Closeup of Crabapple Tree

I just LOVE spring!  Woohoo!!  I’m so excited that winter is over, and spring is here!  I’ve recently been trying out acrylic paints.  They feel a lot different that oils.  I love the fact that they dry quickly, so I can put another layer on in just 5-10 minutes, instead of waiting a day or two, as with oils.  I’m also reading a book about how to paint in acrylics. This new acrylic adventure is really inspiring me!  This book has lots and lots of new ideas, techniques, and so on.  I realize that I’ve been a very traditional painter up till now, relying only on the most basic of tools and techniques.  That’s fine, because it forces me to learn to draw and paint really well.  However, it was starting to get a tad boring, too.

Here is a painting I did of a crabapple tree in full bloom.  This tree is just a block from my house.  I took a photo of it close up.  My palette is titanium white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, quinacridone red, quinacridone magenta, perylene violet,

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Crabapple in Full Bloom, acrylic on canvas panel, 16″ x 8″

ultramarine blue, and olive green deep.  I started on a bright yellow toned canvas.  This gives the painting a bright, warm feeling.  I painted a bit looser than my general tendency.  I made a point to allow the yellow underpainting to show through.  I drew the shapes in detail on the dry underpainting, then painted it all in.

The two challenges of acrylics for me, is the fast drying time can make it hard to get a good even blend or gradation, and the color shift.  I spent a lot of time researching how to deal with the color shift.  They tend to dry darker than when you apply them.  I bought some tubes of Winsor Newton the other day because they claim to have no color shift, but there is still a slight color shift.  It’s not a big deal.  I’m learning to make the paint a bit lighter than I want to be before I apply it, and to repaint areas that dry too dark.

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Back Into My Art Again Full Time

So I had been working at the kitchen of my son’s elementary school, but am doing so no longer.  I’m back into full on art making mode! Woohoo!

A week ago, I made my first attempt at plein air painting for a VERY long time, at Francis Park in south St Louis.  I was very drawn to an elderly crabapple tree, just starting to bloom.  It was dark pink.  It was a day with almost ridiculous wind (gusting up to 40 mph or more), so I needed to keep a low profile.  Therefore I sat in a chair that was low to the ground, used no easel, and just painting a small piece.  However, I was gobsmacked by all of the details, and quickly got overwhelmed and frustrated.  After I brought the piece home, I knew it would need major work, but I had already filled in all the tooth in the paper.  So I sprayed it heavily with workable fixative, and reworked it.  As I already had a good structure in place, I had only to add some details.  Here is what I ended up with.  I love how pastel is so forgiving.  Windy Crabapple