Monday, July 27, 2009

Summertime and a Cup of Tea

One of my most favourite painters is the woman impressionist Mary Cassatt.

My mom has a print of this painting which I've adored since childhood. It is called "Summertime". I enjoy the work because of the beautiful reflective quality of the water that echoes the mood of the ladies in the boat. I enjoy the textural brushwork, the repetition of the birds with variation in their style, the graphic nature of the boat coming into the frame, as well as the distance created by fuzzy trees at the shoreline and the more indistinct ducks. I also love how there is created the sense of strong outdoor light with a shadow under the younger girls hat. There is a real sense of the moment in this painting which I think makes it fresh even over a hundred years since it was created.

Another painting of hers which I saw in exhibit here in San Francisco last year, is "The Cup of Tea 2". Again I love the textural brushstrokes that get smaller in detail and more dainty as you look closer at the tea cup and her fingers placed so precisely. I love the sense of depth you get with the gestural flowers and the atmospheric brushwork beyond. I also enjoy her use of unexpected colors, like the strong red on the edges of her dress and at the edge of her nose. It's interesting even how the blues in the flowers behind are echoed in the blues on her glove. This piece utilizes the concept of overlapping in a small space to obtain depth. The edge of the chair is in front of the woman who is in front of the flower stand.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A New Creation

This piece was inspired by Hawaii and the beach... and maybe a butterfly stopped by?

This is also the first painting I completed solely with the new Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylics. I was impressed first with the buttery consistency of the paint which reminds me of working with oils. Also as it has a slower drying time I was able to blend it more like I would with oils. Formerly to make the paint flow I would add more water, and I'm told this breaks down the pigment's tinting strength. With this painting I used less water as the paint itself flowed nicely.

The colors do seem pretty vivid though I still want to check out the darkness of the final painting as compared to the out of the tube hue. And although the paint dries slower than other acrylic brands I found within about a half hour of my final brush stroke the whole painting was dry. (I didn't use a hair dryer and I don't paint that thick).

Overall I was quite pleased and hope my local art stores will begin to carry this brand!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Self Portrait with Flower

One of the most meddlesome things about using acrylic is that it dries darker than when you first paint it, as the binder used in the paint shifts from white to transparent. This is an exercise I assigned myself to help see the subtle color shifts.

And this is part of my palette:

I just got some new Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylics which claim to be brilliantly colored and not to shift darker as they dry, as they use a transparent binder. I'm looking forward to trying them out with my next few paintings... we'll see what happens!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Color Play

How many colors can you include in one still life? This was a fun exercise...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Another still life... the reds were hard to control, but I had fun trying. Also, more texture play.

I love the hibiscus!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Aqua and Ochre

Working with a lighter tonal key and messing with textural effects.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Texture Play

Fun with surface quality and color placement, this is a study for one of my thesis paintings.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Matters of Decorum

So... this is my sink. And now it's art! Enjoy.
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