“Hautes Gorges” Re-paint

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Hautes Gorges de la Riviere Malbaie II”. Photoshop.

Another day, another re-paint! While I try to summon the courage to break away from digital art and actually pick up a paintbrush, I’m indulging in re-painting some of my older digital landscapes. It’s not entirely fair for me to disparage my old work and say “Wow! Look how much I’ve learned” because those first landscapes were just supposed to be quick studies done over my lunch hour (like I don’t spend enough time staring at a screen, right?). But with time, those early studies have started to look pretty clunky, and, quite frankly, a little embarrassing. I’m not saying that I’m going to give my entire portfolio a do-over, but… maybe a few pieces here and there.

Here is the original artwork for comparison…

©2019, Emma Pittson, “Hautes Gorges de la Riviere Malbaie”. Photoshop.

Re-Visiting My First Painting

©2022, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue II”. Photoshop.

After my self-portrait, I had a little spate of bad luck art-wise. While January was a really productive month, February has been one failed art experiment after another. I’m also trying to pep-talk myself back into picking up an actual paint brush and committing to a decent-sized canvas, but it’s slow-going for now. I’ve had this digital re-paint of my very first acrylic paint from 2016 on the back-burner for a few months now, and because it’s good for morale to actually FINISH things, this seemed like the perfect time to wrap it up.

When I look back on the original painting, I’m struck by how every single brush stroke looks nervous and hesitant. I had internalized so much negativity from my time at art school that it’s a miracle I’d managed to paint anything at all. I may not be as productive, nor as consistent, as I’d like to be, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come since this first painting.

Lake Wanaka sunset in blue new Zealand
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Lake Wanaka in Blue”. Acrylic on panel, 10″ x 8″.

Tremblant in the Rain, Take 2

©2021, Emma Pittson, “Tremblant in the Rain, Take 2”. Painter.

Long time no blog! I was going great guns there for the first few months of 2021, and then starting in March my husband had to put in a lot of overtime, and frankly, it’s been that way ever since! When I’m not working at my own full-time job, I have to stay on top of practically everything else – making sure the kids are getting their homework done or aren’t going out of their minds with boredom (and walking into Mommy’s Zoom calls for work!), cooking, getting a handle on everything we’ll need to prepare my daughter for her new school, and making sure the house doesn’t fall into complete ruin. There are many, many corners of my house that I have not dusted in what seems like forever. Luckily, we’ve had exactly zero houseguests in the last year and a half, so no one’s been around to be horrified at my lax housekeeping.

Anyways, another reason why I haven’t produced much of anything in the last few months is because I’ve been in a period of serious re-evaluation of my own work. When I started this blog, it was to track my progress as I re-taught myself everything I’d forgotten from art school, or filled in what I missed. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but at the same time, I can look at my portfolio pages and not feel that the work there truly represents me as an artist. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the landscapes, but they also bore me! If I were to set up a website for my art (which I am very much aiming towards), the landscapes would not have any place on it. I consider them as less “elevator pitch” and more “art tool practice” – heavily-involved and elaborate colour wheels, if you will.

So I’m doing a lot of thinking, image-collecting, mood-boarding, and internal pep-talking. Now all I need is some free time, and I might just be able to make this happen!

To get my feet wet again, I upgraded my version of Corel Painter and tested it out by re-painting the Tremblant in the Rain painting. I’m MUCH happier with this version, and my husband liked it so much he half-jokingly offered me a job as a matte painter! (If only… if only…)

Struggling With Supplies

Ever purchase some art supplies that fail to live up to the hype, or even sadly disappoint you? I had that experience just recently.

While stocking up on some stretched canvases, I decided to try a different brand. Royal & Langnickel stretched canvases came in economical packs of ten, and I thought “Well, my usual Omer Deserres are just fine, but maybe these are better?”, and, um… no.

I felt like I was trying to paint on burlap that had been given a generous coating of water repellent! Worst of all, I was also testing out a new set of Daler-Rowney water-miscible paints at the same time. How could I tell how the paint was behaving on such a lousy support?

©2021, Emma Pittson, “Tremblant in the Rain”. Oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″ x 0.5″.

And here is a close-up of the canvas texture, just for fun. Smooth as a baby’s bottom, no?

Ah well, at least I’m happy with how the image turned out! I had started a second painting at the same time, and because I had only put down a value study in acrylics, I gave that canvas a few coats of matte medium in hopes that it would kind of “fill in the holes” – but I think it was only moderately successful. As a final attempt to salvage my investment (and I say that with tongue firmly in cheek because I am a total cheapskate), I slapped two more coats of gesso on two unused canvases. I don’t know if I feeling brave enough anytime soon to give those a whirl, but if they ALSO turn out to be failures, then it looks like my kids are going to inherit a whole bunch of stretched canvases, whether they like it or not! 😉