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Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Painting-Sun at her back

Here is a new piece I just sent off. It is titled "Sun at her back." It is an 18x24 oil on linen canvas.
I liked the cool tones on the figure offset by warm light. It was a challenge to paint,as the lighting was very subtle.
There was a nice purple and blue harmony with touches of warm yellow, a complementary palette that mother nature provides.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Black Gold-the garden in winter

Black gold has been found in our garden...not Texas T or any kind of profitable gold!  We are talking about compost here. Erik and I save all our fruit and veggie scraps for the compost bin. We do a two step process. Above is the "Death Star." It is a round ball that rotates on a base and is used for the first phase of compost. Our yard does not get a lot of heat, so most of the composting occurs through cold fermentation. When you open the death star to put more stuff in it, the smell is enough to ask if a sewer pipe has burst.
Phase two occurs in this compost bin. This holds several months of the fermented yuck from the death star, and helps the compost to dry out more.
After another couple of months, the compost is ready to be used. It is transferred into this bucket and shoveled through a screen to remove the avocado pits and other things that just don't get enough heat to break down.
This screen was easily made with scrap lumber and hardware cloth. I put the larger mulch leftovers into my potted plants, and add the finer compost to the veggie beds.
It looks like good old dirt, but is chock full of great things for the soil. It smells like rich earth, a gardener's bouquet.
The beds are being prepped for some lettuce and cabbage family additions.
All the roses have been pruned, and general garden clean up has taken place as the seasons begin to change.
What an amazing cycle plants go through, they lose their leaves and allow more light to filter through during the colder months. Although we are not having much of a winter yet here in San Diego! These tomato plants have grown themselves from dropped fruit last season.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

New painting -"Gauntlets and Gunbag

This is a new piece. It is oil on linen canvas, 30x24."  The title is "Gauntlets and Gunbag."  This elder of the Crow is wearing finely beaded gloves and buckskin shirt. He is holding his rifle in a beaded gun bag. I took some easel shots of the layering of this-they are quickie shots, so glare is unfortunate-

His silk neckerchief was also built up in layers, with a golden brown initially.

I put a bit of a cloud shape in the left corner to balance the right lean of the figure.

The gauntlets are worked from the stained underpainting through several layers of value and thickness.
 The neck kerchief was layered over the brown with purple and blue tones.
 Dark values in brown and ocher colors are laid down for the gun bag.
The beaded areas are simply stained in with a general local color in the first round.
After several layers, the final forms are finished. I tend to paint in layers over several hours or days to achieve the look of certain textures, while some areas are painted in one direct session.
His face was adjusted to show more of the "egg effect." This pushes the intensity of light to the upper area of the face where it is closer to the light source.