Mischtechnik II: From an Ugly Duckling to a Swan

This was the second Mischtechnik painting I did.   There were a few stages where I really felt like I had created an ugly duckling that just wasn’t going to work.  But here they are from start to end.  I didn’t take a picture toward the end of every single step, so know there were a few more steps than shown.  In contrast to my first painting, this one was done on board.  My post on making egg tempera or emulsion can be found Here.

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Title: Apparition of a Local Form (above)

Another playful one I’ve done in this style (I’ll skip all the steps as I gave you above) is The Monster in the Closet (below).  What if there were monsters in your closet and what they really wanted were your accessories? (Grin).

the monster in the closet

Light and Nature

This series is an exploration of light in nature.

Morning light

Dawn

Beyond

Farther

A Soft Vision

Lately I’ve been playing with paint to express emotion and a softness of vision. I rather like how these pieces are coming out. Take a look.

I call this one Beyond and it was inspired by a train ride through the Alps.

I worked another version of it in “Memories on a Train” below.

I liked how Beyond came out, but I admit I love color. So I did “Farther”.

I continued in this vein with a slightly more fanciful topic in “Enchanted”.

I think I’m going to explore this “soft view” approach for a year or so and see where it takes me.

The Trickster in Love

After painting the owls, I was wondering what to paint. I had a vague idea that I wanted to do something with a fox. Again I stood in my backyard pondering several different ideas when a fox ran across the yard! I’ve never seen a fox in my backyard before! It happily jumped at the rear bushes, snagged a tasty sparrow and was off! Poor little sparrow. This spring, as a result of a smaller sparrow populations I had a bumper crop of raspberries and even native New York blue birds nesting in the yard.

The fox is also known as a trickster. So beware the gifts he may bring.

But I digress. Without futher ado, here is The Trickster in Love.

The Kleshas

I recently finished this painting on the Kleshas.    In Christian philosophy, we have the seven deadly sins, that might keep you from finding a state of grace.  There are both yogic and Buddhist approaches to the Kleshas and the flavor is slightly different and they define them a little differently.

I came across the Kleshas during studies with my yoga teacher.   They are:  abhinivesha (fear), asmita (false identity), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion) and avidya (ignorance).

There are many images for the Kleshas but of not in a Western cultural context.  I wanted to create something that those studying yoga in the West could use to understand and meditate on the Kleshas.   I did this painting as a gift for my yoga teacher.

The figure is standing on one foot to represent that if the Kleshas are not addressed she remains off balance.   I tried to make the figure a healthy looking woman, rather than a model or a magic goddess throwing off sparks, but the you encountered in the mirror every day.  The figure is not clothed, as you must take away the outside masks of costume and artifice to overcome these obstacles and know your inner self.

Each hand is in a mudra that is associated with the chakras of the kleshas.  The icons for each klesha  have the color of the chakra they are over.  From top to bottom, they are ignorance, avoidance, false-identity, attachment and fear.

 

 

Snow Angel of Joy

Dan took a wonderful picture of Tila making a snow angel.   Dogs have an amazing ability to live and enjoy the moment to it’s fullest.  It’s the sort of thing some people strive for with so much effort in meditation and more.   Snow!  Joy!  Roll!  Sniff!  Roll some more!  I must make a note to enjoy each moment as it comes.   Here is the painting that inspired.

Snow Angel of Joy

Lavender in Provence-Use of Semi-Neutrals

This is my new favorite painting.  I combined some abstract elements with lavender fields in Provence.  I also used elements of color theory that I used from Stephen Quiller and his book Color Choices: Making sense out of color theory.

The Quiller Wheel works by using semi-neutrals that harmonize a painting.  For instance if you need a dark for a shadow you could try blending a purple with the opposite on the color wheel a yellow, for a cool toned semi-neutral.

You can see how this works on his website, where I love some of the muted tones in his paintings.

So without further ado, Lavender in Provence.

Over the years this has turned out to be one of my most popular paintings and I won’t give up the original. But for a friend I did Lavender in SC

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And in 2016 a gallery wanted the original (which I still won’t give up) so I did Provence 2016 for them.

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So if you in the mood to try reading the book I used Making Sense Out of Color Theory know that although he works in watercolors, he has charts in the book that cover acrylics and oils, as the exact name of a purple hue may be different for different media.  It also comes with a pull out color wheel that I have on my studio wall.  One of my favorite things about the book is that he will do the same scene using different color combinations and intensities, that in itself is very educational.

Happy painting!

If you like his work and you are a watercolorist you may like this book:

Return to the Flock

I was sitting and reading a book on modern art.  I don’t always “get” modern art.  I do try.  I was looking at a picture of a lamb in a tank of formaldehyde called “Away from the Flock” by Damien Hirst.  He also placed a 14 foot tiger- shark in a tank of formaldehyde called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.  Now if this sort of thing is up your alley but you don’t have room for a lamb or a shark in your living room, Carolina Biological offers some delightful preserved cats for only $42.95.  All you need then is a tank of formaldehyde to complete the exhibit.  The shark in the tank, on the other hand originally sold for 50,000 pounds and was 14 feet long.  But all that aside, let’s turn back to the picture of that lamb in formaldehyde.

Tila was reading over my shoulder.  “Humph”, he said, as Pyrs often do, having a complex language of huffs and snorts and whines and more types of barks than you can count.

“We must do something about this, free this sheep, return it to the flock.” he stated matter-of-factly.  After all he is a guardian dog.  And that is what they do, guard flock animals from dangerous and sometimes unusual predators.

“That might be a problem.” I told him.   “Someone did try to mess with it at one point, in fact a man called Mark Bridger poured ink into the tank and was convicted of an art crime.   He tried to say he was contributing to the art, and renamed the work ‘black sheep’. ” 

“Snort!” said Tila. “I wouldn’t call this art, supper maybe, but not art.”

“You know, this is funny, ” I said, ” Someone stole pencils out of a Damien Hirst installation and they may be charged 10 million pounds in damage to the artwork.  You think that someone would just buy a few more pencils.  And look at this, some other folks claim that Damien Hirst stole some of his ideas from other artists.  But really can you own a bunch of dots or a skull if you paint or use the image once? But it isn’t nice to speak ill of the dead as he died this year.  Oops, maybe they were wrong, he didn’t die in January 2012.  Maybe that is just the ultimate angry art critic.   The author did seem a bit wound up stating Hirst  “died last Thursday, January 12, in New York following complications from acute diverticulitis brought on by a swinishly speculative, grossly cynical, intellectually constipated effort to pinch out 11 concurrent exhibitions of rehashed expensive crap.”

This July he  offered a statue of a pregnant woman wielding a sword to a town in Devon England.   He appears to be alive and well. 

Tila sighed.

“This is why I find the modern art world so confusing.” I said.

“You know, this would make a great subject for a painting.”, nudged Tila the muse.

 And here without further ado is “Return to the Flock”, with apologies to  Damien Hirst and the modern art world.

 

Painting With The Impressionistic Palette

 I love the impressionists.  The bright colors  as in Gaugin’s  Vision After the Sermon (1888). Or take a look at Van Gough’s Pollard Willows With Setting Sun .  The yellows and the reds are just phenomenal.  So I decided to try painting with an impressionistic palette.

One of the things we learn when studying art is that “Then” and “Now” are very different.  From the grounds that are used to prepare the canvas to the paints themselves.  For instance Max Dorner writes of old Italian grounds using ground marble instead of the gesso widely used today.   We also, cannot “now” pick up the standard American oil paintbox kit and expect to use the colors provided to paint like an impressionist.  Granted, the talent the great impressionists had (have?-is a school bounded by time?) is rare and the average beginning student of art such as myself cannot hope to create at their level.

I’ve read several books as well (and I will get around to reviewing them) that talk about how they painted with a technique that gave “broken color” on the canvas.  But back to the paints themselves.    writes online:

“Colors in Monet’s Palette
Monet used quite a limited palette, banishing browns and earth colors and, by 1886, black had also disappeared. Asked in 1905 what colors he used, Monet said: “The point is to know how to use the colors, the choice of which is, when all’s said and done, a matter of habit. Anyway, I use flake white, cadmium yellow, vermilion, deep madder, cobalt blue, emerald green, and that’s all.” ”   She has written an excellent online article Palettes and Techniques of the Impressionistic Masters: Claude Monet.

Today, most of us don’t have tubes of lead white for obvious safety reasons and use the more modern equivalent of many other colors as well.  The other thing impressionists did was ban black and grey from their palettes.   So here are two paintings of mine in which I try to use a palette similar to the impressionists.  Once again I am trying to use the “techniques of” rather than painting in the style or form of one or another of them.  First I am not them and secondly, obviously I do not have their experience or talent. 

First as usual, my reference photo.  This is a train station in Munich with an arriving train on a rainy day.

 

 And here is my interpretation of that photo.

The Trains Run on Time: Munich
I like how it came out and tried to use softer edges in the distance to work on my perspective skills as well.   I also used a yellow ground or under-painting.  But when I was done I still had a pile of wonderful vibrant colors on my palette and wasn’t in the mood to stop painting.  So I painted a “still life” of my workstation. And then I was all out of paint.  And that was a good thing.

 

Artist’s View

 

 

Underpainting, a technique of the Old Masters-A Still Life

I love to read about art and art techniques.   I’m currently in love with another man, a really creative and amusing artist.  Forturnately for my husband, this artist is quite dead so he doesn’t have to worry.  But that is a subject for another post.

 I read a book by Erik Bossik called How to Create an Underpainting Like the Old Masters: A Step-by-Step Guide.  I liked the idea of following in the footsteps of Rembrandt and others.  I found the idea romantic.   My husband came by and looked at my progress and shook his head and said, “That doesn’t look like a Rembrandt.” 

Of course not silly, I am not painting in his style but trying to use his technique.   I have to admit I spent three weeks on this.  Ack.  If I didn’t try the underpainting and the layers over it I would have finished very quickly.  But you will have to be the judge as to whether the layers “glow” from underneath and I have more texture and color depth if I had not.

So here is my reference photo.

And next the underpainting.  Wow, pretty good.  I like how this came out.

 

Rut roh, too much color, where’d my egg go?  Yikes what did I do?  Is there any going back or forward.  I’m a color addict!   Someone help me!

The final still life.  

 

 I am going to try this technique again.  I can’t really get excited about painting a still life.   But I do like how the glaze came out on the bowl.  And the egg.   Onward and upward.