Monday, July 25, 2011


This news is a little tardy, but I'm excused because getting ready to move out of state makes me preoccupied and forgetful.

It's exciting nonetheless, namely because it's been on my list of things to do, and even a few New Year's Resolution's lists, for YEARS. Yee-arrrs. Here it is: I now have my very own website!

My dad put it together for me, and I'm so pleased with how it looks. Go take a look and let me know what you think.

See you in a couple weeks when the dust settles in Providence!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

big girl skirt

I made a sweet little skirt for my niece a month or so ago, and her mom liked it so much that she wanted one, too. So I made the grown-up version for her, from the Summer Skirt tutorial at Made:

It has several rows of shirring at the waist, which makes it comfortable and really flattering. It turned out so good, now I have to make one for myself! With all my free time!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

in medias, rest

I was aiming to have this commission finished before the Great Move, but I am now conceding that it isn't going to happen.

It's a relief. I can't force things to go when they won't, and at this point I think it's better to put them away for a few weeks. Try as I might, I can't avoid this step: the one where I take a break.

So. I'll have new eyes when I unpack them, and I will know what to do next. I might even know how to solve the problem of color correcting my pictures in Photoshop. Because I am totally befuddled at the moment -- I don't know if this is what they look like, I've been looking at them too long:

In my last post I lamented about killing them -- all but erasing the underlying movement and quirky daubs of orange -- and although I'm still not satisfied with how they look at the moment, I'm no longer on the verge of tossing them on the pyre and starting over completely. So that's good.

Here are some close-ups of the bones, so you can see a little more of the texture from all the layers:

Here's the previous layer, the first resuscitation attempt:

And then I worked some more ochre over the gray and added some more definition to the bones:

They've gotten soft and quiet, subtle. Is that what I meant to do? Did I cover up the best part? Did the paint get away from me, or am I just being reluctant in following where they are meant to go?

Well. Let's let our eyes have a rest, shall we? Let the questions settle. There are boxes to pack and goodbyes to say.


Monday, July 11, 2011

wherein I kill them and try to bring them back

Unexpected things are somehow both the delight and the despair of painting.

When I start I usually only have a vague sense of where I want to go; just mix paint, put brush to surface, and find out what will happen. It's tricky, this feeling of harnessing energy without really controlling it -- when I'm in the middle of painting, it seems best to let the horses run wild and free, but when I step back I think, those horses DO NOT know what they're doing.

So, I had gotten to this point:

And then I lightened the yellow a bit and started closing in on the bones, softening the fields of color and creating some more texture. But the orange went from being nice little accidental blips to purposeful blobs that stood out too much and made sense too little:

So I killed them.

I lightened them even more, covered them up. I tightened the background around the bones until I had all but obliterated the swaying rhythm from those first layers. Each panel looked like a still, cloudy day. With a bone hanging in the middle.

Well, that's not what I meant to do, I thought. How did the paint get away from me like that?

So I tried, Mary Shelley style, to bring them back to life.

I mixed up some soft gray and brought the bones back into some kind of context:

Not bad, I thought. At least next time I sit down to work on them, I'll have somewhere to go. There's a pulse.

But guess what? I killed them even more!

This means they can only get better, right? RIGHT? Dear god, we can't have these paintings raging all over the country-side, terrifying families and seeking refuge in the mountains because of their disfigurement.

I'll post more pictures soon, and hopefully recover my trust-in-the-process in the meantime.


Friday, July 1, 2011

four panels, evolving

The four-paneled commission piece I'm working on is moving right along... I haven't had this kind of discipline & determination since the sphenoid piece a couple of years ago. It feels good. Here are the first three layers of the first panel, the first cervical (atlas) bone:

Once I had transferred the line drawing of the bone onto the canvas, I had to tone down the surrounding colors to integrate it a little better. My technique is usually to start with some bold blocks of colors, and then soften them with more layers on top. I like it when the brighter colors peek through more muted colors on top. It also helps me keep things loose as I go along, almost accidental.

Here are all four of the panels together, from when I was trying out compositions with the bones, to the next, more integrated phase:

you can click to make it bigger, you know

I was feeling pretty good about this layer, but I wasn't sure about the little orange blobs. Are they playful? Do they accentuate the underlying movement of each composition? Are they just weird and reminiscent of bodily fluids?

Stay tuned! In the next episode I kill the paintings and attempt to bring them back!