Monday, September 24, 2007

Preparing to Paint

value sketch for rose WIP
copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

Tomorrow my art group meets again. In preparation I decided to start a value study for the rose painting. I am using several different references for this painting, so I felt a value study was important. For one thing I need to make sure that the lighting is consistent throughout the piece. Also, I felt it would be easier to work from one reference while painting instead of flipping through a pile of papers to find exactly what I need when I need it. You'd be surprised how quickly a wash can dry when you don't remember if you wanted a soft edge or a hard one!

I could have done a smaller thumbnail sketch to block in basic values, but I chose to make a drawing the same size as my study painting. It can be tricky to get the values correct in the center of a rose where so many petals meet. I find it is easier to work larger when the details are more complicated. The other reason I decided to work larger is that it has been awhile since I did a graphite drawing. I knew I'd enjoy creating a more finished drawing. So I let myself have fun.

I haven't decided yet whether I will work on the background more tomorrow or try to finish up the graphite drawing. Maybe I'll work a little on both.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Art Group Meets Again!

untitled work in progress
watercolor on canvas 5" x 12"
copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

Last Tuesday was a happy day. The group of ladies I paint with met for only the second time since May. We normally meet once a week year round, but our fearless leader, Dana, had hip replacement surgery in the Spring and needed time off to recover.

Painting can often be a solitary activity, so I really look forward to getting together with this group. We give each other critiques, ask for advice on art and life and share some laughs. I also hear a lot about what I have to look forward to in life in the coming years, since I am the youngest in the group by 15 years or so.

Last week I started working on a small painting that is serving as a study for a much larger commission. My mother-in-law wants a very large watercolor of a rose to go in her dining room. After much discussion, I have decided to try painting on watercolor canvas. This will eliminate the need for glass and make the final painting much lighter.

Since I have not worked on watercolor canvas before, I decided it would be a good idea to do a smaller study painting first. This will also help me trial the composition, which is a bit tricky since the painting is to be long and thin.

My initial reaction to the canvas is that it is similar to working on hot press paper. The paint does not sink into surface and is extremely easy to lift off. So far I have put three layers on the background. I had to use a very light touch when adding layers so as not to disturb what was already there. I think it is good that I am not looking for a perfectly smooth background. It will be interesting to see how it is working on the more detailed areas of the rose.

The background right now is almost a coral color, but I will be adding more layers to make it a bright orange-red. After I've put in more work on this piece, I'll come back and give a more detailed opinion of the watercolor canvas.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pitman Craft Show in Review

I thought I'd give a report of last weekend's craft show. If I had to choose one word to describe the show it would be 'average'.

The weather was beautiful aside from one brief storm that blew up right after we finished setting up. It was like something out of a sit-com. After putting up a tarp loaned to us by our booth neighbor Jerry the pop-gun guy (Thanks Jerry!), we quickly moved the tables and racks to the center of the booth and squeezed ourselves into the corners so we could hold onto the canopy legs. The gusty winds felt like they might lift up the canopy and blow it away despite the attached weights. My husband said I looked like a ship captain manning the sails and trying to keep my ship afloat! The few brave people who showed up early to beat the crowds couldn't even get into our booth! We must have been hysterical to watch.

Ten short minutes later it was all over. By noon the clouds were gone and the sun was shining brightly. And once we moved everything back into place our booth looked great! Unfortunately you'll have to take my word on it because I forgot to take a picture.

The crowds were good and remained pretty consistent through the day. Not many people were carrying bags though and the bags I saw contained smaller items. Our sales followed that trend.

On a more positive note, I had a few people stop by who mentioned that they received my postcard mailer about the show. So I am calling the mailer a success and will be working to expand my mailing list. Also, now that these two shows are over, I should have more time for creating new paintings and drawings. YAY!! In fact I've already started, but you'll have to wait for the next post to find out more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pitman Fall Craft Show

original watercolor 18" x 14"
copyright 2007 Stacy L. Rowan

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am participating in the Pitman Fall Craft Show this Saturday from 9am to 4pm. The show is being held on Broadway in the quaint South Jersey town of Pitman.

I am sharing a booth with my Dad and my sister. Our booth is in front of Joe's Barber Shop. Stop in and say "Hi!" if you are in the area. If you're not going to be in the area, maybe you could help out by saying a little prayer for good weather.

Joe's Barber Shop

In past years the easiest place to park was in a lot on Lamb's Road near the intersection of Elm Avenue. From there you could catch a shuttle into town. I'd recommend this since parking in town is at a premium during the show. Hopefully they will have the shuttle service again this year, but I don't know for sure.