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.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Knocking the Rust Off

I'm still getting back into the swing of being in the studio.  I played around with my conté crayons, trying to "knock the rust off" my "art brain" for a bit, this afternoon.  I worked from a photo in one of my books and made the face up.  I think I might be getting the gears moving again ☺

Friday, January 6, 2012

Procrastination Central

One week into the new year and I'm having trouble getting "back in the saddle, again".  I've done all the procrastinating I can do - I've taken down Christmas decorations, I've cleaned up my studio, I've made lists of goals and exhibitions/competitions I want to enter this year... I even found my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project - which by the way, has to be postmarked by January 31st.  Yikes!  So what's my problem?  What keeps me glued to whatever flotsam that wafts by and away from actually starting my work?  I even know what I want to start on!  It's almost like my brain doesn't remember how good it feels once I start working on my artwork.  I need a swift kick in the rear to get moving!  Anybody wearing some steel-toed boots?

Okay, that's it! Back to the studio and see if anything starts moving...