Monday, April 17, 2017

Busy, Busy, BUSY!!!

Matted prints of new acrylic and old watercolor paintings ready for upcoming shows. Click on the image to enlarge it for a detailed look at the work.

Occasionally one forgets how much work is involved in preparing for demonstrations or upcoming exhibits. The past two weeks has been super busy as I realized that I could have small prints of some of my paintings, making my art more affordable to those who can't afford an original painting. That said, I set about searching for a company that could provide mat boards, backing boards, and plastic sleeves (aka fitted bags) to properly exhibit prints of my work. I found the company at Matboard & More LLC.

I already had some wonderful cold press art papers from Epson to work in my old Epson Stylus Photo 1400 printer. I tested the paper and found that the paintings came out looking fantastic on these papers, so I printed up about 40 pieces in two different sizes to have ready for the upcoming shows. Then, of course, I had to sign the prints, put them in the mats, and finally in the bags. Now that it's behind me, I can say it was all worthwhile!

Newly completed acrylic bird paintings in my new display rack for upcoming exhibit opportunities.

In preparation for my Open Studio, I also needed some sort of display rack to hold the paintings that do not fit on my studio walls. At the moment, I have 24 finished paintings hanging in the studio - this after a weekend of rearranging, installing new window treatments, and cleaning the studio. Only 18 pieces fit on the wall, so how best display the remaining few? I love shopping on-line - thankfully. So I looked for display racks - of which there are many thousands to choose from! Who knew??? I finally found something that would work with my sizes of artwork at Displays2Go. And I found something sturdy and affordable! It was under $35.00 including shipping and handling. You can see from the above photo that it works very well for my purposes.

I probably should have started this entry with the fact that last month I sold two pieces via this blog and another 9 pieces at the State College Framing Company & Gallery. Thus I felt I could invest in the business of art - all with the intention of being able to pay for my supplies, at the very least! Below are the pieces sold during the month of March.

A collage of the art work sold during the month of March 2017, the earnings from which are paying for the expenses of this month!

Most people are unaware of how much art supplies cost the artist. Above are just a few of the expenses that artists make in order to increase the sales. One day perhaps I will post photos of all the supplies stored in every possible corner of my studio, not to mention stored in the sewing studio downstairs... But this is enough for today. Hope you enjoy the little tour!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Painting Up A Storm!

Baby Bluebird Begging for Food - (c)Pat Dolan - 12"x12" - acrylic - $200.00

I've got spring fever! It's coming out in my choice of subject matter - notice that I've got lots of spring harbingers, nestlings, and fledglings in this series. One would think I am obsessed with Spring! And it has been delightful to paint this series, to look outside and see as well as hear the Robins greet the dawn and dusk. While I haven't yet seen the baby Bluebirds at our feeder with a parent, I have seen one baby Blue out of the nest while out on our walks.

The Bluebird above is painted from a photo I took last spring on our deck.

Then there are the Robins... I think I have 4 or 5 of them painted by now. Here are three. The first one is acrylic done on an Artist Pro Gesso Panel while the latter two are painted on standard stretched canvas.

Nestling - (c)Pat Dolan - 12" x12" - acrylic on ProPanel Gesso Board - $170.00

Spring Robin - (c)Pat Dolan - 12"w x 9"h - acrylic on stretched canvas - $170.00

Winter Robin - (c)Pat Dolan - 12"w x 9"h - acrylic on stretched canvas - $170.00

All these paintings are more will be available during my Open Studio the weekend of May 6th & 7th, sponsored by the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania. I'm also making prints of several of my paintings which will also be available on-line as well as during the open house. If interested in any of the paintings shown here or in prints of one of my paintings, leave a comment and I will get in touch with you. Thanks, all!

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Great Blue Heron - Step by Step

Great Blue Heron - acrylic - 11"x14" - Pat Dolan

Tracking the progress of this Great Blue Heron, I photographed it at several stages, including completion, above. Below, the first stage of painting - roughing in the basic colors/shapes. The photos above and below are the same first stage, just different perspectives.

Below, adding more color, still very rough painting style. Just wanting to lay down the important areas of color.

Adding the eye always seems to bring the bird to life. Adding the long beak also helps give the Heron a more life-like appearance.

The beginning of adding more color, more detail, determining the proper shaping, flow, etc.

Adding more depth of color, more detail in the wing with the flowing white/blue-gray feathers cascading down the edge of the wing... If you click on the image, you will get a closer view of this image.

The completed painting is at the beginning of the post. I hope this helps you understand a bit of the process of taking a drawing to a completed painting!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

A Belted Kingfisher Today

I'm back to working in acrylic paints on stretched canvas. Today, the Belted Kingfisher and the Great Blue Heron occupied my afternoon. Above, the first stages of the Kingfisher, followed by the next few steps in bringing the bird to life.

Adding the eye always makes a large improvement!

Adjusting the shading, coloring, and details...

After providing the bird with a suitable perch, here is the completed painting:
Belted Kingfisher - 8" x 10" - acrylic on canvas - Pat Dolan - $85.00 + postage + handling (PA residents add 6% sales tax)

Saturday, April 01, 2017

New Watercolors: Baby Birds!

Two completed paintings done today on DaVinci Pro Panels - smooth finish. These are the first watercolors I've attempted on this new surface. Note that the edges of the Pro Panels can be painted to complement or match the painting. Also, these pieces can be sprayed with varnish to protect the painting from being damaged.

One things that is fascinating about this medium on this support is that you can wipe off part or all of the whole painting with a wet cloth or by putting it under the water faucet! That makes it easy for making corrections. It also makes it tricky for making corrections! Watercolor is a tricky medium to begin with - so being able to wipe out mistakes and repaint the area is a great benefit. One can rarely do that on watercolor papers. However, when one is making the new corrections, it is easy to overshoot the mark and contaminate a part that wasn't to be touched! Practice. Practice. Practice!

And varnishing the completed paintings is a MUST since the painted image can be wiped away so easily... Several coats of varnish, I'm thinking...

Here are some step-by-step photos to show you the progress of the pieces as I worked on them throughout the day. The drying time is longer on these panels that it would be on watercolor paper. The surface is far less absorbent thus takes much longer to dry. I wish I had made several other watercolor projects to work on in between these two since the drying time took so long! Next time I will know better!

These first few photos simply show the studio set-up and the laying in of the backgrounds on these two pieces. I used salt liberally on the Baby Crow and much less so in the blue area in front of the Baby Robin.

I decided that the background for Baby Crow was way too busy, too dark, too much competition with the actual bird to show up properly. So I began wiping parts of the background off with a damp paper towel. Much to my surprise, the method worked rather well, as can be seen in the next photo.

Later, I took even more of the background out - directly around the bird's head so that the bird will come forward out of the background and make an impression on the viewer.

The Baby Robin seemed almost to paint itself - perhaps after working on a different baby Robin yesterday in colored pencil prepared me to paint this one today.

With watercolor, one generally paints from light to dark, saving the lightest spots from the beginning and putting in the contrasting dark areas towards the end - just prior to adding any small details that serve to complete the image.

Finally, here are the two pieces side by side after I painted the edges to complement the artwork. The Crow needed a dark edge, but the Robin is much lighter and less dramatic, so I chose to paint the outside edges white.
Baby Crow - 7 3/4" square - watercolor ------------------- Baby Robin - 9 3/4" square - watercolor
Both paintings are available. Contact me if interested.

Now I want to paint in watercolor - but preferably on reliable, familiar watercolor paper!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Trying Out a New Painting Surface

Experiment One: Above the photo and the completed acrylic painting of our nephew's gyrfalcon painted on a 10" square DaVinci Smooth Textured Pro Panel.

Today I chose to experiment with the DaVinci Pro Panels available here. The Gyrfalcon I did last week in acrylic paint for our nephew was my first trial with these panels. For that one, I used a smooth-textured panel and found the surface felt to my brush to be a tad "slippery." It's easy to paint over, paint on, and build up textures, however, so the slippery beginning didn't really deter me from completing the 10" square painting.

Experiment Two: Prismacolor Pencils on DaVinci Smooth Pro Panel

Here's my box of colored pencils ready to go! (Click on each photo to see an more detailed image)

And the progress of working in colored pencils on this new surface:

Upon completion, a coat of acrylic varnish was sprayed on. Several more coats will assure no smearing in the future!

While the process remains nearly the same, working light to dark in colored pencils, I learned that they do not blend quite as well on this hard surface as they do on paper. Even using the Prismacolor Blending Pencil, the colors don't really blend smoothly as they do on the softer surface of paper.

So I'm a tad disappointed in the results, but am glad that I tried the panels out for colored pencil. I like drawing in regular pencil on them, so I may consider doing some pencil drawings in the future on some of the small ones I bought for testing. But I doubt very much I will use colored pencils on this surface again.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day I try out soft and hard pastels on the heavily textured Pro Panels. Stay tuned for more experimentation!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New: PayPal for Purchases Now Available on My Blog!

Raven: Attentive is now SOLD! Tomorrow it will leave via Priority Mail to it's new home.

I applied for a PayPal business account about 7 years ago - then never did anything about it. Until this week...when a reader inquired about purchasing one of my Raven paintings. Since I plan to accept only PayPal for purchases of on-line sales, I suddenly had to update everything both PayPal and this blog.

Mind you, I'm a septuagenarian, so the html language is utterly mystifying to me. I wasn't sure I understood if I was to post the PayPal button in my original blog html settings or where I was to post it. It took me almost 24 hours to figure it out and to actually set up the payment button. But I did it! Thankfully, the gentleman making the purchase was quite patient as I navigated this foreign land. And the really funny part is the fact that the buyer of Raven: Attentive is a computer guru, a software program designer, no less. I had a big laugh over that, when it was discovered!

However, this is the third painting to go out via USPS this week. Two Raven sales and one painting sent to our nephew for allowing me to paint his gyrfalcon! An exciting week!!!

Other than that, I've been stuck at the computer doing office tasks all week. It always seems like such a waste of time, yet it is a necessary "evil" to balancing my intuitive side. There isn't much point in renewing my painting career only to have them languish in boxes in our basement. Better the work be seen, appreciated, and potentially sold to those who are attracted to the work.

I do have gallery representation at the State College Frame Shop and Gallery and at the Bellefonte Art Museum, both in central Pennsylvania. However, this is a small, rural area and so it is to my advantage to have wider exposure and a place on-line to sell my work. Thus the impetus to add the PayPal button to this site. If I don't try something new, nothing new will appear!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Winding Down on Ravens... and "How Long Does It Take to Paint That?"

Above, eleven completed paintings after being sprayed with protective varnish. They're DONE!!! And all, but the two that are sold, are for sale at $125.00/each.

This week I completed painting the last of the 10 Ravens I had drawn on canvas and ready to go. I generally work on two or three paintings at a time, allowing some to dry while working on others. Some need to hang on the wall for a day or more, until I feel satisfied that they are complete and ready to go out to the public.

These past two weeks, I've averaged 5 paintings per week, working nearly every day on them. If they were larger paintings, more complex pieces, or subject matter unfamiliar to me, then each would have taken far longer.

By the way, one Raven is going out via Priority Mail to its new owner this week. And another painting - this one is a Gyrfalcon that belongs to our nephew, Tim in Wyoming, will also go out via Priority Mail this week. Here they are before packing.

Raven Preening (12"w x 9"h) is going to Red Bank, New Jersey to another Raven lover!

Gyrfalcon (10" square) is going to Tim, who raises gyrfalcons in Wyoming.

And moving on, questions of "how long did that take" often are heard by artists. Here is my take on that.

Time really doesn't matter to me, especially when I am painting. Even when I'm not! I haven't worn a watch for years, nor do I consult my cell phone for the time. When painting, one steps outside the boundaries of time/space and lives in the essence of meditation. Painting involves the totality of the artist - distractions rarely enter the time/space unless it comes from a strong outside source. With our children grown with kids and grand-kids of their own, I am rarely interrupted. My dear spouse of 51+ years, knows better than to do more than hover outside the studio hoping to catch my attention!

But it's surprising to me just how often people ask artists, "how long did that take you to paint?" It's truly irrelevant to the piece of art. Some pieces fly through the subconscious into the concrete world and almost paint themselves. Other pieces are done with intense scrutiny, deliberate intent, and incredible lengths of time involved in both thinking, planning, and executing a single piece.

For me, the Raven Series and the two Holstein cows - all painted on black, all went fairly quickly. They are not as detailed, they are nearly monochromatic - black, white, and gray, and much is left to the imagination of the viewer. The viewer becomes an active participant in relating to the birds and the cows.

On the other hand, landscapes and portraits of people, take me ever so much more time to plan, draw, and complete. I've always admired details - I love realistic photography and art, although I no longer choose to work in quite that realistic a manner. Realism takes TIME, lots and lots of time. When one is younger, time doesn't really matter. Perfection of a technique is often the driving force.

But as I have aged, I realize that in painting, as in real life, the details really aren't that important. It's the essence of what is being portrayed that matters. Just how one attempts to portray the essence of something is totally unique to each artist - author, poet, musician, actor, all creative people. It is our unique perspective and relationship with what we are creating that comes through to the viewer, reader, audience.

So the bird paintings are essentially coming directly out of my love for and nurturing of birds and wildlife. My painted birds seem to look directly at the viewer and ask for an intimacy between that viewer and the painted bird. And that is a delight to me! It is what any artist would be thrilled to have occur between the audience and the work. An interaction, an exchange, a connection.

My next series of pieces are more birds - can't get them out of my system, so I'm just going with them! Song birds, baby birds, a heron, a couple of Ravens. A dozen small canvases are now prepared and ready for paint. Tomorrow will begin then next period of time where I disappear into the studio and lose all track of time.

Baby Robin (10" square) above and Great Blue Heron (11"w x 14"h) below

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

So Much FUN Painting Birds!

Raven in the Snow - (c) Pat Dolan 2017 - 9hx12w" - $135.00 + 6% PA tax + shipping

These past two weeks have been a time of intensive painting in the studio. I'm preparing for an open studio in early May, so I need work to have on the walls. Right now, most of my bird paintings are hanging in The State College Frame Shop and Gallery. Several have sold, and I will be picking them up next month. But it's always a good idea to have a lot of work on hand when people are coming to visit one's studio!

Here are several of the 8 Raven paintings that I've been working on recently.

Raven Complaining! - (c) Pat Dolan 2017 - 9hx12w" - $135.00 + 6% PA tax + shipping

Shy Raven - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - 9wx12h" - $135.00 + 6% PA tax + shipping

Raven Attentive - (c)Pat Dolan 2017 - 9wx12h" - SOLD