Hotel Drawings

Here are a few drawings from my time in Chicago.  I have been toying with lines and layers of color in my paintings for a while and since I don’t have my oils I thought I’d play with lines of color in my sketchbook.  These are my favorites so far.

And since I’ll be here for a while, I can only assure that there will be more – Stay tuned.

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Making Traditional Gesso, Oddly Not That Hard

WP_20130721_002Yep, I made my own Gesso today, as well as stretched my own canvas and then applied said Gesso.  Up top here are all the basics you need to make Gesso.  The white bag on the left is marble dust (you can get this at almost any art supply store for about $5; the white bag on the right is Rabbit Skin Glue that’ll run about $7 at an art store; the pots are a double boiler that I picked up from Goodwill for $9 – a total of less than $20).  If you take out the cost of the boiler, it’s actually cheaper than buying the tubs of Gesso, and you can mix it to your own specific requirements (i.e. you could add some Titanium white pigment for a little brighter white, although I didn’t find that necessary).

WP_20130722_001So first off I soaked 6 tablespoons of the rabbit skin glue in 1 quart of luke-warm water for about 1 and a half hours (you really only need to do this for about 30min to an hour, but I was doing other stuff and lost track of time – It turned out to be just fine.  After that I filled the bottom of the double boiler with enough water that it didn’t overflow when I put the pot with the glue on top.  I then gently warmed the glue for about a half hour.

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While I was waiting for the glue to soak I worked on stretching my canvas.  I used precut stretchers I received from a friend and an old piece of, if I remember correctly, CD10 canvas.

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Ta-Da!  Nice and stretched.  I only stretched it to hand tightness and I didn’t use tools as I did not want it too tight for fear that the gesso would add just too much more tension and warp the bars.WP_20130722_002After the glue was heated up and the canvas stretched, I mixed the glue and dry marble dust in a 1 to 1 ratio (I used 30 tablespoons each – a little less than half a quart in the end).  I also had way more glue than I needed for this particular process, so I shoved it in the fridge.  Just be sure to label it, it looks a lot like chicken stock and you wouldn’t want to mix that up.  Now here is where you would be told to apply the gesso, while still warm, which is totally up to you.  I however, thought it was a little too soupy.  So I waited until it cooled and started to thicken while still mixing with a spoon occasionally.

WP_20130722_009I then applied it to the canvas with a Gesso brush – see it looks amazing without the Titanium white added!

WP_20130722_008Lastly I put a protective barrier over the gesso in the quart container I had so that it won’t film over or dry out before I use it again.

I hope this was as informative to you as it was to me.  It was actually quite fun, I don’t see why more artists don’t take a day or two and make their own gesso.

Sketchy Sketch

WP_20130717_007This is a sketch I finished a couple of days ago.  It is the back sid of our house where I plan to build a lean-to.  Said lean-to would cover the access to the cellar, be a storage shed for yard and other tools/stuff, and I’d also add-on a screened in porch.  It’s all there for you to check out.  I’m kind of smitten with the sketch even if the building doesn’t happen for a while.

Forgetful Much?

So I have this handy little app on my phone that when I take notes for ideas, it magically appears on my computer.  So long as I have my phone or computer with me, I can jot down those ideas when they hit me.  You would think this would help me blog more as I have a running list of topics.  Only a few have I actually blogged about.  Part of it is that I don’t know what I meant by a certain phrase, but the other part is that I forget to look or get too busy to even think about blogging.  Such is life.  Add on top of work, friend’s weddings, trying to purchase a house (in Seattle no less), and taking care of a dog who needs at least two 45 minute walks a day you can imagine where on the list this is.  As sporadic as it might seem, I am still very interested in Art and making it – it just takes me a while to get anything done.  And then I have to think about it and analyze it rework things and whatnot.  I am currently working on two projects and have been doing little nits here and there, but no sweeping work on either.  I’ve got a print that I am working on and the mystery painting is still in the works.  I’m working with lettering on both accounts and its hard and frustrating all at the same time.  I will have something for you to see soon.  That is a guarantee.

Back at it, Well, Sort of Anyway

This is not paint, no.  It’s tape over painted base.  I am doing a project which requires lots of chunky straight lines and a tad bit o’secrecy.  And lettering too, but that will be later.  I am currently blocking off strips of what will be blue lines.  There will soon be all the lines I need to start the lettering process.  Will I be free-handing the lettering you ask?  Yes and no.  I will free hand the letters in white chalk first to get the spacing and font just right.  Then all I’ll have to do is start painting in and/or around the outlines.  Stay tuned, I’m hoping to crank this one out pretty soon.  Hopefully I said.

The human condition, or pure unadulterated laziness.

My guess is a bit of both.  Here is a thought.  Why go through all the trouble of setting up an art blog to not actually 1. use it and 2. do art things.  I like to think its one part super lazy and one part human condition.  Not only did I start a blog, but I bought art stuff to accompany said blog.  I bought wooden shapes st work on form, highlights and shadows.  Have I used them?  No.  But I have touched them multiple times.  Usually to move them to make space for something else I won’t use.  I bought paint.  Have I used it?  Some, but not a lot.  So why would I go to all this trouble to maybe paint or maybe draw.  I thought I could train the lazy right out of myself.  Really though, I just have to find a way to work around it.  And by around it I mean through it.  Man I’m lazy.  So hopefully you’ll continue to occasionally see things that I create come across your screen, or on paper.  It just might be a while…

Projects

So, I haven’t actually finished the cherry blossom yet.  However, I wanted to talk about some project ideas that are floating around inside my head.  That way there’s at least a 25% more chance they’ll actually see the light of day.  So for starters, I’m continuing my Farm series, duh.  I’ve got two already so I might as well do a few more to round out the series.  From there I would progress, naturally, to my 1624 series – as in 1624 Main Street.  My childhood home.  Next – old school book-covers. It just sounded like it might be cool, we’ll have to wait and se though.  Then I was thinking about my color field series.  That’s what I’ve got so far.  I think that’s a good many things to work/think on.  That’s not to say that I won’t work on other things willy nilly like a true artist.  Just Sayin’.

Starting from Scratch(again)

Having worked at an art supply store for almost two months and talked with many multiple art schools I’ve come to realize how little art education I have.  Its neither here nor there at the moment.  I so very badly want to learn and I am picking up things daily.  But I still crave that art class structure.  I feel that there are important things that these students and purveors of art have learned and experienced in class that I missed.  And I want that.  I will most likely take an art class again soon, but for right now I decided there are things that I can do on my own.  So I’m starting over.  Using charcoal and pencil I will start working on shapes & shading and perspective.  This will give me a solid foundation when working on future paintings and it will give me more opportunities to share with you my progress as an artist.  Through all of this I will also continue to work on and update my most recent painting projects.  So bare with me on this because you are about to experience an alarming amount of shape drawings and still lives – all in good old black and white.