Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chasing Thunder

Today we painted the Admin building, the backside of it anyway. This week is supposed to focus on painting architecture, and our outside assignment is to paint something architectural. The problem with this is that buildings are hard to paint. They're a mostly flat sort of color and they tend to be very detailed. So the idea is to figure out how to paint buildings without making them too flat or too detailed or too plain.

It was warm and sunny when I started painting today. The sky was a pretty blue and the only clouds were on the horizon line, which was conspicuously hidden behind the building I was attempting to paint. I ran into several issues today, one of them being the quality of my brushes.

They suck.

I'm cheap - I'll say it right now. I don't have a lot of money to buy the quality of art supplies that I need. Mostly this is because I have one shift a week at the coffee shop and I'm in art school. The kind of brush that I need is upwards of 18 dollars a pop. I can't really afford to buy that quality of material, so I splurged and got six brushes for 10 dollars - hence the fact that my brushes really stink. I mean, they do okay and they get me through the day, but they're aren't great.

My teacher lent me his brush to use, which is made from everybody's favorite squirrel hair. Crazy right? A brush made from squirrel. But this brush - it's amazing! It retains loads of water, keeps its shape, and stays saturated for a lot longer than my lesser shape losing brushes. So I decided that I needed a new brush. I'll have to save up for it.

I used the squirrel hair brush on my second painting instead of my mop goat hair brush. It was amazing. And I was just starting to have fun with it when the clouds rolled in. That's the neat thing about Idaho, you know. If you don't like the weather just wait ten minutes - it'll change.

And just when I was finishing up the bottom portion of my painting, I heard it. The loud crash of impending doom, thunder rumbled across the sky. The air took on a different feeling and I was just in love with the moment. I held my breath and hoped it didn't start dumping rain on us while we were still outside. I packed up my stuff and booked it back to my car since class was over.

I took out my camera and snapped some pictures of the crazy clouded sky. It made me wish that cameras could capture atmosphere. They give you the picture so you know what it looked like, but only the person that took the picture or the people that may have been in the picture really remember what it felt like to be there. You can look at a picture and imagine a million different things, but I'm glad that I know what it felt like. That charge in the air, that feeling of an oncoming storm. I live for it.

Just look at that sky, would you? It's so moody and full of feeling. Practically delicious, that sky is. I don't want it to go away. Storms, especially of the thunder and lightening variety, are just my absolute favorite. They are the reason I live for summertime. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

all your watercolor are belong to me

Normally when one paints with watercolors one mixes the paint with water and applies it to wet or dry paper depending the effect one desires to achieve. Sometimes when one is painting with watercolors other methods of painting can be involved.

Say, like printmaking, I suppose.

Today we combined two of my favorite things, watercolor painting and printmaking. Instead of painting onto paper, the process was more about creating a monoprint. You can paint with the watercolors directly onto a piece of Plexiglas, and while you can't get the range in saturation that you can achieve with a watercolor painting, you can get some pretty neat affects because of the press.

In order to get the watercolors to transfer from the Plexiglas to the paper they need to be pretty saturated, so you don't need to mix them with a lot of water. Think more of a milky/creamy consistency rather than a tea or coffee like consistency.

Then, once you've painted on your Plexi, the paper enters a bath for all of about five or ten seconds depending on the kind of paper you have. After you blot the paper (dry off the excess water) you run the Plexi and the paper through the press.

The result is the above photo. I got a little bored with landscapes, and so I tried painting water. I think the water is my favorite part of that picture, all the different blues and purples and the reflection. It's kind of childlike to me, but then again, I tend to make pretty childlike artwork I think. Not childlike quality, per se, but just childlike ideas and content. It's my style, yo.

So, true to my style I decided to do a mech (robot). I googled a picture on my phone and set to work. I came up with this:

But my paper wasn't wet enough, so it came out a little lighter than I thought it would. I really like it though, I think he's pretty neat looking. So I repainted him and made his weapons fire. I let my paper keep a little extra water in it the second go round as well, so he came out pretty dark, which I love.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

clouds and cows

Let's be honest. I really don't know how to write about watercolors without gushing about how awesome I think they are every ten seconds. I think the reason I love them so much is because I abhor oil painting. I really should work on that, oil painting isn't so bad...and can be really useful in the life of an artist. Plus, my final painting from last semester? Basically awesome.

I can be a lot more impressionistic with watercolors. It doesn't have to be exactly the way it appears before me in real life. And if I don't want to paint that telephone pole in the middle of the field, I don't have to. If I like those clouds over there, but that tree over here? No big deal! Let's merge 'em! It's like real life photoshop. It's my interpretation of what a place is - not the place how it stands exactly in real life. And that, ladies and gentlemen, makes me feel like an artist instead of like I'm just pretending to be one.

We spend a lot of time outside painting landscapes and clouds. Clouds are some of my favorites, but also very difficult. There's a lot of colors mashed in there instead of just white. And since it's been kinda stormy here lately, the clouds have been pretty intense.

However, today the sky was pretty much a blanket of grey. Not really that interesting to paint. And plus, right now, it's pouring. So I painted from a picture. The rule was that if we painted from a photograph it had to be a photo that we took. And well, you guys know me. I take loads of pictures. And I love landscapes with interesting clouds. So I had a lot to choose from.

I ended up painting a photo that I submitted to the county fair. It's a pretty intense sky, and I like the way this one turned out. I don't ever want to go back to oils again, but I don't think that's possible.

A Shift In Focus

This blog was created in order to help me through a tough art history/theory class last semester. That class is over, and since I am no longer taking any classes from this professor, I don't have a purpose for this blog anymore. I considered deleting it, but then I wondered if there was a different way in which I could utilize this blog.

I am an artist, so I create a lot of art. Usually, I just share my newest stuff on my other blog, but I've often wondered if I should just start an art blog. I'm in school, so I'm constantly creating new art. In order to re-focus my other blog, I decided to start posting all my personal artwork over here on this site instead.

Therefore, many changes will be had over in this little corner of the interwebz, but I think it's for the best. I'm going to try and sell some of my artwork too, so this site could help me do that as well. It will be a big broad adventure I think, and I'm totally excited for it.