Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome to the Chaos

This is approximately how it looks in my studio at the moment.

While this was taken a couple of weeks ago, this is still the current setup, though the painting on the easel is different now and so are the objects on the still life table. Setting that table up was the best thing I've done in ages, and has led to all sorts of new paintings.

See that palette table with the nifty wheels on it? It's a microwave cart.
$40 at Target, and it works great. I put a thick piece of glass (with rounded edges, of course) on the top for a palette. My paints get stored in the little drawer, and there are hooks on the side for rags and other tools. Practical, sturdy and cheap.

Setting up the studio

Naturally, I had to wait until after my digital camera died before deciding to start a blog.

This is because I'm slightly nuts, or maybe because I needed more incentive to go buy a new camera.

I'll be posting a lot of work in progress here, beginning in the next few days or as soon as I get a camera, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, I'll put up a few recent works.

The drawing at left is Uncle Oscar's Appaloosa. The horse is a toy, about ten inches tall. He was given to me by my great-great-uncle, Oscar Lybass, when I was about three years old. One of my earliest memories is of him taking the horse down from a high shelf at his house -- it was all dark, warm wood in there -- and putting it in my hands.

Uncle Oscar was something like 90 years old at the time, and I don't think I ever saw him again, as he died soon afterward. The toy horse is the only thing of his that I have.

For this drawing I took a sheet of heavy paper and painted it with dark, transparent brown acrylic (acrylic is basically the same stuff as latex house paint; it's water-based but permanent when dry). Then I drew on it in charcoal, a couple colors of pastel (a dark black and a pale yellow) and some white chalk for the brightest highlights.

The brown wash gives the drawing a lot of warmth, and the brush strokes on the paper give it a great texture, like a painting.

I love this method of working very, very much. The only trouble with making art on paper is that while it's cheap to make, it's very expensive to frame. Canvases cost a lot more at the outset but are far more economical in the long run, so I work primarily in oil on canvas.