Thursday, August 7, 2014

My big, fat fauve cupcake

I brought this beautiful cupcake home and set it up in the studio. As my assistant, Bella Z. Ball, suggested in Monday's post, a colorful napkin was added because the fauve artists were not only fond of bright colors, but plenty of patterns. Then I got to thinking... a big, fat fauve cupcake is a terrible thing to waste, so I took a photo of it and then struck that setup and changed the napkin to a teal stripe. I held up another napkin behind it that complements the stripe and imagined it was wallpaper.

I taped both of the 6" x 6" gessobord™ panels to a piece of cardboard, decided to do "2 up", and off we go. As you can see, I toned the panel on the left with Gamblin Transparent Orange. I used to tone all my canvases this way. First, it gets rid of the "fear of the white, blank canvas", secondly, it provides a midtone, so I can work with the darks and lights better (in theory anyway), and thirdly, I think it provides a warm surface for light to bounce off of, even when it's covered with paint. I painted over the pencil lines with thinned magenta.

To tone a canvas or panel, thin a little transparent type oil paint - such as Transparent Orange or Permanent Rose, etc. - with some mineral spirits - which I call "turps" - and brush on. It's somewhat runny and best done outside because of the fumes - even if using odorless mineral spirits. Don't make the mistake I did and tone a lot of canvases inside because the fumes were overwhelming and I'm glad I didn't blow up the house!

I save the plastic inserts from Nonni's™ biscotti. Their ridges make the best brush washing, gessoing, and toning mixture trays ever. Of course, I had to gain a pound or two in the process. What we have to sacrifice for our art!

Being new to choosing and mixing patterns, I did some homework. First, I visited some "how to mix patterns like a pro" sites (like this one), which explained the basics, and then it was off to the store. First, I visited Pier I. Being a thrift hunter, I scoped out their clearance section of orphaned napkins. Pier I is really good about having complementary patterns in their napkin section, so being new to this, I left it up to the pros. I also got some solids because it's hard to let go of my traditional safety raft.

After being inspired by Pier I, I visited the clearance remnants at Hancock Fabrics. So much fun walking around and trying to find crazy, complementary patterns! They have a lot of potential to be used as inspiration for wall paper, tablecloths, chair upholstery, anything you can imagine, in future paintings. It really flipped me over to right brain mode to just think of colors and patterns. A crazy, fun outing. Even the staff at Hancock got involved as we took samples around the store to the clearance bins without thought of fabric type or practical use. "What about this?" "Hey, this one may pick up some of that purple!".

So with that being said and the two panels being set up and ready, I put on my Enya Memory of Trees CD and got started. Number 1, I love Enya and painting to her music puts me into a good "block in" mood. Number 2, the CD runs for 45 minutes and I'm due to meet Pam for a haircut this morning and don't want to be late. You know how it is when you're flipped over to the right brain... no sense of time. Just color, pattern, and music!

Got to go now and get that haircut. I'm getting my bangs back and am sure she'll use her special "10 years younger" scissors. It'll be refreshing to go to a shorter style in this August heat and humidity.

Later, cupcake!

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