Thursday, February 28, 2013

Absence Makes This HeART Grow Stronger

Since I posted last in January, I have been a very busy bee.  I had to paint like a fiend to get some new works completed for my solo show in the Lounge, at the Scarab Club, in Detroit, MI.  I managed to complete thirteen new pieces for the show, seven paintings and six mixed media pieces, all in a month's time.  The paintings were all in oil, so I had to be finished with them by February 1st so they would have time to dry.   The mixed media pieces were Chinese paper, gesso, watercolors and acrylics  - everything that would dry quickly, which afforded me some extra time to work before the show.   I told you I was busy!

Once I got back into the studio, I realized how much I'd missed it, over the months of working at English Gardens. It feels so good to don my paint clothes in the morning, grab a cup of coffee and head to the studio....  I did take some time after I prepared for the show, to relax and regroup a bit, but I find I feel like I'm missing something if I don't spend at least half my day in the studio.  I've been exploring some new techniques, returning to my "Stuffed" series and completing some of those ideas.  I'm also getting ready to embark on a new painting or two - other than "Stuffed".  The fire in my heART has been rekindled and I don't want the flame to be extinguished.  Sometimes it takes being "separated" from something one loves to realize just how much one misses it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where Am I?

Wow, has it really been almost 9 months since I lasted posted anything here?  Shame on me!  Part of my "absence" has been pure laziness. Yes, I admit it, there would be times when I'd sit down and think, "I should really update this blog." and then the lazy me would say, "Ugh... I don't feel like it..." Like I said, shame on me.  Facebook has replaced a lot of blog updating, I think.  It's so much easier to jump on FB and jot down some quick post and then move on.  No muss, no fuss.  Then, of course, the fact that I started working full-time, at English Gardens, put another damper on my blogging because my work there really doesn't pertain to painting per se.  I kind of view it as "painting with flowers" as opposed to, say, painting flowers. 

Customer's containers
A good portion of my work there, this past year, had been doing the displays of flowers in what is referred to as The Shadehouse, where the annuals are housed for sale and then after the flower seasons are over and EG transforms into a Christmas/Holiday center.  I work on custom porch pots.  Again, I'm using design principles and color in my creations.  These were a couple I did for a customer who had inherited these planters.  She wanted everything to be natural - no "glittery" anything and she wanted birds that would be native to Michigan winters. These containers were probably around 3' and 4' tall.  I could have sold these containers many times over!  I disappointed a number of other customers when I had to tell them they belonged to someone else and that we didn't carry these wooden planters.  The customer was quite pleased when she came to pick them up.

Now, I'm back in the studio, full-time for a while -seasonal layoff.  I love it!  It'll give me time to reconnect as a fine artist before the spring comes and my hands want to get "dirty" in the garden, again.  Hopefully, this year I'll do a better job of juggling both of my loves - painting and gardening.  Don't bother suggesting that I paint my gardens, I tried that.  What happens is I start out all ready to do some plein air painting and the next thing I know, I'm on my knees, pulling weeds or moving plants around!  I can't help it.  I confess - I'm a plant junkie.

So, for the next couple of months, I'm here. Back in Wonderland, my studio.  Let's see what I find down in the rabbit hole this winter ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A One and A Two...

In February, I was playing with cats.  In March, and so far this April, I've been concentrating on portraits/faces.  I was planning to concentrate on a different subject each month, but I've decided why should I do that, when I so love doing figures and portraits? Maybe sometime I'll squeeze in some  still lifes or plein air work, maybe a cat or dog, but for right now, I'm continuing with the portrait work. 

Since I knew these paintings weren't going to be standard sizes, I stapled primed canvas to my paint wall - it'd the longest, unobstructed wall in my studio that I keep clear strictly for this purpose OR for painting murals on canvas, which are then hung like wallpaper.  The first finished portrait was "About Face".  It wasn't meant to strictly be a portrait. I was planning to just use my Lizzy as the subject and work much looser, but my brushes weren't havin' any of that! They kept going and going and I'm glad they did because I'm very happy with the outcome ;)

"About Face", oil on canvas, 28" x 34", Lois Primeau, © 2012

Now with "Lizzy Blue", I actually started "her" before "About Face", but I needed to complete "About Face" first, due to a deadline I wanted to hit.  "Lizzy Blue" was a painting I had envisioned for a couple years and finally got around to painting - which was perfect timing because a friend of mine gave me a gorgeous vintage frame that enhances the painting beautifully.  Since the frame is vintage, the size isn't standard.  I had to alter the stretcher bars I stretched the canvas on by adding 1/4" screen moulding all the way around.  I can't wait until "she's" dry enough to frame "her"! 

"Lizzy Blue", oil on canvas, 18-1/2" x 22-1/2", Lois Primeau, © 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cats Meow

I've been playing with cats lately.  Yeah, I know I'm allergic to them... but these cats are painted, no sneezing involved.  Perfect.

I was inspired by a photograph I took of a cat sitting inside a niche, in an old wall that lined a street, in Toledo. Spain. My husband and I took a belated 25th wedding anniversary trip to Spain, in October of last year. We spent most of our time in Barcelona and Madrid, but we took an overnight trip to Toledo following the advice of travel guru, Rick Steve.  As we walked around the city, I spotted this cat, sitting in the wall. It was too cool to pass by without snapping a few shots for reference later. Out of the three photos I took (my husband basically keeps walking. He's a walker and I have to snap and run. He doesn't slow down for much. LOL) I managed to get two good shots and one blurry one.  Fortunately, all were viable for reference photos.

"Cat in the Wall", oil, 11" x 14", Lois Primeau, artist, ©2012

The first painting I did was of the grey tabby - the actual cat that was in the wall.

"Cat in the Wall, Too", oil, 11" x 14", Lois Primeau, artist, ©2012
Then I decided I wanted to do another cat, an orange tabby.  But this time I had to make up a cat because I didn't have a photo to work from. Relying on my cat anatomy "knowledge", I embarked on another painting of a cat in the wall. The first attempt turned into a situation where I was fighting more with what I had done incorrectly, i.e. trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.  I figured it would just be simpler to start over.  I grabbed another canvas and started the orange tabby again.  I changed the position slightly and created a new set of problems.  I painted it and thought I had it completed. In the light of day the next morning I thought to myself, "What the hell? This cat's face is TOTALLY wrong. If it were to lower it's head it would look ridiculous and the eyes are really a mess!" I started to carefully rethink the cat's face, pulling out of my pea brain what a cat's face should really look like, instead of being caught up in the moment of the entire painting.  It took a couple of revisions, mostly to the fur ruff around the neck to get to a "happy place" with the painting.

"Mew...", oil, 11" x 14", Lois Primeau, artist, ©2012
The night I was finishing up the orange tabby, the image for the next one came to me.  I wanted to do a black kitten tucked back inside the niche, where all one could initially see were it's eyes.  As I worked on the kitten, I decided I wanted to have little white toes, as well, which lead to the little white bib and tip of the tail.
She is my favorite way to paint - pulling an image out of the dark. I like working with subtle differences in the "black", which really isn't black.

I'm planning to do a calico cat next and also a tuxedo cat.  I'm having too much fun playing with cats to quit!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Rust Removal

I'm still working on knocking the rust off.  I've never done much with pastels, that is working loosely with them.  I've always admired pastel artists and love the way they can layer the colors.  So, what the heck, why not?  Eventually, the rust removal should be complete and I may learn something new along the way.