Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl: finished at last

It’s always so hard to know when a painting is finished.

Have I overworked it? Have I left it before I should have? If I ju-u-u-ust tweak this bit here… will I ruin it? Should I completely re-paint this passage that keeps nagging at me? If I’m holding my breath while I make “final adjustments,” does that mean I’m overdoing it? I don’t know. By the time I’m nearly finished I can hardly see the thing, but I can’t tear myself away.  I remember my New Hampshire mentor, June, hissing — as I ju-u-u-st tweaked the stained glass window  in Luna in Stairwell — “Get AWAY from that window! NOW!” No one was about to shoot me through the window <grin> — worse; I was about to overwork my painting. And this for the once-upon-a-time college student whose drawing professor told her she had to spend more time on things…

Be all that as it may, I’m declaring Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl finished.

Here are my last tweaks, yesterday and today.

Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl - stage 4
Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl - stage 4: finally figured out what was going on with those books - thanks to my handy-dandy Color Isolator* - and greyed them down. *a 1.5 x 4" piece of white cardstock with a hole punched in it on one end
Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl - finis!
Blue Eggs, Silver Bowl - finis! Some reflections refined, a bit more grounding on the far left, some weight added to the right-hand cruet foot... I hearby declare this painting finished.

“Eddie and the Blue Eggs” — now available at GreenBoat Gallery

I’m learning to take my own high-res photos and have found a local source for my art prints, so I can list pieces much more quickly at my online shop! And be sure to look around while you’re visiting Etsy – it is such a treasure-trove, both silly and sublime.

And now… on to the next piece for Feathered and Feline!

Eddie and the Blue Eggs, as featured at GreenBoat Gallery
Eddie and the Blue Eggs, as featured at GreenBoat Gallery

Eddie and the blue eggs, finished at last!

It’s taken me a couple of days longer than I’d planned, but E&BE is finally finished (to see the whole piece in progress, start here). Just as I was about to sign it, somehow my entire wire basket of colored pencils went off the taboret and onto the floor. Aaaarrrgh!! This is SO bad for colored pencils — jarring them like that can crack the fragile cores within the wood casings so that every time they’re sharpened, the point breaks off. So who knows what the future will bring — it’s so frustrating to be on a roll and have to sharpen a crucial pencil over and over and over again because the point keeps failing…

But I’ve also discovered a possible alternative to the awful, toxic fixatifs I’ve been using — it’s called Spectrafix, and is composed of casein, water, and ethyl alcohol. Most of the online discussion I’ve found is about using it on pastels, but I’m hopeful — and have ordered a bottle of it.

Be the future as it may, here’s the studio shot of the finished Eddie and the Blue Eggs. It’ll be in my March 2012 show at Tranquil Bar & Bistro, Feathered and Feline, and available as prints at my online shop once I have a high-resolution, printable photo of it.

Eddie and the Blue Eggs - finis
Eddie and the Blue Eggs - finis. Finally ready for the last coating of final fixatif!

Eddie and the blue eggs, continued

Went to a CAST lunch meeting yesterday – always a nice time, and good to mingle with other communications professionals, but the freelance market here is a tough one and I’m afraid I’m not a great schmoozer. But I’m still looking for design work, if anyone’s interested!

Hoping to finish “Eddie and the Blue Eggs” today, before I head for Ithaca for my singing gig with Diamonds in the Rough.

Here’s what “Eddie…” looked like at the end of the day yesterday – two coats of workable fixtif so far, as I layer colors and the substrate loses bite. The fixatif really stinks up the house – not just my second-floor studio – despite the window fan I spray next to (fan blowing out of the window, of course), but yesterday was warm enough that I could spray it outside and let the fumes dissipate before bringing it back in. I’d sure love to find a non-toxic, non-aerosol way to do this!

More work needed to darken the far background, pull up details in the glass cruets, and reconcile the shoulder with the facial colors of the cat. Also need to do a little work on the drape, but I don’t want to lose all the spontaneity by overworking!

Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 5
Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 5

Art in progress: Eddie and the blue eggs

In keeping with my new series (feathered and feline), I’ve begun a new still-life with eggs and cat.  I like to amuse my Facebook friends by posting progressive photos of art as I work on it, and I’ll be moving that entertainment to these pages. With this posting, I’m duplicating what I’ve already put up on FB.

Eddie was my cat-boy, a foundling from Montrose PA who was with me through thick and thin. I miss him a lot, though he’s still with me in spirit and in my dreams. The blue eggs are from the Binghamton farmer’s’ market, and they are so beautiful I’ve saved many of the shells – though I’m not sure what I’ll do with them.

This piece is in colored pencil on painted masonite, 24 x 24″. The ground is a flat latex paint recently used in the front room of our house. I love the inobtrusive warmth of the color, and thought it would be a good foil for the cool colors in this composition. Unlike a ground applied with a roller, the brushed-on paint produces some wonderful accidental textures. The tooth of a flat paint is delicate but satisfying, though once covered by a couple of layers it loses grab and I have to apply more – as well as stabilize the previous layers – with workable spray-on fixatif.

Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 1
Initial sketch, colored pencil on painted 2x2' masonite panel. Glidden "Cozy Melon" flat latex paint is the ground. (The lighting is poor, I'm afraid.)
Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 2
Blocking in shadows, working up the far background. (Lighting still uneven!)
Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 3
Deepening shadows, working in some mid-tones and highlights.
Eddie and the Blue Eggs - stage 4
Nearly all of the first layers down. Next: workable fixatif to seal the initial layers, then further refinements of lights and shadows. I'm really pleased with the way this is coming together!