When I was watching an old Hollywood movie, I was wondered to see a large caravan leading to the desert oasis. All kind of stuffs are carried by many porters and the main characters are just sit on the camels and have a wonderful cup of tea when they stop. I like that! I would like to go out and paint landscape outside if somebody carry all my stuff and prepare my tea and a slice of cake when I get tired. My landscape painting will be heavenly present. What am I dreaming about!!! I have only a week and a half till Spoleto Festival starts. Let’s keep working!
I was thinking about painting this image. But for a painting I like to use much horizontally longer panel. Unfortunately what I have is a bit too large. I should go to downtown and get the right panel. But the problem for this solution is that I do not like to drive on the highway nor sanding and painting gesso on the surface. So..instead…I went for the wood engraving. It can be much lighter, but it is done. Of course I had a fun…..But… I still like to paint this image! I have three choices right now. The first choice is paint on the right proportion panel but extremely large. The second is to compromise and paint on the different proportion. The third is go to down town and get it. I like the idea of painting on the right proportion. But it will be rain tomorrow and I still do not like to drive…..I am going to have a cup of tea.
I just finished this image. I am getting used to the printing process, but it is still not easy. I am not sure how deep I should curve or how it looks like when the image is printed. I guess the more I produce the images, the more I will know.
First of all, I was not sure what kind of paper is best for wood engravings. So I called Dick Blick and ask their advise. The person I talked with was very knowledgeable and advised me many good points. He recommended me a few paper for me to try, but I ended up purchasing over 10 different kind of paper. Most of paper are slightly different from each other. I do not have my favorite yet, though. I printed all afternoon yesterday. I destroyed so many paper until I got used to the process. Of course I did not use those good paper for the practice. I used the left-over paper for Japanese calligraphy. Now looking at this print, I think I did OK as a novice.
I visited one of the antique store last week. But I was not looking for any particular items. It is always such a fun to check out all those odd things. Sometimes I do not know what I am looking at. Anyway I saw one of the most decorative but well done painting….actually a print. Beautiful colors and incredible brush strokes were there. Of course I bought it and studied the masterfully painted image. I started to feel like I need to try the way this artist painted. I took out one of the photos of the Gray Tower in PA. I changed the composition…well…just about everything and recreated this image. It was fun! I did not need to worry about the details or accuracy of what I was looking at. I just painted whatever I feel like.
For this type of painting the fast dry acrylic paints are not appropriate. So I took out my old oil paints hoping those are still OK. Then I remembered why I abandoned the oils and started to use the acrylics. The oils smells. I used the odorless solvent and hardly used medium, but my house smelled like painting factory. I need a good ventilation or extremely large studio.
It rained all night. TV said that it will be raining all day today. My dogs are not happy about it, but it is a nice day for painting. I am going to challenge myself trying to use oil paints for the next painting. I have not used oils for years if not a decade. I need to check even my paints are still usable or not. It will be fun.
We did not go anywhere for a while. We just stayed home like any other person in the world. But when the anticipation of Autumn is in the air, I feel like “it is a time, let’s go somewhere. Let’s check out something wonderful and eat something good!” I don’t have much courage to go to the crowded area yet, but walking in the woods would be inspiring.
I went to Hobby Lobby to buy some boards. There are already Christmas Ornaments in several isles. Usually I ignore those too early items. But somehow this year, I welcomed those colorful ornaments. I am ready to move on to the new chapter of my life. I believe everybody does.
When I finished a painting, I take a picture in the shade outside as other artists do. Since I spray plenty of varnish on my painting, it is quite hard to take a good image because of the shiny surface by vanish. I tilt the panel. I take pictures from all different directions. If I can get one good image out of 15 images, I am lucky. This is the struggles I go through every time when I finish a painting. Then I manipulate the image using Photoshop so that the image can maintain the original appearance. If the image is small like this one, it is rather easy, but when the image is large, it will be a nightmare to avoid the shinny parts. Now I am getting better with Photoshop, but still I encounter many problems.
I painted this image with Casein paints. Casein is the milk based paints. I have never used this before simply because I never knew such a thing existing. My friend Judy called me a couple month ago and told me there would be a competition for Casein paintings. I pay $50 for this entry and they send me a set of paints, paper, and brushes. OK I thought, it would be fun. Since I was busy…I always have an excuse….I did not touch these paints until I read the e-mail notifying me the deadline would be in a few days. OK I thought again and started to paint as I usually do with acrylic. Since I did not like the paper they sent me, I replace it with my favorite multi media board. Until I used this Casein I thought all paints in tubes are not much different. I was wrong! This paints do not have much elasticity and just chalky! Judy told me that the Casein medium will help a bit. I do not think so! I used just water to thin down the paints so that I can apply to the paper surface.
After a bagful of my complaining, I realized my fault. Since the tubes are quite large, I automatically believed that this paints should be applied like acrylic or oil. But if I used this like using water color or gouache, then this would have worked much better. Anyway I finished the casein painting. Oh!…the finished painting surface and paints are so mat…I sprayed the varnish. Colors became darker and deeper than not using the spray.