the wabbit. I just note it so that I will do it on the final.

Here's the image transferred. Hilarious that I missed the hand that has the finger pointing at the moon. Not to worry though, I just wing it from the original when I do the final.

I tape the hardboard to a larger stretched canvas so I can lift it off the easel without fussing with the edges. I keep the original near by for reference. 

Time to figure out the colour palette. I decide on a split complementary palette combined with mother color theory again. I use titanium white with cadmium yellow light for the mother color, both Golden brand acrylic paint. 

Then I sketch out the little guy. I recognize after doing this rough sketch that the moon looks much better as I do it here rather than being a whole full moon higher in the sky. A friend actually pointed out that they like the sketch better than the original pencil drawing. They were right! I find it is always helpful to stay flexible in the process because you never know when you will find something brilliant along the way. 

Here's the palette: 
Cadmium Yellow Light - Golden 
Permanent Rose - Winsor Newton
 Permanent Alizarin Crimson - Winsor Newton
Alizarin Crimson Hue - Golden
Cerulean and Manganese blue (not used)
Ultramarine Blue - Winsor Newton
Ultramarine Blue - Golden
Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Ivory Black (not used)
Titanium White: Golden

I did other colour palette schemes but settled on the violet/yellow split complementary as it suited the mood best of what I wanted the image to convey.

And again, here is the final. I am sorry but I could not stop every so often to take shots in progress as I just had to keep moving. It was like a dance, painting this image. Acrylics dry fast so you have to work fast. I love how the water turned out, and the moon, sky and stars. You'll notice I changed the rabbit to a female as noting that in eastern astrology, the rabbit is a feminine (yin) sign. I reduced the size of her neck and shoulders and that did it. Also her feet aren't showing - that is because I thought a robe would be more appropriate. Her necklace is a glowing moon pendant. I love her ears, her eyes and the peaceful non-judgemental expression as she points the way while sitting contentedly in the middle of a lake. This painting is just, well, magic!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's the Year of the Metal Rabbit!

Here's to the Rabbit! My creation "Meditative Rabbit Pointing at the Moon". It's a 5" x 7" acrylic original done quadruple gessoed hard board. Ain't she a beaut! The rabbit is a yin sign, so I made her female, even though in the original it was sketched out as male. I will make a second post to follow to show the process of her creation, for all you art nerds out there : )

The rabbit is part of the Eastern (Chinese) Zodiac and is fourth in line, in between the tiger and dragon. The year we are just leaving was the year of the Tiger, and what a year THAT has been. World turbulence, riots, uprisings, civil unrest, high drama, all the Tiger's style. Not at all mine by the way. That is why I am so glad it is now the Year of the Rabbit. With it should come a calming down and return to sanity. We can now hobble off to our favourite chair and tend to the wounds that were inflicted. We will have time for enjoyment and money should come in a bit more easily. Diplomacy is a rabbit trait so let's hope we'll see some repair in the international world relationships.

That is why I painted this image, I wanted to show how peaceful and wise this year could be. All we have to do is stop. Stop to reflect, meditate and come to the realization that this life is like her finger pointed at the moon. If you want to get REALLY deep, here's a great explanation of what that actually means in spiritual terms go the link at the bottom of this post. 

You can find this painting, celebrating this Year of the Metal Rabbit, in my Etsy store but hurry. Something tells me she won't last too long there : )

Happy Chinese New Years to you all!