Painting for January 23: Where did the time go?

january-23
©2017, Emma Pittson, “Hair Study no. 5“. Acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 8″ x 0.5”.

I think we can dispense with all pretense that I’m in any way keeping up with the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge.  So now that that’s out of the way, let me just say that this is my favourite “hair painting” so far.  Not only did I let myself get carried away with details (so much for “daily” painting), but bonus!  I also took the reference photo myself, so, FINALLY, I can claim to have created an original painting.  Many thanks to my lovely and patient model, S-A, who’s probably convinced by now that she works with weirdos.

“Due to bad planning…”

Ever had that one painting that just refuses to die cooperate?  Well, for me, it’s this b*tch right here.  It’s my fault, really: I drove her off the lot without any clear idea of where I wanted to take her.  Honestly, her face has about a litre of paint on it!  Memo to me: pre-production is your friend!  (Or, to borrow an example from my former industry, computer animation: be like unto Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds”, not “Pirates of the Caribbean”)

Anyways, I am officially pretending that she never happened at all and will now move on to something else.  Huzzah!

20160614_153511
@2016, Emma Pittson. “Trish”, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″ x1″.

My Daily Painting Experiment

Back in January, I started listening to a lot of art-related podcasts while I set up my studio.  One of the subjects that kept coming up was the value of daily painting.  The idea is that by painting small canvasses every day (or nearly every day), you could not only increase your productivity (obviously), but also give a serious boost to your skills.  That sounded like a win-win situation to me, so one week in February, I armed myself with a bunch of 8″ x 10″ panels and went to town (or rather, to work).  Behold the results:

Landscape1
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue”. Acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″.

I always knew that I wanted to focus on the figure in my artwork, but seeing as I didn’t have a posse of models at my disposal, I decided to try landscapes instead.  I suppose I could have simply painted images from fashion magazines, but I kinda have a problem with straight reproductions.  If you didn’t have an actual hand in composing the original image, I think that merely copying it is a bit of a rip-off (unless you specify that it’s just a study).

Landscape2
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Orange”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

@2016, Emma Pittson, “South Island”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

All of these paintings were done from my own photos of our Best. Trip. EVER – a 2-week Xmas camping vacation through the South Island of New Zealand about 10 years ago.  We were living in Wellington at the time and decided to stay in the Antipodes over Xmas instead of hemorrhaging money on a trip back to Canada (my family’s in Montreal, his is in St. John’s, so, yeah… complicated).

Landscape3
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Hawea”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

So what did I learn from this little experiment?  A few things:

  1. producing a finished product every day makes you feel AWESOME
  2. every painting is a chance to try something new
  3. every painting is a chance to fail, and that is a-ok
  4. landscapes, while I do enjoy them, are not something I want to do for the rest of my art career

Have you ever experimented with daily painting?  Did you love it or hate it?  And most importantly: what did you learn from it?

Landscape5
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Marble Hill”. Acrylic on panel, 8″ x 10″.

The Blue Lady

20160426_115959
©2016, Emma Pittson. “The Blue Lady”, acrylic on paper.

Every now and then, I like to get back to basics and do a proper study.  Since most of the paintings that I have planned center on portraits of women wearing late 60’s – early 70’s clothing, an image from my copy of La Fileuse (a French knitting pattern catalog) from 1968 was a good place to start.

Being a sucker for punishment, I also decided to use only white and Phthalo Blue (“the priceless troublemaker”, as Carol Marine would say).  Here’s what I learned from this particular experience:

  • I’m pretty happy with the results, but I have to say: Carol Marine was right about Phthalo Blue.  Even the tiniest drop will have far-reaching consequences.  Use with caution!
  • Along those lines, no amount of white on top of Phthalo Blue will be nice and bright.  Best to use a light touch.
  • Because I wanted crisp lines along the edges of the painting, I applied a light coat of matte medium along the edge of the artists’ tape.  The paint didn’t bleed, but it did form a kind of “shelf”.
  • Also, when you look at the painting from the side, there’s a slight difference in sheen where I applied the medium, and where I didn’t.  I’m pretty sure that can be solved by applying a varnish all over, but that reminds me that…
  • … I forgot to varnish the painting before removing the tape.  Oops.