Hidden Treasures, Simple Pleasures Series Begins

Having just returned from Tuscany, I am inspired by the softer palette colors, textures and simplicity of the food. To begin a series, I applied a triad of watercolors and topped with a piece of plastic wrap to create texture, turning the wrap for this first piece.

Our friend, Jim, ordered this antipasto for lunch one day. The Prosciutto Melon was served with honeydew instead of cantaloupe and was delicious, as he shared.

Our friend, Jim, ordered this antipasto for lunch one day. The Prosciutto Melon was served with honeydew instead of cantaloupe and was delicious, as he shared.

Here is the base of the painting with a few of the melon slices glazed onto the plate.

As you can see, I have gone very abstract. Can you see the lines made by the twisted plastic wrap?

As you can see, I have gone very abstract. Can you see the lines made by the twisted plastic wrap?

Here is the finished piece until I look at it again tomorrow

Melon Served.jpg
Here is the Solo Mushroom piece I did with the same palette, less water and patted down plastic wrap for the textured base. These are both 5x7

Here is the Solo Mushroom piece I did with the same palette, less water and patted down plastic wrap for the textured base. These are both 5x7

Done or Overdone?

I added the deep shadows, Then some of the smaller batches of the vine. Tweaked the staircase a little and added the sign. As done as I am going to be. Time to step away. Do I like the whole thing or just some of it? That's why custom framing is offered. Will set it aside and come back in a week or so.

Casa Luisa

Still a few more Tuscany paintings to create. Casa Luisa was where the Art group stayed at Montestigliano.

The original photo and a black and white version to study values

The original photo and a black and white version to study values

Using my sketch book, I used pencil to make another value study and looked at color combinations for the leaves and vines.

Despite the usual process of blocking color first, after applying some base colors, I went right for the beautiful red leaves.

Then I had to back up and add some shadows to set the leaves into place

At the same time, I moved the Casa Luisa sign over under the shadow area so that it wasn't right in the middle of the composition

At the same time, I moved the Casa Luisa sign over under the shadow area so that it wasn't right in the middle of the composition

At this point, I had mixed some pigments from the area and created the wall color and then added vines. Time to step back and then refer back to the value study.

At this point, I had mixed some pigments from the area and created the wall color and then added vines. Time to step back and then refer back to the value study.

Quilted Poppy FinishedI

I continued refining layers and adding colorful accents. I found some pretty butterflies in a decoupage book so applied them after spraying with fixative. Once I was satisfied, I flattened the piece again , sprayed with fixative and then gave it three coats of Matte Medium thinned with just a little water. It is important to make single passes with the matte medium or it can get cloudy and to let it dry at least half a day before the next coat, beginning on a different side each time. I used the matte finish, not glossy.

I am having a digital image made so that giclee prints can be made. Let me know if I can order you order you one. Price depends on size and begins at $60 for a 9x12.

Poppy Watercolor to Mixed Media piece

I had done a series of 3 Poppy paintings to try different techniques and approaches around the same singular flower.  I wasn't as pleased with this one so decided to take it out of the frame and have fun with mixed media.

I gathered some papers, ribbons and other ideas from supplies at Michael's and started playing with the negative spaces. I traced the outline of the watercolor paper and the poppy on a piece of acetate and then used tape to place the papers on the acetate. This made it easy to move things around.

The next step was to resize the papers and expose some of the background that I liked. Later that would be helpful in linking them together.

I like the composition so far (minus the pieces of masking tape) and the soft and hard edges. The orange leaf on the green paper gives me an idea for a glaze of watercolor to connect that paper to the top right corner. Now I will start adding glazes to the papers.

Completing the Truffle Painting

To finish the final details of the truffle painting, I diffused the shadows at the edges and enhanced the shape of the fork by adding some shadows. Ready to flatten, sign, have digital images made for giclee prints and have it framed.

Tartufi

Shaping with shadows

Now for the scary part - adding shadows for shaping and for helping your eye to travel around the painting. If you notice in the last posting, it is easy to leave everything in the midtowns so the darks are needed for emphasis. I worked in stages and here is where I am at the moment.

It is time to "step aside", crop it with a mat and walk by it for a few days.

It is time to "step aside", crop it with a mat and walk by it for a few days.

Moving towards the final painting

Once the truffles were painted, it was time to begin shaping the plate

The pasta portion looked skimpy and needed to link with the hands and I felt that I had completely circled the plate which was not necessary so some changes needed to be made

Adding more pasta and some sauce on the plate plus glazes of color around the plate made it seem more incorporated. Also added the Montestigliano logo on the plate and a few lines to emphasize shapes. Time to step away and ponder it for a day or two. Am I done?

Adding more pasta and some sauce on the plate plus glazes of color around the plate made it seem more incorporated. Also added the Montestigliano logo on the plate and a few lines to emphasize shapes. Time to step away and ponder it for a day or two. Am I done?

Pasta with truffles on the fork

Drawing the pasta on the plate, creating the shapes and shadows and attaching it to the hands slicing the truffles was the next phase. Here are the basic shapes before painting the truffles and adding the shadows

Time to add shadows to create the plate shape and incorporate the farmer and truffle dog into the composition

That is enough for today. Will fine-tune the plate shape and add the logo tomorrow.

That is enough for today. Will fine-tune the plate shape and add the logo tomorrow.

Onto the Fork and pasta

Now for the third chapter of the story when the truffles are incorporated in the pasta and displayed on a raised fork. Have you ever drawn a fork? Challenging. Here is a photo from the pasta course.

This is the preliminary sketch. After shaping the fork, I added the truffle slices and draping pasta

This is the preliminary sketch. After shaping the fork, I added the truffle slices and draping pasta

Transferred the sketch, looked at some real pasta and added pasta on the plate. Played with colors for the fork, pasta and three kinds of truffles. Think I am ready to trace and transfer to the watercolor paper - yikes!

Transferred the sketch, looked at some real pasta and added pasta on the plate. Played with colors for the fork, pasta and three kinds of truffles. Think I am ready to trace and transfer to the watercolor paper - yikes!

Shaving the white truffle

The White Truffles are so precious that they are shaved onto the pasta at the table. In a restaurant you pay by the slice. The head of the Padlot group did the honors and shaved the pasta onto each serving. Learning to do hands was a new lesson in shapes and skin tones.

The shape was not quite right. I kept putting my hands into the position to get a feeling fore the shape and needed to simplify it. Also tried some different layers of color

The shape was not quite right. I kept putting my hands into the position to get a feeling fore the shape and needed to simplify it. Also tried some different layers of color

I liked this shape better and was struggling a little with the shadows

I liked this shape better and was struggling a little with the shadows

I went back to the sketch and penciled in shading then transferred to the final watercolor paper and added the shadows first before the color

I went back to the sketch and penciled in shading then transferred to the final watercolor paper and added the shadows first before the color

Here's where I am so far and will step away to study it further tomorrow

Here's where I am so far and will step away to study it further tomorrow

The truffle hunt

The first part of the story was the hunt for truffles. As we hiked through the forest, the dogs would get a scent and start digging. The farmer would quickly approach and dig with a special tool with a flexible cup on the end to preserve the truffle.  The first two stops had already been found but the third one produced a nice sized white truffle - the most prized.  The farmer allows the dog to sniff the truffle and then gives him a less precious treat.

dog and farmer.jpg

I simplified the photo and did a sketch, traced it to my journal and played with some neutral colors.

With a slight variation in the thin layers of watercolors, I traced the image on the watercolor paper and painted it - first part of the trilogy in place with some surroundings to be added near the end at the detail stage.

I have several colors thinned in separate covered dishes to produce the many layers

The Italian Truffle Story

There are still several Italy inspired paintings in my head and photo collection. Part of a most memorable dinner was the Padlot feast including several courses with truffles. My art group had actually hunted for truffles with a farmer and his dogs earlier in the day.  At first, I thought the plate of pasta with truffles would tell the story. 

That wasn't working because there was so much more to the story. So, I went back to my photos and embarked on a trilogy of images and sketched the idea on my large pad

Filled the Vase and Detailed

The gold centers became flowers with the addition of some pretty pink rice paper flowers and leaves from a Chinese painting class.  Added one taller flower to take your eye to the top of the painting.

As i looked for final details, I toned down the silver swirl on the right side of the vase and signed it in the lower left oval. At the framers now.

Nutsy or Nice?

Playing with another Mary Todd Beam exercise on acrylic abstracts. I began with a 20x30 watercolor board, spread it with gel and pressed stuff into it. After it dried, I rubbed charcoal all over and painted with acrylics. Have to look to find something here. Nothing happening yet

Couldn't leave this bog here. I got out the croppers and found an area that I liked and think I can proceed with. See what you think...

nutsy or nice.2.jpg

A finished painting

After letting the abstract stand for a few days and walking by it occasionally, I added a little iridescent acrylic and some more lines with the paint pen. Now I could see a woman dancing with the moon? What do you see? When I posted it on my Facebook page, most thought it was "Blowing in the Wind" so that is it. Ready to be signed, sprayed with fixative and varnish and framed.

"Blowing in the Wind"

"Blowing in the Wind"

Exercise to Painting

To get started in the New Year, I thought it would be fun to do an abstract exercise. I had a watercolor base that needed some excitement so I gessoed on some tissue paper and applied some acrylics when it dried. I was working from Mary Todd Beam's book "Celebrate Your Creative Self"

Step 3

Step 3

Next I added some layers with watercolors and acrylics and a few markings with an acrylic paint pen

Step 4

Step 4

Watercolor revives me

Since pouring watercolors helps me relax, I decided to make some fluid watery lines on watercolor paper, drop in 3 primary colors and tilt the paper to let it move and flow. Once it dried, I turned it in all directions and found these figures lifting up the woman. Sorry that I did not show it to you before I added the background and some details to link them together.

I feel better and hope you will love "Lift Me Up" too.

Stopped on the Path

Feeling frustrated and too tense from all the storm cleanup from Hurricane Matthew, I made some alterations and adjusted layers but had to stop for awhile to begin the journey again later. Here's where I am now.

Continuing the Journey

Adding layers of color and some glazes, I wanted to get the feeling of the circle back as well as the feeling of a spiritual circle around the bird. The person's face receded behind a veil as the bird came forward.

The cedar is real bark; the veil is a piece of fabric. They were applied with diluted matte medium. Since the canvas will not be framed, I continued the painting on the edges, including the circles that wrapped over the edges. There is also a soft rain of color.

The cedar is real bark; the veil is a piece of fabric. They were applied with diluted matte medium. Since the canvas will not be framed, I continued the painting on the edges, including the circles that wrapped over the edges. There is also a soft rain of color.

Time for the chalk again to see how to bring back the circle and balance the cool and warm colors

Time for the chalk again to see how to bring back the circle and balance the cool and warm colors

After stepping away for a week, I looked at the chalk marks and proceeded. The dark color encircled me again and I missed the pottery so brought it back out. The blue circle is more opaque because the right side seems more grounded in reality and the left side more spiritual. Now it is time to step away again and feel and see where I am in the journey

After stepping away for a week, I looked at the chalk marks and proceeded. The dark color encircled me again and I missed the pottery so brought it back out. The blue circle is more opaque because the right side seems more grounded in reality and the left side more spiritual.

Now it is time to step away again and feel and see where I am in the journey