Running in circles

october18-final
Face Study, pen on paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″

Long time no blog!

And I have an excellent reason for that: since the end of the “30 Paintings in 30 Days”challenge, I have had to face the facts (and the finances), and hustle my butt to get a job.  This is a particularly arduous task because I’ve been a full-time parent for the last decade, and, like most stay-at-home-moms returning to the workforce, I have lost all of my confidence (to be fair, though, it was never very high).

To make matters worse, my former industry (computer animation) is very tech-heavy and very youth-oriented.  I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to make sense of any 3D software after being away from it for so many years, and even if I did manage to wrap my head around it, I’d be a middle-aged woman surrounded by bright-eyed 20-somethings (cue Sesame Street’s “One Of These Things Is NOT Like The Others”… or was that from The Electric Company?  Oh God, my memory is failing already!).

Fortunately for me, I still have friends in medium-high places, and one of them is willing to pass on my demo reel (watch it here on YouTube!) to his studio’s HR dept.  I have a copy of the latest version of Maya, and I’m happy that most of my animator’s instincts have come back to me.  There’s no guarantee that this will turn into an actual contract, of course, but it’s the most positive outside feedback I’ve had in a long time.  Believe me, I will take what I can get!

The other reason why I’ve been quiet lately is because I’m tired of the Face Studies – not because I dislike making them, but because I want to concentrate on original work.  The trouble is, I can’t decide what I want to do or how I want to do it (the usual refrain), and this lack of original work weighs on me more and more with each passing day.  With all that stress, who has the gumption to make ART?

Well, I’ve written up the glowing cover letters, I’ve fine-tuned the resume, and I’ve re-cut the demo reel.  They’re out there in the world at this very moment, impressing or boring recruiters as we speak.  There’s nothing left for me to do except wait*.

So Hell YEAH, let’s make some art!  Inktober may have started weeks ago, but better late than never. 😉

*And panic.  Can’t forget to panic.

 

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“30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge post-mortem

30in30

Just FYI, I am ALL about post-mortems, and I’ve been itching to do this since I started this whole venture!  So without further ado, here are my observations from my first time participating in the “30 in 30” challenge…

Greatest benefit:  Instead of only talking about painting and building up a body of work, I actually DID it!  And, bonus! I learned that I could actually handle the paint pretty well.  Well, most of the time…

Biggest letdown:  A sense of… I don’t know if I’d call it boredom, but rather the nagging feeling that I should have been devoting my energy to making original art and not just studies.  You can see that by the end of the challenge, I started to waffle and take more time with my paintings.  This was less because I had become a fussbudget, and more because I frequently contemplated abandoning them altogether.  I’m still not sure if I took on this challenge just as a way of putting off the more difficult task of coming up with original imagery.

The Mediums are the Message:  I tried more than a few on my acrylic paintings over the last few weeks, but I’ll save that breakdown for a future post.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: they are NOT created equal.

(F)oil paints:  They took me for a ride, no question!  Remember Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when he first flies the Tie-Fighter (“WHOA!  This thing really MOVES!”)?  Well, that was me with oils.  It was a bit of a bumpy ride at first, but I’m proud of myself for giving them a go and getting to know them a little better – one more tool at my disposal!

Painting mistakes I made all the way through:

  1. mixed too many colours together and ended up with mud
  2. painted thoughtlessly and ended up with too many layers (i.e. more mud)
  3. didn’t take the time to establish VALUES

Things I’d like to try with my painting from here on in:

  1. less mud, more vibrant colour
  2. gestural brushwork
  3. non-linear imagery, i.e. don’t rely on the reference images as much

Saving the best for last:  The engagement with other artists who were crazy enough to do the “30 in 30” challenge, and their support, has been one of the best takeaways from this experience – bar none!  It was a welcome opportunity to connect with fellow artists, learn from each other, and see some great art.  You can bet I’ll be back when the next challenge rolls around!

(More or less) One-line summaries of each painting:

  1. Scared and nervous, but rarin’ to go!  Then I chicken out and use acrylics on PAPER.
  2. Convinced I can’t paint accurately so I try some faux 1920’s European look.  Whatever.
  3. Screw it!  Go fussy or go home!  And, miraculously, it works!
  4. Matte Medium almost makes me want to chuck the whole thing but dry brushing saves the day.
  5. First oil painting!  It’s about %300 linseed oil and is STILL not dry.
  6. Brazenly mix (water-soluble) oils with acrylics and nothing explodes.  Yet.
  7. 2nd oil painting!  I try blending and start to understand why people love oils.
  8. Try “Painting Medium” with oils and, well, let’s just forget that ever happened, ok?
  9. By this time, I’m feeling so “oiled”, I’m practically marinated.  Back to acrylics!
  10. And I get fussy-fussy-fussy, AND… run out of time to finish.
  11. Try to keep things loose and rough.  Add blue hair because why not?
  12. Learn that too many layers of acrylic paint is a bad thing.  Love her hair, though.
  13. Oils again!  And sweet perfection!  One of my favourites!!
  14. Oils aren’t so bad after all, at least that’s what I think until I start with the hair.
  15. Starting to miss the crisp detail I can get with acrylics, so this is my last oil for now.
  16. Worked my butt off on this one and I LOVE it!!
  17. I’ve had a few successes in a row and am feeling the pressure so I choke and avoid finishing this one.  Too bad…
  18. Feeling guilty because of my over-reliance on internet images so I cobble together a Franken-picture, but don’t have the guts/drive/self-confidence to finish.
  19. Feel like going out with a bang, and what could be easier than African Albino skin tones, amirite??

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Painting for September 29

september29
Face Study no. 16 – oil and acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 8″

Here she is, folks: my final (finished) painting for the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge!  I don’t know if I can really call them daily paintings anymore, though, because I’m taking longer and longer to finish them, but I digress…

Some notes about this specific painting:

  • painting albino skin tones is NOT an easy feat.  If you’re up for the challenge, proceed with caution! 😉
  • I finally realized with this painting that it’s in my best interest to add another coat or two of gesso (with some light sanding in between) to my pre-gessoed canvasses.  The basic Omer Deserres canvasses are fine, but these small Apollon ones would pill here and there and leave tiny bits of matter in the paint.

Things I’ve learned about oil painting in general thanks to this painting:

  • I really should use more paint.

Next time: A complete rundown of the pros and cons of doing this daily painting challenge – what I learned, where I stumbled, how often I asked myself “why the frig am I doing this?”, etc!  Stay tuned…

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