Final Notes (HRK)

I enjoyed experimenting with the limited palette on this piece, and I enjoyed the design. The poem is a good one as well. But I think I would have been happier with a broader palette, enabling me to create a bit more moodiness.

So, it is finished. See the final photos in the ‘pages’ section under finished art.

And join me at the Potomac Celtic Festival to see it for the first public appearance.



Final Notes (BtS)

Check the ‘Pages’ section for final photos of this piece and others.

‘Behind the Sun’ worked up fast, and I enjoyed creating it. It has been given a custom frame and includes UV filter glass. Photos of the piece with frame will be listed at Etsy after the Potomac show, if the piece does not sell there.

See it hanging for the first time at the Potomac Celtic Festival, Leesburg Virginia, 13-14 June, 2009.



Another interim view (BtS)

Almost done. Not quite, but almost

Almost done. Not quite, but almost

I am moving along on this one. Lots of color, lots of motion. Clear divisions of color, from bright foreground to dark background. I’m enjoying it.



Three words (BtS)

So, this one is working up so fast, I haven’t marked my ‘three words’ for it yet.

‘Behind the Sun’ is one of my most color intensive pieces to date. “Color” is a key to this piece. And, as I try to do in all my color pieces, colors move around the piece. Always use a color in more than one space, to keep the elements of the art unified. Violet makes an appearance in the shading of the sun, as well as in the mixing of the cooler purples of the moon. It also is used to shade the browns in Earth.

The brilliant yellow in the sun also appears in the mixing of browns, golds and greens in Earth.

Let’s see…

‘Perspective’ is important in this piece. Not the concept of perspective as an art term, but the concept of looking from a certain point. You are behind the sun, watching Raven and the planets dance.

The framework of ‘Behind the Sun’ is meant to be a series of interlocking puzzle pieces, building blocks of the universe, framing a moment of the planetary dance. Everything is a part of a greater whole. Color, shape, movement and music are parts of the piece. I suppose ‘pieces’ will bring that to mind.

‘Color’ and ‘Perspective’ and ‘Pieces’ of the puzzle. These are words for ‘Behind the Sun’ that should help me focus on the important elements.



Wax finish (BI)

Note: I wrote this post in early June and overlooked it. I am publishing it now to make sure the information on the final stages of Birch Interlace are included in the public postings.

A wax finish starts with a fine, microcrystalline paste wax, such as Renaissance Wax, or Behlen brand.

Put a small amount into a doubled over piece of cheesecloth, and rub onto the surface, using the amount that comes out of the cheesecloth. Gently. Or, apply with a soft cloth. Create an even coat, and after a short period of about 30 minutes, buff with a soft cloth. The softer the cloth, the glossier the finish. From the thick texture of cotton terry cloth to the fine texture of an old cotton t-shirt, make your own choice. I’m looking for a slightly matte finish, and I’m using an old terrycloth wash cloth to buff.



It is taking a bit of pigment off the heavier areas of blue. Probably due to a lesser amount of Gum Arabic in the top layers of the paint, as I was using liquid watercolors which use less binder. I’m not very worried, as I did layer the blues very heavily.

In the central areas, where I used more egg white, there is no lifting of the pigment, so it must be protecting the surface more. No pigment is lifting from the white areas of the branches either.




Cats and progress (BtS)

Some detail on Gaia

Some detail on Gaia

Sometimes the cats sneak in when I’m grabbing a cup of tea, or using the bathroom. Here is a small patch of blue, tracked from the blue waves while they were still damp, and carried across the neck of Gaia. My black cat, Hezz, is fascinated by paint. She sniffs and rubs on paintings, drinks the water used for washing brushes, and will fang my paint tubes if I leave them out.

I’m sure that forensics would prove that the small paw print belongs to her and not to the large ginger cat, Shortbread, or the cranky outdoor cat, Mary.

Two paw prints and a scratch were covered up on the Pookah, and a whisker has permanently adhered to the tempera in Birch Interlace.

It shouldn’t be hard to cover this print. Stay tuned.



work, work, work (BtS)

Some basic work done

Some basic work done

The color is a lot of fun on this piece. I did the layout onto the watercolor paper just as I did the Pookah, by taping up a tracing of the design to the window near my easel, and taping up a piece of paper over it. This is cold press paper, primarily because my largest sheets are cold press at this point.

The colors are not meant to be ‘realistic’ here. They are meant to be an organized riot of definition, helping to bring the painting to the viewer without too much explanation. I hope to have people recognizing where they are standing without much more backstory than the title. Having the sun be obvious, with pointy, triangular rays and everything, I hope that the continuation of recognizing the moon and Earth will follow.

Liquid watercolors by Dr. Ph Martin are my favorite paints for working up quick, intense and vibrant colors. I add a few other tubes, mostly Winsor and Newton ochres, to get some quick opacity and some ochre granulation, as seen in the red center of the sun. The image of Gaia, inspired by a lovely lady of my acquaintance, is not meant to be realistic. It is a stylized symbol, loosely based on my memory of a beautiful person.



Notes on a new piece (BtS)

Pencil layout

Pencil layout

Welcome to piece number five of the Angelus Project.

As can be seen, I am rather behind schedule and it is unlikely I will finish six pieces by the show on June 13/14. But I’m certainly farther along than I would have been without the blog.

The design for ‘Behind the Sun’ is actually rather recent. I worked it up quickly after my trip to Ireland in 10/2007, when I was feeling rather creative. The design requires a bit of explanation, more so in the black and white sketch than in color, as the colors begin to bring the symbols into perspective.

The actual inspiration is a series of very small sketches in the book ‘Sun, Moon, and Earth’ by Robin Heath. The book is a wonderful introduction to the motion of stars and planets, and the sketches illustrate the movement of the sun, moon and Earth in the state of ’syzygy’ or alignment, during a solar eclipse.

I moved the perspective of the viewer to a place behind the sun during a solar eclipse, thus the largest body in the foreground is the sun, with a smaller moon and then Earth, symbolized by Gaia. The background Raven was the latest addition, after the poem took shape.

The poem began with the second stanza, regarding the reason for Raven’s black feathers. It is my favorite part of the poem. I began writing it after a morning of reading Native American myths of Raven to a small boy named Luke. We especially liked the story of Raven stealing the sun. We also liked the illustrations very much.

(Hi Luke!)



Final notes (Ps)

The Pookah worked up very fast. Watercolor does occasionally impress me with it’s ability to dry before I’m ready. The lines are almost exactly what I would have wanted if I had been more clear with myself at the beginning of the painting. A bit of fussing here and there would not improve anything, I’m sure.

The colors in the background of the central panel are still not quite what I want. I think I wanted them darker. The Pookah himself is a bit leggier than I wanted. And not quite so dark as I was envisioning. But I like it. And it is time to STOP.

The Pookah will require a frame, as will ‘Behind the Sun’ if I get it finished. Therefore, these two pieces have to be done about two weeks ahead of the show on the 13 and 14 of June. ‘Hall of the Raven King’ will not be framed, so I’m saving the last bit of work on it for the two weeks prior to the show.

I’m pleased with the way this one has come out. None of my fiddling with the camera has produced a good reproduction of the reds and oranges, as is par for the course. The depths of watercolors rarely come out in photos anyway, so I hope you get to see it in person. Check the ‘pages’ section for the ‘Final Photographs’ of this and other project pieces.



Eyes tired, head spinning (Ps)

working on the border and central panel

working on the border and central panel

Central panel colors coming together

Central panel colors coming together

Well, the colors are coming together. But I don’t know if I’ll try this combination again for a while.

The intense autumn palette is working well. Rich oranges and reds, a touch of Q-violet, bordered with a nice olive green, and the reds just pop right off the paper. I’m working up an overlay of India ink spirals on the border, which is the eye-wrenching part. It looks great when it is done. But I may need a cool cloth over my eyes. No caffeine for me on this one, thanks.

The central panel is also clipping along nicely with some cooler colors, washes of blues and some Q-violet to tie into the reds in the border. I’ll be done with it soon.

I initially intended the moon to have some 3-d elements in it, but the flat yellow, picking up a bit of unintended green tint from the surrounding color harmonics, works well with the heavier detail in the running pookah.

The central panel has become cool and smooth, in contrast to the brilliant motion on the border. I like it.



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