oil on archival panel (Gessobord) 5″ x 5″ x 1/8″, unframed
© Anita C. Miller
I liked putting in the texture for the grasses and scraped through the paint (sgraffito) for added texture. The sky, on the other hand, is quite smooth.
oil on archival panel (Gessobord) 5″ x 5″ x 1/8″, unframed
© Anita C. Miller
This painting was inspired by the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan which is about a mile from where I live. It could be any large body of water, really…. I loved the challenge of painting the waves and giving movement to them. I am happy with the outcome and I can feel the fresh air when I look at this.
I used just Chromatic black (Gamblin) plus white this time to make 4 shades of this blue-green-grey color. This was painted over a Portland grey (Gamblin) underpainting so some of that warm grey color is showing through especially in the lower left corner.
I used Gamblin’s Portland greys (light, medium and dark) and Chromatic Black. The Ampersand gesso board is sometimes lightly brushed with Gamsol solvent before starting the painting. I’m using fine sable hair brushes (and sometimes my fingers) for these little paintings.
This little monochrome painting from yesterday is based on an Oahu hike my husband and I took this past winter. I’ve included the reference photo this time and the link to my previous post on this hike where you can see the summit views.
I could have kept working on the painting, but decided I liked the ambiguity and stopped. No clear view of the trail ahead.
I know painters who have painted many years and have never stretched a canvas. That’s fine… but, there are several reasons why I do it and thought you might like to see how easy it is. If you can wrap a package you can do this!
Here’s the canvas rolled out on the studio floor. (I bought 3 yards of unprimed 60″ wide canvas at the art store.)
Next, I place the stretcher bars face down on top. The photo makes it look like a square, but the actual size is 4′ x 5′
I use this electric staple gun by Bostitch and it works great. You can find one at your local hardware store.
Next staple the canvas in the middle of each side. Do not pull tightly… pull just enough that there are no wrinkles. Also, make sure that the sides of the stretcher bars are running parallel to the weave of the canvas before stapling.
Proceed to staple once every 4 inches or so starting at the middle staple on each side and going to the corners.
Fold the cloth at the corners like you would wrap a present and staple (I usually put a few extra staples at the corners.
Now the canvas is ready for gesso.
Gesso is used to create a barrier between the canvas and the oil paint. If this is not done, the oils in the paint will eventually rot the canvas. The first coat of gesso is thinned with water to a cream like consistency.
Now brush the thinned gesso onto the canvas using a large brush. Make sure it goes into the weave and brush in all directions.
*** Most important****– start from the center of the canvas and work out. The canvas starts to shrink and pucker when it gets wet. See… you didn’t have to pull the canvas tight at the start because it will “shrink wrap” itself when it gets wet (like a pair of jeans that haven’t been pre-shrunk).
I usually do a cross pattern like below and then fill in the remainder diagonally ie. upper right, then lower left, etc.
So here it is with the first coat finished. It’s tight with no wrinkles. Two more coats (not diluted) will be brushed on to complete the gessoing. Let each coat thoroughly dry (about 24 hours) between coats. It’s next to the canvas I worked on last week (which is unfinished).
Oh, and the reason I go through all this is to have the flexibility of getting the exact size canvas I want. Maybe I want a 30″ x 45″ or 36″ x 54″ or 40″ x 50″ canvas… these are not standard and the art store doesn’t have these. But they do sell stretcher bars in numerous sizes.
oil on archival panel
© Anita C. Miller 2012
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Things are moving at a turtle’s pace in the studio this past week. I am wiping off paint after spending many hours putting it on, and that is not a good thing…So I thought I would share this last bunch of photos from Oahu (I promise it’s the last).
Hope you enjoy them. Click on them to see very large.
The aquarium just south of Waikiki is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The fish are amazing and the tanks are beautifully designed.
Hanauma Bay is THE place to go snorkeling. I now wish I had looked into getting a prescription lens for snorkeling (I am very near sighted) so I didn’t go in.
My husband had a great time and was able to get inches away from the fish. The great thing about this place is that they severely limit the number of people here. The parking lot fills up early and then they turn people away.
(click on photos to see large)
This beautiful creature inspired my most recent painting. We got to see him up close
before an area was roped off to keep people away.
Dear fellow bloggers, I will be taking the rest of the year off from blogging. See you in 2013! I wish everyone a very happy holiday season.
Whenever I finish a painting, I often play around with it to get ideas for new paintings.
I take pictures of it, upload them on my Mac and fool around in iPhoto.
I crop, flip and change color and contrast, etc. So below are some “sketches”
for possible future paintings all based on “Fall Woods” above.
All images © Anita C. Miller
Thank you K and E for purchasing my painting “Turning” today!
This version was painted over and ended up as the following (which I think I also painted over).
I will use them as studies for a larger piece, perhaps.
When I was in college I got to see these cave paintings firsthand and I remember being in awe of them. I was a Spanish major for a brief time (art came much later after college) and I was very fortunate to take a month long trip to Spain with others at my college. It was my first trip abroad and so exciting!
I also remember spending some time at the Prado in Madrid and seeing these HUGE Diego Velazquez paintings! He’s always been one of my favorite painters. This was in the early ’70’s and I have not been back since. It’s definitely on my bucket list to go again!
Last September, I traveled to London and saw this beauty in the National Gallery…another huge horse painting. This was before I even thought about painting horses, but, I realize now that the seed of the idea was planted here.
I’m a great Lucien Freud fan and he was very fond of horses and a good equestrian. Here are a few of his horse paintings. I also love how he painted dogs. His paintings are so sensual and I feel that the animals come alive in them.
And even though I could show numerous other examples, I’ll end with a very recent show of Joe Andoe’s horses.
This last one is bordering on the sentimental, but is just quirky enough that I like it!
Here’s my latest horse and a detail of the eye. The eye is like a mini abstract painting and I love painting it.
Finally, I should add that I used to have a horse, and horses were my first passion. I no longer ride… and now my passion is painting. As a young girl, I remember trying to draw horses but, I never dreamed I’d be painting them someday.
On a personal note, I wish to dedicate my horse paintings to my father who (for years) took me to the stable, horse shows, watched me ride at an unheated riding stable (I still see him standing with a glass of blackberry brandy to keep warm!) and basically gave me an ideal childhood.
One wave moving toward shore… a progression.
There are muskrats beneath these waters. I’ve seen them, but they are elusive creatures!
The sky and lake merge and the horizon is barely visible. A bit ambiguous.
thousands of white caps
–one very brave (crazy!) windsurfer