Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sunny Delight Floral and Painting Tips and Supplies by Roxane Steed

5"x7" oil on gessoed masonite panel

For more information, or to purchase, click here.
Wow, some days, life interupts your plans, and it's so difficult to get on with what your original intentions were. Like painting. Fortunately I finally got a bit of studio time before these flowers began to bite the dust. The blue fluffy things (can't remember the name of these blossoms) were starting to drop their petals, so everything will get cut and put into new arrangements tomorrow for a different painting!
Just a quick view of how some areas of my studio get at those times when 'life' keeps interupting and the mess never gets cleared away. So all the 'fun stuff' starts piling up...and becomes not so fun any more. Judging by this tabletop work space, this studio is ready for the next episode of 'Hoarders' (ACK!!). Seriously, I like to work in a clean, calm space. I'm over due for a major clean-out. When we were still in the Navy, and would move every three years, it acted as sort of a forced clean out. In getting ready for the move, we would end up tossing or giving away, or selling things we weren't taking with us, and would really pare down the load. Time to have a 'field day' and (pretend) I'm getting ready for a move (?). 
If you've been following this blog for a while you notice that I'm tweaking my working style just a bit. Sort of blending some techniques of old ways, and some new ways. Our learning is a cumulative thing, always taking in new ideas, blending them with things we already know, (or have known). After the last several years of working only with a rather wide, round tipped palette knife, I've been wanting to mix things up and layer things a bit differently. I still am in love with texture and color, but I do like having underlayers, and deep dark transparent colors showing through under increasingly opaque lighter color.  And even though I love the thick textural work of a wide knife, I do want a bit more detail in some areas. I also want to pay more attention to edges, which can be cumbersome at times with large knives. 
Now, as I've said before, I never throw out a good tool, even if I'm not using it. I know it will eventually come in handy for something, and get re-purposed! So here are some of the tools I've been using - some for a long time, and others, I've dug out of former stashes tucked away, and found new jobs for old tools that were in great shape.  So above, you'll see my two favorite painting knives, one pointy and one rounded, and a new thingy I've re-purposed from a bull-dog clip and one of those rubber slabs you carve into to make stamps or prints. I now use it as an 'interuptor' or an edge breaker. Got the idea for this technique from Julie Ford Oliver's 'fracturing' technique. Which was really quite interesting. It involves a good bit of 'adding & taking away' - until you really have an interesting surface quality, and if you pay attention to edges, a maintain a strong focal point (ONE item gets to be the star...not everything all over the place).
Artist friends, tell me you've done this before....walked into an art supply store and thought "Wow, that is one fine looking brush, I think I should get that...not that I need it right now, but I think I might- and this one is just made so beautifully, I have to have it because it's just so well made"...etc. etc. yeah. I did that. Bought this Rosemary brush at Plein Air Convention last April, and have finally brought it out of the 'tool box' and wow, I do love it! It IS indeed one fine brush! next below that is a Winsor Newton Monarch, I've had forever, don't use it often, but when I do, it responds just the way I need it to. Next down from the top is an 'Egbert' brush made by Robert Simmons (no, not Richard Simmons, haha). It's like a super long flat & filbert got together & had a gangly long legged teenager. Not good for much, but every now & then totally redeems itself by making the place look good! It actually is nice to softly flick an edge without overdoing the whole 'soften that edge thing' into an oblivion of mush. 
A couple other bristle flats that I've had forever round out the crew, but I've also put an old angled water-color brush to good use. (After all, it was taking up valuable real-estate space, and it's earning its keep now!) And then the lonely rigger, that I hadn't used for AGES, now getting some use as a drawing tool (for soupy paint in the early stages). 
Oh yeah, I've been asked before, what do you have your paint in? It's the paint box part from 'Art Box & Panel' that James Coulter makes. I love it as a plein air set-up! It's a little bigger than my older Open Box M (which yes, I still do love) but this allows me to go a good bit bigger without adding too much more weight. I also like to use the box in my studio, too. I just set it on my rolling taboret when I'm working at my larger easel. 
Hope that's helpful! - I'd love to answer any questions you might have about plein air set-ups or studio gear!  
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