Last weekend we spent time with my eldest daughter and her partner at Beaver Mines Lake in southern Alberta and, in spite of the smoke from wildfires, it was lovely. I have never heard of Castle Mountain Provincial Park before and I have to say it was beautiful. We will definitely return. And it was a treat to bring my little 5x7 pochade, especially now that it has a carrying strap. It felt like a boxy little purse and so lightweight. I think my husband is happy as it means I will want to go camping more often. :)
As you may know, I love community projects and am currently working on a park bench that will live in one of the communities in my city. Because I was recently inspired by a trip to the hoodoos by Drumheller, I decided to incorporate them as they are fascinating and a great image to represent a small and historical part of our beautiful province. The 30 benches have been a collaborative effort between the local Mormon church, the City of Airdrie, Volunteer Airdrie and local artists. This project, along with several other initiatives of the city, is part of Placemaking, an initiative that encompasses the values of living in a beautiful space and connects parks with the Cultural Master Plan, which includes visual and arts, ethno-cultural and heritage. I really love having the opportunity to contribute.
I'm currently working on portraits number 24 & 25 in this second series of Nasty Women and I have to say that working on these pieces at this modified pace is definitely better for my soul. As much as I loved working on a portrait a day for 100 days, I felt too much pressure and, even though it was self-induced, it was challenging to say the least. This round has been gentler on me as a whole...more time for painting and for life in general. After feeling that kind of stress, I honestly feel like myself again.
Thank you Amanda for sharing the story of the
(which has now grown to over 100 beautiful women)
in the current edition
of The Phoenix Soul!
I thought I'd share a few details of the portrait I painted in the video I posted last week. The layers of colour, both opaque and transparent, are visible here, along with the flaws which could be considered errors but I really love that imperfection. It really belief in perfect imperfection. In my daily life, I need a lot of order but when it comes to my artwork, I like to leave things feeling much more painterly.
I also wanted to share my colour palette. I don't think it is typical of portrait colours but I love vibrancy and tend to step out of the box with colours in all of my paintings. The basics are titanium white, sometimes unbleached titanium or burnt umber, pthalo or prussian blue, pthalo green, dioxazine purple, cadmium or hansa yellow, cadmium orange (I've begun enjoying the cadmium-free colours by Liquitex), alizarin crimson and also napthol red (not pictured). My preference is heavy bodied paint, not only for the texture but for how far I can stretch the colour just by adding water or thinning medium.
One of my favourite things about working on these smaller 8x10 gallery canvases is the fact that I can take them anywhere. I still love working large, but these are certainly handy in summertime.
After spending a day filming portions of my process for creating a portrait in the Nasty Women painting series for Instagram, I thought it would be nice to share it here, too. Though I didn't capture every single step along the way as I found it difficult to paint and speak at the same time, most of it was included - watercolour types of initial shadow and dark layers followed by mid-tones and highlights and then back again. I really enjoy beginning my work on a coloured canvas as those colours and patterns end up showing through the completed portrait and, to me, add so much interest...kind of like tattoos. I hope this is helpful to you.