Tremblant in the Rain, Take 2

Digital Art, Landscape
©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

Landscape

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! 😉

View From the Train

Digital Art, Landscape
©2019, Emma Pittson, “View From the Train”. Photoshop.

When it comes to selecting a seat on the train between Montreal and Toronto, you have two choices: you can either face Southwards and catch a view of Lake Ontario (for at least part of the trip), or you can face North and watch endless farmland and villages roll by. I’m so glad I chose the land side because who would want to miss out on a sunset like this?

First Painting of 2021

acrylic, Landscape
©2021, Emma Pittson, “Laurentian Lake”. Acrylic on canvas, 8″ x 10″ x 0.5″.

I have made some New Year’s resolutions – although not many because, let’s face it, 2020 was an abysmal year, and I think that, on a certain level, it’s enough just to keep going every day. So with that in mind, and with the bar at a very low and comfortable level, I have vowed to devote 15 minutes a day to making art! And it can be anything: digital art, painting on canvas, serious studies, doodles, original work, fanart, commissions, prepping a painting surface, or gathering inspirational images for a future piece. As long as I’ve done something, I can check that day off my calendar. The goal is to have an unbroken line of check marks for the entire month. And so far, so good!

Thanks to the pandemic, I have been permanently ensconced in my dining room since March while my husband has taken over the office/studio. I really hesitated to break out the paints because the only space left in the house for artmaking was, well, right back in the dining room, and I felt that I was already spending enough of my waking hours there – not to mention the slow and insidious breaking down of the boundary between work and home that is a feature of Life these days. Mentally, how would I make the separation? If I’m sitting down at my easel, would I feel guilty and be unable to work if I heard that tell-tale “ping” from the computer letting me know that a Teams message has just arrived? If I crack open the water-soluble oils, will the smell of linseed oil (which I’m not a fan of) linger long after I’d done a final clean-up and make it harder for me to concentrate on my job the next day?

Thankfully, none of this has turned out to be a problem! Windows can be opened to clear out the smell of the linseed oil, and computer speakers can be turned off to ensure a peaceful studio (it helps that my co-workers also want to reclaim their lives outside of work, so the threat of urgent e-mails at 9pm isn’t really a thing after all). If anything, I find myself turning away from the computer every now and then throughout the day and looking longingly at my easel! (If any of my co-workers are reading this, you now know why I occasionally turn my head screen right and gaze wistfully into the middle-distance…)

Here are some progress pics…

Values
Colour Blocking

Progress!