Monday, November 30, 2015

A Very Primitive, Primitive Painting

Over the weekend I continued watching painting videos. I discovered a fellow by the name of Ric Nagualero. He has a series of videos. I watched the one on painting clouds and the one on painting trees. If you are interested you can check them out in my Video Library. It's very interesting to me how each artist has his unique way of doing things. Nagualero, for instance, mixes his washes right on the canvas by spritzing the canvas. I liked the idea of this method.

After watching the how to paint clouds video I was anxious to try mixing the wash on the canvas. I liked it.  But, I fear I must graduate myself to a canvas panel as the canvas paper I have been using really curls with so much moisture being applied. Painting on a panel is going to be a real treat!

I also wanted to try my hand at some clouds. In all the teaching videos I have watched the instructors have painted from a photo. I prefer to paint right out of my head. All I knew when I began was I wanted to paint some clouds what I ended up with was my rendition of a primitive painting, a very primitive painting.

My First Primitive Painting

I realize this is truly a "primitive" painting by the literal definition of the word. Thank heavens this painting project is all about having fun. Looking at it now there are a number of things I would do differently. But, the truth is, I actually like it. It's frivolous and colorful. The very qualities I admire so much in the genre.

Regarding the subject of on line videos. I must say there is a ton of free and useful information out there. I have purchased a couple of Craftsy videos but I doubt I'll buy anymore. I have learned more about the things I'm looking for on You Tube.

©Kinsey Barnard

 For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the primitive style of painting click on this Google search to see a potpourri of lovely examples.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hockaday Musseum of Art

Today (11-27-15) seemed like a good day to visit the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell. Heaven only knows I wanted nothing to do with the Black Friday thing.

Looking at paintings in museums has never been high on my "I can't wait to do that!" list. I visited the Louvre, the first time, in 1967. I was nineteen year old. I remember looking at the Mona Lisa and thinking "What the heck is all the fuss about?!" I expressed my amazement only as a self defense tactic. Who would dare say what I really thought? Certainly not moi. The part of the Louvre I went wild for were the Egyptian Antiquities, beyond beguiling.

Hockaday Museum of Art - Kalispell, Montana

Now that I have decided I want to try and paint, I am suddenly eager to go look at paintings. I am very anxious to study how artists have achieved their effects through their brush strokes, how they dealt with light and shadows.

The Hockaday is a modest museum but quite nice. The museum houses a variety of painting techniques and genres. The subject matter is primarily, the natural world. One entire section is devoted to the Crown of the Continent aka Glacier Park. There was one painting of a Indian buck that really grabbed my attention. It was called simply "Young Boy" and was painted by Charlie Russell. I have no words to describe how beautiful it is. To me more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. This one small painting was worth the visit.

I learned that black and white painting is generally termed monochrome. Whist I adore color I also love black and white photography. It has a special essence all it's own. Several people have told me my black & white photography is reminiscent of Ansel Adams. That's a pretty heady compliment. Anyway, I can certainly see myself trying my hand at the absence of color with a brush.

©Kinsey Barnard

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose or so wrote Gertrude Stein. Gertrude never saw my rendition of a rose.

Whilst I was rummaging around the internet I came across some videos on the subject of painting flowers. (See Video Library). I love flowers because I love color and seldom is seen a flower without beautiful color. I decided to give a rose a try. I didn't have a photo to look at so I painted it right out of my head. Mind you, I probably  could not have done any better with a photo. But, as my friend Dave says, it is original. It looks to me like something a first grader might produce, maybe a kindergartner.

They say the great thing about acrylics is how quickly the paint dries. That special feature is proving my nemesis. My paints are drying out so fast I get all in panic. I'm one of those that does not do well under pressure and this is taking all the fun out of the exercise. I've tried misting the paint but it still dries out on the palette and clumps on the brush. Part of it may be due to the low humidity in the house. In winter, with things closed up and the heat running all the time it gets pretty dry.

I don't know what the trouble is but I really need to find a solution. If anyone reading this has any ideas to share about keeping acrylic paint moist I would sure be grateful if you'd leave them in a comment.

©Kinsey Barnard

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Acrylic Painting Video Library

I am finding a plethora of how to videos on the subject of acrylic painting. The main reason for writing this blog is so that I have a place to store the information I have collected and can use that information for future reference and easy access. I find that if I glean one idea or bit of useful information from a video it was worth watching. Some videos I found informative in the main, others just a bit. I figure if I watch a lot of videos, over time, I will gather a useful bunch of bits. Listings are alphabetical by subject.

I will add new video links that offered at least a bit and will make note of the additions in future posts.
























Monday, November 23, 2015

Different Strokes for Different Folks

I've only been at this a nano second in the scheme of things. One thing I'm already fairly certain of, there is a lot to learn about acrylic painting before you get anywhere near the creative process. I suppose if you have done other types of painting the learning curve is much flatter. I have not held a paint brush in my hands since I was in grammar school, unless it was to paint a fence or barn. Grammar school is about 60 years in my rear-view mirror.

Of course, I may just be anal because I see people in these on-line painting classes that just jump in and come up with really nice stuff whilst I'm still laboring over the right brush to use and how to mix the colors. I'm hoping their just new to acrylics not painting.

One thing I have no doubt about is the genre of painting I want to attempt. As I have incessantly pointed with regard to my photography, Monet and Thoreau have always been my mentors in absentia. I adore impressionism and Thoreau's understanding of nature is a beauty all it's own. As in my photography I am not so interested in duplicating things in the commonplace sense. In other words, I'm not so interested in painting traditional landscapes, still life etc. I'm far more intrigued by impressionist and abstract images.

I started out this morning with an idea in mind of an impressionist landscape I wanted to try and replicate. Egads, I messed everything up. I forgot you want to start with the light colors first. I totally messed up my color mixing and ended up with a  red mountain where I wanted an orange colored hill. Then my paints started to dry up and I became totally discombobulated. I couldn't bear to waste the paint so I went into imagination mode. I just started experimenting with how the different brushes and brush strokes work.  Below is my great work of art. I did actually learn a few things.

The Red Blob or Casper the Red Ghost?
I have about 20 of my photographs, printed on 24 x 36 canvas, surrounding my workspace. Today I started really looking at them and was amazed at how nature literally painted these images with brushstrokes. I would like to figure out how to replicate them. Below is a macro look at one of my photographs, River Revelry. This is just a tiny section of the entire image. I think you can see what I mean about the brushstrokes. I want to learn how to paint like nature!

River Revelry- Original Photograph printed on canvas

I still say, there is only one true artist when it comes to nature. The of us are just copy cats and posers.

©Kinsey Barnard

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ready to Paint

I received my supplies from Amazon yesterday. Got my work space set up this morning.

I like this little easel. It allows me to sit whereas if I tried to work straight off the table top I would have to stand. Standing for long periods gives my back fits. As I had hoped the little drawer is a good place to store small  paint tubes.

I tried to do a wash on canvas paper. I used Phthalocyanine (crikey I can't even pronounce that one) for my color. In my lexicon this color shall henceforeth known as Navy Blue. When it dried the color was barely perceptible. Not at all what I was expecting. The canvas paper curled on me.  Then I tried the Cerulean Blue and got more color but uneven coverage because the paint pulled and I tried to paint over it. I tried to use equal measures of water and paint for both tests.

Cerulean Blue was. The white spots are what I call pulled. There were great globs of in the body.

Uneven blotchy wash
I thought putting a wash on the canvas was going to be the easiest part and maybe it is. Heaven help me. The dried wash looked nothing like the color of the paint. More experimentation is in order here for sure. The nicest color I got was in my brush wash jar!

©Kinsey Barnard

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Enquiries to Purchase My Paintings

I had to laugh. I got an unsolicited enquiry to purchase my paintings this morning.

It was no doubt some type of phising expedition but I couldn't help but to think "Wow, selling photographs was never so easy."

My supplies should start arriving tomorrow. I am anxious and terrified to begin. The fact that I am scared I see as a good sign I can't loose with this project. Clearly, if I feel this way there must be remnants of the fear of failure lurking within my psyche. At 67 it's probably time to rid myself of such nonsense once an for all. I thought I had but it seems not.

©Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Washing Your Canvas-Craftsy Classes

While waiting for my supplies to arrive I'm endeavoring to increase my knowledge base.

I have purchased two online art classes from Craftsy; Acrylic Painting -Basics and Beyond and Acrylic Painter's Toolbox. I think these are going to be wonderful tools for learning. It's as close to taking a live course as you can get. You have assignments and can ask questions of the teacher.

I've already looked at a few lessons. In one I was introduced to "washing" your canvas. This is basically tinting your entire canvas with a light wash of a color of your choosing before beginning your painting. I immediately found the subject of interest so I started researching via Google and found some additional, helpful information. One thing is clear, like anything else, ask 100 people and get 100 answers.

Here are 2 free videos I thought were particularly informative.

The Worst Mistake Acrylic Painters Make and How to Drastically Improve Your Painting

Watching these videos I am also picking up ideas about tools and work areas. It looks like just about every painter has his or her own ideas and rituals. One thing I noticed in particular was, a lot of artists don't even use an easel, at least not for the instructions. They paint on a table top. I'm glad I set aside my search for an easel. Clearly painting on a table top is good enough for learning and experimenting on small pieces. I'm sure one day I will have an "ah ha" moment and I will know just which easel is right for me. Meanwhile, I'll also have my $15 table easel to play with. Finding the Right Easel.

I wouldn't mind some day being able to paint something like this photo I recently took of Flathead Lake.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Amazon Let's Me Down

Well, heck!! Amazon let me down. Usually, buying things from Amazon is as easy as falling off a log. It must have happened because I was so anxious to get my starter kit and get painting. Without going into all the gory details they sent the order to the wrong address, eighty miles away. The package may or may not be forwarded to me and heaven only knows how long it will take.

My mother always told me "Every cloud has a silver lining" and she was right. When I look back over my life at points in time when I thought things had gone oh so wrong I can see so many good things that came of my misadventures.

A botched Amazon order is a trivial thing to be sure but annoying nonetheless. Whilst I was trying to figure out how to deal with it I decided to change the whole plan. Instead of getting the kit I put together items I thought I would serve me better. In the process I decided to try Amazon's Prime 30 day free trial which means the new order will arrive before the original order would have but with added benefits. Free Prime music. Free Prime videos. Amazon has Downton Abbey which I have heard so much about but never been able to see. I liked it so much I watched four straight episodes last night. I wouldn't be surprised if I continue with Prime.

I should be getting my self designed kit by Friday the 20th. I'm beginning to feel like those guy we used to laugh at. The ones who went to Abercrombie and Fitch and bot all the latest fishing gear and attire and never got their line wet.

Meanwhile, Molly and I took a walk in Whitefish this afternoon. It has been unseasonably warm here in northwest Montana. We came upon these lawn ornaments that I think are just lovely. I really like this person's idea of art, so imaginative and creative. I'm also quite fond of the subject matter.

©Kinsey Barnard

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gathering My Painters Tools - Finding the Right Easel

Whereas I may be cavalier about following other peoples ideas about creating my art form I am very much attuned to the importance of learning as much as you can about the proper tools to create your art. My mother used to say "A worker is as good as his tools".  I believe that to be true. Choosing the right tools is most important. In my search for the right tools I am finding I spend the most time looking on line at Dick Blick, Jerry's Artarama and Amazon. I'm sure I will discover others as I move along.

I'm trying to figure out what easel to purchase. I figured I needed one of those to even begin. What are you going to do? Nail a blank canvas to the wall? (I thought I was being cute when I said that but have since found a forum where a guy actually suggested just it!)

For heaven's sake who would have thought choosing an easel would be such a show stopper. I'm already stumped. There are so many variables to consider. Right off the bat you need to consider what size canvases you want to work with. Well, how the devil should I know? I'm thinking I would start smaller and see where I end up. If and when bigger feels better I'll go bigger.
I've narrowed the easels down to two styles, the A-Frame and the H-Frame. The H-Frame seems the more sturdy and versatile choice. You can spend a couple of grand on one of these easels. I think two things could cause you to spend that much (1) You are a master or (2) You have more money than brains.

Having narrowed it down to the H-Frame, I'm thinking I could buy a nice starter easel in the $100 to $150 range. I have been looking at the various models in my target range and reading buyer reviews.  Egads! No sooner do I find one that looks good than I read the reviews to find things like "It's so short you can only work at it sitting. Or, "The mast is so high it hits the ceiling".

I'm a tire kicker kind of person. What I would not give to be able to actually see some of the darned things in person. That isn't going to happen, particularly anywhere near where I live in Montana. I may check Craig's list but don't hold out much hope there. I live in a pretty small community but you never know.

Bottom line; I do not feel ready to choose the easel. OTOH, I am really anxious to do something. So, I'm going to do something many artists say I shouldn't. I have ordered a little table top beginners kit from Amazon. I think it's probably a half step above a child's kit. Juniper's Custom Kit. 

The big thing I have read you should not do is use cheap paint. The paint in this kit is made by Reese and I think it's rated student grade. It's fairly low quality stuff. I had to laugh at what I read on a beginner's forum where one person remarked. "How would you feel if you were using a low grade paint and painted a masterpiece?"Uhm, I'm thinking I am liking my odds of that not happening.

Here's where a little self knowledge comes in handy. I can be very close with a dollar. I come by it naturally. There is a lot of Scottish blood running in my veins and Scots have a well deserved reputation of being tight with their coin. I recall when I was using Velvia film for my photography. The film was expensive. The processing was expensive. And, I bet I missed a lot of great images because I wasn't quite sure a subject was worth the expenditure. I don't want to find myself in front of a canvas, paralyzed with the fear that what I am about to waste a bunch of money. It's just a thing I know about myself.

So, here's the plan. I'm getting this kit and some canvas paper. I am going to play and experiment to my hearts content and with reckless abandon without breaking the bank to do it. I'll experiment with mixing paints and creating color. I'll experiment with the strokes of different shaped brushes. I feel I can learn a lot and have fun doing it, maybe even build some confidence whilst I do it. As it is I have none. I've never used a paint brush to do anything but paint fences and barns.

That's my plan. I can always use the table easel for paint storage when it's served it's purpose.

Meanwhile, I'll keep researching easels and gathering whatever moss I can.

PS: To painters who may stop by, any tips you might have to help me along my way would be most appreciated.

©Kinsey Barnard

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Journey Begins

I have had some success as a fine art photographer but lately have found my enthusiasm for that art form begin to wane. I'm not one to define myself by what I do so switching gears is not something I find particularly difficult. And, I love an adventure.

I have decided that I would like to try my hand at painting. I don't know the first thing about it and I think that is a great advantage. I have not a clue what is right or what is wrong. I'm completely unencumbered by any preexisting theories. My belief is that there is no right or wrong in art. I believe art, in any form, should be nothing more and nothing less than the free expression of the artists singular inner being. Doing art in order to please others is a fools errand and really not art by my definition.

OK, so free expression of myself is not a problem. I know no other road than the one less traveled. I adore doing things just because they float my boat. I don't like boxing myself in with other peoples concepts.

I have gotten as far as deciding that I would like to try my hand at acrylic painting. I've done a little research into different paints and acrylics seem like the perfect medium for a true neophyte such as myself. "Seem" being the operative word. I may find that not to be so. In any event it's a place to start.

This blog is meant to be a dairy of my painting journey. I want a record for myself of the various discoveries I make along the way. I'm making it public in case a few others stumble upon it and find it useful.

Wish me luck.