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treasures – art studio moments

journal_ontheeasel

A lot has changed in a few short months. The most obvious change may be that my website is redesigned and now has an integrated store where my paintings can be purchased. I feel very good about it. It was time to clean things up. I’m learning more about wordpress, SEO and optimizing art portfolio sites, which leads me to the other changes.

I no longer work for Whole Foods Market as a store artist. I spent over two years there. When I moved to Asheville I knew very few people here. When I landed the job as a designer and chalk artist I didn’t just gain a job. I also gained a community. My store was nestled right up against downtown and in a busy neighborhood. I learned about my new city by working there, getting to know regulars and spending time with my coworkers. Change is good, but I am glad I spent that time there. It helped me create a home.

I am now spending more time in my art studio, writing articles, starting up a local sketch group and freelancing in social media marketing. I am helping other artists build an online presence, find new audiences and increase their sales. It’s pretty much what I already used to do for Jason quietly behind the scenes. It’s been fun. I like it. I want to continue this kind of work. I learn something new everyday to help others and myself.

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I’ve updated my portfolio with the help of a good friend with a good camera. If you check out the fine art section you will see photos of paintings I have completed the past two years. It feels good to share them. I like being able to look back on them and know that I’ve been moving in a direction this whole time of transition, heart ache and adventure.

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Ms. Ethel Levesque, my old lady calico, has joined me and Cat Chaplin in my little apartment. I am now a single woman with two cats. I’m okay with that. They are good company. I think the worst thing about it is Ethel has taught Chaplin how to open cabinets. He now paws them open and bangs the doors in protest if I am not providing him the kind of attention he wants and when he wants it.

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I’m learning how to manage my time to be more productive. It’s a weird thing to have time to work in my studio. I think it bewildered me at first, but now I’ve accepted my new circumstances and have started a new body of work! I am not the artist I want to be, perhaps I never will be. I am a firm believer that if you are always satisfied with the quality of your work, that might mean you have stagnated and are not progressing. That said, I am excited! I feel that I’ve broken some of my own barriers. I’m applying the lessons I’ve learned and am getting to watch myself create work a few steps closer to what I want it to be.

I’m not afraid of my art studio anymore. Does that sound weird? Has anyone else been afraid of being alone with their work?

Now that winter is here I find my work reflecting the cold decay of outside. I’ve gathered my little forest trash and treasures around me, all brown and dry and brittle, to tell new stories.

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Paint Swatchery

This isn’t the most informative post but something I thought was interesting. I’m sure more experienced painters are familiar with this problem. Above I have some color value charts I did for work all using the color green permanent light…and they all look very different.

The top two are similar. The first is Lukas 1862 and the second Winsor Newton. They both are very cool. The middle is Gamblin, after that is Grumbacher and the last is Rembrandt. Gamblin and Rembrandt’s are similar and warmer and the most like the color I have learned to associate with the name permanent green light. The Grumbacher version is the darkest of all. They all have different opacities and finishes also. Gamblin and Winsor Newton dry the most matte while the rest have a bit of gloss.

I think I’m going to start making swatches in my sketchbook to keep track of these odd little varieties. It’s things like these that help create brand loyalty. You learn to use what you expect and how to mix from the brand you are most familiar with. I would be shocked to have used the warmer version for years and then buy another brand and receive something so incredibly different.

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Oil Painting Brushes – Too Many

A reader, and I’m sorry I never replied…I can’t seem to figure out the best way too on this blog, pointed me to a great website that compared and reviewed colored pencils. I really appreciated it! It helped a lot!

Since I’ve been working at an art supply store I’ve had more time than most to examine and stress out over brushes. I know you shouldn’t need many(yet they sell a million different types).

I keep reading in ads that synthetic brushes should be fine for oil painting but my experience shows me that it simply isn’t the truth. That said, it’s a good thing that I’m not vegan because it appears impossible to be one and also be an oil painter. Ivory Black is produced with charred animal bones, some reds have been or are made from crushed bugs. The best standard oil brushes are made from boar bristles(yes the wild pig) and then there are sables and squirrel.

I’ve tried sables. I realize some oil painters do beautiful work with them to blend but personally I don’t like how soft they are. That said, I want something softer than bristle(chungking is the standard…I guess? Why is it called chungking?)

I found some mongoose hair brushes at work and they seem to what I’m looking for when finishing a piece. Stiffer than sable and softer than bristle. I’ve been using the Vermeer brand(I honestly side eye brands that use the name of a long dead artist). The only thing I don’t like about it is, once again, it’s made from animals(I’m sorry mongoose!), but the handle is a bit potentially crappy. I’ve found that painted handles are messes waiting to happen. As soon as it get a big wet the paint will chip off and end up on your canvas, and then the ferrules will loosen.

If anyone reading can recommend a good site or brand, I would really appreciate it. Too many site are brand specific ad campaigns.

Also, I think the only weird brush I can’t live without is a winkle. It’s a short sable brush. The ferrule/end is hooked to help paint small weird angles.