Friday, March 30, 2012

Layering Wet-on-Wet

While painting with Maddie, I decided to experiment with layering washes wet-on-wet. In the first one, I started with green, then blue, then violet, then orange, back to blue, etc, for many layers, and then I dropped pink and orange in over and over to watch them crawl. The second one has only five layers, and because it was painted vertically on Strathmore Aquarius II paper, a lot of the paint slid off. Still, you can get some beautiful, subtle, glowing, deep colors this way. I have been thinking a lot about what to make of this underpainting.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vessels of Memory 2

Today I felt like doing a nonobjective painting, based on a new distorted grid. I worked on the grid quite a while and was fairly pleased with it. Then I painted it with earth colors and some orange and purple and green. I was not pleased with it. I tried to analyze what I didn't like about it, and I decided that it was too busy, with too many small, broken up shapes, that the colors were rather garish, and finally, it did not seem to express anything. Skip Lawrence says that when paintings fail, the most common reason is because the artist forgot his or her expressive intent, and I think that's happened here. I was intending to do something peaceful, and I got so involved in the painting that I even quit following the grid and just threw paint on. It was fun at the time, but the results were not thrilling. So I looked at some paintings by Katherine Chang Liu for inspiration and got some opaque watercolors and started covering things up, trying to create bigger shapes, with more variety of size. Now I think  it expresses peacefulness; I like how the colors of the underpainting show through and create variation of color within shapes; and I like the India ink line.  

Distorted grid

This became the underpainting.

The Resulting Painting

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Aunts Photo

This is the photograph that inspired my series of paintings of "The Aunts." It was taken at a big family picnic in Garfield Park in Indianapolis in 1945. Since I wish someone had written the names of the people on the back, I am going to try to identify everyone according to my best guess. Left to right, Hope (Brown) Todd, my mother; hidden behind her, Helen (Todd) Huehls, holding Mark Huehls; behind the man on the ground, me and my dad, William Ross Todd; the man on the ground is either Lloyd Huehls or Marshall Todd, and the children in front of him may be Bobby McColgin and David Ford; next to him, also on the ground, Margaret Todd, Marshall's wife; woman hidden behind her, unknown; woman in white dress, Ruth (Todd) McColgin; Dottie Todd, who was named Gertrude, I think, and later married a man with the last name of Edwards; and last, Lucile (Todd) Ford, holding Bill Ford.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Re-Doing an Old Painting

Today I took a not very thrilling old painting from my Krumpers series and added india ink and tons of paint. This time, I think the second painting is much better. 

I think I am done with this series. I have said all I have to say about krumpers.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

First Place, Hooray!

The painting from "The Aunts Series" that I posted on March 2, won first place in mixed media at the Huntington Beach Art League meeting last night.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Developments in Grandchildren's Artwork

Maddie, age 4, has moved into representational art, as seen by the following works:

The Beach -- you can see palm tree, ocean, sun, and sand


Ryan, age 22 months, continues with abstract expressionism:

He recently made a move towards representation:

Friday, March 2, 2012

"The Aunts" Series

Aunts at a Picnic

Today, for the first time, I tried Ruth Ellen Hoag's method of using india ink to do her drawing onto watercolor paper and then painting over it. I actually had a transparent abstract underpainting already in place when I painted with the india ink, and I left some of the transparent colors when I painted over the ink with mostly opaque watercolors. 

This is part of a series of paintings I have done based on a photograph taken of my five paternal aunts at a picnic in 1945 at Garfield Park in Indianapolis. In this one, Aunt Helen got left out, leaving Margaret, Ruth, Dottie, and Lucile (holding the baby).