Tag Archives: painting

Merged Images and Some Paintings: 8

A while back I had an idea (don’t know from where) to choose a couple of photos at random and see if I could combine them into an image. I have been doing these paintings in a large sketchbook (mixed media paper) – it’s 18″ x 24″.

I did this painting in my studio as part of an online class I was taking in late fall, 2021. Here are the photos I used for references. The sofa is like our new one (this is the one in the store); the small tree is in Glenside, PA; the twin house is in Wyncote, PA.

And here is the painting. It is called “Comfortable Neighborhood” and it is 18″ x 24″. Done in November 2021.

In Which I Try Out Gouache Part 1

Back in October/November I took an online class at a local art center to try out the medium of gouache. In a few posts I’ll show you the work I did and tell you what I learned.

I’ve got a selection of paintings to show you and I can’t remember in what order I did them, so I will arrange them by topic or by the information learned. In other words, I’ll be skipping around! Take a look and see what you think.

My goals in taking this class were:

  1. Satisfy my curiosity about the medium and see if I would be interested in going anywhere with it
  2. Have a scheduled art activity
  3. Evaluate gouache as a means of doing art on a small scale in sketchbooks or in adding color to pen drawings
  4. Evaluate gouache as a means of doing some more “realistic” images in which I work from photos to record scenes from my daily life (as I like to do with my pen sketchbooks)

With these thoughts in mind plus a small set of paints I tuned into the first class. The instructor discussed the nature of gouache paint and the various ways it could be mixed and used. Then we got to work. Without any idea how to proceed, I took a photo, did a quick pencil outline, and painted.

Well, this image took about 15 minutes. I like it and I stored up the watercolory way I went about producing it in my memory files – I thought it might be nice for the aforementioned pencil sketch coloring. But I wanted something more intense from the colors.

Next, I tried this image of our car Jen McGill at the gas station. It went a bit better. I worked on black paper and did not add so much water.

Finally, here’s a view of some Philadelphia townhouses. This one I did on white paper.

Thoughts after the first class? I like painting on black paper much more than on white. The paints seem gluey and sticky to me and I was thrown off by the re-wettable nature of them.

By this I mean, what’s on the paper can be altered by the subsequent addition of anything wet, water or new paint. I’m used to acrylics and to how easily I can build layers on top of each other without changing what’s underneath. In fact, this technique is exactly how I exploit the paints to get the effects I want.

I do like the chalky look of the paint when it is dry.

All right. At the end of the class I had a better idea how things worked, and that was valuable information for the next sessions.

Abstract Painting Class Four (Part Two)

In October/November 2021 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

Here is a bit more about Week Four in class, a tag end. After I finished up the “Let’s Eat Lunch” painting, I had a lot of time left in the session. That is because I had started the “Lunch” painting the week before. So I began another painting and made a good bit of progress on it. I then finished it in a session of an online painting class I was taking, later in the week.

This painting did double duty! Here it is:

“Night Freight Train”, 18″ x 24″ in acrylics on paper (in my extra-large sketchbook).

Abstract Painting Class Four (Part One)

In October/November 2021 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

In the fourth week I was feeling more at ease with my work in this class. It always takes me time to adjust to new situations and for it to feel familiar enough to me that I can relax and participate. By this week, I had my spot in the classroom (back corner by the window) and I knew where the tables were stored (by the bathroom) and how to set up my space (pushed into the corner with just the right amount of space to work and still feeling cozy).

The previous week I had started another painting after I finished the one I was working on. Here you can see it on my table ready to be attended to:

I decided that the painting reminded me of a nice meal set out on a table. Very interesting dishes being served here, I thought, and I tried to make them look colorful and appetizing to the eye if not the stomach…

Here is how the painting finished up.

“Let’s Eat Lunch”, 18″ x 24″ in acrylics on paper (in my extra-large sketchbook).

Abstract Painting Class Three

In October/November 2021 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

In the third week, I felt more prepared to paint in an abstract(ish) manner. Our class assignment changed from the physical (the still life set-up) to the abstract as well – we were to paint something relating to the idea of nature and its inperfections.

It’s an intriguing idea. How many perfect landscapes have you seen painted or photographed? Lots and lots, I bet. And how many have focused on the beauty and emotion of decay or with parts or pieces missing or the unlovely? Not so many, I would think.

I painted a city scene featuring a street tree losing its leaves. Often these trees are stunted or trimmed poorly or have some other difficulty because it is hard being a tree in the city. I find them beautiful in their determination to survive and I try to notice and appreciate as I see them. Many people, though, just pass on by, maybe caught up in sour thoughts about traffic, or something like that.

That’s what I was thinking. Here is the painting.

“Falling Leaves in the City”, 18″ x 24″ in acrylics on paper (in my extra-large sketchbook).

Abstract Painting Class Two

In October/November 2021 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

In the second session, I ran up against a problem. Since I’d finished the still life painting last week I needed a new inspiration for this week – the assignment for the class being to continue to work on the still life.

I was at a loss as to what I wanted to work on. I don’t generally paint in a totally non-representational manner, but, this class was of course focused on exactly that. I reminded myself that my goal in choosing this class was to enjoy the company of other artists, attend a class in person, and work on the art that I was able to do with my eyesight in the impaired state it was in at that time.

I would do my best and focus on enjoying the painting process and being in class, I decided.

To prompt myself, I took along this photo. I liked the shapes of the buildings and how they fit together.

I got to work. And I ended up with this pleasant but pedestrian urban scene.

Let me say, I felt just BLA about this painting. In fact, I felt as if I did this following instructions from some source other than inside my head. I let the stated parameters of the class inhibit me and I ended up with something kind of realistic and ugly.

A couple of days later, at home, I worked the painting over. It’s better now. I do find that when I am painting in a class studio session it takes me time to assimilate what the class is supposed to be about and then to figure out what I will make of it. I guess I just had to get this adjustment phase over with and this painting is how I did it.

“Street Corner”, 18″ x 24″ in acrylics on paper (in my extra-large sketchbook).

Abstract Painting Class One

In October/November 2021 I attended an abstract painting studio class at Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Our group met in the museum’s teaching studio and spent 3 hours each Tuesday morning just painting with critiques from our instructor, Val Rossman. Thanks to her and my fellow students for a nice experience.

It was nice to be in an in-person class indoors. This session was the first one in-person for this class offering since spring 2020. We were all vaccinated and wore masks. Though this was the first class I’ve taken with this instructor, some of the students were regulars and it made for a nice reunion for people to be together again.

The first week our instructor set up a still life in the middle of the room for us to use as inspiration. I like working this way – I prefer a real-life scene to kick off my creativity. Here is what I came up with in this session. I focused on the triangles made by the drapery on the table upon which all the other objects rested.

“Triangles in a Still Life”, 18″ x 24″ in acrylics on paper (in my extra-large sketchbook).

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Six

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our last session, at the end of July, I was back to having trouble choosing a location. I finally settled on a view of the side lawn, which had a large pine fighting it out with a smaller but possibly more aggressive holly tree, while another pine looked on, not to mention a few bushes.

I used the same brayer technique as I did the previous week to lay down a coating of mottled colors. Not much of it survived (you see some in the bottom of the painting and in the branches of the larger pine tree) but I like the method a lot for quick covering of a background. It is also a useful way to soften large solid blocks of color.

Here is the result: Woodmere Landscape Six, 24 x 18, acrylics on Masonite.

We had brought all our collections of work back to class in order to have a little gallery session. We set them up near the picnic tables and discussed our work and what we learned from the class. It was a nice experience to see everyone’s work arrayed together – we produced some nice things, I think, and each student had success.

Munching on crackers and cheese, just like at a real gallery reception, we made plans to meet for lunch on the grounds in a couple of weeks, just for fun.

*******

When I was doing collage work I did many landscapes, and I liked the process while using that medium. I’m not very fond of it for painting subjects. That is something I learned in this class.

I did, however, enjoy being outside, painting from a live scene, and being with a group of people working on art in a social way. We often took breaks from our own work to go around and see what the others were doing.

I also gained experience in the palette knife and in getting better at zeroing in on what makes a good landscape picture. I do think I will always prefer painting buildings, interiors, and people, but who knows? One day there will be a landscape that will speak to me…and I will be ready.

Once more, the set of paintings I did over the six weeks:

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Five

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our fifth session I had a breakthrough – I came to the class with an idea of where and what I wanted to paint. I had been attracted to the rows of young sycamore trees in the parking lot. I liked their neat shapes and how they looked, arrayed in ranks.

Here is the result: Woodmere Landscape Five A, 18 x 24, acrylics on Masonite.

Woodmere Landscape Five A

To make the mottled background areas of the parking lot I used a brayer to roll random colors on the whole surface. What you see is what’s left after I used other colors to depict the various elements of the scene.

I worked pretty quickly and finished this one early. I was tired so I sat down on my little folding stool. My eye was caught by the Victorian tower of the museum, which is housed in a former mansion made of gray stone. I quickly sketch-painted this small view. It’s 14″ x 11″, Woodmere Landscape Five B, acrylics on Masonite.

Woodmere Landscae Five B

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Three and Four

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our third session my location-choosing difficulties continued. I began to realize that I was not much interested in painting trees and plants only. I really like having a building or people in my work and I was struggling to find a scene I felt any attachment to doing.

In the end I painted the garbage dumpsters and their surroundings next to the studio building. A little off the plan, I know. Anyway, the painting was just awful. I took it home and worked on it and finally – I got my husband to sand it down and I gessoed over it (it then formed the basis for Week 5, so it didn’t die in vain…)

That’s why you see no painting for Week 3.

For Week 4, Marta wanted us to try working with the palette knife. We had reviewed some paintings in the museum that made use of this tool Now we tried it for ourselves.

I chose to do the studio building and its surroundings. Yes, I know, a building. Well, that’s how things went.

I did two paintings. One was done 100% with the palette knife. I enjoyed using the knife but I am not so fond of the results. I feel it is a frenetic scene I have created and it makes me anxious to look at it.

Woodmere Landscape Four A

I finished up early (using the knife does make for a fast painting experience) and I started another one of the same scene (finishing at home), this time letting my abstract imagination take over a bit more, and using brushes more extensively. I pared down the “realism” and simplified many of the elements. I felt happier painting this version and I like it better, but…it’s all personal preference. Classmates liked the earlier version better.

Woodmere Landscape Four B

Woodmere Landscape Four A and Woodmere Landscape Four B, both 24 x 18, acrylics on Masonite, 7/21.